Slow Cooker Dill Pickle Soup

This time of year we crave a good belly warming soup — and homemade soup is even better if you let it simmer away in the slow cooker while you’re out skiing or playing in the snow. The feeling of coming how to a warm crock of soup is one of the best parts of winter.

This recipe for Dill Pickle Soup is from our 2016 book The Family Slow Cooker. While the flavour may seem odd (yes, you do put the pickle brine right in the soup!), it’s actually surprisingly hearty and delicious. Give it a try — you can adjust the amount of brine you use to your own tastes, but we think the more brine the better! Read More

Creamy Chicken, Corn & Vegetable Chowder

With so many veggies at their peak in the fall, it’s a great time to make a hearty bowl of chowder. This recipe makes great use of leftover roasted turkey and stock, too – often we’ll just use a meaty stock that has not been strained, rather than measure out leftover roast chicken or turkey. This soup is equally delicious with leftover chopped ham in place of the chicken.

As with most soups, ingredients can be played with and measurements are approximate – use what you like, add more carrots if you like carrots, add a handful of baby spinach (we did, when we reheated the leftovers) or chopped kale or chard. Soup is infinitely versatile, inexpensive, and can be frozen for a quick meal down the road.

Creamy Chicken, Corn & Vegetable Chowder
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Ingredients
  1. canola or olive oil, for cooking
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  4. 1 carrot, chopped
  5. 1 cup leftover shredded roasted chicken or turkey
  6. 2 Tbsp. flour
  7. 1 tsp. thyme
  8. 1 L chicken stock
  9. 1-2 small thin-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  10. 1 cup sweet kernel corn
  11. 1/2 cup half & half (or to taste)
  12. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Drizzle some oil into a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until soft. Add the chicken or turkey, sprinkle with the flour and thyme and cook, stirring, for another minute. Stir in the stock, add the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Stir in the corn, and cream if you’re using it, and allow the chowder to return to a gentle simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Herbed Bulgur Salad

 

Herbed Bulgur Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup dry bulgur (cracked wheat)
  2. 1 cup boiling water
  3. big handfuls of fresh parsley and cilantro, leaves pulled off the stems and coarsely chopped (a bunch or two)
  4. a smaller handful of mint and/or dill
  5. a small handful of chopped toasted walnuts
  6. juice of a big, juicy lemon
  7. a good drizzle of good olive oil
  8. if you like: tiny tomatoes, crumbled feta, shaved cucumber
Instructions
  1. Put the dry bulgur into a bowl and pour the boiling water overtop; cover with a plate and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Pour off any water than hasn't been absorbed (I like to do this in a sieve, shaking it to make sure all excess moisture is gone) and transfer to a bowl and set aside or in the fridge to cool.
  2. Add the herbs, squeeze over the lemon juice and a good glug of oil, toss and add the toasted walnuts (and anything else you think would taste good). Serves 4-6ish.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Many people overlook fresh herbs as a potential salad ingredient – classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh is a notable exception, loaded with flat-leaf parsley, grains and typically cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s a perfect candidate if you have all three growing in your back yard (or at their peak at the farmers’ market), but if you want to make use of a wider variety of herbs, this leafy, herb-heavy bulgur salad is packed with green goodness: parsley, cilantro, mint and dill, but you could use anything you have on hand and love. 

This salad is simple to make – bulgur is simply soaked in boiling water, so you can plug in the kettle and don’t even need to put a pot on the stove. A squeeze of lemon gives it a brightness and brings out all the green, herbal flavours, and a drizzle of olive oil adds richness, healthy fats, and smooths everything out. We added a handful of chopped toasted walnuts, but pine nuts would  be delicious too. Feel free to add tomatoes and cukes to make it more like a classic tabbouleh.

OctoberFeast in Calgary

This is the time of year that we start thinking not only about winter and fall comfort food, but also about making sure that others in our community have something warm and wholesome in their bellies. Food banks across the country are about to kick into food-dive mode and thankfully, many of us are feeling more generous with our cash donations and canned goods as we get closer to the holidays.

Right now the Calgary Food Bank is in the middle of an event called OctoberFeast. Participating restaurants in Calgary have accepted a challenge to create dishes that use two or more ingredients from the Food Bank’s list of most needed items, which includes things like pasta, soup, canned fruits and veggies, canned fish and meat, peanut butter, rice and cereal. Some of our favourite local restaurants like Alloy, Avec Bistro, Naina’s Kitchen, Tavernetta, Without Papers and The Beltliner Diner are all participating and they’re really putting out some great dishes. The dishes will all be available until October 15 (that’s the end of this week!) Read More

Winter Slaw

Need a new idea for a crunchy Thanksgiving salad using wintry vegetables? Sure, you could go the kale route, but why not try chopped napa cabbage and thinly sliced or shaved jicama or kohlrabi? Both are fresh and crunchy; kohlrabi is a brassica vegetable and once peeled, tastes like the inside of a broccoli stalk. Jicama is a root vegetable that doesn’t look like much, but is so snappy and fresh tasting you’ll find all kinds of uses for it, from veggie platters to salads.

Measurements here are up to you – use as much of each ingredient as you like, depending on your taste and how many you have to serve. If you like, top with chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, too.

Winter Vegetable Slaw
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Ingredients
  1. finely sliced Napa cabbage
  2. thinly sliced, slivered or julienned jicama and/or kohlrabi
  3. thinly sliced celery (leaves too)
  4. julienned apple
  5. crumbled feta
  6. toasted walnuts
Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  3. 2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
  4. 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  5. 1 tsp. sugar
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Pile the veggies in a shallow salad bowl or on a platter, saving the walnuts to scatter on top. To make the dressing, shake all the ingredients up in a jar and drizzle overtop; toss gently to coat. Top with walnuts and serve. Serves as many as you like.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Broccoli + Asparagus Cheddar Soup

During the summer months, I tend to overload on the greens – my fridge is always packed with asparagus, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, and all those good things that grow so well (and are so cheap) at this time of year. Inevitably, some of those things get wilty and wind up in the freezer, and once in awhile I pull a bunch out and simmer it into soup. After all, salads aren’t the only way to get your greens! I particularly like making this with aged white cheddar – and a handful of kale or spinach would do well in it, too.

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