Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blueberry Apple Phyllo Pie

Two for Tuesdays Day!!

The T4T event is a weekly submission of Real Food creations. My first step is always to Girli Chef's BLOG to see all the submissions and then start hopping to all the others.

Today we're featuring another recipe from Norene Gilletz Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and this one will be on my dessert list. It's really quick, really easy and really really tasty. Nobody will ever know it took almost no time at all to put it together.

2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen thawed & drained)
3 large baking apples, peeled, cored & sliced
3 Tbsp whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown or granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 egg whites *
1/2 egg yolk *
5 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup graham crackers or bread crumbs
1 tsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a bowl, combine berries, apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. In another bowl, blend egg whites with yolk. Spray a 10" inch quiche dish (I used a springform) with non stick spray. Place a sheet of phyllo dough in dish, letting ends of dough hang over sides. Brush with egg; sprinkle with crumbs. Repeat until you have 4 layers of dough. Overlap each one slightly like the petals of a flower. Ends of pastry will hang over sides of pan. Reserve the last sheet of dough.

2. Spoon filling into pastry. Fold edges of pastry inwards to cover filling completely. Top with last sheet of phyllo dough, tucking ends of dough between dish and ege of pie. Brush top of pie with egg; sprinkle with sugar. Cut several slits in top of pie so steam can escape. Bake at 375 F about 45 minutes, until golden. Fruit should be tender when pie is pierced with a sharp knife. Serve warm. If desired, sprinkle with a light dusting of icing sugar.

** You can substitute melted butter for the egg whites and 1/2 yolk to give it a richer flavour.

Note: It really doesn't matter how you fold in the phyllo dough after the filling is in - it all comes out just fine.

The lower fat version is only 156 calories per serving. StumbleUpon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The 7 things I loved about the Maritimes

Thank you to Marysol of She Eats Bears for giving us a the Versatile Blogger Award. Marysol is a fellow Ottawan who has an amazing foodblog, that features homegrown/homemade dishes and beautiful photography. One of those blogs that gives me inspiration to grow a better garden, cook more and take better pictures.

We're supposed to say 7 things about ourselves and then nominate blogs that you have recently discovered and love.

Since we just got back from the Maritimes (more posts about the trip to come)...let me list the top 7 best things about our vacation (in no particular order):

1. Deep sea fishing in PEI

2. Whale watching on the Cabot Trail

3. The amazing views on the Cabot Trail

4. Watching sailboat races in Chester, NS
5. Swimming in a waterfall in Fundy National Park

6. Attending Cheticamp's 225 anniversary performance (love Le Vent du Nord)
7. Visiting Hopewell Rocks and seeing the largest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy.

It's such a cool location, they're even in the running for becoming one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world. Go check out the international competition!

A close 8th place is: Driving 5100 kms (about 3150 miles) with R without fighting (outside of the Montreal area).

Knitting always makes for a great distraction for the nervous passenger.

Here are some blogs that I've discovered more recently and am really enjoying:

1. Grow Chew -- a great source for gardening and life in Ottawa.
2. Simply Fresh -- another great local blogger who shows how accessible good cooking can be.
3. City Home Country Home -- just found Bonnie's blog -- can't resist a blogger whose bio says: "With one foot in the city and one in the country, I quilt, sew, bake, cook, garden, and knit". Plus, her photography is great.
4. Twist Collective Blog -- I've been getting into more knitting blogs lately and this is a great collective knitting blog, with a tonne of great knitted designs
5. Last, but not least Girl about O-Town -- whom I haven't spoken to lately, but still follow while we're both on "summer hours". A local blogger, whose blog posts are always interesting. I'm long overdue on acknowledging an award she passed along to us (thanks for this!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canning Fail

I decided to console myself over the overgrowth of my cucumbers by making pickles for the first time.

That's how all of this canning disaster started. I may be getting exposed to botulism as you read this.

