Monday, May 21, 2018

Cabbage

It's time to cozy-up with Cabbage.  Here is a simple easy recipe to make ahead of time to serve later.  


Cabbage Roll Casserole

Serve with boiled new potatoes and a green salad

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 pound ground beef
1 – 28 fl oz can chopped tomatoes with juices
1 - 5.5 fl oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups shredded cabbage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat.  Sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Turn up heat to high; add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, cooked rice and brown sugar.  Simmer on stove for 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a 9 x 13 x 2 inch dish spread half the cabbage.  Spread half the meat mixture on top.  Then add remaining cabbage and top with remaining meat.  Cover with tin foil and bake in oven for 50 minutes.  Can be made a day ahead.  Serves 6.

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Cabbage Roll Casserole
Cabbage Roll Casserole

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Real Food Is Cool

When did eating become so complicated?  Ten years ago the big food choice was should I eat meat or not, organic or non organic, 2% or skim milk.  Today, you practically need a handbook to weave your way through all the options when deciding what to eat. 

There are endless studies that seem to disprove each other on what is good for us to eat based on the “science.”  Eating today is like learning a new operating system every week!  Not only should we be concerned about fat, sugar and nutrients, the experts and the shame blamers tell us we should eat food that is environmentally sustainable, humane, socially just and beneficial to local farmers.  It’s exhausting.


It’s hard for us everyday cooks to understanding the verbiage.  So it’s no wonder we head to JAPADOG, a successful Vancouver Hot Dog stand, and call that dinner.  To heck with sulfites and sodium, it tastes good and it’s simple.  A hot dog is a hot dog.


So what is the solution? How does the everyday cook navigate themselves through the food hyperbole?  By purchasing ear plugs.  By tuning out the food noise and sticking to what we know is true.  That real food is cool.  We know an apple is better for us than a donut, and that it’s not great for our waistlines to regularly eat at fast food restaurants. We also know that water is better for us than a soft drink and that a salad is better for us than French Fries. We know all this, yet somehow we forget and get confused with all the sound bites. 

If we shut out the endless food chatter then eating becomes simple again.  Eat what we know is true.  No handbook required.  Real food is cool.


In celebration of real food try this recipes with local Strawberries that have just arrived try making cobbler dessert with a cornmeal topping! It’s a recipe to help you enjoy the red bursts of springtime, first published in the Recipes to the Rescue, Spring Edition, 1997!  Enjoy.  

Bundles Of Rhubarb
Fresh Rhubarb at Farmers Market

Monday, May 7, 2018

Butter Lettuce with Pineapple Ginger Dressing

Butter Lettuce
Butter Lettuce Salad

Butter Lettuce Salad with Pineapple Ginger Dressing

A perfect salad to serve that the family will love
Serves 6

6 cups torn butter lettuce, lightly packed
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

 

Dressing:

5 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup small diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste.
 

In a small bowl, whisk the pineapple juice, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes to blend. Stir in the pineapple and cilantro.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber and radishes with about half the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Taste, add more dressing if needed.


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chicken Enchiladas

It's almost Friday, so I'd like to wish everyone a happy Friday....

This is a dish that is super easy to make.  For the cooked chicken, you could buy some chicken tenders and stir-fry them up, or you could purchase a cooked whole chicken from the grocery store.



Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 4

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1.5  cup cooked, cubed chicken
1 cup Moneterey Jack cheese, grated
Eight - 6 inch (15 cm) flour tortillas
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven until soft but not firm, about 5 minutes.  In a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup salsa, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, tomato, cumin, chili powder and chicken. Mix well.  Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of mixture onto each tortilla and roll up.  Place in slightly oiled 9 x 13 inch (33x23cm) pan, seams down.  Spread remaining salsa on top of tortilla, and sprinkle cheese over salsa.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through.  Serve, passing sour cream.

Note:  If you like refried beans then spread a thin layer on each tortillas before adding the filling.




