Friday, March 29, 2013

Back of the Pantry - Raspberries!

In my mission to "eat myself out of house and home" I am looking deep into my pantry and, one by one, bringing out jars of this and that forgotten at the back of the cupboard. This week's find: a jar of luscious raspberries canned in honey syrup two summers ago.

The raspberries were grown at Living Sky Winery, where the owners graciously allowed me to pick the last stray berries after the summer harvest.

I ate them for breakfast with yogurt and muesli. Such a taste of summer on a frigid spring morning!

If you've got canned berries, enjoy them with my homemade muesli. The nuts in this recipe are obviously imported, but the oats, flax and hemp seeds are pure Saskatchewan, as are the honey and canola oil. 

Home for Dinner Muesli
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts, almonds and/or hazelnuts
1 cup mixed seeds such as hemp, flax, sunflower and pumpkin
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp canola oil

Mix together the oats, nuts and seeds. Stir together the honey and oil. If they are too stiff to stir, heat them gently in the microwave. Pour the honey/oil into the oats and mix thoroughly with your hands. Spread the mixture onto a big cookie sheet and bake at 200F for about two hours, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure an even bake. Remove from oven. When cool, store the muesli in an airtight container. If you wish to add dried fruit to the muesli, add your choice of fruit, in your preferred quantities, when the muesli is warm out of the oven. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Lamb has Risen (from the freezer)

Efforts to eat my way to the bottom of the freezer revealed a lost and lonely package of lamb shanks. Good timing, as lamb has long been associated with Easter. Shanks are a tough and lean cut of meat, perfect for a long, slow braise. Read my food column in the Star Phoenix.

This lamb was raised on a farm at Langham, a breed called Katahdin, which has mild tasting meat. The farmer sells her lambs in the spring by the half or whole, cut and wrapped. For those who don't have the desire or space to purchase lamb in bulk, you can also buy Katahdin lamb from Pine View Farms. My husband loved this dish:

Braised Lamb Shanks
3 tbsp canola oil
4 lamb shanks
2 large onions, chopped
5 large carrots, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 big potatoes, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp crushed dry oregano
1/2 cup red wine (opt)
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 cups water

Note about chopping vegetables: cut the carrots and potatoes into pieces about the same size as the chickpeas. There will be approximately two cups of each vegetable.

In an ovenproof pot with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of canola oil on the stove on medium high. Salt and pepper the lamb. Brown the lamb on all sides and remove from the pot. Turn down the heat and warm the remaining tbsp of oil. Stir in the onions and carrots, cooking until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, chickpeas, rosemary and oregano. Sprinkle the vegetables generously with salt and pepper. Cook another few minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium high. Pour in the red wine and bubble until the liquid is almost gone. Nestle the lamb shanks into the vegetables. Pour on the crushed tomatoes and water. Cover the pot and bake in the oven at 325F for 2 1/2 hours. Taste the broth, adding more salt or pepper if needed.

To serve, two options: place a lamb shank on each plate and scoop on the vegetables or remove the meat from the bone, break into small pieces and stir back into the pot. If using this latter serving suggestion, you can economize and make this recipe with just two lamb shanks.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Restaurant Review - Bliss Fine Food

Had a lovely late lunch at Bliss with my foodie friend, CJ Katz, of Regina (author of the prairie cookbook Taste). Read my review of Bliss in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

We started with the soup and salad combo for $10. CJ had carrot soup and a spinach salad with a fabulous saskatoon berry dressing. I went for the amazing potato bacon soup and quinoa tabbouleh.

 When Chef Derek Cotton tried to take the potato soup off the menu, his customers complained!

We shared the falafel sandwich. Not quite what I was expecting, having eaten quite a few falafel in its native lands, but a good vegetarian burger option.

Inside, Bliss is sunny and stylish.
(Photos by CJ Katz)

1002 Broadway Avenue

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rosti for Breakfast

My favourite breakfast for a cold Sunday morning. Our boiler quit working overnight, but we lit a warming fire and ate rosti while we waited for the plumber to arrive.

Rosti is a national dish of Switzerland. Cooked potato is grated into an oiled pan and fried on both sides, then topped with a bit of melted cheese. Add a dash of salt, too. Potatoes do love salt!

This rosti was made with fingerling potatoes grown on my brother's farm, so it's good, cheap food, just like the old peasant foods of Switzerland where rosti began. Here's another version with bacon and scallions from Bon Appetit.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coloured Eggs for Easter

Amazing! These eggs look like they're wearing pastel colours for Easter. Blue, green, yellow and a hint of pink. But this is how they came out of the chicken!! 

Brought to my kitchen by Cool Springs Ranch, which also provided a lovely goose for my neighbour Franci, who was desperately seeking a goose for her Easter feast. Thank you Cool Springs Ranch!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A garden posy -- but whose garden?

A posy of herbs hand-carried from a garden on Hornby Island, BC, to me in Saskatoon.
Obviously not from my garden -- this morning under four feet of snow. Thank you Colin and Berni. A lovelier posy was never received. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry, so I just cooked!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Restaurant Review - O'Shea's Irish Pub

My Grandma O'Hara was so proud of her Irish heritage, her blood ran green for St. Patrick's Day. But the one thing she shuddered to contemplate was green beer. Well, she would have enjoyed O'Shea's Irish Pub any other time of year! Read my review of O'Shea's in the Star Phoenix.

The little leprechaun door.

The Mighty O'Shea burger.

Chicken club wrap... far too healthy.
Give me O'Shea's famous Irish potato nachos!

Rooftop deck overlooking 2nd Avenue in downtown Saskatoon.

222 2nd Avenue S.