Kitchen party: the more, the merrier

Food  prep at our house is a full-contact sport. Big, noisy dinners are something of a specialty of the Hot Dish Kitchen, but pulling them off successfully takes a team. And it’s a team where everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability – has a role to play. Chinese New Year was no different. This…

Cooking with booze

Let’s face it, booze, at its best, is really just great food, fermented, blended and bottled. Depending on the menu we’re tackling, there’s typically a bottle or red or white wine on hand, to add richness to meat, complexity to sauces or joy to the cook’s life. There are a few booze-based family recipes that…

Small towns – a food lovers’ paradise

We’re among a small and shrinking segment of the Canadian population who live in rural communities – less than 20 per cent, according to the 2006 census. (By comparison, at the turn of the last century, 63 per cent of Canadians lived in an area with a population of 10,000 or less.) There are downsides…

Four easy apps

When my sister and I plan a girls’ night out, chances are we’ll skip a big meal and stick with a lineup of appetizers. After all, those bite-size delights are too small to count calories, even if tray after tray mysteriously empties. Over the years, I’ve developed a few go-to options when company’s coming and…

Food that helps you feel better

There’s nothing worse than when someone you love is sick. (Although, to be completely honest, if that someone is the type of guy who contracts man flu, it can get old pretty quickly.) No matter what ails you, I’ll be the first to show up with chicken soup or banana muffins (you can find the…

Mango Tango!

Food has a tendency to get stuck in my head. I’ll make a mental note to buy brown sugar, for example, and for the next three months, every time I pass a baking aisle, I’ll instinctually throw a bag in my cart. The reset button on my mental lists is just a little faulty. Which…

Sausage party

It started, as these things often do, on a whim and a sale. Wandering through our local supermarket this weekend, I noticed massive chunks of pork leg and pork shoulder, discounted to about a third of their normal price. Clearly, a ridiculous purchase for a two-person household, no matter how cheap. But, by the time…

New year off to a fishy start

There’s a longstanding tradition in my husband’s family to greet each new year with a seafood feast of legendary proportion. Described to an outsider, it sounds like – and probably is – an orgy of gluttony and excess. But, for a family of food lovers, it’s a high note in our year. Essentially, we all…

Get to know the Hot Dish Kitchen

I’d like to tell you we’re rebels and rulebreakers, out to push boundaries and redefine middle-age crazy. But the truth is, we’re a pair of geeks, together since high school who, despite having done almost everything we warn our kids against, are building a pretty solid life. Now, with our kids off to college and…

Feed a cook

Consider this a public service announcement on behalf of cooks everywhere. If you know someone who cooks, who is passionate about food and hosts meal after fabulous meal – please invite them to dinner. Chances are, the cooks in your life have become the go-to hosts for gatherings and celebrations. And, they’re probably not complaining.  Preparing a…

10 small(ish) ways to fall in love with your kitchen

I’m the first to say, that while I love my kitchen, it’s a long way from perfect. But until we win the lottery (or at least finish paying two rounds of tuition), I’ll make do with a four-burner gas range and single oven. In the meantime, these 10 smaller kitchen investments make cooking easier and…

Breaking bread

Sometime in my late 30s, I realized that bread had stopped being my friend. Carbs had always been a steady staple of my diet – from gushy white bread, buttered and dipped in a saucer of maple syrup when I was a kid, to massive muffins that often doubled as a meal in university. When…