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Posts Tagged ‘rebar’

It’s been a busy few months for me! I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job.  Most recently, my job took me up to Moose Factory, Ontario. It’s primarily a Cree community about 10 kilometres south of James Bay (the southern-most section of Hudson’s Bay) on the Moose River.  It was just gorgeous, truly a winter wonderland from mid-November onwards!

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Sunset on the banks of the Moose River

But the food situation could only be described as dire.  I was shocked at the prices and the resulting food insecurity (not to mention the boil water advisory on the reserve).  I saw families at checkouts with only canned food in their cart as that was all they could afford! I’m lucky to have a decent salary and was only buying for myself, but even something as simple as a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce quickly added up to $10-15!  Here’s some prices from my grocery shop in Kashechewan, a community nearby Moose Factory:

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The frighteningly high food prices of Kashechewan, Ontario

All to say, when I got home to Ottawa this past weekend, I was craving a big and varied veggie stirfry.  I decided to make one of my favourite recipes, Lotus Land Linguini from  rebar: modern food cook book.  This medley of crisp veggies with a delightful spicy & creamy peanut sauce continues to be one of my absolute faves.   In it’s original form it’s vegan, but as a special treat I added some shrimp.  And to keep with the Asian theme, I served it with rice noodles instead of linguini (making it gluten-free too!).  I have yet to meet a friend or family member who hasn’t asked for the recipe.  Just the culinary treat I needed!!

– Bon appetit!

Catherine

 

lotus-land-linguini

Crisp veggies in the wok!  Oh so delicious 

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Inspired by the changing autumn colours, the crisp morning bike rides through the streets of Ottawa, and the bountiful harvest, I sometimes feel like I cannot satisfy my desire to cook at this time of year. There are so many things I’d like to make!

This soup is inspired from rebar, a fantastic cookbook Catherine has already talked about. What I love about this soup is the tangy, rich and spicy flavour, in the form of a light soup. It is simply delicious!IMG_20151004_200842

Ingredients – 6 servings

-1 1/2 lb tomatillos, de-husked and washed
-1 hot chili of your taste (jalapeno or other), diced. You can remove or keep the seeds depending on how spicy you want it
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced, and divided in 1/4 and 3/4
-1/2 tsp salt and pepper

-6 cups vegetable stock, kept hot while preparing the rest
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 red pepper, diced
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups corn kernels
-1 small zucchini, chopped
-1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
-1/2 lime, juiced

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the tomatillos in half and place in a bowl with the olive oil, the chili and 1/4 of the garlic. Toss with salt and pepper and then place in a large enough baking dish that they can all be roasted without being piled up. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they are browned and roasted. Cut in quarters and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer, with the corn kernels.

In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion until it softens. Add the red pepper, the garlic, coriander, salt, and sauté for a further 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. Once the zucchini is in add the minced cilantro and stir, until the veggies are soft and the garlic is fragrant. Add the stock and lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, then add the roasted tomatillo mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add cilantro leaves for garnish. This is a delicious tangy soup you can have as a full meal with fresh corn bread or as a first course in a bold autumn feast!

-Sitelle

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Wishing you and yours a very happy new year!

The past year has flown by.  It’s been a busy year – finishing up my Master’s thesis, travelling in Tanzania, starting medical school – and I have been very fortunate.  While I’ve had fewer new cooking adventures (to be remedied in 2013), I have certainly enjoyed many old favourites with friends and family!

Gourm(eh?) continues to exceed expectations. It’s hard to believe that a small project for me and Sitelle to share recipes has turned into a blog that has received over 30,000 hits!  We look forward to sharing many more in 2013 – including a few more Canadian specialties.

To start off 2013, I wanted to share the five most popular recipes from 2012.  Bon appetit!

– Catherine

5. Lotus Land Linguini

Creamy lotus land linguine

This pasta from rebar was initially cooked to fulfill a peanut craving.  The lotus land linguini turned out to be a fun and tasty dish enjoyed by all – the leftovers were perfect as a picnic lunch the next day on a wintertime outing to Peggy’s Cove!

4. Whitewater Cinnamon Buns

Waiting for the cinnamon buns to finish rising

Waiting for the cinnamon buns to finish rising

These cinnamon buns from Whitewater Cooks were nice and cinnamony, and perfect for a late morning brunch!

3. Spicy Steamed Fish, Gambian Style

Gambian platter

Sitelle shared many of the recipes she picked up while living in Gambia – and this one looks divine!

2. Christmas Cookies

Swedish Pastries (Thumbprint Walnut Christmas Cookie)

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Slice-and-Bake Icebox Cookies

Icebox Cookies

Christmas baking is a favourite family tradition, and these two cookies are my great-grandmother’s secret recipes.  They continue to be loved year after year!

1. Benachin

Bowl of benachin

Another of Sitelle’s Gambian dishes was our most viewed of 2012, and this is certainly a dish meant to be shared with company!

