Nourish the Planet: Grits Crackers

 
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This recipe came about one day at lunch while eating my Spicy Polenta Crackers. I suggested to my husband, Walter, that maybe they could be improved with coarsely ground polenta. His response was “Why not try grits?” – which turn out to be inspired. The resulting crackers were full of the crunch, saltiness and spice we love, and for such small quantities of ingredients these really do deliver on flavor.

Making your own snacks is such a nourishing way to eat, avoiding all the dubious ingredients that make store-bought versions shelf stable. And so much better than the Ritz crackers of our youth!

Grits Crackers

Makes about 50 crackers | Equipment: A food processor; a rolling pin; a 1 1/2-inch (3 cm) round pastry cutter; two baking sheets lined with a silicone sheet or baking parchment

Ingredients

1/2 cup (40 g) spelt flour or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (40 g) yellow, stone-ground grits
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon chipotle, ancho chili or Espelette powder
1/2 cup (45 g) finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) chilled salted butter, cubed
About 3 tablespoons buttermilk, shaken to blend

Method

1. Position two racks in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. In the bowl of the food processor, combine the flour, grits, salt, baking soda, pepper, and cheese. Process to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Slowly add the buttermilk and process just until the dough forms a ball. You may not need all the buttermilk, stop the food processor when the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper set on a work surface. Place a second sheet of parchment on top of the ball and, with your palms, flatten the ball. With the rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about 8 by 10 inches (20 x 25 cm). Using the biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough and arrange them side by side on the baking sheet. The dough does not expand in baking, so the rounds can be placed quite close to one another. Any leftover bits of dough can be rolled into a ball and used again. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

3. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the crackers are golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container. The crackers can be stored for up to two weeks.

Note: If you can’t find grits, substitute with polenta, coarse polenta or cornmeal. The result will be slightly less crunchy.


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, part of a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Two No-churn Dairy-free Ice Cream Recipes

 
 

Tomorrow is the official start of summer! We are looking forward to long, hot summer days, punctuated with cool, refreshing frozen treats.

One of the top ways that we can eat better for ourselves without harming the planet is to avoid highly processed foods, particularly those that contain cow’s milk from intensive feedlot farms – yes, unfortunately that probably includes your favorite tub of ice cream. Supply chains can often be murky and frustrating to understand, so why not skip the headache of it all and make your own homemade ice cream this summer? When it’s this easy, there’s no excuse, you don’t even need an ice cream machine! The first recipe here is a bright and tangy rhubarb and strawberry ice cream using coconut milk for creaminess and a bit of coconut oil for texture. There’s no getting away from the fact that no-churn ice cream is slightly icy but there are plenty of upsides to make it worthwhile. The ice cream bars are a real crowd-pleaser and the perfect make-ahead treat for summer parties and kids snacks.

While coconut milk is a great replacement for cow’s milk as a crop that requires little water or other resources to produce, there are issues around virgin forest being cleared for coconut farms and questionable working conditions on some farms. Try to seek out fair trade brands that source from sustainable farms. This also applies to other coconut products like desiccated coconut and coconut oil.

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Coconut (No-churn) Ice Cream

Rhubarb and strawberries are natural spring companions.The rhubarb season in France is pretty short, so we like to freeze the fruit at the height of the season, pre-cut into small batons, so that we can enjoy it for just a little longer.

Equipment : kitchen foil, a blender or a food processor, a freezer-proof dish with a lid

Ingredients

5 stalks (about 7 ounces, 200 g) fresh or frozen rhubarb (thawed if frozen)
2/3 cup (7 ounces, 200 g) fresh or frozen strawberries, green tops trimmed if fresh
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 3/4 cup (400 ml) sustainably sourced full-fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons expeller-pressed coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Centre a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  2. Place the rhubarb, strawberries, and coconut sugar in a medium sized oven-proof dish and cover with foil. Roast until soft enough so you can easily pierce the rhubarb with a tip of a knife, about 30-35 minutes.

  3. In the blender, place the coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and the roasted rhubarb and strawberries. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer to the freezer-proof dish with the lid and place in the freezer to set, for at least 6 hours. Stirring the mixture every half an hour with help to break up any crystals that form but isn’t essential. Serve when just frozen. If left overnight to set, the ice-cream will likely have frozen to very hard. For a scoopable texture, allow to thaw slightly, scoop out and reblend in the blender, then either eat straight away soft-serve style or return it to its container and allow to set until firm for a couple of hours.

Variation

If you don’t want to turn the oven on a hot summer’s day, skip the roasting and replace the rhubarb with 10 ounces (300 g) grams raspberries, strawberries or mixed berries. Fresh are wonderful, but frozen can really help speed up the freezing time.


RASPBERRY AND COCONUT

(NO-CHURN) ICE-CREAM BARS

These store brilliantly, pre-cut and wrapped in parchment paper, ready to be pulled from the freezer anytime you need them and devoured in the sunshine.

The buckwheat groats aren’t essential, but they do add a nice crunchy texture to the base. If you can’t find them, simply add extra 2 tablespoons of hazelnuts. We’ve used raw cacao powder which hasn’t been heated and so retains a lot the nutrients that get lost in processing. If tricky to get hold of replace with regular cocoa powder.

Makes 12 ice-cream bars | Equipment : a food processor or a blender, 10x4-inch (25x10-cm) loaf tin, biodegradable parchment paper

Ingredients

For the base
3/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 large plump dates, such as medjool or mazafati, pits removed
1 tablespoon expeller-pressed coconut oil

For the ice-cream
1 3/4 cup (400 ml) sustainably farmed coconut milk
1/4 cup organic honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons almond butter
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup mixed frozen berries

Method

1.     Centre a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2.     Place the hazelnuts in a small oven-proof tray and roast until beginning to color slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Once they are cool enough to touch, rub the hazelnuts vigorously between your palms to remove the skins – don’t worry if some small bits of skin remain.

3.     Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of the food processor and process until beginning to form fine crumbs. Be careful not to over blend or it will start to become hazelnut butter and will release too much oil. Add the buckwheat groats and desiccated coconut and process again so that the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cacao powder, cardamom (if using) and salt, and process again to combine. Finally add the dated and coconut oil and process until well combined and the mixture begins to come together. When squeezed together in the palm of your hand, the mixture should hold together.

4.     Line the loaf tin with the parchment paper so that the edges hang generously over the sides, creating flaps. This will make it easier to remove the ice-cream once frozen.

5.     Transfer the mixture into the lined pan, pressing down with the back of a spoon to flatten it evenly across the base. Place in the freezer to chill. 

6.     In the food processor or blender, combine the coconut milk, maple syrup, raspberries, almond butter, coconut oil, salt and lemon juice and process until completely smooth. Note that using a blender tends to give you a smoother result.

7.     Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and pour the mixture over the base. Return to the freezer to set, stirring every half hour of so for 1-2 hours, being careful not to disturb the biscuit base. As the mixture begins to thicken as it freezes, add the frozen mixed berries and stir gently to evenly distribute. It’s best to add the berries at this stage to ensure that they are suspended in the ice cream and don’t all fall to the base. Return to the freezer until completely hard, about 4-6 hours more.

8.     To remove from the pan, gently slide a knife between the pan and the parchment paper. Lift the ice-cream out of the pan using the parchment paper flaps. Place on a clean chopping board and slice into 12 servings. Serve immediately, or store in the freezer, individually wrapped in small pieces of parchment paper.


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, part of a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Honey and Lemon Frozen Yogurt

 
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Summertime is almost officially upon us. And with France having been unseasonably warm this spring, we dusted off our ice cream makers early to play around with making ice cream a little more planet-friendly and kinder on our health at the same time. We have ditched the cream for sheep’s milk yogurt and swapped out sugar for organic honey (using honey from my own hives!) to create a tangy yet still creamy frozen-yogurt style ice cream. It couldn’t be easier to make and we’ve included 3 variations for whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. These recipes really require an ice cream maker to prevent the yogurt from crystallizing as it freezes. But don’t worry, if you don’t have one, we’re going to be posting some no-churn (non-dairy) ice cream recipes next week!

 When used sparingly, sheep’s milk yogurt from an organic, small scale farm is an interesting alternative to industrial cow’s milk as it contains a higher amount of milk solids meaning it uses half as much milk to produce the same amount of end product. Sheep that are grazed in a sustainable farm system can actually help to regenerate soil health on land that is not suitable for growing crops, another reason why choosing your source is important.

