Tomato Tart Tatin

Here’s the thing about tomatoes. They might be my favourite veggie (I know I know, they’re a fruit, but you know what I mean.). They’re sweet, they’re savoury, they’re juicy.

Here’s the other thing about tomatoes. If you put them in the fridge, they suck. They get grainy, they get flavourless, they loose everything special about them.

Here’s the thing about my local green grocer: they put their tomatoes in the fridge at night.

So when I got all excited about fresh tomatoes the other day and they were all warm from sitting in the sun I grabbed myself a big bag full. And then I got home to find grainy sad tomatoes, far from their peak.


Here’s the thing about sad grainy tomatoes: they’re still pretty good when you cook them. Usually this means tomato sauce, but the other day it meant this fabulous tart tatin that was on Design*Sponge a couple weeks ago. This is a damn good tart, it’s very savoury (a lot of veggie tatins tend to be a bit sweet for my taste) the pastry is flaky and light, but just buttery enough to have enough flavour to hold it’s own with the tomatoes, and the onions and cheese help bring a depth to it that rounds the whole thing out.

I didn’t use the crust from the original recipe, because I tatins should always be made with puff in my books, and after last Tuesday’s Tutorial on quick puff we’re all pros right? Right.


Tomato Tart Tatin

(Adapted from Design*Sponge)


1 cup Cold Butter, unsalted, cut into cubes

2 cups AP Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2-3/4 cup Ice Water

For a full tutorial on making this dough with lots of pictures, click here!

On a clean surface toss the butter cubes with the flour and salt.

With a rolling pin roll out the butter so that all of it forms into long thin strips.

Add the water, a couple tablespoons at a time and fold the dough, push it out, add more water, and fold the dough again.

Continue this until it has come together as a cohesive dough.

Wrap with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to two days.

Tart Tatin:

1 recipe of quick puff pastry dough (aboce)

10 Roma Tomatoes

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves

Preheat oven to 400F

In a medium pot over medium heat warm up 1 tbsp of the olive oil.

Add in the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and just starting to brown on the edges.

Grease a pie pan with the remaining olive oil. Cut a circular piece of parchment and line the bottom of the pan.

Slice the tomatoes in half and put them skin side down in the pan. They will shrink up as they cook so overlap them a bit so that when they are cooked they will still cover the bottom of the pan.

Top them with salt and pepper, the onions, parm and thyme.

On a lightly floured surface roll our the dough into a circle just larger than pie pan.

Cut the edges to clean them up and put it into the pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the pastry has turned a nice brown and the juices bubbling up the sides are browned as well.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before flipping it onto a plate.

Serve while warm or at room temperature.  


Fig and Prosciutto Toasts with Minted Ricotta

Anyone who knows me knows that I love meat. I have worked at butcher shops, I have an inordinate love of game meats, and God knows I love bacon. But a lesser known fact is that I was a vegetarian for 8 years growing up. I gave up a proscuitto-free life a long long time ago, with some serious pushing and prodding by a chef I worked for, but on the condition that I would only eat meat I could feel ethical about. Free-range, organic whenever possible, and way less meat then the American dream.

The lovely man that I live with is a very accomodating sort, he puts up with me, which does say quite a bit, but he puts his foot down on a few matters, that the floor gets swept every night, that windows should be open while we sleep, and there should always be meat with dinner. Now, I’m all for keeping the floor clean, and I have an extra quilt at the foot of my bed to stay warm but we definitely disagree on the meat issue.

So we’ve started compromising by using a little bit of meat. It’s unusual for us to eat a whole chicken breast, or 8oz of steak each, but it’s common to find some bacon in a pasta, or some local prawns in curries, or in this case, a few slices of proscuitto.

It’s not much, it isn’t. But it is enough to make him feel like he’s getting some meat in a meal, and it’s small enough to make me feel ethical about the whole thing.

And that doesn’t touch on taste, which is big and important here. There are few things better in life than figs and prosciutto. But on top of crispy bread with ricotta? We is very close to perfection.

