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S aturd ay, June 22, 2013

Leader-Post • leaderpost.com

Kitchen

c o m m e n ta ry

Tool kit for novice cooks

Policy needs to allow building flexibility will reach over 520,000 in just 40 years. For some, the question has been, “can we grow at that pace?” For others “why would we want to?” For me the answer is simple, we can and the why we should completely outnumbers the why we shouldn’t. We also have the unique opportunity and ability to avoid many of the mistakes that other growing metropolitan cities like Calgary have made during times of exceptional growth. One of those steps is creating a plan that allows our city to grow up and out at the same time, protecting future growth for 500,000 by ensuring that land capacity is in place. The new OCP provides us with such a plan. Once council has approved the final draft of the OCP, it is imperative that the city makes updating all the other policies and details that follow from the plan a top priority. As someone who has made a career of advocating on behalf of housing, I understand the urgency of this. Having read the Official Community Plans of a number of other municipalities across Canada and North America, I was not surprised by how much the city’s draft OCP resembled similar plans in so many other communities across North America. I guess that is because families and individuals in most communities have similar aspirations no matter where they live. Some communities have been very successful in achieving their visions and others not so much. Since the

Patrick Langston For Postmedia News

Stu Niebergall You can’t build a house without the right tools. The same goes for a good meal. We asked Anna March, resident chef at Ottawa’s The Urban Element, a cooking school and studio, to name five must-have kitchen utensils.

Chef’s Knife

Sometimes known as a French or cook’s knife, this multi-purpose tool does everything from slicing meat to chopping vegetables. The blade is usually six to 10 inches. “It’s unbelievable how many people don’t have a good chef ’s knife,” says March. “The main issue with cheap ones is they don’t maintain their edge.” John Kenney

J.A. Henckels Five Star 8-inch chef’s knife, $135. What you’ll pay: $75 to $125 for a good chef ’s knife. One with visible metal fasteners all the way up the handle means the blade runs the length of the handle; that makes for a strong, long-lasting tool. It should also feel comfortable and well balanced in your hand. To maintain a sharp edge, keep knives in a slotted wooden container and touch them up occasionally with a good knife sharpener, available for about $30 at Canadian Tire and specialty kitchen stores.

Ross den Otter

Ross den Otter’s cutting board is one of the Vancouver artist’s most popular recent creations.

Wooden Cutting Board A quality wooden cutting board can be used to cut almost any food and will last a lifetime. Big and thick is the rule of thumb when buying. Anything less than about 25 by 38 centimetres means vegetables, such as cauliflower, spill onto the counter when cutting; anything thinner than 2.5-cm and you can anticipate warping. Boards with a groove around the edge catch juices from a roast. Regular treatment with food-grade mineral oil will prevent drying and cracking. Plastic boards? Maybe for raw meat and poultry, but clean them thoroughly: they’re easily scratched and can harbour bacteria. What you’ll pay: $40 for a good wooden board at Home Depot. For a summary on selecting, using and maintaining cutting boards, visit Whatscookingamerica.net/CuttingBoards/AllAbout. htm.

The City of Regina has rolled out the draft of the long-term direction for the city’s growth. This has been in the works for several years through a consultation process with the public and stakeholder groups called Design Regina, the name given to the new Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP creates the over-arching policy framework that sets the priorities to guide our city’s growth and development as we hit populations of 300,000, 400,000 and someday 500,000. At times, it can seem surreal to discuss how a city that was stuck on population cruise control for so long would be having a conversation on what a population of 500,000 would look like in our city. Having said that, times have changed and Regina is now growing at an almost unprecedented rate, not unlike what some of the other Western cities have experienced in the past. Calgary, for example, had a population of 403,000 in 1971. In 40 years it has grown to 1,090,000. Calgary grew by 687,000 people in 40 years, or 17,175 per year. That’s a phenomenal growth rate. If we grow proportionally at the same rate as Calgary, our population

