Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cooking In Quantity

Microwave Divided Dishes Great Kitchen Helpers - Thanks to these microwave divided dishes with covers that are about 20 years old, I'm able to cook on some days and simply heat and eat on others. Make a recipe to enjoy immediately but with plenty of rice, potato or pasta, and meat, poultry or fish to be enjoyed with no effort in the kitchen on future days. Add vegetables before freezing or refrigerating if you wish, or prepare vegetables on the days you eat the made-ahead dinners. My microwave is a Panasonic Genius which means it has a feature that reheats with just the push of a button. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Caledonia Firemen's Monthly Breakfast

Community Breakfast - North Queens Firefighters Association holds a breakfast on the third Saturday of each month from 7 to 11 am in their firehall in Caledonia, Queens County, Nova Scotia. For $6. guests receive a generous serving including (when you order "the works") two eggs, five slices of bacon, homemade hash brown potatoes, old-fashioned baked beans, two slices of toast and coffee or juice. The man ordering above was among the average of between 120 and 150 persons who not only enjoy the good meal and company but by doing so, they help support the vital service provided by the volunteer firefighters.
(Photo by Mary Mouzar)

These Were The Volunteers preparing breakfast on Saturday, October 17, 2009 when I, my sister and her daughter were among those who turned out to support the cause while also enjoying a great meal. Left to right:
Back Row: Adam Flemming, Chris Wolfe, Mike Mansfield, Anthony Frail and Frank Armstrong.
Front, toward left: Paul Baker and Karl Carver.
(Photo by Mary Mouzar)

The Toast was being made in this machine. Strawberry jam was available to those who like a bit of sweetness added. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Hash Brown Potatoes in the traditional style are offered as part of the breakfast. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Eggs Cooked To Perfection by volunteer firefighter Karl Carver. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

The Coffee & Juice Bars on each side of the room allow guests to retrieve a beverage and pick up a packet of jam for the toast and ketchup for the hash browns while waiting for their breakfasts to be delivered to their table. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Breakfast Is Served - This is one with "the works". (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Eating Is Underway and although some modern kitchen appliances were used, it tasted as though it was prepared with a grandma's old fashioned country style wood stove. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Breakfast Clean-up - The Volunteers also do the dishes, enabling guests to attend to any Saturday morning chores without delay. That's Frank Armstrong doing the drying. (Photo by Mary Mouzar)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beef & Sauerkraut Recipe For Autumn

Beef & Sauerkraut
As cabbages are being harvested, sauerkraut is being made for good old-fashioned recipes such as the following. When serving, a slice of rye or white bread placed on the plate beneath the Beef & Sauerkraut will hold any juices to be enjoyed without losing a drop.

Beef & Sauerkraut
2 lb. beef (chuck or eye of round) cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon paprika
4 cups (1 lb) sauerkraut (drained)
1 cup chopped canned or fresh tomatoes
1 bay leaf
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil and brown meat and onions.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, watching carefully and adding a little water if necessary, to keep from burning. Mix in sauerkraut. Cook 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaf. Cover and simmer
1 1/4 hours longer or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mixed Vegetable Bake Recipe

Mixed Vegetable Bake
(From the book Kiss The Cook Who Microwaves:
One Dish Meals by Mary Mouzar and Joanne Uhlman)

(Crispy buttered crumbs and shredded golden cheddar cheese top a veggie mixture of peas, carrots, cauliflower and potatoes in a cream sauce)

1 cup diced carrots
2 1/2 cups pared, cubed potatoes (about 3 or 4 medium)
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup water
10 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup (or use the easy homemade recipe on page 145 if you have the cookbook mentioned above)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup bread crumb topping (saute some bread crumbs in butter until golden or use the recipe for Crispy Crumb Topping on page 149 of the cookbook mentioned above)

Method: In a 2-quart (6"x10") microwave-safe baking dish, arrange carrots in corners, potatoes along edges, cauliflower and peas in centre. Add water. (see illustration below)
Cover and cook at 100 % power 10 minutes (no need to uncover during cooking time), or until vegetables are tender.
Add soup to vegetables and mix.
Cover and heat at 50% power 4 minutes or until hot.
Sprinkle with cheese and crumb topping.
Makes: 4 or 5 servings

Arrange the vegetables in baking dish as shown above. This helps promote even cooking, with tougher veggies near the edges and tender near the middle.

Cover with a rectangular baking dish of the same size. No need to move or stir the contents during the cooking time.

