The Dinner Rush [BBQ Espresso-Chipotle Turkey Breast Nachos]

BBQ Espresso-Chipotle Turkey Breast Nachos

Grilled Chipotle-Espresso Turkey Nachos

Dinner used to consume my thoughts through the day. What will we have? Where will I shop on the way home? Will Allan eat it? Will I want to photograph it? What’s everyone else making – maybe a little inspiration would help.

Fast forward. We arrive home, exhausted, brains whirring from the day, both starving and with no intention of cooking or any idea of what to have – assuming we even have food in the house. The times, they have changed.  Dinner has become less of a romantic endeavour that I pour myself into all day, every day, and more of what I imagine it is for normal people – a pain in the ass at time, something to shut everyone up and fill your tummies with as much goodness as possible based on what little food you have in the fridge.

Grilled Chipotle-Espresso Turkey Nachos

Turkey is super versatile and when I know it’s in the fridge, I feel confident that dinner can come together without too much thought. Last week I knew there was a breast in the fridge along with a few different types of cheese from the shop, a mighty soft avocado and a few herbs. I imagine most people have at least a few of those things on hand. After a quick trip to the corner store for Nachos chips and salsa, we were set. The turkey seasoning takes a bit of forethought but it makes enough to last you through a few months worth of slow grilled turkey, pulled pork shoulder or chicken tacos. Mix up a jar, seal it tight and you’ve got an easy spice mixture that makes incredible meat dishes.

Grilled Chipotle-Espresso Turkey Nachos

BBQ Espresso-Chipotle Turkey Ranch Nachos
serves 4-6

Although the turkey does take 3-4 hours to cook, you can absolutely cook it the day before or on the weekend. If you have leftover turkey from the nachos, it makes a very tasty pulled turkey sandwich when tossed with a litle bbq sauce or in a grilled cheese sandwich. 

1 large turkey breast (1-1.5lbs)
1/2 cup Espresso-Chipotle Spice Rub, recipe below

1 bag tortilla chips
1 cup salsa, whatever you like best
2 – 3 cups mancheo, monteray jack or mozzarella cheese (or a mixture of the three)
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing

In the morning, before heading off to work, rub the turkey breast down with plenty of the spice rub. It would be well covered. Cover and place in the fridge until you’re home. This can be done up to 24 hours before you’re ready to cook the turkey.

Preheat BBQ to 250 degrees. Place breast in a roasting pan  and cover tightly with foil or make a foil packet. Cook for 3-4 hours or until it’s moist and shreds easily when you pull it apart with two forks. Shred all the turkey up and let cook slightly. Alternatively, preheat oven to 300 and cook for the same amount of time.

For the nachos:
Preheat oven or BBQ to 400.
Place 1 layer of nachos down on a baking sheet. Dress that layer with a healthy amount of salsa, half the shredded turkey, half the cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro. Drizzle with ranch dressing. Repeat with another layer finishing it off with the avocado. Add more cheese if you like them extra cheesey and don’t forget the drizzle of ranch dressing.

Pop in the oven on on the grill for 10 minutes or until chips are lightly browned and cheese is bubbling.

Espresso-Chipotle Spice Rub
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup of finely ground espresso beans
1/4 cup paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp chipotle powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients, pour into a jar and seal tightly. Keeps for 6 months.

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Disclaimer: Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Turkey Farmers of Canada. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only partner with companies I respect and know well, recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers. 

Back to the Kitchen [Spicy Ginger Turmeric Lemon-Limeade]

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade

…and we’re back.

Sorry about that little sabbatical I took there. June was quite a month – moments of frustration and accomplishment, moments of sheer exhaustion tickled with exhileration, moments of bliss, love and shining happiness. It passed by so quickly but when I look back on it all, I can’t believe it was all crammed into 30 days.

One of my best friends got married; the first of us to take that leap. The wedding was magical, sincere and pure, and a testiment to what real love looks like. Standing beside her on the alter was an experience I’ll never forget and one I’m eternally grateful for.

