orzo verde

orzo verde

when the beginnings of spring tease at your psyche, there’s an instinctive longing to forego the heavy, stew-y dishes of winter and make something light and fresh and green. orzo verde is teeny, elongated egg-shaped pasta (israeli couscous is also an option) toasted until golden then all tossed up with lovely green things, olive oil, and lemon. perfect on it’s own, or maybe you’re feeling adventuresome and have ventured out to the barbecue grill. in that case, it makes a lovely side dish for something grilled. i like to make tofu skewers on the grill, or serve this with a nice vegetarian burger.

orzo verde

orzo verde

2 cups orzo pasta
3 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
juice and zest of 2 lemons
4 cups arugula packed arugula leaves, finely chopped (you’ll end up with about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups packed baby spinach, finely chopped (you’ll end up with about 3/4 cup)
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
2 tbsp. capers, coarsely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

in a large frying pan with a lid, heat the 3 tbsp. olive oil over high heat. add the orzo and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the grains are a light golden brown and some are turning a deeper golden, about 4 minutes. add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. pour in the stock, and add the salt, pepper, and lemon zest and juice. bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cover. cook for 15 minutes, stirring very frequently (orzo is sticky stuff) until orzo are nearly tender and the liquid has been nearly absorbed. stir in arugula, spinach, peas, and capers. if mixture seems too thick, add a 1/4 more water to loosen it up. stir over low heat for 2 minutes, or until peas are hot. stir in 3/4 of the feta. serve hot, and top with a light drizzle of olive oil, the remaining feta, pine nuts, and parsley.

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breakfast labneh

labneh with apricots and breakfast crackers

good morning, and happy tuesday to you.

it seems i’m getting into a habit of making tuesdays’ posts about breakfast. which is good, since it will hopefully give you some ideas of what to feed yourself and your tribe as you all head out into the world this week. the day has to be good when you’ve started it off with a lovely and civilized breakfast together!

yogurt is a breakfast natural, and this recipe really shakes it up. labneh is a middle-eastern dish, and is essentially yogurt that has been allowed to drain. it’s most often served in a savoury fashion, scattered with spices and a drizzle of olive oil, but it cries out to be eaten with fruit and cheese for breakfast! when choosing yogurt to make the labneh, make sure you choose natural, plain, full-fat yogurt, free of gelatin and starchy stabilizers. anything from 3% milk fat all the way up to 10% works fine.

it’s a fairly well-known that balsamic vinegar pairs really beautifully with fruit. something else i discovered a long time ago is that if you reduce white balsamic vinegar, it becomes a luscious, amber-coloured nectar, with a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy flavour. that’s how we made the apricots for this. trust me people, you’re going to love this!

to tie is all together, i’ve made some breakfast crackers, full of almonds, flaxseeds, and cranberries. this recipe makes a lot, so you’ll have some left over for snacks. they’re not too sweet, and perfect for scooping up the labneh and those succulent apricots. they are made by baking a batter into a loaf, cooling and slicing it thin, then baking the slices a second time to make them crisp. if you happen to have a little terrine pan or a pullman pan, it’s perfect for this. if not, use a regular loaf pan, but cut each slice into 2 pieces before baking a second time, so they’re not too big. if you happen to have access to a meat slicer, perfect! but a bread knife works just fine to make the thin slices.

this recipe is meant to be made ahead of time, so you have all the components ready to go in the morning. with a breakfast like this to start the day, only good things can happen. xx

breakfast crackers

labneh with star anise apricots + breakfast crackers

1 750g container of plain, full-fat natural yogurt
1 500ml bottle white balsamic vinegar
1 cup dried apricots, sliced in half (or fresh, if they are in season)
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

for the breakfast crackers:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries

line a non-reactive strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. dump in the yogurt, put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow it to drain for 6-8 hours or overnight. transfer the drained yogurt to a bowl, discarding the liquid, and stir the labneh to make it smooth.

