While scrolling through Instagram one evening, I saw that I was tagged in a photo of a beautiful couple holding up mine and Tori’s cookbook, Fraîche Food Full Hearts. And after I read the caption, it completely stopped me in my tracks; they cooked their way through the ENTIRE f**king cookbook. Can you believe it? I know I sure couldn’t. I immediately wanted to know all of their thoughts on each recipe. The good, the bad and the ugly. After all, their honest feedback will help us make our next cookbook (coming 2023?? Lol!) even better!
So, without further adieu, I’m passing it off to Steven and Lourdes, the husband and wife duo that cooked their way through the Fraîche Food Full Hearts cookbook for a Q&A style blog. Enjoy!
Hi everyone! We were so honoured when Jillian and her team reached out to ask if we would share this journey with you. A little bit about us, my wife, Lourdes, and I have been married for over 6 years, and we live in Edmonton, Alberta. Lourdes isn’t much of a cook but an amazing school teacher and a foodie at heart. I am a professional chef and own a small cafe and catering company in Edmonton called MilkCrate.
So let’s get right to the questions!
What inspired you to cook (and eat!) your way through Fraîche Food Full Hearts cookbook?
Lourdes has been a big fan of Jillian and Tori for some time now; when we got the book as a gift during Christmas, we thought it would be a fun little challenge to try and cook our way through the entire cookbook. Not only would it be something fun to do during the pandemic, but I was also looking to switch up my eating habits, and the cookbook is filled with healthy, simple and clean recipes. Both of us were not Vegetarians at the beginning of this challenge, but as we cooked our way through each recipe, we became a meatless household pretty quickly.
What is your favourite recipe?
Lourdes: Harvest Kale Salad. This is the best kale salad I have ever had! The dressing can be paired with anything! Rice, roasted vegetables, seriously whatever your heart desires! The salad marinates long enough so that the kale breaks down just enough to be in that sweet spot between mushy and stringy. The recipe makes a good batch, leaving you plenty for leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Steven: Tofu Fried Rice. It’s such a great tool kit recipe. It fantastic to prep ahead of time; your rice is better cold anyways, you can meal prep it ahead of time, heat up your wok or pan, and have dinner on the table in minutes. You can then expand the recipe to incorporate leftovers and other goodies and begin to make it your own. It is also a great gateway to cooking with tofu, it’s a simple marinade, but that’s what makes it so good!
Which recipe surprised you the most and why?
The Vegan Eggnog! We picked this for how skeptical we were reading the name, but it exceeded all of our expectations once we made it. Another recipe that completely surprised us was the Mushroom Kale Garlic Toast. Lourdes is not a fan of mushrooms, but since her first bite, she has raved about the recipe ever since!
Which recipe did you like the least?
The pierogies. Lourdes mentioned to me that there was a blog post on Jillian’s site with the recipe corrections. Out of principle, I refused to use it. I wanted to see what these recipes were, as printed. The pierogi recipe was where we found the biggest mistake with the volume of water. But we were able to bring the dough together.
Which recipe are you likely to make over and over again?
The Tofu Fried Rice, Kale Caesar, Harvest Slaw and Vegan Bolognese, each of these dishes have big flavours, are easy to make, and make great leftovers. We have made these recipes over and over again and have even prepared them for some of our guests who have enjoyed them just as much as us!
What did you learn while going through this process?
Lourdes: Learning that cooking can be fun and easy even! This became a source of meditation for me during the pandemic. It sounds corny, but this helped us celebrate regular days and appreciate each other during a very challenging year.
What an exciting opportunity this has been! If you want to follow us on Instagram, you can follow along with our food adventures by following @chef_brochew on Instagram and Twitter or my business account @eatatmilkcrate. I also offer virtual cooking classes that range from simple comfort classics to intense 3-5 course meals that you can make from the comfort of your own home. If this is something you, your family or business would be interested in, please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven and Lourdes