4 slices of good crusty bread

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

6 slices of Prosciutto, very thinly sliced.

8 large Mint Leaves, finely sliced

Zest of 1 lemon

6 Figs

Handful of Arugula

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl mix the ricotta with the mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Cut the bread in half and toast until just getting warm.

Spread the ricotta mixture on the toasts.

Put a few leaves of arugula on top.

Tear apart the prosciutto and figs and layer them atop of the arugula.

Drizzle with olive oil and eat eat eat!

Thai Chicken Noodle Salad

If theres one thing I find myself making over and over it’s noodle salads. They take wonderfully to nearly anything in your fridge, making them very simple and super cheap, a winning combination for this unemployed girl. I think it’s because I make them so often, and I throw in nearly anything that I worry that they’re not good enough for the blog space and I pass over them again and again when I’m making them. 

That changes with this chicken. It’s a simple enough start, mix a few ingredients and marinate some chicken for an hour or two before frying it up, but it makes this throw together lunch into a legitimate dinner, and a damn good one at that. 

The marinade comes from Martha Stewart, but the rest of the ingredients I think are up to you. I’m putting a guideline for what I use, but it varies greatly depending on the season and if I’m willing to get up and go to the store, or if I have enough in the vegetable drawer of my fridge to make do. Fresh herbs are crucial though, don’t skimp out on those. The cilantro and mint are vital and if you can find thai basil, it really elevates this, although depending on your local shops it can be hard to find. 


2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 cup Soy Sauce

1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

2 tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tbsp Lime Juice

1/2 tsp anchovie fillets, minced

1/2 tsp Sambal Olek, or another garlic chili sauce

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips

3 1/2 oz Rice Noods

2tbsp Sesame oil

Half a Cucumber. Cut in half and then sliced thinly

2 carrots, Julienned

1/2 cup Bean Sprouts

1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thinly

1/2 cup toasted peanuts

a handful of cilantro

a handful of mint

To make marinade, mix all ingredients together in a bowl

Put half of the marinade into a plastic zip-loc bag and add the chicken. Mix together and let marinade at least an hour or up to overnight.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Cook your noodles to the package instructions. Strain and run under cold water, stirring occasionally until the noodles are totally cold to the touch. Toss with 1 tbsp of sesame oil. 

In a frying pan over medium heat, heat up the remaining sesame oil. Add in the chicken and cook, stirring regularly until it’s all cooked and the pan is almost dry.

Put the noodles in a large bowl, Mix the remaining marinade with the veggies and put that on top, top that with the chicken and then sprinkle the peanuts on top. And your in business. 

Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lime Yoghurt

I find myself over and over again seasoning everything with fennel seeds, dried chilis and lemon zest. A little rosemary if I’m feeling crazy. It’s a fantastic combination, for pasta sauces, a big plate of sauted veggies, roasted meats, it works on nearly everything. But I’ve been finding lately that I’ve been a little bit on auto-pilot with them. It’s easy, it’s comforting but I’m finding it a little tired lately.

And whenever I’m in a food rut, I turn to Ottolenghi.
His food is simple, easy, and elegant, but it’s also heavily influenced from his Isreali background, and his use of spices is immaculate.

It’s never heavy or laden with them but there is always a waft or coriander, or a hint of rosewater in his food that makes you curious about your food. I like to be curious about my food.

These fritters are no exception. The cauliflower and cumin are a brilliant marriage and the lime yoghurt cuts through any heaviness, making it a perfect appy on it’s own or a great light supper with a salad. Although, with a poached egg on top, this could also be an epic breakfast.

Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lime Yoghurt

(almost exactly how it appears in “Ottolenghi”


1 small Cauliflower, cut into florets

1 cup AP Flour

3 tbsp Chopped Flat leaf Parsley

1 clove, Garlic- minced

2 Shallots- minced

4 Eggs

2 tsp Cumin, ground

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Tumeric

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

Oil to fry

Lime Yoghurt

300g Greek Yoghurt

2 tbsp Finely chopped Cilantro

Zest of 1 Lime

2 tbsp Lime juice

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Mix all the yoghurt ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in a healthy pinch of salt and cook the cauliflower until it’s soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.

