You say tomato, I say San Marzano

I enjoy a good meal although I’m not sure I’d call myself a foodie.  Maybe I am, who knows.  What I do know is, I don’t San Marzano Tomatoesoften wax poetic about what I’ve eaten in restaurants, or cooked, in this blog. Having said that I do remember going into raptures about a peach back in 2012.

Recently, though, I had an otherworldly experience involving a tomato, a San Marzano tomato, (looks sort of like a Roma, but it’s longer, thinner and one end is Continue reading

Accentuate the positive …

My resistance must be lower than normal.  Either that or for some reason I’m being tested.  Because I figs and prosciuttocan’t remember any other time in my life when absolutely everything I tried to do turned out to be unnecessarily challenging, difficult, trying and frustrating.  But that’s the way it’s been lately.  Jeez!

Thankfully I’ve got some very good friends who are okay with me calling and venting, getting it off my chest.  That and I’ve been taking one helluva lot of deep breaths, let me tell you.

Rather than dwell on it though, I’ve decided that every day I’m going to think of something good, something positive, something to be grateful for.  No, no, no, not the obvious, you know, for my parents, for my family, for my career, for waking up in the morning. Of course I’m Continue reading

Got my mojo back …

Well, at least my cooking mojo. It’s so bizarre. I’ve always loved to cook. For as long as I can remember, every month I’d drool my way through the latest issues of Gourmet, Bon Appetit and STIRFRYFine Cooking magazines. I couldn’t pass a cookbook store without stopping, looking and buying. I was addicted to the Food Network on TV.

Which isn’t surprising when you consider I grew up in a family who loved to think about, shop for, prepare, cook and eat food. And share it with countless friends, colleagues and family members. My mother was a fabulous cook — as were my grandmothers and aunts and cousins on both sides.

I loved to have dinner parties and enjoyed thinking about what I’d make as much as the eventual sitting at the table. Truth be told, I may have enjoyed the planning even more. Thumbing through recipes, consulting with my mother and yes, even my father, who was the ultimate shopper of fine foods. The best

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What really tests my resolve …

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt made me smile.  Well, actually, it made me laugh:  “Tell us about the favourite dish or food that you simply cannot willpowerturn down.”  

I’m somewhat of a foodie, so I can think of several.  But there’s only one that’s really almost impossible for me to resist.  Only one that’s a real hardship for me to give up.  Only one that’s been known to make me cranky if I can’t have it.

Bread.

Warm bread, just out of the oven.

Warm bread, just out of the oven, slathered with butter.

Warm bread, just out of the oven with butter and jam, or marmalade. Continue reading

Day 280. Food Lovers

A former client of mine has just started a blog here, on WordPress.  It’s called tea & tamarind, and you should check it out.  In all the years we worked together, I cookingnever knew she was a foodie.  I knew she loved to travel, but had no idea there was more to the story.  See, you do learn something new, every day.

So it turns out her latest post is the inspiration behind this story of mine.

Yesterday she talked about how her mother’s life-long love affair with food influenced her.  And how the fact her mother is such a wonderful cook, was responsible for her own interest in cooking.  At the end of her blog she asked, “What’s your favourite food memory with your mother?”

As I thought about what my answer might be, I realized I had far too many memories to leave as a comment on Continue reading

Day 190. Xiang Shou

Between the snow storms throughout the East, the Grammys and the news about the Pope resigning, Chinese New Year has taken a bit of a back seat.  It started this snakepast Sunday.  This year we’re celebrating the Year of the Snake.

It’s interesting.  In North American culture, when we refer to someone as a ‘snake’, it’s not very complimentary.  And yet, ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will never starve.

In fact, this is the year of the water snake.  Water snakes are influential and insightful.  They manage others well.  They are highly motivated, intellectual and very determined.  They are success-oriented.  While they are affectionate with family and friends, they keep their private lives private.  So don’t expect them to be demonstrative when they’re with colleagues and business partners.

