Friday, February 27, 2015

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew

It's been cold the past few weeks...really cold...
We've been dealing with nightly temperatures falling below 0 F, and nasty cold winds off the water. Our neighbors up in Boston have had it bad with the snow, and we've been dealing with biting cold served with a side of snow.
Lately when I watch the weather report, I feel like the guy in 'Groundhog's Day' hopefully, almost desperately, asking Phil the weatherman in the hotel hallway if he predicts an early Spring; Phil eyes him condescendingly and answers,

"I predict...March 20th."

Well, yes that's technically the start of Spring but it would be nice to get an early start on the warmer weather! I mean come on, even the birds and squirrels have had enough. The birds in the holly tree outside our upstairs windows are sitting puffed up and tweeting complaints! Poor birdies!

While Spring is still a ways off, there is no better way of dealing with the blustering cold then a nice Hearty Homemade Stew. This quick stew with filling red lentils and sweet butternut squash has just the right amount of spice/ spiciness and is a great healthy comfort food.

Here is my recipe for Hearty Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Stew:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunflower Seed Soup...Our travels - Wendake, Canada

This past summer we visited Quebec Province, Canada. We made stops in Montreal, Quebec City, Wendake, and the Eastern Townships. Wendake is a First Nation community of Huron- Wendat in Quebec. We visited the Traditional Huron Site, Onhoüa Chetek8e, and took the Mid-Day package which included: a guided tour, a dance show, and a traditional meal.

Our guide explained and answered every question from:

  •  Where the name 'Huron' came from...
    • To the French their bristled hair do's resembled boars which is 'hure' in French, though there were other possibilities as well, in French 'huron' means rustic.
  • The different types of medicine practiced...
    • Physical (Body), Psychological (Mind) and Spiritual (Soul).
  • Food Preservation/ Preparation Techniques...
    • Drying, Salting, and Smoking

Overall it was a wonderful experience, very interesting and informative. The Dance show was nicely done and every aspect was explained well. After the tour and show, we went to have lunch at the restaurant, Nek8arre. This was definitely a treat, traditional Wendat foods prepared with a French twist! We were greeted warmly and told the menu of the day:

Appetizer - Sunflower Seed Soup with Bannock

Main Course - Bison Sausages or DeerStew
Served with Wild Rice Mix and Seasonal Vegetables

Dessert - Maple Cake with Cranberry Tea

The lunch was wonderful!
The soup was filling, the meat was tender, vegetables cooked to perfection, and to be honest the tastiest and largest grains of wild rice I've seen in my life! We made sure to tell our hosts how much we enjoyed the experience and on our way out we picked up the restaurant cookbook which is only available in French, 'La Cuisine Huronne - D'hier à aujourd'hui' by Mario Gros-Louis. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend making a stop and give yourself a few hours to listen, learn, talk, stroll, eat, and enjoy! Here's the link: Traditional Huron Site, Onhoüa Chetek8e

This soup was a life saver this past week. It was so cold here, with the wind the temperature was in the negative numbers, -11 F at the lowest! Our pipes froze twice just this week! I didn't have any desire to go out in that kind of cold, so off to the pantry to see what I could put together. We had bean soup a few nights before so, beans were out...but I did have a lot of raw sunflower seeds from this summer. I remembered that hearty seed soup we had on our trip and that was it...dinner was decided! Not only is it a great soup to throw together, it's also healthy.

Sunflower seeds are high in protein and other nutrients
  • 100 grams (approx. 1/2 cup) of  Raw Sunflower Seeds have...
    • 20g of Carbohydrates, 8.5g Dietary Fiber, and 21g of Protein
    • They are also rich in cholesterol- lowering phytosterols.
 This in combination with the veggies gives you a well rounded and healthy meal!

Here is my version of Sunflower Seed Soup adapted from 'La Cuisine Huronne- D'hier à aujourd'hui':

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year! 2015 Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year and Spring Festival!