I used my Baba's dill pickle recipe. Here are the instructions Giz sent me (relayed from her conversation with Baba):

Baba's Dill Pickles

Here's the recipe AS BABA GAVE IT - you'll need to figure out for yourself if you did it right.

For a 1 L jar

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Boiling water
2 Bay Leaves
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 cloves of garlic (for bottom of the jar and the same for the top) If the cloves are large use only 2 each
Dill (to form a layer on the bottom and on the top

Boil water - add salt to the boiled water (taste to make sure the water is salty enough - good luck figuring out what that means)
take skins off the garlic
layer dill (I would guess 1 - 2 on the bottom and same on the top or one stem head on bottom and one on top)
Add garlic, bay leaves and cloves
fit cukes into the jar so they're tight but a good fit
top with remaining garlic and dill
pour boiled salted water over the top and make sure the seal on the jar is good.

It takes about two weeks for them to sour properly but turn the jar over to make sure you don't have air leaks in the jar. When you turn it over it's just to check for air - then keep it bottom down.

Fast forward two weeks, I came home from vacation to see this:

My pickles did a disappearing act! The dented caps may be a hint as to their whereabouts..

I think one jar may have survived:

Then...the heavens parted and I got an e-mail from Loblaws, asking me if I would like to take part in their Grown Close to Home campaign.

Ummm...let me think about that for a second....YES!!! A few days later, this arrived:

From August to September, Loblaw banner stores will feature freshly harvested Canadian produce items displayed in special bins at the front of the stores. And, select Loblaw banner stores across the country will feature John Deere tractors to highlight the produce section. Approximately 40% of the produce found in Loblaws stores during this time are sources from Canadian growers. Definitely a step in the right direction, Loblaws!

The basket also included a DVD that demonstrates how to many strawberry jam, measuring cups, vinegar, pectin...and the list goes on. Thanks Loblaws -- I will definitely be giving the canning process another try. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blueberry Buns

It's Two for Tuesdays day. It's a fun day for me because my participation in this event is usually a "challenge myself to do something different day". Check out T4T here where you'll find the other hostess addresses as well as the weekly display of fabulous "REAL FOOD" dishes.

Coming from European parents, my memories of dishes from Poland are very vivid in my mind. Each summer when the blueberries were in season, my mother would make sure there were wild blueberries in the house to make what she used to call "Yagde Kichalach" which literally translated is Blueberry Buns.

Toronto has a bakery called Open Window Bakery that makes these wonderful buns and they call them Shritzlach. This is an adaptation of the recipe that I was lucky enough to find at The Splendid Table .

My first attempt at making these buns were kind of hit and miss. I'm sure there's a trick to keeping the buns from opening in the oven and having some (and sometimes all) of the filling ooze out. The second attempt is much better and although I don't mind some ooze, I don't feel like losing all the filling.


1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla


2 cups (1 pint) fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup and it was fine)
1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water for egg wash
sugar for sprinkling

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Let stand until mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer/stand mixer. Add shortening, yeast and water, eggs and vanilla and beat until dough is smooth. Let stand while preparing filling.

Mix filling ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Add flour whenever the dough threatens to stick. Cut dough into pices 5 inches square. Place 1 Tbsp filling in center of square, then fold dough over on top and pinch to close. Pinch ends closed. Cover buns with a towel and let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush buns with egg wash and sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake until browned - about 16 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

The outcome took me back to my childhood so quickly that I'm bound and determined to make sure I perfect this recipe. I'm certainly not an expert so if anyone has some good pinching techniques I'm all ears :) StumbleUpon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayonnaise

One of my favourite cookbooks in what's becoming a rather grand collection is the Canadian Living Everyday Favourites cookbook . It's one of my go to cookbooks; I'm always sure I'll be able to fill ingredient lists from this book.

I was helping a friend with a dinner party and decided that one of the appetizers would be crab cakes with chipotle mayo. If you've never had them, they're quick and easy and really delicious. They were also the first thing at the party to disappear. The chipotle mayonnaise is pretty versatile too - great for seafood and also a great dipping sauce for vegetables too.

