Cooking Classes


Glazed Roast Pheasant

This is another contribution to our Wild Night on December 23. I brined the pheasant and then followed this recipe from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. It was delicious! There was more meat on the birds than I had expected. I served it with my home preserved Gooseberry Chutney.
We also enjoyed moose roast, venison sausage, spicy moose sausage and saskatoon berry pie with homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

My father has been collecting coins for as long as I can remember. Now he felt it was time to pass them on to us. We spent about two hours going through everything from Meat Ration Tokens from WWII, to shinplaster, Two Dollar American paper bills to turn of the century coins. Thanks, Dad! It was fun.

Glazed Roast Pheasant                    Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Serves 2

1 pheasant, plucked with skin on
1/4 c. Kosher salt
4 c. water
1/4 c. maple syrup
dried garden sage leaves
1 tsp. cayenne
ground black pepper

Mix salt and water together. Whisk to dissolve salt. When it is dissolved, pour it over the pheasant in a plastic bag. Leave in refrigerator for 4 - 8 hours. Remove and pat dry. Let it rest on a cutting board while the oven heats to 450F.

Put sage in pheasant cavity and dust the bird with cayenne. Place sliced carrots, celery and onion on the bottom of the pan and place pheasant atop this.

Roast for 15 minutes at 450F, then drop the heat to 375F and roast for another 20 minutes. Baste with syrup. Roast for another 30 - 40 minutes, basing twice in the first 20 minutes. Remove pheasant if the glaze burns.

Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 - 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

Gooseberry chutney   adapted from blog Senses in the Kitchen

Makes 2½ jars, 190ml each

1 lb gooseberry, topped and tailed
1 large onion, peeled and diced
handful of sultanas
2/3 cup soft brown sugar
3/4 cup malt vinegar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
tsp mustard seeds

Place all of the above in heavy based pan and bring to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 1.5 hrs. Occasionally stir, gently so you do not break up gooseberries too much. Keep an eye on it on last 15 minutes, stirring more often, so it prevents the chutney to catch and burn.

Place hot chutney in sterilised jars, seal and turn up side down. Leave it to cool down and store in cool, dark place. Allow to mature for about 2 months.


Ponche Caliente Updated

I know I wrote about this hot Mexican Christmas punch back when I was in Tennessee. I was served this lovely warm punch by a woman who grew up with the tradition of enjoying it every Christmas.

I thought it would be nice to serve tonight, Christmas Eve, on a very cold prairie winter night. It is very warming.

The problem is that all the tropical fruits are not available in Canada and particularly in my small city on the prairies. So I adapt. We all enjoyed it and it was also nice spiked with a bit of rum.

Ponche Caliente
1/2 pineapple, cut into 1" pieces
1 green apple, diced
1 orange sliced and then each slice quartered
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
5 cups unrefined apple juice or cider
1 cup piloncillo
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 long cinnamon sticks, broken
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
8 cups water

Combine all in a pot and simmer for about an hour or until mellow. Serve in glasses with the fruits and a spoon so the fruits can also be eaten.


Christmas on the Colony

It is 7am and I am in the kitchen at Waldeck Hutterite Colony. It is Friday and they are making dinner buns. This is their routine. 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of flour become 20 dozen double dinner buns and I want to be a part of the ritual. There is a proofing room but it is hardly needed as the kitchen warms to the perfect temperature while the commercial oven readies.

The children are first to enjoy this treat. The women call the school the instant the buns come out of the oven and the girls run to bring back these soft pillowy delights and we all take a break to enjoy them while they are hot.

Throughout Western Canada the farmscape is dotted with Hutterite Colonies. Most often these are grain farms with livestock, chickens and a garden. A few colonies are also into light manufacturing such as metalworking or cabinet and furniture making.

I am a substitute teacher and regularly visit Waldeck Colony, SK. I have enjoyed learning about their way of life. As I think about Christmas I thought you might be interested to see into their lifestyle how they celebrate the season.

First, I will give you a brief history. Jakob Hutter was the founder of this religion in 1536. They believe in absolute pacifism and practice community of goods. These goals have resulted in hundreds of years of reestablishing in different countries seeking the freedom to practice their beliefs. In the 18th and 19th centuries they settled in North America. Today their population is around 43,000 in Canada.

There is a division of labour that is arbitrary by age. Adulthood is reached at the age of 15. The boys and girls become men and women. The men work in the farming operation Women start working in the kitchen and are finished at age 45. After this they continue to contribute by working in the garden, cleaning in the kitchen and by helping with the many tasks for the communal family.

There are 3 sects within the religion. The Schmiedeleut are settled in Manitoba. Elsewhere in Western Canada we find the Dariusleut and Lehreleut. You can distinguish one from the other by the size of the dots on the women’s scarves called shawls.

