side dish

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Sesame

I went on a trip to the Annapolis Valley last week to visit wineries and producers, and I brought back a lot of amazing wines and foods. These brussels sprouts came from the Noggins Corner Farm Market, and they were delicious! Serves 4


• 16 brussels sprouts • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar • salt + ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to boil Blanch the sprouts for 2 minutes. Cool them immediately in very cold water. Split them in half and lay in a baking pan with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then add the garlic and sesame seeds to the pan and give it a stir. Roast for another 15 minutes, get the sprouts out of the oven and add the apple cider vinegar. Season with more salt if needed and serve.

Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Onions

This is a very simple recipe; apart from roasting the squash, it'll take you only 15 minutes to prepare. Stick a serving spoon in and pass it around. Enjoy!


• 1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs) • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced • 4 tablespoons butter • 3 tablespoons heavy cream • salt • a dash of hot sauce (optional)

Split the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast in the oven at 375-400°F for about an hour, until you can easily pierce it with a knife. Meanwhile, in a skillet, gently cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter for no more than 2 minutes. Once the squash is cooked, scoop out the flesh, and whisk it in a bowl with the rest of the butter and cream. Add the onions and season with salt and hot sauce. Put the mixture back in the skin and serve.

Honey-Whiskey Carrots

One ingredient I use whenever possible is honey. North River Organics jars a mean unpasturized wildflower honey, and their whole operation is pesticide free. Yet another reason to love this area.

Here is a simple side dish of fresh garden carrots roasted with honey, Canadian whiskey, and thyme.


Serves 4


• 6 medium carrots • 1 tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil • 1 tablespoon whiskey • a few sprigs of thyme • salt + ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 450° F. Cut the carrots in half lenghtwise, then again in quarters. Place them in a baking pan or bakeware. Pour over the honey, oil, whiskey, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, giving them a shake half way through the cooking time. Serve right away.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Green Onions

These twice-baked sweet potatoes have crispy, carmelized skins and a smooth tangy filling. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and indulge. Don't ask me why crème fraîche is so hard to find. Until I started making it myself (cultures are from Glengarry) I never had occasion to try the stuff. Now, I love it in soups, curries, and anything that benefits from a rich, creamy kick. Crème fraîche is similar to sour cream but less sour and with a higher fat content. You can, of course, substitute sour cream, but avoid the artificially soured kind. It doesn't really taste good.

Green onions are a sure bet with potatoes. Sometimes they're called scallions, but I think I prefer green onions. You've probably heard the song "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the M.G.'s. It's a goody and should get you going while cooking this recipe.

I cure and smoke my own bacon, and I get my salad greens from Peter LeBlanc's Scenic Valley Farm in Margaree Valley. Delicious.


Serves 4


• 3 medium sweet potatoes • 6 slices bacon, roughly chopped • 4-5 green onions, chopped • 2 tablespoons butter • pinch cayenne pepper • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream or greek yogurt) • salt + ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking pan for 45-55 minutes or until you can easily pierce through it with a knife. Let them cool for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the bacon in a frying pan on medium heat until the bits are crispy, this should take about 10-15 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the green onions. Set aside.

For 2 of the potatoes, split them in half and scoop most of the flesh out, leaving about 1/4" on the borders. Take all the flesh out of the remaining potato. Mash, then add the butter and the bacon-green onions mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture back into the skins and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Serve with the crème fraîche.