good reads | 27

creative mason jar wedding ideas

I love a thoughtful link roundup as a way to discover the fantastic writing others are reading and sharing online. Here are my good reads from the week that was.

Good Reads

I’d be very happy to never again see another ribbon-wrapped mason jar at a wedding, but if you must. 

My wife found my email in the Ashley Madison database. (Salacious headline aside, this article is actually just excellent long-form about online identities.)

At once heartbreaking and beautiful. 

What two religions can tell us about the modern dating crisis.

“One of our modern challenges is finding a balanced relationship with media and cultural reporting—too little, and you’re out of the loop; too much, and you hate everything.” A thoughtful take on the interplay of food and culture.

Other Roundups to Love

Molly Yeh’s Friday Links (updated Fridays)

Fathom’s Links We Love (updated Saturdays)

A Practical Wedding’s Happy Hour (updated Fridays)

Elise Blaha Cripe’s Weekend Links (updated Saturdays)

101 Cookbooks’ Favorites List (last updated: 2015/08/08)

[lead image: Dana Wulfekotte]

Good Reads on Some Infinite Thing is updated every Friday (or Saturday) morning.

august, currently

the beaches torontoSomething about dipping my toes into the final days of August makes me wish life would slow down, just a little. August brings Toronto’s most beautiful weather — resplendently sunny and warm and begging you to spend every spare minute outdoors. I find myself holding my breath, asking summer to last just a little longer before we’re consumed with back to school and fall clothes and an annual apple deluge and pumpkin-flavoured everything.

Through the years, I’ve become better at living right now, versus contemplating what’s up next. And when the days are so full, it makes me wish for another lazy summer Saturday with my husband, one more sweet long night on the back deck, a little more time for sky-on-fire walks in the Beaches.

This summer has, by any measure, been frenetic. We bought a house (!), spent a month in Europe, closed on said house, moved in a week later, traveled stateside for a wedding and are finally back in the city. In between, work has offered both of us a whirlwind of projects — the kind of late nights that make me happy (and thankful) that Austin and I both love what we do. We have cooked — abundantly — relishing every last vegetable in our overflowing CSA basket: corn a dozen ways, summer pastas, salads (and salads and salads and more salads), all the plums and blistery grilled everything.

Yet it’s crazy to think that we have barely enjoyed Toronto — in all her summer splendor — this year. So, August, hear me out. Please slow down. For your fleshy tomatoes and blazing days and cold rosé and beachy afternoons and island picnics and worn-in leather sandals and drippy waffle cones and lingering weekends and messy hair and barbecued corn and hazy nights, I need a little time.

good reads | 26

kintsugi-japanese-joineryI love a thoughtful link roundup as a way to discover the fantastic writing others are reading and sharing online. Here are my good reads from the week that was.

Good Reads

“And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.

The 500-year-old Japanese art of kintsugi, or “golden joinery.”

Can we stop with the value-laden labels on food products? Guilty pleasure, sinful, indulgent, decadent, naughty. Nope, just food. No need to apologize for or justify what we choose to eat out of guilt.

(Really deep) down the rabbit hole of (relatively harmless) online stalking. 

A brilliant parody of academic papers and cultural criticism. 

Long form: A couple days ago, my brother-in-law asked a simple but illuminating question on Facebook — what’s your favourite book? I can never pick just one, so I offered three: something heavy, something light and something true. My non-fiction pick was Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal. It prompted my re-reading of her book and a reminder why she’s such a fixture on my bookshelf. Part M.F.K. Fisher brilliance, part instruction manual — this is a bible, guide and gentle rally cry for feeding ourselves kindly.

Other Roundups to Love

Molly Yeh’s Friday Links (updated Fridays)

Fathom’s Links We Love (updated Saturdays)

A Practical Wedding’s Happy Hour (updated Fridays)

Elise Blaha Cripe’s Weekend Links (updated Saturdays)

101 Cookbooks’ Favorites List (last updated: 2015/08/08)

[lead image: an example of kintsugi]

Good Reads on Some Infinite Thing is updated every Friday (or Saturday) morning.

four recipes for plum season

plum streusel oatmeal muffinsWhen someone learns I love to cook (and spend many of my free hours in the kitchen) the inevitable next question is: “cook or baker?”

And my answer, surely and squarely, is — cook. Savoury cooking is my first and best love. I grew up in a professional kitchen, cooked dinner with my mom from the time I could hold a spoon, and got my first chef’s knife from my dad when I was still in high school (probably not the Christmas gift requested by most teenagers) — a beautiful Shun that’s still part of my collection.

Baking has always been tangential to my kitchen pursuits. I love exactitude in most realms, but in the kitchen, I prefer conceiving and adapting and the ad hoc nature of it all — something less possible with the rigidity of baked goods. There was a time, when I was younger, when I believed recipes were only for people who didn’t instinctively know how to cook. I’ve since realized that’s nonsense — and use recipes all the time to guide my cooking — but still cook about 1000% more than I bake.

Occasionally though, and especially when summer fruit is calling, I brush off my dusty springforms and pie plates. This year, it’s been exacerbated by the move to our new house, with its dream kitchen of dream kitchens. No longer are my supplies sequestered in dark corners and appliances teetering three-high in the far reaches of a closet. I have counter space and cupboard space and an oven that reaches the temperature it says on its dial!