I asked the children what they would like others to know about their colony. Here is what they told me. We want people to know how nice it is here. We have a wonderful garden, the crops and fields are very good and we have 3 coulees. Lake Diefenbaker passes through one. We also want people to know we are nice. We want people to know our name. We are Waldeck Colony! We would also like to see some recipes and some pictures in the newspaper.

Hutterites are devoutly Christian and Christmas is celebrated in its true sense. There is no excess of gifts and parties. There are no elaborate Christmas light displays. It is simply a time to celebrate the birth of their Saviour, Jesus Christ, and life goes on as usual.

At Waldeck Colony, there are three consecutive days of church worship beginning on December 25. The church is a simple building without adornment. The altar is a simple table. There are rows of pews and a few have cushions for the comfort of the elderly.  Each church service is followed by the usual communal meal. After dinner the children return for Sunday school.

Of course I am very interested in the meals so I asked the ladies in the kitchen, what do you serve?

A tradition is to have a dinner of goose. Everyone is served a goose leg with thigh. It is poached in water until tender and served simply with potatoes and vegetables. All vegetables with the exception of garlic and celery are from their garden. The younger women admit they prefer the stuffed chicken dinner to goose. The elders appreciate goose.

Fruitcake is usually made but also may be purchased. Nutmeg (Eggar), carrot and vanilla cookies are favourites.

Roasted chicken with stuffing is another traditional meal during this time of quiet celebration. As we all do, they say they just eat too much food over the Christmas season.

Christmas is also a time for visiting. They might visit family at another colony or receive guests. There is a modest exchange of gifts within the home.

I begged these recipes as the women wondered why I would want recipes that serve 64 people. Initially I agreed and then thought about all the churches and community groups who plan events such as fowl suppers. Large recipes are hard to come by these days. They generously shared these two favourites that caught my eye.

Eggar Cookies  (Nutmeg Cookies)
These cookies are made twice each year. They are always made for Christmas and then once again during the year. I have been warned that if they are not made properly they can be dry. Usually I find European cookies much drier than ours.

10 1/2 lb sugar                                    4.8 kg
5 lb margarine                                    2.25 kg
30 eggs
 5 tsp vanilla                                    25 mL
10 lb raisins                                    4.5 kg
16 lb flour                                    7.25 kg
5 tsp salt                                    25 mL
1/8 lb baking powder                        90 g
1/8 lb cinnamon                        90 g
1/4 lb baking soda                        180 g
1 1/2 tsp allspice                        8 g
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg                        8 g

Simmer raisins in 10 cups (2.4 L) water for 7 minutes. Add 11 cups (2.6 L) cold water and cool well. In a separate bowl cream sugar and margarine. Add eggs and vanilla. Add raisins with liquid. Mix flour with all the dry ingredients and sift 3 times then sift into creamed mixture. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake at 425F (220C).

Orange Cake
This is a cake traditionally also served twice a year. It is enjoyed at Easter and once during the harvest.

16 1/2 lb sugar                          7.5 kg
6 3/4 lb nuts                                    3 kg
10 1/2 lb dates                                    4.7 kg
22 1/2 lb four                                    10 kg
6 lb butter                                    2.7 kg                       
3/4 cup baking soda                        180 mL
3/4 cup baking powder            180 mL
15 lb oranges                                    6.8 kg
3/4 cup vinegar                        200 mL
3/4 cup vanilla                                    200 mL
5 1/4 lb eggs                                    2.4 kg
8 3/4 quarts milk                        8.3 L

Grind oranges with peels and put aside 5 cups (1.2 L) for the icing. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and the rest of the ingredients except dates and flour. Mix the chopped dates with flour and add. Pour into cake pans and bake at 350F (175C). When cooled make a butter icing with the reserved orange added.


Saskatoon Berry Pie

We are having a traditional Saskatchewan Christmas with the whole family. I will share some of our recipes here. On Christmas Eve my sister decided to have a Wild Night. No, no, no! It isn't that kind of wild night! We are making some wild game recipes! This dessert of saskatoon berry pie is a natural pairing. This is a berry native to the Canadian prairies and northern American Great Plains

Saskatoons are a very healthy berry. They are high in antioxidants and fibre. Pie works best if the filling is made in advance and then bake the filled pastry. I made this in advance. I made the pies, froze them, then defrosted in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. Then baked as fresh below. 

Serve with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Yum! 

