Serving saucy lentils in squash halves is a sure-fire way to elevate your plant-based menu. And, yes, the whole bowl is edible, skin and all. If desired, you can add dollops of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Garam masala, a blend of spices traditionally used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin, and coriander. It’s great on roasted meats and vegetables.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Halve squash through the stem end and scoop out seeds and stringy bits. On rimmed baking sheet, place squash halves cut side up. If necessary, cut a small slice off the bottom of each half so they rest flat. In small bowl, combine melted butter, honey, garam masala, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt; brush all over cut sides of squash. Bake until squash is easily pierced with sharp knife, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium-sized saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt; heat until vegetables are softened; about 5 minutes. Add garlic and gingerroot; heat for 1 minute. Stir coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper into pan and heat for 30 seconds. Place lentils, tomatoes, and 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) water in pan, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, until lentils are tender, stirring a couple of times, about 15 minutes. If needed, add additional water to pan during cooking.
Scoop lentils into baked squash and top with almonds.
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.