Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tastes of around India for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

 Last night I had the distinct pleasure of presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the Madison Square MLCC.  Education Coordinator, Bonnie Tulloch, presented on plants from the regions while Scott Strizic of the MLCC presented beverage pairings and the following welcoming beverage.

The Kerala Shrimp and the Aloo Gobi were served on Red Rice that had been parboiled.  It has a lovely nutty bulgur flavour and is available at Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame in Winnipeg.  

The remaining pairings are coming asap.

Indian Spice Milk Punch
4l 2% milk
1 can coconut milk
1 can cream of coconut
1 lemon rind strip
1 star anise, whole
1 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Amaretto Liqueur, optional

Bring first 8 ingredients to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring often.  Strain into heatproof pitcher.  Add Amaretto liqueur, 2 tbs per one cup just prior to serving.

1. Kerala Shrimp

1/4 kg small shrimp
1 tsp ground chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tbs cooking oil (grapeseed oil or canola so as to not add flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
a few curry leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika or chili powder (depending on how spicy you like the food)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Clean and marinate shrimp in chilies, turmeric and vinegar at least 1/2 hour before cooking.

Heat oil in pan and sauté onion until golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside. Fry the shrimp in the same oil until crispy. Then add the fried onion, curry leaves and optional paprika or chili powder on low heat. Add the coconut oil for good Keralan flavour. Test for salt and serve with rice, roti or chappati, etc.

2. Bengali Squash
4-5 small zucchini or yellow squash (I am also using winter squashes, peeled)
2 tbs mustard oil
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt

Slice zucchini or squash lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Heat the oils in a large wok or a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the turmeric, mustard, cayenne and sugar and fry for about 10 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook, turning and moving the slices for about 3-5 minutes until softened through but not mushy.

Remove the slices and drain of oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Serve hot. If any oil is remaining, reserve for reuse.


3, Aloo gobi
  • 2 cups of cut cauliflower (cut into small florets)
  • 2 medium potatoes (cubed into bite sized pieces)
  • 1/2 inch shredded ginger
  • 3 teaspoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( lal mirch)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of Asafetida (Hing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 green chilies, sliced in long pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (green coriander)
  • 1/4 cup water as needed
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews
  1. In a small bowl, mix the shredded ginger, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and 3 tablespoons of water to make a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan.
  3. Add hing and cumin seeds to the oil after seeds crack add the bay leaves and green chilies and stir for a few seconds.
  4. Next, add the spice paste and stir for a minute until spices start leaving the oil.
  5. Add cauliflower, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of water and salt. Mix well. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Make sure to stir gently every 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Lastly, add the mango powder and fresh cilantro (green coriander). Mix everything and cover for a minute. Adjust the salt to your taste.
Add some green peas and/or sliced red bell peppers. The red bell peppers should be added at the end of the recipe as they cook quickly.
Making a paste with the spices will prevent the spices from burning.

4. Squash Halwa- Easy Diwali Sweet Recipe

  • Acorn Squash- 1
  • Milk- ¼ cup
  • Condensed milk- ½ can or 150 ml
  • Saffron, strands (optional)- ½ tsp strands soaked in 1 tbsp milk
  • Ghee- 4 tbsp
  • Roasted Almonds, whole or chopped- ¼ cup (roasted in ½ tbsp ghee)

  1. Peel the skin off the squash and dice it into medium size.
  2. In a non-stick cooking pan, cook the diced squash in water till it turns tender and well cooked.
  3. Drain the water from the cooked squash and put it back into the pan.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, mash the cooked squash without any lumps.
  5. Switch on the stove to medium heat and place the pan with the mashed squash over it.
  6. Add milk and combine well stirring constantly breaking any lumps present in it.
  7. Add the condensed milk to it and combine well stirring constantly.
  8. Pour 2 tbsp of ghee at this point and keep stirring.
  9. If you are adding saffron, add the soaked saffron to the mixture.
  10. Let it thicken and don’t forget to stir it.
  11. When the mixture is no more watery and has thickened, add 2 tbsp more of ghee.
  12. Keep stirring for a minute and remove from the heat.
  13. In a small pan, roast whole or chopped almonds in ½ tbsp ghee till it turns golden in color.
  14. Grease a platter with little ghee and spread the squash halwa onto the plate.
  15. Even out the halwa level using a flat spatula.
  16. Garnish the squash halwa with roasted almonds.
  17. Chill the halwa for an hour and serve.
You could tweak this recipe according to your needs.
You could adjust the sweetness, amount of ghee added accordingly.
Also add pistachios, raisins or other nuts for extra crunchiness.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Tempting Thai Treasures with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

 Tomorrow I will be presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the Madison Square MLCC.  Please check the Leisure Guide to register for others.  Loads of fun.  Bran Adams, Education Coordinator at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy will lead the discussion on the plant life represented in the recipes and MLCC Product Consultant Jody will present beverage pairings.

