Thursday, December 24, 2020

BUCKWHEAT CABBAGE ROLLS

 

Ready to go into the oven

It has been many many years since I have made cabbage rolls from scratch. My sister-in-law sent me a recipe she has made over the years that uses buckwheat, potatoes, onion and bacon. She told me that buckwheat or kasha was very good in cabbage rolls. You could make them meatless and not add the bacon. I decided to make these for the holidays. 

Since it has been awhile since I rolled cabbage leaves with filling, I thought a tutorial was in order. I went to youtube.com and found some great videos on cooking the cabbage and removing the leaves without ripping them along with rolling the leaves with filling.

The filling is very good and since I had about a generous tablespoon left after using all of the cabbage leaves, I warmed it up with a little bit of sauerkraut as a snack.

I used a 28 ounce can of skinless tomatoes and added some water to the casserole dish. 

This recipe makes over two dozen cabbage rolls. It depends on the amount of filling you use and the size of your cabbage.

Buckwheat filling

 

Cabbage ready to be filled

 

   
Filling the cabbage leaf    

Two layers of cabbage rolls with sauerkraut

INGREDIENTS:

1 large head of cabbage 

1 1/4 cups of buckwheat (kasha)

2 cups water

1 medium potato, peeled, cooked and mashed

1 medium onion, chopped

5 - 6 slices of bacon, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

28 oz canned tomatoes or tomato soup or juice

sauerkraut (optional)

large casserole dish with a lid

DIRECTIONS:

Add buckwheat and water to a pot and cook on high heat to a boiling point; then reduce to low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Once the buckwheat is simmering, you can cover the pot with a lid. Cook the buckwheat until the the kernels are soft and the water has been absorbed. Let the buckwheat cool and add it to a medium size bowl. Add the mashed potato to the buckwheat and combine well. Season with some salt and pepper. 

Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the chopped bacon. Once the bacon is half cooked, add the chopped onion. Cook the bacon and onion until both are well cooked and the bacon is crisp. Watch that you don't burn the onions. Add the cooked bacon and onions to the bowl with the buckwheat and mashed potatoes. Combine well. Set aside. You can make this filling ahead of time and store in the fridge if required.

Steam/cook the cabbage until you separate the leaves.

I like to first place a layer of small cabbage leaves on the bottom of the casserole pan before I add the cabbage rolls. Fill each cabbage leaf with about a tablespoon of the buckwheat mixture. Roll up the leaf and place in the casserole. After you have placed one layer of cabbage rolls you can add some sauerkraut to the layer of rolls before you add the second layer of cabbage rolls. Add more sauerkraut after you completed the second layer of cabbage rolls. Once you have used all of the cabbage leaves or filling, you can add the tomatoes to the casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees F for 2 hours. 

Recipe adapted from my sister-in-law Darlene.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

COD AND CLAM VEGETABLE CHOWDER


Soup can be eaten at any time of the day though I generally don’t have it for breakfast. But I have had congee for breakfast and quite enjoyed it. I served this cod and clam vegetable chowder for supper as the main meal along with some almond flour crackers that are very similar to saltines or soda crackers. Making a chowder is also a good way to use small pieces of frozen fish that you might have in the freezer. The soup has a nice flavour and the DH and I found it satisfying.
 

Ingredients:


5 slices of bacon, chopped (optional) OR 2 tbsp olive oil

1 med onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

1/2 coloured pepper, chopped

2 med potatoes, peeled, cubed

2 cups of water

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped or 1 tsp dry

341 ml can of corn (1 1/2 cups)

Salt and pepper to taste


1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk 


142 grams can of baby clams

140 to 160 grams frozen uncooked cod fillet, thawed, cut into small chunks

This makes about two cups of fish. You can use other fish instead of clams and cod. 


Directions:


Using bacon: Add the bacon to a large pot and cook (medium heat) until the bacon is three quarters cooked. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, place into a small bowl or cup and drain the fat off from the pot. Add the bacon back to the pot. 


Using oil: Add the oil to a large cooking pot and heat on medium high.


Add the onion, celery, carrots and pepper to the pot with the bacon or oil. Sauté on medium heat for five minutes until the vegetables soften. You don’t want the onions to get browned. Add the potatoes and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the corn, dill, salt and pepper. Stir all of the ingredients. Add two cups of water, stir the soup, increase the heat until the soup starts to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. 