1 pkg (7 oz/200 g) frozen crab meat, thawed
1/2 cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced sweet green pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Chipotle Mayonnaise

2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped (or adjust if you like it with more heat)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp adobo sauce **
Dash Worcestershire sauce

Line rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside

Chipotle Mayonnaise: In small bowl, whisk together chipotle peppers, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and Worcestershire sauce, set aside

1. In sieve set over bowl, pick through crabmeat to remove any cartilage; press firmly to remove liquid. Transfer to a larger bowl
2. Add red and green peppers, onions, egg, 2 Tbsp of the bread crumbs and 3 Tbsp of the Chipotle Mayonnaise, stir until combined.
3. Form the crab mix by rounded 1 Tbsp into balls; roll in remaining bread crumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; flatten to 2-inch diameter.
(Make ahead; Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours)
4. In nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; fry crab cakes, in batches and using enough of the remaining oil as necessary, until golden, about 3 minutes per side.
Serve with remaining Chipotle Mayonnaise.

** For those who may not have used Chipotle peppers, you can buy them in the International section of your grocery stores. Chose the one that's in a can and packed in Adobo Sauce. StumbleUpon

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

The "golden girls", i.e. my mother and her friend from Winnipeg are going to be together for a couple of weeks. Here we are planning their social activities and preparing their food in advance. If they heard me say it they would completely deny it but both of them are suckers for something sweet. I've entirely stopped telling my mother that I stick whole cakes, cut up into her freezer and mysteriously, everything seems to disappear. So today's treat for the "girls", we have Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. What I like about this recipe is that it's a cut down from a regular cheesecake and with it cut into bars, they can restrict themselves or else say "it's small, have two".

1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs
1/2 stick melted butter - (4 Tbsp)
12 oz of light cream cheese (I used a 400 g tub)
5 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup low fat milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with aluminum foil. Mix oreo crumbs with melted butter and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a food processor or mixer, blend cream cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest until smooth. (don't overmix or you'll get cracks)
Pour the mixture into the crust and cover the top with blueberries. Bake in the oven for 35-40 min or until the center is set.
Cool completely. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan and cut into bars.

Go ahead - have two.

If you prefer, you can use graham wafer crumbs for this recipe instead of oreo. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Portuguese Soup

Oh no...not another Kale recipe!!!! I promise, I'll leave it alone for a while after this one. I'd heard about Portuguese Soup many times but this is my first attempt. I had absolutely no clue what ingredients to use but after combing the internet I found that there are many ways to make this soup. I took some ideas, changed others and came up with my own soup and my submission to Two for Tuesdays. Check out the inventive blog hopping creations HERE . You'll also meet the other members of the team who sponsor this weekly event and maybe even learn something new about Real Food!!!! AND if you're looking for a home made recipe for what looks like pretty incredible chorizo, Heather has one on today's post.

1 lb. chorizo (I couldn't find chorizo so used hot Italian sausage)
1 bunch kale
2 cups lima beans
1 c. chopped onions
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. butter
2 qt. chicken broth
2 lg. cans peeled tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't - the sausage is salty enough)

Soak dry lima beans in water overnight or use canned. In large pot saute the onions and garlic in oil and butter until softened (about 5 minutes). Add chicken stock and lima beans and cook until almost softened. (If you're using canned, rinsed beans, you'll skip the cooking until soft stage)

Tear leaves form kale and cut diagonally into slices. You should have 6 to 8 cups of kale. Set aside.

Take casing off sausage (not so easy with chorizo) and break up sausage. Fry for a few minutes in dry or lightly sprayed pan. Pour off any fat.

Add the chorizo to the stock pot and stir in the tomatoes. Add kale and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: The kale is probably better if cut on the diagonal into strips. I don't mind the chunky pieces but some may find it a little chewy.

This recipe will give you loads of soup - about 8 large yogurt containers full for the freezer.

Just for the record - crazy is a descriptor that's been used on me for making soup in 40 C weather. StumbleUpon
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