Archive for category Appetizers

The Hot Cheesy Dip and Linguistically Ambiguous Foods

Introducing the next Cook the Story series:



Time for a Linguistics lesson! (Don’t worry. I’ll make it brief.)

Linguists get a bit excited when they’re around ambiguity. If you’ve ever taken a course in Linguistics, raise your hand if you’ve heard too much about the word “unlockable” or if you’ve drawn two sentence structure diagrams for “The boy saw the girl with the binoculars.”

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Melty Brie with Garlic, Red Pepper and a Year in the Life of Pittman’s on 44

My brother Mike and his wife Angela (owners / operators of Pittman’s on 44) spend spring gearing up for summer. They plan new menu items and get the staff (mostly students) into shape before May Long hits.

From that weekend on it’s non-stop insanity. I know because I’ve had a spin in the whirlwind of a beach-town restaurant myself.

Cottagers, campers and road-trippers continuously trample the craggy shores of the Whiteshell Provincial Park until Labour Day Weekend. And then: Read the rest of this entry »

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When Does Food Taste THE BEST? Part 4: Party’s in the Kitchen

The sea air and sunshine contributed to the tastiness we experienced this weekend but I’ve had everything-tastes-so-good weekends that cannot be attributed solely to the weather.

For instance:

  • My husband, toddler and I chilled out in the Georgia Mountains for a few days in October. We took a few basic seasonings and winged it in the small kitchen. Sipping on pinot noir, we sang out loud to bluegrass (like  Nickel Creek) while spareribs roasted slowly on foil. No hours of smoking. No special blend of spices. Only ketchup and honey for a glaze. We ended up licking sticky sauce from our fingers and watching meat fall off bones while Read the rest of this entry »

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New Year’s Eve Cranberry-Ginger Brie

Here is the final installment of my New Year’s Eve party suggestions. It is last but certainly not least. The brie oozes creaminess while the cranberries tang and the ginger zings. The bit of crème de cassis in the mix made it a marvelous match for the Kir Pétillant that was floating around our holiday party.

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New Year’s Eve Spicy Maple Cashews

Sugar and spice and everything nice…But these cashews (like most girls I know!) have a spunky side that packs a real kick.

As promised, here is my second-to-last post about the ultimate New Year’s Eve party:

My recipe for Spicy Maple Cashews that will keep people snacking and sipping all night long.

  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander (preferably toasted and coarsely ground but 3/4 tsp of finely ground coriander is fine as well)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 cups whole cashews (or some combination of nuts, such as 2 cups almonds and 2 cups cashews, which is pictured above)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups golden raisins

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New Year’s Eve Cheese Straws

As promised, I’m bringing you the low-down on the savory-sweet dessert feast from Tasha DeSerio‘s Sweet Sparklers found in the Dec 2010/Jan 2011 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. All of the recipes are online so if you don’t have the mag (so sad since it’s always so good) find everything you need here (click on menu items near the top right of that page).

Today I’m reviewing three recipes that I made (almost) exactly as instructed. In this post: Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Straws. Also check out my review of Popcorn with Sweet Butter and Sea Salt and my review of Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Marcona Almonds.

Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Straws:

I am ambivalent about these.

Pro: I made them a week ahead and froze them before baking. This worried me but it turned out that I had nothing to fear.

Con: Baking them and then having them dry in the oven for an hour on party day was annoying since the oven could have been used for other tasks (also not ideal to have an open oven when you have a toddler running around!).

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Butternut Squash, Roasted Apple and Goats’ Cheese Dip

This is the dip that I rebelliously served to my girlfriends at our most recent girls’ night in. It’s crazy-simple and crazy-good with a hummussy smoothness and a sweet tanginess. Serve it in a bowl along side some fresh slices of baguette or spread some on toasted slices rubbed lightly with the cut side of a garlic clove.

Preheat oven to 375 F and take 4 oz of plain goats’ cheese out of the fridge to soften.

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