Posts Tagged ‘thyme’

Yesterday, the bright blue sky pulled me out of bed, inviting me on a lovely run along the Don River. The crispness in the air couldn’t help but remind me that somehow we’re over at leaset half the summer, and my craving for harvest food officially began. I know many will criticize me for speaking of the end of summer, but come on – I haven’t seen any other season for about a year and a half, and I’m excited for the glorious Canadian autumn. Then the downpours began. So what could possibly be better than hiding away from the rain by baking delicious savoury muffins? That, and I also wanted to make a snack I love to show my friend who’s scoping out people’s snacking secrets…

In honour of my craving for harvest food and the change in weather, I decided to bake savoury sweet corn muffins, with herbs from our tiny balcony garden. Looking around for recipes, I decided my best bet would be to inspire myself from a variety of recipes and then make up my own, judging by the importance that left-overs are playing in the creation of these I didn’t have much of a choice in terms of ingredients or quantity, and it turns out that was not a problem at all.

Enjoy these savoury treats warm with butter for breakfast or a delicious afternoon snack!

Ingredients – makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cup roasted corn kernels (or frozen corn, if you don’t have roasted)
1 leek, white an light parts, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp honey
1 cup buttermilk, or milk with a tbsp of cider vinegar or lemon juice added
1/4 cup melted butter (you can substitute 5-6 Tbsp oil if you prefer)
1 large egg

1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar (optional, but highly delicious)


Dice the leek, and then heat the oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the leek for about five minutes. Add the corn, the salt and pepper, and the thyme leaves, and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.

Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the milk, the egg, melted butter, and honey.

Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until incorporated. Add the corn mixture, and the cheese if you are using it.

Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Evenly fill each cup until almost  full, and then bake in the oven for between 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven! In mine, it took around 19 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this delightful recipe inspired by a true Canadian ingredient, roast corn.


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I find myself in transit, faced by a challenging familial loss, between Canada and West Africa. We seem to all come together around food, on our tip of Normandy. I am writing this recipe to share our time together as a family in France with my brother – who had to stay in Canada.

The trick to this recipe is to cook the leg of lamb directly on a rack in the oven, with a roasting pan on a rack underneath it in order to catch all the falling juices.  That’s my grandmother’s rule to keeping the meat tender. Here, in Normandy, meat and potatoes are paramount, so I take her advice seriously!


-1 leg of lamb
-3 sprigs parsley
-3 sprigs thyme
-1 sprig rosemary
-6 cloves garlic
-cracked pepper
-juice from 1 lemon
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1-2 cups water


Preheat oven to 425F. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, and a second one underneath.

Place leg of lamb on a clean surface and rub in pepper. Place the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary sprigs, and one cup of water in the bottom of a large roasting pan.

Place roasting pan on bottom rack, and place leg of lamb directly on the middle rack. Baste the leg of lamb with the juices from the pan. Cook for 15 minutes at 425F and then reduce heat to 350F. Baste every 15-20 minutes.

Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound, or until done to your liking. Serve with strained cooking juices with fat skimmed off, stewed beans, and crisp potatoes.

Bon appétit!


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I’ve been making an effort to finish off all the food stored in my cupboard before I leave – which makes for interesting combinations of things I wouldn’t always think of eating together. This time, it was sunchoke latkes with applesauce and thyme-infused lentil cakes with gruyère. On my last market visit, I also picked up a beautiful bouquet of plump thyme which I have been enjoying in meals and as tea ever-since.

I have been making lentil cakes since I came across a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian I have at home. Since that fateful recipe trial, I have developed my own recipe which basically adapts itself to whatever I have on hand at the time.

Ingredients – 6-8 servings


-1 cup puy lentils
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-4 sprigs thyme

Lentil cakes

-cooked lentils from above, cooled
-thyme leaves from 12 sprigs of thyme
-1/2 cup grated gruyère (or sharp cheddar)
-1 leek, white part only, minced
-3 Tbsp flour
-2 eggs, slightly beaten
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-extra gruyère, grated


In a pot, place broth, lentils, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, covered. Most of the juice should be absorbed, and the lentils should be cooked but still a bit chewy. Remove from heat to cool. If you are short for time, put the pot of lentils in a couple of inches of cold water in the sink – that does the trick as long as you don’t spill the lentils or forget they are there when you turn the tap on!

Preheat oven to 375F.

Taste the lentils – if they are not salty enough add a bit of salt, but otherwise you’re ready to continue. Slice the leek, grate the gruyère, and combine those two ingredients with the lentils. Add the flour and thyme, and mix well. Add the eggs, and mix some more.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tablespoonfuls of the lentil mixture on it. Use your fingers to form them into disks of approximately 4 cm diameter and 1.5 cm thick. Sprinkle some additional gruyère over top, and then drizzle with a tad of olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the bottoms are golden. Serve with a salad, your favourite vegetables, or latkes!


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For me, the splendour of cooking during the summer stems from an abundance of fresh herbs.  Be it basil or thyme, chives or parsley, dill or mint, the immediate burst of flavour is ever a delight.  As a child, I petitioned my mother for years to plant a herb garden, which she did.  Ever since, it has been a feature in our garden and we are spoiled throughout the summer by our potted herbs.