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Flipping through rebar: modern food cook book, I was captivated by the name of this linguine.  The recipe looked perfect for dinner with peanut-loving vegetarian friends.  I followed rebar‘s hint to make the sauce rich and creamy by adding equal amounts of canned coconut milk.  I also added fried golden tofu to boost the protein content.   With two helpers, the chopping preparation passed quickly.

This pasta was a delight: creamy, peanut-buttered flavoured crisp veggies over noodles.  We ate the leftovers as a cold picnic-lunch a few days later while driving the Lighthouse Route on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. All of us agreed that the peanut-flavour had intensified, making for even more delicious leftovers!

Lotus Land Linguine with wok-fried vegetables and peanut sauce

(serves 4 hungry individuals)

Ingredients:

1 recipe peanut sauce

1 lb (454 g) linguine noodles

1 tablespoon peanut oil, separated

1 pound firm tofu, cubed (optional)

1 yellow onion, julienned

2 carrots, half moon slices

1 large red pepper, 1/2-inch triangles

1 bunch broccoli, florets and stem sliced

4 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed

4 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated

2 bunches scallions, 1-inch long slices

1 can coconut milk (optional)

sesame oil

Directions:

Heat a large pot of water for cooking the pasta.  In a small pot, gently heat the peanut sauce with the coconut milk. Begin cooking the noodles when you start the stir-fry as they will take about the same amount of time.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Add half the oil, and just before it starts to smoke, add the tofu.  Stir-fry  until it is golden brown.  Remove from wok.  Add the remaining oil.  Stir-fry the onions until translucent and then add the remaining vegetables in order of their cooking times, beginning with the carrots and ending with the snow peas, bok choy and scallions.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Continue stirring and tossing the vegetables, keeping them crisp and brightly coloured.  If they start to stick, add a splash of water and cover briefly.

Toss the drained noodles with a splash of sesame oil.  Toss the noodles with the veggies, tofu, and creamy coconut peanut sauce.  Garnish with crushed peanuts, freshly chopped cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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The last few weeks have been busy.  My good friend Dora came to visit from Toronto, and we had a lovely time exploring Halifax and environs. We even had an opportunity to peruse Nova Scotia’s Ice Wine Festival, including a sampling with chocolate.  Then I was off visiting my sister in Montreal – and while it was fabulous to visit with her, the bronchitis that followed has kept me from the kitchen (needless to say having an appetite).

My friend Dora loves all things peanut – but lives with a brother who has an anaphylactic peanut allergy.  When she came for dinner, I decided to make a peanut-inspired dinner menu.

This peanut sauce from Rebar formed the basis of the pasta.  Intensely flavourful, this sauce was a cinch to blend together and absolutely delicious.  I’ll be looking around for more items to dip in it soon!

 

Peanut sauce with ginger, lime and cilantro (from rebar: modern food cookbook)

(makes 3/4 cup sauce)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peeled ginger, minced

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon sambal oelek (an Asian hot chili sauce)

1/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients from the garlic through to the sambal oelek.  Blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, blend and season to taste.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Despite sleeping for over 10 hours, I woke up Saturday morning with a stuffed-up head and a mild fever.  Looks like Halifax’s wet winter has finally gotten the best of me.  I decided the thing to do – between naps in bed and watching the West Wing – was to make a large pot of comforting soup.

I turned to Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowickz’ Rebar – a collection of delicious, inventive recipes out of Victoria, BC – for inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to their African yam soup.  The recipe looked simple, nutrient-filled, and packed with flavour – just what a girl needed when feeling under the weather.  (I note as an addendum that Monday evening, feeling reenergized sleeping off this cold, leftovers from this soup were superb.)

I leave you with Rebar’s description, which describes this soup beautifully:

“Silky smooth richness in this soup comes courtesy of peanut butter – there’s just enough of it blended in to make this soup luxuriant, rather than cloying.  Pineapple, lime and tomatoes add sweetness and tang, while the spices are lively and warming.  This soup can handle a generous dose of spice and heat, so arm yourself with a good hot sauce for last minute seasoning.”

 

African yam & peanut soup with ginger and pineapple

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:

8 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) minced ginger

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 medium yams (sweet potato), peeled and roughly chopped

1 x 14 fl oz (398 mL) can water-packed pineapple, juice reserved

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

5 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

juice and zest of 2 limes, or more to taste

favourite hot sauce, to taste (I used sambal oelek here and loved it!)

 

Directions:

Heat stock and keep it warm on the back burner while you assemble the soup.  In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a pinch of salt; saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next, add garlic, ginger and spices and saute until soft and golden.

Stir in red pepper, yams, and salt and continue cooking until they start to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable stock to cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cover partially and simmer until the yams are tender.

Add pineapple with juice, tomatoes, peanut butter and remaining stock and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree the soup until smooth, either directly in the pot with a hand blender or in batches with a food processor.

Return soup to the pot and simmer for a final 10 minutes.  Season to taste with more salt, pineapple juice, and/or hot sauce.  Just before serving, add chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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