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{flavor stories} dreamy pink milkshakes...


A few weeks back I was flipping through a past issue of UPPERCASE and happened upon a recipe by Tara O'Brady for Black Raspberry Milkshakes. That got me to thinking about how great homemade milkshakes are and how long it's been since I've made one! My version is a take on hers, but with the first rhubarb of the season. I love that when cooked rhubarb goes an irresistible pastel pink. Plus, its distinct tartness is a perfect compliment to a creamy shake! Yum!

For the rhubarb purée, you'll need:
225 grams {about 5 stalks} fresh rhubarb, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
150 ml water
100 grams granulated sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped {drop the scraped pod in too}

1. In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking often.
3. Cook for another 10 minutes so that the juice concentrates just a little.
4. Remove from heat, remove empty vanilla pod, allow to cool, and refrigerate.


For the milkshake, you'll need:

1/2 cup milk {I use 1%}
1.5 tablespoons mascarpone, at room temperature
1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups firmly-packed vanilla ice cream 
1/4 cup rhubarb purée {give or take}
a few gingersnaps or vanilla wafers

Here's how:
1. Blend the milk, vanilla and mascarpone cheese in a blender until smooth.
2. Add the ice cream and blend again until just combined.
3. To serve, spoon a couple heaping teaspoons of rhubarb purée in two glasses.
4. Pour the milkshake between them and add a couple more spoonfuls of rhubarb.
5. Finish with another scoop of the milkshake and sprinkle with a few crushed gingersnaps
6. Serve right away.
7. Refrigerate leftover rhubarb in a covered container for up to 5 days.

*For a peachy alternative, substitute mashed preserved peaches for the rhubarb purée.

**Plus, the rhubarb purée is great at breakfast! Spoon it on vanilla or plain yogurt and sprinkle with chopped pistachios or granola.


{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} sweetheart sundaes...


Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to make mention of a few of my favorite things— chocolate, ice cream and sprinkles! Put them together and there you have it...Sweetheart Sundaes! They're perfect for a girls get-together, that special someone, or {if you're anything like me} for no reason at all!


For the brownies, you'll need:

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder

Here's how:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, sugars, and cocoa on medium until well combined.
2. Remove from heat and stirring continuously, add eggs one at a time.
3. Add vanilla and mix.
4. Stir in remaining dry ingredients.
5. Pour into a prepared 9"x13" pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the center is just dry.
6. Let cool to room temperature.


To assemble the sundaes:
1. Cut brownies into desired shapes {I like hearts or circles}.
2. Place one brownie in the bottom of a parfait cup.
3. Add a few slices of preserved hibiscus flowers.  
3. Next, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4. Finish with warm ganache and white nonpareils and decorate {I made glitter hearts this time but cake flags would be cute too!}.

*For a banana split-like alternative, omit the hibiscus flowers and replace with sliced mini bananas, toasted almonds, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Now cuddle up to someone you love and enjoy!

{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} my kinda winter salad...

Winter Salad

Hello! I thought we'd change things up a little today, and instead of talking about sweets we'd talk about the next best thing...a winter salad! Ok, it might not be the next best thing—but it's nearing the end of January, and I still feel like I'm recovering from holiday eating! That said, this is a salad that would work equally well in the midst of summer. It has crisp shaved fennel and thinly sliced radishes that counter perfectly with the smooth and creamy texture of a ripe avocado and macedonian feta. And you know what? It makes for salad that I'll bet you may find yourself craving again just a few days later!

Winter Salad1

You'll need:

Fresh fennel, belgium endive, arugula, a small piece of fresh salmon, a chunk of Macedonian feta, a handful of toasted almonds, a lemon, avocado, radishes, fresh dill, olive oil and gomashio {I like this one}.

Here's how:
Steam the salmon with sliced lemon and fresh dill then allow to cool. Core and chop a pair of belgian endives. Core and shave a small bulb of fennel and toss both together with a couple handfuls of arugula. Slice a few radishes and pick a handful of dill and mix both in {I use a mandoline for slicing the radishes and fennel bulb}. Next, flake the cooled salmon, crumble in a small piece of macedonian feta, and scoop in the flesh of a ripe avocado and gently fold together. Sprinkle with toasted and chopped almonds, splash with some olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, and toss. Finally, garnish with a hefty sprinkle of gomashio. Serve immediately with a warm piece of buttered toast and enjoy!


