I am still reeling from the high of last night’s ribs dinner. It was part of the multi days birthday celebration for Little Brother and I cannot wait to share with you all the wildly delicious recipes. There are so many dishes that earned a place on my regular cooking rotation!
But first, I have a big backlog of completed cooking projects that I never got around to write much about. Today is Victoria Day holiday Monday here in Canada so consider this post to be my long weekend slack off. Or better yet, as the incomparable Julie Andrews would say, these are a few of my fa-vou-rite things!
If we’re talking about Favourite Things, brown paper packages tied up with strings are mandatory. Before I made my batch of vegan coconut lime soft caramels, I made these Smoky Maple Salted Caramel using maple sugar, amber maple syrup, and Maldon sea salt. Just follow Dan Lepard’s master caramel recipe and you’ll be singing on top of your voice in no time.
I don’t know about you but I am ready to receive local strawberries with wide open arms any time now. In the mean time, I cure my cravings with imported varieties from the US. The other day I tossed them in an arugula salad in balsamic vinaigrette and toasted coconut chips. I wonder if the crop this year will be sweet?
Prepping ingredients may not be the most glamorous part of cooking. However, working with colourful vegetable can be quite a feast for the eyes. I made quick work of slicing a whole pile of red pepper, Japanese eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini with the help of my trusty mandolin. Look at that pretty colour! The resulting ratatouille was good but paled in comparison to the natural beauty of the raw ingredients.
Since we’re on the topic of favourite things and I just showed you the purple eggplants, let’s take this theme further with my latest shopping find. No, these boots are not made for eating but they are certainly yummy. I visited the new Fluevog boutique in Distillery District on Fluevog Day. At 15% off, I finally bit the bullet to bring these beauties home. I am sure my new Nuni boots will take me to many adventures home and abroad. Welcome to the family!
One more pair of boots and I’ll get back to the important business of edibles. I bought this pair of AllSaints Widow Buckle Boots back in December when it was on sale. I had them delivered to a friend’s and we did not have a chance to meet until April. The heels are precariously tall. So far I wore them once without incurring any bodily harm. I have been wearing flats so often that I forgot the art of teetering around on heels. Let’s hope it is a skill that will come back to me.
My latest favourite cookbook is Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Why am I so late to jump on the bandwagon? There were simply too many other recipes I wanted to try. The book arrived at my doorstep the day it was published (thanks to pre-ordering). I took a quick glance and put it away on my bookshelf. There it remained for a few months. The last few weeks I cooked up a storm from the book and from the website. With every completed recipe, I chided myself for ignoring this book for so long. What was I thinking?! At last count, I tried:
- Big Cluster Maple Granola (pictured above)
- Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
- Vinegar Slaw with Cucumbers and Dill
- Fingerlings Vinaigrette with Sieved Eggs and Pickled Celery
- Sugar Snap Salad with Miso Dressing
- Ratatouille Sub
- Pizza Dough
- Shaved Asparagus Pizza
- Mushroom Bourguignon
- Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices
- Mom’s Apple Cake
Seriously, just get the cookbook if you haven’t done so already. Of all the recipes I tried, I would be more than happy to make them again and again.
I am by no means a chocolate snob but I do appreciate the complex flavours from good dark chocolate. I never expected to fall for good ol’ Hershey’s Cocoa but I have. I made the classic frosted chocolate layer cake, not a speck of dark chocolate used. The cake tasted comforting and familiar. It was not meant to be challenging. Just a fantastically good piece of chocolate cake. Too bad Hershey’s Cocoa is not widely distributed in Toronto. My precious box came from my last trip to the US.
Next time, Ribs Night.