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade

Another feat – helping to open the Seed to Sausage General Store in Ottawa. I’ve dreamed of a job where I get to be and do many things, all tied together by food. Officially I am the purchaser for the store, something that keeps me constantly absored in unique Canadian food items that I’m anxious to share with our customers, but unofficially I get to help with the butchering, the marketing, the customer side of things, the merchandising and of course, the taste testing. It’s been a joy. When I’m not at work, I miss it. I suppose that must be what it feels like to love your job – or maybe it’s insanity. Either way I feel like I’m finally where I was meant to be. Surrounded by food and people who love food.  It’s been long days, and my diet usually bears the brunt of that. Less full meals, more snacking. Less grains and vegetables, more meat and cheese. Lately my stomach can be heard protesting the shift in diet, demanding I smarten up and get back on track. Begging audibly for healing foods.

Everything in this Lemon/Limeade was meant to help me heal my gut back to vigor. The turmeric for it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the ginger for it’s ability to aid digestion, ease cramping, and improve absorbtion and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body, the lemon and lime for their cleansing, detoxifying and immune-boosting properties and the cinnamon and cayenne for their antimicrobial, anti-fungal and ability to help digestion. But aside from all those wonderful things, it simply tastes good. It’s icy and soothing and refreshing on a hot day and would, if you’re into this sort of thing, be lovely with a shot of good, aged tequila.

As I ease back into the kitchen, sip on one of these and accept it as a peace offering for my absence. I’ll be back in action as soon as I drink another 100 of these.

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade

Spicy Ginger Turmeric Lemon-Limeade
makes 8-10 servings

Using sparkling water, as I did here, makes this lemonade feel a little more special. It would be a great treat for your friends who don’t have a taste/don’t partake in alcoholic beverages. 

2 large lemons
3 limes
water or sparkling water
ginger-turmeric simple syrup, recipe to follow
lemon slices, for garnish
mint, for garnish (optional)

Juice the lemons and limes and pour juice into a tall jar or pitcher. Add 5-6 cups of water, stir and then add 1/2 cup syrup at a time until the sweet vs tart is balanced to your liking. I usually add about 1 = 1 1/2 cups which yeilds a nice tart lemonade. Pour over ice and serve.

Ginger-Turmeric Simple Syrup
1 cup raw cane sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp grund turmeric
1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger (I like it spicy so add 2 tbsp)
strip of lemon zest
generous pinch cayenne pepper
generous pinch cinnamon

Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer over med-high heat, whisking, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is flavourful. About 5-7 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if you feel it’s necessary – it should be quite sweet. Strain into a jar and cool. Syrup will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge. It also makes a lovely vanilla ice cream topping.

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade

Gone So Long

Rhubarb-Ginger Coconut Floats

Rhubarb Coconut Ginger Float

YOU GUYS.

I’ve been thinking about this float for a MONTH. A whole month. Waiting until I was done the freelance projects I was working on, day dreaming about it, “will it be as pretty as I’m picturing?’ “will the flavours make sense without overpowering eachother?”, and I can safely say… Yes! It IS as pretty, it IS as delicious. And if this sounds like I’m tooting my own horn – YOU WIN! I am. Because it’s that tasty and because ice cream floats hold a soft place in my heart.
Rhubarb

Rhubarb Coconut Ginger Float

My dad has always made a MEAN coke or root beer float and as a child, even now, it seemed like a thing of magic to me. That sweet, gaseous foam, velvety soft ice cream and cream-soaked soda.  It’s one of my favourite treats and I always picture my dad, child-like grin painted accross his face, ready to dive in, whenever I eat one. So in honor of Fathers Day, and in case I don’t get back in here before then, this one is for my pops. The man who taught me to eat well and eat everything, work hard, be polite, and do everything with a pinch (or fist-full) of sarcasm. Love you, D-Money.

Rhubarb Coconut Ginger Float

Rhubarb-Ginger Coconut Floats
serves 4

I used a vegan ice cream here because I wanted something as pure as possible. Coconut Bliss’ Naked Coconut is as pure as can be; seven ingredients, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free. I highly recommend this if you can’t find a local equivelant. [disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post - I just love this ice cream]

 

2 bottles high quality ginger beer (we love Nickelbrook Ginger Beer)
1 pint Coconut Ice Cream
1 cup Rhubarb-Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
In the bottom of 4 tall, slim glasses spoon a few tbsp of coconut ice cream. Top with a bit of rhubarb-syrup and a 1/2 bottle of ginger beer. Repeat in each glass and then do one more layer of each item, finishing with a drizzle of syrup.

