Chef Michael Smith is one of Canada’s most loved chefs, an award winning cookbook author, winner of the James Beard Award for Cooking Show Excellence, and host of many shows on Food Network Canada. I was so thrilled to get to interview him for YMC and get his secret recipe for Chocolate Chip Lentil Cookies. I was totally charmed by his smooth, calm, and deep voice on the phone—I just wish I could have teleported myself to PEI!
So here's the man behind the recipes...
Michael, there are so many varieties of lentils, do you have a favourite?
I tend to cook with the green and red lentils over and over. The one dish that I cook frequently is Dahl, with red lentils, we’ll have it for lunch almost once a week.
Which lentil dish do you like to cook in the summer?
In the summer, we focus on greens, we do more sprouting and we often tend to toss cooked lentils in our salads.
Do you have a favourite summer dish?
In the summer, I am all about the grill and the BBQ! I light a fire in the backyard and cook over it. So, it’s everything that we can do on the grill, which often includes vegetarian burgers that have lentils in them.
What is your latest culinary discovery?
Something new and exciting… Hmm, at the moment it is all about rhubarb! It’s rhubarb season and we stew it with a dash of sugar and star anise, that gives it this liquorice flavour and we serve it over ice cream!
What is your signature dish, the one you have been cooking forever and that keeps getting better…
My seafood chowder! We go right down to the water to get our fresh fish, right off the boat. I tend to do my chowder with a mussel base; I cook a lot with mussels here on the Island!
Your favourite gourmet destination…
PEI—the Eastern end of the Island where I live—I am surrounded by all kinds of great food destinations and passionate people producing lots of wonderful food.
And the ultimate dinner setting for you…
At my table, in my house with my friends and family!
The ultimate cooking tool, the one you would never leave home without...
An ingredient you couldn’t do without…
3 items you would bring to a desert island...
Hahaha! Salt, pepper, and onions!
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Your favorite treat...
by Chef Michael Smith
(Makes about 2 dozen cookies)
These awesome cookies will impress everyone at your table. The kids wont know they have a secret ingredient, they’ll just know they taste good. But you’ll know they’re packed with healthy lentil puree. So you can make cookies because they taste great AND because they’re great for you!
1/2 cup (125 ml) of butter, softened
2 cups (500 ml) of brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons (30 ml) of vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) of lentil puree
2 cups (500 ml) of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of baking powder
2 cups (500 ml) of chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Turn on your convection fan if you have one.
Use your stand mixer or food processor to cream together the butter and sugar until they are smoothly combined. Add the egg, vanilla, and lentil puree and continue until the mixture is smooth once again.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, evenly distributing the finer powders amongst the coarser ones. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll into balls or drop by the spoonful placing about 2 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking tray.
Bake for exactly 12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes than serve, share and get ready for the greatest hoodwink ever!
You may make your own lentil puree by simply pureeing 4 parts cooked lentils with 1 part water. It may also be stirred into any soup or stew.
© Chef Michael Smith
*Look out for Chef Michael Smith's new cookbook, including 110 fast and simple recipes. Fast Flavours, by Penguin Books, to be released in the Fall 2012.
Chef Michael Smith has teamed up with Canadian Lentils on the Love Your Lentils program. Their website is filled with amazing lentil recipes and the fabulous restaurants across Canada where you can find them!
And we're giving away TEN copies of Chef Michael Smith’s new cookbook “100 of my Favourite Easy Recipes” thanks to Canadian Lentils so you can get in the kitchen and begin cooking yourself!
All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what your favourite Chef Michael Smith recipe is! You can find a bunch of them here.
You have until July 13, 2012 to enter. You must be a YMC member and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
I can’t believe I just discovered Bal Harbour! At only 20 minutes from downtown Miami, it is simply a dream place and such an overall ‘In Good Taste’ location with great hotels, fantastic beaches, gourmet restaurants and amazing shopping.
The other great news is that the city is not only safe but perfectly family-friendly with hotels that range from very, very expensive to expensive and from moderate to very affordable. There are four hotels in Bal Harbour and each of them offers something special.
At One Bal Harbour, Resort and Spa, when you book one of their amazing suite, you get the connecting room for 50% off. And since there are two suites per floor, it means you get the entire floor for you and your family. Perfect for a family of eight. And the kids get a special welcoming package including stuffed animals, storybooks and a VIP card that gives them access to special treats, like free ice cream, Yummy!
The swimming pool is amazing and so is their beautiful spa that offers a full range of services to pamper you from head to toes. And if you are traveling with your furry companion, they even have a special pet program, inspired by the work of Lulu Flynn, celeb pup party thrower and dog author—“The Ultimate Dog Party.”
Just across the road, Quarzo is a gorgeous boutique hotel with very large rooms that all have fully-equipped kitchens and are big enough to host a family of four. They even have a coin laundry room, which is fabulous when travelling with kids. Their location in front of the canal is spectacular and on top of the swimming pool, they have the same access to the beach that Hotel One has.
If you are looking for landmark, you will find it and more at the legendary Sea View Hotel. The rooms are all newly renovated and have spectacular views, either on the ocean—or on Neiman Marcus and the Bal Harbour Shops—which is none the less spectacular ;) The hotel has an Olympic-size swimming pool, surrounded with the original '60s Key West-style cabanas, which you can rent for the day or the week. They have a fabulous kids club and a famous old-style coffee shop where people line up for breakfast, afternoon, fare and old fashioned treats like chocolate milk shakes. They have great rates and discount packages available all year round.
The new St.Regis Hotel is luxury at its peak!! Here, you are being welcomed with a glass of champagne and escorted to your room by your own private butler. They have smart elevators that take you directly to your floor at the swipe of your room key. The rooms are fabulous and so is their state-of-the-art Remède Spa, connecting to a dream pool area. You can rent one of their Royal Cabana for the day, fully equipped—and with a bottle of champagne on ice! Luxury, luxury, luxury! And the hotel restaurant is absolutely one of the best in Florida, with an amazing menu from renowned Chef Jean-Geoge.
I just can't wait to tell you all about it in my next post!