Sweet Corn Barley Risotto

It’s rare that I post a recipe from a magazine. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often, because I honestly find the recipes in Canadian Living to be extraordinary. Not only are they beautifully photographed, but they are often very intriguing!DSC04723

Last month’s Canadian Living inspired me the make a sweet corn and barley risotto that was a huge success!DSC04725

While the recipe didn’t call for wine, I thought it would make for a delicious added touch. DSC04727

I used fresh Taber corn for this recipe. Nothing says late summer like sweet Taber corn. DSC04728

The guy at the corn booth gave me a great idea to get the kernels off of the cob more easily. Stick it in an angle food cake pan and slice away! DSC04729

Tada! It worked like a charm!DSC04730

Of course, I used Organic Pearled Barley from Gold Forest Grains. DSC04731

The first step was to brown some onions and add the barley to the pot, to get it to toast a little before adding moisture.DSC04732

I used a lot of corn for this recipe. I LOVE Taber corn!DSC04733

Next, I mixed the corn in with the barley and onions.DSC04734

While the barley was toasting, I put the wine and broth on the stove and heat until steaming. DSC04735

Then I transferred the barley mixture to the liquid.DSC04736

Now, this is where your patience comes in. You have to let it bubble and boil for for about 45 mins. DSC04737

When most of the liquid is absorbed, and the barley is fully cooked, you’re good to go!

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Next step is to add the cheese. I used a whole piece of Parmesan from Sylvan Star for this recipe. It added so much to the flavour!DSC04740I also added some fresh garden chives to the mix.

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I transferred the whole lot to the crockpot to keep it warm, as I was bringing it to a potluck that evening. DSC04776It made for a great addition to a fantastic evening of cider pressing.

Sweet Corn Barley Risotto (courtesy of Canadian Living)

You will need:

1.5 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup pearled barley

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

In a saucepan, bring broth and wine to a simmer, keep warm. Meanwhile, in another pot, brown onion and garlic until soft. Add barley, cook, stirring to coat. Mix in corn. Add broth and wine mixture to barley mixture, stirring occasionally, until barley is creamy and cooked, for about 45 mins. Stir in Parmesan, and enjoy!


The Adventures of a First Time Juicer

Ah, fall. ‘Tis the time for leaves crunching underfoot, warm harvest soups and stews in your crockpot, and the time to pick apples. For the past 3 years, Justin and I have been members of Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE). This wonderful organization strives to find the fruit hidden in our city. As a Fruit Captain, I organize fruit picks in Edmontonians’ yards. This fruit, that otherwise would have gone to waste, is divided between the volunteer fruit pickers, OFRE, and a local charity. It’s a great way to save fresh local organic fruit from ending up in the landfill, plus, you get to go home with a plethora of free fruit! This year, Justin and I opted to picked as many apples as we could.

Last week, we were extremely fortunate to be invited to Kevin Kossowan‘s to partake in a fantastic evening filled with great company, amazing food, and (the crowning glory) apple juicing. Some of you may know Kevin as the co-founder and owner Lactuca, as the Canadian Prairie’s Slow Food Hero, or as the co-owner and operator of Shovel and Fork. All around, he is extremely passionate about local food, making it his life’s work. We could not have been more excited to be invited to use his famous juicer.

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Upon entering Kevin’s yard, we were blown away at his efficient use of space. It seemed as if every square inch of the backyard was being used to grow food. Here are his famous cold frames, and his cob oven. DSC04743

The cob oven has its own story. I encourage you to watch it. DSC04745

The cold frames help supply greens for Lactuca, one of his businesses. DSC04746DSC04747

Here’s an example of how Kevin has managed to efficiently use every single inch of his yard for food production. This tiny triangle of greenery is wedged between a cold frame and a walking path. This is pure genius! It inspired Justin and I to do some future crafty landscaping in our yard.

