A sweet kiss from my Canadian kitchen with a Canuck Collection of Fifteen Free Recipes from Canadiana Strawberry Rhubarb Pie to Montreal Smoked Meat, Poutine, Nanaimo Bars, Ontario Peach Cookies, Toronto Blueberry Bunds and more! Plus and a little something for July 4th! (Did I also mention the Sprinkle Unicorn Cake?)
Hello Bakers and Friends,
So many big birthdays in these parts. Today, my country, Canada, is a lively youngster at a whopping 150 years old on this day, July lst. My city, flirtatious, joie de vivre Montreal is a grand 375 years. That’s a lot to celebrate! In honour of those two occasions I am delighted to share fifteen FREE recipes with both Canadian and Montreal flair, from poutine to Montreal Smoked Meat and sweet-tooth Nanaimo Bars from Vancouver. Of course, on this end, the recipes are all made with Canadian Prairie wheat but I guarantee success no matter where in the world you are. Wheat is sweet.
It’s hard not to feel a bit proud being Canadian but I was brought up both by my parents and my country to not be too overtly proud of such things. That’s a bit of a Canadian cultural identity thing that probably stems from a myriad of reasons of history. Blame it on our youth (one hundred-and-fifty years makes Canada barely a teenager) but Canada can be somewhat self-effacing. Canada is still cold but less cold (thanks global warming) than it used to be and still geographically huge and somewhat, no matter how many great new Canadians we welcome, notably underpopulated. Want to come visit or stay? We’ve got room.
As for my city, it’s three-hundred-and-seventy five years old! That makes Montreal a grand old dame and yet forever young, saucy and impossibly full of joie de vivre. These days, in honour of her fete, the main street of Sherbrooke which runs east/west through the center of town, is lined with all the flags of the world celebrating the diversity that makes Montreal all at once very Canadian, very French and also oh-so worldly or international. The last is our heritage as much as maple syrup, poutine and Montreal bagels.
Like most port cities, Montreal is a place that welcomes newcomers. My grandparents got off boats from Russia and settled here. As a youth, my father took a horse cart down to the old port to collect produce for his father’s grocery store. Decades later, especially in summer, I often drove my kids to the same port, now called Old Montreal, and strolled on cobblestone pathways, enjoying Salted Butter Ice Cream and taking in the buskers and people-watching.
The horse drawn caleches are still there but instead of toting produce, they take you for a tour of the old port. But for sure, the vibrations of our country’s indigenous people, the Norse and European explorers, fur traders and last, the newcomers that made it through by the Atlantic Ocean and through the St. Lawrence watery gateway are all still felt and I hope they celebrate when they helped build.
In Montreal, we’re used to many languages spoken (often at the same time by the same person in one conversation!) along with amazing, exotic foods and fine French bakeries that make the best koug aman outside Paris. In fact, that French baking heritage is what shaped me as a professional baker; indeed the Quebec Hotel School is what finished that early inclination.
I drove into the city yesterday and got teary just seeing the flags that umbrella the whole street, from side to side. I drove by McGill, my university and finally got to Chinatown where I parked, had spun peanut candy, bought a case of mangos for $5, and picked up wind chimes in a store that resident cat eyed me from her perch inside a large wok. As I walked out, there was a group of women doing Tai Chi, as tourists from everywhere, in for the 375th as well as the launch of the Montreal Jazz Festival strolled by. Pretty stirring; it reminded me a way of driving down to Cape Cod for America’s Bicentennial and happening to be at the neck of the Cape just as the tall ships were all sailing in.
This Canuck recipe collection definitely has a Montreal bent and I guarantee there is something for everyone on the list. As for some new perks, I went back to the Chocolate Chip Cookie lab and created one more perfect chocolate chip cookie. It’s chewy centered, but not cakey and it’s has a bit of crispness. Totally perfect. There’s also a trick to forming these great cookies. I’ve also caved to trend and spun together a nice sprinkles slicing cake that is so darned good and so pretty. It will do your BBQ or picnic basket proud as you celebrate Canada Day, or July 4th, or just a day to count your blessings. It’s summer in the city everyone – at least in this hemisphere. So bake early, eat well and enjoy this mellow time of year.
Warm wishes from my kitchen to yours,
Master Baker, Author
July 2017 Recipe Collection
Canadiana Butter Tarts
Maple Bacon Biscuits
Maple Smoked Salmon
McIntosh Apple Torte
Canadian Country Fair Fried Dough
Quebec Brown Sugar Pie
Toronto Bakery Blueberry Buns
Montreal Smoked Meat
Ontario Peach and Spice Oatmeal Cookies
Canadiana Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Plus Some Very Special New Recipes
Sprinkles Unicorn Cake
2017 Chocolate Chip Cookies
Twisted Banana Bread