Saskatoon Berry Pie 

  • 4 cups saskatoon berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar, granulated
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pastry for double crust pie
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. In a saucepan, simmer saskatoon berries in water for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice. Stir in granulated sugar mixed with flour. 
  2. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust; seal and flute edges. 
  3. Bake in 425F oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350F oven and bake 35-45 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Whisk yolks and sugar until lemon coloured.  In a sauce pan scald the cream with the vanilla seeds and bean.  Temper the egg yolks with this hot milk.  Do this by adding a little at a time while whisking the egg yolks.  Eventually you will have added all the milk.  Cook this mixture in a double boiler until thickened.  Cool, strain, churn according to your machine's directions.


Vegetarian Ideas for Christmas Entertaining

 This salad has a festive appeal and the phyllo cups can be made in advance. All the recipe names are a link to the recipe on my blog. Just click. Goat Cheese Souffle in Phyllo Cup

Christmas is just around the corner and you are probably already planning meals. Keeping everyone happy is always stressful especially if they eat differently than you. There are many people who practice a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian lifestyle. A vegetarian abstains from eating meat, fish and seafood and products thereof. Milk and eggs are usually okay but be sure to check with your guests in advance. My sister grew up beside me on the farm and for her own reasons has, since a teenager, been vegetarian.

Rather than roll your eyes into the back of your head when you are presented with a vegetarian guest at your table, just make something nice that everyone will enjoy. There is usually no need to buy a lot of extra ingredients. Use vegetable oils and vegetable shortening rather than lard especially in pie and turkey stuffing. Cook some stuffing outside the bird. Use vegetable stock, water or milk rather than chicken, turkey or beef stock. Avoid using the same utensils, cutting boards and pans while you cook vegetarian beside meat dishes.

Don’t assume that vegetarians will pick vegetables out of a meat dish or eat fries and vegetables that have been cooked in the same oil as meats. Be sure you serve all guests equivalent quantity and quality of food. Don’t assume that a wedge of iceberg lettuce or pasta in boring tomato sauce will satisfy while others enjoy a full meal.

Avoid the tofu burger and mock meat syndrome. Vegetarians are not interested in meat substitutes. Read labels. Often there is a fish or meat product in things like curry sauces and pasta sauces. Remember that vegetarians eat what non-vegetarians eat except without meat. Pizza, pastas, crepes, tacos, stews and quiches are easily adapted. Offer lots of vegetable dishes without meat stock, fresh or frozen fruits, breads, and non-gelatin desserts. Serve protein rich quinoa rather than rice and add lentils and legumes for added nutrition.

Pear and Roguefort Salad

 This Cheese and Tomato Tarte is so yummy that everyone will want to try it.

Waldorf Salad

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach  Feta Triangles)
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil                                                           
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 c chopped parsley or fresh dill                        
4 large eggs
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled                                    
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese                        
1/2 tsp salt                                                            
1/4 tsp black pepper                                                
Pinch of nutmeg
1 box phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 lb butter, melted                                                

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onion. Sauté until soft but not browned. Squeeze out all liquid from the frozen chopped spinach and add to the skillet. Add green onions and parsley. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated and spinach is dry. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Lightly beat eggs and add to cooled spinach mixture. Add feta cheese and seasonings. Stir to mix.

Lay out the phyllo pastry on the counter and with kitchen shears, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half in half again so that you have 4 stacks of phyllo strips. Cover with a dry tea towel. Then cover with a damp tea towel.

I brush the countertop liberally with melted butter so that you can lay out 6 or 7 strips of phyllo pastry. This prevents strips of pastry from moving around and also butters the outside at the same time. Brush each strip with melted butter and top with a second strip of pastry. Just brush the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the second strip with butter. Put a tablespoon (15 mL) of spinach mixture on the bottom end of the pastry strip. Fold the corner over the spinach mixture to make a triangle. Continue to fold like a flag until the whole strip is folded into a triangular packet. Brush with melted butter. Continue with the remainder of pastry and filling.

Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. These can be frozen unbaked and stored in freezer up to 3 months. Bake frozen at 375F for about 20 minutes. 

This can also be made in a 9” x 13”  pan. Spray pan generously with oil. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo in and up the sides of the prepared pan. Brush lightly with butter.  Top with 7 more phyllo sheets and brush each one with butter. Spread spinach mixture over pastry. Top with 8 more sheets of phyllo and brush with butter between each, including the top layer. Roll the overhanging phyllo from the sides to form a border all the way around. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the pie into squares, but do not cut through the bottom layer or the filling will leak out. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake at 375F  for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes. Cut squares right through to the bottom and serve. (Adapted from The All New Joy of Cooking)


Trying Some New Bread Recipes Today

I had a day off work and felt like playing in the kitchen. I wanted to work with what I had on hand and tried a few new kinds of bread. I made Fougasse with Herbes de Provence. It looks like a leaf shape and tastes like a baguette. I made Cheddar and Jalapeno Bread. It smells great. And finally I made rye bread with a starter. The rye bread recipe was by braille. The others are recipes from Epicurious.


