On this episode of ‘In Char’s Kitchen’ I’m joined by one of my fave musicians/restaurateurs/entrepreneurs (Griffin Gastropub & Muskoka Natural Food Market) Jed Corbeil and his equally talented and inquisitive (a girl after my own heart) daughter; Isla.

The three of us had a blast in the kitchen and whipped up two delicious and doable recipes: a hearty vegan soup (Jed is a vegetarian) and a decadent chocolate dessert.

Hearty Carrot and Spicy Cashew Soup 

I originally developed this recipe (almost a decade ago?!?) for Running Room Magazine. It was a massive hit with readers and I’ve taught it countless times at The Creative Cook (and for my family) and it always gets gobbled up! It’s delicious, nutritious and totally doable (yes, even for you non-cooks!). Enjoy!! *Tip: if you’re not familiar with the flavour of cardamom – I suggest purchasing a little bit at a bulk food store first. This way, if you’re not a fan – you’re not wasting your money (as a jar retails for about $20). Cardamom is personally one of my fave spices – delicious in curries, and I love adding a hefty pinch to my basic shortbread recipe along with orange zest and chopped fresh rosemary.

A simple, delicious and nutrient dense soup.      

1 tbsp (15 mL) melted coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 cooking onion, sliced

2 tbsp (30 mL) Canadian maple syrup (*or agave nectar) 

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon 

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cardamom

4 cups (1 L) chopped carrots, well washed (skin left on)

1/2 cup (125 mL) raw cashews

6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock 

1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger

1 tsp (5 mL) finely grated orange zest

1 clove minced garlic (or to taste)

1/4 tsp (1 mL) chili flakes (*or to taste)

pinch of salt

Garnish (optional): chopped fresh mint, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and Muskoka Four Season Greens

Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium heat. Cook onion for about 3 minutes, stirring, until lightly brown. Add maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom stir until spices are fragrant (about 15 seconds). Add carrots, cashews and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes (until carrots are fork tender). Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Stir in ginger, orange zest, garlic and chili flakes. Using an immersion blender (or stand up blender), puree soup in batches. Reheat soup. Season to taste with salt. Garnish evenly with chopped fresh mint, pumpkin seeds and Muskoka Four Season Greens. Makes about 8 cups (2 L). 

Chocolate Mousse

Doable and decadent – my kinda recipe!!

4 oz (120 g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped *I like to use at least 70% dark chocolate

1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream

1 tsp (5 mL) quality vanilla *or ½ vanilla bean scraped 

⅛ tsp salt and quality ground coffee

Place chocolate in a large, heat proof (or glass) bowl. Bring cream to a boil (*I recommend bringing to a boil over medium heat – as you don’t want to scold the cream). Immediately remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, stir until chocolate has melted. Stir in vanilla, coffee and salt. Chill for at least 4 hours. Once chilled, beat with hand mixer until stiff peaks form (about 1 minute). Divide prepared mousse between four serving dishes and garnish with fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream.

Charmaine is the host of “In Char’s Kitchen” on YourTV Muskoka and regular guest on: Rogers Daytime OttawaCTV Morning Live OttawaCHCH Morning LiveBreakfast Television What She Said Radio sharing her love and enthusiasm for all things food, cooking and fitness.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys; Tyler & Colgan.

Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind.

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