Tag Archive | hemp seeds

Polenta, Pomodoro & Oyster Mushrooms

Mushroom Polenta

I love polenta, but don’t make it often because all semblance of self-control seems to go out the door as I inevitably always end up overheating. It’s not so much the serving that makes it onto my plate (I won’t lie, it’s bigger than it should be), but more so what I tend to eat while I’m plating and then when I’m storing leftovers.

What can I say? It’s Italian comfort food at its best! I have such fond memories of watching my mom make this classic dish. Its golden colour, beyond creaminess, and extremely satisfying. In our household, it served as a bed for no other than our homemade tomato sauce, what I call liquid gold. Anything else would have been sacrileges.

What you are getting in this week’s recipe is actually two classic dishes
: polenta and pomodoro and pomodoro and oyster mushrooms. What a treat!

Though I make this dish as I was taught in the traditional way, with olive oil, parmigiano, and fresh herbs, I’ve changed it up this time to boost the protein content. Beware, though delicious, my mother would not approve. I kept the olive oil for richness, but instead of the parmigiano, I used nutritional yeast, added hemp seeds for protein, and chives instead of fresh herbs, as the pomodoro is amply aromatized with fresh rosemary, a very nice complement to the oyster mushrooms as well as the pomodoro. My mom was quick to tell me that basil would have, of course, worked better, but I disagree. Fresh basil is classic with pomodoro, but rosemary works better with oyster mushrooms. I’ve convinced her to give it a try.

As for the oyster mushrooms, normally they are sautéed in some olive oil and then the processed tomato wedges get added. It’s delicious, but the mushrooms tend to water down the pomodoro for a more liquidy consistency. I opted to cook both separately and added the mushrooms to the pomodoro at the very end after they were both fully cooked.

Truly, this is one of my favourite dishes and by far my preferred way to serve polenta. It’s creamy. It’s sweet. It’s chewy. So satisfying on so many levels.

Serves 4


 Olive oil  ½ cup
 Mushrooms, oyster  3 lbs (48 oz)
 Black pepper
 Parsley, fresh, chopped
 Tomato wedges  64 oz
 Olive oil  ½ cup + 2 tbsp (or 10 tbsp)
 Salt  1 tsp
 Black pepper
 Garlic, crushed, whole  3 cloves
 Rosemary, fresh  2 sprigs
 Cornmeal  1 cup
 Water  4 cups
 Salt  ½ tsp
 Black pepper
 Olive oil  3 tbsp
 Hemp seeds  4 tbsp
 Nutritional yeast  1 tbsp
 Chives, fresh, chopped  10 grams (1/4 bunch)

1. To prepare the mushrooms, in a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt, and black pepper and cook until liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms start to caramelize, approximately 30 – 45 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley.

2. To make the pomodoro, process tomato wedges through a food mill or in a blender. In a medium pot, combine pureed tomatoes and olive oil and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add salt, black pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until thickened. The pomodoro should reduce by more than half.

3. For the polenta, in a medium pot, add salt, black pepper, olive oil and water and bring to a boil. Add cornmeal and nutritional yeast. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, using a whisk to stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chives and hemp seeds. 4. To assemble, divide polenta onto 4 plates. Top with pomodoro and mushrooms. Garnish with more parsley.

Glorious Fig Spread


I have eaten my share of figs, any and all kinds, over my lifetime, but never more than this year. The volume and quality of the figs this year are unsurpassable. I doubt I will see another year like this; this was definitely fig year.

My absolute favourite way to enjoy figs is raw, in their natural sweet ripe state, particularly for breakfast. In my family, it is not unusual to pair them with a piece of toast in the morning.

That’s why the idea of fig jam has always confused me. When at their peak, figs ooze a jam-like consistency better than any preserve one can buy. Besides, I don’t like adding sugar to something so naturally sweet. I understand wanting to preserve figs; for those of us who enjoy them, the season is never long enough, but I prefer to eat them fresh.

Hence, this glorious spread. Truly, food for the gods. Sweet figs and pistachios, creamy avocado, and hemp seeds (to boost the protein content) that pop, rounded off by a hint of spicy nutmeg and sweet fennel seeds. This spread makes my mouth sing. Every bite is accompanied by tones and undertones of hemp, nutmeg, and fennel seeds; a floral, fruity symphony.

As another breakfast alternative, try this instead of yogurt with rolled oats. If there are leftovers, this spread works well in a sandwich with lots of mesclum mix and grilled veggies such as eggplant or zucchini for a light lunch. It is also a very nice complement to an assorted plate of appetizers and serves as a beautiful bed for an all mixed green salad.

Served on a croissant, it doesn’t get any better than this! Hello sunshine.

Makes 4 oz / 1/2 cup.


Figs 2
Pistachios 1 tbsp (approx. 15)
Avocado 1/4
Hemp Seeds 1 tbsp
Nutmeg Pinch
Fennel seeds 5

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until you achieve a smooth consistency. This spread tastes even better the day after, after all the flavours have had a chance to get to know each other better.

2. Spread mixture over toasted bread.

Cinnamon Breakfast Cookie



I’m not going to tell you that I have never had cookies for breakfast, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Most of the breakfast cookies available at coffee shops taste good enough, but they are essentially regular cookies with key ingredients added such as: oats, dried fruit, and nuts. As a once a week breakfast treat / alternative, I’m not interested in dessert for breakfast. Oatmeal cookies are not normally breakfast options around here, unless I have baked them myself (and that doesn’t happen very often).

So, I set out to create a breakfast cookie that would be high in protein, butter-less, sweetened with natural sugars, and above all moist, filling, and delicious. I used spelt flour for a low gluten option. Loaded the cookie with hemp seeds, a complete vegetable protein. Replaced the butter with avocado (the good butter of the plant world), and used dates and maple sugar to naturally sweeten the cookies.

The result was pretty incredible! This is, by far, the moistest cookie I have ever tasted! It is perfectly sweet; the dates and maple sugar provide a hint of caramel, and they combine with the hemp seeds, which provide texture, substance, and nuttiness, almost pistachio-like. Think cinnamon, caramel, and pistachio … for breakfast!

Your mouth will demand a second, but at approximately 8 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein per cookie, your tummy will tell you you are full, deliciously satiated.

This is a healthy breakfast treat that’s a delicious guilt-free option.

Makes 8 extra large cookies (approximately)


Spelt flour 2.5 cups
Hemp seeds 1.5 cups
Baking soda 1 tsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
Cinnamon 1.5 tsp
Maple sugar 1 cup
Dates, mashed 10
Avocado, ripe, mashed 1
Canola oil 1/2 cup
Vanilla 2 tsp
Egg 1


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, using a fork, mash dates and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (spelt flour, hemp seeds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and maple sugar) and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add wet (dates, avocado, canola oil, vanilla, and egg) ingredients. Using your hands thoroughly combine.
  6. Using a half cup measure (I did say they were big), form cookies patty-like. Bake for 14-18 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Cool cookies on a baking rack.