Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Seasonal Eats: Steelhead trout campfire-style from Chef Norm Aitken, Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar

Monday, September 1st, 2014
(Photo: Brian Walter via Flickr)

(Photo: Brian Walter via Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0)

Steelhead trout is a variety of rainbow trout that makes its way up rivers and streams to the sea — or in the case of Eastern and Central Canada, to the Great Lakes — in spring and fall. Farmed steelhead are available year-round. Similar to salmon in appearance and taste, steelhead trout is ranked highly by SeaChoice as a fish that is abundant and caught or farmed sustainably.

Also like salmon, steelhead trout is good for you. Not only is it packed with lean protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, it contains low levels of contaminants such as mercury, pesticides, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, says the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

This recipe from Chef Norm Aitken of Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar cures the trout and pairs it with a zesty quinoa salad and a chamomile syrup for delicious late summer dining. You can change up the vegetables according to the season, Norm says, going from spring shoots to roasted or pickled beets and adding sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

The veggies listed in the recipe were sourced from producers such as Rochon Gardens, Acorn Creek and Juniper Farm.

About Chef Norm Aitken

Chef Norm is co-owner of Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar in Ottawa’s Westboro Village, dubbed one of the city’s top tables by food critics.

A native of Souris, PEI, Norm began his cooking career more than 22 years ago at the prestigious Inn At Bay Fortune under the guidance of Chef Michael Smith of FoodNetwork Canada fame. There he developed the understanding of and respect for fresh local ingredients that form the cornerstone of his personal cooking philosophy.

Over the course of his career, Chef Norm continually pushes the boundaries to create distinctive cuisine that’s also simple regional, seasonal and sustainable. He is passionate about delivering top-notch, house-made quality dishes that surprise and satisfy his customers. He is also committed to ensuring that Ottawa stays a vibrant culinary destination, supports camaraderie among his peers on the Ottawa food scene and believes in giving back to the community through fundraising. He has worked with some of Canada’s top chefs including Ned Bell, Vikram Vij, Susur Lee, Robert Clark, Michael Howell, and Anita Stewart and has been recognized in Gold Medal Plates and Food Day Canada competitions. ABC Good Morning America & LA Entertainment profiled him for bringing “Le Whaf” vaporizing innovation to North America from Europe.

Norm has appeared on FoodNetwork Canada’s Chopped Canada as a celebrity chef. Outside the kitchen, he’s an avid food activist, teacher, and devoted dad to daughters Jade and Erika.

Steelhead trout campfire style

Combined cooking and prep times about 1 ½  hrs

  1. Trout cure

½ c sugar

1/8 c salt

zest of 3 lemons

zest of 3 limes

zest of 1 orange

1 ½ lb cleaned trout

Season the filet generously with the cure and let stand in the fridge, uncovered, for 1 hour.

  1. Quinoa citrus salad

2 c cooked quinoa

2 oranges segmented

shaved fennel bulb

pea shoots / wild garlic leaves

wild fennel fronds (soft green leaves)

  1. Salad vinaigrette

zest and juice of 2 lemons

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp shallot and garlic, minced

1/8 c fine grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until combined.

  1. Chamomile syrup

2 oz loose chamomile tea

2 c cane sugar

2 lemons, with peels, no pith

1 c white balsamic vinegar

Steep for an hour and strain.

  1. Assemble the plate

Season the skin of the trout filet with sea salt and place it in an oiled, pre-heated pan on high heat.

Turn the heat to medium and crisp the skin till golden brown.

Flip the filet over so that the flesh side is in the pan.

Cook for 2 minutes and turn the heat off.  Add a couple of tablespoons of the syrup to the pan to glaze the fish.  Let stand at room temperature for 3 min (i.e., let it rest) while you plate.

Combine all ingredients for the salad and season with the vinaigrette.

Place the salad and present the trout skin up over the salad.  Sauce the plate with the camomile tea syrup.

What’s your favourite way to prepare fish?

Seasonal Eats: Summer pasta with purslane from Fleurs Gourmande’s Roxane Robillard

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
Summer pasta with purslane (Photo: Roxane Robillard, Fleurs Gourmandes)

Summer pasta with purslane
(Photo: Roxane Robillard, Fleurs Gourmandes)

What’s purslane, you may ask? Or at least I did, when I heard about it for the first time a few weeks ago.

In North America, it tends to be looked upon as a weed, something unsightly to be pulled out by the roots. But in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, it’s considered a tasty, nourishing herb whose crisp leaves and lemony flavour can liven up a salad and complement a sauce, filling or soup. You can even pickle the stems.

Variously called pigweed, pourpier gras, or Portulaca oleracea, purslane is a nutritional overachiever, with the highest level of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant, say researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The same researchers report that purslane contains 10 to 20 times more melatonin (an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer) than any other fruit or vegetable tested. Nothing to turn your nose up at.

To learn more about purslane, visit the Food Literacy Center.

Here’s a simple way to prepare it, courtesy of Roxane Robillard, a horticulture and culinary consultant who works with people to help them find what they can safely eat from their own backyards.

About Roxane Robillard

Owner of Fleurs Gourmandes, and a member of Savour Ottawa, Robillard is a microprocessor who makes tisanes, jellies and pickles from edible plants that she forages, grows in her own garden or collects from her brother’s farm. Her products can be found at Cardamom and Cloves, Mariposa and other sources, and range from charred pepper jelly and cedar compote to sundried tomatoes, rhubarb ketchup and even pickled milkweed pods. “I don’t throw anything away – I transform it,” she says.

