Friday, January 30, 2009

My daily snack

Behold, the hazelnutty truffle bar called Branchli Zartbitter that I bought at the famed Sprungli chocolate shop in Zurich. A little bigger than my pointer finger, it's a dainty Swiss treat -- and the polar opposite to a Mr. Big

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This just in: Your apples may be trying to tell you something

Says the press release: 
"When in comes to selecting the perfect Ontario apple, you might be surprised to learn that your astrological sign plays a big role in ensuring that you've made the best choice. The Ontario Apple Growers have taken the guesswork out of choosing your perfect apple match by developing applescopes that reveal which variety is most suitable for all 12 signs of the zodiac. And, you'll be happy to know that your ideal apple is available in produce aisles today and throughout the remaining winter months."
Hey baby, I'm an Ontario Crispin. What's your sign?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Full disclosure

I'm not on a diet -- I don't believe in them -- but for a few days this week I'm eating as if I am.
That's because I'm test driving the meal delivery service from Licious Living; the Zone Plan to be exact, for one of my Dish columns in the National Post. 
Available in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, the whole Licious process couldn't be easier. You sign up online, then a rep calls to sort out all the details, you choose your healthy gourmet meals, or diet plan, a delivery arrives at your door in a cooler bag between 9pm and 6am, then all you do is heat in the microwavable recyclable containers, and put the bag outside again at the end of the day.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this low-cal low-fat food (I'm on the 1,200 calorie regimen.) But a couple of days in, I'm loving this whole not-cooking-or-shopping-or-washing-dishes thing, and, there have been many more hits than misses on the recipe front.
For instance, yes to the shrimp salad (pictured here) heaped with meaty grilled shrimp, chickpeas, olives, marinated artichoke hearts and tons of fresh herbs. I didn't even miss the dressing. (It's what I'd call a smart salad.) Same goes for the West Coast breakfast parfait, layered with thick creamy yogurt (it tasted like full fat, but I know it wasn't; there was a trick to it), oaty granola, sweet strawberries and pineapple, sour cherries, dried apricots and nuts. It was almost too much to finish. (Almost.)
And I can't wait for today's afternoon snack of deviled eggs.
But what of the blueberry "pancakes" with "syrup"? Well, I will give them this: They were sort of round. And if that's all it takes to call yourself a pancake these days -- so be it. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eat here

I'm having some difficulty typing this because I'm like Pavlov's Dog when I think back to Sunday's brunch at La Tortilleria on St. Clair.
We were celebrating Miriam going back to work following a successful year of maternity leave, and she had chosen a favourite brunch spot near her house, called Boom.
I like Boom. There's one near me, too. I usually get the Huevos Rancheros.
When we arrived there was a huge lineup and we collectively agreed: "No friggin' way." Mir said there was a greasy spoon down the block so we started heading westward.
But the No-Name Yellow walls and temporary signage of La Tortilleria, just a few doors down, stopped us in our tracks.
A tortilleria? In Toronto?
The room is a bright open space with sit down or take out service and gleaming tortilla machinery in the background. There's this location and one in Kensington Market, and they claim to be the first tortillerias in Toronto and who am I to argue?
Especially with food this good.
Within moments, free fresh fried tortilla chips and chunky salsa are placed on the table with a shy smile. They taste exactly like the ones I gorged on daily in Tulum a few years back.
Then comes Mexican coffee, poured steaming hot from a metal teapot -- hit with sugar, cinnamon, and I think some kind of chili, but they say no. Either way, delicious. (Alas, it would be the third time in as many hours that I burnt the crap out of my tongue that day.)
Did I love my Enfrijolades Nortenas -- soft tortillas stacked one upon the other and doused with a bean sauce, and topped with caramelized chorizo bits, sour cream and pico de gallo? Yes sir, I did. Ditto goes for Miriam and Ilona and their Quesadillas de la Sierra (filled with cheese, squash, potato and spinach.) 
And if this was just brunch, imagine the possibilities for lunch and dinner.
(Pavlov's Dog.)
By the time I got home from running my errands later that day, there was a voicemail from Ilona, saying she was already dreaming about going back to La Tortilleria for more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A decadent classic