Add the flour to a large measuring cup or a mixing bowl. Add the milk and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Add the mixture to the soup pot and mix it all together. Add the fish and stir it around the soup. Increase the heat until the soup starts to boil (medium high) and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for five minutes. Serves 4 to 6 depending on appetites and if you are having this soup as a starter or main meal. 


Other options for vegetables include adding a cup of frozen peas or substituting sweet potatoes for regular potatoes. 


Saturday, November 7, 2020

FARRO CHICKPEA SALAD

I got inspired reading a recipe from forks over knives that included freekeh and chickpeas. Freekeh is an ancient grain made from young green wheat grain. I used farro and like it so much that I would eat it even for breakfast instead of porridge. This salad is very versatile and you could add or substitute other vegetables including coloured pepper, celery, and carrot. It is a salad that would keep for several days in the fridge. The only thing I would note is using avocado in a salad which discolours over time. I served it at supper and had it first before the second course of pasta with marinara sauce.


INGREDIENTS:

1- 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 generous cup cooked farro, barley or bulgar wheat

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

2 fresh mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 orange or grapefruit, peeled, sections chopped

handful of fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

1.5 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS: 

Add the farro or other grain to a large bowl. Add the chickpeas and the rest of the vegetables, fruit and herbs. Mix gently. Add the oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Mix again and it is ready to serve. Serves 4 to 6 depending if this is served as a side dish.

Friday, October 23, 2020

PIZZA DOUGH

I like using this recipe for a pizza dough that I posted ten years ago vegetarian pizza. It is easy to make and makes a large enough pizza to feed at least four people. The dough recipe is still as good back then as it is now. I tend to roll it out with my fingers or a small pastry roller onto a large cookie sheet, 16'' by 11". If you like a very thin pizza, you could use a slightly larger pan. What you have to think about is planning ahead and making the dough a few hours before you want to eat so that it can rise.



For the pizza I made today, I used toppings that were in the fridge. There are no rules for choosing toppings. It is all about what your food preferences are and what is available. The amount you stack and the quantity of each item is up to you. Some people like a simple pizza while others like a pizza thickly packed with toppings. I don't like much tomato sauce on my pizza and sometimes using fresh tomatoes is a better option for me. I used the following items for this pizza.

PIZZA TOPPINGS

4 large slices of ham and chicken deli meat, chopped

6 mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

10 multi coloured cherry tomatoes, sliced

2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach

goat cheese

shredded mozzarella 

sprinkle of Italian seasoning

 






Thursday, October 1, 2020

SLOW COOKER CHILI

 

 

I got the inspiration to make chili today based on a few things: the weather has turned, it is chilly and cloudy; I wanted to use the pound of lean ground beef in the freezer; tomatoes from the garden are ripening; and, it is always convenient to have a small container or two in the freezer for when you have to make a quick meal. 

I like chili that has different textures and that includes some meat, beans and vegetables. There are zillions of ways to make chili and chili will differ depending on the region you live in. This chili uses taco spice seasoning but you could use other seasoning instead like cumin, paprika, allspice, Tabasco, oregano and chili powder.  

The chili was cooked in a slow cooker. You can cook it instead on the stove, on low heat, for several hours. Another option is to cook it in the oven at 275 or 300 degrees F for several hours, similar to cooking a stew in the oven.

Browned ground beef set aside in a dish.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

ROAST BEEF VEGETABLE PASTA SALAD

I use leftover roast beef in a variety of ways. You can freeze it, add it to soups, make a stir fry or sandwiches or add it to a noodle dish. I thought since it is so hot outside, making a pasta salad would be the best option. I like using small shaped noodles for pasta salad and bowties are one of my favorites for a variety of dishes.

I chose to use carrots, zucchini, celery and pepper as the main vegetables. You could also add cherry tomatoes, cooked corn or peas. I used fresh basil from the garden and parsley would also be a good option. The salad dressing doesn't overwhelm the salad nor is it so much that the salad is too wet with dressing.

We enjoyed having this beef pasta salad for supper.

