Maintaining the Love for Cooking
Trish Magwood, chef and food author, understands the importance of the family table. It’s where we gather, eat, connect and unwind from the chaos of the day. To keep the cooking part simple, so we can spend more time with friends and family, Trish has authored a new book, My New Table. This collection of more than 100 recipes is a celebration of the modern table, however you choose to define it.
Ms. Magwood joined us to discuss some must know meal tips and share one of her favourite seasonal recipes.
Harvey Kalles Real Estate: Your recipes are all simple and straightforward, and the method is never more than a page long. Is that a goal of yours?
Trish Magwood: 100 percent. I want to maintain the love for cooking and food. Sometimes, when it’s too long and cumbersome, you lose the love. So, the idea of the book is relatively quick cooking, with ingredients we have on hand, and loosely following local and seasonal.
HKRE: Do you have a favourite winter meal?
TM: I’ve got my eyes on the Curry Chicken Thighs and Pomegranates. It’s festive just by virtue of it having pomegranates, and it stays true to my ‘keep it simple’ mandate…and the kids love it, it has that unique crunch. I think it’s a nice simple, pre-holiday meal.
HKRE: What’s the key to making a successful meals for larger families?
TM: Being organized, planning ahead. The most arduous tasks are often not the cooking or the preparing, but the conceiving and shopping. Once your food’s at home, the rest is kind of easy. It’s just about figuring out what you’re going to do so you’re not scrambling last minute.
HKRE: What was on your holiday table this year?
TM: I picked up some pretty, simple tabletop stuff from Hopson Grace in Toronto. I start with setting a table that can last for days and weeks, and not be super holiday specific. I love lots of sides so that there are many options. We all do potluck in my family. My mom does the main, so I’m usually relegated to the sides. So, I’ll mix it up with brussels sprouts, potato tomato gratin, some roasted carrots. I like having more sides than less.
HKRE: What’s an ingredient we all need to get familiar with this New Year?
TM: Turmeric. We always talk about using what’s in your cupboard, but turmeric is showing up more often, with soups in particular. I have a butternut squash soup, and turmeric adds depth and complexity of flavour and colour. Also, there’s some helpful health bonuses to it, so you might not have it on hand, but turmeric is a nice ingredient to add.
HKRE: Do you have a favourite food store in Toronto?
TM: I have lots but I am guilty of the decadent indulgence of Summerhill Market and Harvest Wagon…they have the most beautiful produce, 365 days a year.
CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH POMEGRANATE (Serves 4)
Curry powder is the workhorse of the spice world: as a blend of many spices, it does the work for us. The combination of the aromas of the curry combined with the crunch of pomegranate seeds will have you coming back to this one time and time again.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Salt + freshly cracked pepper
- 2 Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 4 cups cooked rice, for serving
Pat dry the chicken, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the curry powder and fry for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. For a deeper curry flavour and more heat, use an additional teaspoon or two of curry powder. Add the chicken. Increase the heat to medium-high and fry the chicken until browned, about 3 minutes per side, cooking in batches if needed. remove the chicken and set aside.
To the same pan, add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scrap- ing the bottom of the pan to incorporate any bits of chicken that got stuck, and reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium. return the chicken to the pan. Cook until the chicken juices run clear, about 15 minutes.
In the pan, top the chicken with the yogurt, allowing it to warm and run down into the sauce. remove from the heat, and top with the pomegranate seeds. Enjoy over rice.
My New Table is published by Penguin Random House Canada. For information on Trish Magwood, her recipes and more, visit www.trishmagwood.ca