‘What A Waste’ Campaign: Halting Unnecessary Food Waste

I came across this campaign online for introducing a new law in Canada that prevents grocers from throwing out edible food.

They already have such a law in France.

Check it out and please consider signing the petition. Food banks in our region (and many others) are suffering a donation shortage.  To me, it just makes sense.

We don’t have a food shortage problem. We have a food distribution problem.

http://www.wawcampaign.ca

hungry

 

You can sign the petition here  https://d18kwxxua7ik1y.cloudfront.net/product/embeds/v1/change-embeds.js

 

 

 

 

Easy Shakshuka

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It’s been a while, and this time I am posting about real food.

“Shakshuka!!” (isn’t it fun to say?) is a Jewish dish I have been long wanting to try out. I’ve seen a few drool inducing photos online and a couple of ‘simple enough’ recipes.

So tonite I decided to wing it and I cooked it from recalling what I had read.

Shakshuka actually reminds me of another dish my sister in law taught me, ‘Kacang Phool’…which I have blogged about before. The main differences being that this dish does not have beans in it, and the eggs are simmered, not fried. (I think chick peas might be a nice addition actually).

Essentially, this dish is described as eggs simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. It can then be served with pita or bread to sop up the juices and soft yolk of the eggs. It’s really nice and it’s filling. We have been trying to incorporate more meatless meals in our home, and this is a good choice. With simple and few ingredients, it makes for an economical meal too.

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First, in a bit of olive oil, saute 2 diced red onions and 3 minced cloves of garlic.

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To this, add more olive oil, 1 tbsp za’atar seasoning, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp dried mint and 1 diced jalapeno (seeds removed).

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Add in 796 ml of canned stewed tomatoes (liquid too), breaking up and let simmer 5 minutes while you chop cauliflower. Add 1/2 cup of water and half a head of chopped cauliflower. Simmer on medium for a further 20 minutes.

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Crack in the eggs, as many as will fit in the pan, if you want.

Cover and simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes until the eggs are cooked but yolks are still fairly soft.

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Plate up with toasted bread or pita and sprinkle on chives and feta cheese (optional).

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Serves up to 6 people.  I hope you give it a try!

My Inedible Pizza

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Well, it has been a very very long time! It’s so nice catching up on bloggers posts that I follow. It would be presumptuous of me to think I was missed. But in case one of you wondered where I went, it was not off the face of the earth.

I have been blogging about a different type of food interest these past months.

For about a year now I’ve been making miniature foods from polymer clay. I sculpt these in various scales from dollhouse 1:12 to 1:4 scale.

It started as a way to amuse my little girls but is now equally, something for me.

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More of my work can be seen on my other blog at blossomfriends.com

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Polenta Lasagna

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I always wanted to try polenta ever since I seen it on an Italian cooking show…you know the type of scene, in a cozy Italian kitchen, with the hot polenta being poured out onto a large table?

Half way through this video you will see an Italian rural couple preparing polenta.

Well, I spied these babies at the market and I couldn’t resist trying a new thing. Right there- on the package- came my inspiration for how I would prepare it. On the label was a simple lasagna recipe. I added a few embellishments.

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This makes a large, very hearty, lasagna.

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Ingredients:

1.5 kg polenta, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 pound minced lean beef or poultry

1 red chili pepper, seeds removed, minced

6 cups plain tomato sauce

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp tarragon

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 small red onion

3 cups grated marble cheese

2 cups sliced button mushrooms

2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

Grate cheese and slice polenta and veggies, and set aside. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and brown the meat with garlic, chili, spices, salt, and pepper. Add in the tomato sauce. Set on a low simmer.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a 13 x 9 inch pan and pour in a thin layer of sauce, followed by the first layer of polenta. Layer on veggies and mushrooms, spreading evenly. Layer on 1 cup of cheese. Layer more polenta, followed by sauce, followed by veggies and mushrooms, followed by 1 cup of cheese, followed by polenta- veggies- sauce-  ending with the last cup of cheese. It’s not crucial how you layer this, as long as the sauce is spread out and you end with cheese near the top.

Loosely tent with foil and bake in middle of oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling throughout. Feeds 6-8. This makes delicious leftovers!

