If I lived on higher terrain, it would actually be sunny.... but closer to sea level the fog has been stubbornly socked in for days now. It's starting to feel like living on the 'Blade Runner' film set. So I'm outta here..... Hawaii. The big island. Sea, surf, sun, swim. Sip and nosh. See you in a week.


meal of the year.....

Roast Lamb at A.C. Gillmore Farm

Dee Gilmore's slow-roasted (Katahdin) lamb shoulder.

Just as with produce, knowing where your meat, eggs and poultry come from helps to bridge the gap that so often exists between producer and consumer. My visit to A.C. Gilmore Farm this past September provided a wonderful opportunity not only to connect with a producer, but also to experience a working farm first hand….. by walking the land with Dee Gilmore and interacting with the animals (chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, horses and a llama named ‘Ben’). As a side bar: Ben had been assigned the very important responsibility of protecting the sheep from predators. Typically these animals are effective at this task (Ben’s own mother had been his predecessor), but he proved to be less than vigilant, even allowing a mangy old coyote into the fold, where Dee found it sleeping soundly on a bed of straw. Ben was fired on the spot and has since been put up for sale. Farm life can be harsh.....

When Dee showed us the lambs she explained that they would soon be butchered and invited us back for a future roast lamb dinner. She was true to her word, and this past December I returned to the farm with my earlier companions, Anne and Arlene. As weekly food columnist for the Richmond Review, Arlene is able to experience a plethora of beautiful food…..yet, as she reflected on all of the incredible meals she had enjoyed during the past year, it was the roast lamb dinner @ Dee’s that she chose as her best dinner of 2008. Click here to read the full article from December 31, 2008.

Like Arlene, it is the meals that I am most moved by that usually become my favourites. Dee put out a beautiful spread that night, to be sure. The lamb was some of the best I’d ever had. But, for me, what really made it special was the fact that it was served and enjoyed in such fine company, as we sat around the candlelit table tucked cozily to the side of the farm kitchen..... dining far from the hectic pace of an overly scheduled December, while, at the same time, so close to where this very lamb had been raised. You can order lamb by contacting Dee at crzhorse@telus.net


pimp my egg salad

Egg Salad

Twangy Egg Salad served on spelt toast.

Egg salad gets a bad rap. Perhaps it suffers an unfortunate hangover from elementary school days….. a time when an egg salad sandwich packed in one’s lunch box led to a wafting sulphur like odour and the inevitable fart jokes that followed. For most 5-12 year olds (and many adults), dining in forced isolation from one’s peers simply isn't worth it. Others are not so self conscious.....

Clutching her black Chanel purse, the heiress and her friend made a beeline for the buffet table, not pausing to greet fellow guests before sampling everything from mini egg salad sandwiches to caprese salad on toast and carrots. - Paris Hilton's last meal, hours before reporting to jail to serve her 2007 sentence.

As a grown up, I do love a good egg salad…..especially these days, when our post holiday girths (and palates) have been bombarded with fancy and decadent treats for what feels like months. Give me some simple, yummy, comforting grub to satiate me: belly, heart and soul.

This ‘Twangy Egg Salad’ recipe was inspired by my Grandma L’s (though I highly doubt the word ‘pimp’ ever crossed her lips). She always added aged cheddar to her version, which really took it up a notch (especially since she usually served it on my Grandpa L’s home made bread and always cut my sandwich into adorable little quarters). The 'Twangy' in this version comes from the vinegar content of both the mustard and the pickles.

Twangy Egg Salad

4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped (free range, organic, if possible)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp grain mustard
tiny titch of chili sauce
1 large pickle, small dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup grated, aged white cheddar cheese
salt & pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Serve as a sandwich or pita filling, or on top of a green salad.


strings attached

global peasant apron- strings attached

Some of you may have noticed that, lately, I've been somewhat apron obsessed. Yesterday I submitted to jury an 'apron art piece'. 'Strings Attached' is a "mixed media exhibition on the theme of aprons" to be mounted on February 24-March 16, 2009 at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver. Mediums accepted include painting, drawing, collage, photography, ceramics, printmaking, short film, jewellery, poetry, textiles, sculpture, wood and metal. I was very happy when I received word today that my (fabric and paper) submission had been accepted.

global peasant apron- strings attached

Above: My Grandma T's recipe cards are top stitched to the bottom of the apron .....recipes for dishes such as 'Yorkshire Pudding' and 'Pickled Cherries'.

The premise of this piece is to explore the complex and inevitable combining of our faltering economy, a new public awareness of our (mostly centralized) food sources, a greater need to practice frugality and a timely return to the domestic arts. It also implies that 2009 will very likely be a year when our culture continues to revisit aspects of earlier eras such as the 40's, when it was common place to grow and cook much of one's own food and also to eat from more local and seasonable food sources.


best cauliflower ever

Peter Zambri's Cauliflower Alla Sabbia

It is extremely rare that I prepare a recipe to the letter. Usually it serves more as an inspiration, a starting point. But two days ago I made an exception. This recipe is simply perfect as is. The only modifications I made were to (1)- double the cauliflower quantity and (2)- omit the jalapeno, and only because I didn’t have any on hand. Two heads of cauliflower had been sitting in my fridge, patiently waiting to live up to their potential….and, oh Lordy, did they ever. So much so that I made this dish again the very next day.

I had stumbled upon this recipe while googling Zambri's Restaurant, having just read about it in the November/December issue of Eat Magazine. Located in Victoria, Zambri's website describes their cuisine as “….authentic, full flavoured Italian food…..No tricks, fresh local ingredients and undeniable flavours.” Chef and co-owner Peter Zambri was the subject of a National Post article this past April, where he described the following Cauliflower Alla Sabbia as one of his signature dishes. Delizioso!

Cauliflower Alla Sabbia
(Cauliflower tossed with anchovies, chilies and breadcrumbs)

1/2 large cauliflower, cut into florets
4 small garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 heaping tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp. crushed dried red chilies (optional)
4 whole anchovy filets
4 slices of jalapeno with seeds (optional)
1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1/8 cup chopped parsley, leaves only.
1/4 c finely grated parmesan

Blanch cauliflower in boiling salted water for two minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a cloth or paper towel lined baking sheet to cool. (Alternatively, transfer to a bowl of ice water but Zambri advises that you don’t want them to be too water logged, or the breadcrumb-anchovy mixture won’t stick to the vegetable). Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan. Add garlic, chilies, anchovies, jalapeno and fry on medium heat until the anchovies melt and butter & garlic turns a nut brown. Add the cauliflower and breadcrumbs to the pan tossing together to coat, making sure to heat through. Lightly season with salt and pepper at this stage. Add parsley and parmesan and toss again, coating thoroughly. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Should any ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan, simply scrape with a wooden spoon and crumble over the cauliflower. Serves 4.