Archives for November 2014

My best suggestion ever for Thanksgiving leftovers

Our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, back when local harvest was in its peek, our homestead was still green and a vibrant display of colourful leaves carpeted the ground.

It wasn’t so long ago that I’ve forgotten my genius plan for Thanksgiving leftovers, however, and today I’ve shown up to tell you about it – and present you with a little challenge.

Perhaps you’re expecting Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup or Lemon Pepper Turkey Sandwiches, but no, it’s a different idea entirely.

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My 2014 Cookbook Gift Guide

On the rare occasion I ever find myself out and about on my own, I inevitably end up at a bookstore, and within that store, in the cookbook section.

It’s thrilling to be around old friends and new, seeing what’s hot and what’s not (discount). At a glance one can pick up on photography trends, fad diets and styling shifts. And then there is the excitement of knowing your book will be joining the party soon. Yes, the cookbook corner of a book shop is my favourite place to wind up.

If you are not immersed in the ever-changing, multiplying world of cookbooks, however, how to know which ones to buy? Who will vouch for their quality of recipes, reliability and readability?

Well, my annual holiday gift guide is a good place to start.

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On returning home {Apple & Fennel Stuffed Salmon with Cider Sauce}

I crammed my hands in the pockets of my jeans to keep them warm as I followed my brother along a narrow path that paralleled a creek.

It was mid-October and the chill in the air confirmed that fall was well advanced in Northern British Columbia. The woods were vibrant with reds and oranges, one last festival of colour before Winter would wave her wand and transform the scene into a world of white.

Josh and I walked over mossy logs and slippery leaves until the brambles of wild roses and clumps of willows parted to show the stream. The water tumbled white, then quieted into a narrow creek bed lined with small, smooth stones.

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Why I mulch my garden in the late fall

Clara and I have been making it a priority to get outside every day in the afternoons, even though it now requires a warm jacket and boots. That burst of fresh air is a necessary jolt after a busy morning and a reminder to slow down, breathe, and tune out the noise for a bit.

She skips around the yard, chasing the hens or petting the cats. Just yesterday I found her standing by the now-empty carrot patch, softly singing a little song. “I’m singing to the seeds.” she said, when I curiously asked her what she was doing. Somehow she remembered my suggestion from this past spring, when she was impatient for her carrots to grow.

While Clara plays (or sings), I prep the place for the coming winter. The garden has been my main focus this week as I know a freeze could happen any time.

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Secrets to the best mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are premium comfort food, that is a given, but they don’t always get the right treatment to ensure they are fluffy and well seasoned. This post can help.

Back when I put myself through culinary school, money was tight. I frequently relied on samples from class to get me through a day; which was easily feasible. We had opportunity to eat most everything we prepared and you know how I dislike waste! I must have been particularly hungry the morning we were learning how to make the best mashed potatoes (yes, that was actually a topic covered in a class) because I can remember every little detail of the process.

It seemed a torturous wait before we could serve ourselves from the enormous pan of steaming spuds, but the wait was well worth it. Creamy potatoes, skillfully seasoned, without a lump to be seen. It was the dead of winter. I had been up since 5 am in order to make it to class on time. Yet the memory of spooning up mashed potatoes while perched on an overturned milk crate remains one of my happiest ones from culinary school.

Today I’ll share my teacher’s secret to fluffy mashed potatoes.

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