gather your ingredients for the breakfast crackers. preheat oven to 375f and grease and line a terrine pan or loaf pan with parchment. mix together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermik. give the mixture a few good stirs to combine, but don’t overmix. scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. cool completely on a rack.

when cool, use a serrated knife to slice as thinly as you can. lay the slices on a rack and bake in a 350f oven for 10 minutes, or until they are almost crisp (they will crisp more as they cool). cool completely and store in a covered container in a dry place.

empty the white balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. add the anise and cinnamon stick and boil down until reduced by half. add the apricots, reduce heat to medium, and cook until juices are syrupy. cool in the syrup, and keep in the fridge. remove anise and cinnamon before serving.

serve the labneh with a spoonful of the apricots and the breakfast crackers on the side. serves 4, with a generous amount of crisps left over for snacking.

**the crackers, (and also the apricots) would enjoy a frolic with some soft, brie-like cheese, or any type of blue cheese on a cheese plate, too.

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almondos

almondos

happy monday all!

kicking off #bakingmonday with this easy raw cookie recipe i call almondos, and a bit of a backstory.

at one point i had nine laying hens who provided more eggs than we needed, and a friend of mine knew someone who was looking for fresh, organic and uncaged hen eggs. i happy happy to share our surplus, so every week or so, liz would stop by and pick up a dozen fresh eggs, and every time she came she would bring something lovely in return! one day she brought these wonderful little cookies. at that time, raw cookies were not something i had really given a fair try, but they were an instant hit. i’ve adapted it a bit, and now this recipe has become a standby around here. this is one of things i love about food, how it naturally bridges gaps and builds community and fosters friendships and sharing.

these super-crunchy, gluten-free, vegan and egg free (!) cookies are the perfect protein-packed snack on the go and i always keep one or two in my bag. they are best kept well-chilled.

sometimes i make them a bit bigger to have with some fruit for breakfast. feel free to change up the nuts and nut butter to your liking.

almondos

almondos

2 1/4 cups raw unblanched almonds
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup raw, organic coconut flakes
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp hearts

set aside 24 almonds, and place the rest on the bowl of a food processor. pulse to chop very coarsely. add almond butter, coconut flakes, honey, and almond extract, and pulse until the mixture comes together, but the almonds are still nicely chunky.

scoop out 2 tbsp portions and roll into a ball, then form into a small disc, and roll the edges in the hemp hearts. press a whole almond and 3-4 chocolate chips into the top of each cookie. chill until firm. makes 24.

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giant lima beans with crispy crumbs

giant lima bean ragout

gigantes, or giant lima beans, are very different beans from their little green cousins. i actually love all lima beans, but if you are one of those who declares they hate limas, may i gently suggest you give these a try? gigantes are fat and meaty, with an almost creamy texture and pair up with a flavourful sauce like nobody’s business. cooked up in this zingy ragout, they turn rich and satisfying.

this is a fast and delicious vegan meal which is on heavy rotation around here, a) because it’s really good and b) it only takes 30 minutes to make. it starts with humble ingredients (corn and beans) which are elevated by a few sophisticated ingredient additions. fennel seeds add a lovely licorice note to the saucy tomato broth, and the simple breadcrumb topping gets extra flavour and crunch from using panko crumbs and a few toasted pine nuts. i’ve thrown in some moroccan olives at the end for a smoky, salty kick. the ragout gets even better after a day or so and makes a great next-day lunch. we love it paired with some simple crusty bread and a side of wilted rapini or a kale salad.

giant lima bean ragout

giant lima ragout with crispy pine nut crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 19-oz cans giant lima beans, undrained
or
4 cups cooked dried limas +1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. whole fennel seed
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch red chili flakes
1 cup passata (tomato puree)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup moroccan oil-cured olives, pitted and roughly chopped

crumbs:
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. pine nuts, roughly chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup panko crumbs
1/4 tsp. salt
grated zest of 1 lemon

in a large pan, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil to medium. add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring here and there, until softened and fragrant. increase heat to high. add lima beans and reserved liquid, corn, basil, marjoram, fennel seed, pepper, chili flakes, passata, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a healthy simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce is just thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. taste and add salt if needed, which you may not if you used canned beans. stir in olives.

meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the 4 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. add the pine nuts and green onion, then the panko and the salt. reduce heat to medium, and toss the mixture until the crumbs are light golden brown. remove from heat, dump into a small heat-proof bowl, and stir in the lemon zest.

serve ragout in a shallow bowl, and top with a generous sprinkling of the crispy crumbs.

serves 4-6

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butter-poached beet salad with winter citrus

butter roasted beet salad with winter citrus

beets poached in butter! it’s sounds a bit decadent, doesn’t it? beets have an affinity with butter. they like spending time together. they are friends. when you poach beets ever-so-slowly as we have here, they become tender and rich. an excellent counterpoint to some peppery greens, mustard, and bright citrus.

this is a bit of a special salad, and makes for a lovely first course at a dinner party. though it’s a comforting early-spring meal too, (especially if you add a poached egg on top.)

this salad is best served with the beets still ever so slightly warm and the dressing at room temperature.

butter roasted beet salad with winter citrus

butter-poached beet salad

1 1/2 lbs smallish beets
4 oz butter, cubed
4 oranges +2 for juicing
small bunch fresh thyme sprigs
1 tsp. grainy mustard
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups mixed mild and peppery greens (such as arugula)
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
5-6 kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
1 cup sunflower sprouts
a bit of feta or other salty cheese, if you like

preheat oven to 400f.

cut the end off the oranges, and with a flat side down, use a sharp knife to cut the peel and white pith from the orange. remove the sections from the membranes and set aside. squeeze the juice from the empty membranes, and reserve. juice remaining 2 oranges. you should have about 1/2 cup.

use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the beets and then cut in half. place in a small glass baking dish. scatter with the cubed butter and thyme sprigs. pour over juice. cover tightly with foil and place in oven for 15 minutes. reduce heat to 350f and poach the beets for another hour and 45 minutes, until tender. remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, spooning the juices over the beets a few times.  remove from oven. using a slotted spoon scoop the beets out of the remaining butter/juice mixture and into a bowl.

for the dressing, whisk together mustard, shallot, honey, vinegar and olive oil. season with salt and pepper. place in a glass jar with a lid for easy shaking. leave at room temperature.

on a large serving platter, arrange the greens. slice the beets in half. scatter the beets and reserved orange sections over the greens. shake the dressing well and spoon over the salad, then top with the hazelnuts, kumquat slices, and sunflower sprouts.

can also be plated individually as shown in the photo.

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tofu with spicy salt

tofu with spicy salt

i remember first time i ate tofu with spicy salt, in a little dumpling house close to my old office in toronto, maybe 4 years ago. the dish was so simple, just cubes of tofu dusted in some crazy spice blend, deep fried, then cooked again with peppers and onions. the very nice people who ran the restaurant always threw a little container of dark soy and vinegar blend, and some chili paste in my take out bag and i’d douse the whole lot with it before consuming like a madwoman. the slick of oil at the bottom of the styrofoam take-away box this was a good indication i should not be eating this once a week, but heavens to betsy, it was a thing of deliciousness!

on the days i decided to pop in for some, i thought about it all day. seriously, i could barely work. my meat-eating friends could not imagine how something made of soybean curd could have me in such a tizzy, until they tried it. right? that look on their face said it all. vindication! they are all vegetarians now! (no they’re not.)

when i moved jobs, i left the dumpling house behind. but like poe’s beating telltale heart, it haunted me regularly. i knew if i didn’t have some, and soon, i was going to snap like a desiccated twig.

i also knew if i managed to nail this recipe, i would want to eat it all the time, so it needed to be healthier. not even i will sacrifice my favourite jeans for a bowl of tofu.