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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bored With Cooking? Here Are Some Ideas To Energize You In Your Kitchen

Let’s face it; the routine of cooking everyday is repetitive, boring and monotonous.  Thinking about ‘what to cook for dinner’ can be the biggest stressor of your day.   It’s why meal prep companies are expanding as fast as the Internet.  Even Walmart is getting into the meal prep business!

There’s also pressure to make your meals look as perfect and sophisticated as the curated Instagram foodie feeds.  I’m sure some home cooks feel they should be able to walk into their kitchen and ‘whip’ up a meal like the media celebrity chefs. But, let’s be honest, the chore of daily cooking for the family isn’t that glamorous.

So how can we add some glam into daily cooking?  I have some ideas to share.  


Buy a new cooking utensil


Veggie Slicer





















Buying a new accessory for your home revitalizes your living space, like a new pillow for a tired-looking couch.  Why not buy a new cooking gadget and do the same for your kitchen?  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I have a drawerful of tools I’ve bought, and to be honest, hardly every use.  Some may call this impulse buying, but I like to call it a cure for the kitchen doldrums.  

If I see a kitchen tool in a store that looks somewhat useful, I’ll often buy it.  Such as this vegetable slicer (see picture). I’d heard Jamie Oliver talk about slicing veggies extremely thin to make a salad look attractive.  It sounded like a good idea…he makes everything sound brilliant, and I thought this tool would do the trick. Plus it was on sale! I used it a couple of times and then decided it wasn’t so useful.  But, it did bring excitement into my kitchen for a month or so.  Just the thought of a cool new tool was enough to spur me on.  

Another gaget I bought that did turn out to be super useful, and under $5.00 no less, is a citrus squeezer.  I use it all the time. It’s easy, even if you use it wrong!  Yup, after watching a YouTube video I realized I’d been squeezing lemons with this tool the wrong way, which is why I’d been getting seeds in my lemon juice. Ugh! I’ve made a little video for you here on how to use the squeezer properly. 


So for as little as five bucks you too can add some zing into your daily cooking routine.  Give it a try!


Try a new spice


Cloves
Cloves

Another way to spice up daily cooking is to use a new herb or spice.  How about cloves?  When was the last time you used cloves?  Ever?  If you’re not familiar with this little nail-shaped spice it’s good to know they have a sweet but pungent flavour and are best used in moderation.  Cloves come from a large evergreen clove tree from the Myrtaceae family with origins in the eastern Indonesian area.  Their flavour melds well with both savoury and sweet dishes.  You may be familiar with a ham served with pineapple rings, spiked with cloves?  Or  the familiar taste of cloves in gingerbread cookies?   

The shaft and buds are picked just before they turn pink and open, and are then dried for several days.  The essential oil of cloves has medicinal properties and is often used in dental care.  It’s known to have analgesic properties and can be found in some toothpaste and mouthwashes.  Indonesians also find cloves in the Kretek cigarette,  their cigarette of choice.  When buying cloves look for ones that are a reddish/brown colour, not dried and shrivelled.

Try cloves in these pumpkin muffins that everyone will enjoy.

Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins












Try a new vegetable

Another way to spice up daily cooking is to try a new vegetable.  There’s not much local produce available these days, however, I did like the look of  the vibrant Swiss chard at the farmers market.  I don’t usually buy Swiss chard but their colourful stems were irresistible.  The farmer told me they tasted  like the leaf of a beet…they’re from the same family. But, unlike beets (and kale) their stems can be eaten.  When buying Swiss chard look for leaves that are moist, crisp, and not wilted.  Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 3-5 days.  
I’ve been using Swiss chard in many dishes: stir fries, fruit smoothies, salads, even quiche.  Here’s the recipe for you to try


Swiss Chard
swiss chard


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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins






















A tasty recipe that the whole family will enjoy.

Makes 10-12

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup  brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned solid packed pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Pinch of salt

Topping 
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine first nine ingredients into a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, oil, molasses, milk, and egg to blend.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Mix in walnuts and raisins.   Divide batter among 12 muffin cups lined with muffin liners.  

