The minute it gets chilly enough to turn the furnace back on, I want to warm the house up with the oven, and get baking. I particularly love pound cakes, for their dense, moist texture, adaptability, and a sturdiness that makes them ideal for packing into lunch boxes. I had an extra lemon rolling around in the fridge, so the first pound cake of the season was lemon.
I love that this is the sort of cake that requires no decoration, and can be nibbled by the thin slice while you do other things.
Some of our favourite older recipes (including many in the Best of Bridge back catalogue) included canned soup, which is an ingredient that many of today’s cooks shy away from — it just feels better sometimes to take the extra step and make things from scratch. We were making an old pork chop recipe that calls for a can of Alphabet Vegetable Soup and figured we could make it ourselves. This soup is thick — as it would be coming straight out of the can, which makes it ready to go into your favourite vintage recipe. If you’d rather eat it as a soup, simply thin it with more chicken stock or water.
I don’t have many kitchen gadgets, but I love my ice cream machine – it’s so easy to make your own, and experiment with interesting flavours and fresh fruit in season. My go-to formula is so simple it doesn’t require eggs, or making a custard (which must be well chilled before using) – it’s just cream, sugar and fruit. I find strawberry irresistible when they’re in season – here’s an easy recipe we make over and over.
Stampede can be a crazy time of year if you live in Calgary – if you’re feeling rushed, you can make this cowboy-inspired version of the famous Best of Bridge Christmas Morning Wife Saver, and slide it into the oven in the morning to feed your hungry cowpokes.
Even when it’s not stampede, a simple strata makes for a fantastic brunch – and it’s a great way to use up stale veg or leftovers from the fridge – bits of sausage, ham, bacon, veggies and even cheese ends can all be transformed into something delicious.
It’s Stampede week, and we’ve been busy doing cooking demos over at the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre. Julie was asked to do a show featuring canola, one of our favourite Alberta ingredients and our go-to cooking oil; granola was a perfect pick. It’s easy to make and great for packing to take on hiking or road trips, to summer camp or to the cabin – anywhere you need a healthy burst of energy, granola is perfectly portable, and you don’t have to worry about it squishing or melting. Read More
It’s hot dog season – and the tomatoes in our garden are already plentiful. I’m starting to get the urge to make a batch of homemade ketchup – perfect for burgers, steaks, and all those summery things you cook on the grill. (And if you ask my 10 year old, everything else.) Pick up some ripe tomatoes at the farmers’ market when they’re a good deal – or use those that may have been sitting on your kitchen counter too long and have gone a bit squishy. In ketchup, no one will notice the difference.
- 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) 250 mL
- 1 cup liquid honey 250 mL
- 1⁄2 cup hot chocolate mix 125 mL
- 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 50 mL
- 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios 175 mL
- 3⁄4 cup raisins or dried cranberries 175 mL
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds 125 mL
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 125 mL
- 1⁄4 cup sesame seeds 50 mL
- Grease a 13- by 9-inch (33 by 23 cm) baking pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, gently heat peanut butter and honey over low heat, whisking to blend well. Do not let boil. Whisk in hot chocolate mix and cocoa. Stir in walnuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, coconut and sesame seeds. Spread in prepared pan, smoothing top.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours, until chilled. Cut into bars.
- Makes 25 to 36 bars.
- Make ahead: Place between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 ml
- 2 onions, finely chopped 2
- 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and 1
- thinly sliced on the vertical
- 4 cloves garlic, minced 4
- 1⁄2 tsp salt (or to taste) 2 ml
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 ml
- 1⁄4 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground 1 ml
- (see tip)
- 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) diced tomatoes, 1with juice
- 2 cups drained cooked black-eyed peas 500 ml
- (see tip)
- 1 tsp paprika, (see tip)) 5 ml dissolved in 2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cups chopped spinach or Swiss chard 1 L (about 1 bunch), stems removed
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and fennel and cook, stirring, until fennel is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Transfer to a medium to large (31⁄2- to 5-quart) slow cooker. (Mixture can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days at this point.)
- Stir in peas. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until peas are tender. Stir in paprika solution. Add spinach, in batches, stirring after each to submerge the leaves in the liquid. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until spinach is tender.
