The cookie house

Monday, December 26, 2016
Three cousins
Yesterday was a wonderful Christmas day. After gathering around the tree for gifts in the morning, we attended church with mixed feelings, as we bade farewell to our senior minister and organist, both of whom are retiring after 23 years with the congregation. The girls have grown up in the Sunday School and youth choir, and it's been home to our family since we joined 19 years ago. We're sad to see Mark and John leave, but we look forward to welcoming our new senior minister, Maya, in January.

In the afternoon, we visited my sister Gwen and her family, who hosted Christmas dinner this year. The meal was fantastic, but the highlight was the cookie house that my mom has made every year since I was a kid.  It's a part of the holidays my kids can't imagine being without, and they're still happy to pose with the cookie house on Christmas day. 

Today's recipe can't compete with a cookie house! But this kale and cauliflower gratin is a terrific side dish for holiday meals. Served with a salad, it would make a complete vegetarian meal. 

Wishing all my readers a happy Christmas season, and much joy in 2017.

Cauliflower Kale Gratin
(slightly adapted from Goodness, by Peter Neal and Chris Neal)

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2” to 2” florets
1 1/2 cups kale, stems removed and leaves sliced into 1/2 inch ribbons
2 Tbsp butter (first amount)
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup skim (fat-free) milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 cups coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions, green part only
1/2 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (second amount)
20 square (2-inch) saltine crackers

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook cauliflower 5 minutes. Add kale, stir well, and cook another 2 minutes. Using a colander, drain cauliflower and kale and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Whisk in flour to create a roux, then add milk in a slow stream, constantly whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and stir until thickened.

Remove milk mixture from heat and add cheese, green onions, salt and paper, whisking until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over cooked vegetables and stir gently to combine. Set aside.

Coarsely crumble crackers into a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Pour over crumbs and toss to coat.

Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over vegetables. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Cousins at the Cookie House, December 2001

Decorating the Cookie House with Gwen when we were kids

Brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Truth: there is no such thing as too many chocolate chip cookies.

And even though I've written about both my classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and my Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, it's time to add the third member of that triumvirate. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the fabulous Brown Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.

Brown butter makes everything better - amirite? And normally I don't put nuts in chocolate chip
cookies, but here the pecans set off the brown butter perfectly.

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the first things I remember baking as a little girl helping my mom in the kitchen. They were one of the first recipes I learned to bake as a young woman living on my own. They were always one of my favourite recipes to bake with my daughters when they were young. And even though I'm not really a chocoholic, I'll always have a special place in my heart for chocolate chip cookies. No matter which recipe I use.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted slightly from Joy the Baker)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter (first amount)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (second amount)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Brown 1/2 cup butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it has browned, pour it into a small bowl and let cool for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cream remaining 1/2 cup of butter with brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and molasses, and beat until incorporated.

Once the brown butter has cooled slightly, pour it (brown bits and all) into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, until well-incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for 1 minute more.

Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that everything is evenly mixed. Remove from mixer. Add the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough by the two tablespoonful onto prepared sheets, leaving 2" of space between cookies.

Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool.

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I know without even looking at the calendar that it's the first weekend of December:

- With a week off between my last work contract and the next one, I set a goal to both start and finish my Christmas shopping last week. I came very close, and am now basking in the knowledge that I don't need to visit another mall until 2017.
- We had an early celebration of Andrew's birthday yesterday, when both the girls were home. I baked his favourite cake and we enjoyed some wonderful family time together.
- Andrew put up the Christmas lights this morning, and now our house looks like it's ready for Santa!

The cake I baked on Saturday was the simple but amazing Gingerbread recipe I've shared on this blog before. But this Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread is terrific too, and a festive choice to celebrate a birthday, the holiday season, or being almost done your Christmas shopping.

Upside-Down Pear Ginger Cake

For topping

2 1/2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

For cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Peel and core pears and cut each into 8 wedges. Melt butter in 10" or 12" heavy skillet until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed,  for 3 minutes (not all sugar will be melted). Arrange pears decoratively over sugar and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If the skillet handle isn't ovenproof, wrap it with a double layer of foil.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together molasses and boiling water in a small bowl. Beat together butter, brown sugar and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Then alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches, stirring after each addition, until smooth.

Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb pears. Bake in middle oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool cake in skillet for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over top. Using pot holders to hold the skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate, replacing any pears that stick. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.

