When I tell friends I’m making duck confit they look at me suspiciously, like maybe I skin rabbits or have a gutted deer hanging in my garage. Duck may sound exotic but the only hunting involved is rooting through the freezer section of your local grocer. Where there’s frozen turkey, there’s often duck. Duck confit [...]Read More
When my twin daughters turned three, I baked them a very special three layer cake, one layer for each precious year. This year’s birthday cake has 14 layers, one layer for each wonderful, tumultuous, year. I love traditions, no matter how precarious. This is my take on the classic French Opera cake, traditionally made with [...]Read More
Potato croquettes are something you make with leftover mashed potatoes, except when your child requests them for her birthday dinner, in which case you skip the plain mashed and move directly to croquettes. This recipe combines mashed potatoes with freshly grated ginger and garlic and toasted Indian spices. Next time I might use olives, anchovies [...]Read More
One day you’re in a breezy sundress sipping white wine in the backyard and the next day you’re bundled in an sweater driving to school in the rain. My daughter is quiet in the car this morning, on her first day back. Her backpack sits on her lap and she hugs it to her chest, [...]Read More
For special occasions, I’ll serve these refreshing sorbets in their lemony containers. More often though, I’ll make a jugful of sorbet and serve it in clunky glasses with big straws. Depending on the crowd, I’ll add a splash of vodka. Sorbets are made in an ice cream maker but if you don’t have one, you [...]Read More
Ever wondered how to slice raw beef so thin it practically melts on your tongue? I considered Beef Carpaccio strictly restaurant fare until I discovered how easy it is to prepare. All you need is a sharp knife, plastic wrap and something with weight, like the bottom of a small saucepan, to flatten the beef. [...]Read More
Strawberries are so sweet and perfect on their own, I hate to mess with them. Unless there’s an ice cream maker handy, in which case I don’t hesitate to pulverize them beyond recognition for a greater cause: strawberry ice cream. If you’ve never made homemade ice cream, you’re missing out on one of summer’s greatest [...]Read More
A message to the reluctant cook,
Sometimes you’ll scorch the rice, burn the sugar or overwork the dough. You might under-cook, over-salt or overcrowd the pan.
I’ve made all these mistakes and plenty more.
But with every blunder, a new lesson unfolds. Knowing what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do. If your cooking history is, um, colourful, consider yourself ahead of the curve.
With practice, you’ll learn to trust your senses:
Touch your food. You’ll feel when the dough is ready or when the meat is perfectly cooked.
Smell your food. Your nose knows if the fish is fresh or funky — or when the garlic’s about to burn.
Listen to the sizzle and the sputter. It’s telling you if your pan’s the right (or wrong) temperature.
Watch your food. It’s always perfect — just before it burns.
Taste as you cook. You’ll know if the soups needs a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy the pleasures of the kitchen. And have a glass of wine while you’re at it.
Just don’t toss in the apron!