This versatile salad featuring chickpeas in a bright, fragrant dressing, holds well in the fridge. Make it in advance or keep it for leftovers. Nigella seeds, also known as kalonji, lend a sweet, nutty flavour with an ever-so-slightly bitter edge that pairs perfectly with sweet potato’s sweetness.
Chickpeas are a great source of dietary fibre; just 1 cup (250 mL) contains 42 percent of the recommended daily allowance. They’re also a very good source of manganese, which is important for calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
Place baking tray in oven and set temperature to 425 F (220 C).
Into large bowl, place sweet potato pieces. When oven reaches desired temperature, dress with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, nigella seeds, and salt. Toss to coat evenly and pour immediately onto hot baking tray. Roast at 425 F (220 C) for 20 minutes, stirring once at the 10 minute mark, until tender and slightly browned, but firm.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, tahini, and black pepper. Add chickpeas and carrot and stir to coat evenly. Add cilantro and parsley, stir once more to incorporate, and allow mixture to marinate while sweet potato roasts.
When finished roasting, remove sweet potatoes from oven and allow to cool slightly. Add spinach to chickpea carrot mixture along with 1/2 the sweet potato cubes, and toss gently to avoid breaking them. To serve, arrange salad on large platter and place remaining sweet potato cubes on top. Be sure to scrape all toasted nigella seeds from baking pan.
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.