Various types of beets and honey can take this dish in plenty of delicious directions. Honey takes its flavour from the fields that surround the apiary and there are many varieties to explore, ranging from fireweed to blueberry to wildflower.
1 lb (450 g) heirloom beets, as many varieties as you find
6 Tbsp (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
2 heads butter lettuce, washed and dried well
1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) fireweed honey (or any high-quality honey you like)
3/4 cup (180 mL) peanut oil
Black pepper, freshly ground
To roast beets, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Wash and trim beets before placing in ovenproof dish, ensuring all are roughly the same size. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss with sprigs of fresh thyme.
Roast until tender (40 to 60 minutes, depending on size). Check with tip of sharp knife: they should offer no resistance. Remove beets from oven and cool until you are able to handle them. Peel beets and cut into irregular shapes. This can be done up to a day ahead.
To make dressing, zest and juice limes, reserve the zest, and place juice in bowl. Pour in honey and slowly whisk in peanut oil. Season dressing to taste.
To make salad, divide leaves of butter lettuce among six cold plates. Toss beets with a portion of the dressing and divide among the plates. Using a spoon, make small mounds of ricotta on salads. Sprinkle tops with lime zest and top each salad with more dressing.
Source: "Fuel Restaurant", alive #307, May 2008
A tribute to the bounty and beauty of nature, this chocolate bark is studded with nuts, seeds, and berries and flavoured with the warming spices of ginger and cinnamon. Adding sweet paprika and chili also gives an interesting kick to a winter favourite. Cut back on the red pepper flakes if you prefer a less spicy version. Chocolate contains tryptophan—an essential amino acid—that helps our brain produce serotonin. Eating chocolate is a delicious way to get a mood boost, which can help lift our spirits when sunlight levels are low. Food of the Gods In the taxonomy of plants, the cacao plant, from which chocolate is derived, is called Theobroma cacao. Theobroma comes from Greek for “food of the gods.” Cacao comes from the Mayan word for the plant.
Up your omega-3 intake with these easy-to-make salmon parchment pockets. The sockeye fillets are first rubbed with a marinade of juniper berries, citrus zest, and garlic before being enclosed in parchment. Juniper has a strong and piney flavour and lends a unique tang to this dish. It also contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to capture the juices that arise during steaming. No mortar and pestle? Crush juniper berries by laying them between two sheets of parchment and bashing them gently with a rolling pin.
Escarole is a bitter green that stands up to heat and is suitable for grilling, braising, or using in soups. In this salad, it’s broiled with radishes before being dressed in a sweet, garlicky dressing that cuts the bitterness. Escarole is high in folate (vitamin B9), important in red blood cell formation, and vitamin A, important in immune function and eye health. Like kale and other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also very high in vitamin K, which assists in blood clotting. Bitter green substitutes If you can’t find escarole, use frisée (also called curly endive), mustard greens, or radicchio. Romaine also stands up to heat well and makes a good substitute, but it lacks the characteristic bitterness of the others.
In Japan, it’s a custom to eat kabocha squash on the day of the winter solstice as a symbol of good health. In fact, kabocha squash contains cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein. It’s also full of fibre and vitamins A and C. We’ve made a roasted version dressed in a sweet and tangy marinade that’s sprinkled with sesame seeds before roasting in the oven. The remaining marinade, full of ginger, tamari, and red pepper flakes, is used as a dressing to further flavour the squash. Know your squash You’ll recognize kabocha squash by its dark green rind and round shape. Its yellowish-orange flesh is sweeter than other types and has been likened to a cross between sweet potato and pumpkin. The rind is quite hard but is edible when cooked. Wash squash well and take care while cutting. You can microwave the whole squash for 4 to 5 minutes prior to cutting to help soften the rind and make things a bit easier.