Pozole Rojo & Chinese-style Slow Roasted Pork Neck Bones

Pork neck bones are one of the last bastions of economy cuts available on the market. Once popularity in the restaurant marketplace hits, prices skyrocket and availability wanes. Lamb // read more

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Adding Creativity to Handmade Corn Tortillas

Pressing out handmade corn tortillas is a must-do when I'm teaching Mexican cooking classes. It adds a hands-on element to the class, brings the students together and gives them confidence // read more

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Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros is one of those dishes that appears more often on Canadian menus than those in Mexico. It comes in all sorts of styles, eggs on top of corn or flour tortillas, garnished // read more

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Chayote and Apple Salad with Pomegranates in a Jalapeno-Lime Vinaigrette

Cabbage is quickly losing its appeal around here. Spring is in the air and I'm getting itchy for spring greens. I gave our local cabbage a fair shake for the last two months, consuming it // read more

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Chile Colorado with Chicken and Vegetables

Like the next gal, I'm quite happy purchasing locally grown food, especially meats, and I make a concerted effort to seek it out.  With only a few abattoirs on Vancouver Island, buying // read more

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Blueberry Muffins or Any Berry Muffins for That Matter

I've been on a baking jag again. Always seem to happen during the winter months when the weather is nasty and staying indoors is the most sensible option. I've ripped through a couple of // read more

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Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup

There is no shortage of winter's harvest here on Vancouver Island. Hearty root vegetables,cabbage and kale are still readily available at our local farm markets, and squash with its tough // read more

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A 3-Chile Salsa with Oaxacan Smokiness

"Oaxaca loves smoky flavours," says Pilar Cabrera, "roasted tomatillos, mezcal, desserts of leche quemada." She is also referring to the smoked chile pasilla de Oaxaca, an ingredient being // read more

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Variations on a Moroccan-Inspired Marinade

Recipes are often mere springboards when faced with limited or minimal ingredients in the kitchen. With any luck, new dishes can be created that might even be better than the original. // read more

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The Cookie Chronicles – A Basic Recipe to Begin

Spending time over the years on various online food forums, I've met a lot of people with names such as Canucklehead, Little Frog, Viola de Gamba, Moosh, TFA, Sushi Cat, and other such // read more

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Corn Flake-Crusted Fish with Tomatillo Sauce

  Taking cues from the tomatillo sauce from my previous post, and a Rick Bayless recipe for corn flake-crusted fish, I combined the two to create a delicious dinner. Both versions // read more

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Easy & Versatile Tomatillo Sauce

The tomatillo, a member of the gooseberry family, is distinguished by its papery husk, and is a staple of the Mexican kitchen. They're readily available - mostly - and the fall harvest is // read more

Pumpkin Pie Season

In spite of the extended sunshine and near drought conditions we've been experiencing, the Saanich farmlands are dotted with orange right on time. Pumpkin season is upon us. While canned // read more

In Pursuit of Purslane

Purslane, aka verdolagas in Spanish, is a delicious wild edible, a ground creeper and hugely underutilized where I live in Victoria. Succulent and tart with a flavour similar to cactus // read more

Mixiote. Gift of the Maguey

Through many trips south of the border and the many cookbooks on my shelves, Mexico continues to deliver the delicious and the exotic and never ceases to pique my curiosity. A market is // read more

Pancakes – It’s What’s for Breakfast

Pancakes should be delicate, not leaden. You can best achieve this with beaten eggs whites folded in to the mix, to lighten them up. The milk required can be substituted with buttermilk or // read more

Chintextle Sauteed Mushrooms

Chintextle, or chintestle, is a savoury chile paste hailing from Oaxaca, a state known for its distinct culinary riches. The paste, made with the smoked chile pasilla of Oaxaca, or // read more

Carrot-Almond Torte

In Victoria, snow makes us kind of giddy. People tend to smile more and greet strangers on the street. Small independent businesses have shuttered early, with notices such as, "We're off to // read more

Free the Brussels Sprout

It's time to loosen up the baby cabbage from its tightly bound confines. For years it's been served whole after being boiled to a dull green, a sad specimen associated with many a family // read more

Enchiladas with Chicken and an Ancho-Tomato Salsa

Enchiladas, a dish of stuffed and rolled tortillas bathed in a chile sauce, has many permutations. At its most trashy, it contains an overdose of cheap gooey cheeses and is laden with salts // read more

Xiao Long Bao The Soup Dumpling

"We handcraft food for your tastebuds," reads the business card of Dinesty Chinese Restaurant in Richmond. I'm here as a lunch guest of Rae Kung who insisted that I taste what is her // read more

