PGM In Season | Love & Garnish
Our third community leader Anise Thorogood of Love & Garnish is the bubbly, food-loving holiday host who won't stuff you to the brim with the filling sugary sweets you normally find at a party this time of year. Instead Anise has smartly created an appetizer that is nourishing and delicious and falls in line with the season. Not to mention, you can carry it around in one hand while you mingle! No more juggling multiple pieces of dishware and utensils as you try to greet your party guests.
Enjoy Anise's interview below and try your hand at her recipe for a Maple Cauliflower and Sunchoke Soup with Chestnut Mylk and Roasted Oyster Mushrooms.
5 Questions with Anise
WHAT 3 WORDS DESCRIBE YOU BEST?
Ok, so I cheated, and asked my husband to help with this question; it's so difficult to talk about myself! I would have to say energetic, driven and nurturing. Energetic is a given, we both agreed on this one. I love being busy, even on vacation. There is so much to do and see out there, why sit around when you can be exploring?! In my third trimester of pregnancy when I should have been resting, I was taking on more projects and nesting like crazy! My husband thought I was nuts. I just hate sitting still!
Driven seems a bit cliché but I love giving myself new challenges and seeing them come to fruition. I went back to school for Holistic Nutrition after obtaining a marketing degree and am now a mother to an 8-month old little boy (biggest challenge of my life!). I began my food blog while in school and am now starting a few projects that have stemmed from my blog. I love waking up excited to start each day and to see where my passions take me. I feel like my list of ideas never stop and my drive to pursue them never does either.
Nurturing is one I didn't even think of until my husband suggested it. And I guess it totally makes sense: I love nurturing people with healthy food. The biggest reward in cooking for me, is seeing someone enjoy my food and them knowing it came from a place within my heart to nourish, not only their body, but our relationship as well. I love feeling like I am taking care of someone through my talent, nurturing their soul and giving them a smile because they know someone cares. Food is this avenue for me: an avenue to share, to nurture, to love.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE INGREDIENT?
I have to pick one?! My current obsession is miso. There is a local store that makes chickpea miso that I'm in love with. Not only are you reaping the benefits from all the yummy probiotics for your gut health, but the intense umami flavor adds that final element that every dish seems to be searching for: soups/stews, salad dressings, stir frys, baked squash, sautéed bok choy...the list goes on. My favorite way to use it is in a simple sautéed collard green dish with a miso lemon dressing topped with hemp seeds. Oh man, I'm drooling right now....
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST KITCHEN ACHIEVEMENT OR FAILURE? OR BOTH?
Biggest failure IS eas: baking!!! Actually, this was both my biggest achievement and failure. Baking is already a fine art, because of the precise ratios of flour, fat, and sugar. But start substituting coconut oil for butter, almond flour for white flour and coconut sugar or date paste for white sugar and you have a scenario similar to fitting a melted popsicle into a lock. I remember one Christmas when my friend and I got together to bake cookies for a local women's shelter. I was determined to bring these women whole-food cookies that were not only good for them but also tasted delish. I ended up screwing up so many batches of cookies, my dog wouldn't even eat them. I almost gave up, but was determined to nail this recipe! After days of research and recipe testing I finally perfected my Mint Chocolate Chip Pistachio Christmas Cookie. I posted the final accomplishment on my blog and was damn proud.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO YOUR LIFE?
Even though my focus is green in the kitchen, I have anything but a green thumb. My husband on the other hand LOVES gardening — or as he likes to call it, horticulture. I live in Calgary, Canada so our growing season is substantially shorter than most, but my husband spends every summer evening gardening; reveling in those long, warm nights. Lucky for me, I get to reap the benefits. Every year we try to grow different fruits and vegetables and have started composting as well. At the end of the season, canning becomes an obsession in our kitchen to preserve all that we can. When our garden hibernates with the rest of the trees and animals, I try to source as locally as possible to not only cut down on our carbon footprint, but to also support local farmers and businesses who have the same sustainable living goals as our family. Like I said, this does get difficult in Canada in the winter, but every choice, no matter how small, can make a difference, from sourcing as close to home as possible to taking reusable bags to the grocery store and using a reusable water bottle. One thing I can work on: not traveling as much. Not sure when I can pull that plug.... I love it so.
WHAT DOES EATING LOCAL, SEASONAL, AND ORGANIC MEAN TO YOU?
These terms became poignant to me 6 years ago when I moved to Canada. I grew up in southern Alabama and had parents from England, so think white rice, white pasta, and lots of meat with little knowledge of GMO's, farming and livestock practices, or even seasonality. If you were to ask me where green beans came from I would say "in a can". When I moved to Canada, I began paying more attention to where my food was coming from, the different varieties of BC apples, what GMOs were, what was in season, and how certain foods made me feel. This interest led me to the Holistic Nutrition program at CSNN where whole, organic, seasonal foods are held to the highest regard. It's beautiful what Mother Earth has given us in each season; she knows exactly what our body needs at the right time, in the perfect balance with other micronutrients. I also feel lucky to have organic, clean, whole foods at my disposable. More and more research is showing what chemicals, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins are doing to our bodies and minds…and these are found in our food chain! Its quite scary when you think about it, so by making mindful choices at the grocery store, reading labels and packaging, and purchasing toxin-free home and personal products, I feel as though I am creating a longer and happier life for myself and my family. Plus, have you ever compared the flavour of a local, organic, home grown tomato to a conventional tomato that has been shipped in from god-knows-where?! Its amazing how the flavour just bursts in your mouth, exploding over every taste bud! You can just hear your taste buds scream with joy!
MAPLE SUNCHOKE & CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CHESTNUT MYLK & ROASTED OYSTER MUSHROOMS
During the Holidays, I love hosting dinner parties. My go-to appetizer is a show-stopper soup that can be enjoyed from mugs as guests walk around and mingle. This sunchoke and cauliflower soup is a rich and decadent treat for any winter night or holiday party!
yields: 6 Servings
- 1/2 cup chestnuts*
- 1/2 cup cashews*
- 1/2 tsp honey*
- 3 cups peeled and diced sunchokes (approx 1 lb of whole sunchokes)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic (approx. 1 clove)
- 1 cup pure, filtered water
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups diced cauliflower (approx. half a small cauliflower)
- bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 lbs oyster mushrooms
- 4 Tbsp. ghee, melted
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
Using a paring knife, carefully peel away the tough outer skin of the chestnuts. Soak the chestnuts and cashews in enough pure, filtered water to cover and let them soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Rinse thoroughly, then transfer to a high-speed blender with 2 cups clean, pure, filtered water. Blend on high until smooth. Strain through a mesh mylk bag or cheesecloth and transfer the mylk back to the blender. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp of honey and blend again until well combined. Reserve 1 cup for your recipe and store the remainder in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Toss the sunchokes with the coconut oil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss with the maple syrup, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium-sized dutch oven or soup pot over medium-low heat, saute the onion, ghee, and garlic for approximately 3 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the water, vegetable stock, sunchokes, cauliflower, bay leaf, and nutmeg. Simmer for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft then remove the bay leaf. Puree with an immersion hand blender or in a high-speed blender until smooth. Stir in the sherry vinegar and 1 cup of your chestnut mylk then simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
While the soup is simmering, prepare your mushrooms:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Gently brush the dirt off the mushrooms; do not get them wet. Slice the mushrooms into chunky strips and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss with the fresh thyme, drizzle with the ghee, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until they have reached your desired consistency.
Portion out your soup into bowls or mugs, top with a drizzle of chestnut mylk and the roasted mushrooms.
*Any nut mylk of your choice can be substituted; hazelnuts would also work well in this recipe.