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These cold frames extend Kevin growing season from April to November. In Edmonton, that is virtually unheard of! DSC04753

Ok now on to the juicing. This was the first day of many that Kevin would be juicing for 2013. He writes down the date and how many liters he juiced that day. DSC04754

Once you enter the juice pressing domain, it is imperative to have a glass of cider in your hand. DSC04755

Justin and I arrived a little late in the queue to have our apples pressed, so we watched and got the feel for the whole operation.DSC04759

Here’s Jeff, pressing his fresh apple juice. DSC04761

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The whole operation flowed seamlessly. DSC04765

After a while, we wanted to get in on this action and help. I did so by helping to crush the apples in the garburator. That’s right. Kevin uses a garburator to crush the apples before they go into the press. This ensures that you get the most juice possible out of the apples. Genius! I do not, however, think that the inventor of the garburator had this in mind when he came up with the idea… DSC04766

We also used quite unorthodox methods to break up an apple jam. Oh well – It worked!DSC04767

We took a break from apple juicing for dinner. Oh boy, was it ever good!DSC04768

Slow, fire roasted chicken and pork from Nature’s Green Acres.DSC04769

Shelling dried peas and drinking wine. What a fantastic evening!DSC04772

The table was set… DSC04773

and the feast was on!DSC04774

This chicken liver mouse was to die for. It’s a Julia Child recipe! Stay tuned for a future recipe post!DSC04775

Oven roasted chicken wings. hmm….DSC04777

Here was my plate, all loaded with goodness. (Including the barley and sweet corn risotto I brought. Again, stay tuned for a future recipe post!)DSC04779

We resumed our juice pressing after dinner…DSC04780

Justin was now the master apple crusher.DSC04781

Our tasty crabs, ready for the crusher. DSC04785

Here was our apple gunk, ready for the pressing. DSC04786

Jarret helped us out by showing us now the press worked. First, you envelop the gunk in a large, stretchy bed sheet. DSC04787

Next, you lay the top piece of plywood on top of the bed sheet. DSC04788

Then, you pile it high with 2x4s. DSC04789

Next, you install the hydraulic car jack (yes, we used a hydraulic car jack to press juice!)DSC04790

Then press it down….DSC04792

and away it went. DSC04793

Our apple gunk was being a little finicky, so we had to just let it do its thing and wait. DSC04794 DSC04797

After a while, we folded the sheet over a second time, to get the juices flowing a little freer. DSC04798

In the end, we got 20 liters of golden, delicious, fresh apple juice to take home with us. DSC04783Thank you, Kevin, for the fantastic evening, for opening your home to us and sharing your knowledge.

While I cannot tell you yet what we’ve decided to make with all the juice (it’s a surprise!), know that it will be a fantastic adventure all on it’s own.


White Bean Buttercup Pumpkin Chili

Ah, fall. You can tell that fall is in the air when you see Halloween candy begin to appear at the grocery store, when pumpkin spiced lattes begin to pop up at every coffee shop, and when you begin to crave hearty warming stews.

This week, I made some more freezer meals for my mommy, who is recovering from hip surgery. I figured it would be smart to make some crockpot freezer meals, because they are super hands off and a cinch to make!

DSC04706Today on the blog: White Bean Butercup Pumpkin Chili. Nothing says fall to me like squash. I love squash, especially buttercup (my all time favourite). It has deliciously hearty, sweet notes of awesome. Plus, they are extremely good for you!

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Here’s what you need to assemble this meal (Don’t worry, the ingredients are listed below!)DSC04710

First things first, brown up the turkey in a skillet, adding all your favourite spices. DSC04711

Next, throw all other ingredients into your big ziplock freezer bag. DSC04715

Seal the bag airtight, and write what it is on the bag, with instructions on how to cook it. DSC04718

At the end of the day, I made 8 crockpot freezer meals and loaded up my mom’s freezer. She’s got plenty of tasty deliciousness to get her through the next few weeks!DSC04720

Here’s the tasty chili, all cooked up and ready to be enjoyed. DSC04722Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and enjoy. A lot!

