So I just came inside from a -30 Celcius Windchill day here in Ottawa, ON. Needless to say – my Mediterranean blood is crying for sun and heat. I mean, I’m not saying I need +30 or anything but…
As a chef, it’s hard to go 6 months without any fresh local produce. For that reason, it makes sense that we’ve become so dependent on a heavily fossil fuel driven food system. We all have to eat! And the way we know how to eat fresh is to have much of our food imported year-round, especially during the winter.
Part of that has to do with our food distribution system and the decline of food processing plants in Ontario – but that’s another story. We’ve also lost a lot of our preserving traditions which include fermentation, canning and drying- not to mention turning a blind eye to the ancient traditions of the original First Nations of our area.
So, how do we eat locally now? Fortunately Ottawa has just begun a year-round Farmer’s Market and there are a few small retailers that carry local meats, root veggies, preserves and baked goods around town. Plus, there are many who are bringing traditions back to the mainstream.
And why care? Why eat seasonal in the winter? Who wants bland boring root vegetables and roasts and pickles for 6 months? Aren’t we supposed to be on raw food diets and cleanses during the winter??
Well, below I’ve posted a delicious Ballymaloe-Adapted Shepherds Pie recipe with a spin.
In an ideal situation, I try and abide to some traditional food smarts from studying with local nutritionists, herbalists and from my own biochemical science knowledge. And to be honest, it makes me turn up a suspicious eyebrow to many New Years Resolution Diets.:
1. Fermented foods have a lot of nutrition. Foods such as sauerkraut and miso are great for adding good bacteria into your gut to help you digest food properly so vitamins and minerals are more available to your body.
2. It’s freezing outside and the Ayurvedic and some Western traditions of eating note that cooling foods that go into the body (such as cucumber, lettuce) actually cool down your body. If you’re working in a steamy kitchen or are naturally prone to being warm even when it’s in the sub-zero temperatures outside, go for it. However, warm food and fats are helpful to combating the cold!
3. Why are we dieting in the winter? The traditions surrounding Yuletide feasting are an acknowledgement that we are entering a time of year where we need to help one another out. Energy levels are low, food is (was) scarce. Why not enjoy the food and enter the new year grateful for how lucky we are that we can eat copius amounts of food?
4. Nutritional infusions such as nettle and oat straw are a great way to boost the vitamins and minerals in your body! Much more cost effective than juicing a crate of oranges. Don’t worry.. Susun Weed is legit.
Despite that the transportation of food has been around for centuries and isn’t going away, I think there can be a more health conscious and ethical way to eat during this time of year that doesn’t involve importing a lot of food. I, for one, at least hope that one day we will be at peace with food and the way we consume it. Bottom line is: Listen to your body. And I completely acknowledge that eating 100% seasonally and locally and organically is an ideal, but if we are working towards that, it’s for the better!
Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Turnip Mash
Prep time: 30min, Cook time: 30min
Dietaries: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nightshade Free, Almost Paleo
4 tablespoon olive oil
110g or 1 medium chopped onion
30g (1/4 cup) corn or rice flour
2 cups stock, I used chicken stock but lamb or beef is ideal
2 teaspoon tomato paste (optional, omit for nightshade free)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb (450g) ground lamb (although the Irish ideal is to use leftover roast lamb, chopped)
2 lb (900g) turnips, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, or coconut oil
First, make the turnip mash. Cover the peeled, chopped turnip with cold water in a saucepan. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the water and simmer for about 20 min until soft. Drain and mash while still warm. Add butter substitute or the real deal and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil on medium, add the onion, and cook over a slow heat for 5 minutes in a large wide pan. Add the flour and cook until brown. Add the stock, bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste, chopped cilantro, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the meat to the sauce and cook until no longer pink, continuously stirring.
Put in a pie dish, cover with the mashed turnips and score with a fork. Reheat in a moderate oven 350ºF for about 30 minutes.
Do you have a favourite warm up food? Tweet @evayummers and I’ll share your ideas!
Tis the season of good eats with family and friends or solo even.