Summer Pasta

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients

Estimated prep time: about 10 min + time to cook pasta

2 c cooked pasta

½ c purslane (stems and leaves)

1 red pepper, julienne cut

1 orange pepper julienne cut

12 cherry tomatoes

 

Vinaigrette

¼  c vinegar, herbal or balsamic

¾  c olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

2 tsp honey or maple syrup

2 tsp Dijon mustard

 

  1. In a bowl, combine cooked pasta (hot or cold), purslane leaves, peppers and cherry tomatoes.

 

  1. Add dressing and toss. Serve immediately, or if serving cold, refrigerate first.

 

Do you cook with wild edibles? Share your experiences.

Elizabeth Kilvert’s recipe for spring slaw with baby kale, carrot, apple and cabbage

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Kilvert, The Unrefined Olive

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Kilvert, The Unrefined Olive

Warmer weather means luscious salads made with fresh local produce. This recipe for spring slaw comes from Elizabeth Kilvert, owner of The Unrefined Olive, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar in the Glebe (read my interview with Elizabeth here).

“This slaw makes a lovely side salad, an accompaniment to pulled pork, and a topping on sandwiches,” Elizabeth says. “You can also simmer any leftovers with chicken broth for a tasty soup.”

Local suppliers

A believer in local food and local partnerships, Elizabeth sourced the kale in this recipe from Jambican Studio Gardens, the apples from Hall’s Apple Market, and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar from – of course! – The Unrefined Olive.

About Elizabeth Kilvert 

Elizabeth was working comfortably as a civil servant at Environment Canada when she decided to take a risk and open an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar. The business is the culmination of her passion for food and travel, her life experience and her deep-rooted work ethic. At The Unrefined Olive, Elizabeth strives for a local approach, integrating partnerships, developing networks, and co-promoting as much as possible.

Spring slaw with baby kale, carrot, apple, and cabbage

Ingredients 

2 large carrots

2 medium apples, peeled and cored

1/4 purple cabbage

1/4 regular or Napa cabbage

2 cups chopped baby kale

1 tbsp coarse black ground pepper

1/2 cup Serrano Honey Vinegar

1/4 cup Robust Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt to taste

Directions

Coarsely grate the carrots, apples, and cabbage or run them through a food processor. Place in a bowl and toss with chopped baby kale.

Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, pepper and salt. Drizzle onto the rest of the ingredients and toss.

This makes a lovely side salad, an accompaniment to pulled pork, and a topping on sandwiches. If there is still salad after a few days simmer with chicken broth to make a soup.

What your favourite spring salad?

Seasonal Eats: Purée of wild black walnut and butternut soup

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Black walnut trees abound in Ottawa. The nuts can be used in a variety of dishes, including pâtés and soups.
Photo: Carol von Canon (via Flickr), http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Ottawa region is full of black walnut and butternut trees that bear tasty, nourishing fruit each fall. Squirrels love to stockpile them (as we found out last year when we discovered a huge stash of butternuts in our woodshed), but what most of us don’t realize is that they’re good food for people, too.

Thanks to groups such as Hidden Harvest Ottawa and the  Torbolton Institute, more of these flavourful local nuts are being gathered and used for cooking and eating. Shelling butternuts, and black walnuts in particular, can be challenging, but worth the effort.

Greystone Locavore In-season Fetes

To show how versatile wild local nuts can be, Chef Darryl MacDougall has decided to feature them on the menu for a February 25 locavore dinner to be held at his Constance Bay restaurant, the Greystone Grill. The dinner is one of a series dubbed the Greystone Locavore In-season Fetes that showcase foods and producers within a 100-mile radius. The Fêtes are an initiative of the Torbolton Institute, an innovations hub whose goals include making Ottawa locally food secure by 2020.

In addition to puréed nut soup – the recipe’s below — Chef MacDougall’s 5-course menu will include:

Wild black walnut and butternut pâtés

Handmade local butternut squash ravioli from Parma Ravioli, in a butter sage sauce

Rack of lamb from Our Farm CSA, served with root vegetables and a port reduction*

Fresh apple pie from Alice’s Village Café, with ice cream, drizzled with local maple syrup

*You can choose between this main course and vegetarian lasagna with béchamel sauce.

Greystone Locavore Winter Fête

6 p.m., February 25, 2014

179 Constance Bay Road, Ottawa

Price: $40/seat

Call to reserve your spot:  613-832-0009

About Chef Darryl MacDougall

A native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Darryl MacDougall learned his cooking skills at George Brown College and completed his apprenticeship at The Windsor Arms Hotel under Chef (and Masterchef Canada judge) Michael Bonacini. He opened the Greystone Grill a year ago and operates it with his wife Nadine. The couple is proud that the Greystone has been nominated as restaurant of the year for West Carleton by the West Ottawa Board of Trade.

Purée of wild black walnut and butternut soup

Chef Darryl adapted this recipe from one developed by his friend Chef Tony de Luca with whom he apprenticed in the 1980s. The original appears as Purée of Chestnut Soup in de Luca’s 2009 cookbook Simply in Season.

¼ c (60 mL) unsalted butter

¼ c (60 mL) olive oil

2 c (500 mL) black walnuts and/or butternuts, shelled and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 small cloves garlic, minced

6 c (1.5 L) vegetable stock, chicken stock or water

3 sprigs Italian parsley

2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp (30 mL) dry sherry

35% cream

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

parmesan cheese

truffle oil

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter and oil. When the butter foams, add the nuts, onion, potato, celery and garlic and cook, covered and stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes or until the onion is softened by not browned.

