Best Ever Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin spice muffins stay moist
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #muffins, #pumpkinspice, #pumpkinspicemuffins
Author: Theresa


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (250 mL)
  • ½  cup almond flour (175 mL) or ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (10 mL)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (2 mL)
  • ½ tsp salt (2 mL)
  • 1 ½  tsp cinnamon (7 mL)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg ( 2 mL)
  • ½ tsp ginger ( 2 mL)
  • ¼  tsp ground cloves (1 mL)
  • ¼  tsp allspice (1mL)
  • ¼  tsp white pepper (1mL)
  • 1 ¼  cup brown sugar (300 mL)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (250 mL)
  • 1/3  cup vegetable oil (75 mL)
  • ¼  cup orange juice, fresh or concentrate) (50 mL)


  • ½ cup brown sugar (125 mL)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (2 mL)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg (2 mL)
  • ½ tsp ginger (1mL)
  • ¼  tsp allspice (1mL)
  • ¼  tsp cloves (1mL)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Place flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Place spices and brown sugar in a bowl; add eggs and orange juice beat until smooth. Stir in canned pumpkin and oil.
  • Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  • Stir together topping ingredients until well mixed. Spoon a little on top of each muffin, or spread equally over the loaf. 
  • For muffins, place cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Divide batter equally and top with sugar-spice mixture. If using almond flour, bake for 20 minutes.
    With whole wheat flour, bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a piece of spaghetti comes out clean. 
  • For a loaf, line a loaf pan with parchment paper and fill with mixture, then add topping evenly across the top. Bake on middle rack of oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick (or spaghetti!) inserted in centre comes out clean. Let pan cool on rack for 15 minutes; turn loaf out and let cool completely.
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Warm Duck and Lentil Salad

Hearty, rich, decadent and yet still filled with healthful lentils, this salad uses pickled onions and crispy duck for a hefty wallop of umami.
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Canadian, French
Keyword: #duck, #lentils, #salad
Servings: 8 people


  • Sous vide device (optional)


  • 1 cup puy or beluga lentils
  • 2 ½ cups water 
  • 2-4 fresh bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp sea salt 
  • 1 whole leg of duck confit (or 2 roast duck legs)
  • 1 cup tarragon, washed and chopped 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup smoky onion pickles 
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp salted capers
  • ½ cup vinegar (from the onion pickles, or white wine or champagne vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard  
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup duck fat, warmed
  • ¼ cup pan juices 
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 pats duck fois gras (optional)


  • Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve, then place them in jars or bags with water, bay leaves and salt. Set sous vide devise to 190ºF (87ºC) and cook for 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Open and let cool. Drain and set aside. 
  • Alternatively, bring lentils, salt, bay leaves to a boil in 4 cups of water, then simmer until tender, 25-30 minutes.
  • Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes. Let cool. Rub off most of the skins, then chop roughly with a knife or pulse in a food processor until roughly ground. Set aside.
  • Remove the duck from its bag, pouring the juices into a small pan. Bring juices to a boil, then reduce over medium heat until you have about ¼ cup. 
  • Reheat duck in a cast iron frying pan, browning and crisping the skin. Remove the skin and crisp it on all sides. Melt any fat under the skin. Reserve ½ cup of the fat.
  • Remove duck to a cutting board, let cool slightly. Shred with hands. 
  • Chop onion pickles (use fresh mild onions or shallots if you don’t have the onion pickles) into a fine mince. Chop tarragon and parsley, then throw all three into a bowl with the lentils. 
  • Make the vinaigrette: put the vinegar, garlic cloves, capers, mustard, salt and pepper together in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour over the lentils, onions and herbs. Warm up the duck fat in the pan. Toss together thoroughly. 
  • Add half of the hazelnuts and the duck meat and skin, and chopped fois gras, if using, and toss again. Top with remaining hazelnuts and a few sprigs of tarragon. 


You can use your own sous vide duck, buy it, or roast a couple of duck legs to use instead. 
If you happen to find duck foes gras, adding it in will take this dish from decadent to doubly delicious. 
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Smoky Onion Quick Pickles

These pickled onions use lapsang souchong to stay crisp and take on a smoky tang.
Course: Garnish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: lapsang souching, onions, pickles, smoky


  • 2 cups plain white, wine wine or rice vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 oz loose leaf lapsand souchong
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp amber maple syrup


  • Bring water, vinegar, salt and syrup to a boil. Turn off heat, then add the lapsang souchong. Allow to cool to almost room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, slice onions into pieces of a uniform size and place in sterile mason jars.
  • At this point, you can cool to room temperature, put the lids on and pop them in the fridge. You can also process them by boiling them for 15 minutes or placing them in the sous vide machine at 140 °F / 60 °C for 2 ½ hours to make them shelf stable.


