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Dearest friends and readers,

We’ve moved! Please come and pull up a chair at our new home and let’s continue the conversation. 


Breakfast Companions [Cinnamon-Espresso Cashew Butter]

After working in an office for seven years, I forgot how to properly enjoy the early hours of the day. Breakfast was a hurried production, frantically grabbing a coffee and cramming a croissant thoughtlessly into my gob in between emails. I don’t know that I’ve ever had the time, or made the time, rather, to fully appreciate the quiet brilliance of breakfast.

Since being off the last few months, I’ve become happily immersed in the process. Boiling water for my press pot each morning while I feed our mewing kitties and Ryder, her tail thumping excitedly against my foot, frying up an egg or smearing homemade cashew butter on grainy toast, opening all the windows and relishing those few peaceful moments before the day begins. It’s in those quiet moments that my thoughts can roam free, unburdened by the day to come or the ceaseless chatter that fills my head once I sit down in front of my laptop. 

The idea for this recipe came to me while I ate my usual, plain-Jane cashew butter on toast with a shot of espresso to the side and a sprinkle of cinnamon atop it. I thought, “why the hell not….”, as all the flavours lingered in my mouth and the epiphany emerged. And why-the-hell-not turned into oh-hell-yes pretty quickly. The perfect marriage of salty, sweet and bitter. This butter is as wonderful on toast as it would be in a smoothie, with apples slices or a cashew-butter cookie. It’s thick and creamy and rather decadent. The perfect breakfast companion to help you slow down, sip thoughtfully and nourish your body with something healthy and delicious. 

Cinnamon-Espresso Cashew Butter
makes 1 - 1 1/2 cups

2 cups roasted (unsalted) cashews
1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil
pinch salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp instant-espresso powder

Place first three ingredients into a high-powered* blender/food processor. Process on high until the nuts have broken down and started to come together as they release their oils. This should take about 5-8 minutes depending on your blender. Eventually you’ll be left with an extremely smooth and shiny butter. 

Add the cinnamon and espresso powder and blend for another minute or two until everything comes together. Taste for salt and adjust if needed. If you like it sweeter, feel free to add 1 tbsp honey. 

*I say high-powered because I toasted both my bullet and kitchen-aid mini-food processor trying to make nut butter before. I use a (very affordable) Ninja Blender right now and I’m quite happy with how easily/effectively it breaks nuts down into butter. 


La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères [Blackberry Basil Sticky Buns with Goats Cheese Icing]

A few weeks ago, while we were waiting for all the little bits and pieces in the Seed to Sausage shop to come together, we decided to take a leisurely field trip out to a cheese producer we’re hoping to carry n-store.

The winding, potholed roads and rolling hills, still speckled with white from the long winter, guided us through the country side of Quebec to St. Sixte (near Thurso) and up the driveway of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères where we had the great pleasure of meeting Maggie Paradis. 



Maggie and her husband Christian began their story in 1999 when they started to milk their ewes and sell the milk to cheese makers around Quebec. When the listeriosis crisis hit, demand for product vanished and they were left with a tough decision - halt the milking or process their own milk into cheese. They forged ahead and Les Folies Bergères, roughly translated to “Crazy Shepherds”, was born. 

While we tasted, little more than satisfied sighs escaping us, Maggie took us through the production and styles of all her cheeses. From 
La Petite Folie, a soft unripened ewe’s milk cheese with a creamy texture that is spreadable (also available with a bloomy rind on it for a more yeasty finish) to the La Sorcière Bien Aimée, a goat brie that’s not as tangy/stinky as a traditional brie but has a lovely goat flavour, to the amazing La Coulee Douce, 100% sheep’s milk cheese with a local apple cider-washed rind… everything these cheese makers do is innovative, diverse and above all else, delicious. I came home with La Petite Folie and La Sorcière Bien Aimée so I could relish them in private, no one to observe my sighs of satisfaction. 


