This simple dinner ticks all the boxes: delicious, wholesome, and satisfying. Plus, it’s vegetarian. Sweet squash combines with crunchy-earthy barley, kale, and peas to make a delicious meal for a weekday evening. Serve with brown basmati rice on the side, if desired.
In small saucepan, bring barley and 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook barley covered, until tender but still chewy and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. If kernels taste starchy and hard in centre, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add extra splash of boiling water, if necessary. When done, let rest for 5 minutes. Stir with fork to separate kernels. (Barley can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Dice squash into small 1/2 in (1.25 cm) cubes. You should have about 2 cups (500 mL). Refrigerate remaining squash for other use. Place diced squash in bowl and lightly coat with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet in single layer. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender but slightly firm when tested with fork.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large, heavy saucepan. Add onion, and sauteu0301 over medium-low heat, stirring often, until softened. Fold in kale, chickpeas, and cooked barley, and gently stir-fry over medium heat to wilt kale slightly and warm chickpeas. Gently fold in baked squash and heat through. Remove from heat. Combine tamari, juices, and crushed peppers. Whisk to combine and drizzle over vegetables. Fold in to coat evenly.
Serve immediately with sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds.
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.