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review 2020-06-28 21:32
A Disappointment
The American Diabetes Association Vegetarian Cookbook: Satisfying, Bold, and Flavorful Recipes from the Garden - Steven Petusevsky

I am on a quest to find recipes to suit my newly retired lifestyle. Most days I am home for all three meals, so I need healthy options for all of them. My thought was that I would review each cookbook and accompany each review with photos of recipes which I'd tried. This very first book has scuttled that plan!

 

I can really tell this book was written by a professional chef. The lists of ingredients tend to be long and sometimes call for things which I would never have on hand. He uses sugar substitutes, which I'm reluctant to do. It is blatantly obvious that someone else does his dish washing. One recipe that sounded good (Feelin' Your Oats burgers) required cooking to a certain point in a pot on the stove, then turning the mixture into a baking pan, then cutting it in squares to go back in the oven on a sheet pan to get crispy. I don't have the patience for all these steps and I don't think the dishwasher could cope with those oatmeal sticky pans. I don't have sous-chefs or human dishwashers to support me.

 

Now some of this is on me. I am fussy and I know it. I loathe onions. I still cook with them, but I reduce the quantities and I chop them fine to hide them from myself. I'm also picky about greens. I love spinach salad or spinach cooked into things, but I don't want a glop of cooked spinach on my plate, I think kale smells like farts and I won't touch it. I eat tomatoes, but according to my own arcane rules. Then there's my need to be gluten free for personal comfort issues.

 

So, the only recipe I would have made from this book is the rice pilaf. What a boring photo that would be! 

 

But my quest will continue. I hope to have better luck with the next cookbook.

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text 2019-08-30 20:13
Weekend Plans
150 Best Gluten-free Muffin Recipes - Camilla V. Saulsbury
The Gluten-Free Baking Book - Donna Washburn,Heather Butt

 

Its that time of year--when I want to bake and make big pots of soup. Both of those things will be happening this weekend.

 

Hope you all have more exciting plans than I do!

 

W.

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text 2019-07-16 20:34
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

 

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

3 large eggs

1/2 cup light sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp poppy seeds

2 Tbsp grated lemon zest 

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

 

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture and whisk until smooth.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the loaf comes out clean).  Cool completely in the pan.

 

Glaze:

 

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

 

Combine in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

 

Remove cooled loaf from the pan.  Holding carefully, poke holes with a toothpick all over the sides and bottom of the loaf.  Brush with half of the lemon glaze.  Set loaf on serving plate.  Poke holes in top of the loaf and brush with remaining glaze.

 

Store in sealed container in fridge for up to 1 week.

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review 2019-07-15 20:35
Speaking in Cod Tongues / Lenore Newman
Speaking in Cod Tongues : a Canadian Culinary Journey - Lenore Newman

Speaking in Cod Tongues explores the centers of Canadian cuisine, from ocean to prairie, and from the height of urban dining to picnics in the wilderness. From bakeapples to fiddleheads, from maple syrup to k'aaw, Speaking in Cod Tongues celebrates a young and vibrant cuisine.

 

When I was a child, I had a pen-pal in Korea. He asked me what should have been an easy question: what is the national dish of Canada? My mother and I talked it over, but really couldn’t come to any conclusion--Canada is so regionalized that you really can’t use any one recipe to represent all of us.

What we do have (to some extent) are Canadian ingredients: maple syrup, wild berries of several types, maybe salmon. We claim two sweet desserts: the butter tart and Nanaimo bars. We have some of our very own junk food: Cheezies, Smarties, ketchup chips, among others.

This author points out that Canadian cuisine features many wild foods: berries, fiddleheads, mushrooms, wild rice, bison, fish, dulse. My maternal grandmother came from New Brunswick, and through her I was introduced to fiddleheads (young, curled fern shoots) and dulse (dried seaweed). I can’t say that I enjoy either of those foods. Through my paternal grandmother, I was introduced to Danish delicacies--I especially remember the heavy, dark rye bread that she produced in her kitchen. 