While the cauliflower is cooking mix together all the other ingredients (except oil) and beat until smooth. Add in the cauliflower and mix that in too.

In a frying pan on medium heat add in a good glug of oil and heat until it’s hot- put a tiny dollop of the batter in, when it starts bubbling your ready to go.

Carefully spoon in the batter and let fry until a bubble or two appears on the top and the edges and the bottoms get a nice brown color. With a spatula flip them over and repeat on the other side. Continue cooking until they are all done, then serve them with a generous helping of the lime yoghurt.

Barley Risotto

After much too long without a kitchen I can cook again. I can make tea in the morning, make soup for lunch and cook a proper dinner (I don’t, for the record, do this every day but now my kitchen is there, if I feel compelled to)

Which is especially nice right now because we’re getting that first bout of bone chilling weather here in Van, and I do not want to be leaving my house for food. I want to hibernate. I want to drink hot chocolate, and apple cider, and read books and swaddle myself in knitted blankets. That’s what I want. What I also want it barley risotto.

Risotto that warms you up form the inside out on a cold night but is healthy enough that I don’t feel to guilty about eating a cookie for breakfast the next day. Risotto that’s rich and soothing and is delicious with both grilled sausages and with sauteed salmon. Risotto that is good heated up the next day because it’s not made of rice that gets soggy. Risotto that has that nuttiness and bit of chew that characterized whole grains. Risotto that is just plain really good.

2 cups pearled barley

1/2 head of fennel, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

a sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

3 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped

2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

1/3 cup grated parm

Bring the stock up to a boil with 2 cups of water.

Add a pinch of salt and then add in the barley and cook them to their package instructions, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium pan on medium-low heat warm up a good glug of olive oil. Add in your onions and fennel and saute until they become translucent and very fragrant.

Add in your garlic and the herbs and cook just until you can start to smell the garlic but not so that it gets any colour.

Add in the barley, the cheese and the knob of butter and stir to combine it all and check your seasoning.

And then eat this wonderful mix by itself, or serve it as a side!

Cauliflower Soup with Mint Almond Pesto

I’m sick. I’m sick and I feel dreadful. I’m sick and all I want is my moms chicken noodle soup because hers always tastes better then mine no matter how much I do it exactly the same way. I’m sick and I’m cranky. I’m sick and I need something comforting that takes very little work to produce, and also very little money because I can’t work when I’m sick, and though I dream of paid sick days they are certainly not in my immediate future. Did I mention I’m sick? And that I’m cranky?

Oy Vey.

So I made cauliflower soup. It’s so simple and takes minutes to make and its so creamy and rich without having any dairy in it (bad for my throat) or being heavy (tough on my stomach). It’s a wonderful, wonderful soup that lends itself to all sorts of things, and in this case it is a perfect backdrop for a mint-almond pesto that makes everything seem just a little bit brighter. Which is a very good thing when your sick and cranky and it’s raining out.  Did I mention that it’s raining out?

Cauliflower Soup with Mint Almond Pesto

2 Heads of Cauliflower, cut up into big chunks.

1 White Onion, Chopped

1 Clover Garlic, minced

3 cups Chicken Stock

1 tbsp Flour

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 -2 tsp Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper


Half a Bunch Parsley

Half Bunch Mint

Zest of 1 Lemon

1 cup Almonds

½ tsp Chili Flakes

1 Clove Garlic

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to taste

In a large pot on medium heat add warm the olive oil

Add in the onion and cook until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic and cook another minute until the garlic just gets fragrant but doesn’t colour.

Add the flour and mix well so that it forms a loose paste. Stir for 2 minutes to cook out the flour.