These pickles have so many uses: as a garnish for a sausage in a bun, on a curry, in a cheese sandwich or quesadilla, chopped fine into a salad or salad dressing. Be sure to use the vinegar as well for making salad dressing. The smoky favour makes it seem like you’ve used bacon when it’s actually completely vegan. 
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Potage Jacqueline

A luxurious update of an old Moosewood recipe, sweet potatoes and cream scented with ginger.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack, Soup
Cuisine: American, Canadian, French
Keyword: cream of sweet potato, ginger, soup, sweet potato ginger, sweet potato soup, sweet potatoes


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 large onions, or 3 small
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup fresh whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest 


  • Melt butter in oil over medium low heat. Sauté onions slowly until they are translucent. Add ginger and celery, stirring until celery is soft. 
  • Add chopped sweet potatoes, salt, bay leaf, white pepper and chicken stock. If you have the leaves from the celery, throw that in too. If the stock doesn’t quite cover the potatoes, don’t worry, they will submerge as they cook. You want them to be almost covered by liquid, not quite. Add more stock or water as needed, leaving about half an inch of potatoes sticking out. 
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are thoroughly softened. Let cool a little to make the soup easier to handle. Remove bay leaves and celery leaves, if using. 
  • Blend soup with cream and lemon zest on high until perfectly smooth, about 2 minutes. Reheat gently on the stovetop. Serve with a slice of lemon and some chopped tarragon, if desired.
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New-fangled Cherry Cheesecake

This original cheescake uses freeze-dried fruit to saturate the batter with cherry flavour. Sous vide makes it lighter and fluffier, but you can make it in a traditional cheesecake pan and water bath as well.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #cheesecake, #cherrycheesecake, #sousvide
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Theresa


  • Sous vide device or oven
  • Mason jars, 16 x 4oz, or 8 x 8 oz jars OR cheesecake pan
  • Stand mixer
  • Food processor or mini-chopper


  • 3 pkgs cream cheese Philidelphia brand, if possible
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tsp freeze-dried cherries (60 grams)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cherry flavouring 
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  •  Attach your sous vide device to a heatproof container, then fill ¾ full of water. Preheat to the water to 80 °C or 176 °F
  • Make the flavoured cream first: into the bowl of a food processor (small bowl or mini-chopper if you have it), pulverize the cherries with ½ cup of sugar until it mostly resembles a fine dust. A few little pieces are okay but bigger chunks mean you need to pulse a few more times. Stir into the sour cream and let sit. 
  •  Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend with remaining 3/4 cup of sugar using the whisk attachment. Beat for 3 minutes on medium high speed until light and smooth, scraping down the side as needed.
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time on medium low speed, scraping down the sides after each addition
  • Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until combined.
  • Stir fruit and sour cream mixture again, trying to make sure as much of the fruit sugar has dissolved as possible, squelching any little pockets you find with a brisk stir.
  • Beat into the cream cheese mixture gently until fully incorporated, no more.
  • Cast the batter into your jars using a ladle or serving spoon. Fill to just below the rim, leaving about a half inch of space between the cheesecake and the lid. Screw on fingertip tight (see here) and place gently in your preheated water bath. Use tongs if you like to avoid getting splashed by hot water. .
  • Cook for 90 minutes.
  • When they are done, use those tongs again to remove the jars to a tray or a flat tea towel on a hard surface. Let them sit until they have cooled to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. 
  • Top with freshly made cherry sauce, crumble amaretti, and top with whipped cream. Or dark chocolate sauce on freshly pitted cherries. Or mixed berries, or lemon curd, or….you get the idea.


  • If the cherries aren’t powdered with some sugar they can turn sticky and hard.
  • If the bowl of the food processor is too big, the cherries won’t pulverize into a small enough pieces.
  • Cherry flavouring is really strong – err on the side of caution. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away. Add with care.
  • This recipe works really well with freeze-dried raspberries as well, and I’m sure blueberries would do too. Strawberries tend to be too mild in flavour to stand up to the tang of the cream cheese and sour cream.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cake

Strawberries and pistachio cream soften vanilla cookies into a cake-like texture for a bowl of glorious decadence.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British, Canadian
Keyword: #chantillycream, #feedsacrowd, #goopygood, #iceboxcake, #iceboxcakerecipe, #makeahead, #overnightcake, #pistachio, #pistachiocream, #strawberries, #strawberry, #strawberrycake, #strawberrycakerecipe, #summerdesserts, #whippingcream
Servings: 8 people


  • 4 pints strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 4 cups whipped cream (1 L)
  • 1 box Nilla wafers
  • ½ cup pistachio paste (storebought or homemade)
  • ½ cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Rinse and slice three pints of strawberries. For the last pint, remove the green tops and set those berries aside for later.
  • Add ½ cup of cream to the bowl of a standmixer along with the pistachio paste. Using the paddle attachment, blend on low until the pistachio is fully incorporated into the cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Add sugar, vanilla and the rest of the cream. Using the whisk attachment, beat together on low until mostly blended, about one minute, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Smear a ½ cup of pistachio cream on the bottom of your bowl (preferably glass) to anchor your cookies.
  • Your layers should proceeds like this: cookies, strawberries, cream. Smooth your cream over each layer gently. You want to fill in any huge gaps without completely squahing and deflating the cream. A few holes are not a problem, they will fill up as the cookies expand.
  • Keep going until you are out of sliced berries. Top with one last layer of cream, and chill overnight. You can add your whole berries to decorate before you chill it or after, whicheve rmakes it easier to wrap it up. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
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Haskap Berry Slushie

Haskap berries are as nutritious as they are weird looking. Great in fruit salad or in a smoothie.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #haskapberries, #haskapberry, #rawjuice, #smoothie, #superfood, #vegan
Servings: 4 glasses


  • Blender


  • 1 cup haskap berries
  • 1 cup blueberries, preferably wild
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup ice (otional)


  • Throw your ingredients together in a blender until desired texture is acheived. I like it a little pulpy for extra fibre.