I'm usually all for updating recipes, by either making them a bit healthier or adding a modern-day ingredient to the mix. But not here. Not this time.
Because sometimes even I know when to leave well enough alone, as is the case with Fettuccine Alfredo. 
Alfredo sauce is pure decadence, all snowy white creaminess wrapped around hot strands of fettuccine. I guess I am making a twist on the workaday standard, by asking you to make your own fresh noodles. 
And how, pray tell, with your busy schedule and lack of a pasta maker, do you plan on doing this?
By heading to the grocery store, buying sheets of fresh lasagna noodles (usually a 360 gram package, enough to serve four), and then using kitchen scissors or a knife to cut the sheets lengthways, fettuccine style. (Cheater!)
Buon appetito.
(serves 4)
1 package fresh lasagna sheets, cut into strips (or, a box of dried fettuccine) 
1 cup whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour in 3/4 cup of cream, stir in garlic, butter, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the cream to reduce and thicken a bit. Make sure it doesn't boil over. (Messy!) Stir every so often.
Add remaining cream and cook for several minutes more, then add cheese, stir to incorporate, and let simmer another 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Keep stirring for a couple minutes more.
Put fresh pasta in boiling water (you should have done this about five minutes ago if not using fresh; cook following directions on the box). Stir a couple of times -- the fresh noodles should float to the top and be cooked within 3-4 minutes. 
Drain in colander. 
Pour sauce into the bottom of the empty pasta pot, add pasta back into the pot with sauce, swirl to coat every noodle, then turn it all out into a big serving bowl, family style, and top with more Parmesan. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baked brown rice

Don't you find that it's often the staples, the most basic recipes, that reap the biggest kitchen disasters? Hard boiled eggs. Properly toasted toast. And rice? Damn you rice! 
But the Food Network has a secret weapon in the name of its resident science geek, Alton Brown. The guy drives me crazy with his pun-o-matic way of talking and all the goofy props, but his research is sound. And it's like my dad always says: "You can't argue with science."
So, don't be a rice or a whole grain hater. Eat this as you would your regular Minute Rice: Under a curry, sidled up to chicken or stuffed into peppers. Because now you know how. 
Here's Alton's science based and foolproof recipe. I've made it dozens of times.
1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the rice in an 8-inch square or round baking dish.
Bring the water to a boil in a kettle or in a saucepan, pour boiling water over rice, add the butter and salt, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. 
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
After an hour, remove foil and fluff rice with a fork. Serve immediately. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stuffing stuffed squash

I won't do this too often, but this recipe is right out of my last cookbook, Cook This
When people ask me which recipe I make the most often, I simply tell them to turn to page 25 and go at it. 
Once they try it, they understand why.
And I think you will, too.
(serves 2, but easily doubled)
1 small acorn squash
drizzle of olive oil
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 Macintosh apple, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped pecans
1/2 tsp crumbled dried sage
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 or 3 slices havarti cheese, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the inside of each half with olive oil, then put cut side down on the cookie sheet. Roast for 40 or 50 minutes or until soft.
Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute shallot, apple, celery, pecans and sage until apple and celery are soft. 
Remove cooked squash from oven, scoop out most of the cooked innards, and stir into vegetable mixture. Stir in breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
Re-stuff squash halves and top with cheese. Put back in oven until cheese melts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spicy roasted Brussels sprouts

