Red Fife Shortbread Cookies

Wowza have we ever had a week of winter walloping! We’ve had 30+ centimeters of snow dumped onto the our fair city in less than 48 hrs, followed by a deep freeze reminiscent of the North Pole. It’s safe to say that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for us Edmontonians.

DSCN0707This is why my lovely cousin Sarah and I decided to get together to do some holiday baking. Here’s the obligatory ingredient shot (the butter is already getting doused in flour. Hmm!)

I should let you all know that I’ve returned to the Strathcona Market to help my good friend John Schneider sell his fantastic organic grains, once more. As I work with his incredible products again, I (of course) am inspired to incorporate them into some rockin’ recipes. Stay tuned for some upcoming grainy goodness in my posts.

DSCN0709I used Gold Forest Grain’s Red Fife wheat for these cookies. I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for some time now, as the flour has natural notes of cinnamon and nutmeg – the quintessential ingredients for holiday baking. After making shortbread for the first time with my friend Melody, I was astounded at how simple and delicious it really is. All it takes is three ingredients. That’s it! So, I just had to make some Red Fife ones.

DSCN0710Add the softened butter, flour and sugar to a bowl. Mix thoroughly. When it says mix thoroughly, I would recommend busting out your stand mixer. We used our hands, and it only worked medium well. (See? it’s still a little crumbly, when it should be fully incorporated together.)

DSCN0711Next, transfer the mixture to a pan and roll it out flat. So, my rolling pin didn’t fit into my pan. What do you do when your rolling pin doesn’t fit into your pan?

DSCN0712Why, you use a can of pop that’s been sitting in your fridge for over a year! (We are not pop fans in our house – so this little guy has gone and will go untouched… anyone want some diet coke?)

DSCN0713Press the cookie dough firmly into the pan, then pop it into the freezer for about 10 mins, until firm.

DSCN0714Here is the pan, pressed and cooled. Now the cookies are easy to cut into perfect squares, which can then be transferred to a cookie sheet and popped into the oven for some baking love. That was the plan, until we realized that our dough was a little too crumbly for perfect squares. Oh well, they were delicious none-the-less.

DSCN0715We even used a pizza cutter to cut the squares out of the pan. It was a pretty fun tool to use for this project.

DSCN0717Here are the little delicious squares of holiday yum. I honestly suggest picking up a bag of Red Fife for your Christmas baking, if you’d like something a little less conventional than your straight up all purpose flour. The Red Fife gave these little beauties a unique depth of flavour that will change the way you view the holidays (or at least it has for me!)

Red Fife Shortbread Cookies

You will need:

2 cups butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

4 cups whole grain Red Fife wheat flour

(No seriously, that’s it.)

Make sure your butter is soft by either giving it a few seconds in the microwave, or by bringing it to room temperature on the counter. Add sugar and flour. Mix thoroughly, using your hands or an electric mixer, until all ingredients are fully combined. (I would even recommend adding the flour gradually as you’re mixing. We found that the cookies were pretty flaky and crumbly, and that might be because the red fife is an entire grain flour – meaning that all the wheat germ is still intact.) You’re looking for a texture where all of the batter is moist from the butter, and it holds together nicely when you form a small ball or pinch it.

Preheat oven to 350. Once combined, press the mixture into a large square pan and freeze for 10 mins. Once firm, take it out of the freezer and cut into perfect little squares. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 mins, until cookies are very light brown on top.

Serve with a warm cup of run and eggnog on a cold winter’s evening. Enjoy!

 

 

 


Coconut Curried Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Apples

Today I bring you another fantastic recipe from Julie Van Rosendaal, which exemplifies perfectly why I love her recipes so much. As you know, dear readers, I have used many a recipe from Julie’s rock-awesome cook book, Spilling the Beans. (Remember the fabled Turkey and Black Bean Chili with Squash and Apples?) Well, this recipe is another classic one from Julie, where she incorporates lentils into a wonderful dish that just bursts with flavour.

image1

Here’s the classic recipe shot. This recipe called for sweet potatoes, onion, fresh ginger, garlic, lentils and curry powder. For the lentils, I used Gold Forest Grain‘s red lentils (surprise, surprise?)

Now I have to tell you a story about me and sweet potatoes: I haven’t been able to eat them every since I got food poisoning from some sweet potato fries way back in 2nd year University. (Wow, that was 7 years ago…) Aversions are the worst! I decided it was time to try again, so I sucked it up, braced myself and dived into this recipe. I’m happy to say that I can now eat them again!

image2The beauty about using a slow cooker is that you can so easily make your recipes ahead of time. I’ve been running off my feet lately and forgetting to cook (collective gasp!!), so I decided to prep everything on a Sunday afternoon and have it all ready to go for the slow cooker on Monday morning.

First things first, chop up your onion, sweet potatoes, fresh ginger and garlic and throw it in your slow cooker.

image3Next, dice your apples and throw them into the mix.

image4Rinse your lentils and remove any gritty bits or split pulses.

image5Throw them into your slow cooker with the rest, and then douse it in curry powder (yum!). I then popped the lid on and left it in the fridge overnight.

image6In the morning, I added the chicken stock and water, and then I turned it on low to slow cook all day and fill my house with delicious aromas.

image7When dinner time rolled around,we blended the soup with an immersion blender. I then added the can of coconut milk and the lime juice, then I seasoned it to taste. WOW. This soup. Just wow!

image8Serve with a bun or on its own. Enjoy, a lot!!

Coconut Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Apples (Courtesy of Julie Van Rosendaal over at Dinner with Julie)

You will need:
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp. curry powder (I used yellow curry powder from Food You Can Cook)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 L low sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 tart apple, chopped (I used 2 small apples from our tree)
1 can coconut milk
juice of a lime
salt

If making ahead, peel and chop sweet potatoes, dice onions, peel and grate ginger and crush garlic. Add to slow cooker. Chop up your apples and add to slow cooker. Rinse lentils and also add to slow cooker. Add curry powder and mix. Pop the lid on and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add stock and water. Cook on low for 8 hrs.

(If not making ahead, add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.)

Puree the soup in your slow cooker using a hand-held immersion blender. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and salt, blend again and adjust seasonings.

Serve hot on a cold winter’s evening.


Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Last Saturday, I was walking along in the market and came across a bushel of brussel sprouts. I’ve only ever seen brussel sprouts in the grocery store before, taken off the stem and bagged. I had no idea that they grow on a long tree-like stem, right out of the ground. Well, that sounded like a culinary adventure to me!DSCN0500

These are brussel sprouts, still on the vine. I just had to pick one up when I saw how cool they looked!DSCN0502

Close up, they look like mini cabbages! They were so cute!DSCN0504

This recipe was incredibly easy. It only had three ingredients: Bacon, maple syrup, and brussel sprouts!DSCN0505

You roast them all together in the oven, until the bacon is crispy. DSCN0506Here they are, ready to be devoured!

Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

You will need:

1 large stem of Brussel Sprouts

1/2 pound of bacon, cut into small, bite sized pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

Pre-heat oven to 375. Clean and remove brussel sprouts from the stem. Add them to a large baking dish. Slice up your bacon and sprinkle on top. Drizzle bacon and sprouts with maple syrup. Bake at 375 for 25-30 mins, stirring once, until bacon is crispy. Serve as a side.


Cocoa Bison Chili

I know what your thinking: “Cocoa in chili? That’s a little too odd for me…” (Or maybe you’re thinking the opposite, which in this case is very good!) The cocoa give this chili a depth of richness that you’ve never tasted before. It’s kind of like a Mexican hot chocolate, where you get the rich cocoa flavour, while also tasting a lingering chili kick in the background. Incredible, I tell you!DSCN0469

I used ground Bison from Thundering Ground Bison Ranch. They consistently have great product so you can’t go wrong with them! I absolutely love the lean, meaty flavour of Bison. I also found out recently that Bison is higher in protein than beef. Check out this nifty infographic:

Health Benefits of Grass Fed Bison Infographic by EPIC - Order EPIC bars at holabirdsports.com

Cool, eh?

DSCN0470

For this recipe, I decided to include a buttercup squash from our garden to add a bit of creaminess. DSCN0472

First things first, I browned the ground Bison. I used my cast iron pot to add some extra iron to our diets (another nifty thing I learned recently!)DSCN0473

I peeled and diced up the squash. DSCN0474

Then I chopped up all the veggies (onion, celery and peppers).DSCN0475

Here are all the spices I used: Chili powder, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder. The combination made my house smell outstanding!!DSCN0476

In went the veggies and seasoning.DSCN0477

And then I stirred it all up.DSCN0478

I diced up some fresh tomatoes from the garden. DSCN0479

I added the tomatoes and some beef stock to the chili. DSCN0480

Then I let it simmer and bubble for an hour on the stove. DSCN0482

You can serve it plain.DSCN0483Or you can top it with some aged cheddar for some extra decadence!

Cocoa Bison Chili

You will need:

  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1 squash, peeled and cubed.
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 sweet bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 heaping Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or about a cup of fresh diced)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 c. beef broth

Begin by browning the Bison in a large cast-iron pot with a tsp veggie oil. Peel and cut your squash then add to the pot. Chop up all your veggies, add to the pot, and then add your spices. Mix thoroughly. Add your tomatoes, beans and broth. Simmer on low for at least an hour (the longer, the better!). Serve warm with aged cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired. Enjoy on a crisp fall evening.