Fall is right around the corner here, folks. Even the sunniest days in the last couple of weeks have taken on that thinner, more golden, end of summer light. The nights are downright chilly and pumpkin spice everything has made its annual invasion. I love cooking in the summer – all the freshness and vibrant produce, BBQ’d everything and the general low maintenance approach to food and its preparation. I do, however, really enjoy cooking in the fall when things get a bit more roasted, slower, deeper flavors and more robust ingredients. I like the feeling of “harvest time” and I look forward to the change in temperature and palate.
When a friendly rep from Williams-Sonoma reached out to me to ask if I’d like to participate in their Juice Week, I was in immediately. Juicing isn’t something I do a ton of but I do make smoothies most mornings for breakfast and they become my fruit quota for the day. Continue Reading →
I make no apologies. It was a rainy grey day, I was left to my own devices, and I wanted a snack that wasn’t fruit or baby carrots or hummus or anything even remotely healthy or responsible.
Want to be bad like me? Take chocolate chip cookies of your choice and sandwich them around slices of banana and a gob of peanut butter. No recipe needed! Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Snack Attack!
In my defense, it was natural peanut butter and bananas are actually a fruit.
Great for a quick indulgence or dessert, and I made two, but one would have been enough.
How is it possible that we are in the second week of September already? Here in Vancouver that doesn’t quite mean that summer is over in terms of warm weather but it does mean that the pace and timing of one’s life may begin to return to normal: back to school or back to work, vacation memories fading quickly. Whether these few weeks are about ‘normalizing’ for you or not, chances are you’re feeling some sort of pinch, some sort pressure, I know I am. When we’re under stress or duress, even if that stress is “normal” for us, it can be so easy to let slide the most important things for our overall well being: eating well, sleeping, exercising and taking time to actually enjoy your life, not just letting it rampage past, leaving you a dizzy spectator.
I won’t preach on sleep or exercise, two things I’m in no position to lecture on, but eating well and enjoying life can so often go hand in hand – but how do we do so when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?
At our house, when no one wants to cook and take out is leaving us non-plussed, we do an antipasto style dinner, some assembly required: plates of this and that which everyone assembles as the wish. Everyone gets something they want, there aren’t many dishes and with a well stocked pantry and fridge it’s not a nuisance to prepare. Make the selection as simple or as elaborate as you like, just make sure you hit the main categories: fruit, veggies, protein (meat or cheese or both, usually) and some sort of vehicle to get it all in, like bread, crackers, tortillas, even fresh lettuce leaves. Beyond that, add something sweet, something zingy (think chutney and/or pickles or olives) and if you’re really feeling luxurious some hummus or baba ganoush to dip and spread.
So take a deep breath, put on some good tunes, crack a bottle of wine and enjoy the satisfaction of putting out a simple dinner without ever turning on the stove.
I’m at our cabin right now. Two hours from home and it smells different here, out of the city. There’s no traffic, no congestion, no hurry up and wait, just water and trees and friendly people in a tiny, friendly town. The cabin is affectionately known as The Trabin because it was once an RV trailer that is permanently parked with a sizable and comfortable addition built on: trailer + cabin = Trabin. It’s a little like playing house when you’re up here. everything is a bit funky, misfit, not necessarily efficient, and none of that could be truer than the kitchen. I surprise myself though, by not being thoroughly frustrated by the limited gear, dolllhouse sized stove, cold-water-only sink. Instead of being limitations, they become challenges – we can’t simply eat deli macaroni salad and BBQ’d everything when we’re here, the show must go on, and that show means just-as-good-as-home meals even when the resources are lacking. Continue Reading →
As the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. I feel like there are millions of ways to prove this old adage true, but none more true than the desperate moment when a friend approaches you at your own party and says, with a grave look in his eye, “You’re out of punch.” This happened. This is a true story. And he was right, the punch bowl was dry. Immediately we set to work, tipsy ourselves, and crafted a delicious drink primarily from two seemingly disparate ingredients: whiskey and red wine.
Stay with me. It was delicious, I promise.
Now, since that particular December evening (it was at last year’s annual Holiday Open House), I have thought about that sweet, tart, potent drink many times. Like most delicious things, perhaps more so than many, drinks can easily adapt to suit the season or what you have on hand. In this case, that made up punch has since been transformed into an ice cold summer drink full of boozy fruit and optional bubbles. Continue Reading →
I did something wild, guys – I juiced an entire 12 lb watermelon in my blender.
In my tiny kitchen.
It was mayhem but I lived to tell the tale and the Watermelon Basil Coolers that were borne of that sticky afternoon were worth every drop.
Firstly, cutting a watermelon is messy business; they are obviously juicy and made mostly of water, but given the minuscule amount of counter space and patience that I have, I’m not sure what I was thinking. No sooner had I quartered it, I realized how much watermelon and flesh, and ultimately juice, I was dealing with. I cubed it up and blended 4 batches of deep pink, pulpy juice. As it whizzed around in the blender I helped myself to the remains and cleaned all the pink from the rinds and thought about how sticky the kitchen was. But how amazing is this: that one watermelon yielded almost 4 litres of juice!
This begs the question: what does one do with nearly a gallon of fresh watermelon juice?
If you’re me, you add vodka. So that’s exactly what I did. Continue Reading →