Recipes

Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb with Yogurt
Strawberry-Rhubarb En Papillote
[caption id="attachment_7789" align="alignnone" width="500"]The strawberry-rhubarb en papillote is in the bag, heading for the oven -- The Messy Baker En Papillote (French for "in parchment") makes for tender rhubarb in no time.[/caption] As if Friday isn't reason enough to celebrate. Today is the first anniversary of Lynn Ogryzlo's The Ontario Table, and I'm one of her virtual guests. I'm pretty chuffed to be asked to take part. Not only do I enjoy a party, I like hanging out with Lynn, even if it is online. First of all, she spells my  name right. Granted, with a surname like Ogryzlo, you're probably sensitive to such things, but it still earns her bonus points. Secondly, she loves my  doughnuts, and last but certainly not least, she takes one of the most sensible approaches to eating local I've ever seen. Instead of giving you the stink eye if everything on your shopping list doesn't comply with the 100-mile diet, she simply issues a $10 challenge. The concept is easy. Each week, spend $10 of your grocery money on local food. That's it. Small (locally grown) potatoes, right?
Salt-Cured Arctic Char
Sustainable Seafood | Citrus-Cured Arctic Char
[caption id="attachment_7660" align="alignnone" width="500"] Fried Lingcod Po-Boy[/caption] I hate being "that person." You know, the one who goes out to dinner with a group of friends and holds up everyone's order because she asked the server where the tilapia came from. To ensure no one starved, I stopped asking. By default, I stopped ordering fish. Whether they occur at a restaurant or the seafood counter, moments like these are problematic for many people. While the red / yellow / green seafood rating system is easy to understand, the answers aren't as straightforward as the colour-coding. Is tuna a good choice? Turning to my SeaChoice app, the answer is.... That depends.
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Smoky Bacon and Kale Gratin
Marriage often requires compromise. After almost 10 years, Andrew and I have sorted out the domestic chores, bill payments, and even litter box duties. Yet despite impressive and extended negotiations, we remain deadlocked on certain foods. Andrew loves anything bacon and groans at almost anything that once had roots. Me, the reformed vegetarian? While I'm always open to desserts, I want less meat and more vegetables on the menu. This dish seemed like the perfect solution.
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Cast-Iron Skillet Chicken
Cast-Iron Skillet Chicken - TheMessyBaker.som I'm filing this skillet chicken under "Why didn't I think of this?" This dubious looking chicken is one of the best I've ever had. Moist, juicy and with an impossible crisp skin. It also won me over with its simplicity. I made this in between bursts of gardening. Charmian 246. Weeds 0. Like all good recipes and techniques, this arrived in a cirucuitous route. Karen, a fellow roast chicken fanatic, read about the method in the New York Times, who in turn described the technique as "age-old" and "classic." The idea is to cook a whole chicken evenly using a hot cast-iron frying pan. By splaying the legs and placing them directly on the hot pan, the dark meat begins cooking before the breast meat even hits the oven. The bird emerges evenly cooked with crisp skin and moist meat. I'm sure someone is going to tell me this is how they used to do it in the 1700s or that their grandmother  never cooked a bird any other way, but it's new to me, so I'm passing it along.
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My Mother’s Hands | Lemon Curd Recipe
My Mother - TheMessyBaker.com These hands turn 80 this summer. These hands have picked strawberries, made jam, kneaded bread, rolled pastry. They have decorated birthday cakes, anniversary cakes and wedding cakes. They have changed diapers, washed clothes, sewn dresses, mended seams, darned socks, stitched buttons, ironed pleats. They have tied shoelaces, braided hair and wrapped presents. They have stroked sweaty hair from fevered foreheads, wiped away tears, plucked thorns from fingers, applied bandages, massaged aching muscles and held the hands of the dying. Despite arthritis, they carry on.
Preserved Lemons
Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Some days you just have to take a deep breath and say, "Well, it tasted great!" The day I broken open my stash of  preserved lemons was one of those days. With bright yellow lemons and deep green mint, I thought I could turn out a dish as pretty as the photo in the book that inspired me. I was wrong.
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Recipe: Butter and Maple Blondies
According to my mother, I have loved butter ever since I was old enough to sneak a one-pound brick of it out of the grocery bag, quietly peel back the foil, lick off a good inch, rewrap the evidence and slip it back in the bag. I think I was about 4. Today, I consume fat far more responsibly and the cat is the one who sneaks licks of butter.
Although I use this dairy product prudently, my love of butter remains. I cannot imagine Christmas without rich, buttery shortbread. What would boiled lobster be without its melted sidekick? Just another bottom feeder. And popcorn? Don't even think the word "butter-flavoured topping." So, when Stirling Creamery hosted an evening at Ruby Watchco to showcase their new butter collection, I just couldn't say no. Ruby Watchco in Toronto Before this butter-infused evening I thought there were two kinds of butter -- salted and unsalted. And I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
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Recipe: Perfect Elephant Ears (Palmiers)
Elephant Ear - TheMessyBaker These are elephant ears. Or palm ears. Or palmiers. Or French hearts, or butterflies or glasses. No matter what you call them, these sugar-laced puff pastry treats are one of my all time favourites. Like most things worthwhile, they are a labour of love. And I love my father. So I made a batch to welcome him home after a month abroad on a volunteer mission. But as Murphy would have it, my website went haywire* during the process. I tried to restore the site between rounds of rolling, chilling, slicing and baking. The results? A salvaged blog and a pan of burnt elephant ears. Another senseless waste of pastry.
paella
Recipe: Paella
Making and enjoying paella - TheMessyBaker.com One of these days I'll learn how to take notes, shoot pictures and eat, all at once. This sort of multi-tasking would have come in very handy last week when I attended a paella class at Pimenton in Toronto. Greeted by a table full of tapas, fellow bloggers chopping vegetables and a warm and welcoming Chef José Arato, my anxiety over arriving late due to the rush hour drive melted. It took at couple of Tortilla & Chorizo Tarts to calm me down, but they did the trick. Until the class, most of my knowledge about paella came from Posh Nosh, a British cooking show spoof. Unlike the TV version, Chef José's paella was cooked on the stove top — not in the ancestral Aga — and uses bomba rice, not Italian arborio. Who knew you can't trust the BBC for cooking advice?
clotted-cream
Homemade Clotted Cream

Shrove Tuesday doesn't have to include pancakes. Today is really about gorging on rich foods before the 40-day fast of Lent. Pancakes just happen to be cooked in grease, filled with eggs and topped with more decadence.  It's okay to think beyond the griddle. Any...

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