Baked French Toast

There are so many versions of what I call 'breakfast casseroles'. If you are having a big group for a brunch this is a great recipe that easily doubles and triples to fit your crowd. Feel free to add and subtract to change the flavour profile to your taste. Leftovers taste just as good as the fresh made French Toast.
Baked French Toast
Serves 6

6 – 8 thickly cut slices of bread
2 c. whole milk                                                500 mL
4 eggs
1/3 c. sugar                                                            80 mL
unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla or almond flavouring                        5 mL
1/2 tsp. orange zest                                                3 mL
1/2 tsp. cinnamon                                                3 mL

Any type of bread is fine in this recipe. French bread, challah, raisin bread or cinnamon buns are especially good. Be creative with flavourings. Cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and nuts are a few ideas. Rather than sugar, try maple syrup. Fresh or frozen blueberries or saskatoons can be added on top of the bread slices.

Generously butter a 9” x 13” glass baking dish (23 cm x 33cm). Generously butter the thick slices of bread. Place the bread, buttered side up, one layer deep in the dish.

Whisk milk, eggs, sugar and flavourings. Pour over the bread slices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Bake in a 375F oven (190C) for 35-40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool for a few minutes, slice and serve with maple syrup, berries and dusted with powdered sugar.

This past week or so I have been featuring brunch and breakfast ideas. Let me know how it all works for you!


How to Make Eggs Benedict for a Large Group

I have never made Eggs Benedict at home and seldom order it in a restaurant because I am afraid of all the fat! But they are so yummy. Once in awhile it is okay to indulge. These are directions if you would like to serve them for a larger group. Double or triple the recipes as required.
Eggs Benedict
Serves 6

6 eggs
6 pieces Canadian or peameal bacon
3 English muffins
Cooking oil spray
Hollandaise sauce

Spray skillet with cooking oil and heat over medium high heat. Cook bacon, turning once, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Place 1 slice bacon on each muffin half; top with poached egg and then top with hollandaise sauce. Smoked salmon, Black Forest ham or prosciutto can be substituted for the bacon. This is nice accompanied with steamed asparagus.

To poach eggs
Put 2 or 3 inches (5 – 8 cm) of water in a pot. Add 1 tsp. white vinegar (5 mL). The vinegar will help the protein in the egg white coagulate faster. You will not taste the vinegar in the finished dish. It can also be made without vinegar. Bring to just below the boiling point but be sure it doesn’t bubble.

Break egg into a small dish. Make a whirlpool in your pot by stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. This current will help the white wrap around the yolk. Slide the egg into the middle of the whirlpool. Cook in the hot water for 2 or 3 minutes. When it has reached your desired doneness scoop out with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel. Continue like this until all eggs are cooked. Depending upon the size of your pot, you can cook a few at a time. Don’t overcrowd.

If you are making them in advance, poach the eggs and drop them into a container of cold water. Refrigerate in the water if done a day ahead, or just set aside if you are using them soon. When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to place them into a pan of barely simmering water just to heat. If you use a wide pan, you can put in quite a few eggs at a time, and by the time the pan is full, begin removing them in the same order. The eggs don't have to be really hot, just warm. Don't let them cook any further.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce
    3 egg yolks
    1/2 tsp. salt                                                3 mL
    Dash of cayenne pepper
    1 tbsp. cream                                    15 mL
    1/2 lb. melted sweet butter, heated until bubbling but not brown            500 gm
    1 tbsp. lemon juice or white wine vinegar                                                15 mL

Place egg yolks, salt, pepper and cream in blender, blend for a few seconds at high speed until you have a smooth frothy mixture. Still at high speed, start adding hot butter in a thin, steady stream, not too slowly. As you add butter, the sauce should thicken. When half the butter has been added, add lemon juice or vinegar. Continue blending until all butter is used. You can keep this warm in a thermos until time to serve. (Source

If you want to make this in advance, chill after making. Reheat in the top of a double boiler over hot but not boiling water. Whisk constantly. It will not be as silky smooth but will be totally acceptable.


Huevos Rancheros

My cousin married a man from El Salvador and they always treat us to Huevos Ranchos for a special breakfast. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group. Huevos Rancheros was invented as a way to use up leftover tortillas and salsa and was a Mexican rancher’s breakfast. Corn tortillas are usually used but may be more difficult to find. Flour tortillas work fine and since they are larger use one for two eggs.

Cousin Lorna’s Huevos Rancheros
Serves 6 people.

