Spaghetti & Meatballs

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DSC_0804This is probably one of the best homemade spaghetti and meatball recipes I have had. I used home canned roasted tomatoes for the sauce, and tons of fresh herbs to add some delicious flavor to the meatballs. This recipe also makes fabulous leftovers.

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 (500ml) jars home canned roasted tomatoes with garlic, finely diced or crushed*
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

*If you don’t have any home canned tomatoes on hand, then use a very high quality store bought variety, such as Muir Glen roasted diced tomatoes, and add 2 minced cloves of garlic.

Meatballs

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Spaghetti & Meatballs.

  • 1 (1-ounce) slice white bread (such as a stale baguette)
  • 2 (4-ounce) links hot/spicy turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons egg substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pound ground sirloin

Spaghetti

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound hot cooked spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

DIRECTIONS

  1. To prepare sauce, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, wine, crushed red pepper, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until reduced by  a third (about 45 minutes). Stir occasionally.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. To prepare meatballs, place bread in a food processor, and process until fine crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine the breadcrumbs, sausage, 1/2 cup onion, and next 8 ingredients (through sirloin) in a bowl. With wet hands, shape sirloin mixture into 34 meatballs. Place meatballs on a broiler pan.
  4. Broil 15 minutes or until done. Add meatballs to sauce; simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup parsley and 1/3 cup basil. Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with fresh baguette, and a simple green salad if desired.

Ratatouille and Sausage Potpie with Cornmeal Biscuits

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This recipe is adapted from the New York Times. What an excellent and hearty meal!

INGREDIENTS

Cornmeal Biscuits:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt
  • Milk

 

Ratatouille:

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 small zucchini ( 3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2-4 tbsp pesto

DIRECTIONS

  1. For the biscuits: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in the sour cream. Gently knead mixture until it comes together in a ball, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. For the ratatouille: In a bowl, toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer on one or two large baking sheets (do not crowd vegetables). Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large, deep, preferably oven-proof sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Crumble sausage into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Return pan to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in the onion, pepper, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme; simmer gently until tomatoes are cooked and mixture is stew-like, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the sausage, roasted vegetables and pesto. If you are not using an oven-safe pan, transfer mixture to a 2-quart gratin dish or baking pan.
  6. Drop soup spoon size spoonfuls of biscuit on top of ratatouille mixture. Brush biscuits lightly with milk.
  7. Transfer skillet or pan to oven and cook until biscuits are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry with Ginger and Green Peas

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I recently re-discovered my slow cooker. But this time I was on a mission to find some delicious, unique recipes that didn’t call for a lot of processed ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to find Martha Stewart’s Chicken Curry recipe. The version below is my adaptation.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 5-7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 16 thin slices/strips peeled fresh ginger (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, preferably Madras
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 packages frozen green peas (10 ounces each)
  • 1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (full-fat version)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (optional, for serving)
  • Cooked basmati rice

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, toss chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, curry powder, coriander, and cumin to coat. Season with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover, cook on high setting until chicken is fork-tender, about 4 hours (do not uncover while cooking).
  2. Stir in coconut milk and peas; cover, cook until peas are heated through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer chicken to a large bowl; shred with fork. Return to pot; toss with sauce.
  4. To serve, garnish with 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, if desired, and serve over freshly cooked basmati rice.

Spanish Chorizo Bean Saute with Farro

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My husband and I recently discovered Tru Roots Sprouted Bean Trio, a quick-cooking blend of lentils, adzuki, and mung beans. We always seem to forget to pre-soak dried beans, and therefore rarely end up using them. We like this quick-cooking variety, because in about 20 minutes you can cook these beans. We have been experimenting with how to use them and love this quick Spanish Chorizo Bean Saute with Farro recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (remove half of the seeds)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup farro (an Italian grain, simliar to spelt)
  • 4 links organic chorizo sausage (pork or chicken)
  • 2 cups cooked small red beans, or a mixture (such as Tru Roots Sprouted Bean Trio)
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

(Variations: Try adding diced sweet potato, new potatoes, and celery.)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion through jalapeño in the olive oil until tender. Add cumin through crushed red pepper and saute for 1 additional minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 cup farro into a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Drain excess water in a colander, return to saucepan and season with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Over medium-high heat, saute chorizo until cooked through (approximately 4 minutes per side). Remove from pan and set aside. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  4. Return vegetable mixture and chorizo to pan, add beans and tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is heated through.
  5. Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Polish Cabbage Rolls (Golabki)

My grandmother used to make authentic Polish Cabbage Rolls (called Golabki) when I was a kid. They were so delicious and hearty. Inspired my an abundance of cabbage this harvest season, I decided to create a recipe that would best mimic my grandmothers. And here’s what I came up with!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed (divided)
  • 1.5 quarts crushed organic tomatoes or strained tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lb organic, grassfed 95% lean ground beef
  • 2 links organic chicken bratwurst sausage, casings removed
  • 2 large organic carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large organic onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups short grain brown rice, cooked
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 large head green cabbage

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, saute 4-5 minced cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat. When garlic begins to brown, add tomatoes through sugar  (be careful, because the water from the tomatoes, combined with the oil in the pan, can splash back up and potentially burn you).
  2. Bring to a boil, and reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine beef through egg. Using your hands, mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator, until you are ready to use.
  5. In a large stockpot, boil water. Meanwhile, core the cabbage, and carefully submerge the cabbage in the boiling water for about 1 minute. Carefully remove cabbage leaves and set aside.
  6. Put about 2 tbsp of meat filling in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf in and roll it up into a little package. Put each rolled cabbage leaf seam-down into a 13X9 inch casserole dish.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  8. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Skeeter Farm CSA

After moving to Vancouver last summer, and shopping at local farmers markets, we are excited to join a local CSA. I miss getting the weekly surprise of wonderfully delicious goodies, fresh from the farm. I miss the challenge of getting a bag of vegetables and not completely knowing what to do with all of them. And most of all, I miss getting to know where our food comes from.