so here we are, and this version is lightly pan-fried vs. deep-fried. the bonus? it cooks up in like, 15 minutes, and makes a great lunch, or pair with brown rice and a big bowl of stir-fried vegetables and cashews for a larger meal.

for the spice factor, i’ve used shichimi, which you can buy at most asian stores. you can also check back here on sunday for a feature on spice blends and how to make your own shichimi.

tofu with spicy salt

tofu with spicy salt

1 250g brick of firm tofu
1 egg white muddled with 1 tbsp water
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp shichimi
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
1 tsp. white sesame seeds
2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sambal oelek or other chili paste

slice the brick of tofu in half horizontally. place the cut sides down on a double thickness of paper towel and allow to drain for 10 minutes. cut each half into 1″ cubes. in a small bowl, stir together the tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sambal oelek. set aside.

in a lidded container or a plastic bag, mix up the cornstarch, shichimi, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. in a medium bowl toss the tofu cubes with the egg white mixture, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the cornstarch mixture. shake to coat. in a large-ish ceramic non-stick pan, heat the 2 tbsp. oil until almost smoking. shake the excess cornstarch from the tofu and add to the pan. shake and stir the pan to lightly brown the tofu cubes on all sides, about 5 minutes. add the peppers and onions, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the onions are wilted and the pepper is slightly softened but still a bit crisp, about 4 minutes. add the tamari mixture, and give the pan a few shakes to coat the tofu. serve immediately.

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steel-cut oats with ginger-roasted figs

steel cut oats with ginger roasted figs

i recently posted a photo of figs on instagram and someone commented that they were adorable. aren’t they though? figs are truly the cutest of fruits! with their perfect shape, smooth aubergine-hued skin and varying shades of pink/ruby/berry inside, they may be my favourite little fruit to eat and photograph. don’t even get me started on kumquats. kumquats deserve their own post entirely.

i’ve written before about how i’m really not much of a morning person or a breakfast person, but damn if this blog isn’t making me one. it’s a fun process to develop interesting breakfast recipes that don’t make me shudder at the thought of eating before 2pm.

steel cut oats, also called irish oatmeal or pinhead (har!) oats are so far removed from those gloppy pouches of instant oatmeal. they are both oatmeal the way a can of pop and an 1869 chateau lafite are both drinks.

so why not make the lafite of oatmeal? ok i’m ahead of myself, you can decide if these are that good, with their luscious, juicy roasted figs, honey, ginger, and the secret ingredient, balsamic. don’t be weirded out! a few drops mellow the sweetness of the figs and honey and make the resulting saucy juices really pop. a scatter of toasted pecans hemp seeds adds texture and a hit of protein.

so don’t be a pinhead (like me). eat some breakfast!

steel cut oats with ginger roasted figs

steel-cut oats with ginger-roasted figs

1 cup steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1 lb fresh figs, cut in half
4 tbsp. honey
2 slices candied ginger, slivered
3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 tbsp. raw hemp seeds

prepare the steel cut oats. (this can be done the night before*). in a medium pot bring the water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. stir in the oats. bring back up to the boil, cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour.

preheat oven to 400f. in a small glass roasting pan, toss together the figs with the honey, balsamic, and ginger. cover tightly with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. remove foil and cool to warm.

spoon oats into a bowl, top with 1/4 of the figs and some of the lovely oozing juices. scatter pecans and help seeds on top.

*you probably already know you can use this method to prepare your oats the night before. i did not make this up. what you will likely find in the morning is a very greeny-blue substance on the surface of your oats. people have asked me,

“what the hell?”
“is this mould!?”
“i left the oats out all night, and they’ve gone bad!”
“am i going to die??”

yes, you are going to die, we all are. but not from the green stuff on overnight oatmeal. they haven’t gone bad and mould can’t grow that fast. it’s a result of a chemical reaction and completely harmless. scrape it off and move on.

