Chrysanthemum is popular as a summertime tea ingredient in southern China, but the flower grows in Canada’s climate, too. In fact, most mums prefer longer nights, so we can enjoy them into the autumn. If you grow honeysuckle, choose a non-invasive variety.
Dried blossoms or teas of both—believed to have a cooling effect on the body—can be found at traditional Chinese medicine suppliers and some health food stores.
While the blossom of the honeysuckle flower and its sweet nectar are edible, most honeysuckle varieties have poisonous berries.
Place dried chrysanthemum and honeysuckle in jug or jar that holds at least 4 cups (1 L).
In medium pot over high heat, bring 4 cups (1 L) water, 3/4 cup (180 mL) apple juice, and ginger to a boil. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes. Pour over dried flowers and steep for 10 minutes.
Strain solids out of liquid and return liquid to jug or jar. Chill in refrigerator for 3 to 8 hours.
While tea is chilling, prepare ice cubes by mixing 1/2 cup (125 mL) apple juice with 1/4 cup (60 mL) water and cayenne (if desired) and freezing in ice cube tray.
Serve chilled tea over ice.
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.