Rhubarb-Ginger Syrup
makes 1 – 1 1/2 cups

5 cups rhubarb
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
few coins gingerPlace all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Let cook for 20 minutes or until rhubarb is extremely soft. Place a fine-mesh seieve over a bowl and dump contents in. Let sit, pressing gently after it looks like all the liquid has come out, until you have about 1 – 1 1/2 cups syrup. Pour into a clean jar and cool in the fridge until ready to use.

Rhubarb Coconut Ginger Float

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NEW DESIGN + Turkey Champion

Poached Turkey Salad with Fennel, Kale, and Cashews

POACHED TURKEY SALAD WITH FENNEL, KALE AND CASHEWS

When I cook, I’m usually hoping to accomplish one of two things. The first, something that makes use of what’s already in the fridge, maybe not keeping so well anymore. The second, something filling and satisfying we can make once and eat all week for lunches or snacks to keep us going.

My main man is a landscaper and food tends to disappear very quickly around here when he’s working 12 hour days. I try to make sure there is always something healthy, convenient and satiating so he’s keeping his energy levels up in the 30+ degree days we have during most of the summer months in Ottawa.

POACHED TURKEY SALAD WITH FENNEL, KALE AND CASHEWS

This salad is packed. Tender anise and clove scented poached turkey breast, thinly sliced strips of kale, sweet and crisp apples and grapes, crunchy fennel, lots of hydrating celery, and roasty cashews. It’s the perfect cooling summer salad to fill you up without causing that afternoon sluggishness that sometimes happens after a heavy meal.

POACHED TURKEY SALAD WITH FENNEL, KALE AND CASHEWS

Something extra to chat about: THIS NEW WEBSITE DESIGN!!! Imagine that, right?! I’m forever indebted to Janine Williams of Janine Isabelle Web & Graphic Design. She along with illustrator and generally inspiring woman Yuli Scheidt, who freshened up my logo and helped with this lovely, simple and rustic redesign, helped make sure I got exactly what I wanted and were so helpful and willing to answer all my 589085948025 questions along the way. I hope you love it as much as I do and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.

POACHED TURKEY SALAD WITH FENNEL, KALE AND CASHEWS
serves 4-6 as a main, more for sides

This recipe is my May contribution to the Turkey Champion campaign I’m participating in with Turkey Farmers of Canada for the 2014 year. We’re bringing you delicious recipes and showing you how to add healthy, wonderful turkey to your everyday meals.

Poached Turkey Breasts
4 cups (1L) water
½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
4 star anise
½ tsp (2 mL) whole peppercorns
4-6 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 large skinless turkey breasts

Salad
4 celery stalks, diced thinly
½ cup (125 mL) celery leaves, minced
1 small fennel bulb, diced thinly
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
2 cups (500 mL) Tuscan kale, sliced into thin strips
2 small-medium apples (something tart like Honey Crisp or Granny Smith), diced (skin-on)
1 cup (250 mL) seedless red grapes, sliced in half
½ cup (125 mL) roasted, unsalted cashews

Dressing
1 cup (250 mL) plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp ( 5 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) dijon
½ cup (125 mL) lightly packed fresh tarragon
¼ cup (60 mL) flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
Zest from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring the water, olive oil and white wine to a boil and add in the cloves, peppercorns, star anise, bay leaves and turkey breasts.

Bring water down to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through (165ºF/74ºC). Remove from the poaching liquid and let cool.

While the turkey cools, toss all the salad ingredients together until everything is well combined.
Place all the dressing ingredients in the food processor or blender, and process until all the herbs are incorporated in the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon if needed.

Slice or cube the turkey breast and toss it with the greens and 1 cup (250 mL) of the dressing. Add more dressing or serve on the side when you’re ready to eat.

POACHED TURKEY SALAD WITH FENNEL, KALE AND CASHEWS

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Turkey Farmers of Canada. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only partner with companies I respect and know well, recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers. 

La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères

Blackberry Basil Sticky Buns with Goats Cheese Icing

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A few weeks ago, while we were waiting for all the little bits and pieces in the Seed to Sausage shop to come together, we decided to take a leisurely field trip out to a cheese producer we’re hoping to carry n-store.

