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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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plum dessert – fresh and light

plum dessertA dessert concludes the main meal and for me, it’s the last thing I think about when planning a meal.  I’m just as happy to snack on fruit and a bit of cheese than fill my stomach with another course. I am usually too full.  But give me an option to savour fruit with yogurt, I’ll always make room.  It signals to my brain something fresh and light.  Continue Reading →

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bbq cauliflower wings

barbecue cauliflower wingsWe’re all familiar with buffalo chicken wings but cauliflower wings?  It was through a snapchat from my niece, Sara, that I discovered the vegetarian version.  She sent me the photo and I was intrigued; it’s a guilt-free snack.  The meat version happened quite by accident, as most ingenious recipes do.  The original Buffalo chicken wing was born in 1964 out of necessity.  Continue Reading →

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lamb tagine – a feast for the senses!

lamb tagineA tagine, the conical shaped cooking vessel, is traditionally made out of clay and was first used by North African nomads.   The tagine’s conical top allows moisture escaping from the ingredients to condense on the lid and fall back onto the dish, resulting in fork-tender meat and vegetables using a minimum of liquid.  Think of a slow cooker or Dutch oven.  Continue Reading →

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pizza smoked mozzarella and lemon slices

pizza with smoked mozzarella and lemon slicesIf I were to take a poll to find out what toppings people like to see on their pizza, I’ll bet tomato sauce, cheese, and some sort of meat would be at the top of the list.  Pizza is a centuries old snack although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive oil and cheese.  Hard to believe, though, that tomatoes introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 1600’s were considered poisonous by the locals.  It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the Napolese added tomatoes to their flatbread; the birthplace of pizza. Continue Reading →

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baked summer squash – stuffed to perfection!

baked summer squash stuffed with porkSummer squash is available all year round which sounds a bit confusing.  The name refers to a squash harvested when it’s not fully mature.  The skin is soft and thin while the flesh is a softer texture.  Some of the most popular and familiar varieties are:  zucchini, pattypan squash, cousa squash, crookneck squash.  Summer squash is perfect roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stuffed.  This recipe is inspired by my mother in-law’s mom, Angelina Bocarisa, but I only knew of her as mama nini which was what all her grandchildren called her. Continue Reading →

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