INGREDIENTS:

Leftover cooked roast beef, chopped, 2 to 4 ounces
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 coloured pepper, chopped
1/3 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, provolone or your favorite cheese)
2 generous cups cooked pasta (bowties or small shaped pasta)

five fresh basil leaves, sliced into small ribbons

Dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the salad dressing in a small bowl or cup and set aside

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and combine well. Add the salad dressing and mix well. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Serves 4.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

MASHED CHICKPEA SALAD

Chickpeas are one of my favourite beans and it is very versatile to use in a number of recipes. Instead of having a tuna salad sandwich, this mashed chickpea salad is a great alternative. I included the vegetables and condiments that I usually add to tuna; you might have favourite things that you would add to this kind of salad. 

I had this salad on toast and added some garden cherry tomatoes and cucumber as additional side vegetables. Both the DH and I enjoyed it and found it very filling. 

INGREDIENTS:

1- 15 oz/540 ml can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 radishes, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
small celery stalk, finely chopped
3 sweet gherkins or 2 baby dills, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp mayonnaise (or more based on taste)
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Add the chickpeas to a medium size bowl and mash them with a fork. An alternative is to put them into a food chopper and pulse them until they are smashed but not pureed. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and combine them with the chickpeas.

Serve on toast or with crackers. Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD


Big bowl of pasta salad
Big bowl of salad ready to serve

Having some leftover chicken from baking boneless and skinless chicken thighs and cooked carrots the previous night got me thinking about what to make. An easy option is to chop and freeze it for future soups. But I already have some bags frozen to use in soups. I decided to make a pasta salad for supper which would result in enough leftover salad for the following day. I used chicken but a can of drained chickpeas or black beans could be substituted. The salad dressing is not overpowering and the volume of dressing made is enough to coat the salad but not drench it in dressing. You can add other vegetables to the salad than the ones I listed.

Ready to sample

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

1.5 cups dry uncooked pasta, eg bowties, penne or your favourite shaped pasta
2 cups of cooked cubed chicken
2 slices red onion, chopped
2 radishes, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 coloured pepper, diced
2 to 3 mushrooms, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
4 small cooked carrots, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or finely chopped
4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
small handful of parsley, chopped

Dressing

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
1 garlic minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to directions pertaining to the pasta you choose. Drain it and let cool. Add it to a big bowl.

To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients for the dressing into a container such as a small glass jar. Mix well with a fork or a whisk. Set aside.

Add all of the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the pasta. Combine well. Add the dressing to the salad and mix well. Serves 6.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

CHEDDAR CHEESE AND SESAME SEED BREAD



I have had The Bread Bible, 300 Favorite Recipes by Beth Hensperger, since it was first published in 1999. The cookbook has recipes that include yeast breads, sweet rolls, croissants, coffee cakes, muffins, corn breads, dessert breads and pancakes/waffles/crepes. It has quite a selection and variety to meet different tastes. 

After seeing a friend post on Instagram of an overnight no-knead bread that included grated cheese, garlic and chives, I became interested in baking a cheddar cheese bread. Besides having cheddar cheese in the fridge, I also have frozen grated cheddar in the freezer. I decided to use both in this recipe. I also decided to not add any herbs or garlic to the bread so that it could be eaten with jam if desired. Instead of toasting the sesame seeds in small frying pan over medium heat for a few minutes, you can firm them up in the microwave. I put the 1/3 cup of sesame seeds on a plate and microwaved it for 45 seconds. I added a tablespoon of dough enhancer to the ingredients. For most yeast breads (except one with a sour dough starter), I will add dough enhancer.

The smell of baking any bread and especially cheese bread is intoxicating. This bread is much easier to cut into slices if you let the loaves cool. Both the DH and I enjoyed a slice of bread with butter and strawberry jam. 

Loaves cooling on racks.

Ready to sample.

Scored the loaves before baking.

Makes two 9 by 5 inch loaves or 6 mini loaves ( 5 1/2 by 3 inch loaves)

INGREDIENTS:
 
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil - olive, avocado or vegetable
1.5 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
5 1/2 to 6 cups of unbleached flour 
3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 

DIRECTIONS:

Measure out 1/2 cup of the warm water from the 2 cups and place in a small bowl. Add the yeast and sugar to the bowl and stir to dissolve the yeast and sugar. Set it aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture gets foamy.

Mixing by hand: To a large bowl add the remaining 1.5 cups of water, the sesame seeds, oil, salt, eggs, 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture and 1.5 cups of the shredded cheddar. Mix well with a whisk and make sure it is thoroughly combined. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and keep mixing the dough using a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand until it is smooth and spongy (about four minutes). Add flour by tablespoon during the kneading as required to prevent sticking and to make the dough springy when pressed. 

