Archive | October, 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

If you ate out in restaurants in the ‘90s, this post is for you. It’s a little throwback inspired by one of my sisters who has been pregnant on and off (mostly on) for the last 5 years. I have leaned on her from time to time when planning menus for clients going through chemo. She gives me info about foods she could see herself eating during morning sickness, exhaustion and feeling generally crummy.

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This dish isn’t super high on her list for major nausea times, but fits the bill during comfort food craving times when green smoothies and salad are out of the question. Maybe because we grew up in the ‘90s when it was served in a weird sourdough bowl at parties, or microwaved and served with tortilla chips at every chain restaurant. Does spinach and artichoke dip have a place in the world today? I’d like to think so –with a few tweaks, of course.

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Chanterelles and Parsnip Purée

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From a young age, once I realized that they had very little to do with Cabbage Patch Kids, I paid no attention to Brussels sprouts. Did anyone when they were kids? They popped up at Christmas and Thanksgiving but were pretty easy to ignore. Once I finished cooking school and was working in fine dining, the challenge was to make them delicious (hello bacon, cream, blue cheese, char-grill and sometimes deep fry), and even then it was only for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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The general consensus seemed to be that it took all of the most intense/aggressive flavours and techniques to make them edible. You could have subbed just about any veg into one of those recipes back then and it would have tasted close to the same. It wasn’t about celebrating the Brussels sprouts, it was about making them taste like the other stuff. Secret ingredient fail.

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Mineral-rich Vegetable Broth (and Miso Soup)

The recipe I am sharing with you this week is almost always in my freezer, my clients’ freezers and simmering in my slow cooker. It is not always exactly the same, depending on what I have on hand and what I am using it for, but it is always filled with vitamins and minerals, easy to consume and very diverse.

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It is a vegetable stock, but even better. It’s made with lots of mineral-rich sea vegetables, the aromatic and powerful members of the allium family (onions, leek, garlic), the anti-inflammatory rhizome dream team (ginger and turmeric), immune-boosting shitake mushroom stems (you know, the part we sometimes throw out…), and of course, lots of clean, hydrating water.

I might be making this up, but I feel like ‘stock’ is a base to be made into something else (soup, sauce, stew) whereas ‘broth’ can be enjoyed as it is. This recipe can be both. On its own, with the help of a pinch of salt (and some turmeric –activating black pepper), it is a clean, flavourful, hydrating way to sip your nutrients. Especially when you might be going through a time when eating food and drinking water is not your favourite thing to do.

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Lentil Salad with Roast Squash and Babaganoush

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At first things started really simply, I was going to do a post on roasted squash. It is the right time of year, and I personally can’t get enough right now (what tomatoes?). But then, pomegranates are suddenly here too. They have joined the morning cereal, and I have rogue red splatter all over the kitchen. And what about all of those warming spices as it gets chillier outside? Roast squash quickly became a part of a recipe instead of the recipe itself because apparently it’s been an inspiring week for my food brain.

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We are in the Eastern Mediterranean this week, mostly because I was cleaning out my cookbooks last week and my Ottolenghi book, Plenty is now in my line of vision every day. You know the one with the eggplant and pomegranate seeds on the cover? This book is so full of some of the best food porn, I rarely get past the pictures. So, a bit of Ottolenghi/Vancouver fusion is the result. Don’t worry, it tastes good.

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