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Cantaloupe Calamity

cantaloupe-cocktailThere I was out for my weekly food shopping. Pushing my cart up and down the aisles, I couldn’t help but be drawn by the heady aroma of ripe cantaloupes. You know, I’d normally wait for the local ones to come in sometime in July. But, these smelled so good. How could I resist them? I picked each one up, weighed them in my hands, inhaled that musky aroma and put the best one in my cart. I couldn’t wait to cut into it. I bought one and brought it home.

I left the cantaloupe in its plastic bag on my kitchen counter to keep until Sunday when we were planning to have a barbecue. Did I mention shopping day was Friday? Oh, and did I mention that the stretch of days from Friday to Sunday were super hot and humid (i.e. 32°C feeling like 38°C)? I should have stored the cantaloupe in the fridge. Who knows why I didn’t put two and two together. All I can say is that it happens sometimes. It’s like a brain blip … or something. I probably thought it would just continue to ripen. Well, I wasn’t exactly wrong about that, was I? It’s just that I wasn’t completely right either. Continue reading → Cantaloupe Calamity

My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts

pumpin-pin-tartsThis summer, Valerie Lugonja over at A Canadian Foodie embarked on an interesting journey. She founded The Canadian Food Experience Project. Beginning June 7, 2013, participants are encouraged to share their stories about their own remarkable encounters with Canadian regional foods. By doing so, we can all gain a clearer perspective on what makes the Canadian culinary identity.

This month’s theme really gave me pause. What exactly is a Canadian recipe? What came immediately to mind under the heading of ‘Canadian’, after Saskatoon berry jam, was Ambrosia salad. Hmm, the former’s good; the latter, well, is not what I’d call a favourite. Is it something the pioneers would have made? But then, which pioneers – the English, the Ukrainians, the French and so many others? Don’t forget all the Native Canadians with their own special recipes. Continue reading → My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts

My Robo Guy

robo-guyOh no – the robots are coming!

Just kidding … sort of.

The robots are actually already here. This little guy in the picture is a Robo Vacum made by Hog Wild Toys, though it is not, actually, a toy. My Robo Guy (as I call him because I haven’t thought of a name for him yet; if you come up with one, let me know.) is a mini vacuum. I picked him up when I dropped into the Robot Café in Port Dover, Ontario recently. It’s a really fun store (attached to a guitar store) that sells all kinds of toys, comic books and old record albums.

You know, whenever I see a new product on the market, one question always jumps to mind: what problem does it solve. If it doesn’t solve a real problem, then why would I buy it? Ditto if it doesn’t solve the problem well. So, I asked myself that exact question when I examined Robo Guy. Well, I just couldn’t think of a good answer. What can Robo Guy do that a damp cloth doesn’t do better? Well, it picks up crumbs (like a cloth). It’s quite the conversation piece (unlike a cloth). Robo Guy is not automated; but that’s a good thing. I’d hate to have to stand sentinel making sure it doesn’t tumble headlong off the edge of the table. After giving it some thought, one thing became perfectly clear: none of that mattered. It was cute, and I wanted it. Now, I feel like I have to justify having bought it. To that end, I share with you one of my crumbiest (in the best possible way) cookie recipes. These oatmeal cookies taste amazing, but you can’t eat them clandestinely. The trail of crumbs will give you away.

(Crumbly) Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups oats (instant)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Stir until well combined. Add chocolate chips and stir.
Place rounded teaspoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Tidings’ Maverick Chefs

Chances are good that you’ve noticed a shift in menu fare lately – more like a sea change, really. Filet mignon is no longer king. Instead, you’re likely to nosh on sweetbreads, heart and brain. Better yet, the chef will have proudly made all the charcuterie, maybe even the bread, himself. This year’s Maverick Chefs are leading that cross-Canada charge. Brayden Kozak, Brandon Olsen, Ségué Lepage and Dale MacKay have, in one way or another, revolutionized the way Canadians think about and enjoy food. They have embraced the beauty and simplicity of old, artisanal methods making as much by hand as possible despite the small, cramped kitchens in which they work their magic. Continue reading → Tidings’ Maverick Chefs