If any edible-slash-catchphrase is more iconic than "mom's apple pie," it is surely milk and cookies. A classic after-school snack, a hallowed bed-time ritual, a staple of Sesame Street monsters and small children everywhere, milk and cookies combine both healthfulness and treat (protein, sugar), and offer the fraught parent a last-ditch compromise in the battle with picky eaters ("You can have another cookie if you finish your milk").
In our own milk-and-cookie childhood, there was a standout: Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It was (and remains still) a cylindrical tube of slice 'n bake artificial deliciousness that always made a fraction of the promised end product, because we had eaten much more than we spoon-dropped onto the baking sheets.
Homemade cookie dough was pretty good, too; although its consumption was spoiled somewhat by our mother's warnings about salmonella from the raw eggs. But Pillsbury's grainy dough seemed impermeable to contamination, with its millennial stale-dates and its oleaginous sweetness, no matter a long tenure in the refrigerator's cheese drawer.
You can't go home again, though, not now that we know just how terrible all that processed food really is. So, below, our healthier take on a favourite cookie (it is egg-free, so you can lick the spoon for old time's sake!)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients, including the chocolate or cranberries (or both!).
Blend the banana, maple syrup, oil and vanilla together and pour into dry ingredients. Mix well.
Place a spoonful of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and press flat with fingers. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.
Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on size.
Thanks to Margaret Gdyczynski for the beautiful photographs
Thanksgiving is one of the nicest Canadian holidays. It comes at an excellent time of year, weather-wise (we in southern Ontario are being spoilt with a second summer). It crosses religious boundaries. And while it seemingly borrows from the Americans, our Thanksgiving is, in fact, uniquely ours: Martin Frobisher, an early English explorer, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578 and celebrated with a feast in gratitude for his safe arrival (a full forty-three years before the Pilgrims donned big hats and buckled shoes for their iconic repast).
Three things comes to mind when we reflect on our childhood Thanksgivings: how one of us loved stuffing so much that tantrums hovered when other people helped themselves; how one year our great-grandmother (elegant in a faux-Chanel suit and an apron) dropped the roasted bird on her carpeted kitchen floor, dusted off the fluff bunnies, and served it up; and how we both loathed the smell of plain steamed Brussels sprouts.
Years later, we have learned to share stuffing (mostly); we all dress up for the family dinner; and, with apologies to our mother (an excellent cook), we’ve gussied up the Brussels sprouts to tasty effect.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
Place the Brussels sprouts in a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with chilies, salt and pepper and toss well to coat thoroughly.
Place sprouts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 450F for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and brown.
Transfer sprouts back to a mixing bowl and dress with crumbled chevre and shaved parm.
Serve in a fancy China bowl and season with cracked pepper.
Makes 4-6 side servings
When we were little girls, we rather liked it when our mother went out. We enjoyed the heady scent of Chanel No. 5 wafting around in her bedroom as she dressed, and we loved our babysitters, a trio of sisters who tirelessly played Crazy 8s and prepared JiffyPop while we watched Charlie’s Angels.
We do not seem to go out nearly enough these days.
So last week, we arranged for childcare, and made a night of it. We draped ourselves in sparkly jewels, dabbed on red lipstick, and headed out to the Emerson, one of our favourite Toronto restaurants in the up-and-coming Bloordale neighbourhood.
Not quite a year old, the Emerson is large and homey, with a big wooden bar, a changing list of house cocktails, and charmingly mismatched vintage plates.
Everything we’ve sampled is delicious: crispy pressed chicken with lemon and olives, sliced rib-eye steak with salted tomatoes and pickles, and a sweet, addictive Icebox Cake. Yum.
But it all starts with the perfect cocktail. We adore the Ortolan (1/2 ounce of Armagnac, 5 ounces of sparkling wine, and a sugar cube) and also our newest discovery: the Paper Plane. Have one at the Emerson as soon as possible (if not, well, make do at home).
Paper Plane, Emerson-style
Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in a tumbler. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a maraschino cherry.
Makes 1 drink