If you live anywhere near Toronto, or Vancouver, or Calgary, or anywhere else in Canada for that matter, you’re probably familiar with Mairlyn Smith. She is a Second City alumni, professional home economist, TV personality, and cookbook author, not to mention mom, wife, and friend to many. She’s funny, that’s a given, but she’s also kind and warmhearted, with a passion for wholesome and healthy eating. The self-proclaimed “queen of fibre” recently released her latest book, one that’s destined to become a classic in many Canadian kitchens, I’m sure.
Homegrown, an all-Canadian ingredient book with 160 recipes from coast to coast, is not just a recipe collection. Including a wealth of nutritional information and a carb counter with every recipe, Mairlyn has set out to prove that eating an all-Canadian diet isn’t just delicious, but healthy, as well.
I’ve been lucky enough to test drive several of the recipes in the book, and I agree - they’re worth knowing about. I had dinner at Mairlyn’s house last fall and was served a four-course spread of a few of her favourite recipes from the book, and then Homegrown was also the featured book at our cookbook book club last month. I’ve made the red lentil waffles for Matthew, and one of the soups for my weekday lunches. The back cover of my copy is creased with wear, and many of the pages are already marked with splatters. This is a cookbook I've been using.
My favourite recipe of all the ones I’ve tried is the Apple Maple Cheese Spread. It’s the perfect bridge between those heavier dips we usually consume in the winter, and the lighter ones that belong on a spring crudité plate. The addition of maple doesn’t hurt, either. It adds a seasonal taste, but also a touch of unexpected sweetness, too. I served the dip with celery sticks and crackers, as per the recipe instructions, and while I initially thought the call for celery (and not a variety of veggies) was a little odd, in the end it made perfect sense. Celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese is a popular snack and this dip is really just a variation of that. To celebrate this publication, I've joined a few of my food blogging friends in a blog hop (see below for links to the recipes they've made), and Mairlyn was nice enough to participate in my new “21 questions” feature.