I decided to make something fun and unconventional with the soft, unripened goats cheese. I’ve seen it used as an icing for cinnamon buns before, but that seemed almost too mundane for such a cheese. I peeked in and out of the fridge, back and forth from my Flavor Bible and finally came out with these - an ooey-gooey blackberry bun with lemony, aromatic basil sugar and a sticky sweet goats cheese icing. They are everything. EVERYTHING. The flavours, the texture, the tang from the lemon and goat cheese. I am obsessed. I think you might be, too! 


Blackberry Basil Stick Buns with Goat Cheese Icing
makes 12 large buns

1 cup warm buttermilk (110 degrees F - 45 degrees C)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 cup basil sugar* 
zest from 1 lemon
4 tbsp butter, very soft
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup fresh blackberries

4 oz soft, unripened goats cheese, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the dough
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the warmed buttermilk along with the sugar. Stir gently and let it sit until frothy (8-10 minutes). Pour in the melted butter, beaten yolk and vanilla. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and nutmeg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a fork until a shaggy ball starts to come together. Use your hands to fold the dough in the bowl until all the bits have come together and you have an almost uniform dough. Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean, lightly-oiled bowl (being sure the surface of the dough is slick with a bit of oil) and cover with plastic wrap or a clean damp towel for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

While the dough rises, make the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the basil sugar, lemon zest, softened butter and lemon juice. Set aside. 

When the dough is doubled, dump onto a clean, lightly floured surface and roll into an 18x14 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the basil lemon filling all over the dough leaving about 1/2 inch of clean dough around the edges. Roughly chop the blackberries and spread evenly over the filling. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Pop in the freezer for about 10 minutes just to firm things up so they slice easily. Once firmed, use a serrared knife to slice into 12 even piece. Place in a lightly oiled baking dish (2 pie plates or a 9x13 inch baking pan) and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375. 

Pop buns in the oven and let bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, covering with tin foil if they start getting too golden before they are cooked through. 

While they cook, place all icing ingredients into the food processor or a small bowl and process/whisk until smooth. Taste and add more lemon or sugar if needed. 

Remove buns from the oven and drizzle with all, or half, or the icing. You can reserve half the icing for when you serve them or just coat them completely right away. 

*basil sugar
1 cup white or cane sugar
about 8-10 big basil leaves, stems removed

place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or mortar and pestle. Grind until leaves and sugar are uniform. It will be moist and fragrant. 


Fingers & Fries + Turkey Love [Honey Garlic Turkey Tenders with Sweet and Smoky Dipping Sauce]


Perhaps like you, I ate a lot of fingers and fries as a kid (/teenager…./adult). If there was a dinner out, it was widely known and accepted, with a sigh, that I wouldn’t be pleased unless the menu had those three little words that twisted my pout into a triumphant grin. Fingers and fries. My whole “fine dining” world. 

Just recently I was out for dinner with my dad and we discussed this exact situation. Each family vacation, no matter the destination, I would anxiously jab a spindly finger in the air, pointing to a restaurant while professing to my parents, “We haven’t been here before!”, and begging that we try it out. My Dad, ever the intrepid food explorer and the first to bravely seek out the one thing he hadn’t tried on any given menu, was certain with each new restaurant that today might be the day I ordered liver. Or hell, even a burger. Even a bowl of gloppy, butter-slick Alfredo. Anything but fingers and fries….again. But I wouldn’t have it. Those simple flavours were home back then. I knew I liked them and that was enough. All the guess work was done for me. My exploration wouldn’t come until many years later when I lived on my own. 

These days I’m still mad for any sort of meat-strip battered or coated in a crunchy crumb-crust. Especially when it’s a recipe meant to be kid-friendly. Of this, the tastes that wee ones crave, I know plenty. And swapping the standard chicken to turkey is something I’ve been waiting to try for a while. We love turkey in our house and try to grab it up to cook any time we see it. It’s incredibly healthy, full of flavour and provides a much needed refresh on a classic kid’s favourite. 

I’ve worked with Turkey Farmers of Canada many times before and am extremely honoured and excited to tell you that I’ve signed on as a Turkey Champion for the 2014 year. This  partnership means I’ll be sharing plenty of turkey-filled recipes with you, hosting some twitter parties to talk about the ever-versatile meat source and generally sharing my love for turkey with all of you! That kicks off today with these Turkey Tenders - perfect for your kids (or even your own inner-child). They are sweet and garlicky, crunchy and tender, slightly cheesy from a goldfish crumb, and the perfect dunker for a sweet and smoky paprika-spiked dipping sauce. 