I tried substituting the water with milk or blueberry juice. Milk gives a discordant texture – I’ll try oat milk next time. 
Blueberry juice made it too sweet and overwhelmed the other flavours. This smoothie is so sweet already, it doesn’t need the sugar boost from juice. If you must add some, squeeze a quarter of a fresh lemon or orange in. Don’t overdue it or you’ll lose the elusive haskap berry flavour. 
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Elderflower Sangria with Cape Gooseberries, Golden Kiwi & Green Grapes

A super-simple, make-ahead recipe for white sangria with only three ingredients: fruit, sparkling wine, and elderflower liqueur. Featuring Cape gooseberries & golden kiwi.
Prep Time: 1 day
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #capegooseberries, #goldenkiwi, #sangria, #sparklingrosé, #sparklingwine, #summersangria, #summervibes, #whitesangria, Summertime
Servings: 6 people


  • Pitcher
  • Mason jar
  • Potato masher


  • ½  cup Cape Gooseberries, husked and rinsed (100g)
  • ½  cup green grapes, de-stemmed and rinsed (100 grams)
  • 1 bottle elderflower liqueur (200 mL)
  • 1 bottle sparkling white or rosé wine


  • Place the grapes and Cape Gooseberries in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. You want them slightly crushed, not a bowl of fruity mush. If there are any outliers, feel free to pop them with your fingers, like you would bubble wrap.
  • Add peeled and chopped golden kiwis, cuttign them about the same size as the grapes and gooseberries.
  • Pour the fruit and their juices into a mason jar or other container. 
  • Cover with elderflower liquor and shake well. Place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours. 
  • Pour in a jug. Add sparkling wine or prosecco, taking care not to stir too hard. iPour into ice-filled glasses and top with a Cape Goosberry with the husk pulled up but not detached.
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Plum & Blackberry Galettes with Hazelnut Frangipane

Small, rustic, freeform pies loaded with seasonal fruit on hazelnut paste.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Canadian, French
Keyword: #fruitpie, #pie, blackberries, galette, galettes, hand pies, hazelnut frangipane, hazelnut paste, hazelnuts, plums, Stone fruit, Summertime
Servings: 8 portions


  • Food processor


  • 1 batch basic pie dough

Plum & Blackberry Filling

  • 2 cups sliced plums, skins on (from 1½-2lbs plums)
  • 1 cups blackberries
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Frangelico
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

Hazelnut Frangipane

  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted and cooled
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • I tbsp Frangelico
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • crystal sugar, to finish the crust


  • Divide pie crust into 8 equal pieces by cutting it in half, then in half again. Roll out each piece into a rough 6 inch circle and stack them up on parchment paper. Refrigerate for two hours minimium. This is a great step to do a day ahead.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rub loose skins off hazelnuts, leaving any that cling. Grind hazelnuts and ⅓ cup sugar in the food processor into a fine paste, 2-3 minutes. Add butter, flour, Frangelico, salt, and egg. Pulse until smooth and set aside.
  • Slice your plums into ¼ inch wedges and toss with ½ cup sugar and Frangelico.
  • Beat egg with water and set on the table next to all the other components. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and have a pastry brush handy.
  • Add a heaping tablespoon to the centre of a disc of dough and spread in a circle, leaving a 1" border. Brush the border with egg wash. Spoon some fruit onto the frangipane, and fold the edges in, tucking each fold into the next, making little nests for your fruit fillling.
  • Brush egg wash over outer ring of pie dough, and sprinkle with large crystal sugar, if you have any. Otherwise regular sugar will do.
  • Pop them into the oven and cook for 35-35 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the plums and blackberries entirely softened.
  • Cool on a wire rack for one hour. Serve with ice cream, if you like. Or just eat out of hand, without even taking the time to get a plate.
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White Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares with Genmaicha

This unusual pairing of ingredients—sweet white chocolate and genmaicha—is the surpise hit on the afternoon tea menu. Tasting is believing.
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #brewcrew, Afternoon tea, Cooking with tea, Genmaicha, Rice Krispie Squares, White chocolate


  • 8” X 8” X 4” square pan
  • fine sieve
  • Parchment paper.