I read, somewhere, that snakes and pigs should avoid each other.  Which is unfortunate.  Because I am a fire Continue reading

Day 188. Soup’s On

I woke up yesterday morning with a craving.  For soup.  Really not surprising, given all the snow and cold weather.  Of course by yesterday, the storm had passed; chefand I woke up to clear, sunny skies.

But it was still soup weather, as far as I was concerned.  And what I hankered for was not out of a can.  Not ‘dust’, from a just-add-water-and-stir box.  Not store made.  I wanted home made soup.  Specifically, my mother’s chicken soup.  She made THE best chicken soup.

Which meant a trip to the grocery store was in my immediate future.  I looked outside and everything seemed to be all right.  At least as much as I could see from fifteen floors up.  So I fed the cats, had breakfast, read the paper, took a shower, emptied litter boxes; and waited to see if the urge would pass.  It didn’t.

So I made a list of all the ingredients I’d need, and got dressed.  And dicked around for a while.  Much as I wanted the soup, I was in no rush to leave the warmth and comfort of my abode.  But then I spoke to a friend and committed myself.   Continue reading

Day 186. Topsy Turvy

I do it quite often. It’s because I get bored, after a while, with the more conventional choices. Or because I start craving a different kind of comfort food. You have no idea french toastwhat I’m talking about, do you?

Flipping things around. Having breakfast for dinner.

Savoury sausages, cooked just long enough to have a crust on the outside. So they ‘snap’ when you bite into them. Chorizo’s my favourite. Soft, fluffy scrambled eggs. I do make THE best scrambled eggs, by the way. Just because I like you, I’ll share my secrets:

Add some cream or milk to the eggs. Don’t add the salt or pepper until they’re finished cooking. DON’T beat them. Whisk them. And DON’t over whisk. Unsalted butter is best. Melt the butter, in the skillet, over a high heat. But then immediately reduce it to a VERY low flame once you put the eggs in.

The idea is to cook them GENTLY. So they are not overcooked. So they are creamy. And soft. And light. And fluffy. Then add whatever seasoning you want. And eat them IMMEDIATELY. Don’t let them just sit there,

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Day 92. Delicious Distraction

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that today is election day in the U.S.?  I seriously doubt it.  And, as I’ve said many times before, even though it’s not my election, I am involved.  Engaged.  And worried.  There’s a lot at stake, not just for Americans, but for the whole world.

And regardless of who wins, there will be an impact on Canada.  There always is.  After all, we’re not only neighbours, we’re trading partners.  We depend on each other, although sometimes I think politicians forget that.  Another story, for another time.

Anyway, I’ve decided I need a distraction.  It is going to be a long wait, I think, until we know who’ll be in the White House for the next four years.  We’ll probably be up quite late tonight, biting our nails.  A trip to the grocery store, yesterday, inspired me.

I’m going to distract myself with food.  Figs, in particular.  Fresh figs.

There’s a relatively short season for them.  In fact, I’m surprised I managed to find some.  Not that I was looking, mind you.  But there they were.  One more little package of four, Continue reading

Day 12. Fall’s Coming

Much as I hate to acknowledge that summer’s coming to a close, I know it is; and it has nothing to do with the fact that the days are starting to get shorter.  It has nothing to do with all the back-to-school advertising.  Or the fact that Toronto’s CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) opened yesterday.

It’s because yesterday, my cleaning lady brought me a paper bag filled with beautiful, sun-ripened tomatoes from her garden.  She does it every year at this time.  It is an end of summer ritual.  And end of summer, means beginning of fall.  I love the tomatoes.  I love the fall.  It’s winter I’m not crazy about, but I’m getting way ahead of myself here.  So let’s get back to the food most people call a vegetable but is, in fact, a fruit:  The tomato.

I have a love/hate relationship with tomatoes.  I don’t like most of the tomatoes available in grocery stores — even high end ‘epicure’ shops.  They look beautiful.  It’s nice to see all the different varieties, colours, shapes and sizes.  But you get them home and they’re tasteless.

So disappointing, because when a tomato’s at its peak there’s nothing more delicious.  Which is why I love when my cleaning lady brings me samples from her Continue reading