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open-face sandwich with poached egg

open-face sandwich with poached eggSandwiches have been around for centuries.  The term sandwich is believed to have been named after John Montagu who was the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Legend has it that in 1762 he asked for meat (most probably salted beef) to be served between slices of bread to avoid interrupting a gambling game.  I love a sandwich that’s loaded to the gills but eating it with some degree of grace is not easily achieved.  Introduce an open-faced sandwich and now you talkin’ (spoken like Joey Tribbiani from Friends).  Sourdough is one of my favourite types of bread.  It is lovely toasted and used as a base to build a sandwich. Continue Reading →

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Lemon Tart – a bit of sunshine

Lemon TartThe weather here has been grey, wet and cooler than our usual Spring. We were in Paris for a week and it either rained or was overcast with periods of rain showers throughout the day. We came home and had a repeat of Paris weather. It’s been so wet mushrooms are sprouting up in our lawn so when patches of blue sky poked through the clouds this morning, I was elated.  Continue Reading →

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Gnocchi mac n’ cheese

gnocchi mac n' cheeseMac n’ cheese (aka macaroni and cheese) has been around since the 1930’s and I grew up with it; both the boxed version and homemade.  The afternoon my daughter was born I ate a whole box for lunch…no wonder she likes it.  It’s been years since consuming the all-too-orangey-looking commercial stuff.  Continue Reading →

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Paris (La Ville-Lumière)

Eiffel Tower Mr. S and I recently returned home from a trip to Paris.  La Ville-Lumière (city of light) was the center of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment.  In 1828, Paris began lighting the Champs-Elysées with gas lamps and earned the nickname “La VilleLumière”.  Paris is a walkable city and you’ll see far more on foot than in a car.  Continue Reading →

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roasted peppers and gorgonzola crostini

crostini with roasted peppers & gorgonzolaCrostini (little crusts in Italian) are the easiest appetizers one can make.  There are oodles and oodles of variations and limited only by one’s imagination.  Creative ones such as smashed avocado topped with thinly sliced cucumber seasoned with chili flakes and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil or mashed fresh peas with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Consider white bean hummus slathered on a toasted slice that’s been perfumed with garlic – doesn’t that sound delish?  Continue Reading →

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sorrel with pasta and pork

sorrel with pastaAs a regular reader, you know how much I love our local farmers’ markets.  There’s always something new and interesting.  I have my favorite vendors I like to visit and one, in particular, is Offbeat Farm.  Sarah and Jamie are an energetic and enthusiastic couple and they love what they do – farm on less than one-half acre!  Last Saturday I picked up a bunch of their sorrel.  Jamie’s eyes lit up when I asked him what’s his favorite way to prepare it; on its own, in a salad, blanched where some of his recommendations.  I took a quick nibble from a leaf and because it’s a young crop, the taste was an explosion of a citrusy-tangy-sour mouthfeel.  I grabbed their last bag! Continue Reading →

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spatchcock cornish hens

spatchcock cornish hensSpatchcock you ask? According to the Oxford Companion to Food, “spatchcock is a culinary term found in cookery books of the 18th and 19th centuries, and revived towards the end of the 20th century.  It is said to be of Irish origin. The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of ‘dispatch cock’, a phrase used to indicate a way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat.”  Sounds a bit gross but by removing the backbone you actually decrease the cooking time, the bird cooks evenly, and the skin is crispy all over – nothing I detest more than soggy chicken skin.  Spatchcock a cornish hen, chicken or turkey. Continue Reading →

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orange jelly slices

orange jelly slicesAccording to What’s Cooking America, gelatin was once considered a sign of wealth, before the commercial version appeared, only members of the elite classes could afford it. It took hours to render gelatin, clarify it, and turn it into fancy aspics, molded salads, desserts. etc. The use of gelatin was a sign that the host or hostess had the means to support a kitchen staff with the skill and time to create such a dish. When gelatin became available commercially it still was a symbol of culinary sophistication.  Continue Reading →

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fish tacos (tacos de pescado)

fish tacos“What’s for dinner?” asked Mr. S.  I said I was thinking of fish and he said good!  We haven’t had fish in a while but these days with the way my memory works it was most likely only a week or so ago.  Cinco de Mayo (the 1862 victory of the Mexican militia over the French army) is just around the corner and making fish tacos seemed fitting.  A national staple and popular street food in Mexico, tacos are quick, fresh and inexpensive.  Continue Reading →

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artichoke pesto

artichoke pestoMaking use of what’s in your cupboard before expiration date always feels good.  I am guilty, at times, of having to throw food out.  According to Second Harvest, Canadians waste $31 billion of food every year of which 47% is wasted in the home.  Over 30% of fruits and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they aren’t attractive enough for consumers. The primary contributor to consumer food waste is high expectations—demand for high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing food is a key factor behind the volume of food waste among consumers. I reject ugly-looking fruit or veggies when there are visible signs of spoilage.  I don’t know why I expect my food to last longer.  The refrigerator is meant to prolong the life of fruits and vegetables and perhaps psychologically I have time on my side and, regrettably, that isn’t always the case – mea culpaContinue Reading →

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