The winding, potholed roads and rolling hills, still speckled with white from the long winter, guided us through the country side of Quebec to St. Sixte (near Thurso) and up the driveway of La Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères where we had the great pleasure of meeting Maggie Paradis.

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Maggie and her husband Christian began their story in 1999 when they started to milk their ewes and sell the milk to cheese makers around Quebec. When the listeriosis crisis hit, demand for product vanished and they were left with a tough decision – halt the milking or process their own milk into cheese. They forged ahead and Les Folies Bergères, roughly translated to “Crazy Shepherds”, was born.

While we tasted, little more than satisfied sighs escaping us, Maggie took us through the production and styles of all her cheeses. From La Petite Folie, a soft unripened ewe’s milk cheese with a creamy texture that is spreadable (also available with a bloomy rind on it for a more yeasty finish) to the La Sorcière Bien Aimée, a goat brie that’s not as tangy/stinky as a traditional brie but has a lovely goat flavour, to the amazing La Coulee Douce, 100% sheep’s milk cheese with a local apple cider-washed rind… everything these cheese makers do is innovative, diverse and above all else, delicious. I came home with La Petite Folie and La Sorcière Bien Aimée so I could relish them in private, no one to observe my sighs of satisfaction. 

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I decided to make something fun and unconventional with the soft, unripened goats cheese. I’ve seen it used as an icing for cinnamon buns before, but that seemed almost too mundane for such a cheese. I peeked in and out of the fridge, back and forth from my Flavor Bible and finally came out with these – an ooey-gooey blackberry bun with lemony, aromatic basil sugar and a sticky sweet goats cheese icing. They are everything. EVERYTHING. The flavours, the texture, the tang from the lemon and goat cheese. I am obsessed. I think you might be, too! 

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Blackberry Basil Stick Buns with Goat Cheese Icing
makes 12 large buns

Dough
1 cup warm buttermilk (110 degrees F – 45 degrees C)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Filling
1 cup basil sugar*
zest from 1 lemon
4 tbsp butter, very soft
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup fresh blackberriesIcing

4 oz soft, unripened goats cheese, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the dough
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the warmed buttermilk along with the sugar. Stir gently and let it sit until frothy (8-10 minutes). Pour in the melted butter, beaten yolk and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and nutmeg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a fork until a shaggy ball starts to come together. Use your hands to fold the dough in the bowl until all the bits have come together and you have an almost uniform dough. Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean, lightly-oiled bowl (being sure the surface of the dough is slick with a bit of oil) and cover with plastic wrap or a clean damp towel for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the basil sugar, lemon zest, softened butter and lemon juice. Set aside.When the dough is doubled, dump onto a clean, lightly floured surface and roll into an 18×14 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the basil lemon filling all over the dough leaving about 1/2 inch of clean dough around the edges. Roughly chop the blackberries and spread evenly over the filling. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Pop in the freezer for about 10 minutes just to firm things up so they slice easily. Once firmed, use a serrared knife to slice into 12 even piece. Place in a lightly oiled baking dish (2 pie plates or a 9×13 inch baking pan) and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375.

Pop buns in the oven and let bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, covering with tin foil if they start getting too golden before they are cooked through.

While they cook, place all icing ingredients into the food processor or a small bowl and process/whisk until smooth. Taste and add more lemon or sugar if needed.

Remove buns from the oven and drizzle with all, or half, or the icing. You can reserve half the icing for when you serve them or just coat them completely right away.

*basil sugar
1 cup white or cane sugar
about 8-10 big basil leaves, stems removed

place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or mortar and pestle. Grind until leaves and sugar are uniform. It will be moist and fragrant.

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Fingers & Fries + Turkey Love

Honey Garlic Turkey Tenders with Sweet and Smoky Dipping Sauce

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Perhaps like you, I ate a lot of fingers and fries as a kid (/teenager…./adult). If there was a dinner out, it was widely known and accepted, with a sigh, that I wouldn’t be pleased unless the menu had those three little words that twisted my pout into a triumphant grin. Fingers and fries. My whole “fine dining” world. 