The menu from the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon included Seafood Stew, Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney, Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing, Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Winter Vegetables (asparagus, carrots, Brussels sprouts and wax beans) and Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake for dessert.
I think it's a nice warming menu, which, like President Obama, hit all the right notes (save for the lack of chocolate, which I find somewhat disconcerting.)
So, can we just talk about the inauguration for a minute? That perfect blue sky, millions watching, each and every one of us united in verklemptedness. 
Aretha. The good Reverend. The pretty girls in their girly colours. Obama's speech. 
That speech. 
It was all so symbolic, all so perfect. And the world smiled. (Except for Dick Cheney from his wheelchair. Also symbolic, no?)
As we enter this new era of openness and hope, together let us preheat our ovens and make...
(serves 4)
1 pound Brussels sprouts (they even come in 1 lb bags now)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
a couple of good pinches of Kosher salt
a medium pinch of chili flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off the rough brown ends of the sprouts and pull of any discoloured outer leaves. Pour prepped sprouts on a cookie sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, shaking the pan a few times so the Brussels sprouts brown evenly. In the end, they'll be crisp on the outside and soft and mellow on the inside. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roasted cauliflower in tahini dressing

On this historic day, the inauguration of President Obama, during this historic week -- Sides Week at The National Nosh, I present to you a vegetable long overlooked, even derided, yet full of tasty possibilities. 
Here's how to make it.
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (Tip: whenever the price of cauliflower tops $4, which now seems routine, I do something I never would have imagined: I switch to frozen. It's not quite as good, but not half-bad, either.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping Tbsp tahini
2 tsp water
juice of half a lemon
about 1 tsp za'atar (optional, but it kind of makes it)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss prepped cauliflower in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast in preheated oven until slightly browned; about 25 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together tahini, water and lemon juice. At first it'll seem like it won't come together, but it will. If it's too thick, thin it with more lemon juice or water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When cauliflower is done, toss with dressing and sprinkle with za'atar. 
And then bite into a taste of a brand new day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's Sides Week!

Sometimes things just go together. Beans and rice. Mashed potatoes and peas. Kenny and Spenny.
And for my money, during the depths of winter, nothing goes better with a warming meaty main, than delicious oven-roasted vegetables. 
So, in honour of winter, our ovens, and getting more fibre and plant-based nutrients into our diets, I'm going to make winter's veggies as appealing as possible. 
We're talking rich chunks of maple butternut squash, roasted cauliflower tossed in lemony tahini dressing with za'atar, spicy roasted brussels sprouts (they're great, I swear), stuffing stuffed acorn squash, and baked brown rice -- a foolproof recipe for rounding out your meals with a tasty whole grain.
It's still January, which means there's still a few more days left to eat right this year. (Heh heh)
Check back for a new heart-warming side dish every day this week.
(Tip: Buy the squash already cubed in the plastic clam shell containers in the produce section. The price is almost the same and it makes the job go 79% faster.)
1 clam shell of cubed butternut squash (or about 2 cups from a whole squash, seeded and chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp real maple syrup
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Toss cubed squash with olive oil, syrup, salt and pepper and cayenne. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, (flipping them around at the midway point) or until soft on the inside and browned around the edges. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As a food and travel writer, I travel and eat a lot -- and I don't like the fun to stop once I've returned home. That's why my souvenirs of choice are almost always things I can eat: Usually situation-appropriate hot sauces, wines, jams and other local specialties (sometimes contraband, usually not.)
Often, I'm more interested in the packaging than the product within, as is the case with the squeeze bottle of mustard I got in Iceland this fall. Look at it: Who wouldn't fall for a wiener in a chef's cap? (And, little known fact: Reykjavik dishes out some of the best hot dogs in the world.)
Duty calls and I'm off to Zurich this afternoon, just for a few days. This means I won't be blogging again until recipe Monday, at which time I'll be kicking off a specially themed week that will include new recipes each and every day.
While in Zurich I plan to eat nothing but Swiss chocolate until my flight home on Sunday.
So, here's a hint: Next week's recipes will be the opposite of chocolate. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A good read

