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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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Indian-Spiced Creamy Kale with Rutabaga

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This week’s recipe stems from putting my foot down last week. Has anyone seen the Planet of the Apes 1? Pretty creepy, right? Did anyone’s spouse try to talk them into seeing the second one (in theatre, no less!)? Well, mine did. He will see any movie marketed towards males, which means that I wind up seeing a lot of them too. Growing up in a house full of girls, I hadn’t seen most shoot’em ups until I was more than old enough to know it was all pretend. Don’t worry though, thanks to my husband, I have been making up for lost time, and have now seen almost every worthwhile (and not so worthwhile) gun-infused/sci-fi weirdness movie spanning the last several decades, and am so much smarter for it ☺

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I read the book The Hundred-Foot Journey a few years ago and was excited when I heard they were going to turn it into a movie (it is all about cooking and food and is sooo visual!). After somehow manipulating my husband into seeing this instead of the talking, giant apes taking over the world part 2, we sat through 122 minutes of mouth watering French and Indian food, coming alive on screen. I’m still drooling just thinking about it. Somehow, we both enjoyed it immensely and were inspired to throw our previous dinner plans out the window and go to our favourite casual Indian restaurant for dinner. And cook Indian-style food for the rest of the week…

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Beet Salad with Herbed (Macadamia Nut) Ricotta

I remember a time when beets were scary. They were vac-packed and soggy in the produce section of the grocery store, or sliced up in a can, which rarely equals delicious. Despite their endearing colour (purple, you guys!), they fell flat and tasted like dirt.

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Luckily, sooo much has changed. It is now much easier to get beets that recently grew in the ground, often with their greens still intact, meaning their dirt-living life wasn’t too long ago. It’s natural that their earthy flavour still lingers, but that natural sweetness that comes from a freshly dug-up beet is undeniable, and their texture, both when raw or cooked, is something to celebrate too. Oh yeah, and they’re good for you.

They are full of phytonutrients that vary based on the colour of your beets, so by eating a variety of colours (just like all foods) you will get a broader range. They also boast anti-inflammatory super powers, are full of anti-oxidants and aid in detoxification.

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Buying beets with their greens intact is usually the freshest option. The leafy beet greens and stems deserve a blog post all to themselves, so I’m not going to get too into it here, but keep them and juice them or sauté them with some garlic. They are packed with anti-cancer and they taste good too. For this recipe, for me, it was a little bit too beet on beet to use them as well as the roots, but this way you get two meals out of one veg. Bonus.

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