Browsing through vintage cookbooks is one pastime I’ll never get tired of, especially during the holiday season. Christmas is a time of tradition and nostalgia, and there’s nothing more nostalgic than bringing forgotten favourites back to life.
My (Italian) Canadian Christmas Tradition: Feast of the Seven Fishes
Christmas Eve just might be the most magical night of the whole year. The electricity in the air is palpable, and everyone seems to possess a sparkly energy in anticipation of the next day.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a Christmas Eve tradition observed by Italian Americans (and also Canadians) that consists of a multi-course seafood meal. The tradition is based on the Roman Catholic practice of avoiding meats and dairy on the evening before religious holidays including Christmas.
If you grew up eating boiled Brussels sprouts, you may not even realize you’re consuming the same vegetable when you taste a forkful of this vibrant slaw. Continue reading
The single greatest thing about hosting Thanksgiving dinner is…wait for it…getting to keep the leftovers! Stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, that perfect turkey – it’s all there, ready and waiting to be enjoyed as is or transformed into something new. Continue reading
For those of us living in the great white north, Thanksgiving has been over for weeks – Canadian turkey day fell on October 14th this year. The best part about Thanksgiving (other than the food, of course) is spending time with your loved ones. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to get together with everybody in one short weekend, especially when you have two sides of the family to contend with. So much driving, so little time!
Before I say anything else – I’ve been waiting to use this wine bottle serving plate forever! Ahh. Anyway…
Happy holidays everyone! One of my favourite things about this time of year can be summed up in one word (and no, it’s not presents): appetizers. Continue reading
Spanish tortilla, which is best described as a stovetop potato cake, is a really fun way to serve potatoes. The traditional recipe uses regular white spuds, but I opted for sweet potatoes for a fun twist. (Can you tell I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes? If you are too, have a peek at my roasted sweet potatoes with sumac, sweet potato latkes with paprika, sweet potato poutine, beef stew with acorn squash and sweet potatoes.)
Every once in a while a dish comes along that makes me wonder why I even bother eating at restaurants. This orecchiette with Brussels sprouts, crispy prosciutto and toasted walnuts is one of those dishes.
It’s not overly impressive by any means–quite the opposite actually! –but it has a restaurant quality feel to it and is better than anything I’ve had dining out in a long while.
The orecchiette (Italian for “little ears”) act as tiny cups to hold on to the garlicky oil, chewy toasted walnuts and crisp prosciutto. Brussels sprouts are probably my favourite green vegetable, and their nutty, ever-so-slightly bitter flavour really sings in this dish.
The Canadian Harvest in Guelph
Guelph is one of those picture perfect cities that boasts historic Victorian architecture, accessible farmer’s markets, ample green space, a world class university and a quaint downtown core with quality shopping spots and a lively restaurant scene. I’ve lived here for just shy of a decade and am still discovering new, interesting things to do (and eat!) in Guelph. Continue reading
I’m kind of addicted to curry powder. It somehow ends up in just about everything…chicken salad sandwiches, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, meatballs, and of course actual curries like aloo gobi. And don’t get me started on curry mayo – the ultimate dipper for sweet potato fries!
Learning new things is my favourite part about cooking, and I’m the first to admit I’m no pro. But I’ve picked up a couple of tips through reading, researching and trial and error, and one of these happens to be incorporating ‘ethnic’ spices like curry powder into conventional dishes to give them some oomph. So if you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s all you need to know to work fragrant, rich curry powder into your cooking repertoire.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are the one treat I make every year around Halloween and never get sick of. They’re crunchy, chewy and just as satisfying as popcorn or potato chips. They also happen to be rich in dietary fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Continue reading
Hi guys! Every once in a while I like to give you a recap of what’s been going on around the ol’ blog and what I’ve been working on lately.
First of all, is it just me or has this fall been crazier than usual? Aside from work, which never fails to keep me on my toes, I’ve been busy as a bee trying new recipes (as per usual), reading up on how to switch my blog over to WordPress.org and eventually re-name and re-brand (stay tuned for updates over the next little while) and poking around with a couple of side projects.
One such project I’ve really been enjoying is building a collection of fun visual guides, checklists and infographics on everything from cooking tips to pantry must-haves (see the very first one, below – click to download the high-res pdf).
French onion soup is one of my husband’s all-time favourite things to eat yet I have never once made it for him before. He told me as much a few weeks ago when I was pestering him for dinner ideas. Me: ”Whadaya wanna eat tonight?” Him: ”Well, it wouldn’t hurt if you made some French onion soup once in a while…ya know, like in those brown bowls with melted cheese on top.” Some wife I am! Continue reading
I can’t believe how fast October has gone by. Halloween is just a week away, and as soon as that has passed we’ll be inundated with Christmas ads, music and decorations. Is anyone else freaked out by this notion?!
Now would be a good time to breathe. Continue reading
A few weeks ago I took some time to re-vamp my recipe directory (it was a very basic overhaul but much needed – check it out here). The point was to subcategorize the more broad categories (e.g., mains, sides) into easier to navigate sections based on the type of dish. New additions include soups, salads, pastas and other grains, meat and poultry…you get the picture.
Anyway, as I was browsing through the recipes and getting things organized, I noticed a trend: many of my dishes are vegetarian. Continue reading
Cold weather + lots of people cooped up indoors – access to fresh air = cold and flu season. Bleh. My throat gets scratchy just thinking about it!
When you’re feeling under the weather, chicken soup is pretty much a given. Whether it’s hearty homemade broth studded with carrots, celery and chunks of chicken, or the pre-packaged, parsley-flecked neon yellow stuff (no judgement here – it’s a personal favourite!), chicken soup hits the spot like nothing else.
While I love classic chicken noodle soup as much as the next gal, the flavours can be a bit of a bore. To spice things up a little Continue reading
Is your fridge full of a mishmash of ingredients you don’t know what to do with? You might have a nob of cheese, a jar of pickles, some coleslaw mix, an onion, a random assortment of condiments, a package of English muffins. Nothing that really goes together upon first glance but nevertheless needs to be used up. Continue reading
The art of preserving
Drying, smoking, canning, curing, pickling, salting. There are so many different methods of food preservation that have been passed down through the generations as a means of stretching a limited food supply or compensating for a lack of refrigeration.
I would imagine the method varies by climate as well as by the type of food available in a given region. Where sun-dried tomatoes can be easily made in one clime, salt cod or strawberry freezer jam may be a more feasible feat in another.
The art, science and tradition of food preserving fascinates me. These days you can get your hands on just about any fresh fruit or vegetable Continue reading
Even if you’re not normally a fan of fish (like, ahem, my husband), this recipe may change your mind. The tilapia is very mild in flavour, and the crunchy breadcrumb and pecan topping adds a nice texture that compliments the delicate flakiness of the fish.
People who say they don’t like fish just may be choosing the wrong types. If the only fish you ate growing up was bland fish sticks and you simply aren’t accustomed to strong seafood flavours, more potent options like salmon or catfish may not be your cup of tea.