Last week it was too hectic to take photos.  I hope that I can get some photos tomorrow.
1. Crab Rangoon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (6 ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
48 wonton wrappers

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine garlic, cream cheese, crab, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl. To prevent wonton skins from drying, prepare only 1 or 2 rangoon at a time. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water and fold the wonton skin diagonally to form a triangle, pressing edges to seal. Moisten one of the bottom corners. Create a crown by pulling both bottom corners together and sealing. Arrange the rangoon on the baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Salad wraps with peanut sauce
SERVES 4-6 as an appetizer
1 pkg. small, round rice wrappers (dried)
1 to 1 1/2 cups thin vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and run through with cold water, drained
3/4 to 1 cup cooked shrimp, OR 3/4 cup baked or fried tofu, or roasted chicken or turkey, cut into matchsticks
1-2 cups bean sprouts
½ cup fresh Thai basil or sweet basil, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
¼ cup shredded carrot
3-4 spring onions, cut into matchstick pieces
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 sauce (use black vinegar if vegetarian
1 tsp. brown sugar


½ cup water
½ tsp. tamarind paste
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
1 Tbsp. fish sauce OR vegetarian black vinegar
1 heaping tsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) dissolved in 3 Tbsp. water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green or red chili, finely sliced OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper

Peanut Dipping Sauce
2 tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
2 tablespoons Soya Sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet miso
2 tablespoons mirin or sake
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (add more for spicier satay)

1.             Set rice wrappers aside. In a cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce (if using) and sugar.
2.             Place all other ingredients for the fresh rolls in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce mixture over. Toss to mix.
3.             Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging one wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
4.             Remove the wrapper and place on a clean surface. Add another wrapper to the hot water as you fill and roll the first one.
5.             Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
6.             Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom. Tuck the bottom around the ingrdients and roll to the top of the wrapper.
7.             To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce. Eat with your fingers and lots of napkins. Enjoy!

To make the Tamarind Dipping Sauce (optional): simply mix all dipping sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and heat.
When near boiling, reduce heat to low, stirring until sauce thickens.
Taste for saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt), more sugar, or more chili as desired.
Note: the sauce can be served warm or cold. With fresh rolls, I personally prefer a warm sauce to contrast with the cool rolls)

3. Pork Satay

1 lb pork shoulder or butt in slices
2 tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
2 tablespoons Soya Sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet miso
2 tablespoons mirin or sake
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (add more for spicier satay)

Mix ginger, water, peanut butter, soya sauce, vinegar, miso, mirin or sake and pepper flakes. Add vegetarian chicken strips. Let marinade in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Skewer and grill on the BBQ or sauté in a non-stick skillet. Enjoy as an appetizer, salad wrap or with rice or noodles.


* Traditional recipe for pork, chicken, or beef satay.

3. Thai Coconut Curry (serves 2-4)

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
½ tin “Lite” coconut milk
2-3 tbs yellow curry paste, to desired heat (yellow curry paste does not contain any shrimp)
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs grated lemon grass
1 tsp sugar (optional)
splash Mirin
3-5 Kefir Lime leaves
drizzle olive oil
salt, to taste

Mix the last 9 ingredients in a bowl and add chicken thighs. Marinate for a few hours. Place on a hot grill, turning for grill marks at two minutes, and flipping over at four minutes. Repeat for grill marks at the next two minutes.

Serving suggestion:  Place rested cooked chicken on a toasted or warmed flatbread such as naan or pita. Add favourite grilled vegetables and wrap up. Wrap again in foil and place in an insulated bag or enjoy cold.

* These ingredients can be found at most Asian specialty stores such as Sun Wah and Oriental Market on King St. or Young’s Market on William and on McPhilips.

For an elegant entrée presentation, try using a stem of fresh lemon grass as a skewer before grilling or frying.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Mediterranean tour of flavours for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

 Tonight I have the pleasure of presenting the following sampling from around the Mediterranean for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC.  Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, will be presenting on the origins of the plant life represented here and TBA rep from the MLCC will be providing beverage pairings.  Photos to come after tonight's event.
I am presenting a dish from ancient Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain.

1. Greek Fava Beans

Soak 2 cups large dried fava beans overnight.  Peel
1 chopped onion
olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook peeled fava beans until soft. Drain.  In a saucepan, heat up olive oil and cook chopped onion until soft and translucent.  Add beans and slowly cook over medium heat, stirring so as not to burn.  Add remaining ingredients.  Serve hot or cold.  Has a remarkable floral taste.  Serve with breads.

2. Patliçan Yogürtlü

1 lg eggplant sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Slice and salt eggplant and let sit in a bowl of cold water. If eggplant is very young, skip the step of salt and water. Rinse and squeeze out water from slices.

Mince garlic and stir into yoghurt with salt.

Sauté eggplant slices on medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and let sit for a moment on a paper towel. Place on platter and top with yoghurt mixture. Sprinkle rubbed oregano and paprika over yoghurt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with baguette slices or water crackers.


3. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia) (back by popular demand)

1/3 cup butter.
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Black pepper.

Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.

The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.


4. Spanish Smoked Paprika Shrimp

1 lb peeled, wild caught shrimp
1 tbs butter
Drizzle olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
Pinch sea salt

Heat butter and oil in sauté pan. Add shrimp and toss well. Add garlic and then paprika. Serve with bread when shrimp is firm and pink.