I’ve been struggling through the last few weeks. Struggling to find sense and purpose in some days, feeling angry that I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in my life, crushing under the [self-induced] pressure of my late 20s (which, I know, is still very young and leaves plenty of time for change). It seems everyone is on a path these days, travelling towards their light at the end of the tunnel. Some days it feels like I’m a hamster running in a wheel. Constantly spinning, exhausted, but not going anywhere. It’s hard to remember that despite this feeling, I am on a path even if it’s not the one I intended to be on. I struggle constantly with the decision to start over. To take a giant leap into the unknown not knowing where my feet will land and what will be there to cushion my fall, if anything. Life can be so scary sometimes. But through all the nerves and anxiety, I can still hear that meager voice challenging “…but isn’t it better to be happy?” and I’m starting to feel like, yes, it probably is. To be happy and terrified, or comfortable and miserable. It’s a question that’s not so uncommon with my age group, it seems. And though the answer appears so simple, it just isn’t that easy.
I’m trying to take each day as it comes. To enjoy and embrace all the little things, as fleeting as they can sometimes feel. I’m lucky, selfish as it sounds, to have friends who are dealing with the same fears and struggles. It’s comforting to talk to someone that understands what it’s all about, how irrational and weighing those feelings can be.
Oh, the dramatics of it all. I hope I’m not the only one moaning and groaning over this – surely you’ve been (or are currently) there, too. I choose to believe you have and it brings us closer together as a result. See! That’s a nice way to look at it. You’ve always been so understanding. And to thank you for listening, I’ve prepared some Chickpea Melts. That’s right. Chickpea. Melts. A creamy, dill-pickley, slightly spicy chickpea salad schmeared over a piece of grainy bread and topped with greens, tomatoes and lots of gooey mozzarella. If that doesn’t solve all the world’s problems, or at least whatever you’re struggling with today, I don’t know what will. So go ahead, feed your problems away and smile. It could always be worse.
Spicy Chickpea Salad Melts
inspired by Madison at Mad Faux Cheese
makes 4 open-faced sandwiches
1 1/2 cups (approx. a small can) canned chickpeas
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 red onions, diced very fine
2 tbsp Greek yogurt OR mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large dill pickle, diced
1/2 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp fresh minced basil
juice form 1/2 lemon (or a whole lemon if you like it tangy!)
1 tbsp sriracha (+/- depending on heat tolerance) OR 1/2 tsp (+/-) cayenne pepper
6 slices crusty multigrain bread
greens of your choice (I like torn kale)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella (or fresh, torn mozzarella)
fresh ground pepper
Pour rinsed chickpeas into a flat, high sided dish, drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil and mash with a fork or potato masher until mixture starts to stick together. No need to be fussy, it’s even tastier when you get a whole chickpea in a bite.
Add in the celery, red onion, mayo, Dijon, pickle, garlic, basil, lemon juice, sriracha or cayenne and a good pinch of salt. Mix and taste for seasoning. Add more lemon, salt or cayenne if needed.
Preheat oven to 400.
Slice your bread, lay on a baking sheet and top each with 1/4 of the mixture. It may seem like a lot but trust me. Just trust me. Top the chickpea salad layer with some greens, a layer of tomatoes and mozzarella. Sprinkle with pepper and pop in the oven for 10 minutes until golden. If necessary, turn the oven on to broil to brown the cheese in the last minute or two.
Some tragedy struck the area of Ottawa I grew up in yesterday. It’s hard to wrap your head around why these things happen, but more than that, it’s heartbreaking to see the city I love permeated with grief and sadness. Today I sit, one ear attached to the radio speakers, waiting for the news we all know is coming but no one wants to hear. My heart is heavy for the families and friends of the people who passed.
I had wanted to talk more about this pizza in depth, but it just doesn’t feel proper today. Give your people a tighter squeeze and be glad you get to see their faces at the end of a long day.
Instead, I leave you with some brilliant Brussels sprout recipes from my favourite bloggers.
1. Warm Brussels Sprout Toss from The First Mess
2. Garlic-Cauliflower Gnocchi with Brussels Sprout Leaves & Lemon Zest from Reclaiming Provincial
3. Sweet Potato and Brussels Skillet from Love and Lemons
4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey and Peanuts from Souvlaki for the Soul
5. Cream Braised Brussels Sprouts from Orangette (these have literally changed my life for the better. Literally)
And now, for my Brussels sprout recipe.
