When my husband and I were still in the "courting" stage of our relationship, he took me to his hometown to meet his parents. His mother had made a glorious Caesar salad, complete with homemade croutons. Since it was our first meeting, I very politely ate a normal amount of salad, and I did not sneak back in the kitchen later to surreptitiously snack on handfuls of those homemade croutons, the way I would after we were engaged and they were stuck with me.
I just love the term "icebox cookies." It's so quaint, isn't it? When I think about them, I feel like I'm being transported back in time - like I'm actually baking in my kitchen wearing pumps, a frilly apron over my crinoline-lined skirt, and pearls. Oooh, this dough is too soft to use. I know! I'll put it in the icebox! Maybe one day my ship will come in and I'll be able to buy one of those new-fangled electrical refrigerator units.
Have you ever had great expectations for a recipe, and then had those expectations dashed dramatically? That happened to me the other day when I set out to make these cookies. I had an image in my head of what they should look like, and the resulting cookie was, visually speaking, dramatically opposite to what I had set out to make. In fact, these cookies - while delectable and fudgy - were possibly the ugliest cookies I had ever made. They were so unappealing in appearance, that I briefly wondered if I should start a "Cookie Wrecks" site.
We are entering the festive season, and you know what that means: parties, parties, parties! It seems like there is something going on every weekend leading up to Christmas: open houses, dinners, and let us not forget the social whirl that comes with children's activities.
I don't know about you, but I hate arriving at a party empty-handed. A bottle of wine is always an acceptable (and loved!) hostess gift, but that can get expensive at this busy time of year. Why not try a homemade gift from your kitchen instead?
I have to confess: I can't get enough chickpeas lately. I've been incorporating them into everything. God bless the chickpea. That amazing little legume is packed with protein, iron, and fibre, and when roasted, it makes an amazingly addictive, crunchy, salty snack. Roasted chickpeas must be skyrocketing in popularity, since I keep seeing bags of them on sale at the grocery store for what seems to me to be exhoribitant prices.
Have you heard about aquafaba? Aquafaba is the sludgy liquid that you drain out of a can of chickpeas before using them. Aquafaba is the slime you rinse down the sink before you make hummus. Aquafaba is also - get this - an amazing substitute for egg whites when whipped.
There's something lovely about seasonal change, isn't there? I admit that I am more of a Summer Girl than anything else; I love sunshine and warmth and fresh, local vegetables, and am loathe to say goodbye to it. However, there is something cozy and comforting about fall; the crisp air, the crunchy leaves, the glory of orange and red trees against the blue skies. It feels festive and happy, somehow, even if it's the harbinger for winter.
Feta cheese. There's no better addition to Greek salads, Mediterranean pasta, or quinoa dishes. Feta cheese can give new life to a pizza or give a kick to dips and sauces. When I was pregnant with my second child I ate feta cheese almost every single day. Feta cheese and I have had a passionate love affair for years.
But what if you cannot eat dairy, for one reason or another? Should you go through your life without the creamy, salty goodness of feta cheese?
I don't know what it's like where you are, but where I live the mornings are cold and frosty, and even the sunny afternoons feel cold. I love a lot of things about fall - the boots and sweaters and scarves, the colours of the leaves against the bright blue skies, cups of cinnamon tea and the urge to bake everything. The thing I don't like about fall - other than it's the brief segue into a long winter - is that I'm cold. Every year at this time my hands are freezing and I'm constantly chilled, trying to acclimatize to the sudden sharpness in the air.
What is it about making lunch? To me, it feels like a chore of epic proportions. I like cooking dinner. I like baking things. I like busting out my waffle-and-tofu-scramble moves for weekend brunches. But making lunch can really get me down.
It's no secret that I love kale. In fact, my husband took the kids camping without me, and my first thought - right after I can watch unlimited episodes of NYPD Blue and drink wine straight out of the bottle - was that I could have a giant kale salad for dinner and no one would protest.
My best friend's daughter has Celiac disease, and one day when we were chatting about school snacks and lunches, she mentioned the difficulty of finding really tasty gluten-free "grab and go" snacks that were also nut-free. The wheels in my head started turning, especially after talking with another friend whose daughter is allergic to dairy and sugar cane, in addition to gluten and nuts. I was thinking about them both as I found myself in the kitchen, trying to create an energy bar that would fill all those needs. Was it possible?
When I was pregnant with my younger son, my number one craving was Greek salad. My number two craving was - wait for it - Cheez Whiz on toast. I don't know how many loaves of bread and jars of Cheez Whiz I went through for those nine months, but I probably should have bought shares in Kraft.
During that time, I also fell in love with nacho cheese sauce, the kind that comes in a jar and gets heated up in the microwave before being eaten with a family-sized bag of tortilla chips. What? The baby wants what the baby wants.
I am back from my annual vacation at my in-laws', and I am experiencing my annual "all my pants seem to have shrunk" phenomenon. Let's just say that averaging four drinks a day is not great for one's waistline, and leave it at that.
True confessions: if I could eat any junk food in the world, I would choose Old Dutch Ketchup Chips.
Gosh, even looking at that gives me a craving. I remember when I found out that a) Old Dutch chips were a strictly Western Canada thing, back in the 80s, and b) ketchup chips were a strictly Canadian thing.
I love Greek food. I love the flavours, I love how Mediterranean food is among the healthiest in the world, and I love how eating it transports me back to 1992, when I was almost seventeen and on a school trip to the Greek islands. I know! How lucky was I?
When you were a kid, did you read books set in the turn of the twentieth century, and did you desperately long for the olden days, where THE event of the season was the town's Strawberry Social? I sure did. I didn't know what a Strawberry Social was, exactly, but I knew it involved Sunday dresses and strawberries, and frankly, that was good enough for me.
There's something that's been bothering me lately, but I haven't been sure how to articulate it properly. Last summer, I met a friend's husband for the first time, and upon some discussion, he learned that I mainly follow a vegan diet. His first reaction was to question whether or not I felt that I was morally superior to the other people in the room, and although his outspokenness startled me, I explained very truthfully that I do not.
If you've been following my recipes for any length of time, you will know that I am an enormous fan of coconut. All hail the mighty coconut, provider of energy, antioxidants, and dietary fibre! Numerous studies have shown coconut products to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties - and that consumption of coconut helps to boost immunity. Perhaps that makes this coconut fudge a health food!