4 - 5 tomatoes pureed with 1/2 cup water in blender            
6 tbsp. white onion, finely chopped                                                
6 tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped                                    
4 tbsp. cilantro                                                                        
2 tbsp. cooking oil                                                            
pinch of garlic salt
4 drops Tabasco Sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup                                                           
Pace brand or your favourite purchased mild chunky salsa
1 avocado
6 eggs
6 corn or flour tortillas

Sauté white onions, green peppers, in pot with cooking oil, then add garlic salt; cilantro. Add blended tomatoes with water; cook over medium heat for approx 12 minutes and add Tabasco sauce and ketchup for more color and flavour. Add salsa to thicken; extend recipe as needed. Fry eggs sunny side up and put on corn tortillas that have been heated either in microwave or on the grill. Use 1 egg per tortilla and ladle sauce over the egg. Garnish with cilantro leaves and avocado wedges. This can also be served with refried beans topped with grated Monterey Jack cheese.

Sorry, I don't know why the recipe didn't show when I first published this post! You must have wondered why I only published a picture!


Make a Christmas Wreath

It is a beautiful day after suffering through a huge dump of snow and cold winter temperatures. I thought it was a good day to go outside and clip some branches from my evergreen trees. I have 3 different varieties.

I have always wanted to make my own Christmas wreath and I was up to the challenge this afternoon. All you need are 3 items plus the evergreen boughs. You need 2 coat hangers, florist wire and some clippers to cut the wire.

Pull the coat hangers out of shape into a diamond shape and wire them together. I tried it with one hanger and the bundle of boughs just would not stay in place.

Make 12 bundles of boughs and twist each with some florist wire. Make sure you have a variety of boughs in each bundle. Then you simply attach them to the coat hanger frame with more florist wire.

I started at the top and overlapped each bundle so you hide the ends of the branches and the wire. You can fill in any obvious holes later.

The most time consuming part was deciding how to decorate it. In the end, I simply used some pheasant feathers and two sparkly pear Christmas decorations. I also added a few extra pine cones. Use your florist wire to attach the decorations. I am sure I will be tweaking it in the days ahead to make it just right.


See you on Saturday at Christmas Spirit! This will be my most extensive menu throughout the Christmas Season. There are over 90 vendors and I am so excited about this show. If there is anything in particular that you want, just leave me a comment here. I will hold it for you so that you don't have to be there first thing in the morning. And, I can also let you know if I will have it available.


Pheasant Escabeche

First of all, thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Calgary Herald photo contest. I won! Yeah! Now I just have to find a way to pick up my cookbook! They don't mail it out.

It is pheasant season and awhile back I was showing off my prowess in dressing pheasants. I have been hesitant to cook with them until I found a truly inspiring recipe. The inspiration for this comes from a wonderful blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Hank has several recipes for game birds.

This escabeche uses the entire bird. Everything I need is in my pantry. And it keeps well refrigerated for a week or more. The vinegar works as a preservative. I wanted to try it.

Even though it looks nothing like the escabeche recipe on Hank's blog, the flavour is amazing. It looks like a curry but that colour comes from the carrots in the stewing mixture. Directions told me to puree the mixture but next time I would puree only half and leave the texture of some of the vegetables in tact. I am serving this with a saffron and almond rice pilaf.

Pheasant Escabeche      adapted from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
  • 2 pheasants
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • lemon peel from 1 lemon, white pith removed
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar 
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 bay leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves 
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled 
  • 1 onion, sliced into half-moons 
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • Salt
  1. Cut birds into serving pieces and salt well. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot with a lid over medium heat and cook the lemon peel in the oil until it browns. Remove and discard.
  3. Saute birds until nicely browned. Remove and set aside.
  4. Saute the onion in the lemon-flavored olive oil until just beginning to brown.
  5. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for a few minutes, stirring often.
  6. Pour in the vinegar, white wine, all the herbs and spices and bring to a simmer.
  7. Put in the pheasant and add a little water. You want the birds to be almost submerged, but not completely. Cover and simmer slowly for 90 minutes.
  8. Remove the birds and discard the bay leaves.
  9. Puree the sauce.
  10. Return it to the pot and bring to a simmer. Return the birds to the sauce. Turn off the heat and cover. Let the birds cool in the sauce for an hour or so.
  11. Serve cold, warmed up or at room temperature.


Vote for Me TODAY!

It is only a cookbook but I am very competitive! I submitted a recipe in a contest and I need your votes TODAY! Only one day of voting. This is the link Vote for Sarah   Thank you :)

This is my Heirloom Tomato Soup that I posted back awhile.

Fixing Rather than Tossing Broken Appliances

It is difficult to decipher from this picture but all the plastic pieces from my Cuisinart food processor are wearing out. See the broken piece on the pusher? The bowl has a broken clip so the lid does not sit in place without holding it. But the motor is still working very well. What a shame to throw this out. My model has been discontinued so I was not sure if I would be able to find replacement parts.

