Sunday, February 28, 2010

Texas Longhorn on your plate

This handsome fella is grass fed, drug-free and looking for a good home. He comes as a whole or half, cut and wrapped, just in time for the spring barbeque season.

Consumer warning: grass-fed beef is very lean, not the marbled beef of the grocery store. It requires a special touch in the kitchen, as outlined on the American Grass Fed Beef website.
If you've got a good home (ie: freezer space) in the Saskatoon area, give Ruth a call at 374-2416.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Scored big at the annual Lions Super Flea Market -- a farmer from Langham was selling her lentils, chickpeas and white pinto beans. White pinto beans are a new variety bred by the University of Saskatchewan for export to the US and Mexico. As far as I know, they aren't for sale in Saskatchewan, except perhaps at the Super Flea Market!

Pictured is my new soup pot.

Pinto Bean and Squash Soup
A good soup begins with a good stock. Good stock is made at home. I save all vegetable scraps in the freezer (onion ends, carrot peels, celery trimming, herb stems, tomato peels, etc.) and use them to make vegetable stock: place all the vegetable scraps in a pot of water, add a bay leaf and a few peppercorns, boil, simmer for an hour or two (lid off), cool and strain. Discard the vegetables (ie: compost).

2 tbsp canola oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
3 big cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp mixed dried oregano and thyme
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups squash, small dice
4 cups cooked pinto beans
3 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
cheddar cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion to cook while you chop the celery, carrots and garlic. Stir these into the onions and cook until the veggies start to soften. Stir in the herbs.

When the veggies are soft and starting to stick to the pot, add the stock, squash and pinto beans. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the squash is cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Like just about all soups, this one is better the next day. If you can wait.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Get a taste of this Saskatchewan

My friends Sue and Vance have begun squishing fruit at their new orchard winery near Perdue, Saskatchewan. Since I picked a

Star Phoenix photo by Peter Wilson

passel of raspberries for this wine (and some for me, too), I am very excited about this new development. Read about it in the Star Phoenix.

Sue and Vance are working with Canada's award-winning fruit wine maker, Dominic Rivard of Quebec. Now we have to wait patiently until summertime to try the Living Sky Winery raspberry, strawberry, cherry and rhubarb wines. Follow their progress on Sue's Tweets.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soup Week 7 - Corn Chowder

I found a container of frozen creamy corn that I cut off the cob last fall. Mixed with smoked pork from Emco Meats and my dad's potatoes, it makes a great chowder.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lentils win gold at Olympics

I hear that Saskatchewan lentils are a big hit at the Olympics in Vancouver! This might explain why the Saskatchewan pavillion is so popular.

Lentil burgers are on offer in the pavillion and extra goodies are being handed out at the pulse kiosk. (Pulse is the technical word to describe lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans.)

February 25 is lentil day at the Saskatchewan Pavillion with the addition of a Greek lentil salad.

Amanda Olekson of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers reports: "We have recipe booklets and a lentil brochure with information on the health benefits of lentils that we are going through like crazy, as well as a sheet listing where you can buy lentil based products and lentils in Canada."

Here's a picture from the lentil kiosk at the Olympics. Go Lentils!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Newspaper column - CHILLI BANG BANG

This column appeared in the Star Phoneix today.

Whoever coined the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” didn’t belong to a collective kitchen. In a collective kitchen, everyone cooks together to maximize the budget and minimize the time required to put nutritious food on the table. It’s a recipe for fun and fellowship, as well as food.

Bishop Klein Collective Kitchen (l-r): Erin Babcock, Elaine Haugen, Hermeline Maurice, Kendra Thies, October Low and Mimi Marchewka

“Where else can you get a healthy lasagne that’s going to feed a family of six for $5? Actually, you get two or three lasagnes and all it costs is $5 and three hours of your time,” says Elaine Haugen, a mother of three who leads a collective kitchen at Bishop Klein Elementary School.

This month, collective kitchens are celebrating 15 years in Saskatoon. What started with two or three collective kitchens has spawned about 30 collective kitchens across the city. October Low, who is raising five children, is also a member of the Bishop Klein Collective Kitchen. “When I started, I thought it was the coolest thing to go hang out with other parents on a Sunday afternoon and cook without the kids,” she says. “It was so much fun.”

As in most collective kitchens, child care is arranged. Participants pay half the grocery bill with a matching contribution from their sponsoring agencies: Saskatoon Community Clinic, Saskatoon Health Region and CHEP Good Food Inc. Many of the collective kitchens are supported by other agencies in the city.

“We use the term ‘collective’ because the groups are very independent and they make collective decisions. So even though there’s a leader, the whole group decides what their budget is going to be and what they’re going to cook,” says Janet Phillips, the coordinator of collective kitchens at CHEP for the past 12 years.

All three moms say their children learned at an early age to eat their vegetables. “One day in the grocery store my son said, ‘Mom can we get some spinach. I’m craving spinach.’ You should have seen the heads turn in the produce aisle,” says Low, whose 11-year-old, James, loves to cook and wants to attend culinary school.

As for Haugen, she says her daughter has grown very fond of beans. “My daughter Chelsea wouldn’t eat chilli until I made it with chickpeas. Same with hamburger soup. If I add a can of beans, she’ll eat it.”

So I asked them: Do they like to cook with local ingredients? The answer was yes: chickpeas, lentils, ground beef, vegetables and fruit, when they can get it at a good price. “When we first started out, quantity seemed to be more important than quality,” says Phillips. “Now, people realize they can get the quantity and the quality as well. About half of our kitchens are trying to use local products.”

Anyone wishing to join a collective kitchen, or start a new one with a group of friends, should contact Janet Phillips at 655-5093. She may not be able to fit you in right away, but can help you explore the options.

* * *

On another note, I have not yet broken my New Year’s resolution to make a pot of soup every week with Saskatchewan ingredients. Last week, I made a Greek avgolemono with Saskatchewan-grown lemons! More on that in this column next month.

Collective Kitchen’s Chilli Chilli Bang Bang
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped red peppers
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 1/2 cups quartered mushrooms
1 cup cubed zucchini
1 can tomatoes, undrained, cut up (540mL)
1 can black beans (540mL), chickpeas (540mL), and corn (341mL)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Sauté onions, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic, chilli powder and onions over medium heat, stirring often, until soft. Add mushrooms and zucchini; cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This recipe makes 7 servings (1.5 cups per serving). To decrease costs (and for those who have a milder palate!) the chili can be served with rice. Each serving would consist of 1 cup chilli and 1 cup rice.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My New Kitchen

It's time to introduce my new kitchen to the world. The house was built this summer and we are now at the point of making some crucial decisions about the kitchen. That's my husband John in the tool belt. And here's the view from my new kitchen window. (John built that garage, too.)

This is the first timberframe house in Saskatoon - we know that because we had such a hard time getting a building permit. But all's going well now. Estimated move in day is sometime in May.

The big questions now are: do I want gas or electric, convection or not, black or silver, cherrywood or maple?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Soup Week 6 - Greek avgolemono with wild rice

Never thought I'd make a Greek avgolemono soup with Saskatchewan ingredients, but here's what I did with those lemons.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Oh those lemons...

Lemon crisps made with Saskatchewan lemons. I could get used to this...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Soup Week 5 - Venison and vegetable

When John makes soup, it's more like a stew. Thick with vegetables. Next week, I make the soup and I've got my eye on those Saskatchewan lemons!