Kimchi

Kimchi

In the middle of winter the comfort of roasted vegetables is undeniable. But around the holidays when eating habits take a turn for the worse and we all needs something a little fresher to brighten up our taste buds and stomachs, kimchi is there for us.

We usually have a couple of jars packed away either fermenting on the shelf or hanging out in the fridge ready to be used. Some favourite applications are on brown rice with a poached egg and some steamed greens, piled on a grilled cheese sandwich, or topping roasted vegetable tacos. Start experimenting and you'll soon find kimchi making appearances in breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This recipe is a great starting point, but feel free to adjust based on your taste - more or less garlic, vegetarian substitutions, pear instead of apple... the variations are limitless.

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Split Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Split Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Split roasting chicken has a lot of benefits: you're guaranteed to get perfectly crispy skin, your cooking time is reduced, and the direct contact that browns the bones releases a ton of flavour. This is a recipe I shared during during the inaugural Provence tour this year.

In the south of France you see a lot of North African culinary influence. Here, preserved lemons are finely chopped and stuffed under the skin (with a bunch of garlic) for a bright burst of flavour. If you happen to have a wood fired oven accessible, this is a great recipe to take advantage of the super high temperature and slight smokiness.

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Tart Tatin

Tart Tatin

I'm afraid to say it out loud for fear that I might jinx my good fortune, but in just one week I'm heading over to France to start getting my first culinary tour organized. The last few months of herding French producers into setting defined agendas (a similar process to ushering a hundred children through a candy store), over-analyzing every possible thing which could go wrong, quadruple checking logistics, and recipe testing ALL the foods are about to come to an end.

The recipe testing has been particularly interesting because I'm 100% sure that I'll get to Provence and realize I need to make some ingredient substitutions based on what's in the markets, or, conversely, not available as a grocery staple. That's how I like to cook anyways, so I'm not too stressed about it, but does make creating guides for everyone else significantly more difficult.

So let's start with an easy one: Tart Tatin. A classic French dessert if I ever saw one. You'll easily be able to find all of the ingredients for this tart at any market. And if you're lucky you'll even be able to snag the apples from a neglected roadside tree (there were many musings on whether roadside trees spring up predominantly from people throwing cores out of moving vehicles while we were driving through Oregon and California last week).

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Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Let's put everyone on the straight and narrow right here and right now: peaches are not as good as nectarines. Sure, they taste AMAZING, but the fuzz kind of makes my lips tingle and always gets stuck on my lip gloss for ages afterwards. This is why, hands down, nectarines should be eaten fresh and peaches should shine in all their cooked, skinless glory.

Enter: peach cobbler. Cobbler feels like the fancier cousin of crumble. It's approximately 30 seconds more effort but has clouds of biscuits with bubbly, caramelized fruit juices sticking to them! What's not to love about that? My new favourite thing is baking this in a pie dish so the ratio of peach (or whatever other fruit) to biscuit is just right.

This makes enough to fill an 8-inch pie plate and serves 5 small dishes. You could easily double everything and use a 12-inch pie plate or ceramic dish.

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Root Beer Syrup

Root Beer Syrup

I'm not a huge fan of pops. For the most part I find them too sweet, to the point where they kind of make my teeth hurt. I find exception, however, in ginger beer and root beer. The combination of extreme aromatics and the tingling sensation of bubbles is so satisfying on a hot day.

Root beer in particular holds a special place in my heart. I have memories spanning well into adulthood of getting foam on my nose while drinking floats with my grandpa. It felt right, then, when I moved in with Matthew to find that he had a whole container in the cupboard dedicated to root beer making roots. It's amazing it's taken this long to get around to trying my hand at a homemade syrup, but boy was it worth the wait.

Use a tablespoon of this syrup mixed with a glass of sparkling water. Or go crazy and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the mix. I trust you to make the right decision.

* all of these ingredients are available at Famous Foods in Vancouver or most health food stores

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