By Sarah Deveau
My city is now clamped firmly in winter’s chilly hands, and I’ve gone from enjoying daily jaunts to the grocery store for fresh ingredients to dreading pushing a cart through sludge and darkness and stocking up on root vegetables and artisan breads instead. When it’s cold, there is nothing like classic comfort foods that look good, smell good & taste good to warm up a frigid day.
Should I be starting a list of favourite comfort foods with dessert? Yes, yes I should. I love Merry About Town’s Apple Crisp recipe. It’s a simple recipe that can be doubled or halved, or even prepared as a single serving dish. We received a heavy duty apple peeler from Lee Valley Tools a few years ago as a gift and it’s invaluable for making pies and crisps – it cores, peels and slices an apple in under 30 seconds.
Growing up, stew in our house with made by tossing cubes of beef dredged in white flour into a pot with carrots, potatoes, turnips and beef broth. It simmered until it was a pretty tasteless soup, served with our household staple – buttered white bread. I’ve tried a number of stew recipes trying to teach my taste buds to like stew, but nothing worked until I discovered Dinner with Julie’s Irish Beef Stew with Stout and Parsley Dumplings.
Chunky Potato Soup
I have a soft spot for potato soups, I really do. I always thought it was a Maritimer thing, but Merry About Town is from Alabama and she loves them too. Her Chunky Potato Soup is divine – thick with lots of flavour and texture. If you can find them, bread bowls are the perfect way to serve this soup.
Home to Heather’s favourite comfort food is Creamy Chicken Garlic Pasta, and our family makes something pretty similar, though I usually add about half a cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese and sometimes even a half teaspoon of sriracha sauce. There might even be enough garlic in this recipe to help boost your immune system and ward off any viruses… maybe. Another pasta favourite is traditional homemade mac and cheese. There are hundreds of quite different mac and cheese recipes, but I use a classic recipe from the 1940s, Fannie Farmer’s Classic baked Macaroni and Cheese. If I remember, I add two cloves of peeled garlic to the macaroni water while the noodles are cooking as my only variation on this recipe.
Since I put dessert first, it only seems fitting to talk about breakfast last. Or, at least, an item that’s technically breakfast. I have to admit – I stuff these delicious little puff pancakes with so much Nutella and bananas they might as well be a dessert. Ebleskiver (or aebleskiver) are a traditional Danish pancakes in a round shape, cooked in a special pan that creates light and fluffy spheres that can be filled with sweet items (my husband chooses whipping cream every time). This is a go to breakfast for special winter days in our house, and they’re very easy to make.