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Friday, November 22, 2019

Healthy and comfy - Chicken Cacciatore updated

I recently made Chicken Cacciatore, for guests, a menu item that I haven't made in years.  I had to remind myself how to make it and I found a recipe by Alex Guarneschelli that looked adaptable.  You can use any chicken pieces but I used chicken thighs for this recipe.  I also skinned the pieces but left the bone in, for better flavour.  Wildfire Farms has wonderful chicken and is available at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market

 The market is open every Saturday until Christmas, from 10AM - 2PM

Chicken Cacciatore
(portion 2 thighs per person)

1 pkg chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, but remove skins
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tins chopped tomatoes
4-6 roughly chopped yellow peppers (or red or orange.  Green would give a very different flavour)
1-2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
3-6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup white wine
olive oil
optional: 1 tbs brown sugar, to reduce tomato acids, 1-2 tsp chilies( I used Allepo chilies as they are quite mild but hotter chilies would also work),

Set oven to 350ºF.

Skin chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper and optional chilies.  Set aside in the fridge.

For the sauce, sauté the onions in olive oil.  When the onions have softened, add the chopped peppers and garlic.  Then the rosemary and thyme.  When the peppers have softened, add the tomatoes and remaining seasonings.  Add the white wine and let simmer. 

In a saucepan, bring a drizzle of olive oil to medium high heat.  Brown chicken thighs.  Place sauce in a baking dish and arrange the chicken thighs on top of the sauce.  Bake for up to an hour, uncovered. 

Serve with rice, pasta, or roasted potatoes.  Arugula salad would make a nice side dish.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Easy comfort food from Morocco and Turkey, using tagines!

Yesterday, I presented these two dishes at D.A.Niels Kitchenware, to highlight cooking with tagines.  Both are quite simple to prepare, once you have the mise en place ready.  In the Turkish Eggplant and Lentil stew, the recipe without a tagine suggests to cook for 1 1/2 hours.  In the tagine, the stew was ready in less than 30 minutes.


Moroccan Beef Tagine (can use lamb)

2 lb beef roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly sauté onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat. Meat should melt in your mouth when done.

Serve with flat breads, rice, couscous or bulgur.


Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses
(Adaptation from a Paula Wolfert recipe)

1 1/2-pound long, narrow eggplant
1/2 cup lentils
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp Turkish Baharat
2 long green chiles, such as Anaheims—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Peel three strips length-wise into the eggplants. Slice, score, and cut into three pieces shorter.

Cook the lentils in a small saucepan, simmering for about 15 minutes. Drain.

Add olive oil to the tagine and prepare the vegetables by combining the onion, garlic, tomatoes, spices, and salt.

Spread half of the mixture into the tagine and top with half of the eggplant. Cover with half of the lentils, then repeat, ending with the vegetables on top. Pour the remaining olive oil around the mixture and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses.

Bring the stew to simmering in the tagine, and cook over low heat, covered, until the eggplant is tender, up to an hour. May need to add a bit of water.

Serve hot, cold or warm.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Rose Harissa! Divinely delicious.

I recently received a beautiful gift with dried, edible roses as part of it.  I have found that I have been using the dried roses in so many ways, it is worth it to secure a source.  Rachel Thoo is a most amazing source with her beautiful website with fantastic instructional videos on fermentation, gardening, cooking, etc.  Homemade with Rachel is an invaluable resource.

In the interim, if you can't find edible roses easily, try the teas section in an Asian grocery store. 
Rose Harissa

3-5 red peppers, halved and seeded
4-8 (make it as spicy or as mild as you like) chilies
5-7 garlic cloves
4+ tbs olive oil, with extra for topping jar
4-8 tbs dried or fresh edible rose petals (

1 tsp sea salt, to tastes
up to 1/2 tsp rose or orange blossom water (I found that the orange blossom water was a milder flavour that matched better)

 Preheat oven to 250ºF (120ºC).

Place peppers and chilies cut side down on a lined baking sheet with the garlic cloves and a good drizzle of olive oil.  Roast for about an hour.  The peppers should not be blackened, just softer.  Remove from the oven and let cool. 

Place all ingredients in a food processor and purée.  

In a medium saucepan, heat some olive oil and add the puréed mixture.  Cook until the moisture has evaporated, stirring. 

Place harissa in a clean, sterile jar, with room to top with olive oil.  Refrigerate and enjoy on pasta, steaks, toast, dips, etc, for at least a month.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Holiday treats - Chocolate Pecan Pie Gluten Free!

We spent Thanksgiving at my brother's and brought dessert.  I've attempted chocolate pecan pie once before and I don't know why only the once. Likely, I don't have corn syrup on hand that often.  What makes this Gluten-free is having the wonderful Piccola Cucina tart and pie shells on hand.  They are a wonderful and versatile product, made here in Winnipeg. 

I doubled this recipe. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter (I like Notre Dame Butter)
1 tbs cold water
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 cup dark chocolate callets (chips, Fair Trade)
3 eggs (I love Nature's Farm Eggs)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp bourbon
1 1/4 cup pecan halves
Piccola Cucina pie or tart shells

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, chocolate, water, and cornstarch. Bring to a full boil, stirring, and remove from heat.  