This, coupled with a truly spectacular plum season, has me reaching my point of satiation with baking. Should you find some spectacular summer plums in your possession and an itch to turn on the oven, here’s how I’ve been using the bushels that I keep carrying home from the market.

original plum torteOriginal Plum Torte from Marian Burros

The headnote for this recipe tells a hilarious story of its rabid fan base. And 164 (at time of publish) five-star reviews weren’t wrong. This easy little cake was lapped up by company: four of us, one cake, one evening. The base recipe would be brilliant with all manner of fruit through the seasons: blackberries, apples, peaches, sugared rhubarb or cranberries…

salted caramel early yellow plum cake

Salted Caramel Early Yellow Plum Snacking Cake

I riffed pretty closely on this recipe, just omitting the honey and baking in a 9″ square pan for easy slicing and snacking. I also used halved early yellow plums instead of sliced red plums, because that’s what I had on hand. This cake lasted barely a day in our house of two and sliced like a dream.

oatmeal streusel muffins with plumsOatmeal Streusel Muffins with Plums

Elegant but unfussy — perfect for baking and gifting to our darling neighbour, Susan, and her two Pomeranians. These were a mash-up of my favourite oatmeal muffin recipe (here’s a close version), this streusel topping (freeze the extra!) and half a plum tucked into each before baking.

plumbbqsaucePlum-Adobo Barbecue Sauce

Savoury wildcard! We received some beautiful baby back ribs in our CSA share this week and I serendipitously happened upon this recipe in a Better Homes & Gardens back-issue. The sauce — conceived by food blogger What’s Gabby Cooking — is sweet, tangy, smoky and totally addictive on the ribs and everything else.

We served it up as part of a weeknight southern cookout with friends: slow-smoked ribs, pork and beans, kale slaw, Austin’s soft white bread, homemade pickles and banana pudding. Another keeper barbecue sauce for our vast repertoire.

(photos: all my own)

good reads | 25

swanson near and farI love a thoughtful link roundup as a way to discover the fantastic writing others are reading and sharing online. Here are my good reads from the week that was.

Good Reads

The best (and most hilarious) description I’ve seen of Google’s new Alphabet. Scroll to the “ELIDrunk version” with all the Reddit gold.

Megyn Kelly’s politics are not my own, but in the wake of the first Republican debate, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by this January 2015 NYT feature piece about her fascinating past, smarts and meteoric rise.

Toronto, once again the world’s most livable place to be, work and play. Love my city.

So excited for these fall cookbook releases! (Especially this, this and this.)

Ayn Rand’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

I want to have lunch with Mike Melgaard. At Target. And offer him a job.

The Berenstein Bears, right?!

Long form: All of Michael Pollan’s books are on our shelves, but for some reason, I never got around to reading Cooked. Remedied this week. Like all of Pollan’s work, it’s well researched and revolves around a compelling central thesis: “What’s the one thing we can all do more of to save the food system?” “Cook our own food.”

Other Roundups to Love

Molly Yeh’s Friday Links (updated Fridays)

Fathom’s Links We Love (updated Saturdays)

A Practical Wedding’s Happy Hour (updated Fridays)

Elise Blaha Cripe’s Weekend Links (updated Saturdays)

101 Cookbooks’ Favorites List (last updated: 2015/08/08)

[lead image: from Sunday Suppers]

Good Reads on Some Infinite Thing is updated every Friday (or Saturday) morning.

good reads | 24

Closson Chasse VIneyardsI love a thoughtful link roundup as a way to discover the fantastic writing others are reading and sharing online. Here are my good reads from the week that was.

Good Reads

The Konmari method, reinvented. 

A thoughtful post about how to write a condolence note.

A few delicious summer drink ideas for these hazy August days.

Giant 3-D paintings of gummy bears. YES.

We traveled to Prince Edward County last week — an amazing Ontario wine region. I was stoked to see such a great feature story about PEC (complete with gallery) in this month’s issue of Food & Wine.

Long form: I ate up Jill Ciment’s latest, Act of Godin an evening earlier this week. A page-turner with brilliant, generously written characters. Loved it.

Other Roundups to Love

Molly Yeh’s Friday Links (updated Fridays)

Fathom’s Links We Love (updated Saturdays)

A Practical Wedding’s Happy Hour (updated Fridays)

Elise Blaha Cripe’s Weekend Links (updated Saturdays)

101 Cookbooks’ Favorites List (last updated: 2015/08/08)

[lead image: my own]

Good Reads on Some Infinite Thing is updated every Friday (or Saturday) morning.

good reads | 23

sad animal facts on instagram

I love a thoughtful link roundup as a way to discover the fantastic writing others are reading and sharing online. Here are my good reads from the week that was.

Good Reads

In the early years of food blogging (back when I ran a food blog) recipe testing was a big deal. I was loathe to put a recipe online unless I was sure it worked, it was replicable and (most importantly) it tasted good. I think most others used the same rigour. Even when we wrote our wedding cookbook — a little self-published ditty meant for a only few family members’ consumption — we rigorously tested the recipes, at least twice, and if possible in multiple kitchens. Today, as more people conceive, adapt and share recipes online, it’s hard to believe the same standards are being applied.

Mexico is a country I love, and love returning to. Ashley’s recent post about Mexico City’s Mercado La Merced has me dreaming up a return visit.

Poutine is not taking over the world. Sorry, Canada.

Synesthesia is a fascinating condition and one I’ve spent tons of time reading about. This doctor has mirror-touch synesthesia: forget empathy… he can physically feel what his patients are experiencing as he treats them. Incredible.

Sad Animal Facts has quickly become one of my favourite Instagram accounts.

Other Roundups to Love

Molly Yeh’s Friday Links (updated Fridays)

Fathom’s Links We Love (updated Saturdays)

A Practical Wedding’s Happy Hour (updated Fridays)

Elise Blaha Cripe’s Weekend Links (updated Saturdays)

101 Cookbooks’ Favorites List (updated infrequently, but excellent)

[lead image: from Sad Animal Facts on Instagram]

Good Reads on Some Infinite Thing is updated every Friday morning.