FOOD & RECIPES

IF YOU DON’T GIVE A FIG ABOUT FIGS, THINK AGAIN…

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A fresh fig is a wonderful thing. Yes, it is a strangely exotic looking fruit, and when you open it by peeling back the soft green flesh of the skin to expose the insides, it may remind you of a sea anemone, with little white waving arms and pink tentacles. Many people eat dried figs but fresh figs are perhaps an acquired taste, not so much because of their taste which is sweet and subtle, but more so because of their texture. I never really liked to eat ‘fresh’ figs when I was younger, but somehow over the years my more mature self has happily sucked out the insides of the fresh fig picked directly from the tree. There are many ways to eat figs: fresh, dried, baked, roasted, or made into fig compote or chutney. This season, our neighbors on the island have a magnificent fig tree which usually remains unpicked – the fruit falling and rotting on the ground – a playground for the wasps that dip into the fermenting nectar. Only a few of us pick the fruit, mostly for a neighborly ‘appetizer’ while sitting on our decks, watching the sun set and the beer froth. Figs roasted in the oven with a bit of blue cheese are a delight, served with a ‘rosemary’ crostini.

Here’s a recipe for a fig chutney that you can serve Fall and Winter, that will remind you of the splendid sunny summer days gone by.

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GREEN FIG CHUTNEY

INGREDIENTS:

1¼ lbs ripe green figs, rinsed, stems removed and cut into quarters with skin on
2 ¾ C red wine vinegar
1/2 lb. light brown sugar
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil for sautéing onions
½ C chopped dried apricots
½ cup Thomson raisins or currents
4 tsp zested fresh ginger
1½ tsp yellow mustard seed
¼ lemon zested
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cayenne (optional if you like ‘heat’)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan sauté onions in a tbsp. of olive oil until transparent
– add vinegar, sugar, ginger, mustard seed, lemon zest and spices and
stir until combined with onion
– bring all to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer until mixture is reduced
and thickened to a thickish syrup
– add quartered figs, apricots and raisins and cook gently until the
figs fall apart and the fruits are stewed in the liquid which has
mostly evaporated – about 30 minutes (times vary, so watch for texture)

PROCESSING YOUR JARS:
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Use canning jars and sealed lids (in Canada, I use Bernardin jars & lids) for your chutney. Follow the instructions for ‘canning’ for chutneys or relish.
OR
Wash jars and rinse thoroughly – place (un-dried) in 350° oven on a baking tray or cookie sheet for 15 minutes to sterilize glass jars
– place lids and seals in pot of boiling water and sterilize for 5 minutes
– remove jars from oven with oven mitts and start to fill the hot jars with hot chutney
– seal each jar with a lid and ring immediately
– turn jars over on their lids and let cool
– label and date your chutney

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ENJOY on toast, crackers with cheese, with meat, poultry and eggs!
PS…the photos are for a triple recipe! There were a lot of figs on the figgie tree – the fig tree owners got some chutney and so did friends in the city…these make great gifts – who doesn’t appreciate home made jams, chutneys and relishes? And, the good ones cost about $7.00 a jar! Win win all around – part of the waste not want not principle.

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HERE COME SUMMERTIME MEALS…fresh, simple and delicious!

So, where are all these ‘tasty’ simple and healthy recipes I’ve been promising since January? I hope you weren’t holding your appetites as you’d have starved to death waiting, which is possibly one of the reasons why I haven’t entered any recipes because I have been IN TRANSITION, ‘restricting’ my diet and God Forbid, have gone Gluten Free…a nasty phrase indeed, if only it weren’t so necessary for me at this stage – in the summer, with allergies knocking me around. So, NO wheat, which means (can I stand it), no bread or cakes or cookies, crackers or pizza (unless the crust is made with cauliflower)…it seems like just about everything I LOVE…like pasta, is verboten! However, there ARE substitutes. More on those, later.

The focus then is on fruit, veggies and protein. I am including a recipe here that comes from one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Toronto, called Terroni…there are several locations, but I still love to go to the original one on Queen St. West…the food is consistently delicioso.
This dish in particular, I always order. They do it just right.

