Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Twelve Things You Need To Make This Summer

I've been scrolling through my recipe archives lately, and it's pretty neat to see how far I've come since 2011.  It's sort of like looking back at your high school yearbook and thinking oh god I really had glasses that big.  Oh, but there's some good stuff hiding in these archives.  I've pulled out some of my favourites that I know I must make this re-summer and thought you might be interested.  The next couple of weeks are busy busy - I'm road trippin' to see my mom and sis and sweet nieces for a few days, then heading over to Regina to meet up with other food writers from across Canada.  Canadian Lentils is hosting us for a couple of days - we'll be touring lentil fields, and a processing plant and having a hands on cooking demo with Chef Michael Smith.  I'm beyond excited!  I'll be seeing friends I haven't seen in a long time, and I get to show off my beloved prairie to them. A grand adventure is waiting to be had.  That's what summer is all about, right?  But before I leave I wanted to share these hot weather gems with you.  I'll be back with a new post in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, Happy Canada Day to all my crazy Canucks and Happy 4th to my American pals.  Talk to you soon.  RenĂ©e xoxo

Remember that time I stuffed zucchini blossoms with bocconcini and lemon?  Me too!  One of my favourite blog moments ever. 

French toast with peaches and mozzarella?  Yes, please.  

One of my favourite things to do is pick raspberries while still warm from the sun.  Most often they end up getting popped into my mouth just like that, but sometimes I save them for glorious desserts like this tart.

There's going to come a point this summer when you may have too much zucchini on your hands.  You have to make these fritters!  My pal Chelsey gave me the recipe ages ago.  Big thumbs up.  

I was on local morning television this week (!!!) and I made this panna cotta - swapping in a bit of rhubarb for some of the strawberries.  It was delightful.  Going out of my comfort zone once in a while does me good!  

This is a light, if unusual salad.  Watermelon and feta?  Who would have thought?  Summer in a bowl, right there. 

That time I made a S'more Birthday Cake for my mom, with seven minute frosting no less.  Oh, and ganache too! 

Peaches and tomatoes make a beautiful salad.  Especially with fresh mozzarella and basil.  One of the best things I ate last summer.  

Clearly, I have a thing for peaches.  Big time.  These were stuffed with almonds and baked.  Oh Lordy! 

Strawberry shortcake is a must this summer, as is sipping yummy boozy bevvies.  This post has both!

And last, but certainly not least, because I'm heading out on the highway, it's only fitting I share this post.  Happy and safe travels to y'all! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dive In: Spiced Rhubarb Skillet Cake with Streusel Topping

"Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, 
and you never got your memoir or novel written; 
or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years 
because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; 
or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing 
that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness 
and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  
It's going to break your heart.  Don't let this happen."  ~ Anne Lamott

And just like that, we've shimmied into summer.  My God, I love it.  All of it.  Tank tops and late night thunderstorms.  Warm pools and lakeside picnics.  Fireworks and flip flops.  Peaches and more peaches.  Road trips and just-picked raspberries.  Cold beer and warm hearts.  Toes in sand.  Tomatoes on the vine.  The evening breeze through wide open windows.  Ice cream, always.  A bonfire's crackle and pop.  The smell of a forest.  The sound of early morning, when it's just you and the birds.  Tall glasses of iced sweet tea.  A good book and some shade.  The laughter of old friends.  The glide of a canoe.  The call of the wild.  The sun's rays on damp skin.  Floating on water.  Staring up at the sky.  What are you waiting for?  Dive in.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Canning Kitchen: Salted Caramel Pear Butter & A Giveaway

I first met Amy Bronee almost 3 years ago in Wenatchee, Washington's small airport.  Both of us had flown in on a media tour sponsored by the U.S. Organic Trade Commission and we couldn't believe our lucky stars that we were seeing such a beautiful part of North America on someone else' dime.  Over those few days in September, we wandered orchards, apple packing plants, and Pike Place Market together, bonding over our love of Coronation Street and good coffee.   I remember watching Amy thrive in her element when we were given a preserving lesson at a Whole Foods in Seattle.   This lady clearly loved to can.   Amy's passion for preserves was so visible, I had no doubt then that she would one day write a book about it.  And you know what?  She's done just that!  The Canning Kitchen is being released this month by Penguin and I couldn't be more proud of this lovely lady I'm fortunate to call my friend.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Savory Broccoli, Cheddar & Sausage Scones

