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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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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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Stuffed Grapevine Leaves

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This tail-end of the summer business really appeals to me. It’s this in-between summer and fall time when we seem to get the best of both worlds. Sweaters with shorts, jeans with t-shirts, less squinting while on the computer, fewer terrible runs, going to bed at 10pm without feeling nerdy (because it’s actually dark outside), I love it all. Equally great, the subtle shifts in food; soup is back, the tomatoes are still here, apples are crisp and juicy, warm breakfasts, and it’s no longer a sweat-based decision whether or not to turn your oven on.

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Cozying right into ‘pre-fall’, my oven is back in action and I’m making one of my favourite things. Just like this special time of year, this dish reminds me of my Mom, and embraces both really good tomatoes and the (slightly) cooler weather.

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Veggie-Packed Veggie Burgers

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It’s time for the veggie burger. Not the weird, brown, ‘this tastes like meat’ veggie burger, made with every scary, processed thing except meat. I’m talking about the veggie burger made with LOTS of fresh vegetables, seeds/nuts, rolled oats and spices. The ingredients could make up a hearty salad, but we’re not feeling salad-y today, we want burgers. And, although veggie-packed, these burgers will not taste like salad. You are going to love them, your friends and family are going to love them and even your meat-eating, terrified-you-might-make-them-eat-something-healthy-and-change-their-life friends and family will.

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The seeds in this burger help it to retain the crunchiness once baked, while the sweet and rich beets and carrots, sharp onions, fresh herbs and green onions, all work together to add punches of fresh flavour. You have to trust me on this, because if you taste the mixture before the baking happens, there won’t be a lot of magic just yet. The ingredients get to know each other much better during the baking process, resulting in enhanced flavour and texture. (more…)