Mixing using an electric mixer: In the bowl of the electric mixer add the remaining 1.5 cups of water, the sesame seeds, oil, salt, eggs, 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture and 1.5 cups of the shredded cheddar. Use a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about one minutes. Change the attachment to a dough hook and add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough starts to form and take shape. I used 5 1/2 cups of flour. Knead on a lower speed for about four minutes until the dough is smooth, spongy and springs back when pressed. 

Place the dough from either the floured surface or the electric mixer into an oiled large deep bowl. Turn the dough over to coat it with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap followed by a kitchen towel. Place in a draft free location and let it rise until it is double in size, 1.5 to 2 hours.  

Oil two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans or six 5 1/2 by 3 inch loaf pans.
 
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate it. Pat the dough down into a thick 12 inch long rectangle. Sprinkle with the remaining 1.5 cups of shredded cheese. Fold the dough around the cheese and knead gently a few times in order to produce the marble effect. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap for 5 to 10 minutes to let it rest. Divide the dough into two equal portions or six equal portions depending on the quantity you are making. Shape each loaf and place it seam side down into each of the loaf pans. Cover each one with plastic wrap followed by a kitchen towel and let rise in a draft free location for 45 minutes to one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using kitchen shears, gently snip each loaf five or six times at a 45 degree angle two inches down along the length of the loaf pan. Bake on a rack in the centre of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes for the standard loaves or 25 to 30 minutes for the mini loaves. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon. Transfer the loaves from the baking pans to a cooling rack. Cool before slicing and serving.

Recipe from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger

Monday, May 11, 2020

TOFU VEGETABLE STIR FRY



I have been trying to vary the menus at meal times and to make sure that I am eating a variety of vegetables. This recipe combines tofu and vegetables. You can use other vegetables than the ones I used in this recipe. At times it is what you have available. I served this stir fry with brown rice. You could serve it with other grains or cauliflower rice.

Awhile ago I discovered a number of marinades for tofu and have experimented with different ingredients. Sometimes I bake or sear the marinated tofu and usually have leftovers which I will snack on. I never thought I would snack on baked tofu. I like using extra firm tofu to marinate.

This recipe allows some advance prep work to be done. The tofu can be marinated and stored in the fridge and the sauce could be prepped in advance and kept in the fridge if you want to have less steps at suppertime. The sauce is what adds the great taste to the stir fry.


INGREDIENTS:

avocado oil for cooking tofu and vegetables or use water if preferred

Vegetables and Nuts

1/2 onion, chopped
2 mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, chopped into matchsticks
1/4 coloured pepper, chopped
3 bundles of baby bok choy, chopped
1/4 cup toasted almonds or cashews

fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
lime wedges (optional)


Marinated Tofu

4 oz of extra firm tofu, chopped into bite size cubes
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp maple syrup or sugar

Sauce

1 tsp sesame oil or avocado oil
1 tbsp almond or peanut butter
2 tbsp coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 to 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp water

DIRECTIONS:

In a small container whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and maple syrup ingredients to make the marinade for the tofu. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Cover and store in the fridge. To add more flavour to the tofu, the tofu should be marinated for at least two hours or even made the night before and kept in the fridge until ready to sear the tofu. If possible, I will make the marinade in the morning if I am planning to make the stir fry for supper.

To make the sauce, add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix it well with a whisk or fork. Set aside or if making it in advance, cover it and store in the fridge.

Remove the tofu from the marinade. Heat a non-stick or regular skillet to medium high heat and add a tablespoon of avocado oil or other cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu, reduce the heat to medium and sear it for five to seven minutes, flipping it frequently in order to brown it.  Remove the tofu from the skillet and set aside in a bowl.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and keep it on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, mushroom, carrot and pepper. Saute for five minutes and stir it every so often so that the vegetables don't stick or burn. If the heat is too high, reduce it to a lower heat. Add the tofu and stir everything together. Cook for another minute or two and add the baby bok choy. Stir to combine. Add the sauce and combine well. Cook for about a minute or two and then add the almonds or cashews. Combine and cook for less than a minute. Turn the heat off the burner and add some chopped cilantro to the skillet. It is ready to serve with the lime wedges. Makes two good servings.

Tofu marinade modified from Leslie Beck's Healthy Kitchen
Sauce for the stir fry modified from Body Fuel Organics