Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Just wanted to pass on a great memoir with some hilarious food-related content: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. She lists the top 5 Shame-Based Foods for Mennonite Youth Lunches, this took me back to my jealousy over my friend's Mr. Noodles, oreo cookies, and juice box lunches (the water fountain was the Reems' school beverage). While not Mennonite, but with not so distant Dutch immigrant roots, I now fondly appreciate the homemade goodies, and cheese and mustard sandwiches of my youth.

My favourite food moment in the book was her mother chugging the leftover 'tuna juice' from the can!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Food & Fiction

Happy New Year!

For a Reems, reading is as important as eating. As we head into January, that time of year when Christmas becomes a distant memory and evenings are spent curled up on the couch, I want to pass on some of my favourite titles with food themes-

1) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs- I'll have to start off with one of my favourite childhood books. This was a title that frequently wound up on my stack of library picture books. I reminisced about it to Mike, and he suprised me with a copy. If you have kids, or you wish that hamburgers fell from the sky, this is the book for you.

2) Five Quarters of the Orange - the author, Joanne Harris, is a kindred soul - most of her books heavily feature food. Chocolate is also one of her books .

3) Anne of Green Gables - Raspberry cordial anyone?

4) 100 Mile Diet- This book really motivated me to make an effort to eat food closer to home (something that I am finding much easier in BC than Alberta!). This book is written by a couple who tell their tale in alternating chapters. I enjoyed reading the male and female perspectives and came away from the book both inspired, and with a small crush on one of the authors.

4) The Sunday Philosophers' Club It was a toss up which Alexander Mccall-Smith series I would include in this list. I am a fan of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and the promotion of a Woman of "Traditional Build." However, the Sunday Philosophers Club wins for tempting my taste buds beyond bush tea.

5) Brilliant by Marne Davis Kellog - Pure chick-lit with food descriptions that made me drool.

6) Like Water for Chocolate - Hmmm, how can I describe this book? Hispanic food erotica?

So there are some suggestions. Any for me?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cookbooks and Bake-offs

This is what I just picked up from my holds at the library. A beautiful crisp new copy. I am pumped to cozy up on my couch, book on lap, steaming hot chocolate in hand. Ahhhh.

I have a confession - I love to read about food. Read about it and look at pretty pictures. Does all this cookbook and blog reading translate into actual cooking? Sometimes..

On another note I am pumped to report that Reems is being pitted against Reems in the chocolate chip square challenge- here is R1's comment from yesterday-

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is crazy. I just logged on to see your squares. Would you believe I am planning to attempt the chocolate chip squares??? The bake off was set for tonight! Yikes. We're so alike.

This may get messy. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Not that I recommend it (bingeing, that is), but after spending two months on the road my kitchen is a haven and my stove my best friend. Cookies are the outcome of this sweet sweet union. It's a completely natural and beautiful act. Although, yesterday I baked a pear cake and met with minor disaster. The batter was sweet, subtle, smooth (too many s's, I know) and the pears perfectly ripe but stupid me pulled it from the oven too soon. Upon cutting into the cake, I was greeted by a gooey fist clenched at its centre. Opps. I nearly cried. It was to have been pure bliss. But I will bake the pear cake again. Oh yes, and I will eat it with whipping cream. And ice cream. Ha.

But back to the cookies, I found the recipe in my new favourite cookbook in the whole entire world, Perfect Light Desserts, by Nick Malgieri, and David Joachim. It is seriously the best dessert book I have chanced upon in some time. These men can bake. Mmmm, men who can bake... The cookies are both molasses laden and chocolaty. Go figure. Plus, wait for it, they contain 4 Tbsp of butter! It sounds like less when I put it in tablespoons. Somehow, a quarter cup sounds like more and I'm aiming for popularity, so tablespoons it is. I brought a plate of these circles of perfection into the high school where I was substitute teaching this week. I left them in the staffroom along with my card. Let's just say I've been getting a lot of calls. Although the one at 6:30 this morning was less than thrilling.

Anyhooo, here you have it:

Chocolate Spice Cookies

1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice)
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (good thing I've been churning out gallons)
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat the oven to 350.
Sift the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Beat in the applesauce and molasses
Stir in the dry ingredients. Don't over mix! This is the low fat cookie cardinal rule.
Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared pans. Flatten the cookies with your hand or the back of a fork.