Let’s not waste any more time, these babies could be dinner tonight! 


Honey Garlic Turkey Tenders with Sweet and Smoky Dipping Sauce
serves 4
Find them on the Tasty Turkey website, too!

I like to add wheat bran and oats to the crumb mixture because it’s a simple way to get more nutrition into these tenders, especially when we’re talking about kids. If you choose to leave them out, add another 1/2 cup of goldfish, cornflakes or bread crumbs. 

1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
few dashes hot sauce, optional
2 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 - 2 lbs turkey breast, sliced into thin strips

1 cup goldfish crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup wheat bran, optional
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats, optional
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour

image Sweet and Smoky Sauce
makes approximately 1 cup

1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup white or rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp cornstarch

Place all the marinade ingredients except for the turkey in a blender/food processor and whir around for 10 seconds until smooth. Place into a sealable bag or container and add in the turkey. Toss to coat and let marinade 4 hours up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place a rack on top. Pour all crumb mixture into a large shallow dish and stir to combine. Remove marinated turkey 1 strip at a time and coat it in the crumb mixture. Place on the rack above the baking sheet.  Repeat with all the strips, you may need to use two sheets or cook them in 2 batches so they aren’t crowded on the pan. Baking for 20-25 minutes or until golden at the tips and internal temperature reads 180 degrees.

While the turkey tenders cook, add all the Sweet and Smoky Sauce ingredients to a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon and looks shiny and thick. Pour into a sealable jar and let cool to room temperature before dunking.


Enduring Winter [Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh]


Unlike most springs, my yearning for a shift in diet, heavy in fresh vegetables and lighter fares, seems to be lagging behind with the warmer weather that will seemingly never come. 

We tap our toes impatiently, sigh deep and heavy sighs, and wait. And then wait. And then we wait a little more. Alas, it is still barely above zero in Ottawa some days. The afternoons tease with their warm rays blanketing our faces, uttering the promise of summer, but the cold wind clinging from the winter is persistent and enduring, vowing not to leave until the last drop of winter has been rung from our city. 


It’s been a long, long winter. I can’t imagine it being 35 degrees in this city, as it typically is in the throws of summer. Our baby tomato seedlings are ready to be drenched in sun, to fill our balcony with that familiar scent of summer and growth. We’re ready for our socks to be rolled and put away and our toes to breath and wriggle freely for the first time in months. Our dinners to be served al fresco with icy cold Riesling, our evenings to be spent loitering long past sun down as our laughs echo and fade into the dense summer air. But still, there is cold. 


This tabbouleh helps. Granted, it’s made with frozen corn which just doesn’t compare to it’s sweet, fresh counterpart….but it’s something. Something fresh and bright and healthy. Something to help shake the cravings for slow braises and heavy pastas. It’s delicious, and the corn that pops as you bite into it releases this lovely sweetness that balances all the tangy, lemony, fresh flavours that tabbouleh is known for. The carrot greens bringing in an earthiness and a slight bitterness that played well off everything else. If you’re enduring a long winter and need some sunshine, this is for you. I guess if it’s warm where you are you can have this too… but you better will us some sunshine while you do. 


Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh
serves 6-8 as a large side

3 cups curly parsley, minced
1 1/2 cups carrot greens, minced
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (whatever is most ripe)
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 cup mint leaves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur (or quinoa if you’re gluten intolerant)


(adapted from a cozy kitchen)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon, juiced + zested

Put a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over med-high heat. Pour in the corn and let it sit, until charred slightly (5 minutes), stir and let char some more. It should take about 10-15 minutes total. Once it’s got some nice colour, scoop onto a dish to cool. 

Get a big bowl and add all the chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Add in the bulgur and cooled corn and toss again, making sure everything is well mixed. 

Pour all the dressing ingredients except for salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine (adding the lemon + zest). Add about 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and then taste and add more until you’re happy with the taste. 

Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and if it needs more dressing, add more. It should be nice and tangy with a bit of salad to balance. Serve with fresh or toasted pita, za’atar crackers or on it’s own. 


Canadian Spirit [Clementine Collins]

Filling our liquor cabinet with Canadian products has been something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Though we have some favourites that we simply can’t live without, like our beloved Kracken or Mount Gay Rum, it’s been deliciously fascinating tasting the best of what our national distillers have on offer. In the last two weeks I’ve picked up bottles of Dillon’s {Niagara region} White Rye (100% Canadian Rye without age in the wood) & Unfiltered Gin (crafted in a copper pot still by passing vapour through 22 botanicals), Collingwood Whiskey {Collingwood, Ontario} that, while smooth, toasty and flavourful on the rocks, blends beautifully with an organic apple cider for a cozy little evening sipper, Still Waters Distillery Single Malt Vodka made from 100% malted barley, that makes a smooth, almost buttery Martini, and lastly, the gin used in the cocktail I wanted to share with you today, Ungava Canadian Gin


Ungava, an inuit word meaning “towards the open water” is crafted in the Ungava peninsula at the northern tip of Quebec. The particular climate in this area produces six rare botanicals that give this almost neon yellow gin its very unique aroma and colouring. I was hooked from the first whiff of fragrant, floral, earthy vapours wafting from the opened bottle and fell even harder as I sipped the gin straight and tasted what I’m not typically accustomed to from my bottle of “what’s-on-sale” gin. BIG flavour. Flavour that floods your mouth and lingers a while so you can almost taste all of those carefully selected botanicals. I highly suggest you chase down a bottle of this liquid gold. Especially if you’re interested in the cocktail we’re talking about today. It pairs wonderfully with sweet, juicy clementines and the kick of puckering tartness from the lemon. 

image Clementine Collins
makes 2 cocktails

The egg white here gives the cocktail a lovely frothy top. You can’t taste it at all so don’t be worried about that. If you’re concerned about raw egg, you can leave it out. 

3oz Ungava Gin (or other high-quality gin of your choosing)
juice from 2 clementines
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp raw sugar
1/2 egg white
club soda or tonic water
lemon or clemetine slices, for garnish
Place first 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Fill 2 tall glasses with crushed ice and top with cocktail mixture. Top with club soda or tonic water. 



You Need a Snack [Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins]

Sometimes you just need a small bite. Something to tame the angry gut-beasts during the day, enough to keep you going from breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner. Snacks are up there on my list of extremely-necessary-things-to-make-it-through-the-day-without-killing-people. It’s in your best interest that I snack, and when I do, it has to be delicious. 

These muffins provide just that. Filling, not cloyingly sweet, but just enough honey to feel like you’re getting a treat. Full of toothsome wheat bran, oats and warm spices and bursting with oozy pockets of blackberry and a slight tang from the Greek yogurt and sour cream, they’re as delicious as they are full of goodness. And they make a great snack at any time of the day…especially when you slather them with a little salty butter if you’re not overly concerned with a little extra fat. 

Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
makes 1 dozen muffins

If you don’t like the idea of sour cream, you can do a full cup of Greek yogurt instead. It does provide a really lovely tang, though, so don’t knock it until you try it. 

If you added a handful of dark chocolate chips, I wouldn’t be mad at you. 

1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups wheatbran
1/2 cup quick cooking oats (or whole oats whizzed in the food processor until crumbly)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 - 3/4 cups honey (I used 3/4 cup but I wanted them a touch sweeter)
1 tbsp molasses
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped blackberries
brown or turbinado sugar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper or parchment muffin wrappers. 

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside. 

In a smaller bowl, add the the wet ingredients and whisk them together until well combined. Fold the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Fold in the chopped blackberries. 

Fill muffin trays 3/4 of the way and sprinkle with a little brown or turbinado sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. 