Autumn Skillet Pizza
(Brussels Sprout, Sausage, Apple & Roasted Potato)
adapted from How Sweet Eats
makes 2 pizzas
The type of sausage you use on the pizza is important here. It should be high quality and full of flavour. I used Seed to Sausage's Apple/Sage sausage and it couldn't have been better.
If you don’t have a 12” cast iron skillet, split dough into 3 parts (for an 8” skillet) or just make a regular size pizza on your pizza stone or baking sheet. I only divided the dough into 2 pieces for an 8” and it yields more of a deep-dish pizza…so if you’re into that sort of thing, have at it!
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
fine cornmeal (for dusting your skillet with)
5-6 baby potatoes, sliced thin
pinch or two crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2 cups Brussel sprout leaves
1 cup cooked sausage meat
1 large apple (whatever is fresh and slightly tart - I used earligolds), sliced into rounds (seeds removed)
1 ball mozzarella, pulled into bite-sized pieces
In a small bowl, mix the yeast, honey and olive oil and give it a quick stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour and mix the rest of the flour and salt together until a ball of dough starts to form. Knead lightly in the bowl to collect the rest of the flour and dump onto a lightly floured (using the reserved 1/2 cup) surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick, and knead until a smooth and elastic, 5 minutes.
Place the ball into a lightly oiled bowl, making sure the dough-ball is moist with oil, cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 45 minutes-1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
Lay sliced potatoes on a baking sheet making sure not to overlap. Drizzle with olive oil, crushed red pepper (if using) and sprinkle with salt. Roast until edges start to curl and turn golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove and let cool until ready to top pizza.
To assemble pizza:
Preheat oven to 475-500 (if your oven will go that high). Place your skillet in the oven while it preheats.
Punch dough down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Place one on a floured surface and roll out to fit a 12” cast iron skillet. Dust a peel with cornmeal and place your dough on it. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top with half the Brussels sprout leaves, half the sausage, apple rounds mozzarella and roasted potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Remove your skillet from the oven and dust lightly with cornmeal. Slide your pie right onto the pan and pop back in the oven. Let cook until golden brown, 20-30 minutes and finish the last minute of cooking time under the broiler to crisp toppings and cheese.
Repeat for second pizza or do two skillets at a time.
I tend to talk quite a bit about the connections we make through food. The people we meet while attending events, the conversations had over meals, the friends from around the world that feel like you’ve known forever when really, you’ve yet to meet. I know some fellow bloggers will agree that the connections we’ve made through twitter, email, facebook or whatever medium you use can sometimes feel stronger and more connected than some “real-life” relationships.
I have quite a few of these connections to speak of, people I’ve met at conferences and chatted with endlessly online, but there are a few in particular I hold close to my heart. Lindsay Anderson, known to some as Linds Eats, is one of those special people. We met, funnily enough, through a job we were both vying for. When the city of Richmond, BC was hiring a food blogger to live there and visit/write about a new restaurant each day for 365 days, I jumped (of course). Lindsay and I made it to the Top 3 and were flown to BC for our interviews (well, Lindsay lives in Vancouver so she mostly just hopped on the skytrain). Our respective groups of friends/supporters proclaimed us enemies as they prepared for us to head out for one of the biggest interviews we’d been faced with. I worried that the intensity of competition would sour our ability to enjoy the dinner that was planned for us all to attend (and of course, my anxiety was at an all time high… as usual). To make a long story short, we connected almost instantly over our twisted senses of humour, love of all things food, and loud, boisterous laughs. Though we came from much different backgrounds, had varied relationships with food, and lived on opposites sides of the country, it was obvious that our similarities were far greater than our differences. We’ve kept in touch over the last year and a half, offering support to each other when needed, drooling over our keyboards when one or the other posts something delicious, congratulating each other on small successes or sharing a laugh over something we’ve seen online.
When Lindsay broke the news that she and her longtime friend Dana VanVeller would be travelling across Canada for their new (ambitious!) endeavour, Feast On; An Edible Road Trip, and would be stopping in Ottawa on their way through Ontario, my gut stirred with excitement knowing I’d get to see her again soon.