Jacquie’s Awesome White Bean Buttercup Pumpkin Chili

You will need:

1 package of lean ground turkey

Your favourite chili spices

1 small buttercup squash

1 can pack pumpkin

1 can white kidney beans

1 medium onion

1 medium red pepper

1.5 cups chicken broth

Your favourite chili toppings, for garnish

Begin by browning turkey in a skillet with a little bit of cooking oil and add you favourite spices to season. Set aside and let turkey cool. In the meantime, using a very sharp knife, peel and cube the buttercup. This is definitely the most labour intensive part of making this recipe, but it is 100% worth it. Next, dice your onions and peppers. Once the turkey is cooled, add all ingredients to a large ziplock bag. You can freeze for up to 3-4 months, or you can have on hard for a quick weeknight dinner. To cook, throw in the crockpot on low for max 6 hrs (I say this because any longer than 6 hrs makes the squash disintegrate, and it is so much tastier when you have cooked, but firm, pieces of quash throughout the chili.) Serve with a dolop of sour cream, or any of your other favourite chili ingredients. Cosy up on a cool fall evening and enjoy, a lot. 


Moroccan Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

 

I love cauliflower. It’s one of those veggies that is extremely unique to the taste and just looks plain cool. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes (from white, to green, to even purple), and to top it all off, cauliflower is a cancer fighting agent! So, now that I’ve convinced you to eat your veggies, let me share with you a super tasty cauliflower recipe. DSC04691

I picked up this bad boy at Riverbend Gardens at the Strathcona Market. They were all the same price, so I opted for the largest one they had!DSC04692

I diced this beauty up into bite sized florets. DSC04693

Now here’s the key to this recipe: Ras el Hanout spice blend from Food You Can Cook. This Moroccan spice blend is sweet on the nose and fiery hot on the tongue. It is smoky, savoury and all around intriguing. I highly recommend picking up one of these next time you’re at the French Quarter’s Farmer’s Market. It’s great to have on hand, anytime you want to add a little spice to your life. DSC04694

I used Mighty Trio’s Canola Oil to roast these puppies to perfection. DSC04695

In addition to the Ras el Hanout, I added a little Cinnamon and seasoning salt, to give the cauliflower a little extra edge. DSC04696

Into the oven (or in my case, BBQ) they went!DSC04716

Once they are roasted to perfection, serve alongside a bowl of plain yogurt, for dipping. DSC04717The yogurt definitely helps takes the edge off this spicy treat. If you can handle the heat, try it without. Your taste buds will welcome the adventure.

Jacquie’s Awesome Moroccan Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

You will need:

1 large head of cauliflower, diced into bit sized florets

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout spice blend from Food You Can Cook

1 tsp cinamon

Seasoning salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 or preheat BBQ on low. Wash and dice cauliflower into florets. Add all other ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Throw into a baking dish and bake, if in oven, for 15-20 min, until florets are golden; if on BBQ, until edges begin to blacken a little. Serve immediately with a side of plain yogurt, to take the edge off. Enjoy, a lot!


Chicken Peanut Satay

I’ve had an excellent summer of new food discoveries. One of them being that Elaine Wilson of Food You Can Cook had created a plethora of new sauces and spices for my culinary adventures. I made this discovery while perusing the booths at the French Quarter’s Farmer’s Market one Sunday afternoon. Well, of course I got a little excited and got a whole bunch of new sauces and spice mixes to try.

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Elaine’s Thai Satay Peanut Sauce was heavenly. Sweet, spice and nutty. It was a great base for a stir fry. DSC04698

I chopped up some veggies (peppers, onions and yellow zucchini). DSC04699

Then I chopped up some chicken breast into bite sized pieces and browned them before popping in the veggies. When everything’s mostly cooked, add the sauce. One thing I find with Elaine’s sauces is that if you apply too much heat, or cook them too long with veggies, they tend to get a little watery or “break” and loose a bit of their flavour. There’s a simple way to avoid this – only add the sauce at the end, when everything is mostly cooked. You’ve got to treat her sauces with the respect they deserve if you want them to love you back. 🙂DSC04702

I served the tasty mix on a bed of Jasmine rice, for a Thai feast fit for foodie adventurer. DSC04704If you have any leftovers, it makes for a great topping for a flat bread pizza. Just add a little bit of smoked cheese on top, and broil on high for 5 mins and voila! Tasty Chicken Peanut Satay Pizza.