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup loose leaf genmaicha, or 4 tea bags
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups fine quality white chocolate chips like Ghirardelli, Lindt or Callebaut
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 7 cups Rice Krispie cereal


  • Butter the pan and line with parchment paper.
  • Heat cream to 80°C or °176 F. Pour in your genmaicha, give it a gentle stir, and let sit for three minutes. The tea leaves will swell up and look as if they have absorbed all the cream. Don’t worry—they haven’t. 
  • Pour cream into a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Strain out the cream, pressing the tea leaves with the back of a spoon, or your hands. You should end up with about 1 ½ cups of tea-infused cream.
  • In the larger pot, place ½ cup of tea-infused cream with the butter over low heat. Add in 1 cup white chocolate chips, keeping the heat low and stirring all the while until smooth. Add marshmallows and do the same. Don’t let this mixture burn or curdle—slowly but surely does it.
  • Stir in cereal, folding slowing and gently until it is all evenly coated. 
  • Press the cereal mixture into the pan gently. Don’t press it too hard or you’ll have heavy, dense squares. Pop it in the fridge to firm up if you have room, otherwise the countertop will do just fine.
  • Pour the remaining 1 cup of tea-infused cream back into the smaller pot and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add in the remaining 3 cups of white chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Place the pot back on low heat and stir gently until white chocolate chips are melted. Stir together until smooth and let sit until room temperature. 
  • Remove the pan from the fridge. Spread ganache evenly over the squares, smoothing with a spatula until the whole surface is covered. Do NOT rush and pour while too warm or it will melt into your squares. 
  • Decorate the top with some scattered white chocolate chips and genmaicha. Return to the fridge to firm up. Serve at room temperature. 


Do NOT pour hot ganache on warm squares – it will sink in instead of sitting on top, drenching your squares into a soupy mess. Let everything cool right down.
For brewing the tea: I’ve put in the precise measurements because if your cream is too hot, the tea will be excessively bitter. Don’t worry if the cream seems a tad bitter when it’s done steeping, however. The sweetness of the marshmallows and white chocolate will counteract it.
You can use your hands and/or a cheesecloth to help wring every bit of cream from the tea leaves (if it’s not too hot, of course). You’ll bring the cream to a boil again and kill the germs. Mostly.
Use fresh cereal and marshmallows and good quality tea. The best ingredients make the best desserts.
If you use tea bags instead of loose leaf, you’ll need 4-6, depending on how strong you’d like the tea flavour to be. Keep in mind the white chocolate and marshmallows will dampen the tea’s astringency quite a bit, so don’t be afraid to brew it strong. You will need less cream for the recipe. Keep to ½ cup in the squares, adding any extra to the ganache, which requires less precision for measurements.
If you use unsalted butter, add in a pinch of salt to your cream, butter and chocolate mixture. If not, omit.
Matcha White Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares: Omit genmaicha and add 1 tsp. matcha to the cream for the squares, and 1 ½ tsp. to the cream for the ganache. Adjust the amount of matcha to taste.
Vanilla White Chocolate Rice Krispie Squares: Omit the green tea. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to cream for the squares, and 1 tbsp. to the cream for the ganache.
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Squares: I don’t have a recipe for that, but you know who does? Chelsea’s Messy Apron. Crazy good. With chocolate on top.
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Green Chicken Chili

A lighter, summery version of chili to celebrate the season.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian, chilli, Latin-inspired, Tex-Mex
Keyword: chili, green chili, tomatillos
Servings: 8


  • One large skillet.
  • One rimmed baking sheet.
  • Parchment paper.
  • Large colander.


  • 2 medium red or yellow onions
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano or epazote
  • 1 tbsp hot Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 4 whole poblano peppers
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 2 dozen tomatillos
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ lb yellow beans
  • 4 yellow tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto bean
  • 1 can navy or cannellini beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips
  • green onions, minced
  • avocado


  • Preheat oven to broil. Rinse and pat dry poblano peppers. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place peppers in oven.
  • Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them in a colander over the sink. Place them whole in the pan with the poblanos. Turn poblanos over, making sure they are blackening evenly.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes to check on thhe roasting vegetables. Removes poblanos when they are blackened on all sides. When the tomatillos are blackened on top and softened throughout, remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
  • Dice onions. Core, seed, and mince jalapeño pepper, and add to the onions. Mince the garlic cloves and add in.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over low heat. Sauté the onion mixture until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cumin, Mexican oregano and paprika to the onion mixture and stir, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Wash cilantro carefully, especially if it seems gritty. Place leaves aside, mince the stems, then add them to the pan. Add the canned green chiles and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove your aromatics to a bowl, and set aside. Add the other tbsp of olive oil to the pan and raise the heat to medium high.
  • Add the ground chicken to the skillet, stirring until all pink is gone and brown bits start to appear.
  • Return the aromatics to the skillet and stir into the ground chicken, turning heat back down to medium low. Add beans, stock and salt and leave to simmer.
  • Peel blackened skins from the poblano peppers, then remove seeds (most of them, don't worry too much) and stems. Chop into fine bits and add to the pan. Using your hands, grab each tomatillo and squish it, then drop it into the pan. Once you've finger-mashed them all, stir them in, along with the considerable amount of pan juices they've released, and continue to simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
  • Mince zucchini and chop beans, and add them in, cooking until just tender.
  • Mince tomatoes, (yellow if you can find them!) and add, stirring until just softened. You're good to go! Top with the reserved cilantro leaves and some fresh squeezed lime, as well as any other toppings you desire: green onions, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips.