Lindsay and Dana have been here since Saturday and are now headed on to the next leg of their journey in Montreal. I was lucky enough to get to see them twice during their time here; Sunday morning we greeted each other over big hugs and popped into the dank but completely charming and always-delicious Ottawa favourite The Manx for some brunch, followed by a trip to the Ottawa Farmers Market where the gals were introduced to two of my favourites, Michael and Pascale. We strolled through the market, Lindsay and Dana snapping photos and taking it all in, me buying up everything I could. We came back to my place and made some Za’atar Pretzels together; Lindsay explained that she worked in a pretzel shop in England while living there and showed us the proper technique to roll one… I didn’t catch on very quickly.
When all the sights had been seen and we hugged goodbye, I felt so happy and honoured to have been able to show them the city that I love so intensely and the food and people that make it so special to me. It was a whirlwind trip but sometimes those are the best kind of visit as they force you to really milk each moment before it’s gone. It was such a treat to see and re-connected with Lindsay (in REAL life) and finally meet Dana after talking through keys for the last 6 months.
While we were at the market, I had picked up some blue plums from Warners Farm with the intention of making a trifle, but this cake was what came out and I’m actually pretty thrilled that it took that turn. We all need a 30-minute cake in our repertoire, right? I’m glad you agree.
Brown Butter Blue Plum Skillet Cake
adapted from Serious Eats
I tried to get a little fancy with the plum placement. As usual, I regretted trying to be fancy immediately Just toss them in all willy-nilly. You’ll be able to get more in there, thus balancing the sweet/sour and it just looks prettier when you let it be messy. Lesson learned.
Preheat oven to 350 and place oven rack in the middle.
Melt 4 tbsp of butter in a hot skillet over medium heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until it starts to foam. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to swirl as the butter finished browning (5-7 minutes), it should smell nutty but not burnt.
Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the buttermilk/brown butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir only until batter is smooth. Don’t overmix.
Grease skillet with remaining 1 tbsp butter and pour batter in. Top with sliced plums and bake until golden around the edges or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
WHOA FALL. When did you get here? Wasn’t it just August 1st?
This month’s Farmers Feast was set to come out mid-August but some events I was working on just took over and before I knew it we were in September.
I do love fall (endlessly), but I’m feeling a bit mournful about the end of freshly plucked fruits and vegetables from the market. This last basket I received was like a rainbow of colours and flavours. When I saw it, I literally gasped at it’s beauty. August always yields the most incredible bounty and this basket was proof of that. Just look at it. Are you looking? ARE YOU?
I had offered an idea that we use most of the baskets contents to make mocktails/cocktails this month, but once I had my hands on it I had other ideas…. as usual. We’re releasing this month in two parts. The first being “drinks” (kind of), and the second a salad that will be coming next week. The strawberry-beet granita is just what you’d expect, bright strawberry flavour with just a slight earthy undertone that compliments the flavours really well. Consumed on a scalding day, it was just what the body needed. The tomatillo margarita might make you raise an eyebrow at my thought process, but the tartness from the tomatillos is different than that of a lime (think: unripe plum) and it adds another dimension to the classic cocktail. I was pretty thrilled with how it came out…and I consumed two of them…back-to-back. I blame the heat *cough*.
The farmers who generously donated their produce this month were:
Warner Farms – Peaches & Apricots
Avonmore Berry Farm - Strawberries
Roots Down Organic Farm - Shishito Peppers & Tomatillos
Jambican Garden - Shiso
Roots & Shoots - Kale
Just Farms – Beets
Linda’s Garden – Canary melon
Watarah Downs Organic Farm - Lemon Cucumbers
Strawberry Beet Granita
makes 2 large/4 small portions
1-2 small Chioggia beets (yellow beets will work too), peeled and cut into chunks
1lb strawberries, rinsed & tops removed
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice, optional
tiny pinch salt
mint, to garnish (optional)
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and toss the beets in. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until fork tender, 15-20 minutes. Strain and run under cold water until cooled to the touch.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and taste for sugar and lemon juice. Add more if needed.
Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish and place flat in the freezer. After 30 minutes or when you can see the edges are starting to freeze, pull the sides into the center and return to the freezer. Repeat every 30 minutes until you have a loose mixture of tiny ice chunks, about 1 1/2 hours. Spoon into cups that have been in the freezer for an hour.
makes 4 cocktails
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
Bring the water and sugar to a boil until sugar dissolves. Let cool completely.
2 tbsp coarse salt
zest from 2 limes (use the limes you’re going to juice)
Stir the lime zest and salt together.