{photos by John Cullen, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} sweet apple triangles...


Happy January! When I was a kid, I remember as a treat we'd sometimes go to the neighborhood bakery for apple turnovers. They were little rectangles of pillowy puff pastry filled with apple pie filling and topped with coarse sugar. I loved them so much, so today we're making a simple take on those. They're made with crisp phyllo pastry {found in your grocer's freezer section}, apple sauce, and vanilla. I think they're some of the easiest {and prettiest!} apple turnover I've ever made.


You'll need:
18 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1/2 a vanilla pod  
1/2 cup apple sauce {store-bought or homemade}
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted {approximately}
1/3 cup granulated sugar {approximately}


Here's how:
1. Preheat the oven 375°F. 
2. Stir the scraped contents of the vanilla pod into the apple sauce {like for the pretty pear tarts}.
3. Cut phyllo sheets in half horizontally and cover with a damp towel. 
4. Lay 1 sheet on your work service and using a pastry brush, brush with butter then sprinkle with sugar and follow with 2 more sheets {cover the remaining with a damp cloth}.
5. Slice lengthwise into 3 strips. 
6. Place a heaping teaspoon of apple sauce at one end and fold into a triangle as you would a flag.
7. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Makes 12 triangles.

*For an apple cinnamon version omit the vanilla bean and add a sprinkling of cinnamon between each sheet of phyllo.


And if I may, I think these are best served warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But they make a great snack too! You can store them in an airtight container for up to two days.


{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} icy peppermint stack cake...


Hello, happy holidays! We're still waiting on snow in these parts, but we've been decorating for the season. We have a simple tree with wee globe lights and a tiny white star. As well as cedar boughs hanging from the door and winter blooms on our table. It's nice...it feels like Christmas. And you know, this Icy Peppermint Stack Cake feels like Christmas, too!


It's a simple and festive twist on an old classic chocolate and cream log my mom used to make. It takes about fifteen minutes to prepare {perfect for this time of year!} and requires only five ingredients.

You'll need:
250 ml heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar
a couple drips of peppermint extract
24 chocolate wafers {I use Mr. Christie}
a handful of crushed peppermints or candy canes {this makes it easy}

Here's how:
1. Whip the heavy cream with the confectioner's sugar and peppermint extract until soft peaks.
2. Sandwich 12 cookies together with the whipped cream and place in a line on their sides, to form a log shape.
3. Cover with remaining cream and sprinkle with crushed peppermints.
4. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving {makes 2-12 cookie logs or 1-24 cookie log}.
5. To serve cut on a diagonal with a warm dry knife.

*For a chocolaty version sift a little cocoa powder into the whipped cream. Or for a hazelnut and chocolate version, skip the mint extract, sift a little cocoa powder into the whipped cream and add a thin layer of nutella under the whipped cream of every second cookie. Yum!

Wishing you and yours the very brightest of holiday seasons {and hopefully we'll get snow!}.


{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} holiday cheese & charcuterie boards...


Hello, happy December! I love that the holidays are upon us as I'm keen on twinkly lights, decorated trees, and cozy nights cuddled by the fire. But even more so, I love how stocked the shelves are at the grocers and food shops this time of year...it makes for the best cheese & charcuterie boards! With that in mind, today, we're talking pretty holiday boards.


They're easy to prepare and are perfect for a quick brunch, an appetizer, or even as a great main course for a casual dinner with friends. I typically make my boards super simple, often using them as a way to learn about meats and cheeses I haven't tried before. The ones I'm sharing today have the charcuterie and cheeses separate, but I love composing a board with the both as well. I serve them with crackers, sweet olive oil tortas {pictured above}, or fresh bread garnished with a side of grain mustard {I like kozlik's triple crunch} and sometimes even a drizzle of wildflower honey. 


For my cheese board {pictured at top}, I like a mix of hard and soft cheeses. At the cheese shop, I often ask what their favorites are that day and mix their favorites with mine. Today I chose a beautiful Ash Covered Triple Cream, Canadian Oka, Manchego, Crottin de Chavignol {on the apprentice's recommendation}, and a Swiss herb cheese I'd never seen before. I garnished it with walnuts, fresh figs, and pomegranate seeds. For my charcuterie board {pictured just above and below}, I used rustic farmer's sausage, thinly sliced Lachsschinken, cured Venison sausage, thinly sliced Baurnspeck, dry cured Wild Boar sausage, and Salami Gentile. I garnished that with roasted and salted pistachios {yum!}, cornichons, caper berries, and dried black mission figs.