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: Chicken & Corn Curry.

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Recently, we visited Dempsey’s Corner Orchard,  just 5 minutes from our house.

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For just $2 per person, we could spend the day and “eat of any tree” we wanted. You might say we had more freedom than Adam and Eve did.

Sorry, that was corny.

Speaking of corn, have you ever eaten a cob fresh from the stalk? One that you picked yourself? If not, you really should try it! As if all the beautiful fruit wasn’t enough, Dempsey’s also had a corn field for the customers to pick all that they wanted. It was fantastic! So juicy and so much sweeter when it is fresh! After eating a couple of these, we decided to purchase some for our supper.

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There is nothing wrong with plain boiled corn on the cob but this time I wanted to do something different. This fresh and tasty corn was worthy of something else. After thinking about it, I decided to use it in Opor Ayam, which is an Indonesian style chicken curry. Opor is enveloped in this rich, spicy, coconutty sauce.

I could write poetry about this sauce.

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This Opor Ayam recipe is not authentic. Instead, it suits our preferences. Normally, a whole chicken is cut up to make this. Also, one traditional recipe calls for 15 dried chilies….nope, not a typo.  Fifteen!!

I’ve only made this a couple times before, and only in one pot. It is terrific and easy just like that. But this time I did it a bit different.I finished it off in my cast iron casserole, adding the corn from Dempsey’s.

The corn, after cooking in the sauce and soaking up the spices, tastes spectacular!

Using breasts make this healthier. Boneless also make it kid friendly.  Because I have omitted the bone and darker meat, I have sacrificed some of the flavour. I’m ok with that. Feel free to use bone-in chicken, and thighs also, if you want. Just add a few minutes to the initial cooking time.

Not authentic, but very delicious anyway. This would appeal to someone who can’t handle too much chili. This is spicy but not very hot. You can make this using 1 chili if you prefer, without losing much flavour. The chili does balance out the sweetness and richness of the dish.

Ingredients:

2 ½   lbs boneless and skinless chicken breasts  (aprox 5 breasts)

2 shallots

1 tbsp diced ginger

3 garlic cloves

1 bulb lemon grass, sliced

2 dried chilies

2 tbsp coriander

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp dried onion flakes

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ cup chicken stock

1 can coconut milk

3 or 4 Dried kaffir lime leaves (optional)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

4 large corn cobs, parboiled for 5 minutes and sliced (or 2 cups of vegetables of your choice)

Method:

Grind shallots, ginger, garlic, chili, and lemon grass into a paste. Cut chicken breasts into large chunks (cut each breast in 3 or 4 pieces).

Over medium heat, heat oil in a large pot and fry spice paste until fragrant. Add the coriander,cinnamon stick, curry, turmeric, and onion flakes. Stir. Add tomato paste and salt with a little water (just enough to keep spice paste from burning).

Add chicken to the pot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Frequently scrape spices from bottom of pot, and toss chicken pieces around to brown them. Add a bit more water if things start to stick.

Pour in coconut milk, chicken stock, and add lime leaf to the pot.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes. * preheat oven to 370 degrees at this point * Uncover pot and reduce heat to medium-low setting.

Cook a further 15 minutes. The sauce should appear thicker by then and some of the red coloured oils will start to separate at the top. If this hasn’t happened, continue cooking until it does.

Now transfer this to a deep, 3 ½ to 4 quart casserole dish and add in vegetables.  Don’t waste 1 drop of the precious sauce, scrape it all into the casserole! Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.

I used 4 cobs of sweet corn that I previously parboiled and cut into slices. Sliced carrots would also work, or cubed sweet potato, or any sweet ‘ish’ vegetable.

Cover the casserole and cook in 370 oven for a half hour. Remove and give a gentle stir before serving.

Serve with rice or potatoes.  I recommend bread for sopping up the sauce!

Serves 6-8.

This is delicious just as it is, but if you wait one more day, it’s infinitely more yummy!

Just keep it sealed in the fridge (if you can delay digging in!)

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: Creamy Chicken and Cantaloupe Salad

curried chicken and cantaloupe salad

There was a sale on cantaloupe down the street at the Farm market.