Add in the stock and give it a quick stir, then add in the cauliflower. The florets should be barely covered, if  they aren’t add a little water or more stock.

Put in a good pinch of salt and let that simmer until the cauliflower is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth, and then rewarm on medium heat. Add the lemon juice just before serving.


Turn the oven on for to 400F

Spread the almonds onto a pan in a single layer and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning them once or twice to toast them.

In a food processor put the mint, parsley, garlic, zest and chili and pulse three or four times, just to break up the leaves.

Add in the Almonds and pulse again to break them up.

Taste and check your seasoning and then pulse again until a nice loose consistency is achieved.

 Then eat this soup curled up in a ball in front of your computer while you watch Mad Men reruns. And you will return to health.

Pickled Peppers

One of the biggest fights the Man of the House and I ever got in was over hot sauce. I made this beautiful crab and fava bean risotto. I pulled the crab, and made stock with the shells, I painstakingly double peeled the fava beans. It was a beautiful subtle risotto that just tasted like spring, and it was lovely.

Until my man put tabasco on it. All hell broke loose. I may have over reacted.

But I will still call it a maybe.

But here’s the thing of it, I never grew up with spicy food. I never grew up with hot sauce and, while I like a little bit of heat, and I do, I also know that your body doesn’t read spice as a taste it reads it as pain. So I’m hesitant to believe that it makes a dish taste better. Especially when it is laden with vinegar. But, I can also appreciate that I am a bit of a purist, and maybe obsessively sometimes. Maybe not everybody needs to think exactly like me and taste everything exactly like me all the time.


The Man of the House still makes fun of me for my freak out. And that was years ago. So this year, amid my pickling-or-canning-everything-in-sight-frenzy that I’ve been on I thought I would prove a point and pickle peppers.

Spicy! Vinegar! Good girlfriend points! Yes!

I have to say, I’m not sure these taste good yet, it takes a couple months to tell, this is a tentative recipe, but man, I could just hang these on my walls they are beautiful, truly. All these amazing reds and yellows, on looks alone I might be converted to spicy food. So we’ll see if it goes that far, in the meantime I’m just happy to look at these fiery jars while their sealed.

Pickled Peppers

1L Vinegar

6cups Water

1 tbsp Peppercorns

2 tsp Fennel Seeds

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 Clove per Jar

2 lbs Good quality fresh peppers

4 1liter jars

Preheat your oven to 375F

Wash your jars very well and put them on a baking tray.

Wash all the peppers very carefully- I had an earwig come out of one of mine!

Slice the peppers however you’d like or keep them whole- just make sure you wear gloves while you do this, or be careful not to touch your face for a few hours afterwards, man oh man will your fingers burn your eyes.

Put the peppers into the jars- not quite all the way up to the top

Meanwhile, bring all the other ingredients up to a boil.

Carefully, using a canning funnel if you have one, pour the liquid over the jars, being cautious not to get any on the rims of the jars.

Put the lids on the jars, and then gently put the screw tops on, not screwing them to tightly. Put them into the oven for 5 minutes, and then take them out and let them cool. They should all pop shut in about 5-10 minutes.

Let the pickles work their magic for at least 6 weeks before opening them up.

These should keep for at least 6 months.

Aunt Loretta's Tomato Panzanella Salad


My Aunt Loretta is an amazing cook. Truly terrific. The sort of woman who teaches healthy cooking classes to cancer patients, raised an incredible cook for a son, and makes the marshmallows from scratch that she uses on top of her sweet potato cassorole for Thanksgiving. She does this all with a huge smile on her face, immaculate nails and hair, perfect clothes and just the right amount of southern sass. She is a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.

She emailed me a while back about a tomato bread salad that she did up with cod, and it sounded amazing because, well, I’ve never had anything shes made that wasn’t spot on.

So when my favourite neighbours dropped off some tomatoes from their community garden last week I could think of nothing else beside big chunks of bread fried in olive oil, big juicy pieces of local tomatoes and big leaves of basil all bound with lemon juice and capers. I bought some local mackerel because I love mackerel and it’s local here and cod isn’t but use whatever you can get!

