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.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Le Sandwich: Croque Madame with Dijon Béchamel Sauce





Sometimes a sandwich can make your life.  True story.  And it doesn't have to be a particularly fancy one, piled high with vegetables and herbaceous spreads.  Honestly, just give me good meat and good cheese, tucked between good bread with a little bit of butter and mustard.  Forget the tepid tomatoes.  Forget the lettuce unless we are pulling out the stops and feathering in some arugula.  I like it simple.  Mainly because of all the time working in professional kitchens these past 16 years lunch often consisted of that:  good meat, good cheese, good bread, wolfed down while leaning against a counter.  This is the kind of stuff they don't show you on reality TV cooking shows.  (Oh, if there had been cameras following me around all these years, the tales I could tell).  Even at home with all of the time and ingredients available to me, I honestly just want some sort of combination protein and cheese sandwich, be it bacon and brie, tuna and cheddar, turkey and Swiss and more often that not I want it hot and toasted, oozing cheese all over the plate.  Only this time, eaten while seated. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coconut Chia Pudding with Bluberry Ginger Compote



"One could not get enough of the nimble air.  Every morning I wakened
 with a fresh consciousness that winter was over."  ~ Willa Cather

Well my friends, we made it.  Another winter finished and into the books.  I know, I know, there's still snow on the ground and flannel sheets are still on the bed, but for all intents and purposes, spring is here.  Hallelujah praise the lord.  And I just did a few jumping jacks, scaring the bejeezus out of the cats.  Spring is my most favourite season.  I love the whole reassurance and resurgence that comes with it.  Just like the blades of green beginning to poke through the earth, so do new ideas, dreams, intentions and goals.  Not only is it the equinox today, but a super moon and a solar eclipse.  There are good things happening up there in the cosmos and timing couldn't be better for a little system restart.  What do you want to do with all of this rebooting energy swirling around you?  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

On the Cusp: Grapefruit & Olive Oil Pound Cake



"Just say yes and you'll figure it out afterwards."  ~ Tina Fey

Cusp.  I like that word.  It's defined as the point of a crescent, like the moon, and a point that marks the beginning of a change.  Like, Renée is on the cusp of a new era.  Holy shit.  The past couple of weeks, well, the past month really, have been really terrifying and exciting.  I did something either totally brave or bonkers, though I'm leaning towards the former:  I left my job without another full time job to replace it.  Bold, ballsy, bad ass.  I did it.  Not a decision that came easily or quickly - impulsiveness isn't quite my style - but one I brewed over the past few months especially.  I won't bemoan the reasons for leaving, though I know we've all been in situations that aren't working, be they professional or personal, and the time comes when a departure is required, if for nothing else than our happiness.  

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