Eating Sunshine – Spaghetti al Limone

I love lemons, they taste like sunshine and wake up everything they touch – pastries, lemon curd, squirted over sauteed greens or any kind of salad, in a glass of water. Often I find lemon things are not lemony enough. At our favorite Italian restaurant, my husband’s number one pick is spaghetti al limone. They serve it with spinach and capers. Theirs is good, but sometimes I find it too tart, and I usually like really lemony things. This inspired me to figure out how to make perfect spaghetti al limone at home.

spaghetti al limone

spaghetti al limone
I’ve experimented with many different sauce variations – with cream, with some of the pasta cooking water, with butter, with varying amounts of lemon juice, cooked and not cooked. The method I like best uses the juice of 3 lemons, some lemon zest, olive oil and parmesan. The ingredients are simply whisked together, then tossed with the hot pasta coating every strand in mellow liquid sunshine.

spaghetti al limone

Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Responses

Oscar Banquet Reads

Julia Child
My Life in France
by Julia Child with Alex Prud’Homme
The way Julia Child writes about food I can smell it – the bubbling butter and meat. She recalls daily life in France, describing in detail the markets and meals enjoyed, and the arduous creation of her master tome. But really this is a love story between Julia, her husband Paul, and France. Best photos – recipes with “top secret” scrawled over them, a selection of Valentines produced by the Childs, and pictures of her immaculate kitchen with everything hanging in its place.
(NM – I haven’t forgotten that I borrowed this from you 2 years ago!)

Lucky Peach

Lucky Peach
A quarterly food journal created by David Chang (head of the Momofuku empire) and published by McSweeney’s. This is one of those rare publications that I have to read every single page of. The current issue covers topics ranging from molecular gastronomy to Thai street food. Plus there are recipes. What stuck in my head the most was that two separate pieces about 2 separate restaurants stressed (almost manically) the importance of cleanliness in their kitchens. I don’t know why I was so surprised by this.

David Sedaris

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris, illustrations by Ian Falconer
A collection of dark fables told by David Sedaris, what could be more appealing? But this is not a children’s book. The stories are heartbreakingly cruel, beautiful, and hilarious. My favorite in the book is The Squirrel and the Chipmunk, a parable about prejudice and lost love. J has read it aloud to me probably 5 times, and I cry at the end every time.
Listen to David Sedaris read it here courtesy of This American Life.

Posted in this and that | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response

How to make people happy – Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies

compost cookieMomofuku – sounds like an Italian swear word, but actually means lucky peach in Japanese. This recipe from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi is a chocolate chip-butterscotch chip-oat-coffee-graham crust-pretzel and potato chip cookie. I’ve made these over a dozen times; they make people very happy.

compost cookies

The Milk Bar cookbook is so inspiring it made me run out and buy a stand mixer. I want to make every single recipe in the book, especially the tall layer cakes. Tosi’s writing is playful, but concise. She explains in detail the process and why it is necessary. I love that her ideas are based on childhood memories and mash ups and reimaginations of corner store snack foods like candy bars, boxed cake mixes, and sugary kids cereals.

Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Responses

Fingerlings & Finger Rings


Fingerling potatoes are small, narrow, finger-shaped potatoes. One of our neighborhood shops has them labeled as “finger ring” potatoes. They come in a variety of colours from yellow to purple skinned. When you cut a purple one in half it looks like an amethyst.

Fingerlings are my favorite roasting potato. I usually peel potatoes because I find the skin can taste bitter when cooked, but fingerlings have thin tender skins that don’t need to be peeled. Roast with lots of Maldon sea salt and woody herbs like thyme or rosemary. Serve with a pinch of black truffle salt if you’ve got it. We usually have them in salads, alongside chili, and leftovers with eggs for breakfast. Sometimes I eat them with just a blob of veganaise on top.

fingerlings Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

False Spring + Pumpkin Red Lentil Soup

false spring
A few weeks ago we were treated to unseasonably balmy weather with temperatures reaching the mid to high 20’s.  The cherry blossoms in High Park bloomed 3 weeks early. Yesterday it snowed, today there were mini ice pellets.

I was glad to rediscover this recipe for Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup that I must have written about 4 years ago in an old notebook sandwiched between my husband’s mockery of a New Year’s resolution, and a note from when I was trying to convince him we should get a puppy (it worked).

pumpkin red lentil soup
This is really good rainy/snowy day food. The colour is like sunshine. Pumpkin and red lentils are cooked with lemongrass and coconut milk. The pumpkin falls apart in the soup giving it body and sweetness. Ginger, cayenne, and red chili give it a kick. You can up the spice if you want it hotter.
Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Tabbouleh Mutation – Roasted Beet, Kale and Bulgur Salad

roasted beet kale and bulgur salad
I wanted to make something with bulgur that wasn’t tabbouleh, or at least not regular tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is the Middle Eastern salad of parsley, mint, tomato, and bulgur. The interesting thing about it is the proportions – herbs are the main body of the salad, and bulgur is used scantily, almost as a garnish. I wanted to take certain elements of tabbouleh, the high proportion of green to grain, sub in more interesting ingredients, and make it more substantial so it could be eaten as a meal. I replaced the parsley with red leaf kale; you can use any type of kale. Tomatoes were smelling green and sour in the market so I replaced them with roasted beets. This is an invigorating, healthy salad that you can actually feel sloughing off a multitude of dietary sins (like eating chocolate brioche for breakfast 3 times a week). My husband says he can taste the chlorophyll in it.

candy cane beets Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , , , | 5 Responses

Old School Label Maker

label maker
A label maker is essential for keeping organized in the kitchen and around the house. Can you imagine a spice collection without one? The current flock of label makers have digital screens so you can preview what you’ve typed before printing. There are also models that can be hooked up to a computer to customize fonts. But I still prefer my old school Dymo embossing model. There’s something honest about the aesthetic of a handpressed label. The harder you squeeze the lever, the better the letter will turn out. Sometimes after all the hard work of creating your label if you don’t advance the tape enough before cutting it, you end up chopping off half your word and have to start over (this happens regularly). You can get the tape in several different colours, but I prefer classic black.

label maker

Read More »

Posted in this and that | Tagged , | 3 Responses

Hotpot: a tutorial

Hotpot is a delicious and comforting brothy Asian stew. You can use all sorts of interesting and curious ingredients. This is a vegetarian recipe with bean curd, delicate egg tofu, lotus root, carrots, daikon, ginkgo nuts, and mushrooms in a seaweed broth. You can add meat or seafood if you wish. Don’t be put off by the ingredient list. Although some of it may sound weird, it can all be easily found in Chinatown or Asian markets.

hotpot ingredients

Read More »

Posted in recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Life tastes good.