So here it is, Aunt Loretta’s Panzanella.
Serves 2

1/2 a thin Baguette of 1/3 of a big one

2 Roma tomatoes, 1 beefsteak, or a big handful of cherry tomatoes cut into wedges.

1 tbsp Capers, I like the teeny tiny ones but use whatever you like best

Half a bunch of Basil

Juice of Half a Lemon

A handful of Arugula

2 Herring, Mackerel, or good fresh fish

1/4 cup Flour

Zest of half a lemon

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil
Turn your oven onto warm or 180F

Mix together the flour, the zest and a tespoon of salt. Dredge the fish in it.

In a small frying pan over medium high heat and add in a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the fish. Put the skin side down first and cook it almost all the way through then flip them and finish cooking the flesh side. Keep them warm in the oven.

Cut the baguette into 1 inch cubes

Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil and fry up the bread flipping it reguarly until the bread is a glorious golden brown.

Meanwhile Mix the lemon juic, 1 tbsp olive oil, capers in the bottom of a large bowl.

Add in the tomatoes, arugala, and the basil and toss to combine.

Add in the bread and toss again, serve immediately with the fish on the side.

Southern Goodness!

Two inevitable truths about my life

  1. There will always be a half used carton of buttermilk in my fridge

  2. My boyfriend will always beg me for southern food.

This will never change.

So recently I decided to join forces, to use buttermilk in southern food. I know I know, this is painfully obvious. I make pretty fantastic friend chicken with buttermilk but that’s not really an every day meal.

Nothing that involves buying 2 litres of vegetable oil constitutes as an every day meal.

But other then that my use of buttermilk in southern food is limited. Maybe I should rephrase that, my knowledge of southern food is limited.

Anyhoo, we had some cabbage in the fridge the other day and a light bulb went off in my head.

And so I made one of the most basic of southern foods and it used up half a cup of buttermilk. That’s right, coleslaw with buttermilk dressing. Obvious isn’t it?

And then I made some really tasty chicken with this amazing spice mix that I picked up at the farmers market, and I made homemade potato chips.

And then I had a very good meal and an extremely happy boyfriend. And my carton of buttermilk is nearly empty. Yes.

Homemade Potato Chips

4 large Yukon Gold Potatos

1/4 cup Olive Oil

A healthy spinkling of salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife slice the potatoes paper thin.

Put the potatoes in a bowl and rinse with cold water. The water will get cloudy. This is starch coming out and you want it out! The starch will make your chips soggy instead of crispy so rinse until the water gets clear. You may need to pour out all the water and refill it a few times to get it clear.

Dry off the potatoes gently with a hand towel and spread them out on a baking sheet. Mix with the oil and salt and put them in the oven!

Every ten minutes or so take them out of the oven and flip them gently so that you can ensure that they cook evenly. They may stick together a bit so push them apart whenever possible. Pretty soon they’ll look like this:

In the meantime make your coleslaw.

1/2 cup Buttermilk

1/2 cup Mayonaise

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

Fresh herbs, I used italian parsley and mint

Salt and Pepper

Half a head of Cabbage

Mix everything but the cabbage together. Test for seasoning.

Mix in your cabbage! and your done!

Now, I didn’t measure anything for my chicken, but I roasted 2 legs off with just some southern spice mix and salt in the oven at 350 for about half an hour. And it was delicious!


They say that scent is the sense most linked to memory and I think, despite not knowing who they are, that they’re right. I think about it occasionally, if a man walks by wearing Jordan’s old cologne and I get a flash in my head of his old apartment, or the way freshly cut rhubarb makes me think of my mom making pie, but never is it more obvious to me then when I smell bacon.

Bacon, which I have eaten literally hundreds of times in at least dozens of ways.