Enchilada Pie

Sunday, November 27, 2016

This is my favourite new family recipe. It takes just 15 minutes or so before it goes in the oven, and most of that is stirring time. Forty minutes later, you're serving it for dinner. Served with a salad, it makes a complete meal; it's so filling, you're sure to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

It's worth looking for the corn salsa to make it with, but I think it would be a winner even with regular salsa.

Enchilada Pie
(From Goodness:Recipes and Stories, by Peter Neal and Chris Neal)

1 lb. ground turkey
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups corn salsa (if you can’t find corn salsa, regular salsa would be fine)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
3 large (12”) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used a touch more than a cup, and it was super-cheesy)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the pie when done.

In a skillet over medium heat, stir ground turkey to break up any clumps until meat is no longer pink. Add cumin and combine. Stir in salsa and corn. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to let the flavours meld. Remove from heat.

Place one tortilla on the parchment paper. Spread with half the turkey mixture. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese. Top with second tortilla. Cover with remaining turkey mixture and sprinkle with another third of the cheese. Top with remaining tortilla (reserve remaining cheese). Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

You can garnish with chopped green onions or sour cream, but it's also terrific served exactly as is.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage

Sunday, November 13, 2016
There's nothing about this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage that isn't perfect for a cool fall day. Once the squash is cubed, it requires very little effort. The brown butter and sage complement the squash beautifully, making an ideal side dish. The cookbook says it goes well with pork, but it would also be great with poultry or roast beef. For my American friends, this would be a perfect addition to your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner! And it's versatile - next time I'd love to try it with either carrots or sweet potatoes as the main ingredient.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage

4 cups cubed butternut squash (or other root vegetable, such as carrots)
1 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
24 leaves fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel the squash and cut into 1” cubes. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir the squash and continue roasting until tender and browned, another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

In a small frying pan, melt butter over medium heat until foam subsides. Add sage and cook just until the butter turns a light hazelnut brown and the sage is crisp, about 30 seconds. Immediately pour brown butter and sage over the squash on the baking sheet and toss to coat. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve.

A birthday cake

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Yesterday was my birthday, and I celebrated it in the best way possible - in the company of my family. The girls took a day off work and school, and joined Andrew in helping me celebrate. The day was unseasonably warm, and we enjoyed a lovely walk along a nearby river. (I only wish my birthday was this warm every year.) 

My oldest daughter gifted me with a professional cheese tasting (given by her! She works at a local cafe and has been educated in how to sell cheese.) And we finished the day by going to dinner at one of my favourite restaurants. All in all, a great day.

One of the highlights was baking with the girls in the afternoon, something we used to do together all the time but, with our busy schedules, rarely do anymore. At the top of my list to try was an orange cake with orange cream cheese icing that I saw a few weeks ago on my friend Liz's blog. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped - a fine addition to a day that couldn't have been any better.

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp orange extract
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick) at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 Tbsp orange marmalade
2 Tbsp orange juice
additional grated orange zest for decoration (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat 1 cup butter until soft. Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes, until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then add orange extract and zest and beat for another 2 minutes.

Remove from blender. Add flour and salt, and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

When cake is cool, make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the butter and beat until well-combined. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Beat in the zest, marmalade and orange juice. Spread over cake. Sprinkled with additional grated orange zest, if desired.

German chocolate brownies

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Did you know that German chocolate cake isn't actually German in origin? I didn't until I started researching the roots of the recipe. It's actually named for an American, Samuel German, who developed a new flavour of chocolate for Baker's Chocolate Company. German chocolate cake is now known as any chocolate cake that's topped with a creamy frosting studded with pecans and coconut.

This delectable variation uses brownies rather than cake, and tops it with the traditional frosting. I always seem to have a few ounces of unsweetened chocolate sitting in my cupboard, and this is a wonderful way to use it up. Make sure you don't overbake these brownies: a fudgy base is perfect for the sweet frosting that ties it all together.

German Chocolate Brownies
(adapted from My Baking Addiction)


For the brownies:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the frosting:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make the brownies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt unsweetened chocolate and 3/4 cup butter together over a double boiler. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Once chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, whisk in 1 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Add flour and stir just until combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Don't overbake - these brownies should be fudgy and slightly undercooked. Leave the oven on after you remove the brownies so you can toast the pecans and coconut.

Let brownies cool slightly before frosting.