Just recently I was out for dinner with my dad and we discussed this exact situation. Each family vacation, no matter the destination, I would anxiously jab a spindly finger in the air, pointing to a restaurant while professing to my parents, “We haven’t been here before!”, and begging that we try it out. My Dad, ever the intrepid food explorer and the first to bravely seek out the one thing he hadn’t tried on any given menu, was certain with each new restaurant that today might be the day I ordered liver. Or hell, even a burger. Even a bowl of gloppy, butter-slick Alfredo. Anything but fingers and fries….again. But I wouldn’t have it. Those simple flavours were home back then. I knew I liked them and that was enough. All the guess work was done for me. My exploration wouldn’t come until many years later when I lived on my own. 

These days I’m still mad for any sort of meat-strip battered or coated in a crunchy crumb-crust. Especially when it’s a recipe meant to be kid-friendly. Of this, the tastes that wee ones crave, I know plenty. And swapping the standard chicken to turkey is something I’ve been waiting to try for a while. We love turkey in our house and try to grab it up to cook any time we see it. It’s incredibly healthy, full of flavour and provides a much needed refresh on a classic kid’s favourite. 

I’ve worked with Turkey Farmers of Canada many times before and am extremely honoured and excited to tell you that I’ve signed on as a Turkey Champion for the 2014 year. This  partnership means I’ll be sharing plenty of turkey-filled recipes with you, hosting some twitter parties to talk about the ever-versatile meat source and generally sharing my love for turkey with all of you! That kicks off today with these Turkey Tenders – perfect for your kids (or even your own inner-child). They are sweet and garlicky, crunchy and tender, slightly cheesy from a goldfish crumb, and the perfect dunker for a sweet and smoky paprika-spiked dipping sauce. 

Let’s not waste any more time, these babies could be dinner tonight! 

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Honey Garlic Turkey Tenders with Sweet and Smoky Dipping Sauce
serves 4
Find them on the Tasty Turkey website, too!

I like to add wheat bran and oats to the crumb mixture because it’s a simple way to get more nutrition into these tenders, especially when we’re talking about kids. If you choose to leave them out, add another 1/2 cup of goldfish, cornflakes or bread crumbs. 

Marinade
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter
few dashes hot sauce, optional
2 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 – 2 lbs turkey breast, sliced into thin strips

Crumb
1 cup goldfish crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 cup wheat bran, optional
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats, optional
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour

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Sweet and Smoky Sauce
makes approximately 1 cup

1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup white or rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp cornstarch

Place all the marinade ingredients except for the turkey in a blender/food processor and whir around for 10 seconds until smooth. Place into a sealable bag or container and add in the turkey. Toss to coat and let marinade 4 hours up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place a rack on top. Pour all crumb mixture into a large shallow dish and stir to combine. Remove marinated turkey 1 strip at a time and coat it in the crumb mixture. Place on the rack above the baking sheet.  Repeat with all the strips, you may need to use two sheets or cook them in 2 batches so they aren’t crowded on the pan. Baking for 20-25 minutes or until golden at the tips and internal temperature reads 180 degrees.

While the turkey tenders cook, add all the Sweet and Smoky Sauce ingredients to a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon and looks shiny and thick. Pour into a sealable jar and let cool to room temperature before dunking.

Enduring Winter

Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh

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Unlike most springs, my yearning for a shift in diet, heavy in fresh vegetables and lighter fares, seems to be lagging behind with the warmer weather that will seemingly never come. 

We tap our toes impatiently, sigh deep and heavy sighs, and wait. And then wait. And then we wait a little more. Alas, it is still barely above zero in Ottawa some days. The afternoons tease with their warm rays blanketing our faces, uttering the promise of summer, but the cold wind clinging from the winter is persistent and enduring, vowing not to leave until the last drop of winter has been rung from our city. 

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It’s been a long, long winter. I can’t imagine it being 35 degrees in this city, as it typically is in the throws of summer. Our baby tomato seedlings are ready to be drenched in sun, to fill our balcony with that familiar scent of summer and growth. We’re ready for our socks to be rolled and put away and our toes to breath and wriggle freely for the first time in months. Our dinners to be served al fresco with icy cold Riesling, our evenings to be spent loitering long past sun down as our laughs echo and fade into the dense summer air. But still, there is cold. 

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This tabbouleh helps. Granted, it’s made with frozen corn which just doesn’t compare to it’s sweet, fresh counterpart….but it’s something. Something fresh and bright and healthy. Something to help shake the cravings for slow braises and heavy pastas. It’s delicious, and the corn that pops as you bite into it releases this lovely sweetness that balances all the tangy, lemony, fresh flavours that tabbouleh is known for. The carrot greens bringing in an earthiness and a slight bitterness that played well off everything else. If you’re enduring a long winter and need some sunshine, this is for you. I guess if it’s warm where you are you can have this too… but you better will us some sunshine while you do. 

