Sunday, 19 May 2013

Rhubarb and Kale Salad


Rhubarb!  Who doesn't love a little rhubarb in their life?  Even Nevin, who is reigning World's Pickiest Eater World Champion, likes it.  He always eats it and then says, "Mommy, it still does that funny things to my eye."  (Note: he is referring to the way one's eye squints involuntarily whenever one eats something sour.)

I wanted rhubarb in something besides baked goods this year, so I did a little searching and I found a really tasty looking salad that inspired me.  I haven't made the original, but my version is a sweet, sour, salty delight that is packed full of spring goodness.  We will be making it again before rhubarb season is over.

p.s. A couple tips: (a) this recipe looks involved but the rhubarb and walnuts take less than ten minutes to make.  (b) I wouldn't skip candying the walnuts - the salad needs something sweet. (c) you can skip the Dijon mustard in the dressing, but it emulsifies the oil, so the dressing sticks together.

Rhubarb and Kale Salad
Pickled Rhubarb:1 cup rhubarb, cut in quarter-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Salad:1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and chopped
3 tablespoons pickling liquid from rhubarb
3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (or more) feta cheese
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
½ cup candied walnuts*

To make the pickled rhubarb:  Place rhubarb in a shallow heatproof bowl (I used my 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup). In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over the rhubarb and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours before using. The pickles’ flavor even improves if refrigerated overnight. Any leftover pickling liquid can be refrigerated for future use.  

To make the salad: Whisk together pickling liquid, olive oil, and Dijon mustard.  Toss dressing with the kale, then gently fold in the cheese, apple, walnuts and drained rhubarb.

*To make the candied walnuts:  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 1 cup walnut halves and continue to stir for about 5 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken. Pour out onto parchment paper, separating walnuts with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. (Instructions for the walnuts are from the Sacramento Bee)

Read more here:

May Flower


Sometimes, the perfect gift is from just the right person, on just the right day, completely unexpected.  A tulip, stolen from a garden, in a recycled pop bottle: its been a while since I have received a gift that held so much meaning.

Not everyone is of my mind on this issue.  They say they are, but then they are a teensy bit disappointed when their husband forgets to get them a birthday gift or rush out to buy a present for Father's Day that does not reflect any deep sentiments.  So, to all the people who expected a gift from me on a day worth commemorating: my apologies, maybe next year.  But probably not.

You can, however, look forward to cookies from me just because its Tuesday and I was thinking of you.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Mommy has a name


The other day, Shawn and I were chatting and not paying attention to the people around us.  Our two-year-old was trying to get our attention:

Scarlett: Shasha.  (Pause) Shasha.  (Pause) Shasha.
Me, to Shawn: Is she trying to say my name?
Scarlett, nodding her head: Shasha.
Shawn, pointing at me:  No, that's Mommy.  You call her 'Mommy,' and what do you call me?
Scarlett:  Shawn.

Pizza Cookie


Children of the 80's rejoice!  I have resurrected the pizza cookie!  Remember back in 1989?  Way back when the creativity of Pinterest didn't exist?  When your mother's friend told her about the greatest thing ever - a dessert pizza - and it blew everyone's neon-coloured socks off?

Well, you know what?  It is ingenious.  Its a pizza and a cookie.  Its fun to make and fun to eat.  I loved it then and I love it now, so I'm bringing it back.  This one is my mom's classic recipe, that she got from a stranger at a bake sale fundraiser at an atom-level hockey tournament, so you know its authentic.

Gather up your progeny, some marshmallows, and whatever else you keep in your cupboards, and have yourselves a fun little afternoon.

Pizza Cookie
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp.salt
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
Topping suggestions: marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, smarties, chopped up candy bars, dried fruit, cherries, whatever!
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the best ingredients and mix well.  Roll out on a parchment paper lined pizza pan (first try and say that five times fast with your four year old, just for kicks).
2. Top with the toppings of your choice.  Marshmallows are a must for the "cheesy" factor.
3.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes (watch closely so the outside crust doesn’t burn).
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