From coast to coast to coast, Canada is home to a number of wild berry varieties. Many, like mulberries, even grow in urban backyards. Berries are one of the easiest wild foods to locate during the summer months—a very good thing, as you’ll want to make these fudgy blondies more than once.
Use the wild berries available in your neck of the woods such as wild blueberries, Saskatoon berries, mulberries, or salal berries.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line an 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
In large bowl, mix together all ingredients except berries until smooth and fully combined. Gently mix in berries, pour into prepared pan, and smooth top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean. Cool to room temperature and slice into bars or squares. Refrigerate leftovers airtight for up to 4 days.
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.