I’m a terrible gardener. But people tend to think of me as the green-thumb type because I work with food. And I suppose a lot of food people are green thumb people, but I am certainly not one of those people. I think it all comes down to a general dislike of yardwork. I love being outside but weeding is not my idea of a good time. But what makes weeding better? Cooking something slowly and lazily on the BBQ while you work. Something like these Beer-Braised Chicken Tostadas with Schmaltzy Refried Beans. Oh! And a cold beer reward certainly doesn’t hurt.
Once upon a time, I ate a really good taco. And 10 years later it continues to live rent-free in my mind. It was a tri-tip taco and I was in San Diego, California. It’s funny, I don’t remember the specifics of the taco. All I remember is the quality of the corn tortilla, and the meat. That meat was so tender, smokey, and flavorful – I just could not handle it. So you can imagine my disappointment when I realized tri-tip was far from common here in Canada. Thankfully, in the intervening years, tri-tip has become easier to find here in Toronto. So without further ado, I present my attempt to recreate a beloved food memory with these Tri-Tip Tacos with Chipolte Peanut Sauce.
Veggie burgers can be a feat of culinary engineering. Protein powerhouses packed with every legume, lentil, and grain imaginable bound by egg or flaxseed meal or chickpea flour. But no matter how overthought and/or over-seasoned a veggie burger is, it’s still a source of stress the moment it hits the pan. Will the cooking oil interrupt its carefully thought-out structural integrity? What if it crumbles the instant I approach it with a spatula? Will I keep it together? In every instance, there’s a 50/50 chance it will and you won’t. But there are veggie burgers that are simple. Veggie burgers that stay together because of nature’s intelligent design. And these burgers are these Portobello Cheese Burgers with Grilled Radicchio.
I’m two weeks deep into my fully vaccinated life and I’m starting to feel the rush of familiarity. I ate on a patio this past Monday and I just booked my tickets home at long last. The everyday joys of my pre-pandemic life are creeping back in. And bigger ticket items, like travel, are no longer flights of fancy – pun very much intended. So in honor of my approaching return to Nova Scotia, I present this plate inspired by my beloved home province – Molasses Glazed Pork Chops with Fava and Fingerling Hodge-Podge.