Awesome Chicken Peanut Satay

You will need:

1 jar of Peanut Satay sauce from Elaine Wilson’s Food You Can Cook

1 red bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 medium sized yellow zucchini

3 chicken breasts

1 cup Jasmine rice

Or, if making flat bread:

1 flat bread

1 cup aged white cheddar

Begin cooking rice according to package instructions. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and brown in a saucepan. Dice veggies and add to chicken. Once veggies are cooked almost all the way (cooked, but still a little crunchy), add sauce. Heat till warm. Serve on top of rice.

If you have leftovers, pile on top of a flat bread, top with cheese and broil for 5 min on high in the oven. Enjoy. A lot!


Taco Pie

Sometimes you just need meals that are super easy to assemble to have on hand at a moment’s notice. This happened recently in my family, when my mom went in for hip replacement surgery. My little sister, who is running her own business and acting as my mom’s primary caregiver during her recovery, put me and my sisters on food duty. Because I find myself having limited time lately, I crafted some very simple meals that could be frozen and popped in the oven whenever she needed them. This rock awesome taco pie was one of them. DSC04612

I stopped by Save-on-Foods to grab some of the ingredients I needed and picked up a 1kg of lean Alberta ground beef for 12 bucks. Score!DSC04613

I chopped up some onions and browned the ground beef in together, for a great base of flavours. DSC04620

I made sure it was fully cooked before moving on to the next step. DSC04621

For the seasoning, I used a good old package of Old El Paso taco mix. Ok, Ok. I know. It’s no local  and fantastic spice mix from Elaine Wilson’s food you can cook, but sometimes, you just need to use what is on hand for convenience. This is definitely one of those times. DSC04623

I followed the package instructions and let it simmer until the seasoning was well combined. DSC04624

Next, I cracked open an extra large jar of salsa.DSC04625

Then I added a can of black beans, corn and the salsa to the beef. DSC04626

Next step was to mix it all together. DSC04627

Now for the fun part – cream cheese, to make it smooth and delicious. DSC04629

I melted the cheese into the mix and made sure it was fully incorporated. DSC04631

Assembly time! I bought deep dish pie tins and large tortillas to assemble the pie.  DSC04633

I started with one tortilla to line the bottom. DSC04634

Then added one layer of the beef mixture. DSC04635

Then topped the beef mix with cheese. DSC04636

Do three layers of tortillas, meat and cheese, leaving a nice layer of cheese on the top of the pie.  DSC04637

I cover the pie with an oven-proof lid, then it’s all ready to go for the freezer. DSC04658Pop the instructions onto the top of the of the pie for your wonderful mom during her recovery.

For 2 taco pie, you will need:

1 lb lean ground beef

Taco easoning

1 onion

1 jar of salsa

1 can of corn

1 can black beans

1 package of light cream cheese

3 large tortillas

1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

Dice onion and ground together with beef until fully cooked. Add taco seasoning and follow packages instructions. Once seasoning is fully incorporated, drain cans of corn and beans and add to beef. Add salsa to beef. Mix well. Add cream cheese and let melt for 2-3 mins in the beef mixture before mixing well to combine. To assemble the taco pie, line deep dish pie shell with tortilla. Add a layer of the beef mixture. Top with cheese. Repeat layers 3 times finishing with cheese. You can freeze the taco pie for up to 3-4 months. Or, if you want, pop it in the oven, covered, at 400 for 20 mins, then uncover for another 15. Serve with a side salad and enjoy, a lot!


Dishcrawling Around the Neighbourfood

Back in June, I was invited to take part in an awesome event. Gemma from Dishcrawl had sent me an email inviting me to come and blog about a dishcrawling experience through Southgate. I was even going to receive a free ticket in exchange for a blog post. How sweet is that? I was so for it. Unfortunately, my schooling had other plans. I had to miss out on this awesome opportunity, much to my annoyance. Now, being done school and in a stable job, I am able to attend events on the weekend at my leisure. I emailed Gemma right away and signed up for Neighbourfood.

So, this Dishcrawl experience is a little different from the traditional ones, where you could crawl from restaurant to restaurant and revel in tasty food throughout a community. The neighbourfood dishcrawling experience was more like a festival. Like a Taste of Edmonton, if you will, but a little different…photo(8)

First things first, we received our map and food tickets (they were sold separately from the admission ticket to the event.) Because we had only purchased 7 tickets, Justin and I sat down and planned our route wisely. We wanted to try interesting dishes at restaurants we’ve never been before. And so we began dishcrawlin’ ’round the neighbourfood…photo(7)

First stop, the Manor. Beautiful! While I have been there before with my family, I liked it so much I thought I’d give it another go. They served a duck sausage with caramelized onions on a crostini. It was surprisingly… ok. The sausage was rather salty, although I liked the texture (it had no casing), but the onions and other condiments were nothing to write home about. The portion was really small, so Justin and I were still pretty famished, so we moved on to our next location right away. photo(10)

Next stop, Violino’s Gastronomia. We stopped in because a friend, in passing, had mentioned that their food was the best on the crawl thus far. Well, now I had to check it out. Wowza. Incredible! They served wood fire pizza (on the only outdoor wood fire oven in the city), and pasta with tasty Italian sausage. The pizza had ground chicken, pistachios and a sweet sauce. I have never had such a unique combination on a pizza before. This one won my dishcrawling experience. It was incredible!

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The pasta was very good too. Fresh pieces of Italian sauces mixed in with a luscious pasta sauce. Loved it!photo-14

Next stop, the Bothy. photo(6)

They served peppered steak and salad. It was also ok. Nothing too special.photo-13

I say that, yet we eat every bite. I guessed we liked it. Or we were just really hungry. photo-15

At this point in our crawl, we were down to our last ticket. We wanted something desert-y, so we headed down to Cookie Love. We needed to purchase one more ticket in order for us both to enjoy an ice cream sandwich (made with Pinocchio ice cream!!), so we bought one before leaving the Bothy. 5 dollars. For one ticket. Holy smokes, batman! That better be one tasty ice cream sandwich to justify the price…photo(5)

We got in there, and man, was it ever cute! Milk bottle chandelier, awesome cow paraphernalia. We were quite enamored by the decor. photo-17

They even provided mini root beer floats while we were waiting for our sandwiches. Nice touch, cookie love, nice touch. The float was darn tasty, too!photo(4)

Then out comes the sandwich. Or should I say baby sandwich?photo(3)Yep. I am not exaggerating. It was that small. Justin ate his in one bite and I tried to savour mine, but I even managed to finish mine in two. For 5 dollars, you could have purchased one of their regular sized ice cream sandwiches (Think DQ sized- so normal sized). Justin and I were seriously  bummed, because ice cream cookie sandwiches are one of our favourite treats.

Overall, we had a decent time. It was quite the unique experience to be able crawl from restaurant to restaurant in a community; however, the portion sizes provided at the restaurants were much too small for what you are paying for the ticket price.

It breaks down like this: You buy a general admission for 15 dollars. Ours were generously donated by to us by dishcrawl in exchange for a post. We were super thankful to them for that. Then, you can purchase tickets according to how much you’d like to enjoy throughout the crawl. The more tickets you buy in advance, the more you save. (We only purchased 7 tickets, because we didn’t want to get too full. We also had no idea what to expect in terms of portion sizes…) To be honest, I had expected the portions to be similar to Taste of Edmonton, but they were much, much smaller.

It might have been better if we initially bought more tickets in bulk, but having to pay 5 dollars at the end for one tiny ice cream sandwich really busted our chomps. It doesn’t help that that was the last experience we had, so it left a little bit of a sour taste in our mouths, and an empty feeling in our bellies.

Overall, I wouldn’t dishcrawl around a neighbourfood again, but I would like to try a regular dishcrawl, where patrons are greeted with regular portion sizes that fill their bellies. It was a very unique experience and I applaud Dishcrawl for organizing such a well run and unique event.