What a treasure trove I found (metaphorically speaking) …

Back in September I wrote about how I was finally attacking my closets and drawers and cupboardsmother's recipes and pantries and shelves and papers.  Long overdue it was.

Well I’m happy to say I’m done.  Mission accomplished.  And you may find this hard to believe but I actually enjoyed it.  So much so I seem to have become obsessed with order.

I now wake up in the middle of the night and go through stuff and purge.  While I’m watching TV or reading a book I suddenly get the urge to reorganize what I’ve just organized; and I do it!  In slightly under two months I’ve gone from thriving in chaos to being OCD.

Clearly I am channeling my mother who is, of course, loving it.

Speaking of my mother, when I moved her out of her apartment and 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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Day 354. Full Flavoured?

More recipes today.  But this one isn’t what you’re expecting.  At least I don’t think it is.  Because it has nothing to do with the kitchen.  Now you’re really measuring cupsconfused, aren’t you?  Fear not.  All’s about to be made clear.

To be honest, when I first saw Monday’s WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge, I passed it by.  But after yesterday’s post, where you found out how I make bouillabaisse, I decided to give it another look:

“How does the old saying go — girls are sugar and spice and everything nice, and boys are snips and snails and puppy dog tails?

Aside from not knowing what a snip is, I don’t buy it; we’re much more complex than lollipops and unicorns and toy trucks and frogs.  This week, we want a window into the complexity that is you.  We want your best recipes.

We don’t mean we want your best recipe for fried chicken (although we’ll take that, too — a good fried chicken recipe is always handy).  We want the recipe for all the bits and pieces and quirks and foibles and loves that make you, you.”

It’s a pretty tall order, but I’ve decided to give it a try.  Here goes: Continue reading

Day 353. Bragging Rights

Ask anyone who knows me. They’ll tell you I’m not someone who often blows her own horn. But guess what? I am today. Unashamedly so, too. It all started bouillabaissewith Tuesday’s WordPress Daily Prompt: “If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)”

Hands down it would be my bouillabaisse.

In case you’re not familiar with what it is, bouillabaisse is a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. It’s made with fish and seafood and it’s ‘cooked’ in a broth. The Italians have a version called cioppino. And I’ll bet there are those who would say that a creole seafood gumbo is another variation.

What I make is is the French version. It’s my own recipe. I concocted it. But the ingredients are pretty

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Day 303. Bon Appetit

Do you ever get sick of all food?  Have no cravings for anything?  Stand in front of your fridge, staring into it, hoping for inspiration?  Willing your taste buds to kick eatingpillsin?  Flip through every cookbook you own, wishing something would cause your mouth to start watering?

Stare at menus, longing for something to jump out at you, screaming “Order me, order me, I’m really tasty, you’ll love me”?

It’s exactly where I’m at right now.  Have been for a while.  Nothing appeals.  Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I can’t get enough nectarines.  Especially the white ones.  And those strange-looking donut peaches.  Gosh they’re delicious.  I could eat them three times a day.  For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I do get urges for oysters and  lobster.  But not as often as I used to.  I love vegetables; and the sight of red 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 98. Salad Freak

I’m the first to admit it’s bizarre.  When it comes to cravings, most people want chocolate.  Or hot fudge sundaes.  Pizza.  Or Chinese food.  But how many people do you know, who crave salads?

Now you do.  Me.  Yep, I have cravings for lettuce.  I kid you not. I like it so much, I’m happy to eat a hunk of head lettuce, or a pile of romaine leaves with no dressing.  Nothing on it at all.  I can just snack on it, as it is.  Au natural.

Yes.  I know.  I am strange.

Several years ago we had a very severe black-out in Toronto.  It lasted a couple of days.  Most people were lining up at gas stations to make sure their cars had a full tank.  And they were also heading for bank machines, getting cash before there was none left. Continue reading

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 61. Give Thanks

Here, in Canada, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.  Sometimes I think we get so caught up in all the food we’ll be serving, the menu, the recipes, the shopping and cooking (myself included), we forget what this celebration is really all about:

A time to take stock of our lives and give thanks.

The world is in such turmoil now. Politically, socially, culturally, religiously, economically, environmentally, every which way.  So there’s probably never been a better time to remember how grateful we are (or should be) for all our blessings, whatever they might be.  It’s different for everyone.  Some are small and might be considered Continue reading