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Time for a treat

For pastry chef Renee Kohlman, cooking daily fuels her creativity and feeds her passion. It’s integral to her well-being and baking is interwoven into the fabric of her life.

In good times, baking heightened her celebrations. In sad times, the kitchen gave her comfort and a place to reflect and think things through.

All of this is captured in her first cookbook, All the Sweet Things, full of recipes she has developed and gathered and deeply personal stories of her life as connected to the recipes.

Kohlman has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years and has a food blog,

She feels that there is a meditative quality to cooking because it gets you out of your head and engages all your senses. She confesses that some of her best ideas have come to her while washing dishes.

Kohlman’s advice for home cooks is simply don’t be afraid to bake. If you are confident, that will translate into what you are preparing.

In the end, it is the doing that is important and most likely the results will taste great.

Multigrain Carrot, Date and Mustard Muffins

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour 250 mL
  • 1 c. whole wheat or multigrain flour 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed 60 mL
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar 75 mL
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar 75 mL
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard seed, plus more for sprinkling 10 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. chopped pitted dates 250 mL
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans 250 mL
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk 375 mL
  • 1/3 c. canola oil 75 mL
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 3 c. grated carrots 750 mL

Line two muffin tins with paper liners, or grease well with butter.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
Combine the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour to salt) in a large bowl.
Stir in the nuts and dates. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Gently stir in the carrots until well mixed. Scoop into the prepared muffin tins so they are about three-quarters full and sprinkle each with yellow mustard seed.
Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the muffins from the tins and let cool completely.
Substitutions: Spelt flour, oat bran or bran can be used instead of the flaxseed.

Source: Developed for SaskMustard by Renee Kohlman.

Teriyaki-Glazed Steelhead Trout, Cucumber, Avocado and Mustard Rice Bowls

  • 4 (5 oz.) steelhead trout fillets 140 g each
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 4 c. cooked white or brown rice 1 L
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 small sheets nori, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. teriyaki sauce 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. yellow mustard seed 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. mustard sprouts 60 mL

Press the trout between paper towels to dry the surfaces thoroughly. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add the trout fillets, skin side down. Immediately turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, pressing gently on the back of the fillets to ensure good contact between the skin and the skillet, for about six minutes.
If the skin doesn’t release easily from the pan, cook a little longer until it lifts easily.
Flip the trout and cook on the other side for about two minutes, until the fish flakes easily. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Divide the hot, cooked rice evenly between four bowls. Top with the cucumber, carrot, avocado, scallions and nori.
Place a trout fillet on each bowl, spooning the teriyaki sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle with the mustard seeds and sprouts.
Substitutions: Use wild sockeye salmon instead of the steelhead trout.
Use the snack sized package of nori, found in the natural foods section of most supermarkets.
Source: Developed for Sask-Mustard by Renee Kohlman.

Double peanut butter and white chocolate chunk cookies

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened 250 mL
  • 2 c. peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), at room temperature 500 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar 375 mL
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar 250 mL
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. two percent or whole milk 30 mL
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 10 mL
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 625 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 3/4 c. white chocolate chips or chocolate chopped into 1/2-inch pieces 175 mL
  • 1/3 c. chopped peanuts 75 mL
  • flaky salt, such as Maldon for sprinkling

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the peanut butter and both sugars. Beat on high speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat on high for another two minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice again.
Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir well. Add this to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Stir in the white chocolate and peanuts by hand, just until the dough is smooth and incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use an ice cream scoop — mine is about 1/4 cup (60 mL) in volume — to portion out the cookies. Place them about three inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies with your hand so they are about half-inch high. Use a fork to lightly make a cross-hatch pattern on top of the cookies. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake one baking sheet at a time for eight to 10 minutes, until the middle is set and the edges are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan on a wire rack.
Keep the cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.
Source: All The Sweet Things by Renee Kohlman.

Brown Butter and Mustard Rice Crispy Treats

  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 22 oz. large jet-puffed marshmallows 600 g
  • 8 c. puffed rice cereal 2 L
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard seed 10 mL

Grease a nine x 13-inch (22×33 cm) baking dish with the canola oil and line it with parchment paper so the sides overhang.
In a large pot over medium-low heat, brown the butter. It will get foamy, turn clear and golden then start to brown and smell nutty.
Stir frequently, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot. Turn heat to low and sprinkle in the dry mustard and sea salt.
Add the marshmallows, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and melted.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal and yellow mustard seed, stirring until evenly coated. Scrape the mixture into a prepared pan.
Work quickly because the sticky stuff is easier to get out of pot while still hot. Have a bowl of cold water nearby and use wet hands to press the mixture into the pan.
Smooth the top and let it rest for a couple of hours before cutting into squares.
Source: Developed for Sask-Mustard by Renee Kohlman.

Cheddar, Chive and Mustard Spelt Biscuits

  • 1 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. (30 mL) all-purpose flour 375 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. spelt flour 375 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder 20 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seed, plus more for sprinkling 7 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder 7 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold, cubed 125 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded aged cheddar, divided 375 mL
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped chives 15 mL
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. buttermilk or soured whole milk, soured half and half cream 250 mL
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. 15 mL water, for brushing tops

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Place a rack in the centre of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour to pepper) in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, or use your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but be sure to leave some large pea-sized bits of butter. Stir in one cup (250 mL) of the cheddar and the chives. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and soured milk. Pour over the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon just until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle about one-inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut out 12 biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch (6 cm) cutter, re-rolling the trimmings if necessary.
Arrange the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the egg, sprinkle with remaining cheese and a few mustard seeds. Bake for five minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 F (190 C) and bake another 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the cheese has melted. Let cool on a wire rack.
Substitutions: Use shredded Swiss or Gruyere instead of the cheddar. Use dill instead of chives.
Source: Developed for SaskMustard by Renee Kohlman.

Lemon and Cream Cheese Muffins

  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 310 mL
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar 150 mL
  • 2 tbsp. sugar for topping 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 7 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. cream cheese, softened 125 mL
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/3 c. canola or other cooking oil 75 mL
  • 1/2 c. whole milk 125 mL
  • 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest 15 mL

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Line a muffin pan with 10 papers or grease well with your preferred cooking oil.
Pour some water into the empty muffin cups to stop them from burning.
Combine the flour, 2/3 c. (150 mL) of sugar, the baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut the cream cheese into quarter-inch cubes and work it into the dry ingredients, using a pastry blender or your hands, until small and large chunks of cream cheese remain.
Beat together the egg, oil, milk, two tablespoons (30 mL) of the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Stir this gently into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan so the cups are about three-quarters full, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Stir together the remaining two tablespoons (30 mL) of sugar and remaining two tablespoons (30 mL) of lemon juice in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush this mixture on top of the hot muffins.
Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack for five minutes, then remove them from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
Store the muffins in an airtight container for one day or freeze for up to one month.
Source: All The Sweet Things by Renee Kohlman.

Dorothy Long is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at Contact:


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