Sometimes we get classy.. and sometimes…
You eat a friend’s birthday cake made of chicken wings.
Well, luckily for you I went back to classy for this year’s Christmas recipe I have for you!
Brussel sprouts are one of those contentious things – either you love em or hate em! I have a sneaking suspicion that those who hate them have only eaten them boiled to death until the bitterness of their cruciferous chemical compounds have annihilated their delicious crispy and flavourful potential.
I first got this idea from an LCBO Food & Drink magazine and have since seen em popping up on restaurant menus.
Below I’ll show you how to prep dem sprouts and cook em as efficiently as possible so you can get back to watching your favourite holiday movie!
First – the recipe!
Rosemary Maple Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Serves 4 as a single side dish or 8 as a smaller side dish / appetizer
Prep time: 5-10min, Cook time: 10min
Dietaries: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo, Grain-Free, Nightshade-Free
1 lb Brussel Sprouts (approx 20 golf ball sized)
3 strips of thick-sliced smoked bacon
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1/2tsp dried)
1 tbsp shallots, finely chopped (or use an onion in a pinch but you won’t get the same deliciousness)
2 level tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
First, prep the brussel sprouts by rinsing them under cold water, slicing them in half and either putting an x in the bottom ‘core’ or cutting a shallow ‘V’, making sure the sprout is still in tact. However, keep any good looking (ones that aren’t discoloured) leaves that fall off. They tend to get crispy when they fry alone! Set aside.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skilled on medium heat. Cut the bacon into 1 cm cubes and fry until golden in colour. Set aside, keeping the fat in the skillet. You need it ALL!
Have your maple syrup, rosemary and shallots near the stove ready to go. Now it gets fast!
Place sprouts into the skillet and add salt and pepper. Toss quickly and leave in the pan without tossing for at least 2 min on medium heat. It’s important not to sautee it too much so that it develops a delicious caramelized flavour.
After one side is golden in colour around the edges, sautee for another 3-5 min until cooked through. You can tell since the colour will become a bright green and when you eat it, it’s delicious (don’t be afraid to taste test while you cook
Add the rosemary, shallots and cooked bacon to the pan and sautee for another minute.
Here’s a play-by-play in photo form!
There you have it!
Serve it as a side dish to any festive meal, whether it’s a roast chicken, veggie casserole or even as a warm appetizer.
Happy Holidays from Eva Bee!
Comment below on your favourite holiday side dish.
Or tweet at me @evayummers!
I landed. I was tired. I was the first to arrive at cooking school and was welcomed by…
So I was hungry and made the following.
Golden Potato Coins with Fried Onions, Mushrooms and Sunny Side Egg
Heat 1 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan on medium high heat. Add in your potatoes (they should look like coins) and fry until golden brown on one side (5min) then flip and fry until cooked through (5-7min). Toss in salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Remove potatoes to a plate with paper towel (warmed, ideally) and melt in the rest of the butter (1 tbsp) until melted. Add in mushrooms and onions and sautee until cooked through (about 3min).
When cooked, move the onions and mushrooms to the side of the pan and add the egg. Cook until the white part of the egg is opaque (about 3min). Add salt to taste.
Add Potatoes in a large bowl, add mushrooms and onions, then top with the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The next day we had our orientation dinner.
We had pizza but I had the gluten free version:
A week’s of classes ahead!
You’ve made a gingerbread house, right?
But have you made.. A PIZZA HOUSE?
This is our Holiday episode with The Love Machine! Find out how to make it yourself:
You still have time to donate to my fundraiser, here! http://igg.me/at/EvaBeeCooks/ keeping in mind all of our episodes were self-funded and produced. Every little bit helps, so thank you <3
Did you know the song performed in this month’s episode of Eva Bee’s Jamboree was also made into a second place winning Ottawa International Film Festival music video! Check it out below.
Lunch of champions.
You don’t need to roast a pork for hours to get the same (similar) delicious effect…
You can use chicken as well! This is a great way to use left over roast chicken. And, surprise surprise, I’m using michaelsdolce jam!