 In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in cooked syrup mixture. Stir in salt, vanilla, and pecans. Pour into pie shell. 

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is set.  


Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Back to School. Lunches?!? Muffins

My 9 year old has a self-imposed limited diet.  I have to pack as much into what she will eat as possible.  Therefore, Banana Squash Muffins.  This recipe is quite adaptable to whatever you might have on hand.  Grated peeled apples work nicely as well.

Banana Squash Muffins
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 banana, mashed (or one, as you like)
1-2 cups cooked mashed squash (any variety, including zucchini)
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups flour (often more, for a thick batter)
2 cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Prepare muffin tins with papers.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, bananas, and squash, until smooth.  Slowly add baking powder, milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.  Add flour and then the chocolate.  Add flour if needed.

Fill muffin tins.  Bake.  For mini muffins, bake for 15-17 minutes.  For larger muffins, bake for 20 -22 minutes, depending on you oven.

Cool and store in containers.  Keep refrigerated after a day.


Sunday, August 18, 2019


Love it or hate it, it isn't really up to you.  Cilantro reaches the taste buds in such a manner that people who think it tastes of soap, have a physically differently shaped taste bud than those who love the herb.  Now that makes me think what else they may be tasting differently.

It is a workhorse herb, ubiquitous in some cuisines.  I have been embracing it because of the wonderful abundance of cilantro in my CSA.  No complaints. 

For health benefits, Cilantro is considered to be an antioxidant, lower sodium intake, an excellent source of fibre, magnesium, manganese, some protein, and iron. Cilantro has 11 essential oils, and 6 types of acid, including Vitamin C.  Cilantro is used as an anti-inflammatory, to lower cholesterol, help with skin problems, regulates blood pressure, bone health, good for living with diabetes diets, and has antihistamine properties, which also means to stay out of the sun.

The following recipes are very cilantro forward, and are Thai, Moroccan, and others, to illustrate the herb's versatility. 

1. Moroccan

1 head garlic, peeled (or 3-5 large cloves)
¼ tsp cayenne
1 heaping tbs cumin
½ bunch parsley
1 whole bunch cilantro
juice of one lemon
2 tbs vinegar
1 generous tbs olive oil
salt, to taste

Blend all of the ingredients together.  Use as a garnish, to marinate fish or chicken, sauté vegetables such as carrots or eggplant.  Mix with yoghurt for a salad dressing.

2. Thai
Gai Yang
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro, including stalks (part of my CSA from Heart Acres Farm)
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbs chopped lemongrass (optional)
chicken pieces (I used chicken thighs, available at Wildfire Farms at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market)
ground chilies (optional)

Blend all ingredients, except for the chicken, and pour over the chicken to marinate for a few hours.  Grill until done.  Enjoy! 

3. Canadian
Lobster Tails with Cilantro Chipotle Cream (easy!)

6 Nova Scotia Medium (5-6 oz.) lobster tails
drizzle olive oil
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
juice of one lime
1/4 (+/-) tsp chipotle flakes or ground dried chipotle
pinch sugar
pinch sea salt

Mix cream, yoghurt, cilantro, lime, chipotle, sugar and salt.  Chill.

Cut lobster tails open on the soft side of the shell. Drizzle olive oil over tails. Heat BBQ to a high heat. Grill lobster tails until shell becomes quite red all over. Remove from heat. Now you can either pull lobster meat from shell and serve with Cilantro chipotle cream or serve immediately with cream over or on the side.


4, Mexican
Green Herb Salsa (served with omlettes)

Paired with Chateau des Charmes Brut - Canada

* 1/4c blanched almonds, toasted
* 1 small garlic clove
* 1c fresh parsley leaves
* 1/2c fresh cilantro leaves
* 1/2c fresh basil leaves
* 2/3c extra -virgin olive oil
* 1/8 tsp red-pepper flakes
* coarse salt and ground black pepper
* 2tsp white-wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

How to make it

* Using chef's knife(or food processor)finely chop almonds, garlic and herbs. Stir (or blend) in oil and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
* To store, refrigerate up to 1 day. Stir in vinegar just before serving.
* Great variations: Feel free to include any type of soft green herb, such a s oregano, chives, mint. You can also substitute pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts for the almonds.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Easy Thai Grilled Chicken - Gai Yang - with lovely fresh herbs

Herbs are coming in fast and fabulous at this time.  This easy to prepare Grilled Thai Chicken recipe uses some wonderful and healthful herbs, such as fresh coriander (stem included), and lemongrass, which can grow beautifully here as well.

I will be presenting cooking with herbs at the next Farmer's Festival at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market on Wednesday, August 14th, between 11AM and 4PM.

I used frozen chopped lemongrass, as that is what I had on hand and it is an easy way to store your own grown lemongrass.

Gai Yang
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro, including stalks (part of my CSA from Heart Acres Farm)
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbs chopped lemongrass (optional)
chicken pieces (I used chicken thighs, available at Wildfire Farms at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market)
ground chilies (optional)

Blend all ingredients, except for the chicken, and pour over the chicken to marinate for a few hours.  Grill until done.  Enjoy!

Shown with rice pilaf and Turkish Köpegoglü.