Once upon a time, there was a squash. Let’s call him Hubbard. A farmer grew him to sell at the Strathcona Farmer’s market, and grew throughout the summer of 2013. He was a medium sized squash destined for a tasty meal. Harvested in the fall and set out for sale, Hubbard was picked over for other squash. Time rolled on and Hubbard was still at the Market, waiting to be bought and taken home.
One day, a girl named Jacquie bought Hubbard and took him home. Finally, his destiny of turning into a tasty meal would soon be realized. Jacquie opened him to make a meal for her family. Inside were seeds – lots of seeds. Then she realized that because Hubbard had sat so long on his own, that the seeds inside his belly has begun to sprout! Much to Jacquie’s delight, Hubbard wanted to live, and by golly, she wasn’t going to stop him. She removed all of the seeds and picked through the ones that were most likely to survive.
She cleaned the seeds, wet a paper towel and left them to warm in the sun.
She filled four small planter boxes with soil and planted Hubbard’s seeds into each pot, approx 2-3 per pot. She watered them and placed them in the sun. Every 1-2 days, she’d check on them, speak kind words of encouragement to get them to sprout out of the soil and waited.
The baby buds grew stronger and larger every day, soaking up the sun’s rays and turning them into energy. More buds poked their heads out the soil to greet the early spring sunshine. They were happy to be here.
… To be continued.
Ah daylight savings time. It sure has its pluses and minuses, eh? Pluses, it means spring and longer days are coming. Minuses: you end up waking up super early for no reason, or at least I do. Ugh. I was up at 6:30 this morning (so actually 5:30), for no reason at all, so I decided to make a fancy breakfast: Baked eggs with roasted potatoes. Hmm!
I’ve seen baked eggs in several magazines, and they’ve always seemed like a good idea, but altogether too much work in the morning when you’re hungry. But when you have tons of time, it’s the perfect opportunity to make something elaborate.
Out they came, 20-25 mins later, cooked to perfection. I grated some Sylvan Star Grizzly Gouda on top, for some added awesome. You can serve it with crusty bread to soak up the awesome, or dip some roasted potatoes in the tomato goodness.
You will need:
1/2 small bell pepper
1/2 small onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic and rosemary, crushed together.
Aged cheese, grated.
Preheat your oven to 400. Dice peppers and onions and add to a ramekin. Cook for 10 mins. Mince garlic and rosemary. Add tomatoes, garlic and rosemary to ramekins. Crack egg on top and bake for an additional 20-25 mins, until eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!
Ah Pinterest. You always give me such good ideas that fill my fridge (and freezer) with yummies. Here’s a perfect example: Freezer Burritos! Now, do you ever have days where you’re running out of the house, with no leftovers in the fridge, on your way to work and you’re not inspired by another sandwich? In steps freezer burritos: saving your mornings and taste buds!
I opted to make mine cheesy and full of rice, to make as a full meal.
While the beef is browning, cook your rice. (I used an Uncle Ben’s package of Spanish rice. Super simple.) Throw in some black beans and frozen corn for good measure. I also added some salsa for more flavour.
You will need
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning (I used chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika)
1 package of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1 bag of shredded tex mex cheese (or cheddar!)
10 whole wheat flour tortillas
Begin by cooking your rice according to package instructions. Then, dice your onion and brown it with the ground beef. Add seasoning and let simmer for about 10 mins, until fully cooked. Let cool a little then transfer to a large bowl. Add corn, beans and salsa. Once rice is cooked, add to bowl. Add cheese. Mix until fully incorporated. Fill tortillas and roll burrito style. Using a hot non-stick pan, seal the burrito. Let cool before transferring to a freezer bag. You can freeze up to 3 months.
As part of the Canadian Food Experience Project, we are writing about regional food this month. I can’t think of a more regional food than raspberries. I remember when I was growing up, my Baba’s house had a huge raspberry bush that we would pick every summer. She would can her raspberries with sugar and we would serve them over ice cream. Some of my fondest memories are from summer evenings at the lake with a big bowl of Baba’s raspberries, all soupy, sweet and delicious.
So to celebrate one of the best regional food our province has to offer, I made a raspberry pistachio cake. It was lovely, and while the raspberries are obviously not local this time around (it is currently -35 outside), I will certainly make this again this summer from the raspberries that will bloom from our backyard bush once we plant it! (Stay tuned for exciting posts on our garden!)
Raspberry Pistachio Cake (Courtesy of Sips and Spoonfuls)
You will need:
- 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 tbsp pistachio meal
- 1 1/2 cup whole grain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup crushed pistachios
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your baking dish. Using your electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients (including pistachio meal) and stir to evenly combine. Add milk and fully incorporate. Pour into a baking dish, cover with crushed pistachios and fresh raspberries. Cook until middle is set and if you insert a toothpick or knife, it comes out clean (about 50 mins.) Enjoy!
I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds a little extravagant, doesn’t it?” Why yes, yes it does. But what else are you going to make on the coldest day of the year? That’s right. When you’re freezing your butt off, there’s nothing much you can do other than pack on the carbs, butter and caramel and hope that you survive until spring decides to rear it’s beautiful, green head. So, on the day that I decided, unequivocally, not to leave the house in protest of the season, I treated Justin and I to an over-the-top extravagant breakfast. So worth it!
I’ve only ever made homemade caramel once before, and it didn’t turn out so well the first time. I had better instructions this time, courtesy of the queen of caramel herself, Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen.
Dunk your bread into the egg batter and leave it there for about a half hour, while the bread soaks up the egg and your caramel cools in the fridge. Stir every once and a while to evenly coat the bread.
Tada! Perfect over the top breakfast for a morning that is colder than a witch’s bosom.
Salted Caramel Overnight French Toast (modified, from Smitten Kitchen)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 or 3 pinches of a coarse salt
1 loaf multigrain bread.
9 large eggs
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (I used ricotta because I couldn’t find marscapone…)
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large cast iron skillet, place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt and heat over medium heat. The butter will melt and, after 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. You will find that the butter separates from the melting sugar and this is just fine. Do your best to keep them stirred together but know that it will all work out in the end even if it’s split. Stop cooking the caramel once it’s reached a medium brown colour; it will continue cooking and darkening for a minute off the stove.
Place pan in refrigerator and chill until caramel is cold and solid, about 30 minutes. While the caramel is cooling, make your egg base and cut up your loaf of bread.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs and 1/4 mascarpone or ricotta cheese, until very smooth. Add milk and vanilla extract. Dump bread into your egg bowl, making sure to saturate all of it. Once your caramel is completely cool, pour bread over top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. If you bread seems too high in the pan to get a good soak, you can weight it with a plate in the fridge.
In the morning, heat oven to 375°F. Take dish from fridge, remove plastic, and bake 50 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of dish (bottom side up), and, using potholders, hold pan over sink and flip french toast onto it. Lift baking dish off plate; scrape any extra caramel from pie dish over french toast. Serve, warm with a mug of coffee.