Spoiled by a selection of herbs from our garden: parsley, garlic and common chives, blooming thyme, dill, and green and purple basil!d

This week, Ottawa has been steamy – hitting over 30 degrees celsius most days.  After my daily 30 km commute, I am often ready for light fare that is simultaneously filling and tasting of summer.  Inspired by Silverpalate, my family has long enjoyed this pasta recipe that screams summer.  Delicate angel hair pasta is coated in a creamy bechamel, infused with a medley of fresh herbs and complemented by spring asparagus and soft peas.  The beauty of this dish comes from its versatility – any combination of herbs will do! So on Monday, craving a summery meal, I walked around our garden picking a generous handful of fresh herbs to whip up this dish.  Served with ripe tomatoes and the last-of-the-season strawberries in a spinach salad, this was truly a meal to savour!

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Herbs

(Serves 6)



1 box of angel hair pasta (about 350 grams) – I used whole wheat and it was delicious

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups of milk

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 bunch of asparagus, ends removed, sliced into 1 inch pieces

2 cups of frozen peas

2 cups of any fresh herb combination, finely chopped (recommended include basil, parsley, dill, thyme, chives, oregano, and coriander)



Cook the angel hair pasta al dente in a large pot of salted water.  Blanch the asparagus and peas with the pasta for the last 90 seconds of cooking.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Stir in the flour and garlic and cook until bubbly and fragrant.  Whisk in the milk.  Bring the bechamel to a simmer, reducing for 3-5 minutes.  Season to your liking with salt and pepper.  Remove the cream sauce from the heat, and gently stir in the Parmesan and fresh herbs.  Toss the pasta and vegetables to coat.  Divine served with fresh tomatoes!


– Catherine


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Rice is one of the world’s most important staples.  I love rice.  I probably eat it more than any other staple grain myself.  It’s texture is always so pleasing, and I I love the diversity in flavour and texture depending on the type.  Not to mention the diversity in ways of preparing it.

One of my very favourite things to do with rice is to give it subtle aromas by cooking it gently with one or two herbs or spices.  They give the rice uniqueness, while not deterring from the other dishes the rice is meant to accompany.  Here’s my recipe I’ve been making for several years for thyme infused rice with leek.  It’s delicate flavour is a spring treat!

Ingredients – 4 servings

-1 leek, dark green removed, thoroughly washed, and finely diced
-12 sprigs fresh thyme
-1 Tbsp butter
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup white basmati rice
-1 1/3 cups cold water


In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the leek and fresh thyme and stir.  Cover with a lid for about 4 minutes, or until leeks melt.  Add the salt and rice, and stir to coat the rice.  Then add the water, cover, and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, quickly reduce heat to low without opening the lid.  Put the timer on for 9 minutes.  After 9 minutes, fluff the rice, and let sit for a couple more minutes before serving.  This is delicious to accompany grilled veggies, fish, or chicken.  Sometimes I even like to eat it on its own!


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I’ve taken to walking everywhere these days – those of you who know me know I’m one of those die-hard Toronto bikers, going all-year round. Alas, my freewheel is fried (a usual march phenomenon, they don’t like salt). So this means I briskly walk through Toronto for approximately 90 minutes every day at least, and my favorite thing to do while walking is to think about life, and the food we’re going to make for dinner. A week ago I loved to watch the progress of the crocus shoots, but for now they are covered in a white blanket and so I focus on dinner instead.

Tonight, roasted chicken sounded just right. I like how they basically make themselves, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs can completely transform a common item of food into something that is a delightful treat.


-9 cloves garlic, 5 sliced finely, and 4 remaining in their skin but bruised
-1 bunch fresh thyme
-2 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise, dark greens removed, and washed thoroughly
-1 onion, quartered
-1/2-1 tsp sea salt
-2 bay leaves
-zest from 1 lemon (wash the lemon well before zesting)
-1 whole chicken


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Wash and cut the leeks lengthwise, and arrange in the bottom of a roasting pan, cut side down, to make a roasting rack for the chicken.  Place the whole bruised garlic cloves as well as the onion in the bottom of the pan as well, and cover with 1/2 inch water.

To prepare the chicken, slice the garlic, and slip some of the garlic and 4 sprigs of thyme under the skin on the breast (push it under as best you can).  Remove the leaves from 4 more sprigs of thyme.  Brush the olive oil onto the chicken, and sprinkle the salt and thyme over the whole bird.  Put the remaining sliced garlic into the cavity, along with 5-6 sprigs thyme.  Place the bay leaves in the water at the bottom of the pan.   Tie up the legs of the chicken so they do not dry out with kitchen twine.  Place this in the hot oven, and roast until it is cooked according to its weight (the best predictor of done-ness is when the meat’s internal temperature reaches approximately 170F).  If you do not have a thermometer, my rule of thumb is close to 45 minutes per kg (or 2.2lb).

Half-way into the cooking, baste the chicken well.  Continue until 10 minutes before, when it’s time to sprinkle some lemon zest on top of the chicken. When it is ready, remove it from the oven and let it sit 10 minutes on a serving platter to finish cooking while you make the jus.

To make the jus, remove the garlic from the bottom of the pan and strain the rest into a sauce pan, pressing to get as much juice out of the leeks and onion. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes so the fat separates, and then skim the fat off the top.  Add 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer.  You can add a couple of sprigs of thyme if you like.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let it simmer down so that there are about 1-2 Tbsp per person.  This is just for the jus, it is not thick like gravy.  Drizzle the jus over top of the chicken when you serve it – and the roasted garlic in the individual cloves makes for a delicious addition as well.  Just prior to serving, add a dusting of finely chopped extra zest and thyme (not much, about 1/2 tsp per serving).


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