There Are Bagels At Hand [Montreal-Style Bagels]


…with cream cheese and lox. 
…with fresh butter and kosher salt.
…with avocado, lime and manchego. 
…with a fried egg and arugula.
…with melted cheddar and a few drops of Worcestershire…

…but that’s just me. What do you take on your bagel? I sooner ask that than what type of bagel you prefer to maw on since that’s a conversation that could turn allies into foes and leave families across the continent irreparably broken. This may sound a touch dramatic to you, but for so many people I’ve come across, specifically those who live or have lived in Montreal, there are only two answers to this question. Fairmont or St Viateur. And the rivalry runs deep. Residents of Montreal take immeasurable pride in their bagels. So what could make one so different than the other, you might be thinking. The difference, really, is that the Fairmont bagel (or bay-gal, if you’d like to say it in the mother tongue), is a touch sweeter, making the rivalry sound like much ado about nothing. What it really comes down to is loyalty. Both locations are but a few blocks from each other so going to one rather than the other is less out of convenience, more out of devotion. 


Admittedly, I’ve never had a Montreal bay-gal fresh from the wood oven. {I’ll wait for the collective gasps to die down}. I have, however, enjoyed them at our local Montreal-style bagel shop, Kettleman’s. I know the ecstasy only a piping hot, freshly baked bagel covered in toasty sesame seeds can bring. And thus, I decided it was time to learn. To go where many (wo)men have gone before, but a place that scared the bejesus out of me. Which is funny now that I’ve made 3 batches and am shocked at the ease with which these beauties can be made. You’re a measly 2 hours away from homemade bagels. MONTREAL-STYLE BAGELS! Let’s not even bother wasting more time talking. There are bagels at hand. 

Montreal Style Bagels
adapted from My Second Breakfast & NYTimes {MARCY GOLDMAN-POSLUNS}
makes 18 bagels

Ok, so obviously I don’t have a wood oven in my rental apartment. I’m sure you’re shocked. Though these won’t ever be exactly the same without that deep, smoky flavour…this is as good as it gets for a home-bagel. Unless you decide to use a barbecue or have a wood oven. In which case, you’re pretty awesome. 

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp (8oz, 1 packet) dry active yeast
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided

for boiling:
1/3 cup honey

1 cup sesame seeds 

Stir the warm water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let sit until frothy, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, salt, oil, and honey and egg + yolk. Stir 1 cup of flour in until full incorporated. Add another 3 cups and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Dump bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding up to another 1/2 cup of flour if needed, for no less than 10 minutes. The dough should be extremely supple and smooth. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rise for 20 minutes. 

Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Stretch or gently roll, using finger tips, each portion of dough into an 8 inch rope and bring the ends together to form a circle. Pinch the ends together and then roll gently with the heal of your hand to seal. It’s important the ends are well secured otherwise they’ll open when boiling. Place bagels on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with a clean towel for 20 minutes. 

Pour the sesame seeds into a large shallow dish. 

While the bagels rise, bring 16 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the baking soda and honey and turn down to a simmer. When ready, add the bagels 2 at a time to the simmering water. Let cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove with a deep-fryer spoon or slotted spatula/spoon, drag through the sesame seeds on both sides and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with all bagels. 

Preheat oven to 500. Place 1 sheet of bagels in for 10-12 minutes or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip bagels and cook for another 5-8 minutes, watching closely after 5 minutes so they don’t over cook. They should be golden brown. Serve warm with cream cheese, lox, tomatoes & bacon, or anything else your heart desires. 

Keep in airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. 


Learning to Spice [Coconut Turmeric Basmati with Cashews]


My spice cabinet is organized into three sections. The first being my every day favourites - cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom, cumin, oregano. The second are the spices I use often enough but don’t typically grab for first - curry powder, white pepper, allspice, chipotle powder, etc. The last houses the spices that I rarely use. The ones I just don’t really know well enough to know what to do with. Occasionally I take these out and devote some much needed time to experimenting and getting better acquainted.  

Turmeric is one from group three. I just don’t know it very well. I know it’s the same colour as curry powder and often I think my tongue is expecting it to taste like curry powder. It doesn’t. It is used to make curry powder, but it doesn’t have that toasty, bold, spicy flavour that you might expect it to. Turmeric is warm, slightly peppery and tastes slightly of orange and ginger. It adds the most brilliant golden colour to any dish, and I won’t even get started on the health benefits of this humble spice. 