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sunflower life bowl

sunflower life bowl

“sunflower life bowl” is hands down the most hippie name i’ve ever given to a recipe. it fits though, because when i haven’t been eating as well as i should, i make this. when i’m chowing down on all those good late-winter veggies, greens and living sunflower sprouts it feels like i’m giving a gift to every cell in my body. it just feels good to eat this. i buy the living sunflower sprouts at my local natural food store. they are only a few dollars and i keep them on the kitchen windowsill. bonus: with regular watering, they keep producing. pea shoots too, will go on forever.

this is less of a recipe and more a combining of ingredients. the recipes are the really the preparing of the individual components, so make any or all of them that you like. it can be made with any vegetables that are fresh and seasonal or that you just feel like eating, but i have to say this combo is really nice together

i try to keep containers in my fridge of cooked grains, roasted root vegetables, greens, some marinating tofu or tempeh and a few dressings so i can throw together a veggie grain bowl like this for dinner or an easy lunch. beets can be cooked anytime, peeled, and then kept in the fridge for whenever you want them.

i’ve used tempeh here, but if you’re a meat-eater by all means feel free to use any protein you like.

as for the cheese, i chose this lovely mild brebis frais from best baa dairy, but leave it off for a vegan bowl.

namaste.

Sunflower Life Bowl

sunflower life bowl

1 cup farro*
2 cups water
3 small golden beets
2 small red beets
1 small butternut squash
8 oz tempeh or tofu
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. canola oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
4 cups mixed greens
2 cups sunflower sprouts
200 g (7oz) soft sheep or goat cheese

dressing

1 small clove garlic, finely minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
2 tsp. tamari
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil

bring the water to a boil. add a pinch of salt, then stir in the farro. bring back up to a boil. cover, remove from hear, and allow to stand for 1 hour, or until farro has absorbed all the water.

preheat oven to 400F. place beets in a glass dish and add 1″ water. cover tightly with foil and cook until tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours, depending on size of beets. cool, then peel and set aside.

peel squash and cut in half lengthwise. scrape out seeds, and cut into 3/4″ thick slices. arrange on a parchment-lined pan. sprinkle with alt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. roast for 10 minutes, flip pieces, and roast 10 minutes more. set aside to cool

slice the tempeh or tofu into 1/2″ thick slices. whisk together tamari, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight. cook in a hot non-stick pan or grill pan for 2 minutes per side, (or use the bbq). Set aside.

heat the 1 tsp. canola oil to high. toss in the chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot and a little brown. remove from heat, add the paprika and nutritional yeast and toss well.

whisk together all dressing ingredients and pour into a glass jar with a lid.

to assemble, divide the greens among 4 bowls, and top with 1/4 of the farro. arrange the beets, squash, tofu, chickpeas, and a spoonful of the cheese on top. drizzle with the dressing, and mound with a handful of the sunflower sprouts.

*farro may also be called spelt grains or emmer. whatever you call it, its a nutty, chewy, tasty little variety of wheat!

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blood orange cardamom cake

blood orange cardamom cake

this is a special cake, and i think, well worth the time to make it.

i’ve used the moro variety of blood oranges, which have lots of colour and a distinct raspberry flavour, but are also very slightly bitter. when folded into a buttery cake batter, the flavours really work. moros are only in season from december to march. the season is winding down.

the secret ingredient here is a confit made from the skins of the oranges, almost like a marmalade. it feels good to use the whole fruit, and the best part is, the confit can be stored in the fridge for months, which means you can make this cake any time you want. make sure to cool the confit completely before adding to the cake.

blood orange cardamom cake

blood orange cardamom cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3/4 cup finely chopped blood orange confit (i use a food processor)

glaze
1/2 cup blood orange juice
1/4 cup sugar

drizzle
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp. softened butter
2 tsp. blood orange zest

using a pastry brush and melted butter, grease a 9-cup tube pan, then dust with flour, tapping out the excess. put it the fridge until ready to use.

preheat oven to 350f.

