Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bison & Bean Stew with Wilted Swiss Chard

I love to eat bison.  Like, a lot.  If it's on a menu, my eyes light up and I get really excited.  I've always enjoyed its rich, slightly sweet, robust flavour, that's not at all wild or gamy.  But, I've never really cooked it much at work, or at home.  So when the offer came to review Jeniffer Bain's new cookbook Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison, I jumped at the chance.  Jennifer is the food editor and columnist for the Toronto Star, who happens to also be married to a bison rancher in Alberta.  She divides her time between the big city and the ranch, and over the past several years has come to love the majestic herbivore.  She's on a mission to convince everyone to love bison meat as much as she does.  This cookbook is a grand beginning.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Make Your Own: Pumpkin Spice Latté

"The wild November comes at last." ~ R.H. Stoddard

I have a treat for you, just in time for the weekend.  This beverage is like a warm, liquid hug, and maybe, just maybe it's just what you need right now.  November can be tricky.  All of the pretty leaves are gone, and those moody skies can be a bit much.  I myself love a moody sky; shades of blue grey melancholy that seem to stretch on forever.  I want to read mysteries and snuggle deep into flannel sheets.  I want hot buttered toast with honey and my hands wrapped around mugs of delicious things to drink.  I want slippers and sweaters and slumber so deep.  It won't be long until the first flurries fly.  I can smell it in the air tonight.  I pull on my boots, wrap my scarf twice around my neck, fit my fingers into gloves.  November may be wild, but I'm ready for whatever comes my way. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Turkey Soup with Butternut Squash & Wild Rice

 If you enjoyed turkey at your Thanksgiving dinner (in Canada) last weekend, then no doubt you had a pot of turkey bones bubbling away on your stove at some point this week.  My mom hosted the feast this year, and for a change she did a bacon lattice on top of the 22 pound bird.  I repeat.  Turkey, covered in bacon.  It was a glorious sight to behold.  I was so smitten I forgot to take a photo.  And that's saying something.  The bacon infusion could be detected throughout the meat, and oh sweet lord, the gravy.  So good.  So, if you want to switch things up this year for the holidays, you can't go wrong with slathering turkey in bacon.  Of course, the next day, she brought out her soup pot, tossed some of the bones in (I got a freezer bags worth too - them being lots of bones in that big bird), covered them with water, onion, celery, carrot and simmered them the day away.  Given my thrifty nature, ahem, I save my vegetable scraps from whatever meal prep I'm doing and just tuck them away in a freezer bag as I go along.  That way when it comes time to boil up some bones, you already have your veg, no need to chop up fresh onions, celery, carrot, etc.  Also, fresh parsley, garlic, peppercorns and a pinch of whole cloves are my musts for stock.  Let it simmer long and slow, with bubbles just breaking the surface.  You'll get a nicer flavour than just boiling the crap out of it for one hour.  Remember, most good things in life take a good, long while.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Salted Pumpkin Panna Cotta & A Side of Mashed

It's the eve of Thanksgiving weekend in Canada...turkeys are being purchased, pumpkin pies are being prepped, there are line ups at the grocery stores and gas stations.  I love this weekend.  The weather is still great, there's very little crazy like there is at Christmas, and all you have to do is be thankful.  Bonus points for crashing through all of the fallen leaves like you're five years old again.  This weekend also means spending time with your family and friends, and eating your way into a food coma.  Or maybe it's a smaller gathering this year - just you and your honey bun, or grandma or cat.  My latest article in Culinaire is all about the intimate Thanksgiving dinner for two, and guys, I made Cornish hen for the first time, so you really should check it out.  Deelicious doesn't describe.  There is also a recipe for this dreamy panna cotta, if you want to omit the pie.  So simple and smooth, plus you can make it in advance.  Ding ding ding!  And lastly, I gussied up some mashed potatoes with kale and squash.  There may be no going back to regular mashed spuds after devouring these.  Read the article in its entirety here.  Happy Thanksgiving, and take care out there.  xoxo Renée

Monday, October 6, 2014

Plum & Nectarine Hazelnut Galette

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  ~ Lucy Maude Montgomery

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the bend, I feel like I should be thrown into food blogger jail for not posting something pumpkin.  Please forgive?  However if you do a search on my blog for lovely pumpkin confections, you'll find tiramisu, and pumpkin roll, and even waffles.  So there you go. And. And!  Near the end of this week I will be posting something Thanksgiving related, so hold on to your hats for that.  There will be pumpkin!  But first things first, there are nectarines and plums.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just Like That: Ratatouille

Gosh September, you're (almost) already gone.  Just like that.  I don't know about you guys, but it's been a busy one, especially if you grow your own food.  Recent road trips saw me crisscrossing the prairies, with combines out in full force, trying to get crops off before it's gets too cold or too wet.  My projects run on a much smaller scale, mainly putting the garden to bed and making tomato sauce with the generous offering of tomatoes from my sister.  She had a bumper crop this year, and I'm happy to use what she can't.  Sister love!  And, recent offerings of zucchini (okay, they kind of pleaded with me to take some) and peppers saw me bring out my giant stock pot and whip of a batch of ratatouille.  You know the stuff.  Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and yes, zucchini, simmered for a couple of hours into a silky stew that is so fantastic this time of year.  You can read more about here, in the latest issue of Culinaire Magazine.  It's super simple, you just need good knife skills and a good soundtrack to chop away to.  I listen to this about at least once a day. Happy autumn, y'all.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Gift: French Toast Sandwiches with Peaches & Mozzarella

Summer is heaving it's last gasp this weekend.  I hope you all played hard and soaked up as much sun as possible.  The tan lines on my feet are fading and my nail polish is long scuffed off.  Mornings see me swaddled in scarves and I've even had to turn the furnace on once or twice.  I know, the horror.  But. The leaves and light are changing, making the world around me so darn pretty, and I think I'm ready now.  Letting go is always a bit prickly to bear, but knowing that good things come in its wake, well, you just have to have faith in that.  Each season we're hit with is a gift, and I'm happy to tuck this summer away.  But before I do.  There are still peaches left to sniff. 

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