Add the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the nuts and vegetables are soft enough to purée. Add parsley springs, cloves and bay leaf and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove parsley spring, cloves and bay leaf.

In a blender (not a food processor), purée the soup until very smooth. Pour the soup back into the rinsed-out saucepan. Stir in the sherry and a bit of cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Keep warm until ready to serve. Top with grated parmesan cheese and a few drops of truffle oil.

What local foods do you gather and how do you prepare them?

Seasonal Eats: Rutabaga and beer soup from Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe, Stone Soup Foodworks

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe’s comforting soup features rutabaga, other seasonal vegetables and dark winter beer.
Photo: Farmanac (via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0 License, Attribution, Non-Commercial

Frigid, freezing, biting, bitter, numbing, teethchattering cold – all describe the last six or so weeks in Ottawa.  The days may be getting longer, but we’re still in hibernation mode and craving comfort food.

This stick-to-the-ribs soup from Chef Jacqueline Jolliffe is just the ticket. The robust flavour of root vegetables combined with dark, winter beer really hits the spot when temperatures plunge, Jolliffe says.

“This soup takes advantage of the fact that root vegetables like rutabaga, carrots and potatoes keep into the winter months,” she notes. “It’s thick and hearty and has a hint of deep bittersweet in it that’s really comforting. Top it with homemade croutons, some nice old cheddar and Italian parsley. Bacon is also pretty great on this one!”

About Jacqueline Jolliffe

Jolliffe is passionate about teaching the lost skills of chopping, cooking and preserving what she describes as “real food grown in real soil by real people.” An avid cook and environmentalist, she owns Stone Soup Foodworks, a food truck that specializes in fresh, healthy lunches and sustainable catering. (Check out her recipe for potato and leek soup here.)

Come May or June, she’ll open a café as part of The West End Well, a new social enterprise co-operative that will include a small organic grocery store, and space for activities such as community cooking classes and workshops on sustainable living.

Rutabaga and beer soup

Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for prep and cooking

Serves 6-8 as a hearty lunch

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

2 onions, sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 head roast garlic

2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tsp dried winter savoury

2 bottles dark winter beer

2 litres vegetable stock

___________________________________

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Place rutabaga, ¼ tsp salt and the beer in a deep roasting pan or 8.5” X11” pan. Dot with 1 tbsp butter and roast 45 minutes in the oven, covering with foil for 35 minutes, then removing the foil for 15-20 minutes to begin a caramelizing process. The rutabaga should be soft.

Roast the garlic at the same time. Cut off the top of the garlic head, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap in foil and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, begin caramelizing onions with remaining salt in a large pot. When onions begin to soften, add carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to brown.  Add minced garlic and cider vinegar. Cook for one minute. Add potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Once the potatoes are soft, add the rutabaga and liquid to the soup.  Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. You may need to add more stock or water to adjust the thickness, depending on the size of the vegetables.

Adjust seasoning, serve and garnish.

What winter dish helps you keep off the chill?

Crowdsourcing the menu: Help Scratch Kitchen choose new dishes for 2014

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Crowdsourcing – using social media and other online services to ask the public for ideas or funding – is changing the way businesses, non-profits and individuals reach their goals. This is certainly true of food production, where crowdsourcing is being used for everything from starting farms to developing new ice cream flavours.

Ottawa’s Scratch Kitchen is putting its own stamp on the technique. To fill six spots on its 2014 winter menu, the family-owned meal -preparation-and-delivery business is asking Ottawans to contribute favourite comfort food recipes inspired by winter and cold weather. Winners will get bragging rights and a promotional code for a Scratch Kitchen order.

Of the suggestions sent in so far, Scratch Kitchen chef Sean Patrick Murphy is especially enthusiastic about a recipe for pumpkin and sweet potato soup from Andrea Woolner. Murphy adapted the recipe slightly and prepares it with vegetables from Acorn Creek Garden Farm and garlic he harvested from his own garden. “It’s not only perfect for the holiday, the soup is a perfect pick for our 2014 menu,” he says.  The recipe for it is included at the end of this post.

About Scratch Kitchen

Scratch Kitchen cooks, freezes and delivers healthy foods directly to customers. “We cook meals in small batches in a commercial, health-inspected kitchen, using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible,” Murphy says. “We don’t put in preservatives or additives, and we go easy on the salt.”

 

Chef Sean Patrick Murphy

Chef Murphy is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Paris Cooking School and the Culinary Institute of America, and has worked in some of Canada’s most prestigious restaurants, including Truffles, Scaramouche, and Café Henry Burger.

December 20 deadline

To have your recipe considered for Scratch Kitchen’s 2014 menu, send it to social@scratchkitchen.com. The deadline is December 20, 2013.

Andrea’s World Famous Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 2 servings

Step 1:  Make Quick Vegetable Stock

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes about 3–4 cups (750ml–1 litre)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium size onions

2 celery sticks with leaves, chopped

4 cups (1 litre) water

Place ingredients in a medium stock pot and bring to a simmer, partially cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, and use as needed.

Step 2:  Make Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

1.5 tsp olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup onion

2.5 cups vegetable stock

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 cup pumpkin (or any seasonal squash), boiled, peeled and mashed

1.5 tsp cumin

1.5 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp honey

* If you are missing any of these spices, curry can be substituted for an equally bold and unique flavour.

Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Add cumin, white pepper and ginger and cook lightly 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooked and peeled sweet potato and pumpkin, add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Finish with honey and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Carefully purée the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender.

Serve with a baguette from Art-is-In Bakery and enjoy!!

 

What’s your go-to winter comfort food recipe?

