TORONTO Sarah Richardson says there’s more to bringing a home to life than just beautiful decor, and enjoying a hearty, home-cooked meal with loved ones is a key part of the equation.
“Food to me is inextricably linked to how I enjoy home,” said the designer and HGTV personality.
“When I get home, even after a long day, it’s not about dialling up takeout or ordering in a pizza. It’s about opening the fridge and creating a meal and then unwinding and relaxing at home.”
In her new book, “At Home: Sarah Style,” Richardson explores the connection between creating eye-catching interiors that are also cosy enough to enjoy gatherings with friends and family. Food is also a focal point with a collection of beloved dishes of personal significance to Richardson and the stories behind them.
Here are two recipes featured in the “In Our Kitchen” section of the book:ROASTED SWEET POTATO SALAD
Richardson says that this salad has been part of her family’s Christmas feasts since her brother Ben first made it. Instead of old standby starches to accompany a winter meal, this salad is a veritable explosion of unexpected flavours.
Salad:3 medium to large sweet potatoes
50 ml (1/4 cup) of olive oil
Salt and pepper
500 ml (2 cups) baby kale, washed and dried
4 green onions
50 ml (1/2 cup) cilantro
50 ml (1/2 cup) roasted, shelled pumpkin seeds
Dressing:2 tbsp fresh ginger
50 ml (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
50 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
75 ml (1/3 cup) maple syrup
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
Wash the sweet potatoes, trim off the ends, then chop into bite-size cubes or pieces. Toss them in the oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread them out evenly on a non-stick baking sheet.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until they look browned, but remove them before the edges star to burn. Reduce the oven temperature to 150 C (300 F). Allow the sweet potatoes to cool.
While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Line the bottom of a wide, shallow serving bowl with the baby kale.
Place the pecans in a baking dish and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, then remove the dish and allow the pecans to cool.
Remove the pomegranate seeds from the shell and keep in a bowl until needed. Chop the white and light green parts of the green onions and add to the pomegranate seeds. Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the bowl.
To make the dressing, combine the ginger, lemon juice, oil and maple syrup in a measuring cup or jar and mix well.
To assemble the salad, spread the potatoes over the kale followed by the pomegranate seeds, cilantro, green onions, pecans and pumpkin seeds.
Makes 6 to 8 servings as a side.
APPLE BERRY CRISP
Richardson says that she loves a crisp for dessert because it’s not too sweet and is a refreshing end to a meal. When berries aren’t in season, she uses a frozen “power fruit blend” of blackberries, cherries and blueberries. The topping skips the flour that is often used in a traditional crisp, and the result is a crunchy, golden oat crust “that is as comforting as an oatmeal cookie.”
Fruit:2 medium to large apples
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1 L (4 cups) mixed fresh or frozen suit such as blueberries, cherries, blackberries strawberries or raspberries
Crisp topping:75 ml (1/3 cup) butter
250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar
500 ml (2 cups) organic whole oats (not quick cooking)
5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
75 ml (1/3 cup) maple syrup, plus more if needed
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
Cut the apples into quarters, core them, then cut in halves or thirds depending on the size of the apples. Put the pieces in a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, then layer them into the bottom of a 15-by-23 cm (6-by-9-inch) baking dish. (You can use any size dish you like and add more or less fruit to suit the size of dish you’ve got. This is a flexible recipe, and you can’t go wrong.)
Pour the mixed fruit on top of the apples. Sprinkle the lemon zest over all the fruit.
To make the crisp topping, in a separate mixing bowl cut the butter into small slices or cubes so it will soften. Add the brown sugar, oats and cinnamon to the butter and blend with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Add the maple syrup.
Distribute the crisp topping evenly over the fruit. If your topping looks too dry, you can drizzle a bit more maple syrup over it before you put the crisp in the oven.
Cook until the crisp topping is a rich golden tone and the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the dish, 45 to 55 minutes.
Serve with ice cream. Or, if you want a healthier alternative, mix plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with 15 ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar per 250 ml (1 cup) of yogurt, then spoon on top of the crisp.
Makes 8 servings.