If you have the time to cook your own beans from scratch, do so by all means. They are always better. 
And you can absolutely omit the chicken for a vegetarian version, swapping out the stock with veggie stock or water. I would add a (well-rinsed!) half a cup of quinoa along with the beans in that case. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

summer cucumber salad

Fastest cucumber salad ever. Also the best.
  • 2 English cucumbers 
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • green onions OR cilantro to top
  • toasted sesame seeds, optional

Grate the ginger, and mix in a bowl with the vinegar and salt. Toss cucumbers with the dressing, then add the sesame oil and toss once more. Top with green onions or cilantro.


Smoky Summer slaw

  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage
  • whole English cucumber 
  • 4 carrots 
  • 1 cup smoky tea-pickled onions
  • 1/2 cup rice wine or smoky tea-pickle vinegar
  • 1/2 light vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Thin slice the cabbage, dice the cucumber and grate the carrots or slice them into matchsticks. Throw them all into a large salad bowl. Dice pickled onion and tea leaves and put them in with the other vegetables. 

Mix together smoky vinegar, oil and soy sauce. Stir together and toss with salad. If you want, take a large forkful of tea leaves and stir them into the rest of the slaw.

Top it with green onions and toasted sesame seeds or gomashio.



  • 2 cups of white wine or rice vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 oz Lapsang Souchong
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp amber maple syrup

Slice onions into pieces of a uniform size and place in a clean mason jar. Bring water, vinegar, salt and syrup to a boil. Scatter tea into the pot, then pour over the pickles. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate one hour before serving. They will keep well for weeks refrigerated. 

Carrots work well as quick pickles.


italian potato salad


  • 2 lbs new potatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup best quality olive oil
  • 2-3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with handful of kosher salt. The salt will season the potatoes as they cook. For smaller potatoes, cut them in half. For larger ones, cut them in quarters. Even proportions being the thing for even cooking. Boil them until a fork goes in easily into the middle. 

While the potatoes are cooking, peel and mince your garlic. Wash the basil—honestly, this is the longest and most tedious part—and get rid of any stems. Spin them dry in a salad spinner—you don’t want to add water to the salad. Reserve a handful for decoration and chop the rest roughly. 

When the potatoes are cooked and drained, put them in a large bowl and toss them immediately with a LOT of salt* and garlic. Slosh some olive oil—about half—over the potatoes and stir it in, then add the basil to the still hot potatoes. Stir it in until all wilted, then add the rest of the oil and more salt if desired. It doesn’t matter if the potatoes get a little crumbly or mushy around the edges. You can’t really mess up potatoes. 

Grind fresh pepper on, then top with whole leaves as garnish. Watch them be devoured! And when people ask you for the recipe, you can honestly say you just threw a few ingredients together. 




  • 2 pkgs of cream cheese 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp masala spice mix*
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream 
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
  • fresh bananas and whipped cream for serving

Preheat the water bath to 80°C (176° F) .

Mash two very ripe bananas until you have approximately a cup. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla, grated ginger and salt. Smush it all together and set aside.

Put the spice blend and the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and stir together. Add in the cream cheese and beat until smooth. 

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Beat in sour cream until incorporated, then the mashed banana. 

Cast the batter into mason jars—I use a ladle or a serving spoon to make sure I don’t spill on the edges of the jar. If you do, just wipe with a clean cloth—you want a good seal. Fill until just below the screw top. Put the lids on and turn them until fingertip tight.**

Using tongs, lower the jars into the water, stacking them up if need be. Cook for 90 minutes, then remove and let cool to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. Chill for 6 hours or preferably overnight. They’ll last for two weeks in this state. 

To serve, open the jars, top with slices of banana, dollops of whipped cream and a pinch of masala spice to top it off. If you like crunch, add toasted ground pistachio or cashews, or crushed cookies. Pair with masala chai made with the same spice mix, or contrast the sweetness with a fortifying Assam or Ceylon black tea.


  • If you don’t have a premade spice blend, and you don’t want to make the once I’ve suggested in this post, then I recommend ½ tsp ground cardamon, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and ¼ tsp white or black pepper, and a pinch of ground cloves. Is you don’t use the fresh ground ginger, use ½ tsp ground. 
  • “Finger-tip” tight means that you screw the lid firmly, but it’s possible to open it just using your finger tips.
  • The size of the jars is not a big concern. You can use 4, 6, or 8 oz.



Use any blend of:

  • green cardamom
  • whole cloves
  • freshly grated cinnamon
  • black peppercorns
  • coriander seeds
  • fennel seed
  • star anise
  • allspice
  • nutmeg
  • plus fresh ginger

Put your preferred whole spices (except for the fresh ginger) in a pan and toast 5 minutes until slightly browned and smelly toasty. Put the cardamom pods, the cloves, peppercorns, and any other dried spices into a dedicated coffee grinder. Pulse until you’ve got a fine powder with only a few bits of shell from the cardamom pods. Hand grate the cinnamon and nutmeg, and add it to the grinder. Blitz a couple of times, smelling and tasting your way to your perfect mix. Sift out any bits of shells, and you’re good to go. 