 

Seasonal Eats : Chef Andrée Riffou’s Local Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Apple pie from Chef Andrée Riffou of C’est Bon Cooking

 

Apples rank among the most popular fruits consumed in Canada. It’s not hard to see why. They’re good eaten raw, cooked or baked, and the many common and heritage varieties of the fruit offer different colours, textures and flavours. Apples are also packed with antioxidants that protect the heart, help regulate blood sugar and provide anti-cancer benefits. And they’re good sources of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Apples are at their best in the fall. Chef Andrée Riffou of C’est Bon Cooking uses apples from the Hall’s Apple Market at the Ottawa Farmers Market in Brewer Park for this elegant, easy-to-make, single-crust pie.

About Andrée Riffou

Chef Andrée studied cuisine and pastry with Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and Paris, attaining the school’s highest qualification: Le Grand Diplôme de cuisine et de pâtisserie. She launched C’est Bon Cooking in 2008,  offering classes, team-building activities, and food tours that allow participants to explore neighbourhood food markets, discover local produce and dishes, and meet area chefs and food artisans.

Featured regularly on local television and radio, Chef Andrée is a staunch advocate of simplicity and homegrown cuisine. She believes in eating locally, sustainably and seasonally,  and in getting to know the people who grow and sell foods. She also believes that cooking and eating are activities to be shared and enjoyed with family and friends.

Local Apple Pie

Prep time – 15 minutes

Cooking time – 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 pie dough recipe (below)

500 g apples, Golden Delicious work well

50 g sugar

50 g butter

apples for garnish, sliced

sugar for garnish

Roll your dough to the desired thickness. Place over pie plate, pinching the edges and making sure there are no holes.

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into cubes.

Melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Add apples and cook until apples are a caramelized colour and al dente (i.e., tender but still firm).

Pour the filling into the pie dough, and arrange sliced apples on top.

Bake in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sugar.

Pie Dough

Makes 2 shells

Prep time – 20 minutes

Time in fridge – 1 hour

1/3 cup (70 ml) cold water

2 cups (220 g) flour

1 tsp (5 g) salt

1 cup (225 g) butter

Mix flour, salt and butter together until completely combined.

Add water. Mix well, stirring and folding, until there are no dry patches.

Chill at least 4 hours or overnight until firm (you could probably justchill for 1 hour and be fine), or freeze. Just be sure to defrost for a few hours before baking.

What apple varieties do you prefer and how do you like to prepare them?

Seasonal Eats: Basil & parmesan gâteau on oven-dried plum tomatoes

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

 

 

Photo: Courtesy Restaurant Les Fougères

In my last post, I wrote about the benefits of fresh, seasonal tomatoes. They’re showcased in this recipe from Charles Part, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Les Fougères in Chelsea, Québec. (Check out another recipe from Charles — summer fruits in lemon verbena and mint tea — here).

Preparation time: 10-15 min

Yield:  one 8-inch gateau, 12 appetizer portions

Basil & parmesan gateau

1 cup (250 mL) fresh ricotta cheese

1 cup (250 mL) fresh cream cheese

1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

4 whole eggs

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp melted butter

3 cups (750 mL) fresh basil leaves, cleaned and dried

1 cup (250 mL) sour cream

Grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)

In a food processor, mix the cream cheese, ricotta and parmesan until smooth. Add eggs, garlic, lemon juice, flour, butter and seasoning. Process. Add basic and process until smooth. Add sour cream and mix until just blended.

Pour mixture into 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan lined with plastic wrap.

Bake 50 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 6 hours.

To serve, use two spoons to make a quenelle (i.e., a small, oval-shaped dumpling) and place on oven-dried tomatoes (see below) drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with pine nuts. As an alternative, you could also serve with fine crackers, rice crackers or croutes, or on a bed of fresh, sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pine nuts.

Oven-dried plum tomatoes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Yield: 20 tomato cups

 10 plum tomatoes

¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp sugar

freshly ground black pepper

Slice plum tomatoes lengthwise and scoop out interior flesh and seeds. Toss tomato cups with oil. Place tomatoes skin side down on a baking tray. Sprinkle with sugar and pepper. Place in a very low oven (200°C) for 2-3 hours, or in a turned-off oven overnight. Turn over occasionally during drying time.

Seasonal eats: Chef Charles Part’s recipe for summer fruits in lemon verbena and mint tea

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Photo courtesy of Les Fougères

It’s the season for luscious Ontario fruits like peaches, plums, blueberries, nectarines and strawberries, to name a few. Here’s a simple dessert to celebrate them from Charles Part, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Les Fougères in Chelsea, Québec. “Steeping Earl Grey tea with herbs from the garden and a little sugar produces a glorious light syrup that doesn’t interfere with the natural taste of the fruits,” he says. “At most, we sometimes add a spoonful of lemon sorbet.”

If you don’t grow any of the fruits or herbs the recipe calls for, look for them at farmers markets or at the Byward Fruit Market.

About Charles Part

Born and educated in England, Charles Part worked in restaurants in London and Paris before opening The General Trading Company Café in London in 1979 to rave reviews. He came to this country two years later, married Canadian Jennifer Warren and with his new wife, opened and operated the well-reviewed Loons Restaurant in Toronto before relocating to Chelsea, Québec.

Since its launch in 1993, Restaurant Les Fougères has garnered national and international acclaim, including the prestigious gold award in the Grand Prix du Tourisme Québécois in 2004. In the past decade, the restaurant has expanded to include a gourmet store that features Charles’ line of homemade, additive-free take-home foods (his products are also sold through retailers in the Outaouais, Montréal and Laurentian regions).  Les Fougères is also a member of Savour Ottawa and committed to local food and producers.