If you’re new to turmeric like me, here are a few recipes from my favourite people that might help you test the waters: 

1. Roasted carrots + rice w/ zingy turmeric broth from The First Mess
2. Turmeric Tea from 101Cookbooks
3.Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric, and Cumin from The Kitchn
4.Warm Salad of Roasted Turmeric-Chili Chickpeas + Pear from Dolly and Oatmeal
5. Immune Boosting Turmeric Lassi from Green Kitchen Stories

It’s worth noting that The First Mess, one of my absolutely-must-read-as-often-as-possible favourites, was the inspiration for getting better acquainted with turmeric. Laura uses a lot of turmeric in her cooking and I always marvel at how beautiful the finished plates look. She seems to have a knack for creating dishes that you can almost taste through the screen. Always bursting with brightness and vibrant colour, plentiful in warm spices, and crunchy toppings. This leek, fennel, apple + walnut soup with turmeric is next on my turmeric to-do list. A total home run, right?! 


Coconut Turmeric Basmati with Cashews
serves 6 as sides, 4 as main

Admittedly, I ate 2 massive portions of this rice because it was that tasty. It’s warm and fragrant, rich and comforting, and boasts such a stunning shade of yellow. 

vegetable or coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced or sliced thin
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, divided into two 1/2 cup portions
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 cups brown basmati rice
1/4 cup crushed cashews, toasted
scallions, to garnish
lime wedges, to garnish

Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened and just starting to turn golden around the edges. Add in the first 1/2 cup coconut, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne and cook for another 2 minutes to wake up the spices. Pour in the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover leaving a small sliver open for steam to escape. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and cover tightly for 20 minutes to steam. Fluff with a fork. 

Serve garnished with cashews, extra 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, scallions and a lime wedge. 


To Warm Our Tummies [Roasted Pear and Apple Sauce with Whiskey and Brown Butter]

Our tummies have been craving warmth lately. Bowls of soup so scorching the billowing steam is almost opaque, cups of coffee that turn the tough skin of our fingers pink while cradling the mug from table to lips, spoon-hugging chili with a heavy-handed spatter of spice that causes the skin of my eyelids to sweat and this, pear and apple sauce. Right off the stove, foolishly, so it sears the skin of our throats as it goes down.  

This is the stuff of dreams. The type of treat you wait until no one is looking and lick the sides of the bowl. It has a texture similar to the Mott’s Applesauce of my childhood, but boasts a flavour far more mature. The fruit, roasted in a mixture of brown sugar and warm spices, develops a nutty caramelization around the edges that gives the sauce such a brilliant richness. Of course, the addition of fragrant brown butter and smooth, woodsy whiskey doesn’t hurt either. A hit of lemon balances everything out so it isn’t so rich you can only handle one bite. 

Using a mixture of pears and apples, especially the sad bruised ones you won’t eat, ensures a nice round flavor. I used gala, macintosh, and empire apples and d’anjou and bosc pears. Feel free to use whatever you have so long as it’s good and (borderline over) ripe. 

Roasted Pear and Apple Sauce with Whiskey and Brown Butter
makes about 5-6 cups

I like adding milk to my sauce because it makes it tastes richer and lingers a bit on the tongue. Feel free to use cider or water in it’s place if you’d like. 

3lbs mixed apples and pears, sliced in half + cored 

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1/8 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp Canadian whiskey
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt

1/3 cup 2% milk

To garnish
toasted pepitas
brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Place sliced + cored pears/apples on a high-sided baking sheet or roasting pan cut side up. Sprinkle with brown sugar and spices and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife goes easily through the center of the fruit. 

While the apples and pears roast, place the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Let cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until butter is brown and nutty. Pay close attention so it doesn’t burn. There should be golden flecks of milk solids - that’s where all the flavour lives! Once it’s golden brown and fragrant, pour in the whiskey, lemon juice and salt and swirl everything around a bit to combine. 

Place the roasted fruit (skins and all), the butter/whiskey mixture and the milk into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth (or less if you prefer it chunky). Serve with toasted pepitas and extra cinnamon/brown sugar if you’d like.