in a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. cream until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. add sugar and cream until light, 4 minutes. crack the eggs into a bowl and muddle with a fork. drizzle eggs slowly into creamed mixture, scraping down sides, to combine. add the almond extract and chopped confit and pulse to blend in. add 1/2 of the flour mixture, pulsing to combine, then add the milk, and the other half of the flour mixture. mix for 30 seconds to mix completely, scraping down sides once.

scrape mixture into prepared pan. bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cooked through (check with a toothpick).

place pan on a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. turn cake out onto rack set over a baking sheet and pour over the warm glaze. cool completely, then top with the drizzle. garnish with zest.

blood orange confit

6 blood oranges
1 cup blood orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

cut oranges in half and juice. cut juiced orange halves into 4 pieces each. use a sharp knife, and remove the membranes and discard, leaving the skin behind.

bring the juice, water, and sugar to a boil. stir in orange skins. return to a boil. reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 hour, or until skins are translucent and liquid is a thin syrup. remove from heat and cool completely. store in a glass jar in the fridge. keeps for months.

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good stuff #5: thriftlove

Palais Royale plate with kumquats

happy lovely sunday to you.

today’s edition of good stuff is dedicated to thrifting, the art of spotting and repurposing those discarded gems. i’m never short of amazement at what i come across in thrift and charity shops. finding beauty in the everyday is a big theme here at ebta, and it’s especially fun to plan posts and photos around items i’ve sourced for next to nothing. it gives me an excuse to slowly browse the aisles of mish-mash and see what reveals itself to me.

always the robust thrifter, a large part of my personal style comes from combining objects from various sources and price points.  sometimes i’m looking for a specific piece, but more often i spot something that just speaks my language, and when it get it home, it fits. sometimes it turns out that i’ve stumbled upon something valuable, but the value for me is how much i love it. 

something really interesting about thrifting: when objects are placed out of the context of a professionally styled environment, it allows you to see their potential in a way that is not curated by someone else, and i like that!

most of what you see in my food photos are props i’ve sourced when thrifting, and in the random shots of my ever-evolving space. here’s a quick smattering…

xx

  1. gourmates chrome tray with bakelite handles ($1.99). i love the post-war modernity of this little tray, and i can see it being very versatile for serving. it was made in montreal and still has the original label on the bottom.

  2. macrame plant holder ($3.99). macrame is indeed a thing again. i love plants, and in my light-challenged house this will make better use of my one sunny window. i also love the fact that someone made this, probably in the 70’s, and it’s getting new life.

  3. old pastry blender (.99 cents). a purely practical purchase, since i do a lot of small pastry jobs in my food processor, which recently caught fire. oh, the gripping excitement of food blogging! this is in mint condition with a smooth wooden handle, perfect tines, and a really comfortable thumb-grip. i’ve used it a few times, and i’d forgotten what it was like to blend butter into flour by hand.

  4. vintage florist vases used as salt cellars. (50 cents/$1.00 each). the shape of these grabbed me, so i flipped one over and it had a “ftd” label on it. back in the day, when you had a floral arrangement delivered, it came in a really beautiful container. these are heavy, and a lovely opaque white. a good wash and dry and they make the perfect salt cellar.

  5. tea jar with bird lid ($2.99). this is a piece of cheap japanese export porcelain from the middle of the last century. the thing is, a lot of mid-century japanese porcelain wouldn’t be called “cheap” by today’s dollar-store standards. they often have beautiful coloration and fine detail, like the bamboo branches and little birds on this footed jar, perfect for tea or little cookies.

  6. curvy white plate (.99 cents). worthless, but not to me, because i love this little plate for its oblong shape and curvy border.

  7. johnson bros. ningpo china ($9.99 for 25 pieces).  it’s not often you see china in these colours of clear grass-green, yellow, and orange, some of my favourite colours. so i grabbed the lot of cups and saucers, plates, and bowls for ten bucks, and now i use them almost every day. a quick search of the pattern at replacements.com revealed what i have to be worth several hundred dollars. score!

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