HONEY AND LEMON FROZEN YOGURT

Makes 1 quart (1 l) 12 servings | Equipment: An ice-cream maker; 12 ice cream bowls, chilled in the freezer

Ingredients

1 quart (1 l; 1000 g) full-fat plain Greek-style organic sheep’s milk yogurt
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup organic honey (see note)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly grated zest of one organic lemon, for garnish

Method

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk until well combined. (The mixture can be prepared up to 1 day ahead before freezing.) Transfer to the ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Eat like soft serve or transfer to an airtight container and chill in freezer for 4 to 5 hours. At serving time, garnish with lemon zest.

Note

If the honey is very firm, place in a pan on low heat until liquefied. Let cool before combining with the yogurt.


Variations

PEACH FROZEN YOGURT

5 peaches (15 lb; 500 g), halved, blanched in boiling water to remove skin
½ cup (100 g) organic unrefined muscovado cane sugar
2 cups (250 g) full-fat plain Greek-style sheep’s milk yogurt
2 teaspoons peach liquor (optional)

Skin and quarter the peaches, discarding the pit. In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches and sugar and cook over moderate heat until the peaches are soft and the mixture well combined, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Just before churning the mixture, add the peach liquor and yogurt. Transfer to the ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


STRAWBERRY FROZEN YOGURT

1 pound (500 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
½ cup organic unrefined muscovado cane sugar
2 teaspoons kirsch (cherry liqueur) optional
2 cups (250 g) full-fat plain Greek-style sheep’s milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a bowl, combine the berries, sugar, and kirsh. Let stand for 1 hour. In a blender, puree with the yogurt and lemon juice. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Transfer to the ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


CHERRY FROZEN YOGURT

 

1 pound (500 g) cherries, pitted
½ (125 ml) cup water
½ (125 ml) cup liquid organic honey
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon kirsch (cherry liqueur), optional
2 cups (250 g) full-fat plain Greek-style sheep’s milk yogurt

In a saucepan, combine the cherries, water and honey and cook over low heat until the cherries are very soft. Transfer to the small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Combine with the lemon juice, kirsch, and yogurt. Chill. Transfer to the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, part of a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Miso and Ginger Glazed Eggplant

 
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Eggplants have just come back into season in France, signaling a long summer season of roasting, grilling, simmering and steaming these burnished purple beauties. They are endlessly versatile and their creamy, smoky flesh make them an excellent stand-in for meat, especially when caramelized under intense heat. If you’re looking to cut down your meat consumption and want to replace it with something hearty and satisfying, then you can’t do much better than this eggplant roasted to silken perfection and glazed with a punchy, umami-rich ginger and miso dressing. Make a double batch of the dressing and keep it in your fridge for a quick ready-made sauce to toss over steamed green beans – or any vegetable really!

Miso is a great staple ingredient to have in your refrigerator – it lasts up to a year, adds depth of flavor to sauces, dressings, marinades and soups, is rich in protein, promotes healthy digestion and circulation and, because it is a fermented food, is great for your gut health.

Traditionally miso is made from crushed boiled soybeans that are mixed with either wheat, barley or rice, and salt and fermented with a yeast-like mold or starter called koji for several months and sometimes up to 3 years. There are numerous types of miso, however the general rule is the darker the miso, the stronger the flavor. Light or white miso is made with rice koji and fermented for a shorter period making it sweeter and good for making dressings. Darker miso is often made with barley or bean koji and has a more intense flavor, making a good base for winter soups. Here we have used a darker miso whose strong flavor is a good match for eggplant’s tender creamy flesh.

Miso and Ginger Glazed Eggplant
(Dengaku Eggplant)

4 servings   |   Equipment: A baking sheet.

Ingredients

4 small, firm, fresh eggplants (each about 8 ounces; 250 g), washed but not peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sake or mirin
2 tablespoons dark miso (such as barley or brown rice)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, preferably organic
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives

Method

1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

2. Trim and discard the stem end of the eggplants. Halve them lengthwise. Lightly score the flesh in a crisscross pattern. Brush the flesh and skin lightly with the oil. Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until completely soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

3. While the eggplant is roasting, combine the sake, miso, grated ginger and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

4. When the eggplant is cooked through, remove from the oven and brush the cut surface with the miso glaze. Return to the oven for just 2-3 minutes until the glaze begins to bubble and caramelize.

5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives. Serve warm.

Note: As high heat destroys the beneficial bacteria in miso, make sure to buy unpasteurized miso. For this recipe, if you want to retain the natural probiotics in the miso, simply glaze the eggplant and don’t return it to the oven.  


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Pistachio and Lemon Lace Cookies

 
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We defy you to not fall in love with these addictive, crispy lace-like cookies. They are quick and easy to make, with little clean up, and are the perfect accompaniment to summer sorbets or as a sidebar to a cup of coffee. Pistachios are Nourish the Planet heroes as they have a smaller water footprint than nuts like almonds, farmers can control pests with owl boxes, the shells can be burned to generate electricity, and the hull can be used for cattle feed. Nuts that fall outside the canvas during harvesting can be used as natural compost. The muscovado sugar (one of the least refined cane sugars available) gives these little gems a luxurious toffee-like richness due to its molasses content, and the spelt flour, an ancient grain, is a healthy choice over the everyday all-purpose wheat flour. As for butter, make sure it is from pasture-raised cows, not feedlot.

Pistachio and Lemon Lace Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies  |   Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

Ingredients

5 tablespoons (75 g) salted butter
1/3 cup (70 g) organic muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons Invert Sugar Syrup (recipe below)
1/3 cup (60 g) spelt flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup (25 g) coarsely ground organic pistachio nuts
Coarsely grated zest from 1 organic lemon
1 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Arrange two baking racks in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2.  In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar and syrup. With a small whisk, whisk regularly until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium, whisking regularly until the mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the flour and salt until well incorporated and the batter begins to thicken. Whisk in the nuts, lemon zest, and vanilla.

3.  With a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, drop 12 teaspoons of batter onto each of the baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for the batter to spread. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the cookies are a  deep, golden brown, 10 to 12  minutes.

4.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and set aside for at least 15 minutes. Once the cookies are cool and firm, carefully transfer them to an airtight container. Store up to 1 week at room temperature.


Invert Sugar Syrup

This homemade substitute for corn syrup is thick and golden and helps create a smoother mouthfeel and controls crystallization in frozen yogurt, sorbets and ice creams. It can also be used to hold fragile confections together, like the above above lace cookies. It’s a cinch to make and stores in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

 Makes about 1 3/4 cups (435 ml)   |   Equipment: A 2-quart (2 l) stainless steel pan

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (450 g) unrefined organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (250 ml) water

Method

In the saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking from time to time, until the mixture is slightly thick and viscous, like corn syrup or liquid honey, 8 to 10 minutes. The mixture should not darken or caramelize. Be aware that the liquid will thicken as it cools. I prefer to err on the runny side rather than risking a syrup that is too thick and nearly impossible to pour. Transfer to a heatproof container with a cover and let cool.


This is an original recipe created for Nourish the Planet, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. © 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Tomato Chips

 
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It would be hard to improve on the zerowaste concept here, where the main ingredient all too often ends up in the compost or, worse yet, the garbage. We  mostly prefer vegetables (and technically in this case fruit) unpeeled and in their whole and natural state, but when peeling a tomato is called for, hold onto those skins to create tomato chips! Roasted briefly, they turn crisp and flavorful, ideal as a fun summer snack or as a sidebar to a main meal. In this version the peeled strips of tomato skin are paired with a favorite Italian pecorino pepato cheese, fresh oregano from the garden, and a touch of olive oil. But really you can experiment with whatever fresh or dried herbs you have on hand. For a vegan version simply skip the cheese altogether.

So why is food waste a climate change issue? According to the United Nations, if food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter. This is because a staggering 30-50% of the food we produce ends up in landfills where it releases large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, when it breaks down. And then there's all the wasted resources from its land use, production and transportation. By shopping more intentionally, using all parts of the vegetables and fruit we buy and by being clever with leftover ingredients, we can almost completely eliminate waste.



