Living in Montreal is pretty awesome for a multitude of reasons. Food wise, we have more restaurants than we can possibly ever eat at, and you can easily find authentic tasting cuisine from nearly every country in the world. We have an incredible selection of grocers, small and large, and it's pretty easy to find nearly any special ingredient that you're looking for. 

The one thing that we don't have? Trader Joe's. I love everything about Trader Joe's, and I'll take any opportunity I can get to cross the border just to have a taste of their delicious garlic na'an dipped in cowboy caviar. The thing is, I don't often have this opportunity, so when I recently ran out, I knew I would have to either a) live without it, or b) make my own. Obviously, I went with option B. And let me tell you, as much as I love my TJ's, now that I've made this, I may not need to make as many trips down south as I used to.



Tomatillo Cowboy Caviar (Salsa Verde)
an original recipe by allison sklar 

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, diced
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn kernels (canned, or cooked)
1 cup black beans (cooked)
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 diced jalapeno pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp salt

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixng bowl, combine tomatillos, onions, garlic, corn, black beans, cumin seed & oil.
Spread mixture onto baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Transfer about half of the mixture into a food processor or blender.
Add water, vinegar, cilantro, jalapeno & salt to blender.
Pulse until roughly chopped.
Transfer mixture, along with reserved half, to a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 45 minutes, until most of the liquid has reduced and sauce thickens.
Transfer to jar with airtight lid.
Allow to cool & refrigerate.
Best served cold.




Crêpes are one of those foods that I used to think of as 'special occasion food.' I did not grow up eating them, and knew them only from breakfast restaurants, and a few scattered crêperies around the city. They always seemed a little fancy to me, so I shied away from as I thought that they were too complicated or labour-intensive. Boy, was I wrong! This particularly delicious recipe has a batter that is mixed in the blender - just toss your ingredients in and blitz! Couldn't be simpler. Using a 6 inch non-stick pan ensures that each crêpe is the same size and shape - which is great for fancy stacks, crêpe cakes, or perfectionists! These crêpes are so versatile that we found ourselves trying different topping combinations a few nights in a row, having a great excuse to eat breakfast for dinner multiple times. Savoury or sweet, these thin French style pancakes are my new go-to brunch food. The best part? They can be made in advance and frozen - for up to a year! I know this from experience, as we saved some from our wedding, and they were equally as delicious on our 1st anniversary.

French Style Crêpes
thin pancakes - ideal for crêpe cakes 

Note: Make dairy-free crêpes by replacing milk with coconut milk, and butter with coconut oil

ingredients

2 1/4 cups milk, warmed to 110F
2 cups ap flour
6 eggs
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla*

approx. 1/4 cup oil, for cooking

method

NOTES: You can make these in advance and re-warm in the oven at your convenience.
If making a large batch, pre-heat oven to 175F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place all ingredients, except oil, into blender and pulse until completely smooth.
Heat oil in round flat-surfaced skillet or frying pan, ideally the same size as you would like your crêpes to be. I like to use a 6'' pan.
Pour about 3 tbsp. of batter into pan (or, just enough so that the pan is coated.)
Allow to cook for 2 minutes before flipping over.
Remove from pan, and place on parchment lined sheet in a 175F oven until ready to serve.


*Note: Omit the vanilla and reduce sugar to 1/8 cup if you would like to use these in savoury applications.