To make the frosting:

Spread chopped pecans in a loaf pan, and spread coconut in a second loaf pan. Place in preheated oven, toasting the pecans for 8 - 10 minutes and the coconut for 5 - 10 minutes. You'll want to stir them every 2 - 3 minutes so they're evenly browned. (Alternatively, you could just use one loaf pan and toast the pecans and coconut back-to-back.) Remove each from the oven as they're golden brown and let cool.

In a large saucepan, combine half-and-half, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolk and 4 Tbsp butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 5 - 7 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut. Spread on brownies while still warm.

Cheesy Bacon, Mushroom and Spinach Breakfast Strata

Sunday, October 23, 2016
The days are getting cooler and shorter now, and I'm starting to think about comfort food. And there isn't much that's more comforting than this simple breakfast strata. It always comes back to the cheese, doesn't it? There's enough of it in this recipe to warm you up on the coldest of days. But with both spinach and mushrooms in the recipe, you can convince yourself you're eating healthy, too. And don't let the name "Breakfast Strata" fool you - this is wonderful served any time of day.

Cheesy Bacon, Mushroom and Spinach Breakfast Strata
(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)


9 - 10 slices bacon, cooked, coarsely chopped, drippings reserved
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese (first amount)
1 small loaf of bread (about 10 ounces), slightly staled, cut into 3/4" cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup mozzarella cheese (second amount)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Fresh chives, chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat 2 Tbsp of the reserved bacon drippings in a 10" skillet and place over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until all the moisture has been released and has evaporated. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and return to the heat.

Add the spinach to the pan and toss, cooking just until slightly wilted but still bright green. Remove from the pan and turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs until completely blended, seasoning them with salt and fresh black pepper. Add cheddar cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and bread, and fold together with a spatula until all the bread has been moistened.

Turn mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish, pressing down if necessary. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the strata is set and the top is golden brown.

Sprinkle with chives (if using) and serve. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

One of the advantages of Canadian Thanksgiving being six weeks earlier than its American counterpart is that I can share my Thanksgiving recipes in time for many of you to use. When I went looking for my pumpkin pie recipe online and realized I hadn't posted it yet, I knew I wouldn't let another year go by without putting it up.

I've made this recipe for years and can't think of a single thing I'd do to improve it. Well, that's not completely true: The filling is exquisite, but in a perfect world I'd be a slightly better pie-crust maker. Although everyone around the table claimed to like it, I felt I could do better. That's why I'm not sharing a pie crust recipe below - use whichever one you like best.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada, and a happy Columbus Day to my American friends!

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

Your favourite pie crust recipe

3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 cups solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten to blend

Make your pie crust according to recipe directions. Freeze for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line crust with foil, pressing firmly, and bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

To make filling, mix sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and salt until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.

Pour filling in partially-baked crust. Bake until filling puffs at edges and centre is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover and chill until cold.

Can be made 1 day ahead.

Sweet potato cakes

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Well, hi there.

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. And while that recipe was for a summer crisp, today - with a chilly, constant rain pounding against our windows - my thoughts are veering to the autumnal.

These Sweet Potato Cakes are the kind of recipe that make you glad for the cooler weather. They're hearty and full of flavour, and pack up beautifully to take to lunch the next day. A little of the accompanying sauce goes a long way, and I thought these savoury cakes were great even on their own.

Happy fall!

Sweet Potato Cakes
(from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

1 pound sweet potatoes

1 1/2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped cilantro
salt and black pepper

1 tsp soy sauce
scant 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

butter for frying

Steam the sweet potatoes until completely soft, then let drain in a colander for at least an hour. Mash and set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together Greek yogurt, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and add soy sauce, flour, salt, sugar, green onion, and crushed red peppers. Mix thoroughly by hand to prevent overmixing (otherwise the mixture will become gummy).

Melt some butter in a non-stick frying pan. Form sweet potato mixture into 6 - 8 disks. Fry on medium heat until golden, then flip and repeat. Place between two paper towels to blot the excess butter. Serve with sauce on the side.

A summer crisp

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I was inspired to bake this nectarine crisp after reading Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year. (If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favour and pick it up. It's excellent as both a cookbook and a journal of the former editor of Gourmet magazine's first year after the magazine shut down.)

She described visiting the farmers' market in September, picking up "the last lonely nectarines, rosy but hard as rocks," and baking them into a galette. Before reading that, I had no idea you could bake unripe fruit into a dessert; of course I had to try it out. At my local market, I stopped at the bin of nectarines (which were indeed rosy but hard as rocks). I baked mine into a crisp rather than a galette: served with ice cream, it was a perfect dessert for the last fleeting days of summer. 