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Charred Corn and Carrot Green Tabbouleh
serves 6-8 as a large side

3 cups curly parsley, minced
1 1/2 cups carrot greens, minced
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (whatever is most ripe)
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 cup mint leaves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur (or quinoa if you’re gluten intolerant)

Dressing

(adapted from a cozy kitchen)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon sumac
1 lemon, juiced + zested
Salt
Pepper

Put a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over med-high heat. Pour in the corn and let it sit, until charred slightly (5 minutes), stir and let char some more. It should take about 10-15 minutes total. Once it’s got some nice colour, scoop onto a dish to cool. 

Get a big bowl and add all the chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Add in the bulgur and cooled corn and toss again, making sure everything is well mixed. 

Pour all the dressing ingredients except for salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine (adding the lemon + zest). Add about 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and then taste and add more until you’re happy with the taste. 

Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and if it needs more dressing, add more. It should be nice and tangy with a bit of salad to balance. Serve with fresh or toasted pita, za’atar crackers or on it’s own. 

Canadian Spirit

Clementine Collins
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Filling our liquor cabinet with Canadian products has been something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Though we have some favourites that we simply can’t live without, like our beloved Kracken or Mount Gay Rum, it’s been deliciously fascinating tasting the best of what our national distillers have on offer. In the last two weeks I’ve picked up bottles of Dillon’s {Niagara region} White Rye (100% Canadian Rye without age in the wood) & Unfiltered Gin (crafted in a copper pot still by passing vapour through 22 botanicals), Collingwood Whiskey {Collingwood, Ontario} that, while smooth, toasty and flavourful on the rocks, blends beautifully with an organic apple cider for a cozy little evening sipper, Still Waters Distillery Single Malt Vodka made from 100% malted barley, that makes a smooth, almost buttery Martini, and lastly, the gin used in the cocktail I wanted to share with you today, Ungava Canadian Gin
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Ungava, an inuit word meaning “towards the open water” is crafted in the Ungava peninsula at the northern tip of Quebec. The particular climate in this area produces six rare botanicals that give this almost neon yellow gin its very unique aroma and colouring. I was hooked from the first whiff of fragrant, floral, earthy vapours wafting from the opened bottle and fell even harder as I sipped the gin straight and tasted what I’m not typically accustomed to from my bottle of “what’s-on-sale” gin. BIG flavour. Flavour that floods your mouth and lingers a while so you can almost taste all of those carefully selected botanicals. I highly suggest you chase down a bottle of this liquid gold. Especially if you’re interested in the cocktail we’re talking about today. It pairs wonderfully with sweet, juicy clementines and the kick of puckering tartness from the lemon. 

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Clementine Collins

makes 2 cocktails

The egg white here gives the cocktail a lovely frothy top. You can’t taste it at all so don’t be worried about that. If you’re concerned about raw egg, you can leave it out. 

3oz Ungava Gin (or other high-quality gin of your choosing)
juice from 2 clementines
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp raw sugar
1/2 egg white
club soda or tonic water
lemon or clemetine slices, for garnish
Place first 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Fill 2 tall glasses with crushed ice and top with cocktail mixture. Top with club soda or tonic water. 

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You Need a Snack

Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins

Sometimes you just need a small bite. Something to tame the angry gut-beasts during the day, enough to keep you going from breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner. Snacks are up there on my list of extremely-necessary-things-to-make-it-through-the-day-without-killing-people. It’s in your best interest that I snack, and when I do, it has to be delicious. 

These muffins provide just that. Filling, not cloyingly sweet, but just enough honey to feel like you’re getting a treat. Full of toothsome wheat bran, oats and warm spices and bursting with oozy pockets of blackberry and a slight tang from the Greek yogurt and sour cream, they’re as delicious as they are full of goodness. And they make a great snack at any time of the day…especially when you slather them with a little salty butter if you’re not overly concerned with a little extra fat. 

Blackberry Sour Cream Bran Muffins
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
makes 1 dozen muffins

If you don’t like the idea of sour cream, you can do a full cup of Greek yogurt instead. It does provide a really lovely tang, though, so don’t knock it until you try it. 

