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Half an Hour Later in Newfoundland…

[caption id="attachment_7703" align="alignleft" width="263"] Recommendations of where to go in St. John's, written on my boarding pass by Porter check-in. I feel welcome already.[/caption] When you read the post title, did you hear the authoritative voice of a CBC announcer in your head? If you're Canadian, you probably...

Kitchen Disasters & Fixes | One-Day, One-Dollar

Spend a dollar. Save a dinner.  Not a bad slogan. May 1st my app launched. A month later, I'm celebrating with a sale. Today only, Kitchen Disasters and Fixes is priced at $0.99. Both the iTunes version and the Android version are  2/3 off the regular price of...

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I’m on CTV today

If you're at home or have a TV recording device (VCR, PVR, DVR, JFK LMONP or whatever) I'm in Kitchener today on CTV's News at Noon. I'll be saving the world (or at least South Western Ontario) from senseless cooking disasters. Tune in as I...

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Making and Breaking the Culinary Rules

Barb Freda is my kind of cook. She has firm opinions about cast iron frying pans, loves to break long-held culinary rules, and spells my name right. What more could you want in a fellow food writer? Not much, except perhaps to be invited along...

French Rolling Pin
My French Rolling Pin
This is my French rolling pin. It doesn't have easy-grip handles. It doesn't have ball bearings. It isn't made from cold, heavy marble. It's just a smooth, tapered piece of hardwood. For years I wondered why anyone would choose this style over the comfy-handled version with ball bearings I grew up with. Then last December, watching pastry chef Anna Olson use one to roll a perfect circle of dough, I saw the Rolling Pin Light. Its tapered form allows you to guide the dough in any direction you want. My other pin bullied the pastry, shoved it about, barked orders at it. The resulting tussle left all parties looking somewhat dishevelled and my ego fully bruised.
Kitchen Disasters & Fixes — Today’s Winner

We have our first winner. Joni, who tends to burn things, has won a copy of my new app Kitchen Disasters & Fixes. I'll be giving away a copy of the app each day this week until Sunday, so if you have an iPhone, iPad or...

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Back in April

As luck — and Murphy — would have it, I encountered some serious computer issues right after the maple syrup trek. I couldn't download photos or work for more than half an hour without the system grinding to a halt. And surfing the web? My...

Maple trees in Ontario, tapped for making maple syrup
Maple Syrup – The Ultimate Slow Food
[caption id="attachment_7278" align="alignnone" width="500"]Maple trees in Ontario, tapped for making maple syrup Jo Marie's maple tress tapped for sap.[/caption] When I was nine, we moved to a house with two huge maple trees in the side yard. Years before, someone had tapped the trees and left the spiles in the trunk. Intrigued by the metal protruding from the bark, I asked my mother what they were for. When she explained, I blithely suggested we make our own maple syrup. Without even pretending to consider my request, Mom said no. At the time I thought my mother — the woman who baked bread, made pastry and even created hand-dipped chocolates for Easter — was being incredibly unreasonable. She wasn't. I now understand why.
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A lighter approach to olive oil ice cream
This isn't the best ice cream photo in the world, but it was perhaps the best ice cream experience I've had in a long, long time. And to think, I was prepared to dislike it. Despite my recent revelations regarding misguided food biases, I still haven't fully learned to open my mind when I open my mouth to taste. And for the past few years I've carried a grudge against olive oil ice cream — the one time "it dish" of the culinary world. Recipe variations clogged the internet. Food writers crafted sonnets about it. Trend spotters trampolined the dish at the top of their Hot Lists. For a while olive oil ice cream was the salted caramel/chocolate bacon/sweet potato fries of frozen desserts. It was embraced by everyone but me. I had tried it at the celebrity restaurant that started the whole craze, and within 10 seconds regretted my $7/bowl purchase. While the initial flavour was pleasing, it left my mouth coated with oil and the lingering aftertaste was of ... well... olive oil. So, as Pimenton's paella class wound down and Chef José Arato delivered bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, I figured I'd take a spoonful and politely claim to be too full to finish. If I'd been alone, I'd have licked the bowl.
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6 Chocolate Recipes and $100 off Rouxbe
Despite my passion for chocolate, I have never been a huge Valentine's Day fan. I try to ignore it, not because I am cynical about love, but because I believe affection, gifts and surprises should be dictated by the heart, not the calendar. Or at least that's my normal stance. But Rouxbe Online Cooking School is having a limited-time-only Valentine's Day special and I think it's worth promoting. Why? Because: a) Life's too short to eat bad chocolate. Rouxbe has a fabulous section on chocolate, including how to read a label. Watch the trial video in the Rouxbe widget at the bottom of the post before you buy your sweetheart chocolate. I guarantee you and the recipient will be happy with the results. b) Unlike my gym membership, I actually visit Rouxbe's on a regular basis. I use it to refresh my memory, learn new skills and further my culinary education — which may be in part why I'm not at the gym as often as I should. c) I want to plug some of my old content using the Valentine's Day Chocolate theme as an excuse.
The fine print: I'm a Rouxbe affiliate. As such, I can offer you specials like the $100 off a Rouxbe Online Cooking School one-year membership or e-card. And hugs. Here's how it works. You sign up for the membership. They give you unlimited access to their site for a year. I give you a hug.

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