But every time I smell bacon cooking all I can think of is a pale pale yellow bowl with thin red and blue stripes around the top of the inside. I can see it vividly, sitting on top of the glass tabletop from my childhood backyard, with our neighbours overgrown shrubs turning into trees in the background. I can feel the warmth of the hot Toronto summers, but mostly what I see is the Spaghetti carbonara inside that striped bowl, and what I smell is bacon.

It was the ultimate summer meal, it took minutes to throw together, cook bacon, cook pasta, toss with eggs and pepper and parmesan, put on table. The speed of it was important not only because my Mom was a busy woman, but also so the burners wouldn’t be on and heat up the house.

For me, this pasta is the epitome of simple Italian food, and I am a snob about it. I adamantly don’t believe that there should be anything in it besides pasta, eggs, parm, pepper, bacon and salt. I don’t like cream in mine, i think it should be creamy enough as is. The crucial thing is that everything be of great quality. Using DeMecca pasta will not give you good carbonara. Using a brand, made in Italy, that has 100%duram semolina flour is important. (I have found, although I’m sure there are lots of exceptions to this rule, that the pasta in boxes is often of a lesser quality then the kind in a bag with the label stapled to the top.)

Good eggs are also crucial, and maybe most important is the parm. Try to get grana padano, or real parmesanno reggiano.

And also, don’t skip on the pepper. The name Carbonara means black, like coals, and though I don’t like quite that much pepper in mine it should have a fair bit.

Spaghetti Carbonara

10 thick slices of the best bacon you can get. Pancetta is a lovely subsistute as well.

2 Free Range Organic Eggs

3/4 cup Grated Parmesano Reggiono, or Grana Padano

1 package Very good Quality Spaghetti, or Spaghettini

Salt and Pepper

Cut the bacon into thick pieces.

Fry them on medium heat until wonderful and crispy, but with a little chew to them still.

Strain and set aside.

Get a big pot of water on high heat.

Meanwhile mix your eggs, parm and a healthy cracking of pepper.

I was a little crazy this time and added a bit of parsley. You could do that too if you wanted.

Now put that strange eggy sauce in the bottom of a large bowl.

Now, perhaps you have a good stove and your water is boiling already. In that case, throw your pasta in, give it a good stir and cook it depending on the package instructions, but basically if until it is cooked throw with a bit of bite to it yet. If you don’t have a good stove, throw on some Aretha and dance around a bit, and then add your pasta, stir it a bit and cook it by the package instructions. Whatever works for you.

Once it’s cooked strain it and then quickly put it into that big bowl with the sauce in the bottom and give it a good toss. You want to move quickly now.  If you take to long the eggs with curdle, but if you move just fast enough you’ll have a wonderful silky sauce that wraps around each noodle. And it will be glorious.

Roman Crostini-nini

My “Aunt” Silvia is an endlessly chic Roman woman who fell in love with a brilliant Canadian man, my “Uncle” Frank. The best job for him was at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario and thats where they lived throughout my childhood.  Aunt Silvia was not like anyone else I knew.

She has an immaculate salt and pepper bob, wears nothing but black, and is looks endlessly chic smoking like a chimney, the way only French and Italian woman can.She had a beautiful husky voice, and a fiery temper.

When my Dad was doing his PhD Uncle Frank was his Professor and my Mom ended up becoming very good friends with his wife. I picture them in the late 70’s, both beautifully dressed, making wonderful meals and talking about literature.

We didn’t visit all that often, they lived about an hour or so away from us, and while I remember eating well when we went to visit, mostly I remember so many of the staple things my Mom used to make that were recipes from Aunt Silvia. Those really simple Italian meals that just take four or five ingredients but turn into something magical.

The one I remember most is Roman Crostini. It’s one of my all times favourite things, in fact, if you look in my grade 2 yearbook you’ll see that “crostini-nini” is listed as my favorite food. The best par of crostini (nini) is that it literally takes 5 minutes. It’s a perfect h’or deurve and it’s always a crowd pleaser. It’s super cheap and, once again, it literally takes 5 minutes.

