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Balcony Gardening

Dinosaur kale in our balcony garden. What a show-off.The one question about apartment gardening that I am asked more than any other is: what should I grow this year? Fair enough. My sort of obvious, kind of cop-out answer has always been: grow what you like to eat.

My expertise on small-space gardening was always a bit theoretical. I’ve grown tomatoes and a whole bunch of other things in a small garden at the cottage, but it’s really twice as big as some community-garden plots in downtown Toronto. Stretches the “small space” definition. This year though, we moved into a new place with a balcony, just in time to cultivate some plants that gave us food this summer and that made our apartment a more pleasant space.

Grilled Cheese for a Hangover

Kale with bacon makes the perfect filling for a grilled cheese sandwich on "one of those mornings."

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts is easily one of the most widely-recognised cookbooks of the last year. It won an IACP award, was nominated for a James Beard Book Award, and won the carefully-judged and competitive Piglet tournament. I cook from its recipes a couple times a month and hear people talk about it just as much. And when they do the recipe that comes up all the time is the Kale for a Hangover. (more…)

Kale Chips

This one’s for me. Usually before writing a post I pass an idea through a filter that asks how much use readers will get from it. Based on the flurry of responses to my Twitter request everyone (thanks Joel, Yasmin, and Bonita) else already knows how to make kale chips. For the remaining six of us (and the future me who will have forgotten) this post can act as a refresher.

Wash, dry, separate from stems, make bite size, dress with olive oil and salt, and bake for somewhere between ten and twenty minutes.  Clearly straightforward simplicity is why everyone loves making these things.

I’m adding a capsaicin twist by using Buster Rhino‘s habanero salt. Darryl’s a friend and gave me a bottle to sample so keep that in mind when I say that it’s among my favourite recent ingredient discoveries. Eggs, avocado, and popcorn (separately, most of the time) are all as close as my diet gets to having staples and are remarkably improving by this seasoning salt. Also, despite the name it’s not lid-blowing spicy. (more…)