Pulled Chicken for Two
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken (mix of white and dark meat)
3 tbsp michaelsdolce peach cardamom jam
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp apple cider
1/8 cup chopped green onion
sea salt & pepper to taste
Top with lettuce and grainy dijon on a kaiser bun and enjoy with a summery dill beet borscht.
Check out this Ottawa Citizen feature Waiting Out Winter for ideas on
how to eat locally as we creep through the next few weeks.
With the absence of Farmer’s Markets’ delicious fresh local produce, I turn to one of the only things that is available and so utterly Ottawanian – Upper Canada Cranberries.
They are sold all over town and farmers markets and they even make their own cranberry juice that’s sold at The Red Apron – num num num.
So, aside from the incredible irony of trying to eat local, I made garlic quinoa with these cranberries. I contrasted the tart/sweetness of this side dish with a healthy helping of frozen organic peas, acorn squash (I found in the reduced section that needed to be baked immediately so I found various ways to use it, including cubed in this dish) and one Sesame Miso Tofu Burger by La Soyaire. These tofu burgers are a great way to have a quick helping tofu without the need to marinate it or cook it a fancy way – it’s already got all the flavour and texture you need!
Tamari Tofu with Peas & Squash on Cranberry Garlic Quinoa Pilaf
Heat over medium heat in small saucepan,
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sautee for one minute,
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup quinoa
Add and lower heat to simmer,
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp frozen cranberries
pinch of salt
Cover and cook through until quinoa is tender
and has absorbed all water (about 10min)
Meanwhile, in a small skillet or frying pan heat on medium heat
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sweat until translucent,
1/4 small onion, chopped
Add to pan and sautee until heated through (about 5min),
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup cooked squash or raw apple, cubed
1 cubed La Soyaire tofu burger
2 tbsp tamari or light soya sauce
dash of sesame oil
dash of cinnamon
dash of cumin
Layer the tofu medley over the quinoa and top with yoghurt!
With Valentine’s Day one day away, it’s the time go run out and buy your loved one a bar of delicious chocolate. This year, why not make them this really simple recipe?
Truly Canadian and super sweet, this recipe is recommended because it requires no baking. Not only that, but it’s great for sharing to everyone you care for.
In a medium saucepan melt while constantly stirring,
4oz dark chocolate
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
Once melted remove from heat, whisk in,
Line an 9×13 deep dish glass pan with parchment paper and spread the whole first layer evenly. Refrigerate.
In a medium bowl beat together until smooth,
1/2 cup softened butter
4 1/2 cup icing sugar
6 tbsp custard powder
6 tbsp water or milk
Remove pan from fridge and spread second layer over the first layer until smooth. Return to refrigerator.
In a medium saucepan melt over low heat while stirring,
6 oz dark chocolate
3 tbsp corn syrup
6 tbsp butter
Remove pan from fridge and spread third layer over the second layer until an even smooth layer is made.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Cut into squares and serve with strawberries.
Happy Chinese New Year! I actually know very little about their celebrations but I did find out from the local Chinese Medicine pharmacy that what we know as the New Year is actually the 4th day of their celebrations. So a chat with some Chinese folk is in order but to be honest, this blog is about FOOD and I wanted to post about these dumplings for two reasons.
A) Chinese food is my favourite. I traveled through China for 5 weeks as a high school graduation gift and dining with your friend’s mother’s old friends who would take you and her out every day meant eating with 20 people every lunch/dinner which meant that there was SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM. More on Chinese food on another post, perhaps.
- and -
B) Most importantly, I want to inform all my budget concerned Centretown/Chinatown folk that this is one of the simplest and easiest and yummiest meals you can make
For the dumplings.. go to The Yen Fung Ding Dumpling Shoppe @ 628 Somerset Street West.