After the cooking is done, and while hot, sprinkle with cheese and crumb topping.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baked Haddock Fillets

Enjoy Fresh Nova Scotia Baked Haddock
Living along the Nova Scotia coast means having freshly caught fish delivered to the door, or available from within a short drive to the nearest public market where it is brought from one of the nearby ports. Liverpool's market has a vendor offering a variety of fish every Saturday morning from spring to late autumn.
Here is a simple and tasty way to enjoy fresh haddock fillets. The recipe uses one pound of fish but it could be easily doubled.

Baked Haddock Fillets
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, sliced (about a 1/2 cup)
1 lb fresh or thawed haddock fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs (homemade bread is best for crumbs)
1/4 teaspoon summer savory
Saute onion in butter.
Arrange fish in buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half the crumbs, the sauteed onion, then remaining half of crumbs.
Sprinkle with summer savory.
Bake in 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corn Relish Recipe

The corn, peppers, celery and onion for this recipe were all purchased from Valerie Jollimore's fruit and vegetable stand at the Liverpool, Nova Scotia farmer's market. The wonderful aroma of a variety of pickles is wafting from the kitchens around the Region Of Queens these days.

Corn Relish
1 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 1/2 cups corn kernels, cut from cobs
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup diced green pepper
Method: In a saucepan or Dutch oven, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard, celery seeds, turmeric and hot pepper sauce; bring to boil.
Stir in corn, onions and celery; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until softened, about 20 minutes.
Whisk flour with water; whisk into pickle mixture. Add red and green peppers; bring to boil and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Fill sterilized jars and seal.
Note: This recipe makes the amount in the above picture but you may double the recipe, if you wish.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beef & Barley Soup

This old fashioned Beef & Barley Soup begins with a couple of good beef bones. My source of marrow bones with lots of meat attached is Hatt's Quality Meats on Milford Street in Milton, just upriver from Liverpool, Nova Scotia. The pressure cooker speeds up the soup making process. It also cooks the barley in half the regular time.
Here's how I made the soup pictured above:
Beef & Barley Soup
2 meaty soup bones
6 cups cold water
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 cup fresh celery leaves
1 scrubbed carrot, sliced
1 peeled onion, sliced
1 1/3 teaspoons salt
Cut the meat from the bones and then cut into bite-size cubes; brown it in beef drippings directly in a pressure cooker. Add bones to meat. Add water, peppercorns, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, celery leaves, onion and salt. Close the cooker and bring slowly to 15 pounds pressure. Process 30 minutes. Allow pressure to drop before opening. Transfer to a large pot.
Remove the bones.
Clean the pressure cooker then add four cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of barley and boil, uncovered for 2 minutes. Cover and bring to 15 pounds pressure. Process 30 minutes.
Allow pressure to drop before opening. Add barley to the meat and broth.
Other vegetables: Add whatever types and amounts of cooked vegetables that you wish to the soup. If adding frozen peas or corn, there is no need to cook them first.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How To Make Hodgepodge

How To Make Old-Fashioned Nova Scotia Hodgepodge
When your garden or a farmer's market offers the first harvest of potatoes, carrots, beans, and peas, it's time to enjoy a wonderful meal of the new vegetables, enhanced with a bit of heavy cream, butter, pepper and salt. Fresh chives are also a nice addition just before serving. Instead of butter, you may use finely diced salt pork fried to a golden brown to which you add the cream before drizzling over the vegetables. The above veggies were purchased at the Liverpool public market from Valerie Jollimore who is open daily except Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

New small potatoes, halved or quartered
Carrots, scrubbed clean and cut into bit size pieces
Beans, cut into bite-size pieces
Peas, shelled or use snap peas in the pods
To a large saucepan, add carrots, potatoes and beans. Add just enough water to cover. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cook peas in a separate pot or a couple of minutes in the microwave.
Drain vegetables; add peas.
Add a small amount of heavy cream and a dab of butter. Add pepper and salt to taste. Sprinkle with chives (optional).
If using salt pork, add the cream to the fried pork and when heated, pour over the vegetables.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Strawberry Season Nearing End

This fresh strawberry pie is a once a year indulgence, and made from the Bridgewater berries sold by Valerie Jollimore at the Liverpool Farmer's Market. Note: The recipe for the pie as well as the “stabilized” whipped cream which doesn’t collapse is in the dessert book by Mary Mouzar and Joanne Uhlman.
V.J. is at the market every day except Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm.Strawberries this week (July 12 to 18, 2009) are on special at $2.75 per quart box or $32. for a flat of 12 boxes. Enjoy them now because the supply is diminishing.
It is now hodgepodge season and V.J. has all the right ingredients including new small potatoes, regular peas and snow peas, yellow beans and carrots.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Local Strawberries!