It doesn’t take much, just good bread, good mozzarella, and fresh parsley. The secret ingredient is anchovies, which are so prevelent in Roman food and so absent in ours. I have served this to people who swear they hate anchovies, (after making sure there are no allergies) and they’ve loved it. The anchovies just disintegrate into the olive oil leaving this rich deep flavour without any fishiness. And then the cheese oozes in and the bread crusts up and the parsley just makes it all snap together. It’s amazing, and it takes 5 minutes to make.

Roman Crostini

1 good quality Baguette, it can be stale!

3 Anchovy Fillets, get the good ones, packed in olive oil.

1/4 cup Olive Oil

3-5 Balls of Boconccini, depending on the size

A Small Handful of Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Preheat the oven to 400F

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the baguette into slices, leaving the bread just barely attached at the base so that the loaf still looks like a loaf afterwards. If you cut through the bottom a couple times, don’t worry about it, just keep going.

Slice the boconccini into slices and then stick them in between the bread slices like so:

Cut up the anchovies in the smallest little strips and then cook them in butter or olive oil on medium low heat, squishing them with the back of a spoon periodically to help them fall apart.

Then take it off the heat, chop up that parsley and add that in too.

Then pour it on top of the bread. You can let it sit like this for a while too, if your making dinner, and then pop it in the oven just as friends are arriving. Or you can make it right away and eat it right away.

Then pop it in the oven until the cheese is oozing, the bread has browned, and your house smells amazing.

Throw it on a plate and eat promptly.

Wishing I was in Paris...

After a pretty rough year I decided to skip town and get lost in Paris. Oh Paris. Words do not begin to describe how wonderful it is to get lost in Paris. To just forget about everything and emmerse yourself in drawing, painting, people watching, gallery hopping, coffee drinking and macaroon eating, is an extraordinary luxury and I am so grateful for it.

However, I am not so luxurious to have gone and done it all in style, and so, to balance out my daily macaroon budget (4 euro a pop!) I ate completely delicious sandwiches that were both cheap and exceptionally tasty. The one I ate the most of and the one which you can’t find any where in Vancouver were big slabs of crusty baguette stuffed with pork rilette, cornichons and dijon mustard.

Pork rilette is basically pork thats salted and then braised in it’s own fat and shredded when it gets tender. This mix gets put into jars and will last, if done properly, for several years. But I certainly don’t have that kind of patience.

Pork Rilette

1 lb Pork (it will make a difference if you splurge and get good quality grass fed pork!)

1/4 cup Salt (again, good stuff will make a difference!)

2 sprigs of Thyme

2 cups of Pork Fat

Cut the pork into 1-2 inch cubes

In a bowl mix the salt and the pork, let it sit for 2 hours, at room temp, or overnight in the fridge.

In a culender rinse off the pork.

In a small pot put the pork, the fat and the thyme and bring to a boil.

Immediately bring down the heat and let it stay at a bare simmer for a couple hours until the pork is fork tender. If you let it sit overnight it will get to soft so I don’t recomend that.

Either by hand or in a kitchenaid fitted with the paddle attachment shred the pork until its seperated into tiny string like peices.

Add in a couple tablespoons of fat until it comes to a thick consistency.

Put into a jar, or eat it write away! depending on your patience!

Pioneer Woman and Me


The Pioneer Woman and I are two very different people. She’s married, has 2 kids, 3 books, a ranch, and clearly an amazing career built on her ability to relate to people. People like me even. Me, who has a lovely, but crappy apartment, lives in a city, no kids to speak of yet and certainly no book deal. What, you might ask can we relate about?

I’ll tell you friends. Salsa.

The Pioneer Woman has some strong feelings about salsa. Feelings I didn’t even realize I had until I read her recipe and realized she was completely right. I like my salsa diced up finely. Very finely in fact. So fine that its best to use a food processor. I’m not being lazy, I like that consistency. I also hate vinegar in my salsa. When you need some acidity, use lime juice! Lime juice is delicious. And I usually want more cilantro then anyone I know in most things and this is true of salsa too. Bring it on cilantro. 