If you added a handful of dark chocolate chips, I wouldn’t be mad at you. 

DRY
1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups wheatbran
1/2 cup quick cooking oats (or whole oats whizzed in the food processor until crumbly)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
WET
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 – 3/4 cups honey (I used 3/4 cup but I wanted them a touch sweeter)
1 tbsp molasses
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped blackberries
brown or turbinado sugar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper or parchment muffin wrappers. 

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Set aside. 

In a smaller bowl, add the the wet ingredients and whisk them together until well combined. Fold the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Fold in the chopped blackberries. 

Fill muffin trays 3/4 of the way and sprinkle with a little brown or turbinado sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. 


There Are Bagels At Hand

Montreal-Style Bagels

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…with cream cheese and lox. 
…with fresh butter and kosher salt.
…with avocado, lime and manchego. 
…with a fried egg and arugula.
…with melted cheddar and a few drops of Worcestershire…

…but that’s just me. What do you take on your bagel? I sooner ask that than what type of bagel you prefer to maw on since that’s a conversation that could turn allies into foes and leave families across the continent irreparably broken. This may sound a touch dramatic to you, but for so many people I’ve come across, specifically those who live or have lived in Montreal, there are only two answers to this question. Fairmont or St Viateur. And the rivalry runs deep. Residents of Montreal take immeasurable pride in their bagels. So what could make one so different than the other, you might be thinking. The difference, really, is that the Fairmont bagel (or bay-gal, if you’d like to say it in the mother tongue), is a touch sweeter, making the rivalry sound like much ado about nothing. What it really comes down to is loyalty. Both locations are but a few blocks from each other so going to one rather than the other is less out of convenience, more out of devotion. 

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Admittedly, I’ve never had a Montreal bay-gal fresh from the wood oven. {I’ll wait for the collective gasps to die down}. I have, however, enjoyed them at our local Montreal-style bagel shop, Kettleman’s. I know the ecstasy only a piping hot, freshly baked bagel covered in toasty sesame seeds can bring. And thus, I decided it was time to learn. To go where many (wo)men have gone before, but a place that scared the bejesus out of me. Which is funny now that I’ve made 3 batches and am shocked at the ease with which these beauties can be made. You’re a measly 2 hours away from homemade bagels. MONTREAL-STYLE BAGELS! Let’s not even bother wasting more time talking. There are bagels at hand. 

Montreal Style Bagels
adapted from My Second Breakfast & NYTimes {MARCY GOLDMAN-POSLUNS}
makes 18 bagels

Ok, so obviously I don’t have a wood oven in my rental apartment. I’m sure you’re shocked. Though these won’t ever be exactly the same without that deep, smoky flavour…this is as good as it gets for a home-bagel. Unless you decide to use a barbecue or have a wood oven. In which case, you’re pretty awesome. 

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp (8oz, 1 packet) dry active yeast
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided

for boiling:
1/3 cup honey

1 cup sesame seeds 

Stir the warm water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let sit until frothy, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, salt, oil, and honey and egg + yolk. Stir 1 cup of flour in until full incorporated. Add another 3 cups and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Dump bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding up to another 1/2 cup of flour if needed, for no less than 10 minutes. The dough should be extremely supple and smooth. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rise for 20 minutes. 

Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Stretch or gently roll, using finger tips, each portion of dough into an 8 inch rope and bring the ends together to form a circle. Pinch the ends together and then roll gently with the heal of your hand to seal. It’s important the ends are well secured otherwise they’ll open when boiling. Place bagels on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with a clean towel for 20 minutes. 

Pour the sesame seeds into a large shallow dish. 

While the bagels rise, bring 16 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the baking soda and honey and turn down to a simmer. When ready, add the bagels 2 at a time to the simmering water. Let cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove with a deep-fryer spoon or slotted spatula/spoon, drag through the sesame seeds on both sides and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with all bagels. 

Preheat oven to 500. Place 1 sheet of bagels in for 10-12 minutes or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip bagels and cook for another 5-8 minutes, watching closely after 5 minutes so they don’t over cook. They should be golden brown. Serve warm with cream cheese, lox, tomatoes & bacon, or anything else your heart desires. 

Keep in airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. 

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