It's strawberry season here in Nova Scotia and boxes of fresh berries are available at V.J.'s fruit and vegetables in Liverpool Farmer's Market. Above, Sarah Jollimore, arranges the quart boxes of Bridgewater berries. The price is dropping as we head toward mid-season for the local berries.

Wild strawberries are also ripening and I picked and added these little gems to my bowl of cereal which also included uncooked rolled oats, diced apple, sliced banana, milk, and a bit of brown sugar.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Easy Cooking With Fresh Greens

Making Meals Ahead is soooooooo easy when using divided microwave-safe dishes. They can be frozen and enjoyed later when you are in a hurry or don't have the urge to cook. This plate contains ground beef stroganov on a bed of spaghettini, as well as carrots. While the meal was heating in the microwave, I cooked some Swiss chard that I bought from Valerie Jollimore at the Liverpool farmer's market. I added it to the heated meal and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, a bit of real butter, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Yum...some good!
My first experience with high tech cooking was in the 1980s when I bought a Panasonic Genius Micro-Convection oven. My newest microwave is also a Panasonic Genius. The "Genius" feature is a sensor that automatically heats the food until it is the right temperature. There's no need to program power and minutes...just click the sensor button.
This is a great time of the year to enjoy greens because they are coming straight out of the local farm market gardens such as Valerie's.!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Easy Gravy For Chicken And Turkey

When You Have Lots Of Cooked Chicken Or Turkey But No Gravy, don't let it stop you from enjoying a traditional poultry dinner or a hot chicken or turkey sandwich.
The easy gravy served with the above meal is from the One-Dish Meals recipe book that I co-wrote with my niece Joanne Uhlman. For the recipe, click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hungarian Ground Beef Goulash

Hungarian Ground Beef Goulash is versatile, good alone or with pasta or rice, and you can enjoy some and freeze the rest for future meals.
Add cubed cooked potatoes and enjoy in a bowl or on a plate with a couple of other vegetables on the side or, omit the potatoes and serve over pasta or rice, as shown above on a bed of penne. I added a garnish of a few bits of tomato.
It is accompanied by green beans and sauerkraut which not only complements the taste, but makes a nice presentation.
Hungarian Ground Beef Goulash
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 pounds ground beef
1 green pepper, cut into narrow strips
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth (use water or tomato juice if you don't have beef broth on hand)
2 cups cubed, cooked potatoes (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream

Melt butter in saucepan; saute onions 10 minutes. Blend in paprika and salt, then add the beef and green pepper. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Stir in tomato sauce and broth. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Add potato cubes; cook 5 more minutes. Stir in sour cream.
Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Growing Herbs

Earth Day, Earth Week, Earth Year - Growing one's own herbs for cooking is a way to avoid buying herbs in traditional supermarket packaging that includes plastics and jars.
On this wet and foggy Earth Day, here in Hunts Point on Nova Scotia's South Shore, I took the above picture of the plant pots on the kitchen window sill.
Chives, on the far left, are used often for flavor and color. When a bit is needed for a garnish, or to add flavor to scrambled or devilled eggs, I pull out the kitchen shears and snip a couple of blades.

Last fall, just before the ground froze, I removed a few of the chive bulbs from the clump growing outside in the patch near the kitchen door, and put them in a plant pot and brought them inside.
Next to the chives are two pots with young
sweet basil plants which I grew from seeds, planted a couple of months ago in the house. Sweet basil leaves can be used in salads, especially those with fresh tomatoes, and for making pesto.
Next to the sweet basil is a pot of garlic chives. A few years ago, a relative shared some of the bulbs from her clump of garlic chives and they have been thriving in my outdoor garden. In the fall of 2008, I put some in the pot for indoors. They are a great garnish for casseroles, chowders, etc.
The last pot contains two thyme plants, started a couple of months ago from seed.
About a week ago, I planted parsley which I expect to be adding to the outside garden and will keep one inside on the windowsill garden.
Now that garden centres are gearing up for the season, and farmer's markets are springing to life, look for seeds, seedlings, or even mature plants ready for use in the kitchen or to add to a little herb garden outside but near enough to the kitchen for easy access when needed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