To make tea, add a mixture of milk and water, or just all milk, to a pan with a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and teaspoon of the spice blend per two cups of liquid, along with two bags of black tea. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-5 minutes. Sweeten to taste. 



Photo by Ryan Szulz, from the Pimentos and Piri Piri (Whitecap Books).

This recipe is slightly more involved than the simple clam dish Carla showed me on the video, but she was teaching me the very basics. For those of you ready for something more interesting, this dish promises a hearty meal, and a more unusual one. To be served with Portuguese cornbread, of course. (Recipe follows.)

Clams in Cataplana with Pork, White Wine, and Coriander

A cataplana, a hinged clam-shaped cooking vessel, is so popular in the Algarve beach resorts that dozens of dishes have been named after it. If you do not have a cataplana, use a wok or a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and carefully cover the lid with a kitchen towel; do not uncover the pot while cooking.


• 2 lb (1 kg) Manila clams

• ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

• 4 oz (120 g) pork tenderloin,

• 1 onion, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 ½ cups (375 ml) peeled, 
seeded, and chopped tomatoes

• ½  red bell pepper, seeded,
 cored, and diced

• 4 oz (120 g) chouriço, sliced
 into ½ -inch (1 cm) pieces

• 1 bay leaf

• ½  tsp (2 ml) fine salt

• ¼ tsp (1 ml) coarsely 
ground black pepper

• ½ tsp (2 ml) dried oregano

• ½ tsp (1 ml) piri-piri sauce
 or Tabasco sauce

• ½ cup (125 ml) dry white

• ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped
 fresh coriander

• 2 slices prosciutto, chopped

1. Using a stiff brush, scrub the clams under cold running water to remove any surface sand and grit. Discard any clams that are not tightly closed. Set aside.

2. In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat; cook the pork for 2 to 3 minutes, until browned, and transfer to a dish; reserve. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, chouriço, bay leaf, salt, pepper, oregano, and piri-piri sauce; simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Transfer half of the tomato mixture to bottom of cataplana. Arrange the clams overtop and cover with the remaining tomato mixture. Tightly secure the cataplana lid and simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Flip the cataplana over and unlatch it; add the reserved pork and the wine and sprinkle with the coriander and prosciutto. Tightly secure the cataplana lid and cook until the shells open and the pork juices run clear when pierced with fork, 5 to 8 minutes (check for doneness after 5 minutes of cooking and continue cooking if meat is still pink). Discard any clams that have not opened. Serve.

Recipe excerpted from Pimentos and Piri Piri (Whitecap Books) by Carla Azevedo.

Next is Carla’s recipe for cornbread. Cornbread is essential to Portuguese cuisine, but it’s also essential to soak up the broth from the clams.


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My bread-making skills were a little rusty, so I approached this recipe much more methodically than I would normally. I needn’t have been nervous. It was easy as could be, and my family declared it the best bread I’d ever made. Of course, if you don’t want to make it yourself, you can easily get cornbread at a Portuguese bakery.

I couldn’t find corn flour, so I put some cornmeal in the food processor and that worked just fine. And since it’s only for the outside, cornmeal will do, too.

Cornbread (Pāo de Milho)


1¼ cups (310 mL) fine white or yellow cornmeal

3 tsp (15mL) fine salt

1¼ cups (310 mL) boiling water

2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar

1 cup (250 mL) lukewater water

2 packages active dry yeast (2 Tbsp/30mL)

3¼ cups (810 mL) all-purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) white or yellow corn flour (approx.)

In a large bowl, blend the cornmeal and salt. Add the boiling water and stir until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes until lukewarm.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir the yeast mixture vigorously with a fork and stir into the cornmeal mixture. Gradually mix in the all-purpose mixture, until well combined. Turn out onto a well-surfaced surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Gather the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased ball, and turn to grease all over. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough. Shape into a round loaf or two small ones. Roll the dough in the corn flour until well covered. Place the loaf on a well-greased baking sheet or 8-inch (20 cm) cake pan. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Sprinkle with additional corn flour just before baking.

Recipe excerpted from Pimentos & Piri Piri (Whitecap Books) by Carla Azevedo.

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Lentil and Date Soup

Lemtil Soup with a hint of fruit. How very Middle Eastern.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter or dairy-free nonhydrogenated margarine

1 large cooking onion

4 large garlic cloves

6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock

1 ½ cups (375 mL) dried red lentils, washed

4 dried dates, pitted and chopped

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

sae salt and pepper

In a soup pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, stirring, for about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, then the stock, lentils, dates, cumin, and sea salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. You may need to add more water. This is also good puréed.

Excerpt from The All-New Vegetarian Passport (Whitecap Books) by Linda Woolven.


My Healthy Valentine

I didn’t think I’d love this recipe, since I rarely sugar strawberries, and I rarely drink port. I’ve marinated strawberries in Cointreau, Amaretto, Limoncello, and rum in the past. All were met with the complaint that the fruit essence and sometimes the alcohol content were overpowering. This recipe surprised me with it’s harmonious melding of flavours. The port drew out the strawberry aroma without drawing attention to itself.