I stopped in at the Healthy Butcher in Toronto last week, to toast the launch of CuiZine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, Volume 1, Issue 1. (You know a publication's serious about food when the launch party is at an organic butcher shop.) 
CuiZine is a high minded digital online magazine, produced by the McGill University Library. Here's what it's all about: 
"An integral aspect of ethnic identity and cultural production, food acts as a window into multiple cultural publics and thus lends itself to various interrogations through, for example, ethnography, history, material culture, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, art history, communications, and environmental studies. CuiZine aims to provide an innovative academic forum for interdisciplinary discussions surrounding the diverse culinary cultures of Canada, while also providing a venue for dynamic creative content on the subject." 
Ah, takes me back to my good old McGill dayZe. 
The first issue runs from research papers on food marketing, food law and childhood obesity in Canada by Charlene Elliott, and an illustrated tour of Montreal's Marche Jean-Talon by Sarah Musgrave, to culinary themed poetry, an interview with Chef Vikram Vij, historic cranberry recipes, and Can-con food-related book reviews. 
Here's the link. It's available in French, English and Spanish, and it's free. (Impressive, non?)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baked macaroni and cheese

You can call this recipe Baked Macaroni and Cheese, or you can call it How to Make Friends in the New Year.
I made it during the break, when I was at the cottage cooking for a crowd that ran from 5 to 20 people, their ages spanning 4 to 70 years. 
I enjoy cooking for large groups. I find it easier than cooking for a few people because I usually just make one big baked or barbecued main dish, side it with a salad, and let somebody else worry about dessert. (For instance, my sister-in-law Deborah's key lime meringue pie was a huge hit this season.)
It's times like these that my baked macaroni and cheese comes in handy. 
It's kid friendly, veggie friendly, and for all of those lactose intolerants out there; well, pop a few Lactaid pills then join the rest of us digging into hot, cheesy glory. 
You can make this recipe rich, or not quite as opulent. For the milk I can go as low as 1% and for the cream, as low as 5% and it still tastes as if Midas got his mitts into it.
If you want it truly decadent use whole milk and half & half cream -- but then be sure to call your doctor in the morning.
And I shouldn't be the one telling you that when you've got a recipe like this one, with just a handful of ingredients, it really comes down to personal taste and using the very best from your pantry. 
In other words, this is the time to leave the Cracker Barrel on the store shelf and to break out the Balderson's
(serves 8-10)
1 lb dried elbow macaroni
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup half & half cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
cracked black pepper
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup reserved) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish and set aside. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until just before al dente
Drain well and put back into the pot off of the heat. Stir in melted butter, covering every elbow. Stir in milk, cream, mustard and salt and pepper. Toss in all but one cup of the grated cheese and stir well.
Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and broil in oven until top is lightly browned. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Eat here

Burger cravings are perhaps the one craving that cannot be satiated with anything other than a burger. 
And so it was that Raymond, Laird and myself collectively agreed to try out the new Burger Shoppe Quality Meats on Ossington Street last night.
There is much to like about this 30-seat restaurant. The burgers are beefy, juicy, and absolutely delicious, made from Rowe Farms naturally raised AAA beef, ground in-house, filler free, and grilled with taste but without pretension. (All of my vegetarian pals can substitute the beef with an organic tofu patty.) 
The burgers boast names and preordained toppings. For instance, The Riverside is dressed up in BQM barbecue sauce, naturally raised bacon, mayo, arugula, tomato, mozzarella and a hand-dipped onion ring that rivals A&W's (my all-time favourite fast-food item).
The burgers come a la carte and most are $9 and totally worth it. 
They were out of the salad, but other starters and sides include sliders (three tasty 2oz burgers) and Uber Poutine, which was too wet but a great example of why hand-cut fries, real gravy, squeaky cheese curds, caramelized onions and chorizo get along so swimmingly. 
The service was cheerful and attentive even though the place was packed.
There are a couple of problems though; and oddly, they're all aesthetic. The room is too loud, and the music makes it louder. You literally have to scream to be heard, and cup your hands around your ears in order to hear. What's more, the tables are too deep, which probably adds to all the screaming. Also, the chairs are too low -- we're talking lawn-chair low. If I had been sitting in one of those chairs instead of at the gorgeous communal table on a bench, my chin would have been resting on the dinner table. 
Still, we were enjoying ourselves. And then Raymond said something, but being on his third glass of the house Malbec (very generous pours, may I add) it took him several tries until Laird or I could understand what he was saying. 
And that's when we came up with a new drinking game called: "What's This About Patrick Swayze's Pancreatic Cancer?" (Not my proudest moment, but hear me out.) We weren't making fun of Mr. Dirty Dancing's devastating prognosis, we truly feel awful for him. It's just that Laird had mentioned how Barbara Walters made Patrick and his wife cry during a recent interview, and then Raymond suddenly looked up from his BQM Shepherds Pie (homemade, saucy, generous but woefully under seasoned) and was just learning of Swayze's stage 4 cancer. 
And that's when he said: "What's this about Patrick Swayze's pancreatic cancer?" 
After the fifth try he finally got the sentence out in one piece, and then urged us all to attempt it ourselves, noting that it could be one of the more difficult sentences to pronounce without pausing or stumbling. 
And darn it if he wasn't right. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My daily snack

