Cooking Classes


The Song That Never Ends

I have not posted in a long while. Without all the boring details, let's just say I have been sooooo  busy! Saturday was our very busy Farmers' Market and Sunday I catered a luncheon for 40 people. Parachuted into this I have had 3 young women cyclists stay over Friday and Saturday nights.  All were fun but today has been a day of never ending dishes, cleaning, sorting and planning.

I will be back with some real blogging very soon! Meanwhile enjoy The Song That Never Ends with Lamb Chops. This is a picture into my insanity!


Teaching on a Colony in June

June and the school year is all but over. I am a substitute teacher at some of the Hutterite Colonies. Last year's barbecue was a resounding success and now I am probably branded to do it every year. The children range from Grade 2 through 9 and there are 8 in school. We make everything from scratch and spent the entire morning getting everything ready. I wish I wasn't so picky. I didn't want any sticky fingers on my good camera and as a result we have no pictures of food! Next time I am going to designate a photographer so we get pictures of the great food they make.

Mostly it is from scratch. The menu today was BBQ chicken wings that we grilled first and then tossed in some purchased sauce. It worked so much better than last year when I marinated all the wings in a sauce. They just got crusty and black. We're learning!

We made a buttermilk dressing to serve with fresh veggies. We enjoyed radishes and asparagus from their garden plus a few from the grocery store, like jicama. If I had a dollar for every time that one of them asked me the name of that vegetable I'd be rich.

Then there were hamburgers and hotdogs with the fresh made buns from their kitchen. Our side dish was coleslaw.  The meal was completed with banana boats or banana split as the kids described it, filled with milk choccolate, wrapped in foil and grilled and then with vanilla ice cream. Oh, and we made fresh lemonade.

The girls were so amazing. Without even a hint from me they carried the dishes to the sink and washed each and every plate and fork. We swept the floor. Got the camera ready. I put on my hiking boots and we went to the coulee.

These pictures are the product of putting a digital camera in the hands of a child. 306 pictures later I have selected these to share.


The Canadian Food Experience Project - My Earliest Memory of Canadian Food

Have you met Val at A Canadian Foodie? She is a woman of boundless energy and creativity. This is her newest food challenge. She is passionate about good, clean, fair and local food. After attending the Canadian Food Blogger's Conference in Toronto this spring she is searching for our Canadian food identity.

This will be a year of challenges and I hope you join us on this journey of exploration. Every challenge is designed to make us dig deep into our Canadian psyche to record our interpretation of our culture as described through food.

Our first challenge is to share our first authentic Canadian food experience. I am a baby boomer born and raised on a small farm in southeastern Saskatchewan. My family homesteaded this land seven generations ago. We still own a part of that farm although we no longer work it ourselves.

Suffice to say that my first remembered food experience is authentic Canadian. My mental journey back to almost birth has been fascinating and enlightening. My mother was not well most of my life and as a result she did not do a lot of cooking. Our food was very basic but her one passion was baking. I don't even know if she ever used a recipe but we did have one thin book, the Five Roses Flour Cookbook.

We enjoyed home made doughnuts on special occasions. Almost weekly we would have raisin or lemon meringue pie. The cakes were simple but a family favourite was Matrimonial Cake.

When I was very young, as young as three years old, my mother would be in the hospital for extended periods and our neighbours, the Brock's, would look after me and my sister. This is my first memory of food. They cooked with a wood stove. Even we had a propane stove and oven but they still used wood.  We were grain farmers with chickens, ducks and pigs but they had a farm that completely fulfilled their needs. They had a dairy herd, berry bushes and a large garden as well as poultry. I remember them milking the cows by hand and separating the cream. They made butter! That was a treat even way back then when it really was not so unusual. But what I remember most vividly is the homemade bread that would come out of that wood oven almost every day. I remember the yeasty dough fermenting, the darkened bread pans and that oh so heady aroma. Smell is the strongest sense to bring back memories.

I have not made old fashioned white bread in many years. Today we are trendy with sourdough and rustic artisan loaves. This is my contribution to this month's challenge. I am making that wonderful pillowy soft white bread that I remember as a young child.


Spring has Sprung, Let's Have Rhubarb

Jerry at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants is hosting the supper this month. The theme is 'Fresh and Local'. After such a long winter we, here in Saskatchewan, are anxious to get out and eat fresh. Great idea, Jerry! Unfortunately we are experiencing a late spring and there is precious little to glean from the garden. Thank heaven I have dessert. My rhubarb is red and tender and just right. Welcome, enjoy all the offerings this month. Let us know how they worked for you.

At first thought you might not find my Rhubarb Fool Napoleans to be a lower calorie recipe but it did come from Cooking Light! I have cut back on the sugar but my rhubarb was young and sweet. If you think about a typical napolean it has a rich cream between layers of puff pastry. Phyllo pastry is a much lighter version. This is where you are dropping the calories without losing any crispy texture and flavour.

Roz - La Bella Vita   Tomato Basil Soup
Jerry - Jerrys Thoughts, Musings and Rants  Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus
Val- More Than Burnt Toast      Baby Beets with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Greens
Susan Linquist –The Spice Garden    Spinach With Garlic Vinaigrette
Sandi -Whistestop Café Cooking    Garden Tomato Basil Pesto Pizza 

Rhubarb Maple Napoleans

The fluffy rhubarb mixture is based on fool, a traditional English dessert of cooked, pureed fruit folded into whipped cream. Here it's spread between crisp layers of maple-flavored phyllo dough. For the prettiest color, use bright red stalks of rhubarb. The intense nutty sweetness of maple sugar affords the best flavor, but you can substitute brown sugar in a pinch. The phyllo crisps can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for up to three days. Assemble desserts just before serving so you get the benefit of crisp pastry contrasting with the soft rhubarb fool. Yield: 8 servings

2 tbsp butter
10 (14 x 9 inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
5 tbsp maple sugar

4 c chopped rhubarb (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 c maple syrup, or to taste
2 tsp grated orange rind
1/3 c fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of salt
1/3 c whipping cream, chilled
2 tsp maple sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c fat-free sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crisps, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Lightly dab 5 phyllo sheets with half of browned butter; sprinkle each sheet with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Stack layers together; gently press. Cut phyllo stack into 9 (4 2/3 x 3–inch) rectangles. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, browned butter, and 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Place rectangles on baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare fool, combine rhubarb and next 8 ingredients (through salt) in a large saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Place half of rhubarb mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over the opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining rhubarb mixture. Cover and chill completely.

Place whipping cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in sour cream. Fold whipped cream mixture into chilled rhubarb mixture.

Place 1 phyllo crisp on a dessert plate. Layer crisp with 1/4 cup rhubarb mixture, 1 phyllo crisp, 1/4 cup rhubarb mixture, and 1 phyllo crisp. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo crisps and rhubarb mixture. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and garnish with edible flowers or mint leaves. Serve immediately.


Fennel and Orange Salad with Goat Cheese

Only the herbs are from my garden. That is how far behind our growing season is.

Fennel and Orange Salad with Goat Cheese
baby romaine lettuce
1 juicy orange
finely shaved fennel
chopped fresh herbs such as Italian parsley, oregano, chives
soft goat cheese
olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Place romaine leaves on plate and top with the fennel, sections of orange, goat cheese and herbs. Drizzle with orange juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.