You’ve already seen the wonderful wildberry sourdough muffins recipe which I so tantalized you with (permission granted by Miche). Now experience what cooks and connoisseurs are talking about in The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest. The book is more than a cookbook–it is a memoir of the cooking experience, the preparation, the friends, the mistakes, the surprises, and what might be an everlasting dinner party from recipe to recipe.
The Boreal Gourmet is a unique cookbook, with recipes that utilize all the cool things you’ll find walking around or rooted to the ground in the Yukon, but it is also a bit of Yukonalia. It is a portrait of people living, and cooking, and eating and enjoying life, in the north. From Geist’s review of the book:
I’ve always felt the best cookbooks are the ones you open with the intention of a quick browse but find yourself reading cover to cover and coming out the other end feeling like you’ve attended an inspiring dinner party hosted by the author — without leaving the comfort of your armchair. Michele Genest’s The Boreal Gourmet: Adventures in Northern Cooking (Harbour) is just this sort of cookbook. The narrative that accompanies the inventive recipes oscillates from bush survival advice to personal memoir to historical anecdote (Klondike hopefuls brought sourdough starter buried in a sack of flour with them over the Chilkoot Pass) and is simply a lovely read. The recipes themselves range from the more gourmdet — Arctic Char Poached in White Wine, Gin and Juniper Berries — to the less gourmet — Moose Lake Lasagna in a Pot (complete with tips on how to cook it in the backwoods) — and are complemented by Laurel Parry’s endearing hand-drawn illustrations.
Breakfast-eaters, snackers, hangers-out: it’s time to reclaim the muffin from the fast-food joints and even from the groovy independent cafes.
Like the picture? Get more recipes like the one below from our very own Yukon Boreal Gourmet, Michele Genest. Her book, the Boreal Gourmet, just got a nice, nice, tasty review from GEIST.
Muffins should not be as big as your head, as my friend LP observes. When I was a child a muffin was a 6-bite morsel available in the glass case in the cafeteria or on the counter at the greasy spoon. Now it is an epic that requires a whole morning to consume, and you have to mount an expedition to find the nuts and berries inside. So here are two recipes for muffins of sensible size that feature wild northern berries, are easy to make, low on fat and sugar and bursting with healthy grains. They are similar but not the same.
Low Bush Cranberry Bran Muffins
On a blazing blue day last week I climbed the clay cliffs above Whitehorse and picked a pint of low bush cranberries before breakfast. I came back home with cold fingers and an appetite and whipped up these bran muffins, based on a recipe from that brilliant standby, Joy of Cooking, but tweaked here and there. I’m really pleased with them; they remind me of my grandmother’s bran muffins, for which the recipe is lost (my mother and my aunt have searched their files in vain) and which I’ve been trying to replicate for a long time. Let us sing their praises: light, moist, not too sweet, branny but not too branny and featuring the nice tart bite of low bush cranberries.
1 cup (240 ml) all-purpose flour
1 cup (240 ml) whole wheat flour
1 cup (240 ml) bran
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda
¼ tsp. (1.2 ml) salt