FUNGHI AL FORNO (or at Terroni’s – Funghi Assoluti)

The key ingredient to this recipe is OYSTER mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

If you are not familiar with these mushrooms, they have a broad fan or oyster-shaped cap, and the ‘market’ variety usually grow in clusters. They range in color from white, gray, tan or brown…the market variety are usually a light grey, similar to the color of an oyster in the shell. The flesh is white, and firm, and varies in thickness…their stems, spongy and plump. Make sure they are fresh and firm and their gills white and dry…do not put in plastic, but in the brown paper mushroom bags. These mushrooms don’t like to sit around…so, serve them up the same day!

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As an appetizer for four to six people, or as a side, choose 4 to 6 clusters, which would include 2 to 3 larger mushrooms and perhaps 6 smaller ones in each cluster…each person would be served the larger mushroom heads and their ‘cluster’…for serving purposes I like to separate the larger heads from the smaller ones and leave the smaller ones in tact in their clusters. Trim the ends of the stalks to remove the
woodier or spongier bits…you want to leave JUST the tender stalk.

At Terroni the chef uses the Pizza Oven to cook this dish, and it rocks…the temperature is perfect for literally ‘melting’ these mushrooms so they go down smooth, like an oyster! I have a good oven which works almost as well as the pizza oven, but somehow, the smells and tastes from a large commercial pizza oven MUST somehow imbue the dish with ‘extra’ flavors.

You will need:
OVEN – pre-heated at 500°F (hot hot hot!)
4-6 clusters of clean Oyster Mushrooms (as described above)
1 large zip lock bag
1/3 C virgin olive oil
½ C fine bread crumbs (I used Gluten Free bread crumbs!)
½ tsp. of garlic powder, or 2 cloves finely chopped garlic (optional)
½ tsp. oregano
a few cranks of the salt grinder (optional)
Juice of ½ lemon
Handful of well-chopped flat-leafed Italian parsley
Wedge of Grana Padano Parmesan, for grating
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 handfuls of washed and dried arugula
6 lemon wedges
Italian vinaigrette

Carefully slip your funghi into the zip-lock bag
-pour in the olive oil
-toss the mushrooms lightly until they look ‘coated’
-pour in the bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano and parsley and seal the bag, and toss till the mushrooms seem evenly coated
– spritz in the lemon juice, crank in pepper to taste

Take your favorite glass-baking-dish, round, rectangular, oval -just
as long as there is enough room to lay out one layer of mushrooms
– brush bottom with olive oil so ‘rooms don’t stick
– empty mushrooms into the dish and arrange so there are no gaps
– take a grater or zester and finely grate parmesan to cover all the mushrooms – you can add more, or less, your call
– grind some pepper evenly over all

Place the mushrooms into the middle of the ‘preheated’ oven and
BAKE for approximately 7 minutes…at least that’s how long it
takes in the HOT Pizza oven – if your oven isn’t super hot, check it
often and take it out when mushrooms and parmesan are a golden brown and the mushrooms seem to be ‘melting’. Max. 10 minutes, or you’ll dry the dish out.

While the mushrooms are baking, take your side plates, arrange arugula in the center of plate and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the greens
– when the mushrooms are ‘perfect’, remove from oven, take a spatula and put a portion on top of each plate of arugula, add your lemon wedge and ‘il gioco è fatto’!

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Italian Vinaigrette?

-3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 C white wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp. minced garlic
-½ tsp. dried oregano
-1/ tbsp. chopped parsley
-ground coarse salt and pepper, to taste

…and if you’re ever in Toronto, go to Terroni and ask for
Funghi Assoluti. ENJOY!
IT’S A NEW YEAR…

CHRISTMAS IS  O  V  E  R . . .  and so is the Christmas food fest.  In the next days, I’ll add some recipes that will be part of ‘back to basics’ around here…eating healthy, avoiding sugar, salt, trans fats, and processed foods.

Boring you say?  Hopefully a few tasty recipes will convince you OTHERWISE!

 

 

CHRISTMAS FARE

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RÉVEILLON

Réveillon comes from the French word ‘réveiller’ which means
to ‘wake up’.  It refers to the fact that in order to participate in
a traditional ‘réveillon’ you have to be able to stay ‘awake’ past midnight
to enjoy a sumptuous meal on Christmas Eve.  In the past and still today,
Réveillon is often celebrated after midnight mass.  In Québec, it is traditional
to serve a ‘tourtière’ or meat pie made from two or three different meats.
The following recipe was given to me by my mother and is simple and delicious.
There are different kinds of tourtière, but this recipe is the easiest and not as ‘rich’ as some.