There is just a little port used in this. The taste is mostly the strawberry juice, and even using the full amount of sugar, the strawberries were not too sweet. You might try less or more, according to your taste. And the flavour of the port was nicer than any other liquor I’ve tried.

I didn’t reduce it, but instead poured it onto vanilla ice-cream for the kids, and sponge cake for the adults. Okay, fine. Sponge cake AND ice-cream.

If you select a nice port, you can keep it a few weeks rather than needing to drink it right away.


Photo by Ryan Szulz, from the Pimentos and Piri Piri (Whitecap Books).

Strawberries Marinated in Port


  • 5 cups (1.25 L) hulled and thickly sliced strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) port and additional port for serving
  • 6 fresh mint leaves

It is well worth waiting the required 24 hours for the strawberries in this dessert to take on the delicate, not-too-sweet finish of the port marinade. Served over ice cream or with sweetened whipped cream or mascarpone, they are fit for any special occasion.

In a large decorative serving bowl, place about 1½ cups (375 mL) of the strawberries in an even layer. (NOTE: I just covered the bottom of the bowl until there were no gaps – Mama T) Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of sugar. Repeat the layers until all of the strawberries have been used up.  Pour the ¼ cup (60mL) port over the strawberries (the port will not cover the strawberries; the strawberries will extract during the marinating). Cover and set aside for 24 hours. Do not disturb the layered strawberry dish.

To serve, spoon the fruit into dessert cups and drizzle with some of the sauce. Garnish each serving with a mint leaf.

To make a thicker port sauce, strain the strawberries and port and set the strawberries aside. Place the marinating liquids in a small saucepan over medium heat and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until reduced by about one-third or it reaches the desired consistency. Set aside to cool. Pour the sauce over the strawberries and serve immediately.

Recipe excerpted from Pimentos and Piri Piri by Carla Azevedo (Whitecap Books).



Photo by Michelle Furbacher, from the The All-New Vegetarian Passport (Whitecap Books)

Moroccan Black Bean Casserole

Excerpt from The All-New Vegetarian Passport by Linda Woolven (Whitecap Books).

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (250 mL) dried red lentils, washed

1/4 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 medium-size cooking onions, quartered and thinly sliced

1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, with juice

1 ½ cups (375 mL) button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup pickled artichokes, quartered

1/3 cup (80 mL) first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

12 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano

1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil

sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Place everything in a clay overproof dish that holds at least 12 cups (3L). Add enough water to cover the ingredients by 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm). You will need about 5 cups (1.25 L) of water. Cover and bake for about 3 hours and 15 minutes until everything is tender.

One last comment: While you do need to be home for this, it fills the air with a lovely scent while it cooks. Dinner and potpourri all in one. If you don’t happen to have 3 hours to hang about while your food cooks, you could put it in a slow cooker on low, but I find they often go to an overly high heat at the end and erode the flavours by boiling them away.


IPA Guacamole

Excerpt from The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook (Whitecap Books) by David Ort

Mashed avocado has a silky texture and rich flavour that go well with the punch of a hoppy India pale ale. Tomatoes add some sweetness and a hint of acid that bring the flavours together. If plum tomatoes aren’t in season, use an equivalent amount of cherry tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Recommended beer

American-style India pale ale

Hop Head, Tree Brewing (British Columbia)

Serves: 6–8

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour for flavours to meld

2 ripe avocados, pitted

1/3 cup (80 mL) American-style India pale ale

3 Tbsp (45 mL) lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 plum tomatoes, quartered, cored and diced

1/4 red onion, finely diced

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground cumin

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne

kosher salt

Cut the avocado flesh into large chunks with the tip of a sharp chef’s knife. Scoop the flesh out of the skin and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Toss with the beer and lime juice. Mash with a potato masher until it is almost smooth. Add tomatoes, onion, cumin, cayenne and kosher salt.

Guacamole is best served at cool room temperature and needs an hour after being mixed for the flavours to come together. If you make it ahead or want to store leftovers, place a piece of plastic wrap directly in contact with the surface of the guacamole. The only way to stop it from browning is to keep it away from air. (The acid in the lime juice also helps.) The idea that sinking the pits into the dip does anything is a kitchen myth. If anything, they probably hurt by lifting the plastic wrap away from the surface of the guacamole.


Porter Gingerbread

Excerpt from The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook (Whitecap Books) by David Ort

Porter Gingerbread

Cake-style gingerbread is a world away from the hard, dry cookies and desiccated houses that make an appearance at Christmas. Put simply, it’s actually a pleasure to eat. A dark porter adds a complex layer to the flavour and the carbonation helps add lightness. Obviously, the nearly black colour also darkens the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream, made using the beer for this recipe and the technique in the Blueberries with Dark Abbey Ale Whipped Cream (page 133).

Recommended beer


Coffee Porter, Mill Street Brewery (Ontario)

Serves: 6

Makes: 8-inch (20 cm) square pan; cuts into 16 squares

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 35–40 minutes, plus at least 1 hour to cool

3/4 cup (185 mL) porter

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda

2/3 cup (160 mL) fancy molasses

4 oz (120 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed (about 1/2 cup/125 mL)

1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar

6 1/2 oz (195 g) flour (about 1 1/2 cups/375 mL)

2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger

1 scant tsp (5 mL) kosher salt

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup (80 mL) vegetable oil

Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C); set a rack in the middle position. Prepare an 8-inch (20 cm) square cake pan by buttering and flouring its sides.