2 small tomatillos
4 oz white tequila
Puree the tomatillos and push through a fine-mesh sieve to separate the pulp and the juice. Juice the limes into the juice of the tomatillos.
In a large pitcher, stir the lime/tomatillo juice, the simple syrup (add half at a time and taste to make sure it’s not too sweet) and tequila. Taste and add more lime or simple syrup. Stir well and chill for at least an hour.
Use a wedge of lime to moisten the rim of your glass and dip into the rim mixture. Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour margarita over.
Some days require a pick me up and there’s no shame in allowing yourself a simple pleasure to help you navigate through the rest of your afternoon or evening with a smile on your face. Especially if that smile was brought on by the warm yeasty scent of freshly baked cinnamon buns.
I made these a few weeks back on a particularly rough day. I spotted Oh, Lady Cakes' Small Batch Cinnamon Buns and felt that something like that would be the perfect reward for a day hard won. I switched them up a bit by using some organic almond butter I had laying around and tossing in some bittersweet chocolate. I'm a total lunatic for dark chocolate and almonds in any way/shape/form so this was a natural pairing for me and one I hadn't tried in a cinnamon bun before. They are decadent and barely sweet - just the way I like things. If you prefer sweeter sweets, add a bit more sugar or switch to sweeter chocolate.
Cinnamon-Almond Butter Buns with Bittersweet Chocolate
adapted from Oh Lady Cakes
makes 10-12 servings
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (between 105-108˚F)
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 - 1/3 cup all-natural almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp room temperature butter
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp melted butter, for topping
2 tbsp coarse sugar (like turbinado)
For the dough:
Mix the yeast and warm water together in small bowl, stir gently once or twice, and let sit until frothy, 5-10 minutes.
In another small bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar, stirring until sugar is melted. Add the milk and mix to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and the milk/butter mixture. Using a fork, pull the flour, bit by bit, into the well while stirring. Once the dough comes together in a ball, start kneading it in the bowl to grab up all the rest of the flour. Dump onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth. Place in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise until doubled, 45mins -1 hour.
Line countertop with parchment paper and dust with flour. Roll dough out into a 1/2” thick rectangle.
For the filling:
Combine everything but the chocolate and stir to combine. Taste and add more cinnamon if you feel it’s necessary. It should taste sweet and equally of almonds and cinnamon.
Spread mixture over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle chocolate over the filling. Starting at the short end, tightly roll the dough up. Cut into 10-12 equal rounds, place in a large, buttered/oiled baking dish (they should be touching each other). Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375.
Brush buns with melted butter and sprinkle the coarse sugar (optional). Bake for 20-30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.
Good for what ails you. Or so I tell myself.
I’ve been known to turn to spicy tomato based drinks whenever I start feeling under the weather. Bloody Caesars are my standby, their endless substitution and ability to take on big flavours so well means I never tire of them. But bloody marys? Eh. Never been all that excited about them. Plain old tomato juice, some worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and vodka… yawn. Nothing about them has ever stood out to me enough to order one off a menu.
That is, until I started making my own tomato juice base. This is where you can pump in some big, bold flavours to amp up the appeal of your bloody mary. Roasting the tomatoes until their juices are sweet and concentrated gives you a great base to start with. If you just pureed the roasted tomatoes, you’d have a pretty killer tomato juice. But I wanted to pump things up even more than that. And this juice is BIG. Lots of complex flavours, lots of spice and depth.
I’m dealing with a nasty bout of bronchitis right now and I can safely say that this did not cure it. But it did bring a smile to my face on an otherwise crappy day. I imagine this version of a Bloody Mary would be well-received at a mid-afternoon brunch (or a morning brunch… but I’m a lush so I understand if you’d like to push this to after 12pm). Drink it and be healthy…and drunk.
Roasted Tomato Vegetable Juice
makes approx. 6-8 cups
10 roma tomatoes (about 3 lbs)
2 jalapenos, cut in half + seeds and veins removed
3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1/3 white or yellow onion, rough chopped
1 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on spice tolerance)
fresh ground pepper
Juice from 1 lemon (2-3 tbsp)
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 300.
Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet cut-side up. Do the same with the jalapenos but removed the seeds and veins. Roast for 40 minutes or until they’ve shrunken down by about half. They should be slightly wrinkled and dry-looking around the edges.
