Have a napkin handy when you serve these luscious grilled pineapple skewers. They’re as fun to eat as they are juicy, so we can’t guarantee that everyone stays perfectly clean. Grilled pineapple is a classic, but this version spices things up a bit, with just a pinch of heat that even kids will enjoy. Seared only until they begin to release their delicious juices but are still firm, these pineapple pops are topped off with a dollop of lime-zested coconut cream that’s perfect for dipping.
Coconut cream is made using a chilled can of coconut milk. Be sure to use full fat—not light—coconut cream, and chill it well overnight.
14 oz (400 mL) can of coconut milk, chilled overnight
4 tsp (20 mL) lime zest (about 2 limes)
For maximum effect, chill bowl and beaters overnight. About 4 hours in advance of serving, drain liquid from can (save for another use) and scoop out solid cream. Place cream in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add lime zest and mix to incorporate. Reserve, covered, in refrigerator, or chill in a very cold cooler until you’re ready to serve.
About 4 hours in advance, make coconut whipped cream according to directions in the tip below and reserve.
You can also make sugar-spice mixture ahead of time by combining coconut sugar, spices, and salt, and setting aside. Soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to serve pineapple, insert soaked bamboo skewer into each piece of pineapple. Lightly dust each spear with sugar-spice mix. Heat grill to 375 F (190 C). Brush grill with a bit of neutral-flavoured oil (grapeseed oil works well) and place pineapple skewers down at a 45-degree angle to grill grates; cook for 1 or 2 minutes, or until you have a nice grill mark and the pineapple lifts easily. Lift and replace pineapple at the opposite 45-degree angle to make a cross-hatch grill pattern. Repeat on the other side.
To serve, scoop a tablespoon of coconut whipped cream into a dish and top with a pineapple skewer. Sprinkle with additional lime zest if desired. Dip pineapple into coconut whipped cream as you eat it.
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.