It’s no secret that we love food, cooking and all things delicious. So when we heard that one of our favourite food bloggers, Smitten Kitchen, was writing a cookbook, we were pretty jazzed. An inspirational blogger, her recipes never fail to wow whether at a dinner party or cozy meal for two.
For those of you who are not familiar, Smitten Kitchen is a food blog written and photographed (beautifully) by Deb Perelman.
She creates all sorts of simple, delicious wonders in a tiny kitchen in NYC. She focuses on tweaking already existing recipes until they’re easy to re-create at home, as well as combining a bunch of techniques from other kitchen wizards (Martha Stewart and Ina Garten make frequent appearances). Deb usually sticks with familiar comfort foods, with a bit of a twist. Everything we’ve ever made from this site turns out. Impressive.
Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto: Made this simple pasta dish after a long day at work recently and whoa! Making pesto from broccoli is an amazing revelation, plus, this dinner is super easy. Leftovers in the office the next day elicited serious looks of envy.
There are so, so many more recipes we could post, but we recommend browsing the site and trying whatever strikes your fancy.
Deb is coming to Toronto on Friday, November 16 at the George Brown Chef School, to chat about her book and do some signings. Tickets are almost sold out, we hear – so grab ’em while they’re hot. See you there!
The same old grind of work, friends, sleep, do it all again can leave your brain a little under-used. Sometimes, we pine for the days of sitting in a university classroom learning and being challenged. We’ve realized that just because we’re all grown up doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new things in a formal way. In fact, since we can take classes just on a whim or to satisfy a certain curiosity, learning outside the structure of finishing a degree can be an amazing experience. From wine tasting to a new language, there’s a whole range of new skills to develop.
It’s highly doubtful that you learned about wine as a child, so now is the time to take a wine class if you’re looking to learn something new and practical. Now, we’re not suggesting you become one of those wine snobs that cause everyone to cringe as they describe the subtle hints of berries and aroma of hickory smoke in your wine. But, we think it’s pretty useful to know which wine goes with what food, the differences between wines from various countries, and even how to distinguish a Gewurztraminer from a Riesling by smell alone.
George Brown Continuing Education offers great introductory classes, like Grape Comparison, New World Wines and Sensory Evaluation of Wines. The Independent Wine Education Guild is another a great option to brush up on your knowledge. The program was developed as vocational training for those working in the hospitality industry, but it is also available to the keen amateur. There are three levels – Intermediate, Advanced and Diploma. The LCBO also runs one-hour tutored tastings and two-hour wine appreciation courses at select stores across the province.
Because you’ll need something to serve with all that delicious wine you expertly purchased, why not try some cooking classes? Whether you’re a total beginner or looking to expand your repertoire, there is a class for everyone. Again, George Brown is a great option with pretty much any type of cuisine or skill level possible (Butchery and Charcuterie? Yes, please!). Dish Cooking Studio offers perhaps our favourite selection of classes including Demysitifying Macaroons, Date Night Spice up your Life, Nonna’s Kitchen Italian Comfort and Healthy Mediterranean, to name a few. Other options include classes at the Market Kitchen at the St. Lawrence Market, The Culinarium, and The Good Egg.
Being Canadian, we should have at least a basic knowledge of French, but most of us have left that skill in the past, alongside our teenage angst. Because languages seem to immediately disappear from our tongues and memories if we don’t practice, why not re-discover your high school French skills with a language class? Or better yet, learn that sexy Italian or Spanish that you’ve always dreamed of. Being the multicultural city that it is, Toronto has no shortage of language learning options, with literally almost every language you can think of being taught in some pocket of the GTA. The Alliance Francaise offers the largest selection of French courses and study options among Canadian language schools. U of T’s School of Continuing Studies also offers instruction in 15 languages, including Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian and Russian (!). пойдите, научитесь.
While you may be past the age for recitals, you’re never too old to dance. Just like languages, learning ballet, hip hop or jazz can be both fun and nostalgic, as well as a pretty amazing work out. Gone are the days of just gazing up with envy at the beautiful ballerinas in the windows of the National Ballet School. NBS actually offers recreational adult ballet classes that include seven progressive levels of instruction. The program allows you to advance at your own pace through a carefully constructed series of increasingly complex exercises. If ballet is not your thing, Shawn Byfield’s dance school offers a wide range of levels of hip hop and tap dance. As well, the Joy of Dance school offers everything from Latin ballroom to Bollywood-style to burlesque.
While we’re not suggesting that you undertake a new degree, we are suggesting that learning something new might be the perfect cure for restlessness, or at the very least, give you something to chat about around the water cooler at work.