 QUÉBEC STYLE TOURTIÈRE

1/3 lb. ground beef
1/3 lb. ground veal
1/3 lb. ground pork (or ½ lb. pork, ½ lb. veal
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. powdered clove
¼ tsp. powdered nutmeg
¼ tsp. powdered cinnamon
2 tbsp. fine bread crumbs

 In a large saucepan, sauté the chopped onion in butter or olive oil until soft, but not browned.
– stir the beef, veal and pork into the onions till blended and cover all with ½ cup of water
– cook for approx. 30 minutes, stirring and breaking up the ground meat until evenly cooked
– stir in the spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes to release the spice flavors
– pour the cooked meat and spices into a glass dish and cool uncovered in the fridge

WHILE THE MEAT IS COOLING…
Prepare the double pie crust for the top and bottom of the Tourtière

Crust:

2 Cups all purpose flour (or 1 ½ C white and ½ C Whole wheat)  
½ tsp. salt
2/3 C vegetable shortening (or 1/3 C shortening & 1/3 C unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp. white or apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp. cold water
Finely ground Hèrbes de Provençe  (optional)

Cut the shortening into the flour, salt (& herbs) with a pastry cutter, until the pastry is the consistency of coarse meal.
– in a bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar and water
– add the egg mixture to the flour and form quickly into a ball, handling the dough as little as possible
– separate the dough ball into 2 halves and let sit in the fridge for approx.15 minutes for easier handling
– take out one ball and roll to fit the bottom of a 9 – 91/2  “deep-dish pie plate
– leave enough dough around the rim to pinch together with the top crust

REMOVE the meat from the fridge – skim the ‘fat’ off the top and stir in 2 tbsp. fine bread crumbs
– Spoon the meat mixture evenly into the lined pie shell

Take the second half of the dough and roll out to form the top crust of the pie
– Cover meat with top pastry
– crimp the edges with fingers, or seal with the tines of a fork
– cut decorative slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape when baking
– brush crust with egg mixture or a little milk

Bake in a pre-heated 375° oven on bottom rack for approximately 1 hour or till the pastry is golden brown and the meat juices are slightly oozing through the slits.

Remove from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite chutney, chow-chow or relish.

A leafy green salad makes a perfect accompaniment.

 Serve with a full-bodied red wine…Bon Appétit!

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This Photo is of an UNCOOKED tourtière in an aluminum pie plate which I seal in a zip lock FREEZER bag and freeze until baking before serving. Uncooked pastry freezes well! Makes a great present for your foodie friends!

PEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHY

DIPPING INTO THAT HARVEST ONCE AGAIN, do you want a simple dessert
that is simple to make and always a winner? 

TRY OVEN ROASTED PEACHES SERVED WITH YOUR FAVOURITE ACCOMPANIMENT

PREHEAT Oven to 350°
INGREDIENTS:

Fresh peaches
Butter
Brown Sugar
Cinnamon, cardamom
Toasted almond slivers (optional)

Buy enough fresh peaches for the number of guests you will be serving.

Keep skins on, wash them, pat them dry,  split in two,  and carefully remove the pit

Fill the peach centres with a small square of butter and some
brown sugar (to your taste & calorie considerations)

Dust with cinnamon and cardamom powder

Take a large rectangular pyrex oven dish, and place the peaches in the dish with
centres facing up

Fill the dish around the peaches with about a 1/4″ of water and place on the
centre rack in the oven

Bake until the peach skins have puckered, the sugar and butter are slightly absorbed
and the water appears pinkish and syrupy in color 

It is hard to ruin this dish – if you overcook, they are still delicious!!!  Some people prefer
the peaches to have some firmness, but I like them when they are ‘well done’

Serve in a shallow bowl alone, or with an accompaniment.  Spoon the syrup
(reduced water infused with brown sugar and spices) on top of the peaches

Add vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche or yogurt.
If you top with whipped cream or crème fraîche, add on some crunchy toasted almond slivers 

Decorate with a mint leaf and serve with some kind of crisp cookie like

a Madeleine or ginger snap

How simple can it get?  This is a desert that is best when the fruit
is in season…you can substitute peaches for nectarines or even large black plums,
but peaches are perfection!

