Monika Hibbs’s first cookbook offers far more than simple how-tos of putting together a fabulous dish.
The Langley, B.C. native believes it’s the special little touches that make a meal memorable and, to that end, she’s filled Gather at Home with tips on everything from how to make peony bloom place cards, chalk-painted pumpkins and even a do-it-yourself s’more roasting station.
In addition to more than 100 recipes (many passed down from her mom), Hibbs gives even the most clumsy arts-and-crafter a cheat sheet on how to make, say, a bouquet of wild flowers look good, summertime pinwheels to thrill the kids and beeswax-covered food wrap to take eco-anxiety away.
“A lot of people find entertaining and cooking intimidating,” says Hibbs, who has three small children and recently opened a home decor store in Langley. “The picture-perfect world we live in – especially with Instagram and other social media – feeds into that. However, I believe if you pour your heart into something – anything – it doesn’t matter if it turns out perfectly. It only matters that we celebrate being together.”
Divided into four parts – spring, summer, winter and fall – Hibbs’s book provides menus for a variety of seasonal occasions, including last-minute barbecues, Father’s Day breakfast in bed, taco night with the kids, Mother’s Day brunch and a snowed-in holiday baking day.
“I wrote the book to inspire people to take time out of their busy lives and cherish the time we have with family and friends,” she says. “I truly believe it’s the details – the love that’s poured in – that people remember as much as the food.”
Maple, Lemon, and Garlic Glazed Salmon with Asparagus
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pure Canadian maple syrup
- 2 tsps white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets, about 1-inch (5-cm) thick
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lemon wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
Place the salmon fillets in a medium glass dish, skin side down, and pour three-quarters of the marinade over the salmon.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining marinade (toss to coat).
Transfer the salmon to the baking sheet, skin-side down, nestle among the asparagus.
Season everything generously with salt and pepper.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon has an internal temperature of 130 F.
The salmon should be firm to the touch but still pink in the centre.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Excerpted from Gather at Home: Over 100 Simple Recipes, DIYs, and Inspiration for a Year of Occasions by Monika Hibbs. Copyright © 2020 by Monika Hibbs. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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