- Serves 4
- Tip: To prepare fennel, before removing the core, chop off the top shoots (which resemble celery) and discard. If desired, save the feathery green fronds to use as a garnish. If the outer sections of the bulb seem old and dry, peel them with a vegetable peeler before using.
- Tip: Toasting fennel seeds intensifies their flavor. To toast fennel seeds: Place in a dry skillet over medium heat and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind.
- Tip: For this quantity of peas, use 1 can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 ml) drained and rinsed black-eyed peas, or cook 1 cup (250 ml) dried peas.
- Tip: You can use any kind of paprika in this recipe: Regular; hot, which produces a nicely peppery version; or smoked, which adds a delicious note of smokiness. If you have regular paprika and would like a bit a heat, dissolve 1⁄4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper in the lemon juice along with the paprika.
- Tip: If you choose to halve this recipe, use a small (11⁄2- to 31⁄2-quart) slow cooker.
- 1 can (12 oz/340 mL) corn kernels, 1
- well drained
- 3 green onions, chopped 3
- 1 egg 1
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour 50 mL
- 2 tbsp cornmeal 25 mL
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 25 mL
- 1 tsp granulated sugar 5 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp hot pepper sauce 2 mL
- 1 tsp salt 5 mL
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
- Vegetable oil
- In a food processor, combine 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) of the corn, green onions, egg, flour, cornmeal, cilantro, sugar, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper; pulse a few times to blend. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining corn. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow batter to thicken slightly.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop in batter in 1⁄4-cup (50 mL) scoops and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, pressing down gently with a
- spatula, until golden brown on both sides and set on the inside. Transfer fritters to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding and heating oil as needed between batches. Makes about 6 large fritters.
- Make ahead: Let fritters cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day or layer between waxed paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Reheat on baking sheets in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 15 minutes.
- Tip: For appetizer-size fritters, drop tablespoonfuls (15 mL) of batter into pan. They will only need about 2 minutes per side to brown
- These corn fritters are sweet and crisp.
- Serve them, drizzled with real maple syrup, alongside bacon and eggs for a hearty brunch.
- Or make mini versions and pair them with sweet chili dipping sauce
- to serve as an appetizer.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4
- 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise 75 mL
- 1⁄3 cup mango chutney 75 mL
- 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 25 mL
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 25 mL
- 1 tsp chili powder 5 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander 2 mL
- 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
- Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to flatten. Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) long strips.
- Marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, chutney, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander and salt.
- Add chicken to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Soak eight 10-inch (25 cm) wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes (or use metal skewers). Meanwhile, preheat barbecue grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and thread onto skewers. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned and no longer pink inside.
- Serves 4.
- Tip: Watch the chicken carefully while you're grilling it - it will cook quickly.
- Variation: Apricot or peach jam may be used in place of the mango chutney.
If you’re concerned about the amount of sugar, artificial colours and flavours in typical frozen treats, here’s an easy way to make all-fruit popsicles to keep kids cool during the warm summer months. With its high water content, watermelon is perfect for pureeing and freezing in ice pop moulds – add a few whole berries to add an even bigger vitamin boost.
How different is this?? A fresh, tasty coleslaw made out of white watermelon rinds! In addition to being environmentally friendly and economical (a great way to eliminate food waste), the rind is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that aid in healthy blood flow! No one will guess what this crunchy salad is made out of.
Ever tried blue cheese paired with dark chocolate? It’s divine! These fudge-like squares are deliciously different, and can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them – perfect for summer nibbling.
This recipe features the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winner in the Blue cheese and Organic cheese categories – Bleu D’Élizabeth, a beautiful organic semi-soft cheese from Quebec. But any blue will do – I like to support our local farmers and producers by choosing Canadian cheeses – some of the best in the world!
In case you haven’t tried it, finely chopped watermelon is a great addition to salsa – juicy, crunchy, slightly sweet; a refreshing contrast to the chilies, black beans, corn and spice. It tames the heat, and lightens it – it’s a great way to use up that enormous watermelon that might be taking up space in your fridge or on your kitchen counter. Serve it with tortilla chips or over grilled chicken or fish.