ENJOY!

                PEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHYPEACHY

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               DIPPING INTO THE CORNUCOPIA                  OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES A L’ITALIANO

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What to do with the tomatoes that just keep on coming, small and perfect as they are?

I like to oven roast these little sweeties with a lovely mix of
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and Italian spices. EASY peasy!

OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES A L’ITALIANO!

Preheat the oven to 300F.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or foil

1 quart of cherry, grape or baby heritage tomatoes (washed, dried and cut in half)
1/4 C Virgin olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
2-3 tbsps. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. mixed Italian spices

In a med. bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, garlic and spices until combined.
Add the tomatoes, and stir them in the ‘vinaigrette’ until well coated.
Scatter the tomato halves onto the baking sheet, cut side up
and place into the preheated oven, centre rack.
Roast for at least an hour – while checking that they do NOT crisp up
Good when skin puckers and juices look a bit sweet and sticky.
Try one to see if it is cooked to YOUR liking

Remove from oven, let cool and spoon into a nice and VERY clean (if
not sterile) glass jar, add a touch more oil and cover with cap.
Keep in fridge and use in a myriad of ways.

-add tomatoes to a salad or omelet
-make tomato pesto
-simply eat on toast or crackers.

Nice little appetizer?
Pre-make rounds/squares of polenta, (corn grits) cover with a bit of
basil pesto and top with some roasted tomato – garnish with parsley! Pretty
and VERY tasty.

Happy FALL!

PAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLAPAELLA

PAELLA MIXTA

HA!  What took me so long?
I had to have the perfect excuse (besides summer)  to make my PAELLA MIXTA.
A dinner with old friends and colleagues was a good excuse to grease up the paella
pan, go to T&T to buy some live seafood and fire up the BBQ.
Here is the recipe which you can easily adjust to suit your own taste buds.
I like a MIXED paella, with lots of variety.

My paella has veggies, chicken, sausage (chorizo or merguez), prawns, clams and mussels…the veggies get sauteed first, then the chicken is added to brown and give flavor – add some diced tomatoes and the ‘sofrito’ is ready to accept the ‘bomba’ paella rice which is then cooked in freshly made chicken or fish stock…the sausage is added to cook in the juices of the sofrito and chicken stock…just as the rice is nearing perfection, the seafood is added and everything harmonizes when the mussels and clams open their beaks to sing ‘READY’ and the prawns are pink and plump…que comida maravillosa!

Seafood cooked along with rice

RECIPE FOR PAELLA MIXTA

l large Spanish sweet onion sliced thinly
1 large (2 small) red bell peppers sliced thinly
3 large cloves of garlic sliced thinly
1 tsp. crushed saffron
6 cups of freshly made chicken OR fish stock
6 boneless chicken thighs (skin off) chopped in bite-size pieces
6 merguez (lamb) sausages chopped in bite-size pieces
16 large prawns, headless, but with shells on
24 manila clams
24 mussels, scrubbed
3 cups of BOMBA paella rice (short grained rice)
1/3 C olive oil
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1-16 oz. can of un-marinated artichokes (optional)

Pre-make your fresh chicken or fish stock and heat it up with 1 tsp. of crushed saffron. Set aside in an ‘easy pour’ container.

On the grilling rack of your BBQ, place your 18” Paella pan where it will get the maximum distribution of heat. I light two of the 3 burners and cook directly over the two burners. Make sure you have good oven mitts close at hand as the handles get HOT HOT HOT!

