Look for whole grain farro, which leaves the germ and bran intact, for this satisfying porridge that’s sure to kickstart your day. While the cooking time is longer than for pearled or semi-pearled varieties, you’ll get more nutrition. Take the time to enjoy the delicate scent of cardamom and ginger wafting through your kitchen as you prepare this.
Farro (also referred to as emmer or einkorn) is a variety of wheat known as an ancient grain, which means that it hasn’t changed over time through breeding as is the case with many varieties of modern wheat.
Under the blade of a heavy knife, press cardamom pods until they’re cracked but not crushed. Add to saucepan along with ginger, farro, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until farro is cooked but retains a nutty bite, about 40 to 50 minutes. Turn off heat and add almond milk. Stir through. Take about 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the mixture and blend in a high-powered blender or food processor to break it up somewhat. Return blended portion to farro in the pot and simmer gently for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Discard cardamom pods and ginger.
To serve, pour into 2 bowls. Slice banana and divide slices between the bowls. Sprinkle 1 tsp (5mL) sliced almonds overtop each bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tsp (5mL) maple syrup (if desired).
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.