Dump the tomatoes, celery, jalapenos, onion, horseradish, sugar, cayenne, a few pinches of salt and pepper and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. At this point you can drink it as is or pour through a mesh-strainer. I prefer a smooth juice so I always strain mine. If it’s too thick, add water to thin it out a bit. Chill and serve.
Spicy Bloody María
makes 2 cocktails
2 ounces white tequila
6 ice cubes, whole or crushed
Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 dashes per glass
Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of choice), as much as you like (I do 3 dashes)
4 cups roasted tomato vegetable juice
2 celery stalks, optional (garnish)
green pimento-stuffed olives, optional (garnish)
Put a few ice cubes in each glass and top each with 1 ounce of tequila. Add your worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and top with the tomato vegetable juice. Garnish with celery stalks and olives, if using.
Historically, I’m not much of a baker. I allow myself far too many liberties without understanding the reasons for the exactness of a recipe. “Eye-balling” amounts when baking is not something I’d recommend. Unless, like me, you enjoy being stuck with a pretty looking but totally inedible plate of treats. Nothing could be a worse tease.
I am underwater this week. Stressed and anxious and finding it hard to shake. I have something big this weekend, something so far out of my comfort zone that it’s taking a toll on my body and mind. Anxiety, which we’ve talked about before, is something I deal with regularly. Something I’m only just learning that I’ve dealt with forever. It’s a darkness that lives in the pit of my stomach, emerging at the first sign of discomfort, change, excitement or scary obligations. I can feel it when it starts to stir, the weight of it rendering me useless. Frozen and unable to function. That is how you would find me today. A shell of myself, withdrawn from the better things in my life because I can’t find the joy in them at this moment.
When I start feeling this way, disconnected from myself and my life, I bake. It’s in the exactness of the ingredients and the specific instructions that must be followed to the letter that I can ground myself and quiet my mind. So today, I baked. A simple crumble that I allowed myself a slight bit of liberty. It’s so easy to get lost in the chopping, the measuring, the mixing. So easy to forget where I am, how I feel, and what’s around the corner.
Whether you bake to escape or bake for love, I hope you enjoy. Once this weekend is over and I can finally breathe again, I’ll be back. Ready to feel the joy and ruin some baked goods. Until then.
Peach Blueberry Cardamom Crumble
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 6-8, depending on appetite (serves 2 in our house)
6 ripe peaches (about 4 cups sliced), sliced 1” thick
1 1/2 cups blueberries, cleaned and picked over
1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (the fresher, the better)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pepitas, optional
1/4 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut, optional
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
-Drizzle of cream (my favourite - all the juices and cream make for a sweet syrupy sauce)
-Scoop of vanilla bean ice cream
-Spoonful of Mascarpone cheese
For the filling:
Mix all ingredients together, taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Pour into a baking dish (I used a large pie plate but feel free to use whatever vessel you prefer). Let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature while you make the topping. Preheat oven to 375.
For the topping:
Whisk all the dry ingredients together and add the butter. Use your fingers to smoosh the butter into the dry ingredients until they start to form tiny clumps. Pour over the filling and pop in the oven for 45 minutes, covering with a loose tent of tin foil after 30 minutes so the topping doesn’t burn. Let cool 20 minutes before serving. Serve with one of the above suggestions if you’re so inclined.
My brains are taking a brief sabbatical today, taking time to decompress and enjoy the long weekend, but I wanted to share this recipe with you before I start melting into a sunny chair on the deck with a cold glass of riesling in hand and my best friend to my side.
I hope Sunday is treating you kindly and feeding you well.
Baba Ghanoush Bowls with Pomegranate, Mint and Mozzarella
serves 4 as a snack, 2 as a main
I make this dish every so often when I want something decadent, rich but still healthy enough. The flavours are big and bold, but mellowed with the creamy, mild mozzarella, which may seem like an odd combination, but trust me. Just trust me.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggplants
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch ground cumin (1/8 tsp)
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate perils
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup mozzarella, pulled into bite size pieces
1/2 tsp sumac, optional (gives a lovely tartness)
Toasted Pita, to serve
Preheat the oven to 450.
Prick each eggplant about 10 times all over with a fork (this helps prevent them from exploding in the oven… a mistake I’m sad to say I made a mere day ago). Rub eggplants with olive oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning every 10-15 minutes, until flesh is very tender, 45mins-1 hour.