New Culinary Horizons: Vancouver’s Chinese Cuisine

The curious palate needs to be fed. And what better way to excite and educate it than to wade in to the deep delicious waters of Chinese cuisine. This vast pool encompasses the complex and // read more

Oaxaca’s Smoked Chile Pasilla stuffed with Peaches, Ricotta and Walnuts

Summer came and went far too fast. And by the time I caught up with its crazy fast pace, it was gone, but I still had designs on a few summer recipes I did not want to let pass. Case in // read more

Recent Dishes Savoured: On The Road in Washington & Oregon

A road trip is remiss without roadside attractions. Besides the taco truck parked right across the street, this was Umatilla's redeeming feature in the arid landscape. I do believe this is // read more

Be Obscure Clearly. Waitsburg, Washington

We'll travel great distances for the perfect meal. Or a well-crafted cocktail. We'll fight our way through intense traffic, traversing great distances, getting lost en route, all the while // read more

Spice-Roasted Chicken

Isn't evolution wonderful? Not the fact that we're now walking upright and the hairiness has abated - waxing keeps my eyebrows in check! - but the way a recipe can morph and adapt to suit a // read more

Risotto with Young Fava Beans, Spot Prawns and Lemon

Every year my enthusiasm and anticipation of the yearly garden starts the same. Trips for sea soil, digging out the compost, buying seeds and mapping out where the plants should go for // read more

Roasted Jalapenos stuffed with Mint and Two Cheeses

Once you get the hang of roasting and cleaning jalapenos, this appetizer dish, stuffed with goat and cream cheeses, and brightly flavoured with mint, is a hands down winner. Roasting a // read more

Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca – Version Two

The smoked chile pasilla de Oaxaca, or chile Mixe ( pronounced, mee-hay) is unique to the state of Oaxaca. It imparts a fiery, smokey flavour to salsas, chiles rellenos, and vinegary // read more

Candied Jalapenos

Not only for salsas or roasted and stuffed with cheese, jalapenos can also be used for purposes of a sweet nature. Washed and dried, stemmed, seeded with the inner white membrane // read more

Spaghetti Aglio,Olio e Peperoncino (Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chiles)

On the Amalfi coast, everyday provided another exciting round of flavours and sights. Lemons, the size of grapefruits were everywhere. The fresh leaves were used to wrap ingredients, // read more

Black Beans and Sweet Memories of Travel

Top: dried avocado leaves, right: toasted ground black beans and left: ground avocado leaves It was quiet that morning except for what sounded like a beaded curtain blowing in the // read more

Chicken Estofado, A Oaxacan Version

In Mexico, and more specifically, Oaxaca, moles play an important part in the country's culinary repertoire. In Canada, we only see moles, usually red, and made with the addition of // read more

Eating Local in Puerto Escondido

I spend most mornings in Puerto Escondido picking up fresh provisions from the local Benito Juarez market. The produce is perfectly arranged in tidy piles, or tied into bundles, and is of // read more

Chilaquiles Rojos with Huevos Revueltos

Coaxing nourishment and deliciousness out of what's leftover in the fridge can be either daunting or inspiring depending what the ingredients are and your mood at the time. Feeling a tad // read more

A Taco Party Vegetarian-Style

When meat's not your thing, you can pull together a rather tasty display of vegetarian fare without relying on soy nuggets or other aberrations of nature. You won't even miss the carne. // read more

Xoco – Chicago

Xoco is the newest restaurant from chef and Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, co-owner of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill. The casual eatery draws inspiration from Mexican street food, but // read more

Taxim – Chicago

Greek restaurant. You know the stereotype.Those perfectly turned potatoes - I believe they come like that in a bag. The perfect rice - is that Uncle Bens? The classic salad made with // read more

Breakfast of Champions – Hot Doug’s

10:30 in the morning seemed unusually early to seek out duck fat fries, but I'm not alone. Fridays and Saturdays only, Hot Doug's serves up quack fries along with an unusual and // read more

Raising the Bar – Chicago

The stars of the bars have been found. Sable, at the new Palomar Hotel does not disappoint. An ace staff overseen by executive bartender Mike Ryan runs a tight ship, shaking and // read more

Margie’s – Sweet in Chicago

With its classic neon signage, Margie's provides a glimpse into real Chicagoland. Set on a corner in the Bucktown neighbourhood, families and friends gather for sundaes and shakes at // read more

Lowering the Bar – Chicago

Two nights in we have yet to find the ultimate cocktail bar. One that makes a White Lady, a Sazerac or other classic libation with ease and quality spirits. Sometimes you can't always get // read more

Chicago – Tastes in the City that Works

I'm in the city that works, as they deem it. Chicago. I'm digging the architecture and digging into the food. Enjoyed Sunday brunch today at one of James Beard award-winning chef Paul // read more