Topping:  combine all ingredients in small bowl and sprinkle over muffin.  Bake until tester inserted into muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. 

Tip:  Use an ice cream scooper when dividing batter into muffin cups to get equal proportions.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Veggie Quiche with Swiss Chard

Veggie Quiche With Swiss Chard
Veggie Quiche With Swiss Chard






















A super simple dish, with lots of veggies.  Serve it for dinner with a salad and have leftovers for lunch the next day.  It's definitely worth a try!

Serves 6-8

Crust:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of salt

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot, diced small
1 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, coarsely chopped, about 4 cups
5 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crust:  In a bowl combine flour, cheese, salt, and mustard together.  With fingertips rub in butter.  Press into a quiche pan or 10” pie pan.

Filling: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add broccoli, carrot, red bell pepper, and sauté about 5 more minutes until tender crisp.  Add Swiss chard and cook, tossing often until just wilted, about 2 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Stir into egg mixture.  

In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cottage cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Add cheeses, and then onion mixture.  Pour into crust and bake 50-60 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Do you wish to cook at home but lack motivation and confidence?  We offer online courses that will inspire the everyday home cook to cook.  Go to www.courses.cookingreboot.com

Monday, March 26, 2018

Berry Fruit Smoothie With Dates

Dates are an excellent dried fruit to add into your fruit smoothes.  They are filled with natural sugar and make everything taste sweeter.  When purchasing dates to eat look for ones that are moist, squishy, slightly chewy, and have that smooth texture that keeps you coming back for more.

Serves  1

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup frozen berries (your choice or mixed)
4 dried, pitted dates

Add all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
  
Berry Smoothie with Dates
Berry Smoothie With Dates


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Monday, March 19, 2018

What I Learned At The Food And Drink Summit

In December I attended the Conference Board of Canada’s Food and Drink summit in Calgary Alberta.  The conference Board of Canada is an evidence-based, independent source of advanced food and beverage performance monitoring and reporting.  “It aims to raise awareness of the nature and importance of the food and beverage sectors in Canada’s economy and society.”

Over two days I listened to many interesting talks from a variety of professionals on topics ranging from beef, consumers’ purchasing power, importing and exporting food, food safety, food policy and even craft beer.  



Here are six interesting facts to share with you from the conference


1.  The consumer is shaking up the food chain.  They are developing a distrust of the food system. Trust is composed of three components:  competency, transparency and commitment.  

To gain their trust the consumer is demanding to know how and where their food is grown and produced. They want to know if the food they’re eating is nutritious and that the farming practices are right for both the animals and the employees. 


2.  Consumers buy products based on emotions and not on science.  They purchase food that aligns with who they are. They are moving away from dieting and want real food.  This means natural and clean food.  They are eating more protein. 


3.  In Canada, 25% of all food that’s eaten is made outside of the home.  This is expected to grow to 30% in 2018.  In the United States, 50% of all food eaten is made outside of the home.


4.  When buying food, consumers base their priorities on the following in order:  quality, safety, nutritional value, price, environmental impact, locally produced, fair trade, free range, and lastly, organic.   


5.  In Canada, we have an oversupply of food. We have enough available food for everyone to consume 3,400 food calories a day. It’s recommended that women consume roughly 2,000 calories and men 2,600 calories. 


6.  It’s estimated that 55% of Canadians can’t read food labels because the math is confusing.  The food labels are in the process of being changed in both Canada and the USA.



Power of the consumer


I came away from the conference with confidence in the power of the consumer, that’s us!  What we buy at the grocery store does make a difference. If we stop buying ultra processed foods with suspect ingredients, it will affect the company’s bottom line and get their attention.  It sends a strong message to the food manufacturers that we do care about what’s in our food, and we want safe, nutritious food that is of course, tasty.  This is definitely something to chew on when you next go to the grocery store.   


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