Thursday, January 3, 2013

happy things in the new year

I returned home in the morning on New Year's Day.

As I carefully lugged my bulging suitcase – full of imported B.C. wine  up the front steps and into the house, I was happy to be back.

The sun streamed in and I looked fondly on my Christmas decorations and the shiny new pot my favourite husband had given me for Christmas.

And I went back into my favourite part of this house: the kitchen.

First, I made those Ottolenghi spice cookies* I'd been drooling over for the past month.

They are divine. I don't think an hour goes by when I don't think about them. Currants bathed in brandy, rough bits of dark chocolate in a dense, spicy dough with a slathering of lemon glaze . . . it doesn't get much better than this. I am attempting to limit myself to two a day. But I might break.

Then, while the tomatoes were roasting for this deep and dark soup, I tried making pan de yuca. These are Colombian cheese buns that are made with tapioca starch and queso fresco.

Edmonton is not exactly a Latin food mecca, so I had to sub in mild feta instead of the queso fresco. But  no hay problema!  they came out soft and salty and perfect for dipping in the soup.

So that was one dinner. The next night, I knew I was dining alone, so I went kind of crazy and bought barley! With gluten in it! Wild times, I know.

I've been thinking about barley risotto ever since I ate it almost a year ago at the Twisted Fork in Vancouver. It was creamy and cheesy and the barley had such a nice bite . . .

After a bit of searching, I found this recipe for Meyer Lemon Risotto with barley. I adapted it a bit  with a regular lemon, asiago cheese and no greens or nuts  and it was just exactly what I hoped for. (This might make me live on the wild side a bit more often.)

Because the risotto was enough work, I wanted to cheat and only make one vegetable for the side. A fat head of cauliflower stared at me from the fridge, and I found this recipe for roasting it with olive oil, lemon, garlic and parmesan.

By the time the cauliflower had baked up golden with singed brown tips, it was perfect with my barley risotto. Of course, this kind of dinner called for good wine, and I had a glass of one of my favourite wines in the whole world.

For dessert, I ate a slice of chocolate cheesecake that my mom sent home with me.

I am now living on leftovers and am one very happy girl come mealtime.

2013, I feel good about you so far.

one year ago: glory bowl
two years ago: naomi's granola
three years ago: shortbread in january

*I adapted the spice cookies to be gluten-free. Let me know if you'd like my GF flour substitutions.

P.S. My husband kidnapped the camera. If the ransom goes through, I expect it will be back tomorrow. The pictures on this post are from our stay in Ucluelet this summer. But isn't there some lucky omen to starting the new year with shells?


  1. I'm happy that you tried the "Pandeyucas" and it is great to know that you adapted the recipe to the limited Latin resources on your area... I do the same! ... Cheers from the island!

  2. Gracias for the good idea! I made them again and took pictures . . . hoping to put up a post about them very soon!