I am so thrilled to find all these pieces from Myric Electronics Ltd in Calgary. They are amazing. The service is great. I am so happy no to be throwing something away that is still functional. You can see that the new bowl handle is black and my old one is white. Do I care? Not a bit. The parts cost me $119 as compared to almost double that to replace the entire unit. I am set for another 6 or 7 years of happy food processing!


Winter Storm Warning in Saskatchewan

Snug as a bug in a rug. That is how I feel tonight. As the first real winter storm blew in I was fortunate to not have to work today. I shoveled the sidewalk this morning and within a couple of hours these drifts formed on my back walk. Can you see the sparkles in the night time picture. The snow is full of diamonds.


Pastitsio or Greek Style Lasagna

Being a cook is often akin to being an improvisor. Take tonight for example. I was a substitute teacher all day and still thought I would like to make a real meal tonight. The freezer yielded a pound of ground meat that I took to be beef. Yum. I had my mouth ready for spaghetti and meat sauce using my preserved heirloom tomato sauce.

After browning the ground meat it was clear to me, by the aroma, that I had lamb and not beef. Still with pasta on my mind, I decided to make pastitsio. It was one of my favourite meals when I was on vacation in Crete. That, with a tumbler of their homemade wine!

I  only had evaporated milk. I reconstituted it with water and used it instead of fresh milk. All the other ingredients were in my pantry. The evaporated milk worked perfectly. The spices are essential. Don't wimp out and omit them.

Pastitsio or Greek Style Lasagna

For meat sauce:
    1 medium onions, finely chopped
    1 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large clove of garlic, minced
    1 pounds ground lamb
    2 cups homemade tomato sauce
    2 thyme sprigs
    1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For béchamel sauce:
    1/4 c tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 c all-purpose flour
    3 cups whole milk
    1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or kefalotyri cheese
    2 large egg yolks
    2 tsp salt

For pasta:
    1 pound ziti
    1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or kefalotyri cheese

Make meat sauce:
Cook onions in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Increase heat to high, then stir in lamb and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps with a fork, until meat starts to brown, about 15 minutes.

Pour off excess fat from skillet, then stir in tomato sauce, thyme, spices, and 1 tsp salt. Simmer over low heat, partially covered, until some liquid has evaporated but sauce is still moist, about 40 minutes. Discard thyme.

Make béchamel while meat sauce simmers:
Melt butter in a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking frequently, until pale golden, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat milk in a heavy medium saucepan until just about to boil. Add milk to roux in a stream, whisking constantly until very smooth. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, whisking, then cook, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, cheese, and 1 tsp salt.

Lightly beat yolks in a bowl. Gradually whisk in 2 cups béchamel, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining béchamel in saucepan. Cover with a round of buttered wax paper (buttered side down).

Cook pasta and assemble pastitsio:
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Cook ziti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente. Drain pasta, then transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 cup béchamel.

Arrange one third of pasta lengthwise in 1 layer in a large (9- x 11-inch) baking pan (about 2 inches deep). Add half of meat sauce to baking pan, spreading evenly over pasta. Make another layer of pasta and top with remaining meat sauce, then arrange remaining pasta on top.

Spread remaining béchamel evenly over top layer of pasta. Sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese. Bake until golden brown and sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes.


That's What Christmas Means to Me

STOP NOW AND DOWNLOAD LIZZY'S SONG FOR FREE! It is only available until November 8 so don't waste any time. It is a lovely new song for Christmas. Request it on your favourite radio station. We want all the best for Lizzy with her new album.

Free download now

Aren't they adorable? Lizzy is an amazing singer and just happens to be related. Her Christmas album is out but you can download her title song for free.

Elizabeth MacInnis is a first soprano with a five octave range who’s striking out on a new solo career. You’ve heard Elizabeth’s voice before in television commercials and movie soundtracks (most recently “Population 420”.CBC), and now she’s releasing an extraordinary new Country/Pop recording produced by Billy Sherwood ( Yes,Circa) showcasing her distinctive voice.


Hunting Season and I Scored Some Pheasant

It is nice to have friends who hunt. Kim and her husband actually raise pheasant to be released into the wild.  Her husband is also a hunting guide. As a result of the guiding, they often have more pheasant than they can eat before freezer burn sets in. So lucky me! I put in my offer to help them eat their pheasant and today when the phone rang it was the farthest thing from my mind.

It was lucky because I was home today and I was also caught up in getting ready for the market on Saturday. I was so happy that I had made my Saskatoon Berry and White Chocolate scones and I sent Ron home with a dozen.

These are wild pheasant and not ones that were released. You can tell because the farm raised and released are banded on their leg.