English Style Haddock And Chips

Fresh Haddock And Chips
One of the pleasures of living in one of Nova Scotia's coastal communities is being close to supplies of fresh seafood as well as restaurants that enable the occasional treat of such meals as fresh haddock. Seascape Restaurant in Port Mouton has a reputation for offering the best haddock and chips on the South Shore of our province. They recently opened for the season so today we decided to indulge in the most popular item on their menu, and here's a picture. They describe it as "fresh deep fried haddock in English Style Batter Golden & Crunchy. Although we had the traditional fries, one also could choose steamed rice or baby roast potatoes.
Note: This was a "2-piece" order but due to smaller size of pieces, they added a third piece to the order.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Classic Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder

Goose Hills Lobster Chowder
As I write, several lobster fishing vessels are checking lines of traps here on Port Mouton Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada. The season will be over in about eight weeks. Also happening in our area are the 250th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Liverpool. For the 200th anniversary of Liverpool in 1959, special projects included the Perkins' Hearth Cookbook which contained the following recipe called Goose Hills Lobster Chowder, attributed to well-known citizen, the late Henry Hensey.
1 pound potatoes, diced
1/4 pound onions, minced
1/4 pound butter
10 pounds cooked lobster in shell, or 2 pounds lobster meat, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 quarts milk
1/2 tin evaporated milk
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Put butter and lobster in a frypan and simmer gently until butter is orange in colour. Put potato and onion in pot with enough water to cover and cook until potato is fork tender, then add milk, sugar, lobster, salt and pepper.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Delicious Devilled Eggs

Devilled Eggs
These were made for a family gathering on Easter Sunday. Only one of the two supermarkets in our area carries the small size eggs and on this holiday weekend, they had a good supply. Small is the ideal size for devilled eggs.
Here is how these were prepared:
1 dozen small eggs, hard cooked, refrigerated overnight for convenience but they could be used immediately. Remove shells. Slice eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove yolk, and put it in a bowl. Set aside the whites.
Mash the yolks with a fork until no longer lumpy.
To the yolks, add enough mayonnaise or salad dressing to bind the yolk and for desired consistency.
Add salt and pepper to taste, a teaspoon or two of prepared mustard and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Add the yolk filling to the whites with a spoon, or a pastry tube. Sprinkle with paprika.
Tip: Devilled eggs like to slide around on a platter so to prevent them from moving, place paper serviettes on the tray. Arrange eggs on the serviettes. Garnish the tray with fresh sprigs of parsley.
Makes: 24
Note: Devilled eggs are wonderful addition to picnic lunches. As a teenager, I was the guest one weekend of a classmate who lived in Central Port Mouton. Her mother prepared a picnic lunch for the family and me. We hopped into their car and headed to one of the most beautiful spots in Nova Scotia, or perhaps North America...or the world...Carters Beach...where the blanket was spread and we enjoyed the meal that included the delicious devilled eggs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gramma Henderson's Fish Scallop

Fish every Friday makes menu planning easy. We are fortunate in our area to be able to purchase fish from a gentleman who arrives at our door during some months of the year. During the warmer months, fish sellers are at the farmer's market in Liverpool. This old recipe for Potato & Fish Scallop is from a scrap of paper in the handwriting of my late paternal grandmother, Eliza (Day) Henderson (1870-1946). It is as simple as can be. She didn't specify amounts of ingredients so I'll give you the recipe with the approximate amounts that I used today in the one pictured above. But, don't hesitate to be flexible, adding fewer potatoes or more fish. I added a garnish of chopped green onion. Sometimes, for a bit of green on such dishes, I use some garlic chives which grow in my little garden in the summer and fall. Last year, as days grew colder and before the ground froze, I dug some up and put them in a plant pot to continue growing in the winter on the kitchen window sill.
Serve with a couple of other vegetables such as peas and carrots, as shown in the photo.

Potato & Fish Scallop
Potatoes, pared, sliced (about 4 cups)
Fish (1 pound haddock sliced crosswise into thin strips)
Bacon (2 strips, cut into 1-inch pieces)
Bread crumbs (about 1 cup soft)
Milk (about 2 cups fresh or reconstituted powdered skim)
Method: In a buttered 2 or 2 1/2-quart casserole dish, arrange a layer of potato (about 1/3 of the potato); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange a layer of fish (about half the fish). Repeat the potato and fish layers then add a layer of the remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Arrange bacon pieces over the surface. Add enough milk to just cover the potato.
Bake in preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven about one hour or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Makes: 4 to 6 servings