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.

 

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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Countdown to Thanksgiving

Being an immigrant (as well as a true lover of the great north), I generally fully embrace Canadian culture in whatever form it arrives. However, celebrating thanksgiving (that’s right, I used a lowercase ‘t’ on purpose) in October just doesn’t cut it for me. I need the real deal, you know, the one that happens in November!

When it comes to American Thanksgiving, we generally head south of the border to celebrate with our American family, but this year we decided against traveling for a myriad of reasons. However, I have still found myself itching to celebrate this season of thankfulness with food, friends and family. That said, if I can’t be in America, I could (and should) still throw an American Thanksgiving. While we won’t be able to celebrate in my family’s traditional style (a 3pm dinner followed by a nap, and then a 7pm dinner) because people actually have to work, I am fairly certain that it will still be a memorable event. To keep things easy and stress free on Thursday, I finished off a few menu items (cranberry sauce, apple galette, and pumpkin pie) tonight!


Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

3rd Annual Winter Jesstival

Growing up in Seattle, rain characterized our main (and sometimes only) season. I fondly remember the few instances when I experienced snow as a child filling me with excitement, adventure, and awe. One of my favourite winter memories involving snow was when my Opa (who lived 2 hours north of us) used to call my house every time the snow fell at his house to share the good news with my younger brothers and I. Knowing how much we loved snow, he would always stuff a ziploc bag full of snowballs to bring us the next time he came for a visit.

As you can imagine, when I moved to the great north, winter quickly became one of my new favourite seasons. Upon the first snowfall during our first year here, I felt it necessary to celebrate the commencement of winter with a feast of stick-to-your-ribs carbs and good friends. We had such a great time that I insisted on making what was dubbed the “winter jesstival” an annual event. Even now, 3 years in, despite the more frustrating parts of winter (cold, darkness, and more cold), I still find myself enamored with snow and love the chance to celebrate the changing seasons.

When the snow began to fall last weekend, I planned the traditional jesstival for the following Friday. This year’s feast included perogies & farmer’s sausage, homemade mac & cheese, sausage rolls with Yvette’s chutney, an oreo treat from Cam’s childhood, and of course, red wine, which I mulled! I took a few pics (cheese for the perogies, dried mandarins for the mulled wine, and fresh sausage rolls), but was enjoying myself too much to take many more…

The All Hand-Made Sale

I’ve been knitting (and crocheting) like crazy for the past few weeks, preparing for the All Hand-made Sale that’s taking place November 16 & 17 at Grandview Church in Vancouver. Last year was my first foray into the world of craft fairs, and this year I’m trying to amp it up just a little bit, with a goal of making double the amount of profit I made last year. So, this is a formal open invitation to come out to 1st Ave & Commercial on the 16th or 17th and buy some handmade goods – not just from me, but from all the wonderful crafters, bakers, gardeners, and artists who will be selling their wares. And if you are not anywhere near Vancouver and are really itching for a hand-knit something, let me know! I take orders.

weekends at home

We based our decision to move to the north, in part, on the desire to simplify and to therefore have more time to enjoy our lives. That was easy enough at first. But then we got jobs and friends and commitments, which are all somehow amplified during the summer months.

However, now that the snow has begun to settle over our little town, northern life has begun to slow, bringing about a welcome change for me personally. One of my favourite things to do when this change occurs is to have slow mornings at home; to take the time to grind fresh coffee, light a few candles, and cook the mornings away. On the menu this morning was my take on eggs benedict, complete with creamy hollandaise made from my fresh, homemade butter and crispy back bacon from Happy Pig.