Tomato Chips

8 servings  |    Equipment: A serrated tomato peeler; a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (preferably compostable)

Ingredients

2 pounds (1 kg) large organic beefsteak tomatoes
3 ounces (90 g) pecorino pepato cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh or dried oregano
2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt, for garnish
Ground piment d’Espelette or ground mild chili pepper, for garnish

Method

1.   Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven 400°F (200°C).

2.   Arrange a dish cloth on a work surface. To make the tomatoes easier to peel, quarter them lengthwise. With the peeler, peel the skin lengthwise into long strips. Place the tomato skins on the cloth to absorb an excess moisture. The dryer the skins are, the better they will crisp up in roasting. In a bowl, toss them thoroughly with the cheese, oregano, and olive oil. Arrange the dressed skins side by side on the baking sheet.

3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast until the skins are crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully, and do not allow them to turn too dark, as the cheese can burn and turn bitter. Remove  from the oven and season lightly with salt and chili pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This is an original recipe created for Nourish the Planet, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. © 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: 10 easy kitchen swaps

 
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When teaching people how to cook or expand their repertoire, we often suggest starting with a list of 10 new recipes (ones that will teach them the basics or challenge them to learn more) that they can work through methodically until each one has been mastered. Once they have perfected the techniques and are more comfortable with the ingredients of each recipe, they can update their list, growing their abilities and confidence as they go.

We have found using this same formula helpful in creating a greener kitchen, which can be just as intimidating as learning to cook. Considering all the trade-offs and implications of what you buy and how it impacts the planet can be so overwhelming that we often end up doing nothing at all. Instead of trying to change everything at once, begin with a list of simple kitchen swaps. Write down 10 things that seem doable and are important to you and pin it up somewhere in your kitchen as a reminder of what you are trying to achieve. Tackle them one at a time or all at once – it’s up to you. Once you have fully integrated them into your life, refresh your list with new challenges. Before you know it, you’ll have transformed your kitchen habits and will likely be inspiring others to do the same.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

WHAT TO SWAP:


cow’s milk for sheep’s milk or plant-based alternatives

According to a study by John Hopkins University, cutting dairy out of your diet can slash your carbon footprint by 23%. This is not to say no cheese ever again but rather with some modifications you can significantly reduce your intake without compromising on flavor.

  • Swap out cow’s milk for plant based alternatives such as oat or hazelnut milk. Beware of added sugars and fillers in the store-bought brands or avoid them all together and make your own at home, which also means cutting down on packaging waste.  If you can’t imagine giving up your milky coffee in the morning, oat milk is a worthy stand-in but note it works best when made with a low-acidity coffee beans.

  • Swap out cream for tahini (sesame paste) to add creaminess to a blended soup

  • Sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese is an interesting alternative to cow’s milk as it contains a higher amount of milk solids meaning it uses half as much milk to produce the same amount of end product. Use it sparingly and source from an organic, small scale farm

  • Try olive oil in place of butter, if for no other reason that it makes the most beautifully moist cakes. A fruity and peppery extra virgin olive oil needs no accompaniment when paired with a good slice of sourdough.

Refined white sugar for local honey

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how sugar is produced (we know we haven’t until relatively recently), yet more than 145 million tonnes of sugar cane are produced every year for our consumption, much of which is associated with deforestation, water pollution and soil erosion. Not all honey is created equal though and industrial scale honey farms can have negative impacts on the environment too. Local non-blended honey from a natural apiculture farm however is much less dependent on cheap fossil fuels and more likely to manage their hives in a sustainable way. Yes, it is more expensive than imported or industrial honeys, but it taste infinitely better and we think the buy less but better quality rule applies here.

Refined wheat flour for ancient grains and alternative flours

Similar to the refined sugar story, the production, processing and transportation of mono culture refined wheat flour has a heavy carbon footprint, and the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides is linked to the steep decline in biodiversity we are currently seeing. Try switching to ancient grain flours such as spelt or rye (you get extra points if it’s locally grown and milled!) or experiment with flour made from non-grain sources such as chickpea flour and buckwheat. If this has you baffled, chickpea flour crepes (known as socca in France) or buckwheat galettes are a delicious place to start.

Eggs for chia seeds or ground flaxseeds

We love eggs but industrialized chicken farms are problematic on many levels, so we like to find ways to cut down on our consumption and use them when they really count. Try substituting with a chia seed or flaxseed egg as a binder in baking for example. To make the equivalent of one egg: grind one tablespoon of chia seeds or flaxseeds into a powder with a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add 3 tablespoons water and stir to combine. It should become a thick paste within a few minutes.   

Meat for lentils, beans and chickpeas

You’ll have likely heard that reducing your intake of red meat is a great way to lighten your carbon footprint. Endlessly versatile, satisfying and high in protein, lentils, beans and chickpeas are a natural plant-based swap for meat dishes and worth embracing wholeheartedly. Transform them into hummus, put them centre stage in hearty stews or use them as a base for your summer salads. Their robust consistency and earthy flavors match well with aromatic spices, citrus zests and fresh herbs – you won’t be missing a thing.
 

Store bought stock for homemade chicken or veggie scrap stock

Leave the processed stocks on the supermarket shelves and discover how easy and infinitely more satisfying it is to make your own homemade stock. By doing so you’re making better use of the ingredients you already have, saving money, reducing emissions associated with processing and transport, and you’re in control of all of the ingredients. These are our go-to recipes for chicken and veggie scrap stock.
 

Imported berries for homegrown frozen berries

Forget out of season berries that have been air freighted halfway round the world, with their dwindling nutrient content and their plastic packaging, and opt for homegrown berries frozen right after picking.
 

Hothouse tomatoes for canned tomatoes or passata

When tomatoes are grown out of season they require energy-guzzling hothouses to grow them. Tomatoes never quite taste the same without real sunshine, so ditch them altogether in favor of those that were bottled or canned at the height of the season.
 

Processed pantry staples and snacks for homemade versions

It takes 10 calories of fossil fuels to make 1 calorie of processed food. By making your own you get to avoid all the nasty additives, and high sugar, salt and fat content, and most likely end up with something that also tastes a lot better. Start with making this harissa, you’ll never buy the store-bought version again.
 

Plastic and paper for wood, fabric and coconut fibre

It’s not just the food in our kitchens that have an environmental footprint. Trade-in those hard-to-recycle plastic scrubbers and microplastic sponges for wooden scrubbers with a natural fiber brush. Biodegradable coconut fibre scourers are effective as well as efficient and long lasting. For plastic wrap, try re-purposing shower caps to cover bowls, use reusable beeswax fabric food wraps, or just like our grandmothers did, simply use an appropriately-sized plate as a lid over bowls in the refrigerator. We can often forget that paper towel actually comes from trees, so either make sure you’re buying FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label brands that guarantee the paper source comes from sustainably managed forests, or even better, re-purpose old sheets or clothing fabric into kitchen towels that can be thrown in the wash with your tea towels and reused again and again.


Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Homemade Harissa

 
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We often end up buying pantry staples from the store because making our own can seem complicated and time consuming. Yet processed food can be energy-intensive to produce and often has questionable ingredients in order to keep it shelf stable. This beautifully simple homemade harissa is a great example of how making your own can be quick and easy, leaving you with a lighter carbon footprint and a condiment that tastes far better than its store-bought equivalent.

For the uninitiated, harissa is a fiery and fragrant Middle-Eastern condiment, that can be used to transform timid sauces and marinades into flavor bombs with it’s warming aromatic heat and toasted spices. And for the bold, can be used as a condiment all on its own to spice up vegetables and meat alike. The recipe couldn’t be simpler and stores forever in the fridge, meaning you get real bang for you effort (in more ways than one). There are endless uses for harissa, but two favorites uses are to spice up a honey and fennel seed marinade for roasted eggplant, and to add to sheep’s milk yogurt to created a fresh, punchy sauce for vegetables, meat, or even fries. All three recipes below!

Homemade Harissa

Makes about 1 cup (250 ml) | Equipment: A small food processor

Make this and you’ll never go back to the store-bought version again!

Ingredients


5 plump, fresh garlic cloves, halved lengthwise, green germ removed if present
3/4 cup (185 ml) sunflower oil
2 tablespoons Italian tomato paste
4 tablespoons toasted cumin seeds, ground (see note)
3 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Method


1. In the bowl of the food processor, mince the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and process to a thick paste. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for several months.

NOTE: Toasting cumin helps intensify its exotic flavor. In a small saucepan or skillet, dry toast the seeds over a medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the seeds to a fine powder.


