Last night was the perfect kind of dreary night to bake cookies like these.
It rained all day, and with it came that familiar dismal chill that has you yearning for warm blankets and cosy cafés, or perhaps an indulgent treat.
These salty chocolate chip cookies go well with days like that; they sweeten the day, making it feel a little brighter.
I’ve made a few batches of these cookies in the last little while and I like them – they’re unfussy and simple to make. They come out chewy, soft and crisp around the edges, and deeply chocolatey with the perfect balance of sweet and salty. They’re lovely for teatime, to share with friends or bring on a road trip.
And so ends our winter that never really felt like winter.
I told a friend the other day that the only thing I liked about this winter was the abundance of blood oranges.
I feel like I say this to anyone who asks about the weather, when in fact it isn’t true.
Our winter wasn’t terrible, it was actually pretty nice and warm, except there’s nothing wintry about that, and I’m afraid nature will probably wreck its revenge with a summer of wildfires and drought.
But let’s get back to those blood oranges, maybe I wasn’t paying attention but I don’t recall having this much blood oranges last year. We’ve gotten bags and bags full of them this season. We love them in cakes, cocktails, dressing, muffins, but mostly we just snack on them.
I’ve been searching for savoury citrus recipes and my friend suggested roasting them and I was like, “why not?”
I love the simplicity of roasted vegetables, especially hearty potatoes, toss in some carrots and onions and you have yourself a beautiful side to go with any meal.
I used to think I was a picky eater but it turns out I’m more of a visual eater, drawn to vibrant wholesome foods that is also tasty, so this roasted vegetables with blood oranges is just perfect.
The vegetables are coated in blood orange juice, coconut oil, lots of garlic with herbs and spices.
I’ve tested several seasonings but I always go back to the coconut oil and garlic pairing, the citrus gives it a nice rounded pop of flavour.
Last spring we took a scenic 8 hour train ride from Vancouver to Portland for a long weekend getaway.
We stayed at the Heathman Hotel and had breakfast at the restaurant downstairs in the mornings.
See, long before all this Fifty Shades of Grey craze, I read a moving essay in an old travel magazine about the hotel that made me want to have brunch there badly.
The story was about deeply estranged family, a dying matriarch and the Sunday brunches at the historic hotel that eventually bring them together.
Maybe it’s due to my family dynamics but that article has stayed with me for over a decade; although it’ll be interesting to go back and read it now that I’m in a different place in my life.
Rice and lentils make such a perfect pair. It’s become my go-to comfort food because it’s easy, nutritious and deeply satisfying.
We make it at home all the time, variations of it… not really based on a specific recipe, but using the mejadra recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook as a general guide.
When we have the time and desire, we make the fried onions just like in the cookbook, piling it atop the rice and lentils, sweet and caramelized, giving it rich flavourful depth.
We even make rice and lentils when we aren’t home; we made this quick and dirty version a few months back while on vacation, it’s so fast and simple we’ve incorporated it into our dinner routine for those rushed weeknights.
I’m not exactly sure how this happened, except I found myself clutching a sack of coconut flour at the checkout line at Costco a few months ago. I’d only gone there to get paper towels.
The cashier smirked when he scanned the flour and asked if I was doing the ‘paleo thing’. I smiled politely and later, on the ride home I mumbled something about stereotypes…
Unsure of how to use it, the coconut flour sat on my dining table for a little while; my mom would look at curiously from time to time, and after a while she stopped asking what it was for.
Most of the coconut flour recipes I found online were cumbersome and involved a lot of eggs or egg-replacers.
Coconut flour is ground from dried coconut meat, the flour is dry and with a grainy texture, and has a sweet nutty taste that reminds me of corn nuts.
It’s a good source of protein; high in fibre and low in digestible carbs, it’s a suitable alternative to wheat and other grain flours. It’s also gluten free which makes it ideal for those with gluten intolerance.
And yes, it features in a lot of paleo recipes because it’s both gluten and grain free.