Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Tonight I went to see the documentary, Qapirangajuq, it's about climate change from the Inuit perspective. The director Zacharias Kunuk and filmmaker Ian Mauro were there, and there was a question and answer period afterwards. It was really neat as there were people from very perspectives asking all sorts of questions. They even had a call via Skype from the UK.

I started taking Inuktitut classes on Saturday mornings a couple of months ago. It's a lot of fun, and my classmates are similar to me, mostly halfsies who grew up mostly in the south and have a half-decent base, but we just need to find our way over that hurdle to learn Inuktitut. It took a while, but I realized that language learning is more learning a new vocabulary. After that, I also learned that it's more than conjugating verbs. It's learning a way of life, and a big part of that is food. An optional course at a language school in France is gastronomy. I've eaten more different kinds of fish after living in Spain. If there is one thing I know about learning languages, it's that your palate expands along with your lexicon.

In this documentary, they talk about food, and about respecting the environment, where your food comes from. At the 6-minute mark, they are cooking fish. My mouth started to water. Seeing the broth after, I could smell and taste uujuq, seal broth. We all know that I'm a fan of soup, and I could really go for a nice, rich, hot bowl of uujuq right now. Later on, they eat some quaq, frozen meat. My stomach growled, I wouldn't mind some quaq sometime soon.

While I don't have any of that goodness on hand (but maybe my mum does? *hinthint*), my box of piruqsiaq arrived today:

Kale, living salad, squash, potatoes, pears, mandarins, oranges, onions, apples, carrot and mushrooms this time! If any of you have a mushroom recipe that you love, please share, I have nothing after the casserole.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My First Casserole

Remember all those shows from when you were young where the neighbour would show up with a casserole? Or a family member would rave or rant about their mothers casserole, be it broccoli or tuna. I remember asking my mum what a casserole was once upon hearing about them on TV for the thousandth time. She definitely never made a casserole. My first casserole experience was when I was about 13, and I stayed for dinner at my friend R's house. Her mum made a casserole and asked if I liked casserole. I had to admit to Momma I, I was a casserole virgin.

I continued my efforts to use everything in The Box today. I tackled the packet of mushrooms. Mushrooms are a man-vegetable in my book. I think it's because they go so well with steak. BBQ season? That's when it pays to have a barn full of chicken s*** (I am not entirely sure of how a commercial mushroom operation works, but a friend of mine worked at one once in the Okanagan, this is where I get the chicken sh*** idea from).

I couldn't think of a soup or a pie that I could stick the mushrooms into, so I checked out 101 Cookbooks, that's when I decided to make my very first casserole.

You will need:

1 8oz package of mushrooms
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 cups cooked brown rice, room temp.
1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (the recipe called for part cottage cheese, part sour cream, but I don't eat the latter. no, not even on nachos.)
2 eggs
parmesan cheese
olive oil

Chop the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes with olive oil and salt, until they start to brown and some of the liquid is released. Add the chopped onion for about 5 minutes, and then the garlic for another minute. Remove from heat, and stir in the rice.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese and salt. Mix in with the veggie/rice mixture. Move to casserole dish (formerly known as the shepherd's pie dish in our kitchen). Sprinkle with a layer of parmesan cheese, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

It looks exactly like a casserole, the contents somewhat unidentifiable, and no expectation of texture or flavour. I haven't tried it yet since I threw it together (that's my casserole talk, borrowed from TV) at 10pm. Maybe I should throw it in the freezer, you know, save it for a rainy day. I'll let you know what happens to this dish!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Egg salad

Egg salad in our house was always eggs, mayonnaise, onions, salt and pepper. Not much else, and it's pretty dang tasty! I was looking for recipes for something to bring to a potluck at work the other day (epic fail btw, I had remarks of disappointment that all I brought in was a salad) and came across Curried Egg Salad. I've got curry powder in my cupboard, so I decided to give it a shot:

I tried Heidi's method for perfect hard boiled eggs, put eggs (5 in this recipe) into a pot of boiling water, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 7 minutes. Have a bowl of ice water ready, and at the 7 minute mark, put the eggs in the ice water for 3 minutes to stop the cooking process. It's a really good method actually. A hard boiled egg when done properly should not have any grey around the yolk, if there is grey, it's overcooked. There was not even a hint of grey, and the eggs were already cool for my salad!

While the eggs cooking, mix:
4 tbsps plain yogurt
2 tsps curry powder of your choice
a couple of pinches of salt

then chop:

1/4 cup pecans
1/2 an apple (I'll add more apple next time)
1 small onion
1 green onion (I had no chives)

Tastiness waiting for the eggs:

When your eggs are finished the 3 minutes of cooling, peel and put into a bowl with the rest of your ingredients, then MASH!

This salad was pretty good, next time, I will add more spice, less onion, and more apple. I ate it on the last pumpkin dinner roll, with a side helping as well, yum! My mum tried it the next day and also approved.

