Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Fidget Bake

Now playing: Sia - Sweet Potato
via FoxyTunes

This recipe provides a new form to savory Fidget Pie, a tasty English dish. Fidget Pie was named for the type of dish it was prepared in with "fitched," or five sides. This dish serves a hungry crowd after a busy day of work. The traditional way to make Fidget Pie is with a short crust and boiling potatoes. This adaption is made with a loose top crust, making it quicker and easier.

Ingredient list:

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
4 cooking apples, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 slices ham, rolled and cut into pieces
1 c. breadcrumbs
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. toasted almonds
salt and pepper

To make the filling:

Start with the roughly cubed sweet potatoes.

Barely cover with water and boil until tender, drain. Mash half of the sweet potatoes and leave half of them cubed. This will add contrasting textures to the dish. Set aside.

Saute' the apples and onion. Set aside.

In a rather large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, apples and onions, cheese, and ham. Fold together and season with salt and pepper.

This can be placed in a 9" round pie plate for a full size bake.

The mixture can also take the form of individual bakes. To create these convenient bakes, divide and smooth out the filling among 6 large baking ramekins.

To make the topping:

Loosely mix the breadcrumbs and butter with a fork, until combined. Fold in the toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Spread this topping evenly over the filling. Pat down slightly to firm it up.

Bake at 350 deg. F, or until the filling is heated through and the topping is golden. Serve!

The sweet potatoes add a lovely twist in flavor with added nutrition.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oodles of Noodles

Now playing: Herbie Mann - Oodles of Noodles
via FoxyTunes

The stir-fry come salad type dish I created the other day turned out a treat. The shrimp were marinaded in honey, ginger, garlic, tamari, fish sauce, tahini and dijon mustard. Then stir-fried with scallions. The layers are raw spinach, raw dikon radish (mouli), toasted noodles, and then the shrimp mixture. Drizzle the layers with:

Papaya Almond Vinaigrette

1/2 c. papaya puree
1/2 c. toasted almonds
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. tamari
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp. canola oil

Grind, pulp and emulsify this down and strain.

Garnish with ice cold scallion green curls.

All the layers come together in flavour and nutrition.

Papaya, almonds and spinach are good for a heart healthy diet. If you want to take it one step further, marinaded tofu for the shrimp.

Stop! Don't throw them out just yet! Papaya seeds are great to use in the event of a tummy-ache.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

With Any Luck I Will Post This Before Midnight

Now playing: Frank Zappa - When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
via FoxyTunes

....Made it, just barely. Busy days lately, but I managed to get a Irish themed meal on the table. The rainbow landed in my Irish coffee and that is why I am up all night. For dinner we had our traditional corned beef with Colcannon and soda bread. Hope you had a fun and luck of the Irish day!

My soda bread was nice with dried cranberries for a twist away from sultanas. This is the first time I used caraway in this bread, as well.

3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp. caraway seeds
2 handfuls dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Butter a loaf pan, I used a round Pyrex baking dish. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well to a nice batter. Fold in cranberries and seeds. Pour into pan and bake for an hour.

I am busy with projects!

This one is a secret for now. Any guesses?

Anyway, Lucie and I are working at this project and it will be revealed soon.

I have several knitting projects going on too. I found my favourite wool on Ebay in my favourite colour! I don't know what to make with it, but will soon figure it out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Are Those Good For?

Now playing: 6pm - In between beets
via FoxyTunes

At the grocery store the check-out clerk commented that she wished her family ate more nutritious things like my beets that she was ringing up. The bagger commented in response that her family may not even know what they are. I'm not sure if she was joking. I asked her to bag the greens carefully because, I use those too. She looked at me very surprised! The clerk then asked me, "What are they good for?" Well, let me tell you!

The colourful root is a rich source of, uh, let me see: Protein, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

The greens have even higher levels of iron, vitamin A, potassium and calcium.

Both are good for lowering blood pressure and as a cancer preventative, also lowering LDL.

Check them out!

Creamy Horseradish Caraway Beet Soup with Rye Grissini

4 beets, cooked til tender in the skins, reserve the greens roughly chopped.
2 tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. prepared horseradish (you can even prepare your own)
1/4 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. half 'n half
Bouquet Garni

Peel the cooked beets. Whirl in a blender with the greens. Add all remaining ingredients in a pot and heat without boiling. Strain. Serve with Rye Grissini. You could even float a cloud of yogurt, or sour cream on the top.

Rye Grissini

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water (105-115°F), divided
1/4 tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 c. dark rye flour
1 1/2 c. bread flour
2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. barley malt

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Proof yeast in the warm water. Add sugar and malt and flours, then salt and oil. Mix until smooth and elastic. Oil a bowl to rise the dough until double, about a hour. On a floured surface, form your Grissini in desired shapes. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in oven until golden, about 20 minutes and depending on the shape and thickness.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Need a Snack, or Dessert

Now playing: Yuppie Pricks - New Rolls
via FoxyTunes

As promised, more ideas for using spring roll wrappers. A healthy snack, or it can be used for dessert.