I have never cleaned a bird before but Ron gave me a quick lesson. Don't look too closely at the wings! I can hardly wait to make these lovely birds into something extraordinary. I kept the livers and hearts, too. I was amazed to hear that most hunters simply 'breast' the bird and discard the legs and thighs. I believe in utilizing as much as possible.

I have dreams of crystal clear pheasant consommé, braised pheasant with madeira, a lovely pheasant stew with risotto, pheasant pot pie and a wild pheasant terrine. Hmmmm....what should I make first?


Peach Flat Pie

 I have been holding back. We made this pie in September. Flat pie is a common farm dessert to take out to the field during harvest. My neighbour came over and showed me how to do it.

She rolls out the pastry very thinly and is not afraid of working the dough. I am always so afraid to overwork pastry. She used very little flour on the countertop and with the rolling pin. Look how thinly it is rolled! I have to practice some more. The secret ingredient for her pastry is lard. We used the recipe from the box. This will normally make enough pastry for 3 pies.

Tenderflake Perfect Pastry
5 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 lb lard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
cold water

Mix together flour and salt. Cut in lard with pastry blender or your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. In a 1 cup measure, combine vinegar, egg. Add cold water to make 1 cup. Gradually stir into flour and lard mixture. Add only enough to make the dough cling together.

Gather into a ball and divide into 2 portions. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll and use.

Sliced peaches were laid out over the pastry. The peaches had been tossed with sugar and a little cornstarch to thicken the juices. Simple as that. Just sweeten to taste.

Crimp edges of top crust to seal and cut vent holes. Bake at 375F for approximately 40 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. Cool and serve.


Easy Milk Chocolate Fudge

I make a lot of Saskatoon Berry & White Chocolate Scones for the Market. Last time I ran out and placed my order, I mistakenly ordered 4 - 5 kg boxes of milk chocolate rather than white chocolate. Now I have all this in my pantry.

This is creamy and rich just like fudge should be and just in time for your Christmas baking. If you have any other favourite recipes for milk chocolate I would love to get your ideas. Just leave a comment here.

Milk Chocolate Fudge

Gourmet  | February 2007

    1 1/2 pound fine-quality milk chocolate, chopped
    6 tbsp unsalted butter
    22 oz  sweetened condensed milk (2 cans)
    1 teaspoon salt

Line bottom of an 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper or wax paper.

Heat all ingredients in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

Pour into baking pan and chill, uncovered, until firm, about 4 hours. Run a knife around edges of pan and invert fudge onto a work surface. Remove parchment and cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Serve chilled.  (I cooled this at room temperature overnight. It is much easier to cut and remove from the parchment paper when chilled)


Christmas Sugar Cookies

I have started my Christmas baking for the markets. I love making sugar cookie stars and think that a glaze of icing just finishes them off nicely. Last year I used a Royal Icing and I loved the cookies. This year I found an idea in a Winnipeg foodie magazine. They used a simple glaze and that is what I also tried this year.

I like how it is just a light glaze of icing. Sprinkles and dragees adhere nicely. You can colour the icing and you can layer it if you wait an hour between colours.

Check out the adorable sugar cookies at in Ciao magazine here

My sugar cookie recipe is a keeper. I recommend it. I used this icing recipe from Ciao magazine.

1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
2 tablespoons water

Mix until smooth. Paint on to the cookies. Sprinkles can be added now but let the icing set for an hour before layering on more colours. Leave cookies 24 hours for the icing to set before packaging.


Chicken Wings are a Blank Canvas

I remember when I was in high school working my summers at KFC. I always felt so guilty because we hid the wings on the bottom of the bucket. My boss told me they were the sweetest meat and the dessert. But I always felt I was deceiving the customer, for some reason.

Fast forward to today and now we all appreciate this sweet meat. I love chicken wings. All you have to do is toss them with a few ingredients and they are so tasty.

Tonight they were tossed with Worcestershire sauce, sriachi, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt and maple syrup. I even sauteed them stovetop rather than in the oven. Yum.


October 18...Anniversary for Women as Persons in Canada

“We are not here to beg for a favour but to obtain simple justice. Have we not the brains to think? Hands to work? Hearts to feel? And lives to live?” (Nellie McClung)

I was in university during the Burn the Bra era and soon the Status of Women Action Committee was formed. It was a time of wanting equality in all aspects of life and work. It was a time to claim ownership of our own bodies. It was a time when we were thinking we could change the world.

At that time I had no concept of the brave and tenacious women ahead of me. My own grandmother graduated from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1909 with a Bachelor of Arts.

My grandmother has always intrigued me more than any other person in my family. Perhaps it was the mystery of having known her only through her university and teaching pictures and her personal scrapbook of poems and clippings that captured me.  She died when my father was only 20 years old.