Let sit until cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh from the skins and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and add the garlic, salt, lemon juice, paprika, cumin and a few grinds of pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Spoon into 1 large serving dish or 4 personal sized ones. Can be made 1 day in advance. Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve, distribute the pomegranate perils, almonds, mint, mozzarella and sumac among the bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Scoop up with toasted pita or naan bread.
I’ve been working with Natrel on and off for the last little while on different campaigns they have going on. It’s one of those relationships I value highly because they are such a pleasure to work with and more than that, I love their products. We drink a lot of milk and coffee in our house and we prefer to use Natrel’s products when available.
The great part about working with them is the fact that no matter the campaign, they always let me have creative control over what I’d like to make and how I want to prepare it, shoot it and share it. Knowing that the people who hire you trust your judgement and know that you’ll respect their products makes all the difference. It’s been a real treat and I’m so thankful for this partnership.
I recently started working on their Natrel Organic campaign they have going on right now and I was tasked with creating a recipe using one of their organic products. With a 2L jug of milk in hand and my brain running wild, I started to think of what I’d create to showcase their organic brand. After multiple “Oh yes! That’s what I’ll do… oh wait. No. I don’t want to do that” moments, I thought about doing an ice cream that used only milk as the liquid base. No custard, no fussing about with egg yolks. Blend the ingredients, churn them, freeze. That’s all!
If you love a refreshing ice cream that has a tart kick to it, you’ll be mad for this one. It’s just slightly sweet, creamy and smooth, has a lovely light bitterness from the grapefruit that mellows the richness of the avocado, and a tart kick of citrus that brightens the palate and wipes away any heaviness that lingers. I’m so happy with how it turned out and I think you’ll love it, too!
Creamy Avocado Grapefruit & Honey Ice Cream
makes approximately 1 pint
3 ripe organic avocados
1 large organic grapefruit, zest and juice
juice of 1 organic lime
1/2 cup honey
1/4 - 1/2 cup fine raw sugar, depending on taste
2 1/2 cups Natrel 2% Organic Milk
1/8 tsp sea salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until extremely smooth. Taste and add more lime or sugar if needed and puree again to combine.
If using an ice cream machine: Pour into the prepared bowl and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Mine requires a 30 minute churn and then gets poured into a container to freeze for 6 hours.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine: pour into a freezer-safe bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove, beat vigorously with a whisk or spatula for 1 minute. Place in the freezer and repeat 2 more times. This helps create air between the ice crystals so you the ice cream stays scoopable rather than freezing into a hard block. Serve with a drizzle of honey.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Natrel. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I recently developed some recipes for a killer campaign/eBook titled Get Your Grill On With Turkey & Mushrooms put on by Mushrooms Canada and Turkey Farmers of Canada.
A talented round-up of Canadian bloggers have been chopping and stirring away, tasked with creating two recipes each containing both mushrooms and turkey. I was pretty thrilled to be able to work with some of my favourite people for this book and it came together so beautifully thanks to all the work of all the MC/TFC staff. The book contains beautifully shot, creative recipes like Grilled Thai Turkey Salad Rolls with Enoki Mushrooms & Peanut Sauce by Renee, Pizza Bianca with Grilled Rosemary Rubbed Turkey Fillet, Shiitake Mushrooms and Truffle Oil by Michelle and Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms with Turkey-Sage Filling by Isabelle. They’ve got me running out and stuffing my shopping bag with mushrooms and turkey almost every week so I can taste the food in all those lovely photos.
For my first recipe, I created a simple salad of pan-crisp wild mushrooms, spice-marinated turkey breast, sweet apples and grapes, hazelnuts and a lemony vinaigrette to bring it all home. It’s got flavour for days, it’s filling thanks to the turkey and mushrooms, and it’s easily adaptable to whatever produce you have on hand. I was so thrilled with how it turned out, I’ve made it almost every month since I developed the recipe.
If you’re interested in this recipe and all the others, you can find it on the Mushrooms Canada Facebook page. Just click download and you’ll be ready to go! And don’t forget to visit the Turkey Farmers of Canada Facebook page for the second part of the e-cookbook (you’ll find my recipe for Grilled Turkey and Cremini Sandwich with Fig Jam & Feta in that one).
Enjoy and Grill On, friends!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Mushrooms Canada and Turkey Farmers of Canada. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.