December 25, 2017

A holiday fruit salad... the way my mom made it

I'm sitting here wondering... is there a limit to how much butter a person can handle? I walked into the kitchen yesterday armed with 2 pounds of butter which somehow instantly disappeared into the parade of my usual holiday concoctions (I tend to think of it as my own little trifecta of holiday doughs... rich and unrestrained): Tourte Milanaise for breakfast (this year I managed to tackle my very own puff pastry thanks to a tattered copy of The Joy of Cooking which expertly guided me through the process), Tourtière for dinner (with an all-butter spelt crust), and of course my mom's boozy, eggy, yeasty, buttery Baba au Rhum...  (my belly is already all warmed up from the most recent one). It would all be fine and dandy but the thing is, this year I'm spending a quiet, snowy, secluded Christmas with my love... which means... there are only two of us... which means... we're well on our way to chowing down, unaided, 2 pounds of butters worth of Christmas baking. Yeesh. We're balancing it out with walks and salads... but still... Luckily, I was brought up with the notion that these cold northern climes call for plenty of fortification and that the pillars of a well-spent winter include a pile of long-postponed books, a few zealous knitting projects, and importantly, heaps of butter (organic and grass-fed, bien sûr) and hearty baked goods.

As you may have gathered from my lack of blogposts this past year, it's been a non-stop race to finish my film, and this blog took the back-burner for a bit. But I've missed it and I'm excited to finally get some days to rest by the fire, browse new cookbooks, gather up fresh recipes to try, and find my way around a warmly humming kitchen again. 

It's been an incredible year and I want to thank all of you who so kindly encouraged me and contributed to helping me finish this film. It was by far one of the most challenging projects I've ever embarked on. I often questioned whether I could pull it off and I never could have done it without your support. In the next few days, I'll be sending out a proper film update to all those who contributed to the film's crowdfunding campaign as well as the Indiegogo perks you've been so patient about (thank you!!) including your very own copy of the film to watch. The film had its world premiere in September and has so far won 5 awards at film festivals, we're on a roll! It will continue the film festival circuit into the new year, as well as theatrical and community showings, so stay tuned for a screening near you (and stay updated by following the film's Facebook page). 

I wish you a restful and joyful holiday season, and a very merry Christmas day to those that celebrate it. I'm sharing my new Christmas video below, and my mom's fruit salad, which she always made around the holidays to counteract that aforementioned butter bonanza. For holiday pizazz, she would adorn her fruit salads with either a few glugs of an aromatic booze or some floral essence, sometimes a bit of dried fruit such as currants, nuts or seeds for a crunchy topping, and a dollop of tart yoghurt. So refreshing between all those doughy delights!

My mom's holiday fruit salad
(Think of this more as a guide than a recipe and customize it to your tastes and what you have on hand. )

The salad:
6 to 8 cups of chopped fruit of your choice (I like to use a mix of grapefruit, orange, pear, apples, bananas and pomegranate)

The perfume:
About 1 to 2 Tbsp brandy or other liqueur, or a teaspoon of orange blossom water

The fixin's:
1/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds (for crunch)
1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (for chew)

The topping:
Yoghurt (or whipped cream)

In a large serving bowl, mix the liqueur or floral water with the chopped fresh fruit as well as the dried fruit. Serve in individual bowls with a generous dollop of yoghurt and a scattering of chopped nuts. Enjoy!


And my latest video... for the Spruce Shortbread recipe, click here!