Archives for November 2013

Aimée’s 2013 Cookbook Gift Guide

This isn’t going to be a ‘Best of 2013’ cookbook list. The simple reason being that I haven’t cooked from, read through or lapped up every new cookbook that came out this year.

My particular list is compiled with books that have inspired me in the kitchen and homestead and motivated me to learn more about cooking, baking, canning, and more. They have sparked research, initiated conversations on everything from pudding to preserving, and made. me. hungry!

In some cases, they’ve picked me up when I’ve been completely uninspired to make dinner (oh, it happens) and coaxed me back to the stove. Although they are new to my shelves, many of these cookbooks are already old friends.

I was a judge for this year’s Taste Canada Cookbook Awards and that experience really taught me how to scrutinize a cookbook. Before my involvement, I could intuitively separate the solid cookbooks from the weaker ones, but now I’m also aware of how important elements such as the author’s voice, research, organization, originality and food safety play into my choices.

2013 was an epic year for cookbooks. For the home preserving enthusiast to the vegetarian on your holiday gift list, here is my inspired cookbook gift guide for 2013. Happy browsing. Happy cooking.

[Read more…]

Favourite fall photos to conclude the season

It’s all going to be snow and shortbread from here on in, so I thought I’d share a glimpse of our fall around the homestead in a few favourite photos.

Besides, most of you are deep in kitchen prep for Thanksgiving. Rather than cram in one more recipe or entertaining tip, these images will be here if you need a short break from the stove.

You got this, right? The turkey tutorial. The tip for leftovers. The stuffing. The sprouts. The best pumpkin pie ever. Good. Now get in there and cook!

[Read more…]

How to reheat turkey leftovers and keep them moist

This past weekend was the unofficial launch of the holiday season for us. There were are few small signs to note the commencement, though nothing particularly unusual for a late November day.

I planted a Christmas amaryllis and placed it on a warm window sill, to be turned each day. From deep in the walk-in closet, I unearthed strings of lights for the eves and a wreath, for the front door. While the boys rakes the last of the leaves in the back yard, I baked shortbread in the kitchen and sent out hot cocoa to warm their tummies.

In the evenings, I splashed cranberry syrup in a glass with a little gin and tonic and sat down to plan, really plan, my cookie swap, as well as make a list of holiday baking essentials. For Sunday dinner dessert I opened up a jar of mincemeat and serve mini tarts with tea. It felt like the right thing to do.

These are the day of shortbread and spice, cocoa and cranberries. It’s a time of careful list making and time-saving tricks, like today’s post for storing and reheating turkey while still keeping it moist. It’s a classic kitchen trick, nothing I can take credit for, but a solid one, nevertheless, and a tried and true method  used by my mother-in-law every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

[Read more…]

For the love of the pomegranate (recipe round-up and tips)

Were it not for the arrival of the vibrant pomegranate in winter, I might never temporarily release my affections for summer berries.

Fortunately, this fruit is bright and juicy, like my long lost raspberries and strawberries, and almost as versatile. It certainly has a spot in my refrigerator drawer and brings a welcome crunch and a pop of color to drab winter foods.

I don’t buy into all the health claims and I don’t drink POM frequently, due to the high sugar content, but I love, love sprinkling the fruit’s arils (seeds) onto salads and sides.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes featuring pomegranate.

[Read more…]

Classic Gruyère Gougères: A make-ahead party snack for holiday entertaining

I’ve spent the past two weeks preparing myself for the upcoming holidays by stocking a sizeable portion of my deep freeze with an assortment of homemade chewy caramel candies, sugar and gingerbread cookie doughs, pie crusts, soups for quick and nourishing weeknight dinners, and no less than five different varieties of gougères ready for last-minute entertaining and party-going in the coming month.

Lest you think I’m hyper-organized (okay, maybe I am a little), most of it is due to the large amount of recipe testing I’ve been doing for my forthcoming book, and the fact that December is my busiest working month of the year, and there is simply no time to let myself fall behind when it comes to holiday preparations.

While all of the items I’ve stockpiled are essential sanity-savers, none are more important to me than the gougères I mentioned above. They are my secret weapon when it comes to holiday gatherings, and I always, always have a bag ready to be baked between December and January, when surprise visitors pop by or I’m in need of a last-minute party nibble.

[Read more…]