One of my favourite things about cooking is taking a look in the fridge and using up what I have on hand to make a meal, snack or baked good.  Others may find it challenging, but I get a thrill out of it.  Some of the best things that come out of the little green kitchen are creative takes on leftovers or ingredients almost (but not quite) off.  The whole mantra "waste not, want not" is key in my household, and also the smart title of Cinda Chavich's new cookbook.  Cinda is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in food, wine and travel writing.  She's also penned 6 other cookbooks including my favourites High Plains and The Girl Can't Cook.  I had the pleasure of cooking for her on this adventure three years ago, where we bonded over pecan pie and prairie sky.  A wonderful lady.  And she knows food.  Her recipes are creative and inspiring, and her latest cookbook offering is that and much more. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Catching Up: Popovers with Sour Cherry Balsamic Compote

You guys!  It feels like forever since I've sat down at my desk and said hi.  How have you been?  Do you believe it's the middle of May already?  The middle of May!  Things have been bonkers busy since I last wrote... New job(s)!  More freelance recipe writing!  I had a birthday!  Throw in the annual gigantic yard clean up and there's nary a free moment to brush the cats and call my mom, never mind translate all that's been happening to here.  Please forgive.  But you know what?  Everything is so good.  So good!  Taking that leap of faith and quitting a job that wasn't doing me any good was the best thing I could have done three months ago.  I love where I'm working and who I'm working with.  I love what I do and I know I'm lucky that I get to say that.  It's honestly such a blessing how things turned out for me.  Somehow the puzzle pieces of life just fit together when they are supposed to.  You can't force things if they aren't right.  You just can't.  But when things slide into place like they were meant to all along - that's the business.  Am I grateful?  You bet your boots. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rustic Fig & Honey Goat Cheese Tart

"The measure of your life is the amount of beauty and happiness 
of which you are aware." ~ Agnes Martin 

The earth is quietly opening up around here.  Today I looked at the teeny buds on the lilac bush in the front yard, and on the apple and plum trees behind the house.  Tentative first steps of the beauty that lies ahead.  It's been a warmer than usual spring.  Typically there should still be snow lingering, but it's been gone for a couple of weeks now.  Even the grass is beginning to turn green, and the cats couldn't be happier.  Their little mouths chomp down voraciously on the fresh chlorophyll until they eat too much and...we all know what happens when cats eat too much grass.  I too have the spring fever and can't wait to don a new pair of garden gloves and begin peeling back the layers of mulch in the flower beds.  I'm always pleased to see the fresh growth underneath.  I silently congratulate the perennials for surviving another bitter winter.  Like us locals, they too deserve a pat on the back for enduring another multi-month Saskatchewan deep freeze.  As the cats roamed the perimeter, I sat in one of the dusty patio chairs hauled out from the garage and turned my face towards the sun (I wasn't even wearing a jacket!) grateful for another season of fresh, happy starts. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rose Pavlova with Raspberry Pomegranate Sauce

"And the Spring arose on the garden fair, 
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; 
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast 
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Springtime in Saskatchewan.  You never know what you're going to get.  Yesterday, as I was photographing this pavlova, the windows were open, furnace was off, sandals were on - showing off my freshly pedicured toes, and the cats were roaming the perimeter of the place, no doubt scouting for any animal trespassers.  And today it's a blustery affair, with dark brooding skies and a mood to go with it.  Furnace is back on.  As is the winter uniform of leggings, slippers and sweater.  A stark contrast to the day that came before it.  A season still trying to figure itself out.  Which I get.  I think at the core that's all we are trying to do - figure ourselves out.  Over the weekend I watched the HBO series Olive Kitteridge.  If you get a chance, I highly encourage you to do so, too.  It's lovely to look at - the opening credits alone made me crave a doughnut and the woods, though not necessarily at the same time.  It's a story of a family and a small town, of lasting love and the turbulence of life over the span of 25 years.  I love movies and books where the characters age and every five or ten years you check in with them to see how they're doing and how they've changed and mistakes they've made.  Love it.  I won't give anything away, but this series packs an emotional whammy.  The last hour alone made me weep like a baby because it took Olive most of her lifetime to figure herself out.  And it wasn't too late.  It's never too late.  

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