Roasted Eggplant with Harissa, Fennel Seeds and Honey

4 to 6 servings | An electric spice grinder or mortar and pestle; a roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet


We could write a love poem to the beautiful and elegant eggplant with it’s burnished purple skin and creamy meaty flesh that becomes smoky and earthy under intense heat. Paired with harissa, fennel seeds and a touch of honey, it is all at once heady, spicy, sweet and aromatic. Worthy of being at the centre of any plate.

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons Homemade Harissa
1 plump, fresh, garlic clove, halved lengthwise, green germ removed if present, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons intensely flavored honey, such as mountain or buckwheat
6 tablespoons (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant or 2 small, slender ones (about 1 pound; 500 g total)
Fresh, minced, flat-leaf parsley or mint, for garnish

Method

1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. In a small saucepan or skillet, dry toast the fennel seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a dish to cool, then grind to a fine powder in the spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the harissa, garlic, salt, ground fennel seeds, honey and oil until well combined.

4. Trim the ends of the eggplant but do not peel. Slice the eggplant in half lengthways. Slice each half lengthwise into 5 slices,, then crosswise into 4, to make bite size pieces (remembering that they will reduce in size when they lose moisture during roasting). In a large bowl, combine the eggplant and the harissa dressing, and toss to coat evenly.

5. Spread the dressed eggplant evenly on the baking sheet taking care not to over crowd the pan. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown, about 25 minutes. For even browning, toss the eggplant once or twice during roasting. Serve warm, garnished with mint or parsley.


Harissa Yogurt-Sauce

Makes 2 cups (500 ml)

This borderline addictive condiment goes well with practically anything. It is refreshing with a touch of spice and completes any roasted, steamed or raw vegetable, is perfect as a dip for classic or sweet potato fries or as a garnish on soups and stews.

Ingredients

1 cup (250 ml) sheep’s milk yogurt (preferably from a sustainable source)
1 plump, fresh garlic clove, halved, green germ removed if present, and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Homemade Harissa

Method

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Let sit for at least 15 minutes for the garlic to mellow.


Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce any of these recipes without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Use-Everything Stocks + Radish Leaf Soup

 
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In our view, a green kitchen is one that uses all possible parts of the ingredients that come into it. Food waste has a huge environmental impact, one report from the Food Climate Research Network estimates that it is as high as 30-50% of all food we produce globally. Think of all the amazing dishes we could make, and the money we could save, if we were just a little more creative with off cuts and kitchen scraps. Chicken stock is a mainstay of my kitchen, in Emily’s it’s veggie scrap stock. We’re sharing both of our recipes with you, and a brilliant zero-waste spring soup that can use either.


Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is an essential in my kitchen – no matter how bare the cupboard may be, I can always fashion a meal in a jiffy, using this rich and golden broth as a base. It’s a brilliant way to use make use of the entire chicken, not just the tender flesh. In this recipe, I use a whole, raw chicken and simmer it for one hour. The bird is then removed from the pot, the cooked meat taken off the bones, and the carcass and skin are returned to the pot to simmer for another few hours. The resulting stock is rich and fragrant, and this preparation also means that I have plenty of super-tender poached chicken for adding to soups and salads. If you have roasted a chicken and are looking to use the carcass, see the variation notes on making stock with just bones. I put a huge emphasis on chicken that is pasture-raised from a small scale farm, believing that it’s worth the extra money and if used wisely can be stretched over many meals.

Makes 3 quarts (3 litres) | Equipment: A 10-quart pasta pot fitted with a colander; a fine-mesh skimmer; dampened cheesecloth.

Ingredients

2 large onions, halved lengthwise but not peeled
4 whole cloves
1 farm-fresh chicken, about 5 pounds
Pinch of salt
4 carrots, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 head of garlic, halved but not peeled
4 ribs celery
1 leek (white and tender green parts), halved lengthwise, washed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ounce trimmed and peeled fresh ginger
12 whole white peppercorns
1 Bouquet garni: Several bay leaves, celery leaves, sprigs of thyme, and parsley, encased in a wire-mesh tea infuser


Method

1. Spear the onion with a long-handled, two-pronged fork, and hold them directly over a gas flame (or directly on an electric burner) until scorched. Stick a clove into each of the onion halves. (Scorching the onions will give the broth a richer flavor. The onion skin also serves to “dye” the stock a rich, golden color.)

2. Place the chicken in the pasta pot and fill with 5 quarts of cold water. Add the onions, salt, carrots, garlic, celery, leek, ginger, and white peppercorns, and bouquet garni. Bring to a gentle simmer, uncovered, over medium heat. Skim to remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add additional cold water to replace the water removed and continue skimming until the broth is clear.

3. After about 1 hour, removed the chicken from the pot. Remove the chicken meat, removing the skin. Return the skin and the carcass to the pot. Continue cooking at a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 hours more.

4. Line a large colander with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth and place the colander over a large bowl. Ladle -- do not pour -- the liquid into the sieve, to strain off any remaining fat and impurities. Discard the solids. Measure. If the stock exceeds 3 quarts, return to moderate heat and reduce. Transfer the stock to covered containers.

5. Immediately refrigerate the stock, and spoon off all traces of fat that rise to the surface. The stock may be refrigerated for 3 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Variations

Use 2 whole chicken carcasses rather than a whole, raw chicken (chicken bones freeze wells so you can save bones as you go until you have enough to make a stock). The resulting stock will not have the same clean, fresh flavor as that make with a while chicken, but it is worthy nonetheless. One can also use about 4 pounds of inexpensive chicken necks, backs or even feet to prepare the stock. As with saving the bones, try collecting the skins, roots and ends of onions, garlic, leeks, carrots and ginger to add to the stock as well. Store them in a container in the freezer until you have collected enough to add to the stock.


Veggie Scrap Stock

Creating something new from what you might normally throw away feels a little bit like kitchen magic. They might not be much to look at, but onion and garlic skins, carrot and ginger peelings, leek roots and greens and tough fennel stalks hold a ton of flavor and nutrition and can be easily transformed into also sorts of delicious treats with a little bit of imagination.  A favorite way to use up these normally discarded scraps is to create a fragrant vegetable broth to use as the base for soups, risottos, curries and stews. Simply  keep a container in your freezer, adding your peelings every time you cook, until you have accumulated enough to make a batch of stock. What could be more simple, economical and resourceful? 

As with any vegetable stock, stay away from cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage whose flavors tender to be too overpowering. Go for sweeter vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, pumpkins, leeks, fennel and even pea pods. Include any roots, skins, seeds and tough ends. To balance out the sweet notes I like to add in umami-rich ingredients such as mushroom stalks, dried mushrooms (like shiitake or cep/porcini), Parmesan rinds (which keep for months in the freezer) and kombu – the thick Japanese seaweed. The resulting flavor is earthy, slightly sweet with a touch of umami, light years better than any flavor you can get from a commercial stock cube and with none of the nasty additives.                

Note that this is only a guide and you can make any quantity of stock for the amount of scraps you have. The below recipe makes approximately 1.5 liters of stock.

Ingredients

8–10 cups veggie scraps, rinsed
1 onion (with skin) quartered
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, halved (but with skins on) and green germ removed
2-3 shiitake mushrooms
1 piece of kombu
10 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large pot, cover with water, and simmer, partially covered, for about 15-30 minutes, depending on how strong you want your stock to be. Strain and store the stock in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for several months.


Radish Leaf Soup

If you’ve been throwing away the leaves from your bunches of radishes (or turnips!), stop now! The tender leaves are completely edible and full of flavor and are a wonderful ingredient to add to a spring soup. The leaves tend to loose their freshness quickly so if you are not planning on making this soup immediately after buying, remove the leaves and stalks from the radishes, rinse them and quickly blanch them in boiling water for one minute. Run under cold water to cool, then squeeze out the excess water and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

Ingredients

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into half moons
Fine sea salt
1 bunch radish leaves, rinsed
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 1 pound)
2 bintje potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/2 pound)
3 cups homemade veggie scrap stock or chicken stock
Sheep’s milk yogurt, fresh herbs or micro-greens,
and thinly sliced radishes, for garnish

Method

1. In a stock pot, sweat the onions and salt in the olive oil. Add the radish leaves, zucchini, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.

2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with swirls of yogurt, herbs and radishes.


Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan.
© 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce any of these recipes without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Meringue Nests

 
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This is a favorite Nourish

Meringue Nests

Makes 6 nests or 12 free-form meringues | Equipment: A heavy-duty mixer fitted with a whisk; a large rubber spatula or large metal spoon; 1 or 2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment; a pastry bag fitted with a large nozzle (optional)

Ingredients

4 large egg whites (about 5 ounces; 150g) free-range, organic, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (280 g) superfine sugar
Thick Yogurt Cream, for serving
Raspberries or a mix of berries, for serving

Method

  1. If preparing piped meringue nests, arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. If preparing free-form meringues, arrange two racks in the lower half of the oven. Preheat the oven to 210°F (100°C).

    2. In the bowl of the mixer, whisk the egg whites at low speed until frothy, about 20 seconds. Add the cream of tartar. Gradually increase the speed until just before the stiff peak stage, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to over beat or the whites may begin to break down and become lumpy. Slowly add about 3/4 cup (150 g) of the sugar to the whites, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until the mixture becomes thick and satiny and stands in tall stiff peaks, about 1 minute more.

    3. Remove the mixing bowl from its stand. Add the remaining sugar and gently fold it into the whites: With the rubber spatula or metal spoon, cut through the egg whites and sugar with the side edge of the spoon or spatula until you reach the bottom of the bowl, then draw the spoon along the bottom of the bowl. Turn your wrist to bring the spoon up the side of the bowl, lightly bringing the egg whites from the bottom to the top, and as you do so turn the bowl about 45 degrees and lightly overturn the spoon to gently fold the whites on top of the sugar. Turning the bowl as you fold will help the sugar to be incorporated more efficiently. Continue cutting into the mixture and folding until just incorporated. Always work slowly and gently. Do not be tempted to overmix and unnecessarily knock extra air out of the mixture. If necessary, err on the side of underfolding.

    4. If preparing piped meringues: Using a few small dabs of the meringue as glue, stick the baking parchment to the baking sheet. Fold back the wide, open end of the pastry bag and fill the bag with the meringue. Unfold the open end of the bag, twist it closed, and pipe the meringue into small 3-inch (7.5 cm) disks to form the bottom of the nest. Then, following the outside edge of the disk, pipe a ring of meringue to create the side of the nest. Repeat with two more layers on top.

    If preparing free-form meringues: Use a soup spoon to form the meringues into wispy 3-inch (7. 5 cm) mounds on the baking parchment, dividing the 12 meringues evenly between the two baking sheets.

    5. Bake until firm and dry to the touch, about 2 hours, switching the two baking racks half way through the cooking time. Let cool completely. Serve on individual dessert plates, garnished with a dollop of Yogurt Cream and berries.


MAKE-AHEAD NOTE

Meringues can be made in advance and stored kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


Yogurt Cream

Equipment: A strainer

Ingredients

2 cups (500 ml) Greek-style sheep’s milk yogurt

Method

Set the strainer over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the strainer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day to allow the liquid to drain from the yogurt. Once thickened to your liking use as a garnish for any dessert. (The liquid that drains out is delicious as a drink for a snack. Don’t toss!)


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. © 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Hearty, Healthy Multigrain Yeast Bread

 
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To complete our Nourish the Planet bread trifecta, here is a hearty and sustaining yeast-leavened bread recipe. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge to make your own starter and sourdough or are looking for a quicker way to make a home-baked loaf, a bread risen with dry active yeast is a good place to start. The rise time is short, and while you won’t have the same lactic flavors of a classic sourdough, the combination of wholewheat, rye and spelt flours and mix of seeds give this loaf an earthy complexity that is deeply nourishing.

So why is bread an issue for the environment? The commercial refined flour that ends up in our bread, pasta and baked goods is produced in huge mono cultures (bad for biodiversity), requires large amounts of commercial fertilizer (energy intensive), pesticides and herbicides (bad for soil and the health of the local ecosystem) and the processing of the wheat not only strips most of the beneficial nutrients but is also very energy intensive. When we bake bread using ancient grains such as rye and spelt, and wholegrain wheat grown on small scale farms that respect the environment, not only does it taste so much better, but it is supporting a much more equitable and resilient food system.

Hearty, Healthy Multigrain Yeast Bread

Makes one 3-pound  (1.5 kg) loaf   |   Equipment: A heavy-duty mixer fitted with a flat paddle; a scale; a large bowl or linen-lined basket lined (banneton) ; a cloth; a shaker filled with flour for dusting; baking parchment; a pizza paddle; a baking stone; a razor blade; an instant-read thermometer

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups (750 ml) warm water
2 cups (280 g) white bread flour
2 cups (280 g) light whole wheat bread flour
1 cup (140 g) rye flour
1 cup (140 g) spelt or épeautre flour
1 cup (150 g) mixed seeds: equal parts sesame, flax, and sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons malt flakes or malt powder (optional) (see Note)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Method

1.  In the bowl of the heavy-duty mixer fitted with a flat paddle (not the bread attachment), combine the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water. Mix at low speed to dissolve the yeast. Set aside to proof, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 3/4 cups water and mix. Add the flour, cup by cup, mixing just until the dough is hydrated. This should take 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky, thicker than a batter but not so dense that the dough could easily be kneaded. Knead at lowest speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be extremely sticky and wet, with web-like, visible strand of gluten.

 2.  Add the malt flakes, salt, and grains to the dough, mixing at low speed just until all the ingredients are well-incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will be sticky. Line the bowl or basket with a clean cloth and dust the cloth generously with flour. Carefully transfer the dough to the flour-dusted basket.  Cover and let rise until the dough has risen slightly, about 2 hours.

3.   About 20 minutes before baking the bread, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

 4.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza paddle. Turn the dough out onto the pizza paddle. Score the loaf with a razor blade. Carefully transfer the dough on the parchment onto the baking stone. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the loaf is evenly browned, and until the bread reaches an interior temperature of 200°F (95°C). Watch carefully, since ovens vary: If the bread seems to be browning too quickly, reduce the heat.


5.  Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool. The bread continues to bake as it cools so resist the temptation to cut the bread before it is thoroughly cooled, at least 4 hours. (If you do, it may tear, with an uneven texture.)  Store the bread at room temperature in a cloth towel or cloth bag, slicing off only as much as you need at a time. The bread will stay fresh for 1 week.

NOTE

Malt flakes or malt powder can be found in health food stores.

VARIATION

For a festive touch of color and sweetness add about 3/4 cup (4 ounces; 125 g) dried cranberries, 1 cup (4 ounces; 125 g) slivered almonds, and 1/3 cup ( 4 ounces; 125 g) pistachios, adding at the same time as the coarse sea salt.


This is a Nourish the Planet recipe, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. © 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Amazing All-Grain Bread

 
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This amazingly simple and delicious bread was originally created by Canadian cookbook author and nutritionist Sarah Britton. She calls it The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread, and it truly is a miraculous creation, a wholesome mixture of grains and seeds, held together by little more than pysllium husks. As it is not actually bread in the traditional sense, there is no kneeding required and the most difficult part of making this wonder is gathering and measuring the ingredients. At a time when supermarket shelves are increasingly devoid of flour (hopefully a sign that people are learning to bake their own bread!), this is a great alternative. It is also a chance to get more nuts, seeds and whole grains into your diet, key ingredients in a healthy, plant-forward, planet-friendly diet.

The below recipe is only a slightly adapted version of the original. We have opted to replace the ghee or coconut oil with local olive oil, which has a lower carbon footprint, and have omitted the maple syrup from the recipe as we found it perfectly balanced without it. Don’t skip the psyllium powder however as this is a crucial ingredient holding the seeds and grains together.

This base recipe lends itself to all sorts of variations. We’ve had a lot of fun turning it into a fruit loaf by swapping out the hazelnuts for pistachios, adding half a cup of chopped apricots and figs, adding back in the tablespoon of maple syrup or even better, local honey, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom.

For a savory twist that produces a slightly lighter, springier loaf, swap out the 1/2 cup of flaxseeds for 1 cup of sprouted lentils.

Amazing All-Grain Bread
(or The Life Changing Loaf)

Makes 1 loaf | Equipment: A 1 quart (1 l) nonstick baking pan, lined with parchment; a baking sheet

Ingredients

1 cup (135 g) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (90 g) flax seeds
1/2 cup (65 g) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (145 g) rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons psyllium husk powder (see note)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) water

Method

1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, stirring well. In a measuring cup, combine the oil and water. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients absorb the liquid and the mixture is cohesive. (At first you will be convinced that the dry ingredients will never evenly absorb all the liquid. Be patient and keep mixing until the grains have fully absorbed the liquid.)

2. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with the back of a spatula. Set aside at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

3. About 20 minutes before baking the bread, center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

4. Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the loaf pan, remove and discard the baking parchment, and return the bread to the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake until the bread is deep golden brown, about 40 minutes more. Let cool completely before slicing. Store loosely in a fabric bag for up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 weeks. Do not store in a closed plastic bag, for the bread is very moist.

NOTE: Because this bread contains no flour or yeast, the psyllium husk powder is used as a binding agent. It is the fiber-rich covering of a seed from a plant grown in Asia that can absorb more than ten times its weight in water.


Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. Find our more here about why we think it’s important.

Nourish the Planet: Sourdough Bread

 
 

There is nothing more life affirming than being able to bake your own bread. Perhaps it’s because it has such a long tradition of sustaining people using two such simple ingredients: flour and water. Many people are intimidated by the process, but once you’ve made your own bread we promise, you’ll never look back.

Making your own bread has so many benefits. As well as the deep satisfaction of pulling a golden crusted loaf from the oven and sharing it with friends and family, making your own loaf from scratch allows you to be in control of the ingredients, a wonderful way to support farmers that grow their grains organically and use production methods that promote healthy soil and biodiversity. If it’s available to you, buying locally grown and milled flour heavily cuts down on transport emissions too, making it extra planet-friendly.

To make naturally leavened bread you must use a starter. While it’s a fairly simple process to create your own starter, it does take a little patience in the initial stages as you “feed” it daily with flour and water. As it harvests the natural yeasts from the surrounding air it becomes bubbling and alive, a fascinating process in itself of science and alchemy. Many recipes require you to discard part of the starter every time you feed it, which is hugely wasteful or requires you to cook several other recipes using your starter discards. We don’t find any of this necessary and the below starter recipe, which does not use this technique, results in a lively, active starter in just five days.

In a time when we are being asked to slow down and stay home, what better time is there to learn how to bake our own bread?

SOURDOUGH STARTER

 Ingredients

2 cups (280 g) white bread flour (preferably organic)

 

 


Method

 1.     In a 1 quart (1 l) container, combine 1/4 cup (60 ml) of room temperature water and 1/2 cup (70 g) of the flour and stir until the water absorbs all of the flour and forms a soft dough. Cover loosely with a cloth and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours. The mixture should rise slightly with visible bubbles starting to form and may take on a faintly acidic aroma. Repeat this for 3 more days, each day adding an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water and 1/2 cup (70 g) of flour to the dough.  Each day the starter should rise slightly with bubbles starting to form and should become more acidic in aroma. By day 5 you should 1 pound (500 g) of lively starter. If you are in doubt, add 1 teaspoon of dry active yeast when combining the starter and water.

SOURDOUGH LOAF

Makes one 3-pound (1.5 kg) loaf  

EQUIPMENT: An airtight container; a large bowl or linen-lined basket lined (banneton) ; a cloth; a shaker filled with flour for dusting (optional); a large bowl; a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a flat paddle (not the dough hook); a kitchen scale; a flat cast-iron grill pain or baking steel; a baking peel or wooden chopping board lined with baking parchment, a razor blade or very sharp knife; an instant-read thermometer, a baking rack.

Ingredients

1 pound (500 g) sourdough starter
7 cups (980 g) white bread flour (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons malt flakes or malt powder (optional)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Method

1.     Line the bowl or basket with a clean cloth and dust the cloth generously with flour.

 2.     In the bowl of the heavy-duty mixer combine the starter and 3 cups (750 mls) room temperature water and mix on low speed to dissolve the starter. Add the flour, cup by cup, mixing just until the dough is hydrated.  This should take 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky, thicker than a batter but not so dense that the dough could easily be kneaded.  Mix at the lowest speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be extremely sticky and wet, with web-like visible strands of gluten.

 3.     Remove 1 pound (500 g) of the dough and transfer it to the airtight container and reserve as a starter for your next loaf (there is no need to feed your starter from this point on, simply store it, refrigerated in the airtight container, for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen almost indefinitely. Thaw at room temperature for 24 hours before the next baking).

 4.     Add the malt flakes, salt to the remaining dough in the mixer, mixing at low speed just until all the ingredients are well-incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough will be sticky.

 5.     Carefully transfer the dough to the flour-dusted basket.  Cover and let rise until the dough has risen slightly, about 6 hours. (To guage how the dough is rising, leave the starter on the counter in its airtight container. If the starter is rising nicely – with big air bubbles throughout – you can be assured that your bread dough is rising as well).

6.     About 20 minutes before baking the bread, place the baking steel or cast-iron pan on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) .

 7.     Carefully turn the dough out onto the parchment-lined pizza paddle or chopping board. Score the top of the loaf with a razor blade. Carefully slip the dough, still on the baking parchment onto the grill pan or baking steel and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the loaf is evenly browned. Continue baking until the bread reaches an interior temperature of 200°F (93°C), 20 minutes more. Check the temperature by piercing the center of the loaf with the thermometer. Watch carefully, since ovens vary: If the bread seems to be browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

 8.     Transfer the bread to the baking rack to cool. The bread continues to bake as it cools so resist the temptation to cut the bread before it is thoroughly cooled, at least 4 hours. (If you do, it may tear, with an uneven texture.)  Store the bread at room temperature in a cloth towel or cloth bag, slicing off only as much as you need at a time. The bread will stay fresh for 1 week.

VARIATIONS:

light wholewheat sourdough loaf

For a heartier loaf, substitute 3 cups (420 g) of the white flour for the following:

 1 cup (140 g) light whole wheat bread flour
1 cup (140 g) rye flour
1 cup (140 g) spelt flour

 
multigrain sourdough loaf

For a multigrain loaf with wholegrain goodness:

Add 1 ½ cups (about 200g) mixed seeds (equal parts sesame, flax and sunflower seeds).

 

cranberry, pistachio and almond sourdough loaf

 Add 3/4 cup (4 ounces / 125 g) dried cranberries, 1 cup (4 ounces / 125 g) slivered almonds, and 1/3 cup (4 ounces / 125 g) pistachios, at the same time as the coarse sea salt.

 

TIPS:

  • Be sure to keep your starter pure, nothing but water and flour. If the last loaf has not rise as you want, it is ok to add 1 teaspoon or less of active dry yeast when adding water to the levain, until your starter is lively and bubbly. As an insurance policy, you can add a touch of yeast to the dough when you thaw a batch of frozen starter.

  • Before you begin, measure everything. A dough scraper can be particularly handy. Be sure to dust your bowl or your linen-lined basket (banneton) with plenty of flour, measure out all the flours, have a clean container for your levain and so on. Your hands will get sticky and the more you do in advance while your hands are clean, the better! 

  • Your first several loaves may not rise very much. Do not be discouraged and just forge on ahead! You can adjust rising time, from 6 hours to 24 hours, depending upon your schedule and the vitality of the starter. If you bake every few days, the starter will get more and more active and the bread will rise more quickly and will of course be lighter.

  • A starter can virtually be kept forever. When baking bread daily, keep the starter on the counter, in a securely covered bowl, at room temperature. If you won’t be making bread for several days, refrigerate in a covered container. And if you won’t be making bread for several weeks, freeze the starter in a covered container.

  • There is no getting away from it: Sourdough is a messy affair, with sticky dough  that, well, wants to stick to everything in sight, including the bowls, the spatulas, your cloths, your arms. I clean up immediately after preparing the dough, making sure nothing has time to stick too much. I also reserve a sponge just for cleaning up, since it usually gets matted with bits of dough.

  • A great zero waste tip if you eat fresh mozzarella is to reserve the liquid that comes in the packet to preserve the cheese. Its faintly lactic flavors adds a special touch to the final loaf. Combine with the water in the recipe to make the 3 cups (750 ml) needed for a loaf. Do not use 100% mozzarella liquid as it can create a rather funky-tasting bread!


The original version of this recipe was published in My Master Recipes. All rights reserved, please do not reproduce without permission.

Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. Find our more here about why we think it’s important.

