halifax food stylist

Squash, Chorizo and Blue Cheese Strata

collaborate  (verb)   kuh lab uh - reyt

to work, one with another

My friend Kathy, from eatHalifax!, and I have been wanting to collaborate on a project for a really long time. Finally, last Sunday we got together to make this gorgeous breakfast Strata featuring Chorizo sausages from Ratinaud French Cuisine, Chef Jason Lynch's beautiful new Dijon Mustard and Blue Harbour Cheese's Urban Blue - all made right here in Nova Scotia.

Food styling and recipe : Kathy Jollimore

Photography : Kelly Neil

Squash, Chorizo & Blue Cheese Strata - serves 6

1 small or 1/2 large acorn squash, seeds removed, cut into wedges

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 Ratinaud Chorizo sausages, casings removed

6 eggs

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp. Jason Lynch's Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. chopped herbs: oregano, rosemary and\or sage

1 loaf rustic French bread, cubed or torn into pieces

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano 

4 oz. Urban Blue cheese, crumbled

- Preheat oven to 450º - Place the squash on a baking sheet - Drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper - Roast until soft, about 20-30 min (you could also roast longer at a lower temperature if desired) - Remove from oven and scrape off any charred bits. Scoop out squash into a bowl. Lightly mash and season lightly with salt and pepper.

- Reduce oven to 375º - Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

- Heat a skillet over medium heat - Add the remaining olive oil - Fry the chorizo until just cooked, breaking it into smaller pieces - Set aside.

- Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, Dijon, and fresh herbs - Season with a pinch of both salt and pepper - In the baking dish, mix together the bread, squash, Chorizo, Parmigiano and Urban Blue cheeses - Pour the egg mixture over top - Press the bread into the liquid (if using day old bread, feel free to refrigerate an hour or even overnight) - Bake until the liquid is fully absorbed and the top golden brown, about 40 min. Serve immediately.

The Coast's November 20, 2014 issue - Run this town

When Melissa Buote contacted me and said she was 'working on an issue for The Coast on women working in the food industry in Halifax', I had no idea that the intent was to include me in a list of 28 movers and shakers in the Halifax food scene. I was blown away when I saw the online edition this morning.

From the November 20, 2014 online edition of The Coast - by Allison Saunders

This time last year, Time published a cover feature titled Gods of Food that came under major fire, and rightly so, for its serious lack of women. It's "pantheon" listed 13 "gods," nine of which were men or groups of men, and its international chef family tree was 100 percent pure dude.

In response, Eater interviewed Time editor Howard Chua-Eoan, who defended the magazine's choices by saying bumbling things like, "we just went with the basic realities of what was going on and who was being talked about," and "we did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef," and then "the media covers the industry. I don't think the media has to advocate for anything." 

So, if the media isn't advocating for anything or anyone, what are we doing?

Yes, there's been a longstanding gender bias in the world of food and drink, but when Melissa Buote and I started thinking about what it would look like if we were going to report the "basic realities of what's going on" in Halifax's food industry we came up with the idea for this feature. We started making a list of pioneers, ambassadors and newcomers—owners, chefs, servers, food lovers—who we admired, who we were excited about. Some were people we'd covered before, others we thought deserved some spotlight, and when we stepped back and looked at our messy scrap of paper full of names it was clear that our food scene is not dominated by men, at all. 

So this year we've replaced our New Restaurants issue with a feature celebrating 28 rad women in local food and drink. Lists are trouble, and we totally recognize this. We don't consider this list to be an ultimate one, we have dozens of amazing names that we couldn't fit into this feature, but it's a snapshot of who's making Halifax a great place to eat and drink.

Please visit this link to read all about the other 27 incredibly talented women on the list.

Bacon-fat Roasted Beets with Double Smoked Bacon, Shallots, Aged Balsamic and Old Growler

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Bacon-fat Roasted Beets with Double Smoked Bacon, Shallots, Aged Balsamic and Old Growler - side dish for 4-6 people

8 strips Pete's Double Smoked Bacon

3 shallots

1 large golden beet

3 small-medium red beets

2 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar

kosher salt

That Dutchman's Old Growler Gouda-style cheese

- preheat oven to 350º - line a baking sheet with foil - lay out strips of bacon and bake until almost crispy 30-35 minutes - remove bacon from sheet and set aside - pour bacon fat* into medium-large heat proof bowl - set sheet aside

- while bacon is in oven peel and cut shallots and beets - I cut my shallots in half lengthwise and then into segments, again cutting lengthwise - I cut my beets into 1-inch bite sized pieces

- add 2 Tbsp aged Balsamic vinegar to bacon fat - mix with a fork to emulsify (blend) - toss shallots in bacon fat-vinegar mixture and lay out on the same sheet you cooked the bacon on - toss the golden beet next in the bacon-fat vinegar and lay out on sheet - finish with red beets (see picture below) - sprinkle shallots and beets with kosher salt and bake 30-35 minutes - check shallots at the 25 minute mark and remove from oven if they're brown around the edges - at the 30 minute mark, tear 4 strips of cooked bacon by hand and add to baking sheet to warm - when beets are cooked to your liking** remove baking sheet from oven - toss ingredients together on sheet - spoon onto serving platter and top with shaved Old Growler - serve immediately

 *I cooked 8 strips of bacon but only use 4 in the recipe because I wanted the extra bacon fat for the dressing - I'm sure you can guess the other 4 pieces of bacon did not go to waste.

**I like my beets tender but not mushy so 30-35 minutes keeps then slightly firm in the center - if you like your beets softer, roast longer and test every 5 minutes for doneness. Add torn bacon pieces for the last 5 minutes of roasting to warm up.

Toss the shallots in the dressing first, then follow with the golden beets, so they don't get stained by the red beets. Once all three are roasted, you can toss together without much staining. 

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