Foods of Canada, Sunday Edition…

 With Canada Day just a few days away, local foods are on my mind. Also, I expect this will be the last year for this country-sized veg garden, so we are making the most of the harvest. Today’s special: Rhubarb Maple Crisp.

Fill your dish with sliced rhubarb, and drizzle lightly with maple syrup.

For the topping, mix melted butter and syrup (about 1/3c of each) with 1/3c sliced almonds and enough rolled oats (large flake) to cover your dish – around 3c.

Bake in a 375 oven for 45-50 minutes, until the rhubarb is bubbling and cooked through, and the top is golden.

We served ours with some fat free plain yogurt, delicious and creamy. 


Delicious Steak and Mushroom Pie

Slice 1 strip loin steak into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried mustard. Dredge in flour. In a heavy pan that is large enough to make the whole pie filling, brown it in olive oil. Remove to a plate and begin cooking the veg (you will be developing a brown crusty layer on the pan; don’t worry!) Use veg as you like, for us an onion, diced, a couple of stalks of celery, sliced, two minced cloves of garlic, and 3 or 4 c of sliced mushrooms were just right. We chopped in some garden herbs – sage, rosemary and thyme. When the veggies start to get a bit tender, deglaze the pan with some beer. We used Boxing Rock’s Crafty Jack. Add any remaining beer – about a cup was used in total.

Cover and simmer on low heat until it is thick and has a nice gravy. Remove from heat and make the crust…


For the crust,

Cut 3/4 c butter or shortening into 2c whole wheat flour. Sprinkle in enough water so it begins to cling together as you stir (4-6 T). Shape into two balls, one slightly smaller.


Roll out the larger ball for the bottom crust. Fill the pie, and top with the smaller crust, piercing the top to let out steam. Bake at 400 for about half an hour, until golden.


Pour on the Sweetness

These tasty squares have been adapted from a number of recipes, sometimes called Southern Bars. Or you may have seen them on cans of condensed milk.

One year, our kids dubbed them “Cavity Squares“, because they are so incredibly sweet. We know they have too many calories (we could also call them calorie squares). But they never fail to please, and someone always asks for the recipe. Your teeth may not thank you, but you’ll definitely keep your dentist in business!

Flakes of Goodness

20111121-193433.jpg. It is the season when flakes start to fall…but these flakes are flakes of delicious pastry!

8 sheets phyllo pastry
1/8 c butter, melted
3 apples, peeled and sliced
2 T sliced almonds
2 T raisins
2 T flour
3 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, mix the apple with the flour, sugar, raisins, nuts and cinnamon. Take a sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Top with another and brush again. Put 1/4 of the apple mixture 4″ in from short edge. Fold edge in, then each long edge. Roll up like a jelly roll. Place roll, seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining three rolls.

Beat egg and brush tops of rolls. Bake for 25 minutes until golden. Cool slightly (filling will be hot) and serve.

No Knead to Fear – It's Batter Bread!

One complaint (dare I say excuse) we often hear about not making homemade bread is that it’s so much work. We disagree of course, since we love breadmaking and it doesn’t feel like work as it can fit in around dinner-making, book-reading, or blog-writing.

However, in an attempt to tempt the non-bread-bakers out there, I decided to try some batter bread this week. Confession: I have never made this kind of bread before. Also, I must admit that I adapted the original recipe before even trying it, as I had some buckwheat flour we wanted to use up. You can find our version here.

It's Raining Bread. No, it's Raining: Bread.

When you’re stuck inside and the weather is cooling, it’s a great time to bake bread. Our bread-baking definitely falls off in the summertime, so we relish the cool wet days that occasionally appear.

We made this batch of spelt-buckwheat loaves on Friday. One has pumpkin seeds throughout, and on top; the rest are plain. All of them have an almost spicy flavour, even though we didn’t add any cinnamon or other spices to them. They make spectacular toast, and we even used some as the foundation for eggs benedict when our friend Rob came to visit.

Strawberry Shortcake, Maritime Style

We East Coasters like our shortcake a certain way. First, it doesn’t really involve cake. It takes biscuits. We make fresh, hot tea biscuits. We top them with sliced strawberries that have been sprinkled with a spoonful or two of sugar (no more!) and allowed to make some juice.

Then we give each shortcake a dollop of delicious, cool whipped cream with vanilla and just a hint of sugar. Summer on a plate!

A Heartwarming Breakfast

Berry season!

There’s no better breakfast than some fresh-made jam from your own kitchen (we made twoberry, our combination of raspberry and blueberry). Serve it on top of flaky tea biscuits and a hot cup of joe – and you’re golden!


Rhubarb Berry Crisp – Garden Heaven

A week or two ago I was lamenting the lack of local strawberries. Frankly it’s a bit early for most of the province but they could be found in a few places – there were apparently some for sale at the Brickworks market. But this past week East Lynn Farmer’s market had a few. And my grandmother’s rhubarb (transported far and wide across the country, into various family gardens) was ready for the pulling.

What to make? Pie or crisp? The guys made the decision. Much to my surprise, they chose the crisp! Mix the fruit in the pan and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of sugar.

For the topping, about 1/2 cup (125 ml) butter. Relax, it’s crisp! Then a bit of brown sugar, some oats, and a little whole-wheat flour. Mix it together til it’s crumbly. Sprinkle over the top.

Bake at 350F for about half an hour. Check it. If it’s not golden, give it another 10 or 15 minutes.

You can serve it warm, by itself. Ice cream is nice. Or you can eat it the next morning as leftovers, with a little plain yogurt from your favourite organic dairy.

This Week's Bread

Saturday was supposed to be gardening day…but the weather did not cooperate. So instead, faced with depressing rain, it was time to take out my frustrations on another batch of innocent flour from Better Bulk.

This time, I used my usual whole-wheat recipe, but substituted the flour: 1/3 dark rye flour, 1/3 whole wheat, and 1/3 unbleached white flour. Otherwise, the method was the same. For the infamous fourth loaf, I made a round one – and sprinkled in some raisins and caraway seeds. It was promptly devoured within a day or so, starting with the next morning’s breakfast.