If, like me, you've always thought that microwave popcorn was a one-trick pony, here's a twist on a familiar go-to snack.
I was recently sent a delivery that included a box of Cineplex Big Screen Snax microwavable popcorn, along with a big tin can full of Cranberry Caramel Corn, with the recipe attached. 
The thought was nice, but the popcorn was stale. I liked the idea behind the caramel corn born of microwavable popcorn though, and have definite plans to pop up some corn and make the recipe my own. Perhaps I'll sub Smarties for the cranberries, and I'll likely throw some nuts in there too. 
But for now, here's their recipe. Let me know how it goes.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 bags Cineplex Big Screen Snax light popcorn, popped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, stir in corn syrup, sugar and salt; stir constantly until mixture comes to a light boil. Simmer without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in baking soda and vanilla (careful! it foams up).
Put popped corn in a large bowl, pour hot mixture over corn and mix well. Add chopped cranberries and spread coated corn into large cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, stirring at the 10 and 20-minute intervals.
Remove caramel corn from oven and allow to cool for 10-12 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My morning ritual

Damn. Looks like more snow. More shovelling. More slush. More red noses and cold toes. 
Why not take the edge off like I do? With a mug of sweet tea: Orange pekoe steeped in the mug for no more than a minute, then spiked with milk and the best honey I can find. (My honey du jour is from Arlo's Honey Farm in Kelowna, BC.) 
It wakes me up, hits me in the brain and makes me smile every time. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Has anyone seen the ad campaign for Tetley's Red Tea? It's Rooibos from Africa, which is a great tea, no two ways about it, but you know your TV commercials and print ads have a serious problem when they remind people of...
Let me put it this way: Blood is thicker than water. So, if you have swirls of red falling into oversized glass teacups full of hot water, even if those swirls happen to take on the form of exotic African scenes, giant elephants and gushing waterfalls, it's not going to stop the product from looking like blood. But I actually think that's the point. For some reason I think they want it to look like blood (it is thought that Rooibos increases iron absorption.) 
Now here's where things go from odd to downright awkward. I've been in the room with gay men, post-menopausal women, teenagers and woodworkers, and without fail when the Tetley Red Tea commercial comes on, someone pipes in (and it's not always me), saying "Um, that looks like someone's having their period in the teacup." 
I do like the music though.
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think it's time for a rethink when the sight of your tea makes potential customers nauseous. Then again, nothing soothes nausea better than a nice cup of tea.
Why...those evil geniuses. 
Here's the commercial. Judge for yourself.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pink grapefruit brulee