This season, we will be members of small CSA called Skeeter Farm, located in the heart of the Fraser Valley in Yarrow, BC. I look forward to learning more about the Pacific NW harvest, and all the unique varieties of produce available in this region of North America.

For more information about Skeeter Farm, here’s a fabulous short video about the farm and its farmers – Amanda, Amy and Patrick.

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

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In less than a week, Vancouver Craft Beer Week will descend on the region. What does this mean? It means that all your favorite local breweries (as well as tons more from the region, the U.S., and even Europe) will be in town from May 18-26, 2012 to provide us (the public) with a sample some of their scrumptious brews. For a schedule of events, click here. Some events have already sold out, so don’t delay too long.

My husband and I will definitely take part in the festivities, and we may even create our own event with friends: a potluck beer and food tasting in the sun!

Here are a few of our favorite brews and brew/gastropubs in the region:

BEER

Boundary Bay | Tripel

Strong, pale golden, medium bodied ale with mild spice and fruit aroma. (9.3% abv / on-tap only / Washington)

Driftwood Brewery | Crooked Coast Amber Ale

Alt-style beer of Dusseldorf, with aromas of German hops and Munich malt. (5.1% abv / 650ml / British Columbia)

Driftwood Brewery | Farmhand Ale

Belgian farmhouse saison ale with subtle notes of spice. (5.5% abv / 650ml / British Columbia)

Howe Sound Brewing | Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen

German-styled wheat beer with banana and clove aroma; made with barley, wheat, hops, water and hefe yeast. (7.7% abv / 1 L / British Columbia)

Howe Sound Brewing | Pumpkineater

Pumpkin ale brewed with barley, fresh roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, water and yeast. (8% abv / 1 L / British Columbia)

Lighthouse Brewing Co. | Belgian Black

Fermented with a Belgian Ardennes yeast strain with rich malty flavor and notes of plum and dark cherries; label artwork by Victoria, BC artist Michelle Landry. (9% abv / 650 ml / British Columbia)

Lighthouse Brewing Co. | Deckhand Belgian Saison

Rich, golden, Belgian farmhouse style beer made with Pilsner and Vienna malts and flaked wheat, soft malt flavor, and subtle notes of spice, pepper and fruit; label artwork by Victoria, BC artists Ryan Tree. (8% abv / 650 ml / British Columbia)

BREW/GASTROPUBS

Alibi Room

50 taps of local and imported craft beer and great, inexpensive food. Need I say more?

Bitter Tasting Room

A perfect place for a cold beer after a long day in downtown Vancouver. The space is small, so visit early or call ahead. Rotating draft of 8 craft beers featuring regional varieties, large selection of bottled beers, and small plates.

Chambar

Upscale restaurant featured in foodie magazines across North America. Extensive Belgian beer menu, plus their own speciality – Chambar Ale.

The Whip Restaurant and Gallery

8 regional craft beers on tap, with 1 rotating tap, and several rotating casks.

—-others we haven’t yet tried but are on our list—-

BierCraft Tap and Tapas and BierCraft Bistro

Features Belgian-style craft beer from around the world. Includes many North American and regional varieties.

Ensemble Tap

15 craft beers on tap plus 30 bottled, featuring many local varieties. Daily and weekly food and tap pairings.

BC Food Systems Network Annual Gathering

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Reclaiming our Food Systems: Policy and Practice

Mark your calendars…this July 5-8, 2012, the BC Food Systems Network will be hosting their annual gathering at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island (just outside Vancouver, British Columbia). The focus of this annual gathering will be policy and practice. From workshops and presentations, to a wide range of structured and unstructured activities, the gathering aims to bring people together from across British Columbia, and beyond, to share and learn from one another about how to create healthy, more sustainable food systems.

Roasted Tandoori Potatoes

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This Thanksgiving I decided to make a very unusual turkey – Tandoori Turkey. However, 2 of my friends that celebrated with me are vegetarians. I really wanted them to experience the tandoori marinade I made for the turkey, so I decided to make roasted potatoes with the marinade. Wow…these were fantastic. I’m so glad I decided to create this dish. I will definitely make these again.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 lbs small potatoes (such as red nugget or fingerling)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped peeled ginger
  • 2 tbsp high quality bottled lime juice
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon tandoori masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Rinse and quarter potatoes. Toss with olive oil and place in a 13X9″ baking pan. Set aside.
  3. Combine yogurt through salt in a blender.
  4. Toss 1/2 cup yogurt marinade with potatoes, or enough of the marinade to evenly coat the potatoes.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring after every 10 minutes to prevent sticking.

Tandoori Masala Spice

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Use this spice mixture for Roasted Tandoori PotatoesTandoori Turkey, or Tandoori Chicken.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mixed colored peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toast spices in a skillet over medium heat, swirling often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Grind, using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle.
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