In 2008 Charles and Jennifer co-wrote A Year at Les Fougères, a collection of recipes and photographs that was awarded gold in the Culinary Culture category of the Cuisine Canada Cookbook Awards. In addition, it won a Gourmand World Cookbook award, an Independent Publisher’s silver medal and a Cordon d’Or.

Finally, Charles is a veteran of Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates competitions, winning gold in 2008 and bronze in 2011.

Summer fruits in a lemon verbena and mint tea

Prep time: 20 min (+ 2 hours to cool syrup)

4-6 servings

½ cup sugar

4 cups water

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 orange, juiced and zested

1 vanilla bean, split

1 ½ tbsp loose Earl Grey tea

6 fresh lemon verbena leaves, thinly sliced or 1 tsp fresh lemongrass, minced

12 mint leaves, thinly sliced

selection of summer berries and stone fruits

Bring sugar and water to a boil over high heat.

Place remaining ingredients, except fruit, in a large bowl and pour hot syrup over them. Let seep until cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

Dice fruit. Leave small berries whole. Place ½ cup of fruit in a shallow soup bowl and ladle 1 cup of tea over the berries. Garnish with a spring of mint or lemon verbena.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy summer fruit?

 

 

Seasonal Eats: Chef Justin Faubert’s recipe for lamb chops with fresh BBQ sauce and potato salad stack

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Photo by Justin Faubert

This colourful summer dish pairs fresh tomatoes with grilled lamb and adds flair to an old picnic mainstay – potato salad.

To prepare the meal, chef Justin Faubert chose lamb from Maple Meadow Farm in Osgoode (you can also find Maple Meadow meats at The Piggy Market), eggs from Bekings Poultry Farm, and potatoes and tomatoes from Roots Down Organics. The herbs and the vegetables shown in the photo came from Justin’s garden.

Justin Faubert is chef for Thyme and Again Catering and for his own private chef and consulting company, Landwaterfork Foods. He is also the local auditor for Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF), a national sustainable foodservice standards organization. A Vancouver native who graduated from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and holds the Red Seal Chef designation, Justin has contributed other recipes to Earthward.

Maple Meadow lamb chops

Serves 4

2-3 lamb chops per person

salt and pepper

Prepare the chops by trimming the fat (if desired). Sprinkle them with fresh chopped oregano or mint and season well with salt and pepper.  Set your grill to medium hot (400˚). Grill the chops on each side for approximately 4 minutes or until they reach the desired doneness. Be careful with flare ups! Remove the chops and let them rest.

If you don’t have a grill, broil the chops in the oven, or sear them in a pan on the stovetop.

Fresh BBQ sauce

Prep time:  5 min

12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp red onion, minced

2 tsp honey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, basil

salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mash them lightly with a fork. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomatoes and juices over the lamb chops.

Potato salad stack

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 20 min

4 medium yellow or red skinned new potatoes

2 eggs

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp chives, finely sliced

1 tsp tarragon, minced

½ lemon, zest and juice

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and chill. Hard cook eggs in boiling salted water for 12 minutes. Cool and peel. Combine mustard, herbs, lemon, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Reserve.

Cut cooled potatoes into 1 cm slices. Thinly slice the eggs and place one slice on each slice of potato.  Top with a few slices of onion. Spoon a little dressing over each potato/egg and stack 3-4 potato/egg pieces together. Garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs or celery flowers.

Serve with fresh garden vegetables.  Pictured are snow peas, asparagus and Chioggia beets.

What’s your favourite summer grill dish?

 

Seasonal Eats: Seed to Sausage wrap from LUNCH

Friday, June 21st, 2013

 

LUNCH’s wrap showcases carmelized onion and pepper sausage from regional producer Seed to Sausage.
Photo courtesy of Seed to Sausage

With the launch of its food truck at Slater and Lyon, LUNCH has been in the media over the past few months, with coverage in the Ottawa Citizen and blogs such as foodiePrints. But LUNCH is no newbie to Ottawa’s food scene. The first of its sandwich shops opened on Bank Street five years ago, and since then it has expanded to include locations on Metcalfe and Sparks, and a kitchen on Lebreton. A fourth location is slated to open at Promenade du Portage this summer.

“We do everything from scratch daily in our centralized kitchen, and my chef, Martin Prud’homme, and I collaborate on all the food creative,” says LUNCH owner Tim Van Dyke. “We use local when and where we can. Bread is delivered fresh every morning from Le Moulin de Provence. I always say we build the best product we can afford to market. With our daily corporate catering clients we’re currently feeding over a thousand people a day.”

One of the standbys on the LUNCH menu is its Seed to Sausage wrap, featuring handcrafted carmelized onion and pepper sausage from regional producer Seed to Sausage. In summer, the wrap also highlights fresh herbs from the Ottawa Farmers Market and local, seasonal vegetables supplied by Gaetan Cyr et Fils.

Here’s a step-by-step recipe for the wraps.

Ingredients

Yield: 6 wraps 

  • 1 pack (3) of Seed to Sausage caramelized onion and pepper sausages
  • 6 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 Spanish onion
  • 3 red peppers or small jar of roasted red peppers
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 10-inch whole wheat or flour tortillas
  • LUNCH tomato relish (ingredients listed below)

 Method

Step 1: LUNCH tomato relish

  • 100 oz of canned tomatoes drained
  • 2 oz brown sugar
  • 8 oz red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz red onion
  • 2 oz garlic
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 3 1/3 oz pureed chipotle peppers

Combine all ingredients and let simmer until tomatoes are soft. Purée in a food processor or with a hand mixer.