I did change a couple things, it’s true. Mostly because I couldn’t find the canned tomato/jalapeno stuff she uses.  I used less jalapeno, Jordan wishes it was spicier but I don’t. I used a little more cumin, but maybe my cumin is just old, and that’s why I needed more. And I added more lime juice. Just because I like more lime juice. So there you have it. The Pioneer Woman knows whats up.

Really Really Good Salsa

1/2 White Onion, Roughly Chopped

1 clove Garlic, Cut a Couple Times

1 Jalapeno Pepper, Roughly Chopped

2 Ripe Tomatoes, Diced up

1 can Plum Tomatoes, (try to find a brand with no citric acid!)

A BIG handful of cilantro

1 Big Lime, or 2 little ones

2 tsp Ground Cumin

Put the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeno in your food processor.

Pulse a couple times

Add in the canned tomatoes, the cumin and the cilantro.

Pulse that a couple times too.

Add in the lime and a couple good pinches of salt. Pulse it until you get a nice consistency. Taste it and add more salt if you need. Then serve it up! That’s it!

Almost a Martha Casserole


When we were kids we always used to play vet. I was the vet, and my sister Nina was the secretary. That’s what she wanted to be when she grew up. A few years ago my mom was moving and we stumbled across a recipe box filled with index cards. All of our stuffed animals names were alphabetized and behind each name were 3 index cards, white for check-up, red for emergency, blue for surgery. It was almost creepy how organized it was.

All of which to say it should come as no surprise that by the age of ten she was in love with everything Martha Stewart. She might have been Martha’s youngest ever subscriber, saving all her babysitting money every January to buy the magazine. So if my sister was 10, I was 6. And while Nina was trying to be Martha Stewart I was trying to be Nina, so Martha rubbed off on me as well.

I know Martha has had her weak moments, (my boyfriend, a former stock broker, and I have decided it’s just best for our relationship if we don’t talk about Martha) but I love her. I really do. Everything she makes I want to make. What, you might ask, would I do with a silk thread covered carrot? Well I’m not totally sure but I know I want to make one none the less, because Martha told me to. Along with silk covered carrots and fabric silhouette bunnies, she also had a feature on casseroles. So at 10 this morning I decided I needed one.

But I had nearly no ingredients and it is (surprise surprise) pouring rain in Vancouver so there was so improvisation. But it worked. It totally worked.

A good glug of Olive Oil

1 large Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, diced

half a pound of Mushrooms, (whatever you have kicking around or is at your local market. I used enoki and oyster but creminis, buttons, portobello, anything really would work here, except maybe shiitake?) cut them into slices.

2 cans of plum tomatos, look for the kind without citric acid added!

3 sprigs of Thyme, picked

1 lb Shell Pasta

100g Cheese, I had some asiago which is grated and some sliced cheddar that i just laid across the whole thing. But if you had provolone, or parm, or even goat cheese use it! Whatever you have kicking around I think is great!

Preheat oven to 375F

Get a big pot of water on the stove on high heat.

Get another pot on the stove on medium heat.

Add in that glug of oil and saute the onion until it starts to get soft and translucent. Add a good pinch of salt.

Add in the garlic, mushrooms, and thyme and stir until the garlic gets aromatic and mushrooms are soft.

Add in your tomatoes and a little more salt. It will look soupy.

But don’t worry, it will get beautiful and thick, see?

Get your pasta in your boiling water. Add a healthy pinch of salt. Simmer then for 2 minutes less then it says on on the package, you’ll be cooking it more in the oven!

Once the pasta is cooked and strained mix it with the sauce until it all combined.

Now pour the whole thing into a casserole dish

Sprinkle it with cheese. If you have sliced cheese layer it on.

Put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

 It will be bubbly and starting to get brown and your whole house will smell delicious.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes and then eat eat eat!!