Top News

FOLLOW A FOODIE: Embrace autumnal flavours

Mark DeWolf pairs the fresh flavours of lobster risotto with a lemony cocktail featuring Nova Scotia's own Steinhart Gin. CONTRIBUTED
Mark DeWolf pairs the fresh flavours of lobster risotto with a lemony cocktail featuring Nova Scotia's own Steinhart Gin in this week's In a Jiffy feature. - Contributed

Join Mark DeWolf, SaltWire Network's creative director of food and drink, in our Follow A Foodie newsletter as he follows his taste buds across the East Coast. Subscribe here. 

Don't fight change

I had a remarkably gourmet-free week. A lingering cold, a bout with food writers block – yes that does happen – and the blah that comes from accepting that summer has indeed left us kept my whisk in its top-drawer resting place for much of the week. 

The closest foodie experience I enjoyed this past week was a donut cake from Vandal Doughnuts on Gottingen Street in Halifax, purchased to celebrate my son’s 11th birthday. Yes, they do make cake-sized donuts. Then inspiration hit. Why fight the change of season when I can embrace it?

With visions of warming autumn soups – the chef’s cold cure – and roasted vegetables in my head, I started thinking about updates to Thanksgiving dining. Expect to see a recipe for roast squash and potato tart or honey and star anise roasted carrots in an upcoming article.

Food writers are like all writers. Sometimes we need the simplest things to inspire us. In my case, it was a decision to embrace, rather than fight, the change of season and let comforting vegetarian food pull me through the doldrums of summer’s disappearance.

Boasting about roasting

I’ve long been a roasted vegetable addict. I will automatically age myself, but my earliest inspiration to roast vegetables came from the antipasti station at the original Il Mercato in Halifax, in the late 1990s. Housed behind a glass counter, the original Il Mercato, then located on the north side of Spring Garden Road, near the corner of Queen Street, always had a vibrant mix of roasted asparagus, sweet potatoes, and peppers. It was a near weekly experience for me to enjoy a platter of vegetarian antipasti and glass of Chianti.

For some reason, I often limited myself to these roasted vegetable standards, but over the last few years I’ve expanded my repertoire to include just about every vegetable imaginable, thinking less about what the vegetable is but more about when it is. As we are now in the middle of prime vegetable season, I was inspired by food blogger Renee Kohlmann’s coaxing sweetness and a mild nutty flavour from cauliflower in her recipe for lemon and parmesan roasted cauliflower. Accompanied by a feed of her honey pumpkin crostata and I am sure I will soon forget about summer.


To the beet of a different drummer

Roasted beets have long been part of my fall culinary repertoire. The process seems to intensify the sweetness of the vegetable while respecting its earthy flavour underpinnings. I roast mine - skin on in a foil covered pan at 400 F. Roasting time varies depending on the size of the beet but expect a minimum of an hour and as much as an hour and a half or more. Then let them cool before peeling and slicing. J

ust about every restaurant for the better part of a decade had the standard beet salad, typically dressed with a fresh cheese like Chevre or feta, some delicate greens, and nuts. The flavours work but there are so many more options. Homemade beet chips make a great way to add seasonal flavour and colour to a dip platter. Discover my recipe for beet chips.

Colourful Beet & Sweet Potato Chips - 123RF Stock Photo
Colourful Beet & Sweet Potato Chips - 123RF Stock Photo

Luscious lobstah! In a Jiffy

I know "lobstah" is New England lingo for the pride of the Maritimes but admittedly as I drool about my own recipe for lobster and pea risotto, the hard “r” becomes a salivating “ah.”

Outside the occasional grilled lobster tail and a rare attempt at butter poaching lobster, my cooking experiences with this local classic have been limited to the traditional boil. Thanks to Fox Harb’r Resort’s executive chef Shane Robilliard, I have recently been converted to the benefits of sous vide lobster. So much so, that in my latest In a Jiffy video, Shane and I teamed up to do a lobster cooking demo. 

Shane showcased how to perfectly cook lobster using a sous vide machine that you can purchase at your local Canadian Tire while I transformed the results into a delicious lobster-inspired risotto dish.

Discover Shane’s lobster sous vide tips and my risotto recipe in our latest In a Jiffy video. If you want to add a little local decadence to your repertoire, try this recipe for lobster pizza from Taste of Nova Scotia.

Fox Harb'r Resort's executive chef Shane Robilliard shows off his pride of local lobster. - Contributed
Fox Harb'r Resort's executive chef Shane Robilliard shows off his pride of local lobster. - Contributed

See you next week when we'll offer more great food and drink recipes. Until then, keep following your foodie dreams. 

~ Mark DeWolf

Mark DeWolf - SaltWire file
Mark DeWolf - SaltWire file

Mark DeWolf is a connoisseur of all things food and drink. He's a creative director with SaltWire and local fare is his specialty. Watch Mark whip up seasonal plates in his video series, In a Jiffy, and go deeper with food trends and kitchen challenges weekly 

Want to get this newsletter in your email inbox every Sunday? Subscribe here.

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories