Posts filed under ‘Making’
It gets cold in Vancouver during the winter, usually only for a few days at a time, but long enough that it has taken a toll on a few of my patio plants. My black-eyed susans are now black all over and dormant until next summer, and the Norfolk pine that we painstakingly moved from Calgary is black as well, its branches drooping downwards in complete surrender. We also had a few tropical plants on the patio for the summer months that unfortunately didn’t make it inside before frosty days arrived. I’m not sure what I’ll replace these plants with. It’s sad to see them go, but I’m sort of excited to have the pots empty again to try new things. It’s also an excuse to visit one of my favourite places – the local garden store.
Despite the cool weather and the occasional snow flurries this month and last, the snow drops and crocuses I planted in the fall are already coming up and a few winter violets are still holding on. There are even buds forming on some of the neighbourhood trees and shrubs, and I know that it won’t be long before the bare branches of the cherry trees lining our street are alive with blossoms. It’s dark and cold these days, but I know it won’t last. We’re very happy to be in Vancouver and looking forward to a wonderful growing season ahead.
Our first summer heatwave in Vancouver seems like the perfect opportunity to to share this recipe for the most dangerously delicious cocktail going – brandy mojitos! We discovered it a couple of months ago at a winemaker’s dinner at Fraiche, a very posh place in West Vancouver. I’m not sure that I’ve ever tasted brandy until recently, but now we’re hooked, at least for summer when mojitos are the perfect answer to a sunny patio.
Below are instructions for making one mojito. We’ve started making pitchers of them to avoid having to move from our sunny spot on the deck when it’s time for a refill – double, triple, quadruple as you like. (more…)
Now that we’re in Vancouver, I’m discovering a new version of the west coast that is thriving, vibrant and urban. It’s an ideal place to situate my passions for food, gardens, and culture and I love living here a little more every day. Still, after spending last week exploring our old stomping grounds on Vancouver Island, the allure of returning someday remains. (more…)
A quick post to point you in the direction of my strawberry salad recipe. It’s strawberry season again and enjoying the ripe red fruit in a delicious salad is a rite of summer for me. I found beautiful BC-grown organic strawberries for sale at the corner store on our street this week and I’ve been blissfully eating my way through a big basket for the past two days.
I’ve updated the original recipe to include mint and chopped green onions along with the salad greens, strawberries and goat cheese. Those herbs combined with the creamy cheese and the juicy sweetness of the strawberries is a magical pairing.
Happy strawberry finding and salad eating!
Great mac and cheese is the holy grail of comfort food. I’ve been making the dish for a couple of years now and it has always been tasty, but never quite right. Until now. I think I’ve finally learned to cook my personal vision of perfect macaroni and cheese: creamy, cheesy, simple and delicate in texture and taste with a bit of heat from paprika.
I made this recently and there are two things I did differently than normal. First, I used tiny little bow-shaped pasta. Second, I added the pasta directly to the creamy sauce and cooked it in that until al dente. I haven’t tried it with a larger pasta like penne yet, but with these tiny little noodles (see photo below of their size next to a fork) it worked beautifully. Also easier and less clean-up.
The recipe below makes enough for a generous serving for two people. Double or triple for a larger crowd. It’s equally good served creamy right from the stovetop or baked with a simple breadcrumb topping. Serve with a green salad on the side.
Macaroni and cheese
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives etc)
1-1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
250g mini-pasta shapes
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar and asiago)
1 chopped tomato
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Saute onions and garlic in butter until softened. Stir in flour and herbs. Add in water and stir until smooth. Stir in dried pasta and add remaining milk. Stir continuously over medium heat until the pasta softens, about 10 minutes. Add a splash of water or milk if you find the sauce is boiling down too much. When the pasta is very close to being done, stir in the cheese until it melts and then add chopped tomato. From here you can dish it into bowls with a sprinkle of paprika and fresh ground pepper. Or if you like your mac and cheese baked, pour the pasta into a greased casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, paprika and pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 425F. (more…)