I love this dish for its great flavor, but also for its visual impact on the table. It is a perfect example of the senses working in union. You can’t hide the wonderful visual effect of the dish and then the joy of eating the textural contrast between the pieces of beetroot and the smooth yogurt. The chili provides a background lift, while the toasted caraway provides a second tier of bready flavor over the beetroot’s earthy sweetness.
This recipe was extracted from Cooking for the Senses: Vegan Neurogastronomy by Jennifer Peace Rhind and Gregor Law, published by Singing Dragon. Order your copy at singingdragon.com.
Set dry frying pan over medium heat. Toast caraway seeds for a few minutes, until gently toasted and aromatic. Cool, then grind in mortar and pestle.
Blitz all but one of the cooked beets in food processor. Add yogurt, chili flakes, lemon juice, and ground caraway and blend. Youu2019re looking for a very slightly coarse mixture, not a smooth cream. Check for seasoning and add a pinch of crushed sea salt, if necessary.
Transfer dip mixture to serving bowl you wish to use and finely dice remaining whole beet. Add to top of dip in center. Finish with thin zigzag drizzle of coconut yogurt over top.
Serve with toasted pita bread, if desired.
This recipe is part of the Neurogastronomy in Action 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.