Thursday, June 28, 2007

Delivery service - LENTIL AND CUCUMBER SALAD

There was a bit of a bottleneck at our house this week. Marc Loiselle dropped by with a bag of Red Fife Wheat, just as Al Bennett arrived with 20 dozen eggs and a whole bunch of ground beef. I had to do some tricky rearranging in the freezer, because the next day Karen Dale delivered six chickens. Well, I could only get five into the freezer, which meant we had chicken for supper. I just love it when the grocery store comes to me!

LENTIL AND CUCUMBER SALAD
2 cups cooked lentils
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or parsley)
1 cup diced cucumber
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing
½ tsp each cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and peppercorns
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt

Mix together the lentils and other salad ingredients. Dressing: toast the whole seeds in a dry frying pan. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar. Mix with the other dressing ingredients and stir into lentils.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A ton of tomatoes - MARGHERITA PIZZA

Nothing is prettier than a mix of tomatoes – red, yellow and orange. It turns a delicious salad into a pretty delicious salad. We bought big bags of red, yellow and orange tomatoes at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market – just picked, vine ripe and tasting as good as they look.

This pizza recipe is a bit different because there is no sauce. It is simply heaped with fresh chopped tomatoes. It comes from the Silver Spoon cookbook, which has 1,200 pages of authentic Italian recipes. It’s perfect for that glorious moment in a Saskatchewan summer when you have more ripe tomatoes than you know what to do with!

MARGHERITA PIZZA
5-6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
(the recipe says to peel the tomatoes, but I didn't)
Olive oil for drizzling
6 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
1 homemade or purchased pizza dough

Roll out the pizza dough. Top with the chopped tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake 15 min. at 425F. Take the pizza from the oven. Quickly sprinkle on the basil, season with salt and pepper, and top with the cheese. Bake another 7-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meet the market vendors - Grandora Gardens

Pat and Fred Gittings worked at Cameco – he was an exploration geologist and she worked in corporate affairs – but they wanted away from the ups and downs of the mining industry. Fred took an MBA where, for the final project, his group investigated the feasibility of a greenhouse cucumber operation.

Says Pat: “Research showed that people in Saskatoon ate the most cucumbers in Canada. I have no idea why but with the number of cucumbers we sell, I think that’s still valid!”

They started Grandora Gardens in 1990 with one greenhouse but quickly expanded to meet the demand for their cucumbers, adding tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and a variety of chilies. Every year, they bring the first fresh vegetables to the farmers’ market with cucumbers in February. They also sell produce at Co-op grocery stores.

On a busy summer Saturday, the lineup at the Gittings’ vegetable stand wends its way through the market. “Sometimes I feel bad because we’re so busy that we don’t have much time to talk with people,” says Pat. “I rather enjoy the late season in fall when it’s slower, we’re less busy and it gives us time to visit.”

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hanley Bread Series #4 - RHUBARB & LINGONBERRY BREAD PUDDING

Those in the know always stop for gas when they drive by Hanley, Saskatchewan, because you get a free loaf of homemade bread just for filling up. This is the fourth in a series of recipes to make with day-old Hanley bread.

1½ cups rhubarb cut in small pieces
½ cup lingonberries (low bush cranberries)
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 tbsp orange juice or orange liquor
½ tsp cinnamon
4 cups bread cut in ½–1 in. pieces

Toss together the rhubarb, lingonberries (fresh or frozen) and sugar. In another bowl, whip together the eggs, half-and-half cream, orange juice and cinnamon. Stir the fruit into the egg mixture, then stir in the bread to coat well. Pour the bread mixture into a baking dish. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The first 'fruit' of summer - RHUBARB CRISP

Imagine you’re a Saskatchewan pioneer and you’ve just come through a long winter with very little fruit. The canned apples are all gone and you’re down to the last of the dried saskatoon berries. Now imagine just how happy you are to see the first of the rhubarb. Sure, rhubarb is not technically a fruit, but it sure tastes like it in rhubarb crisp, as my mom makes it.

RHUBARB CRISP
An hour or two before baking, mix together:

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
A dash of salt (optional)

Place the rhubarb in a baking dish. I use a deep round ceramic dish because I like a thick layer of rhubarb; however, my mom uses a flatter rectangular cake pan. Sprinkle on the topping:

½ cup butter, cold
¾ cup flour
A big pinch of cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup rolled oats (not the quick variety)

Cut the butter into small pieces. Mix with the flour and cinnamon. Using your fingers, quickly squish the butter into the flour until there are no chunks of butter remaining. Stir in the brown sugar and oats. Place the topping loosely on top of the rhubarb. Bake at 325F for about 45 minutes. If the top is not as crisp as you would like, place it under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve on its own or with vanilla ice cream.