Sep 13, 2020


You probably won't believe me when I say this, but one of the things I had on the docket for 2020* was to finally learn how to make sourdough bread. It was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. 

Years ago on a trip to Portland, I picked up a copy of Tartine at Powell's with that same goal in mind (Tartine has long been a favorite of mine from my San Francisco days). I thought if I got the book, I could teach myself. As much as I love reading through it, it's pretty overwhelming for a beginner who doesn't have any bread-making experience. I learn better as I'm doing, but with something as precise as bread-making, it's helpful to have someone there to show you the ropes as you go. 

Last year, I tried to make it to one of Aran Goyoaga's workshops for bread, but kept missing the boat (Aran now has a gluten free cookbook out that's gorgeous). Finally, at the end of February I got to go to a workshop hosted by the fabulous Julie Ann Marr, right here in Vancouver, and she taught me everything I needed to know to start making my own bread at home. Little did I know, just a couple of weeks after the workshop, I'd be in lockdown at the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like a lot of others, making bread somehow helped me cope with the new reality that was gradually sinking in as 2020 began wreaking its havoc. Doing something that took time and required a methodical approach was comforting. Just follow the rules, and you'll end up with a gorgeous loaf of your own. So satisfying. In good times and bad, my kitchen is one of my favorite places to be, so bread making was no exception. 

A few weeks into lockdown, like many others, I started doing things I'd normally do virtually. I started Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts with a friend on Zoom, joined birthday parties on Zoom, wine nights on Zoom, yoga on Zoom... Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. 

When one of my friends who I have a history of cooking and exploring food with got wind that I'd taken a sourdough workshop, she asked if I'd teach her over Zoom. So I packed some of my starter up and drove it to her house and left it on her front porch. Bright and early the next morning, we jumped on a call to feed our starters together and get the show on the road. Over the course of the day, and intermittent Zoom calls, I taught my friend how to make her first loaf of sourdough bread remotely. She was hooked, and started to make more loaves, folding in fun ingredients like olives, walnuts, rosemary, garlic, and even cheese.

As thanks for the bread-making lesson, she made this olive loaf for me - one of her first few, and it turned out beautifully. She also gave me some ginger kombucha she had brewed, which was delicious.

Like all of us, I could come up with a litany of reasons why this has been a terrible year, but for right now, I'm trying to focus on the positives. I'm glad that 2020 is the year my sourdough dreams finally became a reality. I've not only learned to make sourdough bread, but all kinds of other awesome things with my starter, like pancakes, crackers, tortillas and pizza dough (I really like this recipe from Flourist). And I'm more thankful now than ever for friends to share bread and kombucha with, even remotely.

*in the before times, when your instagram feed wasn't yet chock full of homemade sourdough loaves.

Mar 28, 2016


If you're anything like me, steel cut oats is in regular rotation on your breakfast menu. Packed with iron, fiber and protein, they're the breakfast of champions, and they've got rib-sticking power to get you through those on-the-go mornings.

My only problem with steel cut oats is that, well.... there is no problem. It's not them, it's me, really. I'm a creature of habit, and even though I can make some killer oats, I typically go standard style with a dab of butter, a bit of maple syrup and some nuts. Sometimes I add fruit (banana or blueberries are my favs), and a few years ago I thought it was a stroke of pure genius when I thought to add breakfast sausage and a poached egg to the mix. That last gem is my favorite, but even that version is a bit played out these days.

Savory oats is the perfect remedy for breakfast monotony. If you think of oat as the grain it is, instead of pigeon-holing it as a breakfast item, it's easier to come up with fun (non-sweet) alternative ways to enjoy it. Vegetables needn't be shunned, and all of the sudden condiments such as sriracha or kimchi are also welcome to join the party. (Here are two examples of alternate savory oats recipes.)

Here's just one of my favorite ways to make savory oats, but the possibilities are really endless.

Serves 2-3

1 cup organic steel cut oats. One of my favorite local British Columbia brands, is Anita's.
3 tablespoons crème frâiche
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1/2 cup organic sprouted almonds, loosely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of one half lemon
1/2 cup fresh English peas, shelled
Sunflower sprouts, as desired
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Soak oats overnight, covered in water to expedite cook time. Bring salted water to boil, cooking and stirring oats until desired consistency is reached.

While oats are cooking, zest and juice lemon. Shell and pan-sear peas, using a bit of olive oil or a dab of butter. Cook peas until their skins start to blister. Set aside.

Once oats are finishing cooking, turn stove off. Add one teaspoon sea salt and the lemon juice to oats and fold crème frâiche and peas directly into the warm pot. Add chunks of goat cheese, folding in, leaving a bit unincorporated. Spoon oats into serving bowls, topping with lemon zest, almonds, sprouts, and fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

Sep 21, 2015


One of fall's classic pies, best enjoyed with a cup of coffee
If you ever ask me if I want some apple pie, my answer will definitely be no. I'll probably take a look at what's being offered, and politely decline, or even turn up my nose a bit. I don't like apple pie. I never have. Any apple pie except this recipe, that is. This is the apple pie that forever ruined all other apple pies for me. I don't want to sound dramatic, but I wouldn't lie - not about something as important as pie :)

This is my momma's recipe. She's a fantastic cook. This is only one of the many culinary things she does well, but anyone who knows her would probably say this is undoubtedly one of her secret weapons - along with her fried chicken! 

The recipe is shockingly simple. True confessions: served with a hot cup of coffee, this is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. It's also great as a midday snack. Let's be honest - it's one of my all-time favorite things, really. Good anytime.


6-7 Ganny Smith Apples
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup raw sugar + 4 tbsp
2 tsp flour
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
6 oz or more sliced almonds (be sure to get sliced, not slivered - sliced almonds still have their skin)
1 tbsp corn starch
Fresh lemon juice
Pie crust

Make and prepare your favorite pie crust for filling.

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples, putting them in a bowl. Try to do this quickly, squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice on them as you go, to keep them from browning.

Mix 4 tablespoons raw sugar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice with the apple slices, gently tossing with your hands. Make sure the sugar and cornstarch are spread relatively evenly among the slices.

Once pie crust is ready for filling, arrange apple slices in the crust, making sure there aren't big pockets of air. I usually sprinkle an extra pinch of cinnamon and corn starch over the apples once they're placed in the crust. 

In a skillet, melt the butter, rest of the sugar, flour, milk and cinnamon. Whisk or stir with a silicon spatula. Bring to a soft boil, then add the sliced almonds, mixing until they're completely coated. Let mixture bubble for a minute until it's no longer gritty from the sugar. Be careful not to let it get too thick and sticky - it shouldn't be completely caramelized. While it's warm, pour mixture over apples, and work quickly to arrange it so almonds are touching as close to the edge of the pie crust as possible.*

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie so that the almond topping doesn't burn. Serve as desired, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a cup of coffee, or both.

*Sometimes when I make this recipe, the almond mixture isn't enough to coat the entire pie. In this case, just add a bit more butter, sugar and almonds to the skillet, repeating the process until you feel you have enough topping.