Thomas Jefferson, Urban Farmer

From Brain Pickings, one of my new favourite blogs/interestingness-aggregators, a list of 5 favourite food books for 2012. All of them do sound good, but the Thomas Jefferson one interests me the most.

Butternut lasagna

Today, the last day of daylight savings time, was the coldest day of the fall so far. Perfect for staying in and trying out the recipe for Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Béchamel I came across earlier this week.

Kick-ass Kohlrouladen

I wasn’t planning on writing another post today but I found a recipe that was so good I just had to share. When I asked what I should make for supper tonight, the answer I got was some song about “gołąbki.” Sounded good to me, and I figured I already had all, or at least most, of the ingredients–tomatoes and onions from the garden, a cabbage from my CSA share, ground beef in the freezer. I just needed a recipe. Epicurious came through once again, and I used this one for Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

Quick pickles

As is often the case, I ended up with an overgrown cucumber in my CSA share this week. And a bunch of sweet wax peppers, which I usually have a hard time finishing before the next box comes. So I decided I’d better make some quick pickles.

Cukes and peppers

Enjoying booze on a picnic blanket

I don’t have a yard or even a small balcony, but I’ve found a way to enjoy self-made cocktails outdoors: I bought a wide-mouth thermos for ice, plastic rock glasses and a paring knife in a plastic sheath. I am now outfitted to have cocktail picnics!

Banana bread, jacked up, adapted, interpreted

Dirty secret: I keep imported Betty Crocker cake mix stashed in my cupboard for emergency cakes and cupcakes. I spend the time saved by the mix making fancy icings.

Rhubarb Syrup. Panty Remover.

In Spring, this young man’s fancy turns to rhubarb. Follow me through this.

I make rhubarb syrup during rhubarb season. It’s simple, and it’s amazing in cocktails. Any cocktail that calls for grenadine can be rhubarbified. The trick to making a good rhubarb syrup is to maximize the rhubarb flavour in as small a volume of liquid as possible.

Branding produce

One of the things I missed upon returning to the US was being able to eat from a big “Netz” of clementines around Christmastime. We never had clementines growing up and I never remembered seeing them anywhere either. Mandarins were something that came in a can (it seems a clementine is a type of mandarin; I had to look it up since I was never sure if the reverse was true of if they were just synonyms). By the time I returned in 2008, there were clementines to be had, but they were expensive and not consistently good (though they’re not always consistent in Europe either).

Impulse buy: Syrian pumpkin jam

It's pumpkin. How bad can it be?

I should have known better.

I normally despise syrupy-sweet desserts but for some reason I decided earlier this week that I absolutely had to buy some “pumpkin jam” that was sitting at the checkout at my usual falafel spot/Middle Eastern grocery. I love every other pumpkin dessert I’ve tried, so why not? I asked the owner what it was and how you eat it. She said you just eat it as is and that it comes from her hometown. They’re having trouble getting it because of what’s going on in Syria right now, so she asked me to be sure to report back and tell her whether I liked it.

Toronto-style chicken

Step one: Buy a half of a rotisserie chicken from the local döner hut, also known as a “half chicken”. For only 40 cents extra, it comes with an actually tasty salad, so get that too.

Halbes Hänchen und Salat

Halbes Hänchen und Salat

Step two: Reach for your jar of imported St Lawrence Market Churrasco Chicken Sauce. This might be hard to source. Your best options is to hire a sauce mule.

Imported churrasco chicken sauce

Beribboned jar of churrasco chicken sauce

Step three: Cover half of the half chicken with sauce (because a whole half a chicken is too much for one person)

Rotisserie chicken bathed in Toronto-style churrasco sauce

That looks like a lot of sauce, but there's tons left in the jar

Step four: Enjoy your chicken by candlelight.

Romantic chicken dinner for one

Romantic chicken dinner, direct from the styrofoam clam