Rice Pudding Crystal Rolls with Tropical Fruit Salsa


2 cups rice pudding (make your own)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 vanilla pod
mint leaves (approx. 48)

1 small pineapple
2 small mangoes
2 kiwi
2 tsp. mirin
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. honey

12 spring roll wrappers

Review the relevant steps in the process here:

Prepare the salsa by small dicing the fruit and mixing it with Mirin, rice wine vinegar and honey. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Warm the cream cheese and fold into the rice pudding. Scrape the vanilla pod and fold in the pudding. Set aside in refrigerator until chilled.

Set up your rolling mise en place as in the above link.

On the moistened spring roll place two mint leaves and top with 2 1/2 large spoonfuls of pudding. Then, one final mint leaf. Roll per instructions and repeat.

Serve cold with the fruit salsa.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wheat Has Germs!

Now playing: Nice & Smooth - Cake & Eat It Too
via FoxyTunes

I just love these ironic captions on vintage images! This one in particular, for the strong ironic value in my kitchen.

A recipe I created for this set of recipes cards is:

Pineapple Upside-down Cake with Maple Syrup and Wheat Germ Streusel

The first part of my recipe says to use fresh pineapple!

I used a basic recipe for the cake such as this one:

You can read about the history of this cake via the link, as well.

I used a 9x13 pan, but using a skillet is good too. Then, I topped the cake batter that is already poured and smoothed in the pan with:

3 tbsp. wheat germ
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour

Roughly mix these together and sprinkle over the batter.

When it is done in the oven, invert and drizzle with 1/2 c. of maple syrup.

Serve with ice cream and garnish with more wheat germ sprinkled over the top.

Here is information on wheat germ and the health benefits of adding it to your diet:

With healthy wheat germ added, "I have my cake and eat it too!"

Let's hear your captions for this picture.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chowda and Lemon Thyme Lavash

Now playing: Radioinactive - Clam Chowder Day
via FoxyTunes

It is thyme to get out that lemon zester!

Lemon Thyme Lavash

6.75 oz.- 1/2 whole wheat, and 1/2 white bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. veg. oil
3-4 oz. water
1 tsp. dry thyme
Zest of 2 lemons

Proof the yeast in the warmed water. Stir in flour, salt, honey and oil, thyme and zest. Add the two mixes together until they form a ball. Add more water if needed by 1/2 tsp. increments. Sprinkle a kneading board with flour and knead 10 minutes (or in a mixer.) Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl turning it to coat it with oil. Cover and let it double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Roll out onto a floured, or lightly oiled surface and if it spring back let it rest for 5 minutes. Roll it into a thin square sheet and let rest another 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and transfer rolled dough to sheet pan. Cut into shards and dock the dough to keep it flat. For little oyster crackers cut out the dough into small circles or small shapes and then move to center of a lined sheet pan. Mist with oil and salt with sea salt. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until the crackers are evenly brown over the top. Cool 10 minutes, serve.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Less Messed up Joe

Now playing: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Sloppy Joe
via FoxyTunes

I present a less messy Joe, at least less messy on the inside....

This one is made with a homemade filling recipe, rather than the canned sauce alternative. It is just healthier that way. One of the first ingredients on the popular canned variety of Sloppy Joe sauce is high fructose corn syrup. I add sugar and other natural sweeteners to my savory foods (flavour balances), but not in high enough quantities so as to be listed 2nd on an ingredient list! It isn't dessert, is it?

1 lb. ground beef (or other types of mince for that matter- buffalo, elk, turkey etc.)
2 lrg. cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, or several fresh tomatoes small, cored and seeded, diced
1 onion - roasted, then small diced
2 bell peppers- roasted, then small diced
1 cloved crushed garlic
3 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Small dollop of tamarind paste
Pinch or two of brown sugar
A couple splashes of vinegar
A couple dashes of Worchestershire sauce
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded

Brown the meat and drain the fat ( I even rinse mine clean the pan before adding it back), Add the onion, peppers and garlic, brown a few minutes more. Then add the tomato products. Spice and season it up with remaining ingredients. This mixture is even better if served the next day and all the flavours meld.

A note about using canned tomato products, sometimes canned produce can be higher in nutrition. Canned tomatoes are a good case for this. I added fresh tomatoes to the sauce for a brighter, fresher taste. Don't feel bad about canned tomatoes....Well, watch for lower salt and quality brands.

"Canned tomatoes and tomato sauces are among the best sources of lycopene. Lycopene, found in tomatoes and many other red-pigmented fruits and vegetables, may help protect against certain cancers. The heat from the canning process allows lycopene in tomatoes to be better absorbed in the body."

To summarise/summarize:

*Homemade filling
*Shredded red cabbage for even more fiber and vitamins
*Whole Wheat buns- Toast them!

You can enjoy comfort foods with high doses of nutrition!