Now, the baking is slightly different. Position your racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Place one sheet on the top rack and one on the bottom. Bake the cookies for ten minutes, switching the positions of the sheets half way through baking. The cookies will be quite moist when done but they will firm up as they dry. Resist the temptation to keep baking them. This is the second cardinal rule of low fat cookies: always slightly under bake.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Getting Fresh

In Toronto there is a restaurant called Fresh, which, go figure, focuses on fresh food, such as salads, rice bowls, veggie burgers, and wraps—all my favourites. Their smoothies are delicious and I didn’t get a chance but would love to try their selection of caffeinated blended bevies. (Is a drink still a smoothie if it does not contain fruit?) I was excited to find that the owner/chef has released not one, but two cookbooks. I, too frugal to purchase a copy, checked out cookbook two, Refresh, from the Victoria library. The veggie burgers look juicy and I’m intrigued by the vegan cookies but so far I’ve only experimented with one recipe. Caleb and I collaborated on a batch of Indian Dosas. We followed the basic recipe but made some changes to the filling based on the ingredients that we had on hand. The Dosas are curry-spiced crepes stuffed with a chickpea-veggie filling. Yeah, beans!

Indian Dosa Pancakes

Dosa Pancakes

1 cup flour (you can use spelt, whole wheat, or white)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

½ cup milk or soy milk

½ cup to ¾ cup water

1 Tbsp oil

Combine ingredients and fry on a skillet.

Dosa Filling (Based less than loosely on the Refresh recipe)

4 cloves garlics minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger mince

1 onion diced

1 carrot diced

1 red pepper diced

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp masa harina

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp allspice

(I chose the spices based on what I had in the cupboard. Also, I wanted to create and Indian flavour. Adjust the flavouring to suite your palate and ingredients).

4 cups cooked chickpeas

Heat a shot of olive oil in a pan or wok, add garlic, veggies, and spices. Cook until veggies just begin to soften. Add chickpeas and cook until mixture is mushy, then mulch in the food processor along with the juice of one lemon. Return to the pan and reheat.


Dosa Pancakes

Chickpea Filling

¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp feta cheese

Half a carrot, grated

½ cup mango, peach, or apple chutney (You can use store bought chutney; I’ve been making mine with the not-so-good-for-eating fall apples.)

Fill your dosas with chickpea filling, chutney, and a little carrot, roll up likes pancakes, top with carrot, pumpkin seeds, and feta. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back on the Scene (Bearing Carrots)

I have returned from my cross-Canada adventure and herby recommit myself to blogging. Haley says I can no longer slack. She also says someone not of Reems kinship is reading and commenting on the blog. This is very exciting news. We have a readership. And so, without a photograph (all good foodblogs have tempting visuals), I post my latest dessert, a fat-free, VERY TASTY, carrot cake. When Haley came to visit last week I made this dessert to impress her and our excessively health-conscious mother. I have moved into number one daughter position. Perfect. In reality the praise goes to the Moosewood Collective who created the recipe and published it in their Book of Desserts in the first place, although, I adjusted the carrot content of the recipe and added pineapple.

Fat-Free Carrot Cake

1 ½ cups packed finely grated carrots

¾ cups canned crushed pineapple

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 ¾ cups water

½ cup chopped dates

½ cup raisins

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups white flour

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

In a saucepan, bring the carrots, brown sugar, water, dried fruit, and vanilla to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for at least an hour. According to the Moosewood Collective, the longer you let the mixture stand, the more the mush will absorb the water. I could only afford an hour but they suggest over night. My cake turned out quite nicely.

Combine flour and spices.

Preheat the oven to 300 and oil and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Stir the carrot mixture into the dry until just combined. Ensure no traces of flour are left.

Cook for about an hour or until an inserted tester (knife, toothpick, or what-have-you) comes out clean. Cool for 10 min in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack.

I topped the cake with a lemon glaze, which consisted of the juice of two lemons and ¼ cup of sugar. I warmed the ingredients in a small saucepan until the sugar had dissolved and then poured it over the cake. This sauce is very liquidy and moistened the cake considerably. I recommend the lemon sauce but I’d like to try a simple dusting of icing sugar or cinnamon. The cake was quite different than the typical carrot cake, moist and fruity, almost dark in flavour. I loved it!

I think I’ve hit on a fabulous whole-wheat peanut-butter cookie recipe but I need to make a couple of adjustments before posting. Stay tuned!

(Hi Haley!)