November 18th, 2013
Today we celebrate our book, The Vibrant Table, being available for pre-order and all the work on it – successfully completed . We’ve been pretty much consumed with making it for year and a half, and have put all the best that our minds and hearts have to offer into it. Looking back on the whole process, I remember the tremendous challenge, the ups and downs and self-doubt. But above all, I remember the challenging and fulfilling work, the excitement, and the sense of great accomplishment. And we really love the result.
The book is beautiful, thanks to the guidance of all the fine people at Roost Books, it is colourful and radiant, with fresh, vibrant dishes and many family stories. There are 320 pages with all but two new 100 recipes, which are very diverse – I tried my best to offer something for everyone. Most of the recipes are vegan, all of them are vegetarian and all but two are gluten free. We also took care to make most of the recipes as light as possible, letting seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs shine and take the main stage. As many of you have requested in the past, I share my ideas and experience of raising kids to appreciate healthier foods. You’ll find many of our favorite soups and salads, plenty of main dishes to choose from, and desserts to indulge in. In short, we’re very proud with the way the book has shaped up and so excited to share it with you.
The official release date is June 10th of next year, but you can get it earlier if you order it from Roost Books. We’ll keep you updated on any news regarding The Vibrant Table, including when the “look inside” option will be available on Amazon. We hope that you’ll love the book as much as we do. Pre-order it on Roost, Amazon, Shambhala, Random House, McNally Robinson.
Now to the ice-cream. This was my first attempt to make a winter squash ice-cream and now I wonder why I haven’t done it every fall, all season long. It has a beautiful colour, perfect texture and amazing flavor. The cranberry sauce creates the most pleasant contrast with the smooth and mild ice-cream, and the maple toasted pecans contribute the delicious finishing touch. Make it to celebrate with us, or surprise your family and friends at the Thanksgiving table, I know I definitely will.
Kabocha Squash Ice Cream
(makes 2 batches)
1 small kabocha or red kuri squash, or pumpkin – cut in half and seeded
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon shredded ginger
3/4 cup maple syrup or more to taste
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon xanathan gum – optional
for the cranberry sauce
2 cups cranberries
1 cup honey
for the pecans
large handful of pecans
maple syrup and grapeseed oil for drizzle
to make the ice cream base
1. Turn the oven to 400 F (180 C). Place the squash halves cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes or until soft throughout. Let cool
2. Meanwhile, pour the coconut milk into a medium saucepan, add in ginger, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let infuse for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the squash flesh (I utilize the skin of red kabocha or red kuri squash as well, as it’s soft when baked. You’ll need a high-speed blender though, if using the skin), gingery coconut milk and the rest of ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
4. Chill well in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
to make the cranberry sauce
1. Combine the cranberries and honey in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the cranberries begin to pop open, for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and pulse in a blender or food processor to a chunky consistency.
to toast the pecans
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). In a bowl, drizzle pecans with maple syrup, grapeseed oil and a pinch of sea salt, mix to coat. Spread on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool and chop.
to make the ice cream
1. Make sure that ice-cream base and cranberry sauce are well chilled. Churn the ice-cream base in your ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions ( I needed to do this amount in 2 batches, based on the size of my Cuisinart ice-cream machine).
2. Prepare a chilled container and scoop about 1/3 of the freshly made ice-cream into it, distributing into an even layer. Drizzle about a third of the cranberry sauce on top, followed by a third of the maple tossed pecans.
3. Continue to scoop another third of the ice-cream into the container, alternating with the cranberry sauce and pecans. If you do it in two batches, keep the ratios accordingly. Chill for at least 2 hours or longer before serving. When hardened completely, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before scooping.