2015 is the year of the Sheep.

Wishing you and your family health, wealth, and good cheer for the Lunar New Year!

Since dumplings symbolize good luck and wealth, it seemed fitting to re-share this recipe for pork dumplings and veggie dumplings.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po'boy Sandwich with Spicy Remoulade

It's been a few years since I was in the French Quarter of New Orleans but the experience stuck with me.  I realize that most people only associate New Orleans with Mardi Gras, Interview with a Vampire, or Voodoo but there is so much more.  I spent my time walking the streets, window shopping, visiting the sights, and eating some of the best seafood dishes I've ever had. I grew very fond of the Gumbo with Andouille Alligator Sausage, yum!
It is a city of music, art and food... musicians on every corner...artists selling their works at Jackson Square...and the rich, culturally diverse culinary traditions.

While I was there I had the golden opportunity to take a cooking class, and of course shrimp was on the menu. The lovely lady holding the lesson showed what she called her staple recipe, cornmeal crusted shrimp. 
She said she used it as a base for many dishes because it was so versatile. The cornmeal adds a nice crisp to the outside that picks up sauces and dressing well; while the shrimp inside is juicy and perfectly cooked. 
I decided to use them in my own version of a 
Shrimp Po'boy... 

Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp on Homemade Sourdough, layered with Baby Spinach and Sliced Tomatoes, all topped with Spicy Remoulade.

Here's my recipe for Cornmeal Crusted Shrimp Po'boy with a Spicy Remoulade:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy St. Valentine's Day! Raspberry Madeleines

Happy St. Valentine's Day Everyone! 

I started writing this post after getting the bad news from Punxsutawney Phil...six more weeks of winter. So to cheer myself up, I put on one of my favorite George Harrison albums "All Things Must Pass" and of course one of my favorite songs...

"If not for you...
The winter would hold no spring, couldn't hear a robin sing,
I just wouldn't have a clue, if not for you.

If not for you my sky would fall,
rain would gather too,
without your love, I'd be nowhere at'll
I'd be lost, if not for you."

It always makes me smile, the feeling in his voice when he sings is touching, and of course that slide guitar. Kishore has now taken to  singing this song whenever I need a cheering up and that definitely makes me smile! :)
This year, I wanted to make a little sweet treat for my Sweetheart for Valentine's day. 
So to celebrate and meditate on spring, I decided to use our Raspberry Cordial from the summer for these fluffy Madeleines. The Raspberry, Vanilla and Bourbon flavors meld to give a fresh, summery  afternoon tea treat.

Here's my recipe for Raspberry Madeleines :

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How to Tuesday - Homemade Whole-grain Spicy Mustard

Mustard is a versatile condiment, used for a variety of dishes, dips, sandwiches, and sauce. Its importance at the table really shows  regardless of the season.
I mean think about it...a Soft Pretzel, a Ham/Turkey Sandwich or a Hot Dog without Mustard?!

It's almost unthinkable!
Mustard is made from a mixture of the Seeds of the Mustard plant and vinegar. The combination of different seeds and vinegar is what makes each mustard variety unique. For example, white mustard seeds are the least pungent while brown Indian mustard seeds are the most pungent, this combined with the varied acidity and type of wine/vinegar opens up a wide range of tastes and flavors.

 For my homemade mustard I used Indian Brown Mustard Seeds harvested from our garden last year and a mix of 6% acidic red wine vinegar I made and white wine vinegar. This combination makes a spicy thick rustic-style mustard with a hint of horseradish like taste. If you prefer a smoother texture just process it further.

So without further delay...

Here's my recipe for Whole-grain Brown Spicy Mustard:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

In My Kitchen - February 2015

It's time for another round of the very cool monthly happening called "In My Kitchen" run by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Sadly I missed last month getting back into the groove after our wonderful India trip.

So here we go....

This Month in my Kitchen...

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