It's Crunch Time! 

  
As the cold weather dissipates and we don’t just move to a different choice set of produce, but preparation tends to change, as well. If you’re inspired to move away from creamy soups and hearty stews, but there’s still a mix of winter and spring produce available, this may fit the bill.

Layer a handful of arugula, a handful of sliced cabbage, 1/4 of an English cucumber, and 1/2 an apple, sliced, on a plate. Drizzle with a mix of 10ml grainy Mustard, 10ml vinegar, and 10ml olive oil (Or use half Dijon/half Kozlik’s Triple Crunch, for the mustard as we did).

Crumble an ounce of Gorgonzola or smoked tofu on top. Enjoy!

We really tarted up breakfast this morning…

  

A sure sign of the spring food garden is an abundance of rhubarb. In fact we had so much last year, that a whole bag went undiscovered in the back of the freezer and we found it when tidying up to prepare for this year’s harvest. This delicious tart is one of the results.

Stew at least 4 cups (1l) of chopped rhubarb with sugar to taste (we like ours tart, no pun intended) and cool. Eat as is, or to make this tasty tart, preheat oven to 375F . On a sheet of parchment, roll out one sheet of puff pastry to about 12″/30cm. Place on cookie sheet. Put rhubarb in the centre and turn in edges to lap over filling and contain it, leaving top open. Brush pastry with a beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. We served ours with a spoonful of plain fat free yogurt, sprinkled with a little cinnamon.

Love the coffee mug? It’s from Krysta Oland’s Morning Sun Pottery.

Bake on Saturday, Loaf Around Sunday

After a quick trip to the T-Dot to visit the kids and the in-laws, life is getting back to normal, food wise, at least. Yesterday I baked an updated version of English muffin loaf, with multigrain flour instead of white. It’s a fast mix, no kneading, and you can ignore it and do other chores during the rising. Here’s the recipe:

2c plus 1 T/265 ml  multigrain flour (make your own or try a mix including bran, rye, oat, spelt, kamut, or cracked wheat, and flax or sesame seeds if you like)

1T/15 ml or 1 packet active dry yeast

2t/10ml brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup)

1c/250ml lukewarm 1% milk (any milk will work, including nut milk)

1/4t/2 ml baking soda

Mix dry ingredients (except soda) in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick batter, then for 15-20 seconds more until it looks stretchy. 

Cover with a tea towel in a warm place and let rise for about 45 minutes til double.

Dissolve soda in 1T/15ml water and stir vigorously into batter, continuing just until it looks stretchy again. 

Grease or spray an 8″ loaf pan. Scrape batter in, cover with towel and allow to rise again about 40 minutes.

Bake in a 375 oven 45-55 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pan right away.

Tastes best when toasted.

We had ours with a pepper and mushroom omelette. The sun is finally doing its work and the snow is beginning to recede. Thankfully, we just might see spring after all.

Good Habits Die Hard!

  

For the first day in what seems like ages, we aren’t getting our exercise by chucking hundreds of kilos of snow and ice around. But all that “necessary exercise” has made us feel fitter and more able to push ourselves during our regular workouts, as we return to normal. Not only that, but local spring veg (albeit indoor-grown) are making an appearance to give us hope. This morning, homemade whole grain bread topped with local cream cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber, a poached egg, and a little chipotle powder to wake up the taste buds.

Thanks to Denise MacLean pottery for making the beautiful mug!

These eggs put a spring in our step…

Although our garden is just beginning to spring to life, hothouse tomatoes are appearing from local farms, giving way to this delicious breakfast.

For two, we split two whole-wheat English muffins, and placed them on a parchment-lined, broiler pan for easy cleanup. Under the broiler they went, just until the cheese was crispy. We weren’t too tidy with the cheese, just so we would have leftover crispings to sprinkle on top.

Meanwhile we diced a large tomato and some parsley into a nonstick pan and heated until bubbly. We cracked in four medium eggs and lidded the lot, poaching til done.

After spooning the eggs on top of the muffins, we sprinkled with some dry mustard and the cheese crispings.

Eat up!

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Gardening is hungry work!

Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day, and hearing that there was snow in Calgary yesterday, we are grateful for the mild temperature we experienced. It let us get the garden cleaned up, prepped, and some cool weather crops sown for our spring table.

Of course digging and weeding all this (and more) in a locale that is too rocky for a tiller is no mean feat!

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This meant our salmon avocado tomato sandwiches were all the more welcome.

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For two, mix gently and spread on multigrain bread:

1 diced avocado, sprinkled w 15ml/1T lemon juice
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can wild salmon, drained and mashed
30ml/2T light mayo

Enjoy!

Mexican-inspired brunch makes good use of avocado

The thing about avocados is that they can go from just right to not-so-much in an instant. We used one up for brunch this week and it was a delicious combination. Whole wheat toast was topped with mashed avocado (1 fruit does four slices, and a little lemon juice keeps it from browning). On top of that, scrambled egg and a dollop of homemade salsa. Delicious!

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Our Grill is on the Lam(b)

Yesterday Mother Nature gave us a peek into springtime, with bare lawns, sunshine, and temperatures above the freezing mark. We knew the forecast was for snow, so after a long walk, we wanted to take advantage of this temperate turn of events while it lasted.

On the grill: lamb burgers – topped with feta cheese, a little corn relish, and some Dijon, with a green side salad to make sure it really felt like spring!

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The Feast Continues – Saints be Praised

Our family traditional dinner for St. Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage – or more colloquially, “boiled dinner”. And the feast was had, in all its glory.

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For many years, we wanted to make Mom’s day-after breakfast, but, mysteriously, the corned beef would always disappear overnight while the young ones lived at home, or be eaten up because we had company. Finally, here we are – empty nest, and we’re making a hash of it!

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Here’s to the approaching spring – and all your family traditions, whatever they are. Long may they last.

Nice Ideas from Nice

As February begins, we start to consider more springlike foods – the occasional bursts of sunshine and milder temperatures seem to mitigate the wintry desire for comfort and cocooning. The Niçoise salad seems to perfectly capture everything we look forward to – and this adaptation combines winter’s preserves, like capers and olives, with the local hydroponic lettuce and tomatoes that are appearing more frequently at the market.

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