In the paella pan, pour in 1/3 C of olive oil and
sauté the onion till translucent.
-add your chicken bits and sauté till it starts to brown but is not completely cooked.
-toss in the red peppers and cook for a few minutes so that they are coated in the oil and chicken juices.
-add the canned tomatoes and toss thoroughly into the chicken, onion and peppers.
-add the merguez sausage pieces and toss into the mix making sure they are covered in the ‘sofrito’
(tomato and chicken juices).
-add diced garlic cloves and let the whole mix simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
– gradually add the three cups of ‘bomba’ rice, ensuring that it is completely mixed with the ‘sofrito’ (tomato and chicken juices).
– slowly pour chicken stock into paella. Distribute it around the pan. DO NOT STIR but simply coat all the rice.
– once all the stock is added, let the ingredients simmer for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. The bomba rice will gradually absorb the juices and become plump.
– when the rice is slightly al denté and the juices are nearly all absorbed, add your selection of seafood piece by piece, decorating the top of the rice dish with a mix of prawn, mussel and clam.
– try not to overcook the seafood – the rule of thumb is to wait for the mussels and clams to open their shells and for the prawns to turn a healthy but not overly pink shade. If any of the shells do NOT open, discard, or give then a few more minutes to cook. Do NOT eat unopened shellfish!
– once the seafood is cooked, cover dish with tin foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Take the paella pan and place on a heat-proof pad in the center of the table. Serve with lemon wedges. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve your PAELLA MIXTA with a nice cold CAVA, or a cold and refreshing ‘Sangria’.
With so much rice, bread is unnecessary. Buen provecho!

ENJOY!

BANANA BREAD – to go with ‘Waste not, want not’ theme in ‘…THINKING ABOUT ‘

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JULIA’S BANANA BREAD  (in Bon Appetit)  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large, 3 small)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower)
    …Optional!  One cup of roasted walnuts OR pecans

PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with veg oil. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
    Bake for 60-70 minutes – set out for 15 minutes on wire rack to cool…release from sides of pan with knife
    Flip over on a plate and serve (or leave in the baking dish)
    Outside is a bit crispy and it’s nice and moist inside…that’s because of the CASTOR sugar…this is not
    the ‘healthiest’ banana bread, but it IS delicious.

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K A L E:  HUMBLE BRASSICA TURNS SUPERSTAR

Kale Winterbor

Here’s my own Kale recipe as promised on my HOME page!
8-12 leaves of fresh picked Kale –
3 tbsps. olive oil
1-2 cloves sliced garlic (your taste)
3 tbsps. tamari or high grade soy sauce
1/2 C roasted pumpkin seeds (sunflower are good too – seeds ARE optional)
Individual lemon wedges for squeezing on the kale

In a wok or large scanpan, mix oil and garlic together till garlic
starts to turn slightly brown
– add tamari and mix till mostly blended with oil
– toss torn kale leaves into the wok and with tongs, toss the
leaves over a med. high heat until kale is cooked but not
overly wilted
– add a bit more oil if needed and keep tossing – then a minute
before serving pour in the pumpkin seeds and toss until nicely
distributed.
Serve from pan to plate, with individual lemon wedges for squeezing
onto the hot greens…no need for salt as Tamari is salty enough!
I sometimes have a bowl of kale for lunch…freshly made in minutes.
How good does it get!
ENJOY 

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SUMMERTIME      
What to do with your Paella Pan whilst NOT in Paella mode?

Potato Galette...   

POTATO TATIN

6 large thin skinned white potatoes, skins on
1/2 large SWEET white onion, thinly sliced
1 C  finely grated aged cheddar cheese (more or less depending on your taste!)
1 C  Half and Half cream
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup chopped parsley
10 large slices of sundried tomatoes (cut into tiny strips for chew and color)
Stick of butter
Lemon juice to keep potatoes from turning brown

Preheat the oven to 350•
Butter bottom and sides of  15″ Paella Pan

In a food processor, I auto sliced potatoes very thinly for this dish unless you want
to slice by hand which takes a long time and the thickness of the potatoes is not consistent!
In the bottom of the processor bowl pour a couple of tbsps. of lemon juice to keep
potatoes from turning rusty. Once sliced, toss the potatoes in the lemon juice and add a bit more.

