After packing up my kitchen in order to sell our house, I fell out of cooking regularly. Mr. 416-expat was already in the UK and cooking for one without all my spices, tools and familiar kitchen just wasn’t as appealing. Even when at my parents’ house with their well-stocked pantry, massive garden, and access to fabulous farmers markets, I just couldn’t get into it. I slowly stopped frequenting my favourite kitchen blogs and lost my kitchen mojo.
Thankfully the act of cleaning, organizing, and generally getting my kitchen settled has brought about a renewed interest in cooking. That and the fact I am unemployed and have to justify my time somehow! Regardless, it happened last week just as we had our very first dinner guest. What better way to welcome a fellow former 416er than with a home cooked meal of Summer flavours.
For dinner that night we had Smitten Kitchen’s sweet and smoky ribs and also her sweet corn pancakes. The Guacamole and Tomato Salsa for the pancakes came from Simply Recipies. Our dinner guest brought the wine and a yummy salad. To round out the evening we had Anna Olson’s Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream from her first recipe book “Sugar”.
Now, I quote out these kitchen blogs and cookbooks because what these women do with food is amazing. I am still quite new to the world of SmittenKitchen but have so far not been disappointed. Simply Recipies has been a long time go-to kitchen blog for me. Elise’s recipies are straightforward, they require ingredients I keep in stock and have a bit of a West Coast/Mexican flare. Anna Olson is an American who grew up in Toronto and has several shows on the Food Network. She now hails from the Niagara region and until recently, owned several bakeries in the area. In her cookbooks she includes basic recipies with a number of ways to then spice them up and take them to the next level of complexity.
As a brief point of reference, the sweet and smoky ribs were quite good. I was out of chili powder (I know I packed it somewhere…) so instead used Deb’s suggestion of a Paprika substitute. The finished product straight from the oven reminded me that (1) I don’t like the smell of Paprika all that much, and (2) I bet I could use the pan juices to make a bbq sauce that would down play the Paprika flavours. The pan juices were put on the stove, simmering away while I added cumin (whole not powdered, I find it keeps its flavour longer), garlic, and cayenne pepper flakes. Instantly the Paprika shot from the spotlight back to the chorus. Much better.
The Sweet Corn Pancakes. Yum. Might I suggest using the leftover cob of corn from dinner the other day? Just slice the corn off the cob (carefully!) and store in the fridge until ready to use. These came together really quickly. I wanted the pancakes to be more savory and less sweet. I cut out the sugar from the pancakes, added a dash of salt and served it with guacamole and salsa. Yum! Who says you can’t have pancakes for dinner!
Anna’s Apple Cobbler was delicious. Next time I’ll cut back the amount of sugar and, now that I’ve located my cheese grater, will try grating the topping over the apples as is suggested in the recipe.
I’m excited folks. Cooking and baking is a lot of fun. I’m glad my cooking mojo hasn’t been lost forever.