Barley Banana Bread

 

Banana bread is a staple at all of our houses, but we always like to sneak in a nutritional boost wherever we can. This loaf is made with overripe bananas (the ones that tumble from the freezer whenever you open the door) and barley flour – along with regular all-purpose flour, it adds a delicious nuttiness and boosts fibre even more than whole wheat flour would. You can find it alongside the other flours in the baking section of most grocery stores, and once you try it you’ll find yourself using it in pancakes, cookies, muffins, cakes – and as a bonus, it’s Canada’s third largest crop (after wheat and canola), and more than half the barley grown in Canada is right here in Alberta.

Barley Banana Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 3 very ripe bananas
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/4 cup canola oil
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 3/4 cup barley flour
  8. 1 tsp. baking soda
  9. 1/4 tsp. salt
  10. a handful of chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla with a potato masher - don't worry about getting all the lumps out. It will look sort of cottage-cheesy.
  3. Add the flours, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add any additions and stir just until blended.
  4. Spread into a buttered 8”x4” loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes, until golden and cracked on top and springy to the touch.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

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/

Classic Bolognese

Although it still feels like summer, and we still eat outside when it’s sunny enough, fall is definitely here – back to school time makes me crave those classic dishes from my childhood: shepherds’ pie, chili, classy chicken, and spaghetti loaded with sauce. When we start getting back into the groove of fall schedules, I like to make a habit of preparing twice (or more) as much dinner as we need, and freezing the surplus for an almost instant dinner on another night. A classic bolognese is the perfect candidate for the freezer – and makes use of fall veggies in season, like garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers, if you’re inclined to add any. Or roughly chop a bunch of veggies and skip the meat altogether for a vegetarian bolognese.

This recipe is fairly small, but can be doubled or even tripled for a larger batch – or bulk it up with extra veggies and tomatoes. Often when I have overripe tomatoes I’ll toss them in the freezer whole, then add them to sauces later.

Classic Bolognese
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Ingredients
  1. olive oil, for cooking
  2. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  4. 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  5. 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 3 slices bacon or pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  7. 1 lb. lean ground beef, or half ground beef and half ground pork
  8. 1 28 oz. (798 mL) can diced or whole plum tomatoes, drained
  9. 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  10. a few basil leaves
  11. salt and pepper
  12. 1/2 cup half & half (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the lumps of meat until no traces of pink remain. Add a splash of wine if you like, and cook until the liquid evaporates.
  2. Crush the tomatoes with a fork and add them along with the balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Add the basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste, stir in the half & half and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese at the table. Serves 4-6.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Apple-berry Pie for Pie Day

Apple raspberry pie

Happy 3.14 – Pi Day! We can still get local apples at this time of year, and a handful of fresh or frozen berries make such a delicious accompaniment, adding a hit of tartness and colour to the usual apple filling. Virtually any kind of berry works, from blackberries to blueberries to raspberries – if you use strawberries, slice them first to more evenly distribute their juices. And get your kids in the kitchen to help! Since it’s Pi Day, you can even cut the Pi symbol into the top crust to allow steam to escape.

If it’s your first time working with pastry, just remember to handle it as little as possible, and don’t worry about it looking perfect – the best kind of pie is the kind that’s on your table. (And when it comes to pie, rough = rustic!)Read More

Homemade Ketchup

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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.

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Potato, Kale & Ricotta Galette

Potato kale galette 1

We love kale, and are always looking for new ways to do potatoes. We’re fans of creamy scalloped potatoes; thinly sliced spuds layered with cheese and cream, but sometimes it’s too heavy – this is a perfect compromise, and a great way to get your greens.

Sautéed kale cooks down dramatically, allowing a large serving between layers of soft, crispy potato. This version is subtle, with garlic and ricotta; try an Indian-spiced version by ditching the ricotta and spiking the kale with ginger and curry powder or garam masala as it cooks.Read More