{Recipe: Thyme & Cave Aged Gruyere Gougères with Herb Whipped Feta}

Summer time means lots of bustling outdoor festivals in and around town. Here is a little of my lately..

Post 36km training run was rewarded a slice of pepperoni mushroom pizza from the Without Papers food truck at the Inglewood Sunfest last weekend..

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As well as a beef taco served with shredded cabbage and wasabi aioli and a side of edamame from the Shogun Teppanyaki Grill truck..

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The ordinary reinvented at The Dade Art and Design lab where they featured an artist who cut intricate motifs out of styrofoam take out boxes..

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Satisfying my sweet tooth by throwing it back to my childhood with a kiddie scoop of mint chocolate chip at Lic’s ice cream shop in Parkdale..

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Spending the day in the Town of Nanton checking out the local rodeo and perusing through the antique shops..

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A beautiful ornate wooden carriage proudly displayed  on the rodeo grounds..

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A visit to Nanton is not complete until you make a stop at their famous candy shop. I picked up  bag of Haribo ginger lemon sour gummies and japanese mango starburst-like fruit chews.

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Weekend getaways to the mountains for a hike is one of our favourite ways to de-stress. A peaceful and tranquil visit to Rawson Lake.

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The damage of the flood is still evident on the trails out here in Kananaskis..

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 Nothing but the sounds of the wind and water out here..

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If you haven’t checked out the M.C. Escher exhibit at The Glenbow Museum yet, it’s a must see! The collection features a wide variety of his works including some of his early experimentations, printmaking and use of lithography.

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Now onto the food..

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I’ve had Paris on my mind lately and something that always brings me back to there is baking..

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The warm scent of caramelized cheese and fragrant thyme in these savoury puffs baking away in the oven reminds me of the boulangerie cooking classes I took during my trip last year.

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These little nuggets of crisp golden crusted choux pastry make the perfect bite size morsel.

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I paired this with a creamy whipped feta that I flavoured with fresh herbs from the garden. A guaranteed crowd pleaser at your next party. Bon appetit!

Thyme & Cave Aged Gruyere Gougères (adapted from David Lebovitz)

Makes about 30 mini puffs.

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • big pinch of chile powder, or a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup cave aged gruyere (or your favourite aged cheese)

1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Heat the water, butter, salt, and chile or pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.

3. Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t ‘cook.’ The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. (You can transfer the mixture to a bowl before adding to eggs to cool the dough, or do this step in a food processor or electric mixer, if you wish.)

5. Add about 3/4’s of the grated cheese and the herbs, and stir until well-mixed.

6. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.

7. Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, the pop the baking sheet in the oven.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F (190C) and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown. *Mine were done in 18 minutes

For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.

Serving: The puffs are best served warm, and if making them in advance, you can simply pipe the gougères on baking sheets and cook right before your guests arrive, or reheat the baked cheese puffs in a low oven for 5-10 minutes before serving. Some folks like to fill them, or split them and sandwich a slice or dry-aged ham in there, although I prefer them just as they are.

Whipped Feta with Herbs de Provence (adapted from Ina Garten)

  • 6 oz good feta, crumbled
  • 2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • handful of chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme and lavender)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.

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