December 20, 2014

Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Strata

Yes, it's (yet) another kale recipe from kale-landia! And if I may say so, this one makes a scrumptious Christmas morning breakfast. Just saying.



My love of French food has been spilling over into the realm of French cookware lately and I was so excited to put my new Mauviel baking dish to use in this recipe video. The impeccable craftsmanship of their made-in-France cookware makes this copper baby my most prized kitchen possession. 



Along with the pleasure of putting my new baking dish to use, this video was so much fun to put together because The Modern Grass kindly allowed me to use a tune from their exquisite Christmas album. Thank you, most lovely gentlemen!

www.themoderngrass.com
And then there was the kale. Oh kale, how many times have I sung your praises. Those luscious and tender leaves are actually finally starting to show signs of waning out there, it's now been several weeks since I captured these vibrant blue-greens on camera.






But even now, when they're frozen solid under a dusting of snow, it's amazing how resilient those crumpled leaves are and how just a few minutes' thaw on the kitchen counter will bring them right back to a crunchy and perfectly respectable 'cooking-ready' state.




To tell you the truth, the weather's been rather grey over here, and so have the spirits, just a little. It always seems to go against everything that is expected to have moments of sadness and unease around Christmas time. And yet I think it happens to many of us. I guess Christmas just feels a bit unplanned, unprepared this year. And I'm riding that familiar wave of nostalgia for the Christmases of years gone by, when my mom and my grandmother were still alive. They both had a way of turning Christmas into such a magical time. But there are many things to feel grateful for. In a couple of days, I will get to hold my sweet beautiful nephew in my arms again. I can hardly wait. My stepdad will be back from his European travels, my sweetheart is driving up from Maine, and my sister and brother-in-law will close down their cafe for a few days and a much-needed holiday break. We'll hopefully manage to get a Christmas tree up and going, do a bit of baking, and enjoy some drinks by the fire and a festive visit with our neighbours. And really, what more could one possibly ask for? 



So wherever you are for the holidays this year, I wish you warm moments with your loved ones, and many morsels of delicious things to feast on. A very merry Christmas-solstice-Hanukkah-holiday season to you all!

You can find my Kale and Sun-dried Tomato Strata over here on PBS Food.


December 19, 2014

My favorite foodie read of 2014: The Nourished Kitchen

Last winter was long and cold, and one of the things I most looked forward to about spring was the release of the much anticipated cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen. As one of many avid followers of Jennifer McGruther's traditional foods website, I wasn't alone in my wintery anticipation. I already had a foodie web crush, but her book made me fall head over heels. Anyone who has section in their book entitled "In Defense of Lard" and a recipe for Bone Marrow Custard is a rockstar in my universe. So this was pretty much how I spent every waking moment after receiving my copy in the mail.


Like her website, Jennifer's book celebrates whole foods focussing on bone broths, fermented foods, grass-fed meats, traditionally prepared grains, a broad assortment of veggie dishes and some mouth-watering yet healthy desserts. What I love about the Nourished Kitchen philosophy is that instead of approaching healthy eating in a restrictive way that forbids a huge amount of food groups (gluten, grains, meat, dairy, etc.), it instead embodies a wholistic approach that shows you how to prepare good wholesome mineral and vitamin-rich foods from scratch. This excerpt from the book's introduction rings especially true:
"There's a deeply pervasive disconnect in the collective relationship with food that persists in American culture: We often view healthy eating as synonymous with restrictive eating, and we likewise view joyful eating as a guilty pleasure, something that begs for strict limits. I believe that real food allows us both the gift of nourishment, and the gift of pleasure, without unnecessary restrictions. Eating a diet of traditional foods helps us to develop a positive relationship with our food, not one born out of guilt and denial; rather, the traditional foods movement teaches us to purchase, prepare, and enjoy our food with intention."
Instead of making sweeping statements ("all meat is good") or throwing out the baby with the bathwater ("all meat is bad"), the book teaches us instead to understand the nuances and the vast difference in nutrition, environmental footprint, and flavour, between conventional beef and grass-fed beef, between conventional white flour and soaked whole grains, between refined white sugar and unrefined wholesome sweeteners.

When I thumb through a new cookbook, I often cherry-pick the recipes I want to make. With The Nourished Kitchen, I literally want to make every single recipe in the book. And I'm well on my way there. So far, my favourites are the Sherried Chicken Liver Pâté with Apple and Sage, the Stinging Nettle Soup with Cream, the Chicken Foot Broth (best chicken stock I've ever made!!), and the Baked Oatmeal with Pistachios, Figs and Honey. I'm still dying to try the Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette, the Concord Grape Sorbet with Rosemary and Black Pepper, the Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and so many others. Swoon.



This is a jewel of a book that is sure to become a classic, and it belongs on every food lover's bookshelf. If you don't own it yet, or if you're looking for a perfect Christmas gift for a foodie you know, GET THIS BOOK NOW! You won't regret it one bit. 


The Nourished Kitchen

Last winter was long and cold, and one of the things I most looked forward to about spring was the release of the much anticipated cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen. As one of many avid followers of Jennifer McGruther's traditional foods website, I wasn't alone in my wintery anticipation. I already had a foodie web crush, but her book made me fall head over heels. Anyone who has section in their book entitled "In Defense of Lard" and a recipe for Bone Marrow Custard is a rockstar in my universe. So this was pretty much how I spent every waking moment after receiving my copy in the mail.


Like her website, Jennifer's book celebrates whole food recipes focussing on bone broths, fermented foods, grass-fed meats, a wide range of vegetable dishes, traditionally prepared grains, and healthy desserts. What I love about the Nourished Kitchen philosophy is that instead of approaching healthy eating in a restrictive way that forbids a huge amount of food groups (gluten, grains, meat, dairy, etc.), it instead embodies a wholistic approach that shows you how to prepare good wholesome mineral and vitamin-rich foods from scratch. This excerpt from the book's introduction really rings especially true:
"There's a deeply pervasive disconnect in the collective relationship with food that persists in American culture: We often view healthy eating as synonymous with restrictive eating, and we likewise view joyful eating as a guilty pleasure, something that begs for strict limits. I believe that real food allows us both the gift of nourishment, and the gift of pleasure, without unnecessary restrictions. Eating a diet of traditional foods helps us to develop a positive relationship with our food, not one born out of guilt and denial; rather, the traditional foods movement teaches us to purchase, prepare, and enjoy our food with intention."
Instead of making sweeping statements ("all meat is good") or throwing out the baby with the bathwater ("all meat is bad"), the book teaches us instead to understand the nuances and the vast difference in nutrition, environmental footprint, and flavour, between conventional beef and grass-fed beef, between conventional white flour and soaked whole grains, between refined white sugar and unrefined wholesome sweeteners.

When I thumb through a new cookbook, I often cherry-pick the recipes I want to make. With The Nourished Kitchen, I literally want to make every single recipe in the book. And I'm well on my way there. So far, my favourites are the Sherried Chicken Liver Pâté with Apple and Sage, the Stinging Nettle Soup with Cream, the Chicken Foot Broth (best chicken stock I've ever made!!), and the Baked Oatmeal with Pistachios, Figs and Honey. I'm still dying to try the Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette, the Concord Grape Sorbet with Rosemary and Black Pepper, the Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and so many others. Swoon.



This is a jewel of a book that is sure to become a classic, and it belongs on every food lover's bookshelf. If you don't own it yet, or if you're looking for Christmas gift for a foodie you know, GET THIS BOOK NOW! You won't regret it one bit.