Nectarine crisp
(inspired by My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl)
Note: this would also be lovely made with peaches


4 unripe nectarines (5 if they're small)
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

3/4 cup flour
6 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 Tbsp cold butter

Slice the nectarines (you should have about 3 cups). Toss them with 2 Tbsp flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Squeeze in the lemon juice and give it a stir. Let them sit and macerate for at least 45 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the crisp topping by combining 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar and 3 Tbsp white sugar until thoroughly mixed. Add cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

When the nectarines are done macerating, pour them into a small buttered casserole dish. Top with crisp topping and pat gently into place. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

September's coming soon

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Remembering that night
September's coming soon
I'm pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
The bright tide forever drawn
Could not describe nightswimming"

- from "Nightswimming," by REM

September is indeed coming soon, and I was looking for one last entree recipe this week that would be perfect for summer's end. I wanted to make a pasta dish that featured the zucchini and corn that are at their best right now. And I found exactly that, with pesto, bacon and grated parmesan to give it a bold flavour.

I scaled down the pasta from the original a little because I wanted the vegetables to shine, and they did. This recipe makes a large batch, but it's also perfect for next-day lunch leftovers, served at room temperature.

Zucchini, Corn and Pesto Fusilli

Adapted from Epicurious
Note: recipe could be halved


6 bacon slices
3 cups dry fusilli (or similar pasta)
3 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (1/2" pieces)
1 container (approximately 7 ounces) basil pesto
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Drain on paper towels; discard drippings from skillet.

Meanwhile, cook fusilli in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then add vegetables to pasta in pot. Cook, partially covered, for 2-3 minutes (the water will stop boiling, and that's okay). Drain.

Add pasta with vegetables to skillet, along with pesto and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and toss. Season with salt and moisten with additional cooking water if necessary.

Top with crumbled bacon and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve warm (although room temperature leftovers the next day are also superb).

No dress rehearsal

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"First thing we'd climb a tree and maybe then we'd talk
Or sit silently and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal, this is our life"

- from "Ahead by a Century," by The Tragically Hip

Lately when I read the news, I'm reminded of how many things disunite us. The headlines are full of "us and them" stories, and tales in which we see the worst of humanity. So it's a reason to celebrate when something happens that pulls us together.

Last night was the final concert of The Tragically Hip, one of the most beloved Canadian bands ever. Their lead singer, Gord Downie, is often called the poet laureate of our country. When Downie announced earlier this year that he had inoperable brain cancer, and this summer's tour would be their last, we mourned this band that told us so many stories about ourselves.

The Hip has been together for over 30 years. They sing about uniquely Canadian people and events - Bill Barilko, Hugh MacLennan, David Milgaard, the FLQ kidnapping. They unite people across the country, rural and urban, and across generations. On our first wedding anniversary, Andrew and I danced to "Boots or Hearts" at a work event; now our youngest daughter performs a brilliant air vocal of the same song.

Last night our national broadcaster, the CBC, aired the show commercial-free on TV, radio, and via streaming. Andrew and I watched from our back yard; many others saw it in public squares or at pool parties - or at a viewing party at the Rio Olympics.

At a time when many things tear us apart, it was a privilege to be one of millions of Canadians paying tribute to someone who unites us.

"It was in Bobcaygeon
I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves, one star at a time"

- from "Bobcaygeon," by The Tragically Hip

Raspberry Chocolate Tart
(adapted from Epicurious)


1 1/2 cups chocolate water cookie crumbs
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar


1 1/2 pints (3 cups) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar (first amount)
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/2 chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (second amount)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


1 pint (2 cups) fresh raspberries
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam


For crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs, melted butter and sugar until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack..

For the filling, combine raspberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp water and lemon juice in processor and puree until smooth. Pour puree through strainer set over medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard seeds in strainer. Combine mascarpone, heavy whipping cream, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in another bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in raspberry puree and spread filling evenly in cooled chocolate crust. Cover and refrigerate tart overnight.

Arrange fresh raspberries in concentric circles atop tart. Stir raspberry preserves in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted to form glaze. Brush glaze over fresh raspberries. Refrigerate tart at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Remove tart pan sides, place tart on platter, and cut into slices and serve.