This recipe is inspired by one of the best in-room breakfasts I've ever had. It happened not so long ago, in a far away land I call Atlantic City.
The breakfast was designed by Geoffrey Zakarian, the meticulous New York chef in charge of the food at the Water Club, a sophisticated new non-gaming annex property to the 2,000 room Borgata in Atlantic City.
We ordered the ruby-red grapefruit on the side -- it turned out to be a ritzed up take on the sugared grapefruit halves of my youth. And sure, I've had other grapfruit halves bruleed in recent times (haven't we all?), but this was different. These had been segmented, chilled, sprinkled with sugar and then torched so that the crunchy bruleed topping was paper thin, its toasty finish melting on my tongue like burnt snowflakes. 
I needed more. But rather than spend my Atlantic City winnings on room service citrus, I instead decided to spend them on a sack of grapefruit when I got home.
And then I set to work segmenting pink grapefruit.
In case you're a newbie to the wonderful world of citrus segmentation, I did this by cutting a deep slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit so that some juicy flesh was exposed. Then, from top to bottom, I carved off the outer peel, removing the bitter pith and membrane until all that was left was a wet orb of blushing grapefruit.
To extract the segments I cut as close to the fine inner membranes as possible, section after section; with two deft slices with the paring knife the segments were released into the bowl below.
I ate as I worked: One juicy piece of grapefruit for the bowl, one for the cook.
Next step: Flame-throwing.
I took all the remaining segments, patted them dry and lay them snugly in a bowl. I chilled them in the fridge for a  few minutes, uncovered (the hope here was to dry them out further.) Then I took a heaping teaspoon or two of sugar and evenly coated the grapefruit segments -- you can use more if you want a thicker brulee crust, less if you want less.
Then I got out my propane torch. Mine's a handy little sucker called the Fox Run Craftsmen Creme Brulee Torch. I got it on sale at Cayne's for $29.99 but you can always find them at kitchen shops like Williams-Sonoma for about $60, or an industrial version at hardware stores.
I sparked the torch and flamed the sugar until it melted then turned golden, then dark brown.
I waited a few seconds, then picked up my spoon and cracked away.
It was crunchy, cool, juicy, sweet and sour. 
A little bite of magic

Saturday, January 3, 2009

As we bid a fond adieu to rapini week...

My favourite way to cook is, and my best dishes are usually born of, opening up the fridge, leaning in, and figuring out what to do with the Tupperware, GladWare, Ziplocs, and Lock & Lock containers full of the dregs from a half-week's worth of lunches and dinners. 
And so it is that I just tossed together a last-minute hot lunch for a crowd. 
Roll call: Leftover basmati from the Swedish meatballs, tofu strips from stir-fry, chicken from the quesadillas, red pepper strips from the kiddie meals, rapini from rapini week, and a few eggs that are coming due. 
Solution? Start with a big wok and a good dose of veg oil. Beat up the eggs, pour them into the hot oil and make a Chinese omelet with some salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. When just cooked, roll it out of the pan and set aside. Heat more oil in the wok. 
Add some chopped onion, celery and red pepper, cook until softened, stir in your leftover proteins, give her another toss, add your leftover cooked rapini, the cooked rice, some frozen peas (the peas are key) toss it all together and add a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce to taste. Slice up your eggy omelet and toss it in. Then call everyone to the table for Leftover Fried Rice.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The year in review

FAVOURITE NEW COOKBOOK: "Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook". The recipes, photos, tips and tone make you want to dive right into this welcoming hardcover and get back in the kitchen.
FAVOURITE NEW SNACK: PC Chocolate Covered Sponge Toffee. Sure, they're just like a Crunchie bar at triple the price -- but I'll pay a premium for bite-sized.
FAVOURITE VACATION FOOD: Barbecue in Anguilla. From saucy ribs to smoky chicken, these home-spun street-side stands had me licking my fingers all week long.
FAVOURITE NEW RECIPE: Baked potato with cheddar cheese sauce and broccoli. A Wendy's inspired delight.
CANADIAN CITY TO WATCH FOR NEW RESTAURANTS IN 2009: It's a tie: Ottawa and Regina (both cities apparently being recession-proof and all.)
FOODS TO WATCH IN 2009: Potatoes, homemade soups and more poutine and charcuterie. 
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2008: Oprah's weight gain (but at least she finally admitted to it and my bet is we're all going to be eating healthier for it in 2009.)
GREATEST PLEASANT SURPRISE OF 2008: President Elect Obama's hot body (see what happens when you exercise and eat right, Oprah?)
WHAT I PLAN TO EAT MORE OF IN 2009: Root vegetables and chocolate (but not together.)
WHAT I PLAN TO EAT LESS OF IN 2009: Disappointing pastries.

Here's to a great New Year full of health and happiness -- and more tasty, tasty food.