Patacones aka Deep Fried Plantains – Costa Rica

A popular coastal Costa Rican snack is the patacone (plural patacones). You may know them by their English name, deep fried plantain. Why is it that anything deep fried is so // read more

Picadillo con Papaya Verde – Costa Rica

I recently experienced a 5-day whirlwind tour of Costa Rica, land of coffee, bananas and eco-tourism. Digging beneath the country's breathtaking beauty - damn near impossible, believe me! // read more

Summer Cocktails with Hibiscus Flowers. Queso Fundido & Grilled Marinated Chicken

Big glass jars and icy pitchers of agua de jamaica are a common site throughout Mexico. Classified under the agua fresca umbrella, this refreshing beverage is made from dried hibiscus // read more

Stuffed Chilie Pasilla de Oaxaca with Cheese

Although deemed a regional dish, I can't recall ever eating it in its stuffed form all the years I've been going to Oaxaca, Mexico. (See note below). I first came across it in Diana // read more

Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca, Chiles Cooked in Ash

With a bag of ash from Teotitlan del Valle and a bag of smoked chilie pasilla de Oaxaca, I'm picking up where I left off in December. The smoked chilie pasilla is a unique chile in // read more

Ginger & Salt, RIffs on a Simply Spectacular Condiment

Two dishes have come into my scope that riff on the Ginger and Salt treatment from a few weeks back. While my previous post finds ginger, green onions, oil and salt used as a dipping // read more

Fragrant and Hot Spare Ribs – More Asian Flavours

With the success of steamed spare ribs with black beans and chilies from Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, I found another, slightly more complex recipe for ribs earlier in // read more

Pork with Jalapenos and Cilantro

Ground pork shoulder meets chopped jalapenos and cilantro for a bright and juicy recipe that's brilliant as a sausage stuffing, but  equally brilliant as a meatloaf when time is // read more

Ginger, Salt and Oil, a Perfect Condiment for Steamed Fish

The story goes something like this: When Mark Bittman hung out more in Vancouver - because he was/is jazzed about the outstanding selection of Asian cuisine - he happened upon a simply // read more

Chilie Tuxta on a Sunday Afternoon. Salsa Class

A recent chat about Mexican cookbooks had me hankering for a taste of Mexico. What better way than to start cooking those culinary souvenirs from a recent trip. The tiny chilie tuxta, // read more

Pecan Pie

I nailed it! After years of tinkering with this dough and that filling, I've struck recipe gold. Hah! The dough stayed fluted - in its rustic way - and the filling set up nicely. // read more

Tortilla Soup with Mexican Condiments

Like the beet and cabbage borschts of Eastern Europe and the minestrones of Italy, Mexico's tortilla soup is a simple nourishing broth made from readily available ingredients. Tomatoes, // read more

I survived Momofuku’s Crack Pie

It's all your fault Momofuku! Manhattan's Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar has taken the U.S. by the sweet tooth with Crack Pie, a cheeky name given to their riff on the Chess pie, a simple // read more

Empanadas – a Doughy Exploration

Like the Chinese dumpling, the perogy, the samosa and Cornish pasty, the empanada has many global cousins, each delicious morsels, all wrapped up inside a half moon shape of dough made from // read more

Medieval Reminiscence

More wine, wench! This was the drunken cry that hounded me every weekend for two years at the Medieval Inn. It was the 1970s and this was my first official job in the service industry. I // read more

Oaxacan-Inspired Pork and Chilie Soup

I call it a culinary haunting. Ever since the Christmas comida we enjoyed at La Capilla, I can't shake the thought of the soup we had as a first course. Slow cooked in a pit with the goat's // read more

Let Them Eat Potato Cakes (Making Tortitas de Papa)

A popular snack found at fondas and street food stalls throughout Mexico, potato cakes or tortitas de papa, are wonderful on their own - as any potato-based snack is - or gussied up with // read more

Project Tongue

There's a first time for everything and it was time to cook tongue. Like any first timer I turned to books and acquaintances for guidance. "My mother always made tongue," is the common // read more

Garlic Chicken

It's time to get back into the kitchen. This simple preparation for chicken legs and thighs is something you can throw together last minute or even with some notice to let the flavours - // read more

Veracruz Highlights

Imagine an evening sipping cubas or margaritas and having the strange and wonderful unfold before your eyes. Ten years ago in the zocalo of Veracruz city, we were visited by opera singers, // read more

Mole in Xico

After reading the chapter on Veracruz in Diana Kennedy's book My Mexico we went in search of the recommended mole de Xico, a sweet mole redolent with nuts, fruit and chocolate. Xico // read more

