Thursday, March 19, 2015

Podcast Recipes: Mandi Loo's Pear and Parsnip Soup

Hello friends! Did you listen to the podcast yet? If not you can do so on iTunes by clicking here or you can listen on Soundcloud below. Mandi was such a fun first guest!

Although I've only just begun, this process is so fun! After each podcast episode, I will be asking each of my guests for a recipe to share with all of you! I will be making and blogging about each recipe, and I encourage you to join me in trying them yourself. Make them "by the book" or put your own spin on them, and please share your photos and experiences with me on Facebook and Instagram! 

Mandi Loo's Pear and Parsnip Soup

  • 1 pound Vidalia or other sweet onions (1 large or 2 small), peeled and thinly sliced into strips 
  • 4 tablespoons organic pumpkin seed or sunflower seed oil, or butter 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • Pinch ground white pepper 
  • Pinch ground ginger 
  • 3 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes 
  • 2 pounds Bartlett or bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 
  • 3 litres cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt to taste 


In a large soup pot, heat oil or butter over medium-low heat, add sliced onions, salt, pepper and ginger, and sweat onions gently until soft and transparent. Add chopped parsnips and pears and continue to sweat gently over medium-low heat until parsnips and pears have started to soften. You can add butter and oil at this point if you want a richer, creamier soup. Stir frequently to prevent browning. 

Add the water and increase heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid reaches a boil. Immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer until parsnips are very tender (about 20 to 30 minutes). Remove from heat and puree in a blender (do not fill blender more than halfway, cover with a dry tea towel, hold down lid and start at low speed), food processor or with an immersion stick blender. For the best texture, pass the puree through a fine sieve. Return to a clean pot, adjust thickness as desired with water. Heat to the boiling point, add cider vinegar, and season to taste with kosher or sea salt.

Ta da! The finished product is above! This made a good amount of soup for one person so I froze some and I plan to give some away to my parents. As you can see I had a kitchen helper who was patiently hoping for me to drop a tasty morsel, but he was not so lucky. When this soup is blended and served, it is a pure, creamy, white colour. I decided to slice some pears and sprinkle in some raw pumpkin seeds as a garnish. I enjoyed this soup -- I am not a big fan of parsnips, but the pears sweeten the soup and the result is a much more mellow taste. Enjoy! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The After the Harvest Podcast, Episode One: Mandi Lunan, Owner of Auntie Loo's Treats

Click this photo to listen on iTunes! 

The After the Harvest Podcast is officially here! After I published my book in 2013, I knew I wanted to do another creative project inspired by this blog, I just didn't know what would emerge next. After becoming obsessed with a slew of other podcasts, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. I am excited to be embarking upon this podcasting journey, and I hope you will listen along with me! You can find the podcast on iTunes here, and on Soundcloud here (also embedded below).

In this first episode I welcomed Mandi Lunan of Auntie Loo's Treats! Listen in as we talk about beer, vegan cheese, family dinners, the big orange bowl, Italy, Vermont, and The Manx, among other things.

The music featured in this episode is from April Smallwood, a talented singer/songwriter who hails from Sydney, Australia. (Scroll to the end of this post for more music from April).

So, pull up a chair at the table and join me. Grab a drink and a favourite snack -- eat, drink and connect along with me and my first guest.

To harvest means “to collect” or “gather” and there is nothing I love more than gathering great food and drink and even better people around a table. It is in these moments that we eat, drink, … and connect.  So, that image of sitting around a table enjoying good food and drink and great conversation? That’s what I hope this podcast will be.

Each episode I will invite a guest or two to my table to enjoy, and talk about, delicious food and drink -- as well as travel, childhood memories, in general. Each episode will also feature a band or musician, and I plan to focus on independent artists. I will also ask each of my guests my "trademark" After the Harvest Question: If they could have a dream dinner with 5 people, who would their guests be, where would the dinner take place (location and setting), and what would they be eating and drinking? Scroll down to see who Mandi's dinner guests would be!

After each episode is launched, I will be providing "show notes" -- links to some of the people, places, food and drink my guest and I mention in the episode. See below for the show notes from this episode, and you can also enjoy some personal photos from Mandi herself in this post!

Mandi Lunan, Owner of Auntie Loo's Treats 

Mandi as a child, enjoying some good family times 
at the dinner table. Look at those bangs and that smile!
 P.S. Who else had a dress like that? Total flashback. 

Mandi Loo and the big orange bowl! 

Show Notes: Episode 1 
  • Blowing out the candles on my birthday cake -- age 4 -- with Mom's brown sugar icing 

We also talked about some of Mandi's favourite things -- this didn't make the final edit, but I thought I would share anyway just for fun!
Mandi also graciously shared her recipe for parsnip and pear soup, so stay tuned to the blog as I'll be making the soup and sharing the recipe with all of you! Thank you for listening, reading, eating, drinking and connecting.

Listen here to enjoy more of April's music! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Coming Soon...

I am SO excited to announce that I am starting a podcast!

After becoming mildly obsessed with podcasts such as This American LifeFood is the New Rock, Invisibilia, The Ask Gary Vee Show, The Tim Ferris Show, Serial, Entrepreneur on Fire, The Moth, and the first podcast I fell in love with, Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin; I decided to start my own: The After the Harvest Podcast.

Bear with me as I shape-shift into a professional podcaster while understanding that I am, at present, still in larvae mode. I have already noticed that my childhood hero, Guy Smiley is evident in my intro, as is proof of the number of Drew Barrymore movies I've watched (valley girl alert). However, I look forward to becoming my own version of an Anthony Bourdain-Oprah Winfrey hybrid, so I will be doing my best to polish my skills as we go along.

My first guest is the lovely and vivacious Mandi Lunan of Auntie Loo's Treats. I am just putting the final touches on her episode and it should be up soon -- I will of course let you know!

The premise of The After the Harvest Podcast is to eat, drink, and connect with awesome people. Each episode will feature an awesome person or two, in the food industry or not, and food and drink will be enjoyed and discussed. Of course we will discuss other things too, like music, film, life, childhood, travel, and favourite things. We will see where the conversation takes us!

Each episode will also feature an independent musician or band, or a musician or band that I enjoy, or that my guest enjoys (with permission from the artist, of course). If you or someone you know wants to be featured, please drop me a line at aftertheharvest(at)gmail(dot)com.

Stay tuned for Episode 1: Mandi Lunan, and the many more episodes to come! You will be able to find the podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Links will be provided.

Here's to eating, drinking, connecting -- and podcasting!