Step 2: Sausage

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the unwrapped sausages on a baking pan in the oven for about 10 minutes. Finish cooking on the grill. Set aside.

Step 3: Roasted pepper mix

Roast the red peppers on the grill until blackened on all sides. Place the peppers in a bowl tightly sealed with plastic film and set aside for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, mince the garlic cloves and slice the onion in long strips. Remove the portobello mushroom stems and slice in long strips. Peel the skin off the peppers, remove the stem and insides, and cut in long strips.

Add the olive oil to a hot sauté pan and start cooking your mushrooms. Once they begin to brown, add garlic, peppers, onions, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the ingredients are soft. Set aside and let the juices drain.

Step 4: Wraps

Place 6 wraps on a flat surface so they don’t touch each other. Cut the sausages in thin slices. Divide the sausage into 6 equal portions and place each in the middle of a wrap. Do the same with the roasted pepper mix. Add relish to taste. Fold both sides of each wrap towards the inside and roll like a burrito. Place the wraps on a baking tray with the fold on the bottom and bake until tortillas are crispy.

What’s your favourite wrap or sandwich recipe?

Seasonal eats: Late winter comfort food from Chef Ben Baird

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

 

 

By mid-March, winter in Ottawa can feel like an endurance contest. An advantage to the length of the season is that you get more time to savour fall and winter foods.  And there are a lot more of them than we think, from Brussels sprouts and squash to beef, venison and game.

The next two Earthward posts will feature recipes from Chef Ben Baird of the Urban Pear for a variety of late-fall produce — celery root, kale, fennel, tomatoes – that he brings together with coconut-crusted cod. The result is a delicious, comforting late-winter meal for two that takes about 1.5 hours to prepare, start to finish.

Rather than having all four recipes in one post, I’m including two this week: for the cod and for the tomato fennel broth. The final two – celery root purée and winter kale, mushroom and green onion stir-fry – will follow next week.  

About the recipes

Chef Baird designed the four dishes to be served together, but points out that they’re versatile enough to go with many other things. For example, the celery root purée and the kale stir-fry would work well with any grilled protein, he says, even “some nicely marinated tofu.”

About the chef

Ben Baird is chef and co-owner at The Urban Pear restaurant on Second Avenue and the Ottawa STREAT Gourmet food truck, one of 18 new food trucks and carts approved by the City of Ottawa last month. Starting in May, Ottawa STREAT Gourmet will serve fresh, local, seasonal fare on the north side of Queen, west of O’Connor.

Baird was trained at the Stratford Chefs School and won bronze at the Gold Medal Plates competition in 2009 and 2007.

About the ingredients

The cod Chef Baird used in his recipe was sustainably caught, frozen at sea and purchased from the Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply.  For the broth, he used tomatoes that he stewed and jarred last fall, but says any canned Canadian tomatoes would do.  

Coconut crusted cod

8 oz cod, fresh or thawed from frozen

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

½ cup unsweetened coconut

¼ cup bread crumb (panko is ideal)

¼ cup all purpose flour

salt and pepper

oil for frying

Cut cod into about pieces of about 2 oz each and keep on paper towel in fridge so that fish is nice and dry.  Beat milk and egg and season with salt and pepper. Mix bread crumb, coconut, salt and pepper. Add salt and pepper to the flour as well.

If you’re preparing other dishes to go with this, make sure you’ve finished them before frying the fish.

Heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F in a large, fairly deep pan. Dredge cod pieces in seasoned flour to coat, dip them into the egg and then into the coconut mix.  Gently place the fish in the hot oil and fry in small batches. When the fish is a dark golden color on one side, turn it and fry on the other side.  Place cooked fish in a 200°F degree oven while you fry more.

Remove fish from the oil, place on fresh paper towel and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately. 

Tomato fennel broth

500 ml can of Canadian tomatoes or equivalent, with juice

½ onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp whole fennel seed

3 whole star anise

dash of chili flakes

1 cup dry white wine

3 tbsp cold butter

1 tsp fresh grated horseradish

¼ lemon

In a medium saucepan, sauté the chopped onion until lightly colored. Add garlic, fennel seed, star anise and chili flakes and lightly until aromatic. Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce fluid by half before adding the tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and turn off.  Taste your broth; if it’s too acidic, add a small amount of sugar or honey.

Using a hand blender, pulse to break up the tomatoes (this will affect the amount of broth you get).   Strain broth into a small sauce pan using a fine mesh strainer or clean cheese cloth.  Return broth to medium heat and reduce further.

When you’re happy with the broth, slowly add butter, whisking constantly.  Finish with fresh grated horseradish and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper. 

What are your favourite late-winter dishes?

 

Seasonal eats: Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries in a walnut caramel sauce

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

 

Chef Judi Varga-Toth

If you’re finding it tough to eat seasonally at the end of a long Ottawa winter, take heart. “There are still plenty of seasonal ingredients out there,” says Chef Judi Varga-Toth of Credible Edibles, an eco-catering service that prepares tasty, healthy, plant-based meals for meetings, schools,  daycare, and soon, for take-home.

Varga-Toth showcases two winter ingredients — Brussels sprouts and cranberries – in this nutrition-packed recipe. Brussels sprouts belong to the brassicacea family, which also includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. They can be steamed, roasted or sautéed, and pair well with salmon, chicken, pork, and even pasta. Brussels sprouts contain vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre and are believed to protect against colon cancer.

