Category Archives: Recipes

Vintage Pistachio Squares

A friend tells me that anything that’s about 50 years old is vintage. This recipe definitely qualifies. So do I, come to think of it. Vintage or not, these Pistachio Squares were definitely in need of an update. 

About 50 years ago, they were a favourite dessert to serve at bridal and baby showers. There were versions with crushed pineapple or several colours of Jello was well. Does this ring a bell? This was also the era when my Mother and her friends thought edible petroleum-based whip cream products (I won’t mention any brands but I think you know what I’m talking about) were a “Godsend.”

I’ve brought this recipe into the new millennium by using real organic whip cream and by bulking up the pistachio nut content. What I did not change was the use of JELLO instant pistachio pudding because, I like it.

This Vintage Pistachio Squares recipe makes me nostalgic for a time when we’d sit in our pyjamas at the top of the stairs waiting for “the ladies” to leave their social gathering. Then we’d sneak down to the kitchen and have a slice of this yumminess before going to bed. We prayed they wouldn’t savour it all.  But, I hope you do.

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Homemade Baked Beans

This is my mother’s recipe for Homemade Baked Beans. It came from her grandmother Aileen Dyer. One of my favourite childhood memories was going to Grammy Dyer’s for Sunday dinners. My great-grandparents did not have a lot of money so meals were simple. 

We had these baked beans or sometimes baked peas and homemade bread. A roast of pork, chicken or turkey was special. In summer, there’d be loads of vegetables fresh from Puppa Dyer’s garden. And, there’d always be a few kinds of pie to finish. Grammy was famous for her pies. I marvel that she made all this goodness in a wood-burning oven. 

Family gatherings and wholesome homemade food. What else do you really need? I hope this recipe conjures up some fond family memories for you. If not, here’s a chance to savour it all and make some with your family. 

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Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Milk and cookies are an invitation to make this recipe

These Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies are my husband’s favourites. They are his Mom’s recipe and when she sends him a bag of frozen ones, he likes to keep them frozen and eat them straight from the freezer. He really likes his cookies crispy.

I lean a little more towards my recipe for Best Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Is there really a bad chocolate chip cookie recipe though?

Instagram friends were kind enough to send in their votes. Nicola likes Smitten Kitchen’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies. While Pauli-Ann and Christine nominated these Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’ve got other recipes for full-loaded oatmeal versions and one from Neiman Marcus. Shall I keep sharing them or are you all fully stocked with your own favourites? I look forward to hearing from you. The chips are down right now, let’s make more of them chocolate!

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Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade

This recipe for Grilled Cod Cheeks with Szechwan Peppercorn Marinade is something I developed after visiting Newfoundland and Labrador last summer. Though my friends in Newfoundland will think it’s blasphemy, I used west coast Ling Cod Cheeks as fresh Atlantic cod cheeks were not available to me at that time. I’ve also used halibut cheeks when they are in season and they’re delicious too.

For folks living in the land-locked Prairies or west coast, I highly recommend Skipper Otto as a sustainable source of fish. Here in Calgary, you can actually get Fogo Island Fish Hand Line Cod from a company called Meta4Foods. The recipe follows.

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Cod au Gratin

This recipe for Cod au Gratin is inspired by my visit to Newfoundland and in particular, Fogo Island Inn, last summer. We ate it our first night at the Inn when we attended a “shed party”. It’s warm, cheese-y goodness cuddled right up to the freshly steamed crab legs, homemade buns and other good things that made the evening so memorable.

Lucy Waverman published the Fogo Island Inn’s Cod au Gratin recipe in the Globe and Mail in 2017. The leeks and fennel keep it light. I loved it.

But, here we are in an unprecedented time of COVID-19 quarantine and I’m not able to dash out to the store to look for those fresh vegetables. What I found in my pantry was a can of artichokes. In the fridge I found a stash of rich French Comte cheese. In my freezer I found some cod.

All in all, I’m pleased with how this variation came out. I hope you’ll give it a try and I encourage you to change up the elements to your own liking. I think a little bacon would be a great addition. Maybe a dice of red pepper. Keep it simple. That’s the secret. It’s a recipe that’s as resilient as the people of Fogo Island. Enjoy!

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Food News: Duchess Bakery and Giselle Courteau launch a new cookbook and location this month and I’ve got a preview recipe for you

Duchess Owners - photo courtesy of Duchess Bake Shop and Provisions
Jacob Pelletier, Giselle Courteau and Garner Beggs – owners of Duchess Bake Shop and now Little Duchess too!

“Baking is, after all, meant to be shared.”

This quote comes from Giselle Courteau in the book Food Artisans of Alberta. Along with her business partners, Jacob Pelletier and Garner Beggs, Courteau has been sharing world class baking for 10 years at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton’s Westmount neighbourhood.

The trio also self-published an eponymous cookbook that shares many of their most beautiful professional bakery recipes. It garnered a Taste Canada Gold Medal and was since purchased by Appetite Canada – a division of Random House. They are very good at sharing their baking.

No matter the time of year or external temperature in Edmonton, you’ll always find a line-up outside their door on 124 Street. That’s why it’s fabulous news that Courteau and company will now open a second location on Edmonton’s south side in Ritchie Market.

AND… at the same time, they are also launching a new cookbook called Duchess at Home. Read on for a fabulous recipe from the new book and more stories about the tremendous success of this Alberta business.

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Food News: announcing the Calgary Eats Cookbook Launch Party plus a preview recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake – just for you!

Calgary Eats by Gail Norton and Karen Ralph
Note: This post is not sponsored. I’m just excited to share this!

The details:

Tuesday, September 17 – 6:30 pm at the Cookbook Co Cooks, 712 11 Ave SW, Calgary
Come meet Gail Norton and Karen Ralph, authors of Calgary Eats, and chefs featured in the book.
Tix – $50 per person* at 403-265-6066 extension 1

*Registrants will take home an autographed copy of Calgary Eats: Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants and Bars ($40 value).

The scoop:

Author Gail Norton is the fairy godmother of the Calgary’s food scene. For over 30 years she’s boosted restaurants and chefs through the magazine City Palate she co-founded and through her cooking school and cookbook slash gourmand store, Cookbook Co Cooks. Along with her friend, the accomplished cook and sommelier, Karen Ralph, she once again showcases our food community of local chefs, farmers and producers. This time with a collection of 80 signature dishes by the city’s top chefs called Calgary Eats.

A follow-up to the best-selling Calgary Cooks, these chef-tested recipes, with stunning photographs by Chris Amat, will help we mere mortals re-create the signature dishes of our favourite chefs and restaurants. Read on for one of the books most scrumptious recipes – Rogelio Herrara’s (Alloy Dining) Flourless Chocolate Cake.

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