Louise Crosby 56 results

Macaroni and Beef Casserole: Comfort food gets all haute cuisine

Food: Recipe - Macaroni and Beef Casserole As the modern food revolution continues to make the exotic feel everyday, it's also taking old standards such as the humble macaroni casserole and turning them into something that's not just comforting, but au courant By Louise Crosby Pick up a food magazine, check the Internet, or tune into your television and you’ll notice that the conversation around food these days is quite sophisticated – it’s all about cooking like the pros and how-to videos, organics and heritage crops, locally-grown and artisanal foods, and sustainable, small-scale farming. Ingredients that were once exotic are now everyday, there’s nothing the home cook can’t do. So a dish that harkens back to the 1950s and ’60s and calls to mind something Betty Draper might have taken to a neighbourhood pot luck in Mad Men, had she been friendlier, might strike you as passé. But you’d be wrong if you thought this Macaroni and Beef Casserole, developed by ...

Love tastes like Oatmeal Cookies

Food: Recipe - Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies Making oatmeal cookies the way mom used to make is more than soul-comforting nostalgia, the results are one of life's most reliable pleasures. By Louise Crosby Before my mother moved into her retirement residence, where units come with microwaves but not stoves, she was a one-woman, cookie-making machine. She made Swedish cookies, sugar cookies, pinwheel cookies, chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, and more recently, crackle-topped, chewy-crispy ginger cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. She gave away almost everything she made, to her neighbours, to her kids, to anyone who came along. She was famous for her cookies. My mother is not sad to give up baking – after all, she just turned 90, Happy Birthday Mom! – but lots of people visit in her new place and, following tradition, she would like to serve them a cookie with their cup of tea. I feel a certain responsibility to help her out, having a big kitchen as I do, so ...

Steamed Maple Puddings transcend presentation insecurities

Food: Recipes - Steamed Maple Puddings They may not come out as pretty as a Donna Hay concoction, but even a less-photogenic maple steamed pudding is a sweet, soulful pleasure that's hard to beat By Louise Crosby Ok, here’s the story. I was so seduced by the photo of steamed maple pudding in Donna Hay’s gorgeous book The New Classics that I had to make it, had to share the recipe with you. I LOVE maple syrup and I LOVE pudding, so the combination seemed winning. What wasn’t winning, however, was the time I spent running around kitchen stores looking for the right ramekins, the way my puddings didn’t slip cleanly out of those ramekins like Donna’s but were raggedy around the edges, and the way the maple syrup sauce did not run down the sides of the puddings in an enticing way but sunk right into the cake batter. And finally, I whipped the cream a little too hard, so it sits atop each pudding like a hat rather than relaxing downwards, all creamy and luscious. Some ...

A river to skate away on, and yummy cup to warm up with

Food: Recipe - Chocolat Chaud Skating down Ottawa's famed Rideau Canal is an undeniable thrill, but after a day on ice, homemade chocolat chaud is the best way to relieve the bitter chill - without added sugar By Louise Crosby OTTAWA -- It’s the first week of Winterlude and the world’s largest skateway on the Rideau Canal has already closed because the ice has melted into a big wet puddle. The first three days of this annual winter festival were a big success, a carnival atmosphere in fact, with ice carvings and snow sculptures, pancake breakfasts, concerts, beaver tails and poutine. And of course, until the weather turned warm, skating. Before we go any further, and just to put everything into context, here’s a refresher on the Rideau Canal and its famous skateway (thank you Wikipedia): The canal itself, built in 1832, is 202 kilometres in length, and connects the City of Ottawa to Kingston, on Lake Ontario. The oldest continually operated canal system in North ...

Greening the bleak midwinter

Food: Recipe - Broccoli-Quinoa Salad with Buttermilk Dressing The colour palette may be all black and white this time of year, but you can treat your palate to a rainbow of taste with this delicious salad that feels like spring By Louise Crosby The winter colour palette is bleak but beautiful, all black and white and shades of grey. Snow has a way of softening the hard lines, of putting some magic into the landscape. There’s nothing prettier, for example, than a dusting of snow on bare branches, or an expanse of rooftops iced like cakes in white frosting. The only problem is that, at some point, our eyes long for colour. Many go south for their fix of pink bougainvillea and turquoise sea. Others buckle up their bootstraps and carry on, their eyes fixed on the horizon, where spring will appear. I’m in that second category, toughing it out, grasping at little life rafts to help me get through, life rafts like this bright green Broccoli-Quinoa Salad with Buttermilk ...