– Lay the thinly sliced potato rounds in the Paella pan, working in circles until pan bottom completely covered.
– scatter thin slices of onion onto the potatoes
– sprinkle 1/3 of your grated cheddar over the potatoes
– scatter parsley over your potatoes and cheddar
– grate some pepper on top
– add another layer of potato, onion, cheddar, parsley and pepper
and keep layering until the potatoes are used up.
(Usually 3-4 layers)

-On the top layer of potatoes & cheddar, add little chunks of butter scattered evenly over top & sides
– pour all the ‘half & half’ cream around the sides and over the top of potatoes so that it becomes evenly distributed
and runs throughout potato layers
– spread the thin strips of sun-dried-tomato evenly and decoratively over the top
– add some ground pepper

– Cover the pan with foil and place in preheated oven
– Bake for an hour, then insert a knife into the potatoes to see if they are cooked through and soft…
– if they are done, uncover and bake for 10 more minutes at 450•, or stick under broiler to brown
– if potatoes are underdone, bake undercover for another 10-15 minutes at 450• -then finish off uncovered under broiler until
golden brown
– Cut into wedges and serve hot hot hot!

For a fabulous summer meal, serve your Potato tatin with fresh oven-roasted Halibut, or Salmon on the BBQ.
A Cesar salad is a nice complement.

ENJOY!!!

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SPANISH CUISINE ………………………

At this same time last year, late May, we were on our way to Spain to walk the Way of St. James, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I must confess that the food on the ‘way’ was nothing to write home about, and the ‘economic crisis’ was certainly very apparent in the pueblos we walked through. We dreamed of the kind of foods that Spain is famous for…and really only experienced it in Barcelona, Granada, Salamanca Zamora, Valencia and Madrid. We lusted for a cold and well-seasoned Gazpacho, a seafood-filled Paella, fresh salads and fish, tasty and interesting tapas. We were sadly disappointed on the walk – the food in general was miserable, pork being the most available food in all its different forms. The best to be expected on the road was a ham and cheese bocadillo, (no butter, mustard, lettuce) and SO, as soon as I was home, I bought a Paella pan and served up paella cooked on the BBQ at Bowen. What a feast we had if I do say so myself.

Paella a la Aprilia, to follow! I guess I’ll have to cook one and take photos…this is worth waiting for!!!
But, while you are waiting, here is what I’m thinking of…www.vinosyrecetas.com   (this is NOT my photo, but it sure looks YUM!)

paella-mixta-de-carne-y-marisco

   Hope your Spanish is up to snuff!  Paella con carne y mariscos!
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AN OLD FAVORITE GREEK RECIPE 

SPANAKOPITA….

Anyone who has had supper at our house knows I make
a mean Spanakopita. It has taken years of practice and
perfecting this recipe.  My kids loved this and still do.

If I say I’m making Spinach Pie, it’s likely I’ll have a few
more guests sitting at the table!  O pa………..!

You will need the following ingredients:

-1 Box of FILO pastry sheets (usually found in the frozen section)
-3 bunches of fresh baby spinach (this can easily be replaced by supermarket versions –
     OR  2 small boxes of pre-washed  baby spinach (wash again and spin dry!
If NOT baby spinach, remove long stalks
-1 large sweet onion, diced
-2-3 cloves of garlic
-450 gm. of goat feta (you can use sheep or cow feta, but goat is best consistency!)
– 6 eggs, room temp
– 3/4 cup virgin olive oil (scant)
– 1 stick of melted butter (unsalted preferably)
– 1 tsp. oregano, fresh or 1/2 tsp. powdered
– Pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp. anchovy paste

(Click on the first photo below and you can view by slideshow, including comments as to
how to proceed)

Serve the above with a Greek Salad made of sweet onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and Calamata olives -with an
oil and white wine vinaigrette suffused with oregano, mint and thyme…schpritz of lemon.  DELISH!

SUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHISUSHI

Located on the West Coast, Vancouver cuisine is influenced
by all types of Asian food, and Japanese is high on the list.
Sushi restaurants abound, serving a range of tastes,
from traditional to designer varieties.

General Public - Addictive Sushi

Sushi restaurants are especially thick on the ground
on Main St., and there is now a new ‘Addictive Sushi’

right on the corner of Main and 17th.

The sumptuous sushi below comes from
ITADAKIMAS IZAKAYA, Main St.
www.itadakimasubar.com/

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Other favorite sushi restaurants on Main St. include:

Zipang Sushi – located around 21st, on East Side –  www.zipangsushi.com/

Dream Sushi – located at 28th, on West Side – www.dreamsushi.ca

Sushi Mania – located between 22nd & 23rd, on the West Side

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now for a little something more home grown!

