Pierre’s Roasted Pumpkin with Braised Chickpeas

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I love hearty winter curries, especially ones made with winter squash and chickpeas; here’s a simple one to keep you warm. While I was over for a conference call at Pierre‘s last week, he made roasted pumpkin with braised chickpeas as we chatted. It was the perfect lunch on the first day of deep snow – the kind that soaked the bottom six inches of your jeans and made your socks wet when you took your boots off.

Pierre and Candace were winging it and added butter chicken paste; feel free to use whatever blend you like, and enough to suit your taste.

Pierre’s Roasted Pumpkin with Braised ChickpeasRead More

Chocolate Cheesecake

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Cheesecake used to be a staple at birthdays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day – and this rich chocolate cheesecake was one of the most popular ones I made.

If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) it originally came from Gourmet or Bon Appétit, tweaked over the years… I hadn’t made it in practically decades, and I forgot how good it was. It’s not tricky to make, and can be done in advance – it needs time to chill in the fridge anyway. To make it extra special, top with strawberries or raspberries.Read More

Maple Walnut Granola

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I realize that one can only have so many formulas for granola, and at some point you settle into a regular combination you can mindlessly mix up and bake without much in the way of measuring. This is one such recipe. It comes from our friend Aimée, who’s first cookbook focuses on seasonal eating from her urban homestead just outside Montreal.

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Since homemade granola is in constant rotation in our house, I chose hers to give a go; it’s very similar to my default granola, save for the applesauce and maple flakes (which, sadly, are not as readily available in Alberta). I had a jar of my sister’s crabapple sauce on my shelf, pink and sweet-tart, and so mixed some up, subbing sliced almonds for the sunflower seeds I had none of – that’s the great thing about granola, you can mix and match nuts and seeds and add whatever kind of dried fruit you like at the end.

Cheers Aimée! Your book is beautiful. (And so is the granola!)Read More

Potato, Kale & Ricotta Galette

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We love kale, and are always looking for new ways to do potatoes. We’re fans of creamy scalloped potatoes; thinly sliced spuds layered with cheese and cream, but sometimes it’s too heavy – this is a perfect compromise, and a great way to get your greens.

Sautéed kale cooks down dramatically, allowing a large serving between layers of soft, crispy potato. This version is subtle, with garlic and ricotta; try an Indian-spiced version by ditching the ricotta and spiking the kale with ginger and curry powder or garam masala as it cooks.Read More

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

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Earlier this month, Mary, Julie and Elizabeth gathered at the Cookbook Company Cooks with a few dozen Best of Bridge fans for an epic baking party to raise money for the Calgary Food Bank. (Huge thanks to Gail for letting us use her space, and to Calgary Co-op for donating all the ingredients we needed!) We put a pot of mulled wine on the stove and had a blast of an afternoon baking together. Among old classics and new favourites, this was a new discovery we came up with that’s sure to stay in our holiday baking repertoire.

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. peppermint extract (or substitute vanilla)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

extra sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugar for a few minutes, until light. Beat in the egg and peppermint extract.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in a shallow dish of sugar to coat. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until cracked and set around the edges, but still soft in the middle – they’ll firm up as they cool.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Light Coconut Christmas Cake

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‘Tis the season for holiday baking – and fruitcake is generally the first thing on our list. Sue and Julie have been baking fruitcake together every Christmas since they were teenagers – and although our traditional recipe is a dark fruitcake from the Joy of Cooking (it’s in the 1997 version – some earlier versions have a completely different recipe, which isn’t quite the same) – but this year we thought we’d give light fruitcake a chance.

We ordered some nice organic dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots), candied ginger and coconut in our Spud Box, and turned it into two loaf cakes – one for our annual Christmas party, the other to unwrap on Christmas day. We used to use a myriad of fancy pans for our fruitcakes, but sometimes they didn’t survive re-entry – loaf pans make it easy. (If they do crumble, turn the pieces of broken cake into a base for a rich, festive trifle, topped with custard and cream. No one will notice!Read More