Well, if it isn’t January. The month of fresh starts. The contemplative time in a new year where we stare down our goals and make perky resolutions and all of that exhausting stuff. Not my fave, to be honest. Mostly because I am wildly talented at procrastinating and am also moonlighting in the art of self doubt, so it’s hard for me to tackle the idea of anything new. But then this year isn’t just any ordinary year. I’m turning the big 4-0 halfway through it.
The things at the top of my goals-to-tackle list are also expensive, like finally remodelling our kitchen that I hate. Which then leads to the old cliched fear every actor has– that maybe my show won’t get renewed, or I won’t book enough work to pay for this renovation, or maybe I just won’t work again, ever! See how these things spiral when you’re in the entertainment business and generally rather dramatic from birth? I never said I was rational! But I’ve glowered at this ugly kitchen for a long time now, and for someone who loves to cook, wouldn’t it be nice to finally bite the bullet and have the kitchen of my dreams? Why, yes it would. So that’s happening. We will be cooking on a hot plate/toaster oven/slow cooker situation out of our garage for the next few months while this reno happens, so please send us your one pot recipes and pray for my already-on-the-brink modicum of sanity.
The expensive goals list also includes some more sentimental ones, like taking my 74 year old mother on a trip just us two, which means I truly am a masochist when it comes to my own sanity, but whatever. I just want to do all of the things I said I would already, or at least set the wheels in motion. Which leads me to another goal, one that feels adorably unattainable. And in no way am I promising to tackle it this year, but talking about it might make me take it a bit more seriously. Or at least have strangers hold me accountable to it, which is almost as bad.
My husband Charlie does this annoying thing whenever I cook him something he likes in particular. (To be fair, he is very enjoyable to cook for, because he likes almost everything). He shakes his head and mutters into his plate, “I’m telling ya… You should write a cookbook. Don’t know what the heck you’re waiting for.” Or he just says in this grating sing-song voice, “Cookbooooook!” Sometimes it’s an out of context spouting of pseudo facts, like “Hey, did you know it only takes x amount of sales to be considered a bestseller in Canada?” And then I usually respond to these things with something snarky, naturally, like, “Oh, I dunno.. Time? Knowledge? Actual recipe writing prowess?” etc etc self-defeating bullshit etc. It’s one hot comedy act!
The truth is I’ve fallen into some strange limbo, waiting to be “good enough” to try. Isn’t that ridiculous? While I’m certainly no expert, or even close to a professional when it comes to cooking, I’m more passionate about food than I am about anything else in my life. I could talk about it for hours. I read cookbooks and recipes for fun. 80% of my social media follows are food-related, and watching foodie Tiktok is the equivalent of having a Xanax for me. Food is a huge part of my life. Why shouldn’t I be writing about it? It’s also odd that someone like me, an actor who’s gone to approximately one million auditions in my 30 years in this godforsaken business and booked maybe 50 of them, has a fear of failure and rejection. I am literally a professional at rejection! No one gets rejected like me! So what’s stopping me?
I think a lot of us are running around with these secret dreams, these big beautiful plans that we never expect to come to fruition because we just don’t think we’re ever going to be ready. And that’s sad as hell. Who knows what kind of brilliance is out there in hiding from the world, all because its host is too shy to share it? Not that my cookbook would be brilliant or anything. Passable, maybe. I’d probably overshare a lot, but what else is new. I could, however, potentially experience a lot of joy out of making one, and maybe even more joy in sharing it, if I wasn’t so worried about “what people might think”. Weird that some of us would rather sacrifice potentially huge amounts of joy because we’re afraid of trying.
Anyway. Stay tuned for my cookbook, coming in out in 2032! Just kidding.. ish. One day I’ll get so sick of overthinking it that I’ll probably actually do it. In the mean time, take this as that kick in the pants you might need to start bringing your own big dreams to life. It’s all too short, anyway, isn’t it? What are we waiting for?
While I continue this conversation with my therapist, enjoy this delicious dinner idea down below. It is a food blog, after all.
Soy Glazed Arctic Char and Farro Salad
- For the fish:
- 2 Arctic char fillets skin on, about 6 oz each
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh ginger minced or grated on a microplane
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (olive oil works just fine too, if that's what you have)
- 1 avocado halved and sliced
- Salt and pepper
- For the farro salad:
- 1/2 cup farro
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- the juice of 1 lemon
- A few strips of prosciutto
- 1/2 cup feta crumbled
- 1/2 cup basil torn
- Salt and pepper
- I always cook my farro in a rice cooker and then spend 40 minutes screaming at it to hurry up, but if you don't have one and prefer to use a stovetop, add the farro, water, and salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to a simmer, and let it cook for 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
- In a bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, a 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Drain the farro and toss it with the vinaigrette. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so to absorb all that goodness and cool down. Once it's reached room temperature, add the basil and feta and season to taste with more salt and pepper to taste
- Start the glaze. Combine the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 or 10 minutes, until thickened. Turn off the heat. If the sauce has gotten too sticky, add a splash of water to thin it out.
- Heat another pan over hight heat. Season the arctic char with salt and pepper. Add the grapeseed oil to the pan and cook, skin side down, for 3 minutes. Flip and baste with the soy glaze, then cook for another 3 minutes. Don't overcook it! Take it off the heat right away and drizzle with the remaining soy glaze.
- Serve the fish alongside the farro salad. Garnish the salad with strips of prosciutto. Lay some sliced avocado over the char to be fancy.