THE BEST GRANOLA EVER

For the past three months, in the mornings, I have been eating a granola which I prepare in batches. I store the bulk of it in plastic freezer bags in the freezer, and have a glass jar in the fridge ready for use…I keep it in the fridge to help keep it fresh and free from rancidity…there are lots of nuts and seeds in this granola, and must be kept cool, or it doesn’t stay flavorful in a good way. The original recipe comes from Garbo’s in Auckland – a high end organic delicatessen in New Market – and I have used some of the main ingredients and vary the recipe depending on freshness of ingredients available AND on the season – as we know, variety IS the spice of life! For example, if you don’t like cinnamon, then leave it out or add something you DO like! Here’s the recipe!!!

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INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED  (you can adapt this granola however you like!)

In a large bowl, mix together:

6 cups of Raw Oats – (slow cook)
1 cup Pumpkin seeds (raw)
1 cup Sunflower seeds (raw)
1/2 cup Sesame seeds (raw)
1 cup Cashew nuts, roughly cut into pieces (raw)
1 cup pre-roasted-hazlenuts, skinless, cut into small pieces  (add hazelnuts to oat mix at the end with fruit)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut   (add to oats towards the end of the oven ‘toasting’)
1/4 cup chia seeds or flax  (optional)

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg, preferably from the nut

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In order to ‘toast’ your grains, nuts and seeds, you will have to mix them
with oil, syrup and juice.  Toss the ingredients with a pair of tongs to ensure
that the ingredients are evenly coated.

1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup of orange juice

Again,  you can vary these ingredients, for example, you can use peach
juice for flavoring and honey for sweetening.

Grape Seed Oil, Maple Syrup and Orange Juice

Next come the dried fruits
I buy a bag of mixed dried fruits containing
pear, peach, nectarine, apple, prune, and apricot…
I add some dried date for sweetness and have optionally added dried cranberry, currants or sour cherries… you can mix two or three or as many fruits as you want. I love the chewiness of the dried fruits in contrast with the crunchiness of the nuts and roasted oats.

2 cups of mixed dried fruits
1 cup of dried dates
1/2 cup of currants, or cranberries or cherries

Process the fruits into small pieces by pulsing them in a
food processor.  They get sticky as you pulse, so use a spatula
to spread them out and continue to pulse until they are cut
into small manageable pieces.
Place them into a large bowel and set aside

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Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the oat, nut and seed mixture evenly onto 2 or three cookie sheets so that they can brown evenly.  I use lightweight aluminum baking trays which I line with parchment paper, but this is optional…it seems that the granola mix browns very nicely without parchment paper on the lightweight foil trays, but on heavier weight cookie sheets I would be inclined to include parchment paper so the mix doesn’t burn.

Place trays in the center rack of the oven.
I take a large knife (cleaver) to intermittently toss and shift around the ingredients on the tray so they brown evenly.  Once the mix starts to turn brown, I add equal amounts of shredded coconut to each tray and integrate it into the browning oats by using the cleaver to mix and spread.  Once the oats are a golden brown, (10-15 minutes – CHECK!)  take them from the oven

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While the oat mixture is still warm, add to the dried fruits in the bowl.
Add the roasted hazlenuts, and toss all the ingredients
until thoroughly and evenly mixed.
Let the mixture cool
Spoon the granola into LARGE plastic freezer bags –
I usually put 4 – 6 large serving spoonfuls into each bag
and flatten the granola in the bag by squeezing
the air out and zip-locking it shut.
The flattened bags are ideal for ‘stacking’ in the freezer.

I also keep a lidded glass jar of the granola in the fridge for everyday use…when it gets low, I top it up with a new bag from the freezer.
Granola easily goes rancid because it contains lots of nuts and grains, so
store in a cool place or preferably in the fridge.

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I love to eat this granola with a low fat, PLAIN yogurt together
with a handful of fresh blueberries thrown in for good measure.
Banana is also a nice addition.

I have also been known to eat this at suppertime, when I’m not in the mood to make myself a meal…it’s always such a treat to have a bowl
…you don’t need a lot as it is very satisfying, e.g. 3 tablespoons, and you’ll be set for the morning.  Not a good idea to eat before bed, as it
is full of nuts and hard to digest lying down!

ENJOY!

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