Sourdough photos © David Japy

Nourish the Planet: Lemon and Olive Oil Tart

 
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With this Nourish the Planet recipe we’ve taken my classic lemon tart recipe and given it a planet-friendly makeover, swapping out water-thirsty almonds for hazelnuts (which have a much lighter water footprint), butter for olive oil in the pastry and sugar in the lemon curd for my own organic honey. In the end, small changes can make a big difference. The pat in the pan pastry is truly "as easy as pie” and the lemon curd filling is a bright and fragrant contrast to the earthy crust. The garnish of sliced kumquats, lemon thyme, and a dusting of sumac is inspired by the exquisite lemon tart from the talented Moko Hirayama, co-chef with her husband Omar Koreitem at the popular Paris restaurant Mokonuts, in the 11th arrondissment. 

EQUIPMENT: A food processor; a 10-inch (26 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom; a baking sheet; a fine-mesh sieve; a 3-quart (3 l) saucepan.

INGREDIENTS

OLIVE OIL PASTRY
2 tablespoons hazelnuts
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (40 g) organic, lemon-scented cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, free-range and organic

LEMON AND OLIVE OIL CURD
1/3 cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice, preferably organic
½ cup (125 ml) light, liquid, organic honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 large eggs, free-range and organic
2 large egg yolks, free-range and organic
Grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic
1/3 cup (80 ml) light-flavored extra-virgin olive oil

GARNISH
Minced fresh thyme leaves, very thin rounds of limequats, kumquats, or lemons cut into thin rounds on a mandoline, a fine sprinkle of sumac powder (see Note)

METHOD

1. Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

 2. In the food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a powder. Add the flour, sugar, and salt, and process to blend. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and egg. Pour the mixture through the tube of the food processor and pulse just until the mixture comes together into a rough ball.

3. Place the dough in the center of the tart pan. Work outward from the center and press evenly to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Working around the edge, use your fingertips to press the dough firmly into the corners of the pan. Go around the edge once more, pressing the dough up the sides and into the fluted edge. Use your thumb to level off the top edge. To help make for a level bottom and sides of crust, line the bottom of the tart with baking parchment. Using a metal measuring cup, smooth the bottom and sides by pressing gently and evenly. Remove the parchment paper. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

 4. Prepare the Lemon and Olive Oil Curd. Place the sieve over a bowl.

5. In the saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, cornstarch, eggs, and egg whites. Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and bring a gentle boil, whisking regularly but not constantly,  for about 7 minutes. Watch carefully, and do not allow the eggs to scramble. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain through the sieve, discarding the contents of the sieve, which may contain bits of cooked egg white. Whisk in the lemon zest. Whisk in the olive oil, whisking vigorously until smooth and well combined.

6. Pour the lemon curd into the cooled pastry shell, spreading gently and evenly, shaking the pan lightly to smooth out the top. For best flavors, the tart should be consumed within 24 hours. Remove the tart from the tin and cut into 8 wedges. Garnish with minced thyme leaves, thin slices of citrus, and ground sumac.

Ingredient note

The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into a fine, colorful powder. Ground sumac pairs well with lemons, since on its own has a tangy, citrusy flavor.

Nourish note

Don’t toss the egg whites! They will keep in the fridge for 2-4 days and in the freezer for up to 12 months and can be used for meringues, pavlovas, mousses and other desserts.


This is an original recipe created for Nourish the Planet, a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. © 2020 – All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Find our more here about why we created this series.

Nourish the Planet: Fregola, White Bean and Pumpkin Minestrone

(c) David Japy.jpg

This hearty and satisfying soup is a great way to start embracing more seasonal vegetables and plant-based meals. It contains many of our favorite colorful and healthy winter vegetables, including carrots, celery, and pumpkin, but you can really swap out the vegetables for whatever you can find locally and in season. During the summer months when fresh white beans, known in France as cocos blanc are in season, we shell the beans and freeze them to have on hand come winter. Of course, dried ones will work just fine if that’s what you have available to you. As a novel pasta variation try fregola, the Sardinian specialty made from semolina dough and toasted in the oven. If this is tricky to find just go for any small pasta shape that you like the texture of. Let this simmer away on top of the stove, serve with a crusty sourdough bread and you will be duly rewarded!

ingredients

2  medium onions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons

1 head garlic, cloves peeled, halved, green germ removed if present

1 leek, white and tender green part only, rinsed, quartered, and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt

3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into thin slices

4 celery ribs, rinsed and cut into thin slices

4 cups (2 pounds; 1 kg) peeled and cubed pumpkin

1 pound (500 g) fresh white beans (or dried, see Note)

Two 14-ounce (400 g) cans diced Italian tomatoes in juice

2 quarts (2 l) cold water

1 cup (170 g) fregola

method

  1. In the Dutch oven, combine the onions, garlic, and leek, oil, and salt to taste. Stir to coat with the oil. Sweat – cook, covered, over low heat – until soft.

  2. Add the  carrots, celery, pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, water, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer, covered (so as not to reduce the liquid) until the vegetables are soft and beans are cooked through, about 45 minutes.

  3. Add the fregola and simmer until the pasta is cooked through, about 15 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. Serve in the warmed, shallow soup bowls.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: The soup can be prepared and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

NOTE: If using dried beans, rinse them, place them in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Drain the beans, discarding the water.  

VARIATIONS: Try brightening the soup up with a quick, non-garlic pesto, blending basil leaves with a touch of olive oil and salt in a blender, adding a dollop at serving time.

This recipe was first published in My Master Recipes.


Nourish the Planet is a collaborative series by Patricia Wells and Emily Buchanan. Find our more here about why we think it’s important.

Nourish the Planet: A New Plant-Forward Planet-Friendly Recipe Series

 
© David Japy

© David Japy

 

I am truly delighted to announce Nourish the Planet – a new series of recipes, inspiration and kitchen tips about delicious and nutritious plant-forward food that doesn't harm our planet.

It’s hard to open the environment or food section of a major newspaper these days without seeing headlines about how our modern food system is a major player in the environmental crisis. The mind boggles thinking about how the production, land use and transport of our food is responsible for somewhere between 21 – 37% of greenhouse gas emissions (these are some of the most recent stats from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). As you know, I am not an environmental scientist, but I do trust what the scientists are telling us, which is that we are in big trouble and must do everything we can to limit the rise in global temperatures. Our food system plays a major role in this. As a food writer, cookbook author and cooking school instructor, this goes right to the heart of everything I do and is impossible for me to ignore.

For those of you who have followed my cookbooks over the years, embracing the climate-change solution for a more plant-based diet will come as no surprise to you. From Vegetable Harvest to Salad as a Meal, my books have always celebrated the joys of a plant-centered plate. My connection to all this began with my 1950s upbringing in Wisconsin with a mother who made everything from scratch in the kitchen, fed us from a vegetable garden full of tomatoes, salads and Swiss chard, and preserved everything she could get her hands on. For many of you probably, back then “local” was the norm not a trend – I didn’t know what salmon or lamb tasted like until I left home for college. Cooking with seasonal, local produce and embracing the French concept of terroir has always come naturally to me – notions I have always tried to infuse into my books and share with my students. And now, with every headline I read about our need to decarbonize our lives, I am more convinced than ever that there is no better way to cook.

My wonderful assistant, Emily Buchanan, with whom I have worked for many years and has collaborated with me writing the latest Food Lover’s Guide to Paris (both the book and the constantly updated app) and My Master Recipes, is also a certified health and nutrition coach who helps people to rethink their relationship to food: for themselves, their family, their community and for the planet.

Through Nourish the Planet we will share our joint passions with you – bringing you recipes and ideas about how to cook vibrant, delicious plant-forward food that has a limited carbon footprint.

We’re not suggesting you have to go vegan or even vegetarian, but rather offering you fun ideas and enticing recipes to encourage you to put plants at the center of your plate and consider how what you eat (and what you don’t!) impacts the planet.

You can follow the series here on the blog, or the Patricia Wells Facebook page, Patricia’s instagram account or over at Emily's instagram or website The New Superette.

We hope you’ll use this to inspire a greener, low impact kitchen and share with your friends and family!

Mercerie Mullot: An Ideal Little Paris Restaurant

 
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There is no one single way to describe the ideal little Paris restaurant. But should I try to describe my ideal restaurant I would begin by saying it would be run by dedicated, experienced owners with a serious respect for fresh ingredients, a fine sense of wine, matched with extraordinary generosity and a shared spirit of joy. And this is exactly how I would characterize the always-cheery Pascal Barrière and his companion Céline La Corre who run the pint-sized, cozy, 22-seat Mercerie Mullot bistrot, hidden away in the charming Notre Dame de Champs neighborhood in the 6th arrondissement.