19 Comments Add yours
Well there’s cookbook and cookbook. There are encyclopedias on how one should cook and every meal ever, and there are more personal ones with stories and recipes mixed.
I have some classic cookbooks at home but I also really like “Under the midgnight sun” by Liisa Rasimus (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36604305-under-the-midnight-sun ), a book about Finnish cuisine… but more about Finland itself and life there. She tells us about her country and drops a few recipes there and then and it makes much more sense from a foreign point of view as the typical finnish recipe is bathed in tales about Finland, not just some random recipe to follow without context.
And you’re really good for telling stories ! I’m not saying this just to please you but I wouldn’t still be following this blog years on if it wasn’t entertaining 🙂 So I think you could pull out a fantastic cookbook where recipes are brought by stories, just like you’re doing in your blog, a “Jewel Staite welcomes you to her home and let you watch her cooking” book more than a “Jewel Staite teaches you how to cook” book. You’re obviously passionate about food and great at sharing, i’m pretty sure combining both can be amazing. I’m not saying easy though, if you want to go in that direction it’s still gonna be hell of a work ahead of you so good luck hahahaha 😀 And if you need someone for a French version I’m in 😛
A quick slow cooking recipe to conclude : a simple couscous meal
* Heat olive oil in the slow cooker on sauté and add ras-el-hanout, cumin and cinnamon to taste
* add the chicken thighs and brown them on all sides. Remove the thighs and turn the sauté off
* Add chopped veggies at the bottome (carrots, onions, zuchinni, turnips)
* Add chicken thighs on top and a glass of water (or veggie/chicken broth) and cook for 7h on slow
Serve with couscous (you only need a kettle for that)(I know it’s not how it “should be done” but it’s a simple version here). tadaa
I mean in some ways you’ve already done it; this blog’s gotta be cookbook length by now, right?!
Just an aside, but haven’t you already been preparing a draft of your cookbook … one blog entry at a time?
Your recipes always sound delicious so I have to agree with your husband, Go For It!!!!
Look at this way…you have already passed the audition for your new best selling cookbook with flying colors. Go ahead! Take the plunge! Your new cookbook lovers and fans will cherish making your dishes over and over again…which means perpetual re-runs for you. Its just another pathway to your wonderful legacy of being a fantastic mother, a cherished actor, a great cook, and a downright lovable fantastic person! Here’s to a happy and productive 2022 from one of your most dedicated fans!
A cookbook is a great idea. Go for it!
I think your Handsom Hubby is right, you should write one. Not only can you put me down for at LEAST 5 copies (one for everyone in the family as well as one to leave sealed and rated like my more valuable comics). Additionally, would be more than happy to collaborate as the Insta crowd says.
Thanks again for the cameo from a ways back… watch it whenever I need a pick me up… so much to update you and Charlotte about my health…
Love you tons, Stay Shiney, and believe in yourself as much as we do
We did the kitchen remodel a couple of years ago. We ended up doing lots of grilling on the deck, but we also picked up an Insta-Pot and an electric grill (one for indoor use) that really let us vary the menu. The fun part was what my wife called ‘Urban Camping’. It was standing on the deck in the evening with two restaurant bussing bins washing the dishes! It was fun, but three months was stretching the fun! I love the new kitchen! Good luck with it, it’s so worth it!
For recipes, we did keep things simple, lots of grilled meat and veg, some bread in a dutch oven in the coals (although that took some practice), and more frozen desserts than normal. The less said about our cake baking efforts in the dutch oven, the better! Although it did a decent apple crisp!
Personally, I love reading your recipes. They’re hilarious, because they have these wonderful, funny interjections instead of just saying in a boring way, “Pour water in pot, bring to boil.” Like your note above about how you scream at your rice cooker. Lol.
I think it would be really fun to buy and read your cookbook! And perhaps it would push me a little bit more to try things in the kitchen that I’ve been too scared to try. (I love to bake stuff, but I usually only do cooking stuff if it sounds really easy and the ingredients are accessible)
Anyway, just food for thought, so to speak, Jewel. 😁 “Coookbooooook!”
Do it! Stop waiting!
… Now I should go do what I have been putting off. 🙂
Shut up and take my money!!!
Here’s the thing. You can write it, and if you don’t like it when you are done, just keep it for yourself as reference. If you do like it, send it out to some publishers. But don’t avoid the writing because you are afraid of rejection…. especially if the writing will bring you joy. <3
Please, please, please write the cookbook for all of us who have your recipes printed out on loose sheets of paper which then get lost so we have to scroll back through years of posts trying to find the recipe again. Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?
I’m with Charlie, you should definitely give cookbook writing a try! And like Lilly said in the comments, you can write it and decide not to share if it comes down to it but you might enjoy the process. You could probably grab a bunch of the recipes you’ve posted on this blog and finesse them a little and you’d already have half a book’s worth of content!
Also, would love to see before and after pics of your kitchen reno. I love stuff like that! 🙂
Adding my resounding F**k Yes to the cookbook encouragement! I too enjoy cooking but am often intimidated and/or self-defeating in the process… Every time I read one of your recipes, though, it feels like you’re next to me in the kitchen reassuring me that it’s perfectly normal to do things like yell at your rice cooker, lol.
HERE FOR IT (whenever you’re ready) <3
I hope you do. Until then, I’ll keep waiting for new ones here.
Writing a cookbook isn’t really that hard. If a procrastination champion like me can do it (I lost a bet), it’s not so hard. 😉
Always keepin it real. Facing struggles we all face. This insight to your life is worth the time reading. Thanks for sharing.