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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.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Seasonal soup - Beet Borscht, using the market produce

The produce is coming in fast and fabulously!  Today, I decided that I would actually make beet borscht again.  Back story, because recipe blogs are filled with back stories, I didn't grow up with the beet borscht variety of borscht.  I grew up with Russian Borscht, which is cabbage forward, not beet.  We always had it served hot, whereas many people enjoy the beet borscht cold.  Short back story.

(Early in the cooking process)

Beet Borscht, ala Turque

2 bunches beets, grated roots and finely chopped leaves and stems
1 bunch dark curly kale, stems ripped out, leaves finely chopped
1 yellow onion, medium dice
olive oil, to sauté
2-3 tbs Turkish Baharat (optional)
4-8 cups stock (I used Rabbit and Chicken Stocks.  Beef is traditional, vegetarian is wonderful)
water, as needed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup good tomato paste

(Options:  add crumbled dried porcini or bolets mushrooms)

In a large stock pot, heat oil and add onions.  Cook at medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add the Turkish Baharat and sauté until spices are softened.  Add vegetables and remaining ingredients.  Add water to desired consistency.  Bring to a boil and let simmer on lower heat until the vegetables are very soft.

Enjoy hot or cold, with sour cream and/or a hard boiled egg.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Beef Cheeks! Wildfire Farms makes it so easy.

Beef cheeks are so wonderful and tender when slowly cooked or done in the Instant Pot.  These, I made slowly in the oven, on a bed of sliced onion, half of an orange, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, good tomato paste, red wine, and a bit of water.  I coated the beef cheeks with grainy mustard, and cooked covered, at 300ºF for 3 hours.  I cooked them with the lid off, for one more hour.  We then pulled the meat apart with forks and combined with the sauce with the orange and bay leaves removed.

If you are preparing these in the Instant Pot, set the meat setting to 30-40 minutes. 

Beef cheeks, and other great cuts of meat, are available at Wildfire Farms at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market.

I served these pulled beef cheeks on top of latkes, with a dollop of sour cream, and a drizzle of hot sauce.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Made in Manitoba - Grilling in season

 I've been away from blogging for a little while.  Not that I don't wish to share recipes.  Just busy with other things. 

Spring is bringing forth great treats for the grill.  These are all locally available ingredients from the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market.  The asparagus and spring onions are particularly sweet at this time.  The chicken is available soon at Wildfire Farms, and you can get fantastic pizza dough, if you don't wish to make your own, from Old Church Bakery.  The spices you can enjoy from me, and the organic asparagus and spring onions were from Fertile Farms. 

Grilled Turkish Chicken on Pide (Serves 2-4 people)

4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbs Turkish Baharat*
3-4 shallots, grated or one small onion grated
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika (can used smoked)
pinch salt and pepper

Combine Turkish Baharat, grated shallots, lime juice, olive oil, paprika and salt and pepper in a bowl. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and cover completely with the marinade. Place in fridge and let marinate for 6 hours. Grill 4 minutes a side on a very hot BBQ grill.

 Turkish Pizza Dough
1 tbs dried yeast
3/4 tsp sugar
2 tbs warm water
2/3 + cup Greek style yoghurt
1/4 cup olive oil
10 ounces bread flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
olive oil

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy. In another small bowl, whisk the yoghurt and olive oil.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and yoghurt mixtures. Use your fingers to work in the flour and form a smooth ball. Transfer to mixer and knead with a dough hook on low speed for 10 - 15 minutes until very smooth and shiny. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and let rise for 2 hours or doubled in size.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Turkish Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops with Carrots with Tomato Saffron Bulgur Pilaf

Lamb Shoulder Chops take a bit longer to cook than Lamb Loin Chops, but the results are equally delicious.  This easy to prepare recipe uses some great Mediterranean ingredients, such as Turkish Baharat and Aleppo pepper (optional), and pomegranate molasses. 

The wonderful Manitoba Lamb is from Gerry Oliver's Spirit Sands Farm.  I make the Turkish Baharat and it is available at the St. Norbert's Farmer's Market, D. A. Niels, Old Church Bakery, and coming soon to Pollock's Hardware Co-op.

Turkish Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

 Lamb Shoulder Chops, one per person
Turkish Baharat, enough to coat each chop
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)

Set aside and chill for at least 30 minutes.

1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (I use Sera Brand, available at Millad's Supermarket on Notre Dame)
1 cup homemade stock (I used lamb stock but chicken is an option)
2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks.
olive oil
salt and pepper

Brown the seasoned lamb chops in a roasting pan with some olive oil.  Remove from pan and add the sliced onions.  When they have softened, add the carrots, pomegranate molasses, and stock and cook down on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Return lamb chops to the roasting pan, season, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Serve with Bulgur

 Tomato Saffron Bulgur Pilaf

Bulgur is a 2:1 cooking ratio.  For this recipe, I used 1 cup Bulgur and 2 cups water (or stock)
1 small red onion, chopped
olive oil
good pinch saffron
1 cup bulgur
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tbs good tomato paste (available at Millad's Supermarket)
salt, to taste
2 cups water

In a saucepan, cook chopped onion in olive oil until soft.  Add Saffron and then bulgur, currants and almonds.  Add the tomato paste and stir well.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Season and cover on a low simmer for 20 minutes. 

Enjoy!  For Gluten Free options, try rice or quinoa pilaf.