Louise Crosby 56 results

Make Christmas Crunch with Maple Granola

Olive Oil & Maple Granola Retailers waste no time putting up the wreaths and red bows, but surviving the holiday season can be an emotional marathon that demands a hearty breakfast By Louise Crosby Apparently Christmas is coming. Here we were, meandering our way through a long, leisurely fall full of colour and unseasonably warm temperatures, gorgeous afternoons with soft light, long shadows, beauty all around. Then suddenly, out of the blue, it seems, we’re bombarded with evergreen boughs, sparkly lights and commercial enticements to spend money. Bing Crosby and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas piped over the sound system in my grocery store five weeks before the big day. It’s enough to put you off the whole thing. Grumble, grumble. Christmas will get you in the end, though. It’s inevitable that one of these days a switch will go off, and I’ll be all for it, heading out to get a tree, setting out the candles, baking cookies. In fact, I’m already planning the ...

Squash and Swirl

Pumpkin Bread with Toasted Walnut Cinnamon Swirl Like little woodland creatures preparing for winter, now is the time to gather your nuts. And like a human about to hibernate, bake a warm toasty pumpkin bread.   By Louise Crosby You don’t need me to tell you that squash is a superfood, packed with carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. And you already know that squash is high in fibre, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium, that it is important for good vision, bone growth and healthy reproduction, and that it helps maintain healthy blood pressure, lowers cancer risk, and boosts immune function. Bottom line, you’ll agree: we should all be eating more of it. So, in addition to turning squash into soups, adding it to stews and risottos, stuffing it into pasta, and just plain roasting it, squash can be a key ingredient in baked goods, such as this Pumpkin Bread with Toasted Walnut Cinnamon Swirl, tweaked ever so slightly from At ...

Ode to Leila and Her Butter Patties

What makes china fine Packing up mom's possessions can mean a rediscovery of life's simple pleasures, such as solid and generous friends, sipping tea from flower-like cups, and tiny little plates used solely for butter.   By Louise Crosby My mother was raised on a farm in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, near the town of Aylesford. She attended Acadia University in nearby Wolfville, where she met my Dad. They got married in 1949 and proceeded to have four children as they made their way west and settled in Ontario. Mom is now 89 years old and, following the death of our father, Ron, earlier this year, she is about to sell their home and move into a seniors’ residence. Her name is Leila Kathleen. Her sister is Iona, their mother was Etta, and she had aunts named Marjorie and Mabel. She came out of a farm culture, where people made do, lived simply, and held to strong values. She painted watercolours and taught piano, and was a wonderful mother, sweet and full of ...

Get all pesto with a ritzy risotto

Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto Treat your vegetarian friends to a bright green dish that will not only fill their tummies with a healthy treat, it will lift their spirits with its lush color as it comforts the soul with its warm, cheesy texture By Louise Crosby Round about this time of year, with the winter chill setting in, it’s nice to get away, not necessarily to a warm, sunny beach, but somewhere with a different view. Not too long ago, I went with two friends to New York City and got a whole new world. As anyone who has spent time there will know, it is a noisy, exciting, inspiring and exhausting place. And the food is delicious if you find the right spots. My friends are vegan fitness trainers whose idea of a perfect Sunday morning is to run a half-marathon or sprint up and down the CN Tower. So we typically left our hotel room in the morning and didn’t return until late at night, having walked at a fair clip the entire day to our various destinations. There was a ...

The perfect potato ode to Thanksgiving

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna The fancy potato cake first made famous by Julia Child is a tasty alternative to the standard holiday mash slathered in gravy By Louise Crosby Thanksgiving in my extended family has become a huge affair. That’s because we now number 25 people, plus any others who happen to be in the picture. The brave household that offers to host must find enough tables, dishes and cutlery to seat everyone, and usually cooks the main event, in this case a turkey. The rest of us bring appetizers, mashed potatoes and other vegetables, and a few desserts, typically involving pumpkin or apples. Pot luck, it’s the only way to go with a crowd like this. Notice I said mashed potatoes. Feeling like a change, I offered to make Duchess potatoes this year. Admittedly, these are labour intensive. You start with mashed potatoes but then add egg yolks, cream and butter. This mixture is spooned into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and piped into swirly mounds, ...

Plum delicious!