aspirations as outlined in their OCPs are all so similar, I would reason the difference then must be in how the plans are carried out, or, through their execution. The community aspirations and the vision of the Regina residential construction industry are very well aligned when it comes to creating innovative, sustainable and diverse communities. Though some interest groups with a narrower focus might disagree, the residential construction industry in Regina is informed and capable and in fact is already delivering its part, in carrying out the vision that is reflected in the new draft OCP. Let’s take two of the priorities in the OCP, for example, “developing complete neighbourhoods” and “support the availability of diverse housing options.” The residential construction industry and much of the urban planning industry already have the knowhow to accomplish this. However, where they have been experiencing impediments to delivering in these areas is through the current rules which have actually stifled innovation. When it comes to housing options, for example, consumers are demanding more housing options all the time and many of those options are becoming available with many more on the way, but for developers and builders to deliver on this item, we need policies that allow flexibility; not overly prescriptive models that limit creative solutions. The OCP must

provide a framework that is flexible. The home building industry requires flexibility in coming up with innovative designs to meet the ever-changing needs of the market. Our visions align, what we require is the wiggle room to come up with creative solutions to deliver the vision. Our city is being transformed every day through the efforts of our community developers and new home builders. Driven by the market, our city is undergoing sweeping changes as we build the neighbourhoods and the new homes that house our evergrowing population. In collaboration with the city, our sleeves are rolled up and we are prepared to deliver on the new OCP. This is our opportunity to get it right. How our city grows today, has long-term implications for everyone. The building industry is prepared to meet the challenges ahead by responding to the demand for new neighbourhoods and housing through creative solutions. However, our industry’s work is facilitated and regulated by the policies and actions of government. The roadblocks may lie in the details of the regulatory framework. Our call out to the city is in ensuring the city gets those details right. Our city’s future growth depends on it. Stu Niebergall is president and CEO of the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association. Contact him at s. niebergall @reginahomebuilders.com

Advice

What’s the peen on the ball-peen hammer for? rage that you need storage for: hand tools, power tools, automotive items, sports and camping gear, cleaning and gardening products and tools, seasonal decorations, dangerous chemicals, shovels, bikes, tires and so on. ■■ Plan which section of the garage is best suited for each category. ■■ Purchase shelves, peg boards, hooks, racks and cabinets based on specific needs and where they will be placed. ■■ Purchase clear totes so you can see what you have. ■■ Organize items, making sure everything is easily accessible to everyone that needs to access the items. For example, don’t hang extension cords so high that you need a ladder to reach them unless you have small children and need to keep them out of reach. ■■ Label all shelves, boxes and totes so everyone knows where items belong. Doing this helps maintain an organized garage for a long time.

Reena Nerbas For Postmedia News Q: I would never ask anyone I know this embarrassing question. What is the purpose of the peen on a ball-peen hammer? A: Great question. The flat side of the hammer is used for striking surfaces while the ball side is used for chipping or indenting surfaces. Originally the ball-peen was used for peening (setting) the end of rivets. Q: I bought a bulk supply of yogurt and the expiry date is tomorrow. Do you think that the yogurt will still be good and taste the same if I freeze it? A: While the consistency might be slightly different after thawing, it still tastes great. In fact you can thaw and stir it, add your favourite fruit to it, or eat it frozen the way you would ice cream.

Tips for an Organized Garage

Debra Brash/Victoria Times Colonist

Yogurt can still be delicious after freezing, but you can bump up the flavour even more by adding fruit.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my brand new videos/blog/website: Reena.ca.

You will save time and frustration if you spend a few days getting organized. ■■ Categorize each area of the ga-

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A quality rasp/zester/grater shreds everything from vegetables to herbs

Zester/Grater Reportedly invented when a woodworker’s wife discovered that his wood rasp did a dandy job of shredding ultrathin strips of peel from an orange for flavouring, the rasp-style zester works on everything from citrus fruit to onion, ginger, garlic and even whole spices. It’s also perfect when you need cheese shavings for pasta or salads. No wonder it’s a favourite of television chefs. What you’ll pay: $22.50 for a 12-inch stainless steel rasp and holder at Lee Valley (Leevalley.com).

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