Don’t die: It’s Year of the Pulses

Food: Recipe - Curried Chickpea Soup with Tomatoes, Ginger and Cilantro The humble pulse could hold the key to a better future with a low carbon footprint and sky-high nutritional value By Louise Crosby Unless you were sleeping over the New Year, you will know that 2016 is International Year of Pulses. This piece of news might have struck you as slightly hilarious. With such serious issues facing humankind – climate change, the refugee crisis, Donald Trump – the United Nations dedicates an entire year to the celebration of lentils, chick peas, dried beans and peas? It’s actually not so crazy. First off, these humble members of the legume family are nutritious –  full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals – and low in fat. They can help manage diet-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. They’re also inexpensive and contribute to environmental sustainability. According to Pulse Canada, the national industry association and a big player in this ...

Gut food is good food

Recipe: Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad Feeding your intestinal microbes doesn't take courage, just a gut sense and some simple recipes, such as this Asian salad full of flora-friendly ingredients By Louise Crosby I’m not one to make a long list of New Year’s resolutions, but there are a couple of things I’d like to accomplish in 2016. One is to clean out my attic, the other is to feed my microbes. Yes, microbes. All of a sudden, it seems, there are new books and TV shows about the bacteria that live in our intestines. Scientists have discovered they play a crucial role in our health, affecting everything from how we digest our food to the strength of our immune system and our outlook on life. Imbalances in our flora have been linked to disease, obesity, and depression. But how we feed these microorganisms is key: junk food kills them off, but a diet high in high-fibre fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, nuts, seeds, probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented ...

Warm, cheesy and super easy

Food: Cauliflower Gratin A stray cat looking for warmth on a frigid winter's day serves as a furry reminder about the importance of comfort food, such as cauliflower gratin By Louise Crosby Late last winter, as the snow was melting, a strange creature appeared at our back door. Turns out it was a cat, or more accurately, half a cat, with bony haunches and huge matted clumps of black fur. He had obviously survived a terrible ordeal, an unusually harsh Canadian winter, apparently with little food. We fed him, of course, and he stuck around, making our back deck his home through the spring, summer and fall. And what an appetite. By late November he was as solid as a little black bear, with a good, thick coat. We called him Charlie because he’s male and because it rings nicely with Chicklet, the name of our official cat. He’s a lovely guy, just a little skittish, and particular about who approaches him and from what angle, and he absolutely, positively, will not come ...

On Leonard Cohen and Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

Food: Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies There is a crack, a crack in everything, which makes icebox cookies soft, chewy, and beatifully malformed treats. By Louise Crosby Most people know that perfection is an unattainable goal, that striving for it is futile. It’s the flaws that make life interesting, as Leonard Cohen reminds us in his beautiful song Anthem: “There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” And so it is with icebox cookies. Such a wonderful invention – you prepare the dough, form it into logs, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate until you have a hankering for a little something sweet. Then you slice and bake, and voilà, fresh-baked cookies in less than half an hour. Not to put you off making these – because they are easy and delicious and cute as buttons – but as in all of life, there’s another side of the story. When you add nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit and other solid things to icebox cookie dough, a ...

Pecans make a Mexican Wedding Cake

Food Christmas can make anyone a nutcase, but this delicious cookie recipe offers a case in how specific nuts are used in various regional cuisines By Louise Crosby We no longer exchange gifts at Christmas in my extended family, except for the little ones. That simplifies things: no need to shop malls, get stuck in traffic, or go into debt. It leaves me, at least, free to get serious about baking. This year’s baking bonanza started with these powdery Mexican Wedding Cakes from Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies. They aren’t actually cakes, they’re cookies, and according to Medrich they go by many names depending on what kind of nuts you put in them: if you’re using pecans, you have Wedding Cakes, or polvorones; if almonds are your choice, you have Viennese crescents or Greek kourabiedes. Walnuts produce Russian tea cakes. I’ve also seen them called Butter Balls and Melt-a-Ways, Snowballs and Sandies. Whatever you want ...