No, It’s not a restaurant as some of you may think. They carry a variety of frozen food that they make on the premises dumplings (mushroom & nappa, pork & chive – a classic and a favourite, chicken & shrimp, etc.), sui mai dumplings, chinese buns and scallion pancakes. MMM a little taste of my home from a different lifetime. They are very easy to prepare (they can be steamed, pan fried or boiled). If you pick up some Chinese greens from Kowloon (kale or spinach works just the same), it’s easy to make a staple side dish.
Yes, if you want to minimize dishes in the sink, I would recommend getting a two or three tiered steaming basket. They come in a variety of sizes at most of the grocery stores in Chinatown and you buy them by the piece totaling a max of $10. Buy one that fits one of your medium sauce pans and you’re set!
Chinese Dumplings with Steamed Greens and Tamari Sesame Dipping Sauce
*Note: Vinegar, tamari and sesame oil can be interchangeable with other oils, it just wont be as ‘authentic’
Fill a medium sauce pan half full of water and bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile rinse a hand full of greens per person with water, set aside.
Make your dipping sauce by stirring together,
2 tbsp seasame seed oil
3 tbsp tamari (fermented soya sauce that has a deeper flavour and is more nutritious than conventional soya sauce)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
(optional additions include 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger, chili flakes, sriracha, sesame seeds, minced green onions)
Once water has been brought to a boil, place as many dumplings as you want (I recommend 8 per person) onto one layer of the bamboo steamer without them overlapping. Place on top of the saucepan carefully.
Place the greens onto the second steamer and fit steamer layer on top of the dumpling layer. Cover with the lid and let steam until greens are tender and have a deep bright green colour (about 5 min).
Remove layer, set aside and place lid back on to continue steaming the dumplings (about 3-5 more min). To test for doneness, look for a very slight transparency in the dough, firm when pressed and they shrivel when taken off the heat.
To season greens, toss with,
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
salt to taste
Serve by candlelight and listen to The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack just for kicks.
As a nice little bonus to your Chinatown home meal experience I recommend the cheap cheap prices of St. Honore Bakery at 363 Booth St. Apparently for ‘happy hour’ (5pm) you can get 10 for $5! Sweet buns, meaty sweet buns – Hong Kong style. Bon Appetit!
I know I’m accumulating quite a few pasta dishes on this blog but, hey, talking about spelt? And my favourite cheese? And Serbia? Yes.
What is spelt?
Spelt is what some call an ‘ancient grain’. No, it isn’t gluten-free but it does contain a bit less. A lot of people who may have gluten intolerances are simply wheat sensitive and can stomach other grains such as spelt, kamut, etc.
I find it has a rich flavour that isn’t too far off from whole wheat, but is somewhat easier to chew and a bit sweeter. I love using it for crusts because they rarely get soggy and the nutty flavour adds so much to quiches and pies and you can use the flour interchangeably with whole wheat. You can pick up some at True Loaf bakery that has been milled in Quebec.
I had never tried it in pasta form so I decided to pick some up at Nicastro’s Glebe (imported from Italy, of course). 3 times the cost of regular pasta may throw you off but you are getting many more nutrients (iron, for instance) in it than your regular white wheat pasta and it is way easier to digest.
Working with what I had on hand I used one of my favourite soft cheeses, La Sauvagine, instead of egg (which usually goes in a carbonara). It melts so well when tossed with the pasta and gives it a rich tangy creamy flavour.
Serbian Double Smoked Bacon
I grew up on this stuff.
It’s so amazing to throw in stews, top on pizza, etc etc, drool drool.
You can find this locally smoked bacon, sausages and Eastern European imports and Euro Foods in Nepean and Hull.
La Sauvagine and Serbian Double Smoked Bacon Spelt Pasta Carbonara
Set a large pot of water to boil on high with
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil.
Add, once the water reaches a boil,
enough pasta that you feel you and your mom can eat.
Cook pasta until al dente and strain.
Heat a medium pot on med with,
½ tbsp olive oil
¼ cup double smoked bacon, cubed
Sautee until fat becomes clear.
Turn off heat and toss until cheese melts,
4 tbsp La Sauvagine, cubed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 sprig green onion, chopped
fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste