Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Healthy Split Pea Soup

1 lb dried split peas, rinsed and drained
6 cups homemade, salt-free chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbs grape seed oil
1 medium, lean smoked turkey leg
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 whole bay leaf
fresh ground pepper
salt-substitute, such as Mrs. Dash, to taste
In a large pot, heat grape seed oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add split peas, chicken stock, smoked turkey leg, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until peas are soft, about an hour.
Remove turkey leg and bay leaf. Using a hand-held blender, blend soup, leaving it somewhat chunky. Remove meat from turkey leg, chop and stir back into soup. Place back on heat and season to taste.

New Year's "Cookies" (Portzelky)

2 1/4 (or 1 pkg) active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbs melted butter, cooled slightly
2 cups raisins, rinsed and tossed with 2 tbs flour
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
approx. 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
canola oil for frying
Proof yeast by combining first three ingredients. Set aside until frothy. Whisk yeast together with the eggs, milk and melted butter. Mix in floured raisins.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, baking powder and flour. Add to yeast mixture and combine with a fork to form a very heavy batter. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until mixture is doubled in bulk.
Heat oil in a heavy pot to 370F (use a candy thermometer). Drop batter by tablespoonfuls and fry until golden brown. (Tip: To prevent batter from sticking to spoon, dip spoon in hot oil before scooping batter). Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Dust with powdered sugar, toss in granulated sugar or glaze with doughnut glaze. Makes about 40.

Eggnog Bread Pudding

4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups store-bought eggnog
1/4 cup brown sugar
2-4 tbs dark rum
1 lb day old cinnamon-raisin bread, about 12 slices
softened butter for bread and baking dish
Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, eggnog, brown sugar, and rum.
Moderately butter one side of each slice of cinnamon-raisin bread and cut into 1/2 cubes. Place bread in prepared dish and pour eggnog mixture over top. Let stand for five minutes. Gently push bread down into custard. Refrigerate for 2 hours, occasionally pushing bread down into custard.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place bread pudding dish into a larger baking dish. Add enough boiling water to bottom pan to come 1 inch up the side of the dish with the bread pudding. Bake until pudding is puffed up and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove dish from water bath and let cool slightly. Cut into squares. Serve pudding with warm eggnog.

Sweet Potato Kugel

2 tbs canola oil (olive, if you're being authentic), plus more for dish
1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
3 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp paprika
1/4 cup matzoh meal
Lightly oil a 7 cup baking dish. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat and add onions. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
Using a strainer, squeeze excess water from potatoes, then place in a large bowl along with grated sweet potato, carrots and onions. Mix in eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, paprika and matzoh meal.
Heat baking dish in a preheated 350F oven for five minutes. Transfer kugel mixture into the dish and spread evenly. Bake for about 1 hour until set and lightly browned. Let rest for five minutes before serving.

Where to find it: Matzoh meal, the crumbs of the cracker-like unleavened bread for which it’s named, can be found in the ethnic section of your favourite supermarket. Use it in this recipe, and as a substitute for bread crumbs in other recipes.

Whipped Shortbread (makes 4 dozen)

1 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Sift together icing sugar, cornstarch and flour. Gradually add to creamed butter, in fourths or fifths, beating slowly until just combined. Add vanilla, then increase speed to high and whip for about 10-15 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Batter is finished when it is very fluffy and white.
Add batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto Silpat-lined baking sheets and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Do not allow to colour. Let cool completely on sheets.
To store in batches for Christmas, transfer cookies to airtight containers, lining each layer with paper towel or parchment paper. Freeze for up to a month.

Brown Sugar Waffle Rollups

(note: the more butter, the crunchier the waffles)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
2 tbs brown sugar
3 large eggs, well beaten
4-8 tbs butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and brown sugar until well combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, milk and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. With a fork, gently bring ingredients together, just until combined. Mixture will be slightly stippled, like muffin batter.
Ladle 1/2 cup of batter at a time onto a heated Panini press. Spread out the batter with the back of the ladle and close the lid. Bake until the waffle rollup is golden. Continue with remaining batter, keeping rollups warm in a 200F oven.
To serve, fill each rollup with vanilla ice cream and cover with berries or your favourite syrup.

Crock Pot Beef Curry

2 1/2 to 3 lbs lean beef, cubed
2 tbs canola oil
2 large cooking onions, sliced
5 medium red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
3 tbs Patak’s (or other) brand mild curry paste
1 tbs Patak’s (or other) brand vindaloo paste
water to cover
1/2 cup white vinegar
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear on all sides. Transfer beef, along with onions, potatoes and curry pastes to bowl of a large crock pot. Add water, just to cover ingredients. Turn heat to high and simmer for at least 4 hours, until beef is very tender. Add vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering for another half hour. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve curry with cooked basmati rice and/or warm Indian flat bread such as naan or chapatties.

Chunky Organic Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup chunky organic peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter until combined and pale in colour; about 2 minutes. Add brown and granulated sugar and mix until combined. Mix in eggs and vanilla, then gradually add in flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in chopped peanuts. Chill for 15 minutes.
Drop batter from a 1 ounce scoop onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Flatted each cookie slightly with a fork. Bake at 350F for about 10-13 minutes, until lightly golden. Let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to three days.
Note: dough freezes well and can be stored, frozen. Shape into rolls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place wrapped dough in freezer bags. Thaw rolls slightly and slice into cookie-sized rounds. Place on baking sheets and bake.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen (German "Sunken Apple" Cake)

3 medium cooking Golden Delicious, or other cooking, apples
juice from one lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup light cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest from one lemon

Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle immediately with lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Toss carefully with brown sugar. Set aside.
Butter and flour an 8"x11.5"x2.5" glass baking pan. Whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add cream, vanilla and lemon zest. Add flour mixture in quarters, beating until just smooth. Batter should be the consistency of pound cake batter.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Press apple slices into batter in rows. Drizzle with liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F, until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Bequia Pumpkin Soup

(recipe by Susan Toy of Bequia)
1/4 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed, crumbled
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken stock
2 1/2 (6 cups) lbs peeled, seeded Hubbard or banana squash,
chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1 yellow potato, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-2 tbs habanero hot sauce
1/3 cup cream
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper/white pepper
In a heavy, large pot, sauté chorizo for 1-2 minutes. Add onion, garlic and celery and cook until onions are translucent. Add stock, squash, potato and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cover. When squash and potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Cool slightly, then puree using an immersion blender. Return to heat and return to serving temperature. Add hot sauce and cream. Season to taste.

Lightly Spiced Lamb Skewers

1 1/2 lbs trimmed leg of lamb
2 stalks fresh rosemary, stripped, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 tsp chilli powder
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cut lamb into 1 inch cubes. In a medium bowl, combine herbs and spices. Toss lamb to coat on all sides. Cover and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight. Thread lamb onto 6 bamboo skewers.
Cook on an outdoor grill, or sear meat in a hot skillet, turning to cook on all sides until medium rare, or to desired doneness. Serve with roasted butternut squash, garlic smashed potatoes and other favourite vegetables or side dishes.
Note: Try the same rub on different meats, including beef and chicken, and even salmon.

Sandra Giesbrecht’s “Hotty Prize Winning Chilli” (serves 6-8)

2 lbs stewing beef, diced
1 large, yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/3 cup mild chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
2-3 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (un-drained)
15 oz can tomato sauce
7 oz can diced green chillies
2 tbs packed brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs Tabasco
1 tbs white vinegar
1 bottle/can beer
In a small bowl, combine first 5 dried spices. In a large pot over med-high heat, brown beef; drain off fat. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened. Push beef/onion mixture to one side. Heat oil on empty side, then add spice mixture and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine with beef. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chillies, brown sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, Tabasco, beer and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 3-4 hours, removing lid for last 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve with warm cornbread.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie with Brown Sugar Meringue

1 prepared, blind-baked, deep dish pie shell
1 cup golden raisins
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream (not light)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs flour
1 tbs rum
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt
In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sour cream. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, flour, rum and spices. Fold in raisins. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell and place in a 400F oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake another 30 minutes, until filling is set. Cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat egg whiles until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add remaining brown sugar, beating until meringue holds stiff peaks. Spread over surface of pie, sealing it to the edges of the crust. Bake until meringue is golden, about ten minutes.

Thanksgiving Casserole

2 medium onions, chopped
3 tbs butter
1/3 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 cups diced, cooked turkey
2 Farmer's sausages (about 2/3 lb), diced
2 cups bread stuffing
2 tbs chopped parsley
pinch thyme
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbs curry paste
1 cup rice
2 cups hot turkey or chicken stock
In a large skillet, melt 2 tbs of the butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add mushrooms and sauté about another 2 minutes. Transfer to a large baking dish and combine with turkey, sausage, stuffing and seasonings.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining tbs butter. Lightly sauté the rice. Combine with other ingredients in casserole. Pour in hot stock. Cover tightly and bake at 375F until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Add more hot stock if necessary.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese sugar and egg together until smooth. Refrigerate.
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 cups fresh (or canned) pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
or 2/3 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat together oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Add to dry mixture and, using a wooden spoon, mix together with a few strokes, just to combine. Fold in pecans or butterscotch chips.
Line or prepare 24 regular-sized muffin tins and evenly divide batter. Make a small well in the centre of each muffin and drop in about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a pastry rack to cool completely.

Simply Tomato Soup with Roasted Tomato Garnish

(generously serves 4)
2 lbs ripe field-ripened Roma (or other meaty) tomatoes, seeded
1 medium white onion
2 tbs butter
1 cup chopped fresh basil
approximately 1-2 tbs sugar
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper
Roughly chop onions. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Core and coarsely chop tomatoes. Add to onions. Heat until the juices from the tomatoes begin to simmer. Reduce heat to low. After about 15 minutes, add basil. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add sugar, adjusting amount depending on tomatoes’ sweetness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For roasted tomato garnish: Halve several (about 3 per serving) red and yellow grape tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast tomatoes in oven, at 350F, until soft. Place a few of the roasted grape tomatoes on top of bowls of soup. Drizzle soup with olive oil.
Serving suggestions: Serve tomato soup with slices of crusty bread topped with Port Salut, or other favourite, cheese. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then toast in the oven until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Raspberry-Peach Breakfast Smoothies

(makes 2 meal-sized smoothies)
2 fresh peaches (or equivalent frozen), pitted, peeled, sliced
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 cups 2% Balkan-style plain yogurt
1 cup 1% or skim milk
4 tbs ground flax seeds
2 tbs honey (or sweeten to taste)
2 tsp matcha powder
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Where to find it: Matcha--a very fine Japanese tea powder--is available in specialty tea shops, including Blenz locations.

Healthy additions:
The berries and matcha tea in this smoothie pack antioxidants, and the flax seeds are a source of omega-3s. For extra benefits, consider a few more healthy add ins. (As always, consult your doctor or nutritionist regarding daily amounts and any concerns).
add unsweetened protein powder, but not until the end of blending, to avoid over-frothing the mixture.
blend in a daily amount of multivitamin powder to fill in any missing dietary gaps throughout the day.
for non-dairy, substitute silken tofu for the yogurt and orange juice in place of the milk.
lecithin can increase the body's ability to fight memory loss.
add vitamin E for healthy skin.
according to the experts at Jugo Juice, just one ounce of wheat grass has all the nutritional benefits of more than a kilogram of leafy greens.