Writing this article has made me aware of how little effort I spent getting to know her. Now it is very difficult for me to piece together the puzzle of why she was so fortunate to attend university. Was it, as my father thinks, because she wanted to? Her family was not wealthy but was devout.  Akin to the Ivy League colleges of the east established by the Puritans, Carroll College was begun by the Presbyterians.  What was her mother like? Was her father a feminist in his time?

She was a teacher in both Canada and the U.S. After marrying, she was very active in the church, community and loved the arts. For 9 years she was the local correspondent to the Regina Leader Post. I wonder how an active and intelligent woman like this would be reacting to what was happening in the women’s movement of the time.

Voting but Still not a Person
Women’s suffrage is not unique to Canada and the United States. Rather each country has its own story. The isolation and lack of opportunities for women are almost universal. With Canada being a colony, women came from their own countries and brought experiences hoping to improve life in their new world.

The suffragette movement struggled in Canada and other countries. Then with the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and the enlistment of men in the armed forces, women had entered the work force in unprecedented numbers and their role in the country’s economy could no longer be ignored.

On 28 January 1916, Manitoba became the first province in Canada to extend the right to women to be elected to a seat in the provincial house. A series of measures between 1917-19 declared the women of Manitoba are now citizens, persons, human beings, who have stepped politically out of the class of criminals, children, idiots and lunatics.

By 1925 women could vote provincially everywhere except Quebec, where fifteen more years would pass before the right was granted.

Finally Women are Persons
Much work was done by many women through a range of organizations as the Temperance Union, several women’s suffrage groups, and lobbying husbands and colleagues with mock parliaments, skits and plays and the like.

On 18 October 1928 the Privy Council of Britain declared, “Women are Persons”.  Until now a British ruling of 1876 declared that women were held to be persons in matters of pain and penalties but not persons in matters of rights and privileges.

In 1929, after two years of legal debate, Canada’s highest court of appeal declared that the word ‘person’ included both women and men. Five Alberta women who became known as the Famous Five had brought the case before the courts in 1927. The case became known as the Persons Case.


Salad in a Jar

Make these on Sunday and they will keep all week in the refrigerator. Just grab one as needed. Make a variety so monotony does not set in. Don’t just make them for the children’s lunches. They are great adult food, too.

The guide for making a layered salad is simple. On the bottom, place dressing and liquids. Then add ingredients that hold up well when submerged in dressing like beans, cucumbers, radishes, onion, and hard cheese. They may even pickle a little in the dressing.

Next add heavier items that you may not want directly touching the dressing when stored. That might include some type of protein such as eggs, chickpeas, lentils or meat. On top of that add leafy greens and light ingredients that take up a lot of space like spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, and lettuces.

Then place a small amount of accent items such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, croutons, and accent spices. And finally, on top place colourful ingredients to perk up the taste buds when you pop open the jar, for example fruit, herbs or nuts. Grains and pasta could also be placed near the top so they don’t get soggy in the dressing. Many schools are nut-free so be sure to follow the guidelines of your school.

Commit some thought to providing an interesting salad. Using variety in shapes, sizes, colours and flavours creates interest. Tear rather than cut salad greens to prevent browning on the edges.

Beet Green Salad with Peaches and Feta
beet greens, washed and dried
peach, sliced
cucumber, diced or sliced
lemon juice, real or bottled
feta, cubed
sliced raw almonds
canola or olive oil
tarragon white wine vinegar or any light vinegar
Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
wide mouth 1 pint Mason jar 500 mL
Amounts of ingredients will vary depending upon how many jars you wish to make.

A few issues back, I shared my recipe for tarragon white wine vinegar. If you made it, then it can be used here. Otherwise, simply use something light like cider or white wine vinegar. Rice wine vinegar would be lovely. Use one part vinegar to three parts oil, add a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard 5-10 mL to help create the emulsion. Whisk vigorously. Add honey and salt & pepper to taste and whisk again.

To each Mason jar, add in the following order:
3 tbsp. vinaigrette dressing 45 mL
1/4 c. sliced or diced cucumber 60 mL
1/4 c. cubed feta cheese 60 mL
greens to fill almost full, well packed but not tightly packed
2 tbsp. sliced raw almonds 60 mL
peach, unpeeled, sliced and drizzled with lemon juice to prevent browning

The great thing about salads is that you can make them to suit your taste. If you like more dressing, add more. And so on with the other ingredients. If you can’t find feta, use another firm cheese like mozzarella. Be creative and try new combinations. I make salads like I make soups and use what is on hand.

At lunchtime, turn the jar upside down and shake so the dressing is distributed throughout. Open and enjoy!