This is a refreshing salad with layer upon layer of contrasting tastes;   musky, sharp, and a little sweet. The curry is subtle. If you add a bit more heat with cracked black pepper when serving, it’s really, really nice.

Have you ever tried fresh cracked pepper on fruits? It’s quite nice on melons and strawberries. Melon, feta, and black pepper is a wonderful taste combination.

This will be my last summer salad this year. It will soon be time to make pumpkin pies, apple butter, and all those comforting and spicy Autumnal  foods.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped cooked chicken.

1 granny smith apple, chopped, peel on

½ English cucumber, chopped, peel on

¼ cup diced red onion

½ cup chopped celery

½  cup sliced green onions

½  cup blanched cashews, coarsely chopped

½ cup plain yogurt

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tsp madras curry powder

1 tsp salt

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 smallish cantaloupe, chopped

Lettuce leaves

Method:

Blanch cashews by placing them in a wide pan of boiling water for no more than 1 minute. Drain in colander and set on paper towel to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop (basically cut them in half, no smaller, as you want to bite into the cashew and know that it’s a cashew).

Mix everything, except lettuce. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve on top of lettuce leaves and top with cracked black pepper (optional).

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This would easily serve a dozen people as a small side salad (as in, a scoop at a potluck).

This is lovely for a summer side salad. Or make it a family meal by mixing in some prepared couscous or a small pasta. If eaten as a meal this way, it would serve 6-8.

: Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

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The beginning of this moist and sweet morsel began with a journey just down the street.

We’ve been living here a year now and we have stopped at just about every Farmer’s Market… except for the one that is literally 1 minute away. It always looked so tiny and I assumed they must not have much there for variety.

Wrong I was.

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Morse’s Farm Market, Berwick, Nova Scotia

Quaint isn’t it?

This place is full of beautiful fruit and veggies and they have such friendly service…which can be found pretty much everywhere here in the Valley. But I was pleasantly surprised at how much they had in this small store. Besides produce, they had some baked goods and some lovely local honey and jams. They had the best garlic I have ever purchased – you can’t get fresh, juicy and sharp garlic like that at a grocers. They also had beautiful zucchini and pumpkins available. This time, I took home the zucchini. Next time, pumpkins I think.

Lately I had been thinking about making my first ever zucchini loaf. When I seen the offerings at Morse’s Farm Market I was determined to just do it.

My Aunt Lorraine makes wickedly good zucchini loaf. When I was a kid, whenever we visited, she had a loaf made and ready to cut into. Always. I don’t think we visited even once that she was without her signature dessert. It was something I looked forward to on the road trip to my Aunt and Uncle’s.

I remember the first time I found out I was eating zucchini loaf. I was shocked. I thought it was banana bread.

My Aunt’s version is a straight up traditional zucchini loaf. Some recipes add chocolate chips and nuts to them. I didn’t want nuts in mine, and instead opted for more chocolate… why not!

So, after perusing through dozens of recipes, I borrowed a little from here and there. I found Paula Deen’s chocolate chip zucchini bread inspiring. My recipe is heavily influenced by hers.

My kids watched me grating the zucchini and preparing the batter, and asked, doubtfully, “the zucchini…is going….in there?”

Yes, and I promised them it would be delicious.

…They almost looked anxious.

Once they seen the finished gooey chipped, chocolatey loaves, they forgot all about the healthy ingredient hidden inside. They loved it even though they “HATE zucchini!”

This makes 2 scrumptious loaves (if I do say so myself).

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Ingredients:

2 cups grated zucchini (1 large zucchini )

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

Grate zucchini and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugars, vanilla, and oil. Beat in cocoa until well blended.

Slowly pour flour mix into the large bowl, mixing the dry and wet ingredients well (if it looks a bit dry at this point, don’t fret. Don’t add water as the zucchini adds a lot of moisture) . When combined, blend in the zucchini followed by the chocolate chips.

Pour into 2 lightly greased and dusted 9×5″ loaf pans. Bake in center of oven for 50 minutes or until fork comes out clean.

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This is easy to make and tastes great, lots of chocolate flavour with subtle warm spice. Lovely with Chai tea!