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Cherry Pan Dowdy

The cherry pan dowdy

For whatever reason–time of day and topic are two guesses near the top of my list–some requests on Twitter get way more responses than others. When I asked for non-pie ideas of what to do with the Ontario cherries that are now in season I received a deluge of good answers.

Between the suggestions of Steve Wilson, Allison Slute, Eric Vellend, Ivy Knight, Sherry Stone, Tonya Facey, Gav Martell, Jennifer Bylok, Sarah Hood, Sheryl Kirby, and Kat Tagart my list of ideas were: Clafoutis, Cherries Jubilee, crepes, pavlova, panna cotta, black forest cake, cherry-chocolate ice cream, coffee cake, cobbler, cherry soup with slivered almonds, and cherry popsicles. It seems appropriate to save the cherries jubilee for next year and while clafoutis did receive an impressive level of support (I made a winter version here) I decided to overrule the voters and stick with one of my initial inclinations: pan dowdy.

Pan dowdy (it is just as acceptable to spell it “pandowdy” but that causes the annoying red, squiggly line to appear in my editor so I’m sticking to the two-word spelling) is a rustic dessert that is baked in a cast iron pan (versus a pie plate) and only has a top crust that is broken partway through cooking so that some of the cherry juices soak through. It’s a lot like the skillet pie that I posted about here almost two years ago. As will become obvious from reading the recipe’s steps thsi is an exceedingly rustic preparation. (more…)

Strawberry Comparison

Reading about most of the email conversations I have with PR reps would make your eyes bleed from boredom. They have a product they want bloggers to write about and because most of them are well outside the purview of this blog I politely decline. Sometimes I elaborate a bit more about why I won’t be covering the product they represent and this usually leads to a brief back-and-forth.

I had one of these more in-depth conversations with someone at Harbinger Communications who represents California Strawberries. From this I promised to compare Ontario strawberries to the ones from the golden state as soon as our came in season.

Ontario farmers have planted long-bearing strains of strawberries so that the season now extends through August and into the start of September. With more time to work with this can just be considered a first test, to be repeated more formally in the near future. I’m still working out the kinks in the methodology so don’t take any of these results as final or necessarily objective. (more…)

Winter Clafouti

Straight out the oven the clafouti is golden brown and puffed but will fall when cool

I can’t be the only who spent all summer putting fruit and vegetables in jars and now begins to wonder what to do with all of these preserves. Holiday sharing helped take a bite out of the surplus but there is still a ways to go and I’m tired of hearing about how well it all works with ice cream.

I called a 250 ml jar of my strawberries in syrup and the heel of a jar of balsamic cherries into service to make the clafouti recipe from the Earth to Table cookbook. (more…)

Apple Ginger Cookies

I like Thanksgiving and all the traditions that go with it.  The one exception might be that pumpkin pie really isn’t my favourite dessert.  Once a year isn’t really enough frequency to complain about this seriously but it always just seems to be the same.  I challenged tradition this year by making these Apple-Ginger cookies.  (We also had some excellent pumpkin pie that our neighbours brought.)

The base recipe I used is from and can be viewed by clicking here.  As my first modification I axed the nuts.  Almost always with cookies (and especially with brownies) I feel that nuts are an unwelcome distraction both from a taste and textural standpoint.  I didn’t have any raisins on hand so they went too but weren’t really missed–might include them next time.

The recipe calls for finely dicing the apples and cooking them for ten minutes.  Grating always seems easier with something like that so that’s the route I took and cooked the apples much longer on very low heat.  This gave me an intensely-flavoured candied apple compote of sorts.  I can see apple sauce or even better apple butter working just as well.


Foodbuzz 24X24: Terry Fox

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My memories of school assemblies from my early years are a blur of secularised holiday celebrations and faux cool jingles designed to keep us from doing drugs.  Not very influential with one glaring exception.  I remember being blown away by the story of Terry Fox a twenty-one year-old Canadian who set out to raise a million dollars for cancer research by running across the country.  Terry had been diagnosed with bone cancer in his knee, undergone chemotherapy and had his right leg amputated.  Images of Terry running, with his artificial leg, along remote and lonely stretches of the Trans Canada Highway are I think a fairly universal early memory for Canadians of my generation.

I have spent much of this summer building a wood-fired oven with my family at the cottage and since this year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Marathon of Hope it seemed appropriate to mark this occasion by cooking a meal in the oven.  The September Foodbuzz 24X24 is special because it is dedicated to raising funds for ovarian cancer research and I was happy to have my proposal to write about a meal honouring the Marathon of Hope accepted.  Throughout its course the Marathon of Hope was about connecting with the small communities and individuals across Canada and I hope that by cooking a meal (with the help of family and friends) which represents the culinary traditions of these people and places I can honour this memory in my own way.

I can’t complain too loudly about how cliched the description has become because I have written it more times than I want to count but this summer has been a remarkably hot and sunny one. Unfortunately, August’s weather rarely influences September’s and for the day of the big meal we had stronger winds than anyone could remember for Labour Day weekend.  When building the oven we were careful to face it away from prevailing winds but I still had some difficulty getting the oven lit on Saturday.  In a world of electric ovens with digital controls it’s difficult to imagine the havoc caused by 30 km/h winds when cooking in an outside brick oven but now I understand.

On April 12, 1980 Terry started his journey across the country at the Atlantic coast near St. John’s, Newfoundland.  His course took him through all four of Canada’s maritime provinces and these early stages were filled with the challenges of running a marathon every day in what can often be wintry weather in April.  He was supported by his brother and his best friend and was I’m sure buoyed by the isolated recognition and public support he received along this part of the route. (more…)