Growing up on a farm, I remember the seasonality of our food, back in the day. I’m still a scrounger for the first rhubarb of the season and I was thrilled when my sister gave me some fresh spinach and a head of lettuce out of her garden on the weekend. Vegetables were limited by the end of winter and we were always excited for the new garden produce. It turns out that Canadian cuisine was local and seasonal before that was cool. We have made Farmers Markets a very popular item throughout the country. 

Another popular Canadian pastime is taking the food outdoors. Summer is short and we believe in going on picnics, hosting outdoor barbeques, and eating in the backyard or the camp-site as often as possible. I live in Calgary, the epicentre of pancake breakfasts. People set up the outdoor pancake griddle for virtually any occasion.

I had never realized before that J.L. Kraft was from Ontario, but left to the United States to “perfect” his cheese-preserving technology. And Canadians have certainly embrace what we call Kraft Dinner or KD. You know that neon orange cheese and macaroni? “Canadians buy 1.7 million of the 7 million boxes sold globally each week” according to Wikipedia. Not sure we should be proud of that….

The other national obsession seems to be the Tim Horton’s chain, where Canadians gather to swill coffee, and eat doughnuts and Timbits (supposedly the doughnut holes, but actually made with a completely different dough formulation). The double-double is a Canadian thing (a coffee with two creams and two sugars). While we can’t claim to have invented the doughnut, we have certainly embraced it.

The cooking of our immigrants has also become a permanent part of the Canadian scene. See Ann Hui’s book Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants for the saga of the Chinese cafe and restaurant in Canada. The talent of the Chinese immigrants was to take fresh local ingredients and use their own cooking techniques to create food for their communities. Speaking as a Calgarian, I love our local “Chinese” dish, ginger beef. Other regions have their own beloved creations.

I have to also say that I was delighted to find reference in this book to my favourite history professor at University of Calgary, Henry Klassen. Dr. Klassen was a methodical lecturer and a meticulous researcher. I loved the courses that I took from him and he was always ready with a smile when I met him on campus, even many years later. I was saddened when I learned of his death in 2005. This reference to his work means that he lives on and for that I am glad. 

All in all, I could have used this book back when I had that Korean pen-pal, but I am glad to have read it now.

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text 2019-01-07 15:57
Menu Monday

Well, I might as well confess right now that in 2018 my inner hoarder got the best of me.  I was unable to by-pass a sale of canned goods that I knew that I could use at some point.  As a result, the canned goods shelf in my kitchen in over flowing.  One of my New Year's Resolutions is to use up what I've got before I buy more.

 

The second thing is my new recipe file--it is stuffed full of magazine pages and photocopies, all of food that sounds good to me.  So my second Resolution is to try more of these recipes.  Any that are good, I copy into my personal cookbook, then I send the photocopies to my sister.  She has recently let me know that she appreciates my being her personal test kitchen.  She cooked several things over the holidays that turned out well.

 

So, in the interest of pursuing my Resolutions, here are the canned goods used to produce a Pumpkin Pie Crumble for a family event over Christmas:

 

 

And here is the complete crumble:

 

 

Topped with a bit of whipped topping, it was quite delightful:

 

 

More recently, I made Mexican Pork Stew:

 

 

It only required one tin of tomatoes, so you are spared the "Can Photo."

 

However, I was very happy to move all of these items out of inventory:

 

 

The creamed corn went into this Creole Cornbread:

 

 

When it was fresh from the oven, it was quite pleasant, if a bit crumbly.  Leftovers are not nearly as nice, even when heated, so I think I will return to my cornmeal muffins in future.

 

Also produced during this session was Deconstructed Cabbage Roll Soup:

 

 

The recipe made an enormous amount, so some has been pitched into the freezer, to provide a home-cooked meal on one of those evenings when I have no desire to cook anything.

 

2019 is off to a good start! 

 

 

 

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