Susan's Swiss Chard + Beets!

Day 4 with the giant box of produce, and I'm making progress! Today I got to the swiss chard and did almost as Susan suggested. I skipped the boiling of the chard and put it straight into the frying pan with garlic and used olive oil instead of butter. Although I knew that the flavour would be amazing with the butter, I planned to prepare beets to go with it, and the dressing had olive oil.

While the chard was cooking, I washed and quartered two beets, and steamed them for 15 minutes. When done, I mixed them up with a chopped clove of garlic, a few chopped basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. The beets went on top of the chard, et voila:

a yummy warm salad! A close up:

The beets and chard worked really well together. A nice warm salad is perfect on the day of the first real snowfall of the year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My organic box (haha)

I recently heard of Organics Delivered from some friends, R & S. They're the ones who were here when I was inspired to start blogging about soup! Remember that Carrot & Ginger beauty?

The idea of Organics Delivered is that they send you a box of organic goodies, both fruits and veggies each week or every other week. You can let them know what you don't want in your box, my opt out was water chestnut. Water chestnut is the only vegetable that I'm really not keen on.

Tonight my first box arrived, it's size small, about the size of one of those legal boxes you'll find at the office. It was seriously like opening up a stocking on Christmas morning, but in place of the Ovation chocolates, there was:

a bunch of carrots
green onions
swiss chard
romaine lettuce (not pictured, it was such a big head of lettuce it covered everything else)
a packet of mushrooms
5 apples
5 pears
4 oranges
2 grapefruits
2 avocados
5 bananas (thank goodness, my smoothie was at risk tomorrow morning!)
10-ish potatoes
2 beets

Not a bad haul for a small box! So far I've only had a pear to help digest the Indian buffet dinner, (both were delicious). The box was part of a sample trial, about $40 a box, seems like a decent deal so far. Look forward to creations thanks to the box!

Adios, calabaza!

It was time to say goodbye to pumpkin, at least for a few months. After loads of pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pancakes (these never made it on here, they were consumed before the camera could start up), pumpkin beer, roasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin soup, I felt the need to use the last of the pumpkin in my kitchen.

It started off with some pumpkin dinner rolls:

These guys were really easy to whip up. You know those restaurants that offer a variety of little rolls with innovative flavours in a basket at your table? You'd find these rolls in that basket, yum!

First: mix the following in a bowl and let froth:
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water

Second: mix the following in a bowl:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

Third: add the following to bowl with the yeast and water:
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup pumpkin puree

Fourth: mix the wet ingredients into the dry. I don't have an electric mixer, so I kneaded the dough until it was smooth and elastic. If while you're doing this, the dough seems dry, add a tablespoon of soy milk at a time, I only needed one.

Fifth: Cover your dough in the bowl and let rise for about 20 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. When the dough is puffed, divide into 8 balls and flatten a bit. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Original recipe

I kept going. These pumpkin scones were so good the first time, I had to repeat. The only difference was that the first time the scones were so big that you had to cut them in half. So I made them half size this time. I divided the dough in two before making the circles and dividing into six.

At this point a needed a pumpkin break. I had some chickpeas leftover from last weeks Apricot Almond Hummus, and tons of spices from when J used to make curry. So I made my first curry, mixing the spices on my own. Since F made me a Thai curry when we were in Padova 6 years ago I've tried to satisfy my taste buds to that level on my own. Still unsuccessful. This wasn't bad though:

1 onion, chopped and browned in some olive oil
3 gloves garlic, added to the onions once browned
garam masala
a few cloves
add the spices to the pan along with the chickpeas
after a few minutes, add half a can of coconut milk, a chopped tomato, and half a chopped red pepper (those are the veggies that were in the fridge)

let it simmer a bit and enjoy! I didn't do rice as I knew I had some taste testing to do in the near future. The combination of spices was pretty good for a first timer!

The curry went down, and it was time to get back to the baking. Next up: Banumpkin Bread.

3 really ripe bananas, mashed
add to the mashed bananas:
1/2 cup sugar (I used sucanat, and thanks for helping me get my keyboard back to English T!)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon beer
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a second bowl:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I always add a little more cinnamon, yum!)
Once the dry ingredients are mixed together, add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut flakes, then pour into a bread pan and cover with plastic wrap, putting this into the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake for an hour. Maybe 70 minutes, until your spaghetti comes out clean.

I brought some of this bread to work, it went down a few hatches pretty quickly, I like to think cos it was delicious as they said, and not because they were trying to be nice and swallow before they gagged. I then brought it to some friends, and ate the other half of the loaf on my own. You must try this! The recipe that I adjusted from is from (never home) maker. I switched a few things like maple syrup for honey as that's what I had on hand, and didn't add cloves since I don't have ground cloves. Remind me to get some.

Here's a summary of my Sunday evening:

Better wipe that drool off of your space bar!