Saturday, June 12, 2021

First Look: Springtime Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

It's a beautiful June day here in Saskatoon. We've had a decent amount of rain, which means my yard is green and lush, and while the grass is getting too tall, I kind of love it because the cats can scoot around in it and hide like it's their own jungle playground. This totally cracks me up. I love those little critters. The peonies have formed small heads and in about 2 weeks time they'll become the bombshells of the backyard, and honestly, there's no time like peony time! I also love the moisture because it means Dixon's huge vegetable plot is coming along nicely, and for the last month or so I've been enjoying the best springtime asparagus. If you follow me on Instagram you know how bonkers I get about it. I love it so much that it graces the cover of my new cookbook! Isn't it gorgeous? The inside is just as pretty, and I can't wait to share more with you. So much hard work and love and eating went into this collection of recipes. Plus the dishes. So many dishes. One day I will have a dishwasher! 

Asparagus is the vegetable that brought Dix and I together and you can read all about our first date later this year. Vegetables: A Love Story will be in your favourite book shop (and amazon) later in September, with official pub date set for October 5th. The cookbook is currently being printed, and I'm so excited to get my hands on the first copy! Once I know the pre-order details, I'll be sure to share them with you. Yay! Can't wait!

To celebrate this verdant vegetable, I made risotto today. This recipe is not in the book, but 92 others are. (Plus, seven essays!). I adore risotto and had a hankering, so I threw this together for a late lunch. There's lots of stirring involved, but it's very therapeutic, at least I think so. I love the pop of flavour from the asparagus and peas, and it's so fun to snip off fresh herbs from my kitchen garden again. Creamy and savoury, this is one of my favourite springtime meals. And, with the leftovers I'll add an egg, dredge in panko and make risotto cakes. I'm super excited for that. Subconsciously, I think this is why I make risotto in the first place. You can't see me but I'm totally winking at you. Hope all is well where you are. xoxo

Springtime Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
4 Tbsp salted butter, divided
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) asparagus, preferably thin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
zest of 1 lemon

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Turn down to low and keep covered. 
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt 1 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the pieces. Add the peas and cook for another minute or two until the peas are warmed through. Transfer the vegetables to another plate. 
3. In the same pot over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it's glossy and translucent around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until completely absorbed. Ladle in 1 cup of the hot chicken broth and stir until it's absorbed. Continue doing this with remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, until the rice is al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the rice, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. If it sticks, turn the heat down. 
4. Once the rice is cooked, it should be saucy but not soupy, stir in the vegetables, Parmesan cheese, herbs, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve with more Parm. Makes 4 servings as a main dish, or 8 as a side. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Apple Cinnamon Buns with Maple Bourbon Icing

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

When I was asked to create a recipe using Organic Washington apples, I immediately said yes. I have a soft spot for these apples, and this part of the world, after all. Way, way back when this blog was just a baby, I was invited to go visit some organic fruit orchards in the Wenatchee area, and I had the absolute best time. Washington state is known for being one of the premier apple-growing regions in the world, and the growing conditions make Washington the finest place to grow organic apples. The apple trees grow in nutrient-rich, volcanic soil, perfect for growing fruit. The dry climate and ideal temperatures reduce the number of diseases and pest issues that can wreak havoc on the fruit. Plus, plentiful water and advanced growing practices provide the right ingredients for growing top-quality fruit. I still remember seeing orchards hugging the Washington hillsides, as far as the eye can see. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, and one day I hope to visit the area again.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Take It Easy: Spiced Ginger Beef

This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Saskatoon Co-op, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Everyone likes a quick meal that's super easy to throw together. Right? Right! I'm pleased to have partnered with my local Saskatoon Co-op to help get the word out about their brand new What's For Dinner promotion. Inside each Saskatoon Co-op store, there's a display which is basically a one stop shop to get all of your ingredients for the featured recipe that week. Saskatoon Co-op has really taken the guess work out of grocery shopping by putting all of the items in one display case. No need to run around the store and try to find ingredients, because honestly who has time for that? These days, I want to get in and out of grocery stores as quick as possible. There will be a new featured recipe every week, which will be a great way to introduce something new to the usual meal rotation. And you may find some new favourites you'll want to make over and over again. And honestly, grocery shopping will be less of a hassle and more of a breeze! Look for the What's For Dinner display in your local Saskatoon Co-op store for a new recipe each week. This is a super helpful way for busy folks who want to put supper on the table as quickly as possible, and still have it be delicious and nutritious. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing

If you're looking for a show-stopping Easter dessert, this carrot cake should do the trick. It's one of the most-loved recipes from my first cookbook All the Sweet Things, and I'm always getting notes and messages on how much people love to bake it. Here's why: there's moist and aromatic carrot cake, creamy brown butter icing, and a layer of crunch from the maple pumpkin seed brittle. If you love regular cream cheese icing, this recipe will make you downright giddy. It’s smooth and creamy, with the lovely caramel nuttiness that brown butter is known for. The carrot cake is rather wonderful in its simplicity—no pineapple, raisins or nuts to be found here, just straight-up carrots. Feel free to make the cakes a couple of days ahead. They freeze well, too. The middle layer of crunchy brittle may feel like an extra step, but it’s one you want to take. As my friend Lindsay said while testing this cake, the brittle makes it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

One Pan Only: Quick Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated monetarily by the Ontario Bean Growers, I've been a huge fan of all things bean related for a very long time. All opinions are mine.

I can't believe I'm writing this, but spring is right around the corner. Hooray! It has been a long winter, that much is true. Snow is still piled up in the front yard, but the birds have been chirping a happier tune, and so have I. My editor has sent me the interior pages of my second cookbook, and I've been scrolling through the final page proofs, checking for errors. It's quite the task, going over every detail, but it means that Vegetables: A Love Story is getting closer to becoming real and I can't wait for it! The pages are so very pretty and vibrant, and it's truly awesome seeing my photos and recipes (and stories!) come to life. I can't wait to share more with you soon! In the meantime, these busy days mean that simple and speedy suppers are what I need, and this quick version of cassoulet, bursting with tomatoes, sausages and white beans, is so very good. Plus I added kale, because greens are good! 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Brighter Days: Caramelized Banana Cream Pie

Hello friends, I am just popping in here for a quick hello, and to tell you about this luscious pie I concocted recently. Dixon and I devoured slices while watching Meghan and Harry spill all of the tea during their interview with Oprah. Holy cow! There is so much to unpack there, but two things stuck with me: 1) I am so glad they got out and 2) Oprah is the queen when it comes to interviewing. Her questions were spot-on, and their answers more than a little shocking. So much drama there! While there is no drama over, there most certainly is pie. I wonder if Meghan and Harry bake pies?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Upside-Down Apple Ginger Cake


This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated monetarily, all opinions are my own.

It’s been a cold, cold week here in Saskatoon. The temperature has barely crept over -30C, so yeah, that’s very, very cold. I’ve largely been hunkering down inside my little house, and the oven has been working overtime. There have been roasts with herbaceous veg snuggled up beside them; cookies with puddles of chocolate; muffins burst with bananas. But, my favourite thing to come out of my gas range has been this Upside-Down Apple Ginger Cake, made with beautiful JAZZ apples. I am super thrilled to be included with a group of talented creatives across Canada this year with JAZZ Apples to create recipes incorporating their delicious  apples. This year, we made a recipe based on a “mystery ingredient” chosen for us by another group member. Mine was ginger, selected by the incredibly talented photographer/stylist/blogger Debi Traub from @simplybeautifuleating from Toronto, Ontario. 

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