Set a medium saucepan over medium heat and pour in the porter. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the baking soda. After the science-project volcano foaming settles down, stir in the molasses and both the sugars.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, kosher salt, cinnamon and baking powder.

Transfer the porter-molasses mixture to a 4-cup (1 L) measure or medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and oil until thoroughly combined. Pour a third of the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk vigorously. Repeat with the other two-thirds, in two separate additions. This is not a recipe where you need to worry about creating gluten by overmixing. Whisk vigorously.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a wide spatula to encourage stragglers. Bake the gingerbread for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester, inserted in the centre, comes out mostly clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for at least an hour, then slice into 2-inch (5 cm) squares.


All dry spices stay fresh longer if purchased as whole seeds or pods. That isn’t an option with dried ginger—particularly problematic because of how wan stale dried ginger tastes—so it’s important to replenish your supply regularly. I find it’s best to buy from bulk stores in small quantities.


Divine Caramel and Three-Nut Pie


A recipe to follow my review of Pies so that I’m not the only one drooling over this book. I love sexy food pics. Don’t they just make you unreasonably desirous of food. Well unreasonable for 10:30 in the morning. But I suppose there is nothing reasonable about decadence. Just pure delight.

As this particular pie requires the recipe for Sweet Pastry Dough, I’ll be sure to post that next.

I’m curious to try caramelizing brown sugar. I have always very lazily just used brown sugar melted in butter and topped up with cream to make caramel sauce. Anyway, I’ll try it both ways and see what I can’t learn about working with sugar. My taste testers will let you know which one wins.

Divine Caramel and Three-Nut Pie

Servings: 8 to 10

Preparation: 30 min

Cooking time: 50 min

Utensil: 9″ (23 cm) round, fluted tart pan with a removable bottom

This pie is a sensational mouthful with all its contrasting textures. While the creamy caramel softly caresses the palate, nuts crack lightly under teeth to liberate flavours. The pleasure that follows will take you to seventh heaven!



  • Sweet pastry (recipe on page 13)


  • 1 cup (115 g) pecans
  • 1 cup (105 g) walnuts
  • 1 cup (135 g) hazelnuts
  • 1 1/3 cup (280 g) cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
  • 2/3 cup (165 ml) 35% cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) unsalted butter



  • Preheat the oven to 350⁰F (180⁰C).
  • Flour the work surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin and line the pie plate. Or, place the ball of dough in the centre of the pie plate and then spread it out evenly with your fingers from the centre to the edges.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on the dough and place 2 cups (400 g) of dried peas on top of it (this step helps to keep the dough in place while baking).
  • On the centre rack, bake the crust through for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the peas and the parchment paper on the crust and continue to bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is cooked through or golden.
  • Remove it from the oven and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.


  • Spread out the nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 325⁰F (160⁰C) for 15 minutes.
  • In a small pot, heat the cream.
  • In another pot, on medium heat, heat the sugar and water until it caramelizes (see information about caramel on page 160).
  • Take the pot off the heat, gradually pour the hot cream into it and mix.
  • Add the butter, and mix.
  • Mix the nuts into the caramel. Pour into the pie crust.
  • Cool and serve with custard or caramel sauce (recipes on pages 156).


The cream must be hot before pouring it into the hot caramel. If the cream is cold or warm, there is a risk of splatter that could cause burns. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cake

Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cake

Strawberries and pistachio cream soften vanilla cookies into a cake-like texture for a bowl of glorious decadence.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British, Canadian
Keyword: #chantillycream, #feedsacrowd, #goopygood, #iceboxcake, #iceboxcakerecipe, #makeahead, #overnightcake, #pistachio, #pistachiocream, #strawberries, #strawberry, #strawberrycake, #strawberrycakerecipe, #summerdesserts, #whippingcream
Servings: 8 people


  • 4 pints strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 4 cups whipped cream (1 L)
  • 1 box Nilla wafers
  • ½ cup pistachio paste (storebought or homemade)
  • ½ cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Rinse and slice three pints of strawberries. For the last pint, remove the green tops and set those berries aside for later.
  • Add ½ cup of cream to the bowl of a standmixer along with the pistachio paste. Using the paddle attachment, blend on low until the pistachio is fully incorporated into the cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Add sugar, vanilla and the rest of the cream. Using the whisk attachment, beat together on low until mostly blended, about one minute, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Smear a ½ cup of pistachio cream on the bottom of your bowl (preferably glass) to anchor your cookies.
  • Your layers should proceeds like this: cookies, strawberries, cream. Smooth your cream over each layer gently. You want to fill in any huge gaps without completely squahing and deflating the cream. A few holes are not a problem, they will fill up as the cookies expand.
  • Keep going until you are out of sliced berries. Top with one last layer of cream, and chill overnight. You can add your whole berries to decorate before you chill it or after, whicheve rmakes it easier to wrap it up. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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