Unpretentious, homey, rustic, yummy... Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake is a concoction without affectation but plenty of taste thanks to caramelized fruit and just enough crunch from cornmeal to complete the caky texture By Louise Crosby Let me say right off the bat that I’m not that fond of fancy cakes layered with fillings and covered in sweet icing. Nor am I mad passionate crazy about chocolate, in a cake or otherwise. I prefer plain, simple buttery cakes fragrant with vanilla or citrus or spice, possibly containing poppy seeds, nuts or fruit, possibly with a nice caramel glaze. Unpretentious, homey, rustic, delicious. This Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake, from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now, is one such cake. A batter with a touch of crunchy corn meal is spooned over a syrupy plum compote, then baked to saturate the two layers together into a kind of pudding cake deliciousness. Once out of the oven and cooled slightly, it is flipped over onto a plate, a thick jammy layer ...

Fending off the fall chill with lentil, tomato and Tuscan kale soup

When the leaves turn and the sun sinks early, it's time to talk lentils -- the edible pulse that will keep you warm, boost your calcium and create a hearty potage that's good for cardiac health By Louise Crosby September 18, 2015 -- Ok, we’ve had our fun with summer food. The weather is turning cool and it’s time to pay a bit more attention to what we eat. It’s time to talk lentils.   You’ve heard the drill: Whether brown, green or orange, lentils are full of vitamins and fibre, and contain high levels of iron and fat-free protein. They lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and contribute to heart health. We should be eating mountains of them, but let’s face it, unless they’re dressed up with lots of flavour, lentils can be a bit of a slog.   Marco Canora, owner of the New York City restaurant Hearth, shows us the way. His recipe for Lentil Soup with Tomato and Tuscan Kale, from his cookbook A Good Food Day, layers flavour upon flavour ...

Peachy! It’s jam without all the sugar

Preserves can be tedious, frustrating and totally fattening, but if you're able to consume your compotes quickly, you can feast on fast late-summer peach jam and cream biscuits By Louise Crosby There’s one way of making jam that involves sterilizing jars, adding pectin, cooking the daylights out of the fruit and possibly sealing the jars with wax. Thankfully for those of us who aren’t up for all that rigamarole but still like the occasional spread of home-made jam on a biscuit hot from the oven, there’s another, much easier way.  Granted, you have to eat it up quick or store it in the freezer, but somehow it tastes fresher, less sweet, more like the fruit itself.   Thanks goes to Mark Bittman for this easy recipe for peach or nectarine jam, as published in the New York Times. He adds just the right amount of ginger to not overpower the fruit, and honey instead of sugar. Since 1 1/2 pounds of peaches equals only four good-sized peaches, and you probably bought ...

Buvette meatballs reinvent the reliable orb

Forget all the references to Bill Murray and summer camp because thanks to Jody Williams' Buvette in NYC, meatballs are going upscale as part of the thoughtful food movement By Louise Crosby I was thinking the other day how much I love meatballs. Swedish meatballs in gravy served over egg noodles with lingonberry preserves. Middle Eastern meatballs of lamb, cumin and coriander, stuffed into a pita pocket with yogurt and cucumbers. Greek meatballs with feta, mint and lemon. Or regular Italian meatballs in tomato sauce, served over pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can take meatballs in so many directions.   Then along came Buvette, a beautiful first cookbook by Jody Williams, who owns and operates a gastrotheque by the same name in New York City’s West Village, a place she describes as a neighbourhood bar “with thoughtful food.” Her recipe for Italian meatballs in tomato sauce came from the grandmother of an unnamed “talented actor from the Soprano...

Spice up the last gasp of summer: Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon is a fruit that's also a vegetable, and ingredient that can be exploited for its watery sweetness as well as its ability to play savoury base to a spicy Watermelon Gazpacho By Louise Crosby Most of us can remember eating watermelon as kids – at picnics and barbecues and on waterfront docks. It was cold and sweet, a rite of summer. It didn’t matter if the juice dripped down our chins, all over our arms and onto our shirts, it was fun to eat and no one minded the mess. Fast forward to the other day when I visited my friend Amanda at her home in the woods bordering Gatineau Park, just across the river in Quebec. A great cook, she served me a delicious lunch in her screened-in porch that started with a bright, refreshing watermelon gazpacho, a Lucy Waverman recipe published in Food and Drink magazine.  Yes, there are more refined ways of reliving this childhood memory. Watermelon, by the way, is apparently both a fruit and a vegetable. It is considered a ...