My Culinary Souvenirs

Rest assured that I will never be sporting a tank top with CABO emblazoned on the front. Nor will I wear a straw hat with a band around it announcing Puerto Vallarta. My holiday // read more

Zaachila for Christmas

Christmas Day in Oaxaca was once again spent with friends gathered at a long table at La Capilla. We'll be dining on goat barbecue, a welcome alternative to turkey any day. Okay, I lie. I // read more

Making a Pipian. A Few Helpful Pointers

"Pipian is the orphan of the mole family, " says Mary Jane Gagnier co-owner of Rancho Pitaya. "It rarely gets served in restaurants, or talked about." I can see why. Pipian // read more

Tamal Making in Teotitlan del Valle

With stunning views of the Sierra Madres in the distance, I was about to learn the art of tamale making in Teotitlan del Valle, a short distance from the city of Oaxaca, // read more

Salsa Masterclass with Smoke and Ash

Casa Sagrada  sits atop the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle. Located 25 km (15 miles) southeast of Oaxaca city, the village is not only renowned for its colourful and intricate // read more

Favourite Oaxacan Antojitos

Antojitos. Bocaditas. Snacks. However you want to call them, a stay in Oaxaca city is never complete without hitting a few places for my favourites. The zocalo, a restful place shaded by // read more

Sojourn by Horseback in Rojas de Cuauhtemoc

A great way to experience the Oaxaca countryside is by horseback. Mary Jane Gagnier and her team of horses offer excursions onto trails less travelled for newbies and experienced riders // read more

Welcome to the Grilled Meats, Oaxaca City

The sign above the entrance reads, Bienvenidos a las Carnes Asadas. You can't miss this long hallway off the Viente de Noviembre market in Oaxaca. It's filled with smoke, with fires // read more

Locavoracious in Mexico

What better way to find the soul of a place than to eat the local specialities of the region? The open air markets of Mexico hold the key.In Puerto Escondido, villagers come down from the // read more

El Pantero Strikes Again

Everyday around noon, El Pantero emerges from the water in front of Playa Carrizalillo with a sack of freshly picked oysters. Nicknamed The Panther for his lean physique and black wetsuit // read more

Devouring Puebla

Puebla, a two-hour drive from Mexico city, is smaller in scale and known for its colonial buildings and ornate tile work. Wandering the cobblestone sidewalks, there is always something // read more

Ricardo Munoz and Azul y Oro in Mexico City

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is blessed with one of the best restaurants in the city, if not the country. Azul y Oro, a 200-seat restaurant housed in the Centro // read more

Mole Amarillo – Not the one with chocolate!

Fall and winter are perfect seasons to make moles. These renowned labour-intensive stews of Mexico, especially Oaxaca state, are slow-cooked, healing dishes infused with earthy chilies and // read more

Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad

Yes, you heard right. Driven by a desire for challenge, a way to shake up the same old culinary routine, I decided to wade into the shallow end of what U.K. chef Fergus Henderson has made // read more

Wicked Butter Tarts

You have been forewarned.   Short-Crust Pastry (You might have your own recipe, but this number works for both sweet and savoury dishes) 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour 1 tsp. // read more

Salmon Wrapped in Fig Leaves

Fig leaves, under-utilized, unlike their kin, fennel pollen and dill flower heads, impart a subtle figgy aroma to ingredients like salmon or goat cheese when wrapped and baked. I happen // read more

Albondigas en Chipotle

Good 'ole meatballs. A 1001 variations, tasty little morsels all. Translated to the Mexican table, albondigas (Spanish for meatball) are a national standby, appearing regularly on comida // read more

Salsa Macha

Not for sissies.According to my notes, this earthy salsa macha hails from Central Veracruz. Toast 20 - 24 chiles de arbol, stemmed. Careful not to burn. I use a root brush for scooting the // read more

Green Goddess Dressing

One of my favourite salad dressings of summer. Green Goddess. She's a lovely accompaniment with fresh crab over greens and tomatoes. She livens up an artichoke and is a natural with big // read more

Mezcal and a Meal in Matatlan

Don Renaldo and the Guttierez family are Oaxacan artisan mezcal makers and gifted cooks. We dropped in one afternoon for a tasting and to partake in a special meal. Unfortunately, we missed // read more

Dining in the Clouds/Sunday’s Special in the Sierra Juarez

Sunday is the day that Doña Leecha makes criollo potato and corn tortillas. Her restaurant Casa Piedra located at Rancho Benito Juarez in Oaxaca is located at a breathtaking 10,000 // read more

A Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear AKA Anthony and Me

The claim, reminiscent of those ads in the back of comic books, seemed to be speaking just to me. It read, "Bask in the moral certainty that you are the baddest-ass king hell, fearless // read more