Both versions are simple to make. Just arrange your charcuterie and cheese on a beautiful wooden board or platter, pour a couple glasses of your favorite beer, some port or sparkling water {I love this one in pomegranate & elderflower flavor} and you're set!


{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} cardamom & cream cheese squares...


Hello! How are things? With Thanksgiving just around the corner in the States, I thought it'd be fun to make a simple pumpkin dessert. Truth be told, I'll take just about any excuse to bake with pumpkins, especially the pretty gray and green ones. 


These squares are a combination of sorts—half no-bake cheesecake and half pumpkin pie—with a touch of cardamom. They're great for dessert or even as a mid-afternoon snack. Plus I think they're a tasty addition to a holiday get-together. 



{flavor stories} pretty pear tarts...


Hello, happy tuesday! Thank you for all your sweet welcome comments on my first Flavor Stories post a couple weeks back, I'm super excited to be here! I thought this week, since fall is fully upon us now, we'd explore just how lovely pears can be... 


I was amazed when I found that our local market had six different varieties—I didn't realize they'd have so many types of pears! I bought a couple of each and tried them all, but settled on beautiful green Concordes for their vanilla sweetness {pictured in the first photo} and the pretty little Forelles for their rose colored skin and perfect size {pictured below}. Any variety of pear will do, of course, but if you can find either, give them a try as they're both really great.


You'll need:
a couple handfuls sliced skin-on almonds, toasted {optional}
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
apple sauce {store bought}
1/2 a vanilla pod, scraped
3 small pears {i like forelles}
1 sheet pre-rolled all-butter puff pastry, thawed {store bought}
vanilla ice cream

Anyway, let's get to it. To make six individual tarts, start by toasting the almonds in a preheated 350°F oven for about 8 minutes, then set aside. Turn the oven up to 375°F. On medium high melt the butter and set aside. Measure the apple sauce and flavor with the contents of half the vanilla pod. Wash, half, core and thinly slice the pears. Cut 6-3.5" rounds from the sheet of puff pastry and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Divide the apple sauce between the six, spooning it gingerly into the center of each. Next, arrange half a sliced pear atop the apple sauce. In a dabbing motion brush each tart with the melted butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and some bits of the pear are nicely browned. Cool briefly on a wire rack and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of toasted almonds.


For a cinnamon version: substitute the vanilla bean for a pinch of cinnamon and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg and replace the toasted almonds with toasted walnuts.

This recipe can be used for a large tart as well, instead of 6-3.5" tarts, cut just 1-8" round from the puff pastry and substitute Concordes for Forelles.

These make a great snack too! Store them in an airtight container for up to three days.


{photos by Michael Graydon, styling by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy}

{flavor stories} a new column + new contributor...


I'm thrilled to introduce and welcome Nikole of Herriott Grace as a regular contributor to Oh Joy! I've been a huge fan of Nikole's beautiful products and images for some time now {her wooden & ceramic pedestals make a regular appearance in my snack posts}. So twice a month, Nikole will share a simple recipe that can be made using what's available and in season...always emphasizing a couple different fun flavor options for each. So, please help me welcome Nikole with her newest post... 

I'm Nikole and I'm pleased to be joining you here with, Flavor Stories. I'm inspired by trips to the market, by the beauty in the simple things, and by food so when Joy asked me to write a column that focuses on simple and versatile recipes that celebrates all those things, I was delighted! 


This week we're making Vanilla Bean Parfaits. They take less than 15 minutes to prepare and can be easily altered to work with what's at the market now. Since we still have local raspberries and a dwindling supply of figs at markets here in Toronto, we're starting with those. Essentially, all you need to do is round up some cute glasses, whip some heavy cream with the contents of half a vanilla bean, and break up some hazelnut meringues {these are store bought}.


We're exploring two flavors today, Raspberry Cream and Dulce de Leche with Hazelnuts. For the raspberry version {shown up top} wash and crush a handful or two of raspberries then layer them with the broken cookies and whipped cream. For the caramel version {shown below}, layer the broken cookies and whipped cream with a couple spoonfuls of dulce de leche, sliced fresh figs, and toasted hazelnuts. 


These make for a great, sweet breakfast too. Just substitute the whipped cream for low fat greek yogurt and enjoy!


{photos by Michael Graydon}