This finger-licking dip is full of flavour and full of good-for-you ingredients such as beans, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Make it on the day you need to serve it though: the red onion can dye the dip when left in the fridge overnight. Serve it with a variety of veggie dippers (think carrots, steamed green beans, radishes, grape tomatoes, snow peas, lightly steamed cauliflower, and fresh broccoli).
1/3 cup (80 mL) unsalted cashews
1 cup (250 mL) cooked white navy beans
Juice of 1 lemon
l/2 tsp (2 mL) Montreal steak seasoning (see below)
l/2 Tbsp (7 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
l red onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (any colour), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
l Tbsp (15 mL) lemon thyme or other fresh herb, finely chopped
In coffee grinder, grind cashews into fine powdery paste. Mix ground cashews with beans, lemon juice, and seasoning; blend until smooth using hand-held blender. Set aside.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and saute onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir into bean mixture along with fresh herbs. Transfer to serving bowl and serve with your favourite dipping veggies. Serves 12 (makes about 2 cups or 500 mL).
Each serving contains:
74 calories; 3 g protein; 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 50 mg sodium
Did you know?
You can buy Montreal steak seasoning in the spice aisle of your local grocery store or you can make it yourself. Use it in pretty much any dish for a little extra boost of flavour.
To make your own seasoning, mix together:
2 Tbsp (30 mL) paprika
2 Tbsp (30 mL) black pepper
2 Tbsp (30 mL) kosher salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) garlic powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) onion powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) coriander
1 Tbsp (15 mL) dill
1 Tbsp (15 mL) red pepper flakes
Store leftover Montreal steak seasoning in a glass jar with airtight lid.
Source: "Healthy Finger Foods For the Holidays", alive #338, December 2010
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.