Makes about 1/2 to 1 quart (500 mL to 1 L).
Don’t throw away those apples that are spongy and past their prime or the peels and cores from making your favourite apple dishes! You can quickly give these castoffs new life as delicious and nutritious apple vinegar. With minimal effort and a minor time and cost investment, the simple process provides delicious, health-building vinegar in a couple of weeks.
You’ll notice there is sugar in this recipe. It acts as a natural preservative so the apples don’t just rot, and it provides food to encourage the growth of probiotic cultures. Apples aren’t high in natural sugars, so without the added sugar, they would just grow mold and other unwanted microbes. But don’t worry: the beneficial bacteria eat most of the sugar, causing them to multiply as they go. The result: high quantities of beneficial, health-building bacteria.
In a pitcher or large measuring cup, mix together the sugar and water, stirring if necessary to encourage the sugar to dissolve.
Chop the apples into quarters, and then chop each piece in half. Place the apple pieces, cores and skins included, in a 1 to 2 quart (1 to 2 L) jar or crock, leaving about 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5 cm) at the top of the jar.
Pour the sugar-water solution over the apples, leaving about 3/4 in (2 cm) at the top of the jar. The apples will float to the top, and some wonu2019t be submerged, but thatu2019s okay.
Cover the opening with a few layers of clean cheesecloth, and attach an elastic band around the mouth of the jar or crock to hold the cheesecloth in place.
Every day, remove the cheesecloth, and stir to cover the apples with the sugar-water solution, re-covering with the cheesecloth when youu2019re done. You must do this every day to ensure that the apples donu2019t go moldy during the fermentation process.
After two weeks, strain off the apples, reserving the liquid; you can add the apples to your compost. Pour the liquid into a bottle, and seal with a tight-fitting lid or cork. The vinegar keeps for approximately one year.
This recipe is part of the Delicious Fermented Foods collection.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.