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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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

 

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Crisp veggies in the wok!  Oh so delicious 

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You might have noticed I’ve been away (thanks for the great posts, Catherine). I needed a break, some perspective. I was itching to see the world.

And in a way, I had been hoping that I could capture the essence of my adventure in Central America in a few words.  At least, the essence of what food is, in those tropical latitudes.  Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador (fleetingly), and Nicaragua. Perhaps I can.

Frijoles.  Huevos.  Sal.  Mas frijoles, mas huevos, mas sal.  Todos fritos.

Well, it appears that was easy.  I ate a tremendous amount of beans, eggs, and more salt than I thought I could deal with.  I thought there was a salt problem in Canada.  Perhaps the climate of constant sweating allows salt intakes to be higher, but I can’t imagine that much salt is ever a good idea.

And yet, as I think about all those beans and eggs I ate, I can remember many other exciting meals and snacks.  In fact, simplifying it to beans, eggs, and salt is not really fair at all, because although I probably did eat those every day, there were many, many other treats I discovered along the way, in homes, restaurants, chaotic buses, and markets.

Perhaps it will take me to the end of the summer, but I hope to share some of those meals and snacks I discovered along the way.  From the new ways to eat mangoes I learned in Belize, tamales of the Maya people thoughout, plantain tostones, absolutely delicious beef baho, to heavenly fruit throughout, I hope you will enjoy these recipes and treats as much as I did.

The first recipe I want to share with you is Caribbean Fish. Appropriately, it is the absolute first thing I ate upon landing in Belize City, and it was a common meal for the remainder of my time in Belize.  Soon, after I discovered I had chosen to go to Belize at the absolute hottest time of the year, I began to crave spicy food. This flavourful fish, combined with Marie Sharp’s famous hot hot hot sauce (unique in that it is carrot-based) and a Belikin Stout – was the perfect thing for the hot weather. And very soon, as I travelled southward to Hopkins, I discovered I could even watch the fishermen in the morning who would catch dinner for the village later that night.

Caribbean Fish

Serves 4

Ingredients

-2 whole large snappers, cleaned and gutted (or 4 small ones)
-8 sprigs fresh coriander, washed
-2 cloves garlic, germs removed, and sliced
-1-2 jalapenos, washed and sliced
-1 Tbsp ground black pepper
-2 tsp salt
-1 lime
-1-2 Tbsp cooking oil of your choice (canola, for example)

-Hotsauce, such as Marie Sharp’s if you are lucky enough to have some, or whatever is your favourite

Directions

Rince the fish and make 3 angled slashes on each side to stuff seasonings into the flesh. In a small bowl, mix the salt and pepper. Slice the garlic and jalapeno. Using your fingers, rub the salt and pepper mix into the slashes and the fish cavities, and sprinkle a bit over the skin. Then place a slice of jalapeno and a bit of garlic into each slash of all the fish. Stuff the remainder of the garlic and jalapeno, as well as the coriander sprigs, into the stomach cavity of the fish. Add a squirt of lime juice to each fish.

Leave the fish to marinate shortly (10-15 min) in the fridge before cooking.

Serve the fish with fried plantain, rice and beans, or whatever you like to accompany your fish with, as well as some hot-sauce if you feel like it.

-Sitelle

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I can’t believe I missed it. The perfect day to launch my own very first completely invented recipe.

It was national pineapple up-side down cake day on April 20. What was I thinking? Honestly. I am eternally grateful to a pair of savvy radio commentators for reminding me before it was all too late.

I have been so excited to post this recipe for a long time. It has a very special story behind it.

Now over two months ago I headed to Belize with 12 other students from the University of Toronto to study Indigenous perspectives on food security and health. Perhaps surprisingly, we all got along well, and were totally mind-boggled by the amount we learned. In 10 days, I can easily say I learned a lot more than I did in my entire undergraduate experience, especially in terms of what I still remember. There’s something about learning by experience that cannot be beat. The experience was amazing, to say the least.

On the third day of our trip, we stayed in Hopkins, a most charming Garifuna Village on the Caribbean coast. We happened to be staying in a beach house (totally unexpectedly) which had a stove. I knew it was one of the student’s birthday that day, so I decided to bake a cake with ingredients I could find in the stores near-by, and to invent a recipe based on them since I had none to work with. I borrowed a cake pan from a chef at a restaurant down the street. Honestly, it was a really neat experience.

Being in Belize, there was pineapple, like no other I have ever tasted. What I have tried in Canada probably amounts to an abomination. I found eggs, sugar, and flour near-by.

To top it off, I used delicious dark rum to flambé the cake just before serving, instead of candles. It was quite the treat. Thank you to 2 of my friends for the photos!

Ingredients

-1 very fragrant pineapple, peeled and cored
-1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I’d recommend substituting this with butter if possible for even more flavour)
-3 Tbsp brown sugar
-1 Tbsp dark rum

-4 eggs, separated
-1 cup milk
-2 Tbsp rum
-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
-3/4 cups sugar
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-4 tsp baking powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Gently caramelize the sliced pineapple for 15-20 minutes with the brown sugar.  Add the rum after about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the milk, rum, vegetable oil, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg thoroughly. Beat the egg whites to medium-firm peaks (chill the whites, the bowl and whisk if possible – and if you have 1 tsp vinegar that also helps to add after they begin to stiffen).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Then fold in 1/4 of the stiff egg whites gently.  Then incorporate the remaining egg whites carefully, gently, and quickly.

Pour the caramelized pineapple into a greased rectangular oven dish, and then the batter over top. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Use a butter knife to cut the edges away from the pan, and invert onto a plate or platter, so that the pineapple is on top.  Then I heated up 3 Tbsp rum in a pan over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes, and lit it carefully on fire and poured it over the cake for the flambé.

This cake could be accompanied by whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but is completely delicious on its own. I hope you enjoy it!

-Sitelle

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