Teaching Dad to Cook

I’ve spent the last week in small town Ontario with my family, celebrating Christmas, getting a little spoiled, and enjoying the fresh snowfall. But a definite highlight this past week has been cooking with my dad. Before I left Vancouver last week, my friends gifted me with Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and suddenly I knew what I had to do: teach Dad to cook with recipes from this most anticipated cookbook.

dutch babyOur adventure began with Gingerbread Dutch Babies. This photo does not begin to do justice to its tastiness. Jess was actually the one to introduce me to the deliciousness of Dutch Babies, back in our early days of friendship. The delicious mix of spices took this breakfast classic to a whole new level.

 

 

galetteThe next day we put our skills to use with a Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette for our extended family Christmas dinner. Even though there was no fontina cheese to be found in this little town and I had to improvise with a rather questionable mix of Monterey Jack and parmesan, it was a hit, with cousins scraping the crumbs off the serving dish.

 

 

blintzMy dad has a deep love for sweet potatoes, so our next recipe to tackle was Sweet Potato Blintzes. Neither of us had ever had blintzes before, but our family is no stranger to thin Dutch pancakes, and this was basically stuffing those with a sweet mix of yams and cottage cheese and topping it with fresh cranberry sauce and sour cream. Yum!

 

 

onion toastsOur final recipe to try was French Onion Toasts. Deb describes them as “portable soup” and I’d say this is an apt description. They were a tasty addition to the Christmas smorgasbord that accompanied our family viewing of Home Alone on VHS.

 

 

 

 

All in all, I’d say it was a delicious week of new recipes. And I’m only getting started with this fantastic cookbook. Plus, I’m pretty sure this is only the beginning of Dad’s kitchen domination.

 

Coconut Flour Molasses Cookies

With Christmas just around the corner (and a cookie exchange to prepare for), I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try. I had been thinking around trying gluten free baking for the past few months, but all that talk of binders and xantham gum seemed too complicated. However, when I found this recipe, I thought that using coconut flour would be an easy first step into the gluten free world. The result: soft, delicious molasses cookies that taste like the real deal! I am storing them in the freezer for safe keeping but that hasn’t seemed to stop me…
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Friday Night Dinner (on Saturday)

Due to a variety of last minute events, we ended up celebrating our Friday Night Dinner on Saturday this week. We were a small crowd, so we kept it simple and rich: beef tenderloin, prawns, roasted veggies, sauteed mushrooms, and I am sure there was something else…

However, before I launch into the photos, I should mention that prepping for this particular dinner really forced me to push my boundaries for two reasons. First: initially, we planned that I would face my fear and purchase prawns from the “seafood school bus”; as in a yellow school bus packed with “fresh” seafood that comes to town every few weeks (totally legitimate, I know). Despite the sketchy means of transportation and point of sale, I have actually heard that the seafood is awesome. However, when I set out to purchase said seafood, camera in hand, it was nowhere to be found. I had to buy these beauties from the store, which was much less adventuresome. Second: Living in a small town with lots of farms in the area, I had heard that I could purchase farm raised beef from a particular industry supply store. I know, another sketchy venue. So again, I put on my big girl panties and braved my natural distrust of the situation, and happily found delicious, GIGANTIC steaks at the industry supply store. I love that the meat is raised humanely and grass fed. Also, it was delicious.

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Stuffing & Shortbread

One of my BL besties invited me over this weekend to teach me the art of making stuffing and shortbread. Her homemade stuffing was a huge hit at our American Thanksgiving a few weeks back, even to my stove-top-stuffing-loving husband. I had also heard that her shortbread cookies were the smoothest, melt in your mouth’iest pieces of delicious and begged her to teach me how to make those as well. We drank a little white wine spritzer and got to work.DSC_0048

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She even let me take the stuffing home for dinner and cookies for dessert! Unfortunately, I ate most of the cookies on the way there…

Antipasto

I canned! To be honest though, until this project, the idea of canning actually really freaked me out, mainly because I obsessively worry about botchalism. However, Cam’s mom has been talking about her amazing antipasto recipe for a few years and I wanted to learn how to make it (that and it was high time I conquer my canning fear).

So yesterday, I invited myself over to her place to learn lost art and ended up with about 15 jars of ready to go appetizers, perfect for this time of year.

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Christmas Stockings

Two of my very best friends married each other in April and way back then I promised them handknit Christmas stockings as their wedding gift. Last week those stockings were finally complete and I had the absolute joy of giving them to Joel and Lauren. (My joy was complete when Joel literally jumped up and down in excitement.) He took some wonderful photos of the final product, so I thought I’d share a couple of them with you.

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