Category Archives: season

It’s Rhubarb Season

I love rhubarb. As soon as it appears in my local produce store or farmers market I buy it. Having grown up on the country side with an abundance of this vegetable available I do not want to miss it.

One of the first things I used rhubarb for this spring were my basic muffins. I added small rhubarb cubes and walnut crumbs and used vanilla flavouring to complement the tangy taste of the rhubarb. I baked those for my neighbour Julia and her family after she gave birth to little Monty.

A fantastic dessert I recently tried was strawberry rhubarb galettes from my favourite cookbook author Lucy Waverman posted in the Globe and Mail. Unfortunately my crust flattened down a bit. I have to try those again.

Much easier than galettes is a strawberry rhubarb pie as it sits in a pan.

Last night I opted for a rhubarb strawberry crumble as dessert. Here is the recipe that my dear friend Alison shared with me years ago when I had no idea about great American recipes yet. Alison is a great baker and has always some treats ready for her family and friends.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients

for the crumbs

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • cinnamon

for the fruit layer

  • 3 cups rhubarb cubes
  • 1 cup strawberry cubes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • vanilla extract or vanilla sugar

Preparation

Mix oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add not completely melted butter and form crumbs. Mix all ingredients for the fruit layer.

Grease a 6×9 inch baking pan, add the fruit layer, top with the crumbs. Bake at 400˚F for 30-40min. Let cool off a bit and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The feature photo originates from La Grande’s Farmersmarket photostream on Flickr.

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Filed under basic, dessert, easy, spring, summer

Lemony Fettuccine with Shrimps and Spinach

I enjoyed this fresh, light summer variation of a pasta meal for the first time at my friend Tammy’s house. She is a great cook and loves healthy meals. So this recipe had to be with whole wheat pasta which is a great combination with the other ingredients such as spinach, lemon, shrimps and olive oil.

Ingredients 

  • 375 g whole wheat fettuccine (or spaghetti)
  • juice and rind of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 300-400g shrimps and/or scallops
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bunch of spinach, washed, stems cut off
  • more olive oil
  • fresh pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • julienne-d lemon rind
Preparation
While cooking the pasta start the pasta sauce in small sauce pan. Heat olive oil and saute the shallots. Add the shrimps, the parsley, the lemon juice and the rind as well as 2 tbsp. of the water from the pasta. Drain the pasta once it is al dente and return it to the pot. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach leaves start to wither. Then pour the pasta sauce over top, add Parmesan and more olive oil, season with fresh ground pepper and mix everything together.
Sprinkle with some more Parmesan and julienne-d lemon rind for an attractive presentation.

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Filed under pasta, summer

Rosemary Flatbread

The bbq season is here and some fresh herbs start to grow in my garden. Yesterday was the perfect day to try this flatbread inspired by Martha Stewart as a side for steak and corn from the grill. It was extremely yummy. I made the pizza dough from scratch but did not let it rise as I usually would do.

Ingredients (makes 6-7 flat breads)

for the dough:

  • 500g flour (I used half whole wheat, half regular flour)
  • 2.5 tsp quick rise yeast
  • salt, sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup lukewarm water.
for the topping:
  •  3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, (more for drizzling)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt, (more for sprinkling)
  • cornmeal
  • 3 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

Mix all dry ingredients for the dough, then add the olive oil and the water (as much as needed) and knead everything for a couple of minutes.

Heat butter and olive oil for the topping in a saucepan, add salt and garlic and cook, but do not brown the garlic.

Sprinkle baking sheets with cornmeal.

Divide the dough into 6-7 portions and roll it out as you would do for a pizza. Brush with the butter-oil-garlic mixture and sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 15 min. at 400˚F. When the bread comes out of the oven drizzle some olive oil over top and sprinkle with coarse salt.

A little sprig of rosemary on each bread looks quite decorative.

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Filed under baking, bread, side dish, summer

Home-Made Vinaigrettes – Ready to Go

What I  learned from my old friends Klaus and Dorle who were both busy teachers and were rising a family with four young children at the time is that it is efficient and saves time to prepare in advance. They used to always have a bottle of home made Balsamic vinaigrette dressing ready to go in their kitchen. I adopted this habit and added a bottle of my own raspberry vinaigrette.

If you want to do the same or if you want to prepare a nice present from your kitchen for a friend just  prepare the dressing, then download and print one of the labels and glue it onto an empty vinegar bottle.

Both vinaigrettes go well with a toss of leaf lettuce with fruit, nuts and cheese.

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Filed under all seasons, basic, easy, inexpensive, vinaigrette

Beef Barley Soup

The recipe for this winter stew is from my dear friend Tina Bornman. We had it for dinner on Monday. It can easily be transformed into a vegetarian variant with lentils.

Once we served it for a crowd of 90 for lunch at church preparing three batches. Surprisingly each batch turned out very different from the other depending on the taste buds of the chef. Amounts for 30 servings are included in brackets.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)                                      (6 lb, 3kg)
  • 1 cup chopped onions                                                                            (7-8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic                                                                  (7-8 tbsps)
  • 6 cups of beef or chicken broth                                                         (11.5 litres)
  • ½ cup pearl barley                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced turnip                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced carrot                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced, peeled potato                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste                                                                       (1/3 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon thyme (and/or bay leaf,  marjoram, oregano)     (4 teaspoons)
  • black pepper

Preparation

In a large pot, sauté ground beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked and onions are soft. Drain any fat. Then add beef brooth and pearl barley. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add vegetables and potatoes, tomato paste and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tina comments:

This is the basic recipe. Some things I’ve tried are:

  • Use different vegetables
  • Omit meat and add ½ cup green lentils with the barley.
  • Use 3 cups tomato juice and 3 cups broth, and omit the tomato paste.
  • If you rinse the barley in cold water several times before adding, the soup stays more clear-looking, and is not as thick.
    My family likes the thicker soup so I always just throw it in.

Thanks for sharing, Tina.

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Filed under easy, for a crowd, soup/ stew, winter

Pasta Casserole with Zucchini Squash and Carrots

In our church we have the tradition to prepare meals for families with new-born babies and this is usually what I cook for such a joyful occasion. I double the portion and have one for my family and one to give away. Very easy!

If you do not like zucchini squash  replace it by any other green vegetables such as broccoli or beans. I often also add some ham cubes to this vegetarian meal to make the men in my family happy.

Ingredients

  • 300g Penne Rigate
  • 2 big carrots, cut into cubes
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut into 0.5″ slices
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • parsley, minced.

Preparation

Cook vegetables in boiling water with a bit of salt added, starting with carrots and adding zucchini squash later, until al dente, take out, pour some cold water over top and let drain.  Add hot water and 1 tsp. of oil to the pot to cook the pasta al dente, let drain. Mix pasta, vegetables and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Mix whipped cream with eggs, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, pour over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400°F for 30 min. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

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Filed under all seasons, casserole, easy, vegetarian

Rye Bread

This is a very easy and healthy bread that I bake once a week. It is a mix of half rye, half wheat flour made with yeast. I play around with different kinds of flours or replace part of the flour with oats. Instead of sugar honey or molasses works well. I also replaced the sunflower seeds by walnuts or added a variety of seeds, like sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds.

Ingredients

  • 500g rye flour
  • 250g whole wheat flour
  • 250g white flour
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 4 tsp. quick rise yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 800ml warm water.

Preparation

Mix all dry ingredients, add water and knead until soft. Let the dough rise for about an hour. Form a loaf and put it into a greased loaf pan. Cut a slash in the middle and bake at 425°F for 40 minutes.

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Filed under all seasons, baking, bread, easy