I first encountered Pascal years ago at the tiny the 14th arrondissement restaurant Jeu de Quilles. Today, at this happily miniscule, white-tablecloth bistro on rue Bréa, you feel as though you are invited to a well-orchestrated dinner party. Pascal is there in the open kitchen all alone, a culinary musician, joyfully concocting original creations all of his own, mostly super-fresh fish and shellfish, woven into tiny bites and presented on elegant pottery. Try the tasty slices of torched mackerel with a crab tartar. Or the amazing duo of lobster and langoustines bathed in a coulis of carabineros, the outrageously delicious red shrimp from Portugal. Everything here is always pure, fresh, simple. Perhaps best of all is when Céline arrives with a tiny plate of irresistible, savory gambas de Palamós, from the Costa Brava in Spain. The little red crustaceans are a treasure, full-flavored, with just the right amount of crunch, and here served with an ingenious tarama of sea urchin. There’s also perfectly cooked octopus accompanied by a favorite pasta, the tiny Sardinian fregola: as well as a Normandy oyster ceviche paired with crunchy bursts of cédrat, the giant, golden citrus.

And what could be bad about finishing off a meal with an irresistible blend of meringue, chocolate, and pistachios?

My only disappointment here was a ravioli of beef cheeks, surrounded by a very ordinary pasta. But all is forgiven!

There is no à la carte menu at Mercerie Mullot, just a chance to sample 4 to 6 of Pascal’s creations of the moment as a fixed menu. The wine list is excellent, with some fine offerings from the Loire, Burgundy, and the Rhône, including Fanny Sabre’s welcoming 2018 Meursault.

MERCERIE MULLOT | Fish & Shellfish Bistro | 19 rue Bréa | Paris 6 | Tel: +33 1 43 26 08 06 | Métro: Notre-Dame-des-Champs | Open Tuesday to Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday | 38€ lunch menu and 65€ dinner menu | Reservations recommended | Atmosphere: Smart Casual

Silken satisfying dumplings at Café Lai'Tcha

 
 

The newest addition to the Yam’Tcha family is Café Lai’tcha. Number three in a trio of gastronomic destinations created by Michelin-starred chef Adeline Grattard and her tea-master husband Chi Wah Chan. Their principal address Yam’tcha has long been a favorite of mine since its early days of opening in 2009 and remains so after it’s refurbishment a few years ago. So I was curious to see what this new casual dining spot might offer, tucked away in a small side street of the Les Halles neighborhood.

The décor is simple yet elegant, a mixture of exposed brick, stone and wood, with beautifully chosen Chinese details in the vases and wall hangings. The atmosphere is relaxed as customers sit on low stools around wooden tables and the staff work industrially behind the long bar preparing the hand-made wontons.

 The café has recently developed a simple lunch menu of two starter options and, as a main, homemade wontons – silken wheat dumplings with a fresh shrimp filling, either in a slighty peppery Sichuan sauce or swimming in a rich, warming broth. Beware, the dumplings are on the large size and tricky to eat elegantly in one bite. We loved the vegetable and peanut crispy spring rolls and dipping sauce, but the salade chinoise of tofu, shiitake and 5 spices dressing, although good, lacked the vibrant flavors of the other dishes.

 In the evening and on weekends they have a more expanded menu of Chinese-inspired bistrot dishes, which we have yet to try but promises the opportunity to discover Grattard’s unique cooking style in a more casual, affordable setting. Watch this space.


CAFÉ LAI’TCHA   |   7 rue du jour   |   Paris 1   |   +33 1 40 26 05 05   |   Métro: Les Halles   |   Open Tuesday 4–10pm, Wednesday–Saturday noon–10pm, Sunday 11am–4pm. Closed Monday   |  [email protected]   |   Lunch: Wonton 14€, entrées 6-10€, lunch menus 20-25€   |   reservations recommended   |   Atmosphere: Casual


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Good fun and good food at Coya

 
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I confess that as I watched the construction of Coya – the huge Peruvian restaurant off Rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement – I doubted that it would be my kind of place. The posters on the walls announced that Coya already had outposts in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Monaco and London. I assumed it was going to be a late-night, beautiful-people scene with little of interest on the menu. Well, I was wrong, at least as far as the food and service are concerned.  

Peruvian cuisine is a blending of Latin American flavors with influences from the local Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish immigrant populations, all of which play out on the Coya menu. The Indian-born chef, Sanjay Dwivedi (who reportedly has cooked for the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney) navigates this immense territory well but not without some bumps in the road.

The 130-seat restaurant, located on two levels, is located in a former 17th century church and convent built for the Récollettes nuns, where the windows make for a warmly dramatic space. The word coya translates as princess in the Inca language.

Service here is impeccable. On just my second visit the hostess at the door recognized me from the week before and each subsequent waitperson was warm, helpful and friendly.

The menu is fairly broad in scope with vegetarian and gluten-free notations for each dish, offering something for everyone. We sampled several dishes that ranged from superbly delicious to simply banal.

 The food I enjoyed the most included a fried baby squid served with Peruvian marigolds and quinoa (calamare con ocopa), prepared as I love them, golden and crispy. The 35-euro giant tiger shrimp (langostino tigre) is worth the price, moist, full-flavored and bathed in a spicy sauce. I could endlessly order the seabass (lubina clásica) paired with crunchy corn and sweet potatoes. As a corn-on-the-cob lover, I was delighted with their presentation of maiz a la brasa (sweet corn, lime, and red pepper) where the cob was divided in thirds, seasoned and grilled, and pierced with an oversized toothpick for eating with your fingers. Delicious!

Equally fun is the fluffy pina colada sundae, more like a whipped coconut cream paired with fresh, fragrant diced pineapple.

On the minus side, I don’t know how you can ruin a simple guacamole, but I was disappointed with their insipid, under-seasoned version, served with equally bland crispy crackers. The artichoke ceviche (alcahohofa) was totally uninteresting, as was a Peruvian sashimi (pez limon) – thin slices of amberjack, green peppers and daikon (white radish).

The international wine list allows diners to travel the world of wine. I loved the Chilean sauvignon blanc Viu Manenet; the Argentine Malbec classic Altos les Homigas, Vale de Ucon, and the always pleasing white Austrian Gruner Veltliner from Kamptaler Terrassen.

Coya also sports a Pisco Bar and Lounge, where ceviche is also served, open from 6 pm to 12:30 am Tuesday and Wednesday, and 6 pm to 1:30 am Thursday through Saturday. So while it is pretty much is a late-night, beautiful-people place, at times it is a pleasure to dine well among them.


COYA   |   Peruvian   |   83-85 rue du Bac   |   Paris 7   |   Tel: +33 1 43 22 00 65   |   Métro: Rue du Bac   |   Open Tuesday to Saturday, Closed Sunday and Monday   |   Lunch: 35€ menu, 35-60€ à la carte, Dinner: 65€ and 90€ menus, ` la carte, 75-150€   |   Reservations essential   |   Atmosphere casual.


For more Paris restaurant reviews download the app!

Announcing 2021 cooking class dates!

 

It’s hard to believe that another year of classes is now over. It’s been an incredible season, our second year sharing our beautiful Rue de Bac cooking atelier with our students. My Parisian garden gives me endless pleasure, watching my students collecting fresh herbs from just outside the kitchen door and having my very own outdoor pizza oven to cook pizzaiolo-worthy pizza bianca in! Provence continues to share its incredible bounty with us and soon it will be grape harvesting season and time to look forward to another vintage of Clos Chanteduc, our delicious red Côtes-du Rhône.

Today I am excited to announce the dates for the 2021 season of At Home With Patricia Wells cooking classes and remind you that there are still a few openings in the 2020 Truffle Workshop. (Note that all other 2020 classes are now full).

In 2021 we’re offering the same class program as in previous years. See the website for more information about class content, schedules and to sign up to your class of choice. Note that classes are filling up fast and places are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

As Autumn begins I am back in Paris for lots of restaurant testing and updating of The Food Lover's Guide to Paris app and to collaborate on an exciting new blog series with my good friend Emily at The New Superette. Details to be revealed soon!