Cranberries also contain vitamin C and fibre, along with essential micronutrients. In addition, they’re a source of the compounds called polyphenol antioxidants, shown to play a role in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease.  

About the chef

Judi Varga-Toth has been involved in the environmental and social justice movement for nearly 20 years, focusing in particular on the connection between our food choices, and our own health and the health of the planet.

 She opened Credible Edibles in 2006 to share her knowledge of and passion for delicious, healthy, sustainably produced food.  Through school and day care lunches, catering, employee health and wellness programs, cooking workshops, presentations and private consultations, Credible Edibles works to create simple solutions that improve health and respect the environment.

Note: Credible-Edibles has two cooking workshops coming up next week: Eat from Crete on Monday, March 4, and Spice it Up! on Thursday, March 7, 2013. See the complete workshop schedule here.

Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries in a walnut caramel sauce

Serving size: 2

 12-14 per person Brussels sprouts per person

10 walnuts, ground

2 tbs safflower or sunflower oil

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of cayenne

1/4 cup soy cream or soy milk

walnuts, chopped

dried cranberries for garnish

 Directions

1. Place the oil in a small saucepan.

2. Grind the 10 walnuts to a powder using a coffee grinder.

3. Put the ground walnuts in the oil, and bring to low heat.

4. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and salt.

5. Heat until the mixture becomes smooth.

6. Add the soy cream or milk and mix well.

7. Season to taste with additional salt or brown sugar and a pinch of cayenne.

 Meanwhile:

 1. Clean the Brussels sprouts and cut an X on the bottom stem part.

2. Steam the Brussels sprouts for 5-7 minutes until they are soft, but still bright green.

3. Put them in a bowl and drizzle them with the caramel sauce.

4. Garnish with the chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.

5. Serve warm.

What seasonal dishes are you cooking?

Chef Justin Faubert’s confit of chicken with Castor River grain spaetzle

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

 

Add this recipe to your collection if you’re looking for a new way to prepare leftover turkey or another seasonal bird. Although this calls for chicken, contributing chef Justin Faubert says you can substitute turkey, duck or goose.

 To prepare the recipe, Faubert uses poultry from James Haven Farms, and flour from Castor River Farm for the spaetzle. He suggests serving the finished dish with seasonal sides of roasted brussel sprouts and maple-glazed carrots.

A graduate of Vancouver’s Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and holder of the Red Seal Chef designation, Justin Faubert has worked in several well-known Vancouver restaurants, including C Restaurant, Provence Mediterranean Grill and Provence Marinaside. During the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, he was hired by NBC Universal Sports as part of the culinary team at the Richmond Oval speed skating venue, providing food service to athletes, dignitaries, media and event staff. He recently moved to Ottawa, where he is a chef for Thyme and Again Catering and for his own private chef and consulting company, Landwaterfork Foods. He is also the local auditor for Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF), a national sustainable foodservice standards organization.

 Confit of Chicken

Prep time: about 20 minutes

 4 chicken legs

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp. sugar

½ tbsp chopped herbs – e.g., parsley, thyme, rosemary

¼ tsp powdered chili

¼ tsp lemon zest

2   cups rendered chicken fat* or olive oil

 *Rendering fat is a great way to use parts of the bird that would otherwise be thrown out. Remove the skin and fatty pieces and cover them with water in a stock pan or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until the water has evaporated and the fat starts to turn colour. Strain off liquified fat.  Store rendered fat in the fridge and use in other dishes, such as roast potatoes.

 Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Rinse chicken legs under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle legs on both sides with seasoning mixture and place in a single layer in a dish or pan. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hrs.

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Rinse seasoning mixture off the chicken with cold water and pat dry. Place chicken in a baking dish in a single layer. Cover completely with rendered fat or olive oil (this may take more or less than the 2 cups depending on the size of the chicken legs and the baking dish). Cook in the oven for about 3 hours or until the meat falls from the bone.

Let meat cool completely in the fat. (It can be kept in the fridge for several weeks, covered in the rendered fat or olive oil.)

To serve, remove the legs and excess fat. Place them leg skin side down in a medium-hot pan and cook 3-4 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Turn the legs over and continue to cook until warmed through.

The meat can also be removed from the leg, shredded and used in pastas, pot pies and stews.

 Castor River Grain Spaetzle

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

Prep time: about 10 minutes

 1 cup spelt flour

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg – optional

 In a bowl, combine spelt, wheat flour, salt and nutmeg. Whisk eggs in a separate mixing bowl. Alternately whisk flours and milk into the eggs to avoid lumps. When all ingredients are combined, allow mixture to rest for at least 20 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth and thick, like a thickened pancake batter.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Using a spaetzle press or colander, press a ladleful of dough through the holes into the boiling water. Once the dough rises to the top, remove it with a slotted spoon and place it in a bowl of cold water. When it has cooled, remove it from the water and dry. Reserve.

To finish the spaetzle, heat a pan with a splash of oil and/or butter over medium-high heat. Add the spaetzle and fry until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of fresh herbs.

Tip: This recipe is a great base; feel free to add herbs, mustard, spices and other flavours.

What’s your favourite recipe for leftover poultry or game birds?

Seasonal eats: Yak mincemeat pie

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Chef Susan Jessup’s yak mincemeat pie

‘Tis the season for mincemeat pies. Although the mincemeat we’re most familiar with is a mix of fruit, spices and liquor, until fairly recently it also contained meat, usually beef, which — in an era before factory farming — was at its best in fall and winter.

In this version of the classic seasonal recipe, Ottawa chef Susan Jessup uses locally raised yak meat, although beef can be substituted.  Susan is one of a growing number of yak devotees, who prize the red meat’s sweet, delicate taste, lean texture, high protein and low cholesterol levels.

A Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Susan is owner and general manager at 42 Crichton Street Fine Foods in New Edinburgh, where her menus showcase local, seasonal foods.  A self-described “die-hard defender of the farmer” and Food for All advocate, she has been appointed to the Ottawa Food Policy Council, and belongs to Savour Ottawa‘s advisory committee, the advisory board for Ottawa street food and Just Food.

Susan buys yak meat from Rosemary Kralik, who raises yak, cattle, goats and sheep sustainably and humanely at Tiraislin Farm west of Ottawa, in the Lanark Highlands.

Yak Mincemeat Pie

(recipe makes 2 pies)

Ingredients

1 lb ground yak (or lean ground beef)

1 can Muskoka Dark Ale

8 oz  smashed walnuts

4 oz each raisins, dried cranberries and currants

1 large onion, medium dice

2 large apples, grated

¼  tsp ground clove

¼ tsp ground allspice

2 tsp ground ginger

½  tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 branch fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

3 oz heavy cream

½ fresh baguette, grated (yup)

enough butter to prevent the pies from sticking to the baking pans

your favourite pastry recipe for 2 double crust, 8-inch pies

1 beaten egg for the pastry egg wash

 Method

Open the beer, drink some, warm the rest (you choose how much to add/drink) and pour over the dried fruit and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

Preheat a fry pan to medium and add the duck fat or butter. When the fat has melted and begins to bubble, toss in the onions and sauté until golden-brown. Add grated apple and spices and spoon the whole mixture, along with the onions, into the bowl containing beer, fruit and nuts.

Brown the meat using the same sauté/fry pan. Then add it, with the cream and grated baguette, to the big bowl and combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow to cool while you prep the pastry.

Lightly butter the grooves of two pie plates — or unwrap purchased pastry. (Hint: Many fine local bakeries are preparing pastry in foil pans for busy home chefs.) Roll out your pastry (top and bottom crusts). Line the pie plates, leaving some extra to hang over the sides. Beat the egg for the eggwash.

Divide meat filling between the pie plates. Drop the pastry tops* on and brush them with egg wash; flip the draped lower-crust pastry over the edges of the pastry tops and egg wash those. Cut steam vents into the tops and place the pies in a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325ºF and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the bottom crust is cooked and the pasty is golden. (Set the timer in case your oven runs hotter than most).

Cool the pie for a few moments before slicing or prepare ahead of time and reheat at a lower temperature. Serve with onion jam or cranberry compote.

* If the pastry tops are too much fuss, use mashed sweet potatoes instead. Mash 2 egg yolks, salt, pepper, and a little butter into the baked, or boiled and drained, sweet potatoes. Delicious!

Seasonal eats: Roasted butternut squash salad

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Locally grown butternut squash is a tasty, nutritious and versatile vegetable that makes it easier to eat seasonally over the winter. Its  smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavour pair well with many meat, poultry and grain dishes. In addition, it’s rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, fibre and folate. Butternut squash is abundant in the fall and lasts up to two to three months stored in a cool, dark basement or cupboard.

It’s also simple to prepare. Choose a squash that’s firm and heavy. Peel it, scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into cubes. Then toss the cubes in oil for oven-roasting, purée them for soup, or boil and mash them to use in casseroles, muffins or breads. 

Here’s a recipe for roasted squash salad developed by Anna March, resident chef at The Urban Element, a culinary studio on Wellington Street that supports local producers and seasonal eating.

A graduate of Algonquin College’s chef training   program, Anna has honed her culinary style at acclaimed restaurants across Canada, including Ottawa’s Beckta and Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Vancouver’s Fuel. She was also chef at Mariposa, the Plantagenet duck and goose farm that serves Sunday lunches of regionally sourced, country-style fare. Anna says she hopes her enthusiasm for food and cooking inspires others to use fresh local ingredients and make cooking a fun, exciting part of every day.

 Roasted squash salad with granola and maple vinaigrette

Chef Anna March

2 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup canola oil

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch sage

3 cloves garlic, smashed

salt and pepper to taste

3 granny smith apples cut into cubes at the last minute

1 shallot, minced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese curls or chips (use a peeler)

1 recipe of honey roasted granola (see recipe below)

1 recipe of maple mustard vinaigrette (see below)

1. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with oil, salt and pepper, herbs and garlic. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender but not falling apart. To ensure even cooking, remove the squash halfway through and toss.

2. Prepare remaining ingredients, including the granola and vinaigrette.

 3. Drizzle maple vinaigrette over the baked squash and combine with the other ingredients.

Serve the salad as a main course or side dish.

Honey roasted granola

Tip: Toss the granola a few times during baking to make sure it’s evenly crisp.

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 cup honey

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 cup almonds (if desired)

1. Heat the honey, cayenne and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Pour honey mixture over the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Check the seasonings and adjust as necessary.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread the granola on top and bake at 350°F until golden brown and crispy.

4. When the granola cools, break it into small pieces.

Maple mustard vinaigrette

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Tip: Vinaigrettes work best with a three-to-one ratio of oil to vinegar. Plug any oils or vinegars into this equation for a well-balanced vinaigrette. Here, you can always adjust the acidity with a little sweetness from the maple syrup.

2/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 1/2 cups grape seed oil

2 tbsp grainy mustard

3 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk the mustard, maple syrup and vinegar together in a bowl.

2. Whisk in the oil In a steady stream until well blended. Season to taste.

What are your favourite recipes for winter squash?