Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Quick Shrimp Gumbo

 Two of my favourite ingredients, shrimp and okra. Can you believe that I found the okra locally grown from a farmer's market vendor. I was thrilled to find them.

They're being used for a steaming hot pot of soup or I should say Quick Shrimp Gumbo. I seasoned it with Creole Spice that I picked up at DeLuca's.  Wooheee, that stuff is spicy hot!

I can't say that the locally grown okra was the best. Sadly, I ended up picking it out of my gumbo. But on the up side the broth and shrimps turned out fine.  

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Fresh Figs

Fresh figs are not native to the Canadian prairies but once in a blue moon they show up at the market. These were large and delicious. How I'll miss this delicious fruit until next year.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Braised Rabbit

with potatoes and stir-fried vegetables (zucchini, fennel, onions and red peppers).

Sunday, 18 August 2013

My Gluten-free Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my birthday and this little gem was my birthday cake. Goodies Bakery here in Winnipeg have the best gluten-free desserts. This is a mini chocolate sin torte. Thanks Goodies!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pachyrhizus erosus

The pachyrhizus erosus, also know as Jicama, has only been used as an ingredient in a salad, until today.

I discovered jicama fries, apparently a popular street-food treat in Mexico. Who knew? Certainly not me otherwise I would have been chowing down on these a long time ago!

These ones I made with chilli powder, lime juice, freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper. It is missing something. I'm going to have to tweak the recipe. Suggestions?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The end of the line...

I made another Salad Niciose today and sad that the green beans are coming to the end of the season.

There is no better taste than fresh from the garden produce. Not even the stuff you can get at the grocery store.

Even though the green beans from my family's garden will soon end, the tomatoes are on their way. Hopefully. If they ever ripen.

Mmmm, fresh from the garden tomatoes. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Happiest Time of the Year!

The spaghetti squashes are all grown up and here is the first one.

What is your favourite spaghetti squash recipe?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is one of my favourite comfort food on a cool rainy summer day. The meatballs were taken out of the freezer this morning. They are not store bought. These are homemade meatballs.

gluten free bread crumbs soaked in milk for about ten minutes and then add:

ground pork
lean ground beef
fresh basil
shaved parmesan cheese
Mix altogether and form meatballs. Bake in the oven but until half way done. Cool and freeze until ready to use.  

When meatballs have defrosted they are ready to finish in sauce. I like to use the homemade red pepper sauce but store bought sauce will work too. Add to a sauce pan the sauce and about 5 tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Gently place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

While the meatballs are simmering away in the sauce cook your gluten free pasta. 

I like my pasta to be cooked al dente and I avoid white rice based pasta. I find that they fall apart easily and don't give me that al dente texture. I do like TruRoots Ancient Grains Pasta the best but it is hard to find their spaghetti in these parts. You can order it online but beware of shipping costs outside of the United States. When I can't find TruRoots' spaghetti I'll opt for an organic corn spaghetti from Europe (European countries don't use GMO corn).  

When the spaghetti has reached the desired doneness drain and add to the sauce and meatballs. Give it a gentle toss and serve. I don't sprinkle my pasta with cheese, it is already in the meatballs!


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Cold Soups

Cold soups are widely consumed in the southern European countries during the hot summer months. In Portugal, vegetable-based cold soup is referred to as Gaspacho. Here in North America, it is best know as a soup from Spain. Regardless, there are many versions of Gaspacho, or if you like Gazpacho.

Gaspacho is one of my all-time favourite soups and I could eat this anytime of the year, but right now there are cucumbers in the garden and this is the best time to take advantage of the produce at hand. I'm took a detour from the tradition European recipe to try twist on Alton Brown's version because of the addition of cumin and lime to the traditional recipe. Love these two flavours! I was lucky to have cucumbers, red onions, parsley and basil from the folk's garden for this recipe. Still waiting for tomatoes that are taking their sweet time getting here.

My Twist on Alton Brown's version:

2 cups of diced cucumbers
1/2 cup of diced red onions
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
4 large fresh basil leaves chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 peeled and seeded tomato
1 cup of vegetable juice (or tomato juice)
1 tablespoon cumin
Juice of 2 limes
Freshly cracked sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of gluten-free worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, remove about 1 1/2 cups and process in the food processor, add back to the diced vegetables and chill.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Trying to Connect with my Portuguese Background...

I'm not Portuguese, I'm the furtherest thing from it, I am a hyphen. My parents are Portuguese. They left the scenic island of Azores for the isolated prairie landscape. Growing up in the Canadian prairies, there wasn't a Portuguese culture to absorb. There were many years growing up before other Portuguese people started to settle in our prairie city.

I was born and raised in a French Canadian community as an outsider. I grew up feeling like an outsider of the Portuguese, Canadian and French communities of my past. I am a hyphen.

However, I do feel connected to the Portuguese side of the hyphen through food.

A symbol of this is when I am blessed with the pleasure to help my parents make sausage. It is an experience that is filled with stories about my grandparents who I have never met and what it was like growing up in the old country. Sausage making is a project where all available hands are appreciated. It is a lot of work and a lot of fun.

There is an African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the same can be said with making sausage, it takes a village and lots of love to make homemade sausage. It is love of family and good food that makes one sit for hours to stuff sausages by hand.

Sonia Nolasco wrote a beautiful piece, Chouri├žo:  Connecting the New and Old World through Smoked Sausage, and captures what sausage making means to the Portuguese culture. I recommend the culinary trip into this wonderful tradition. Nolasco even shares her family recipe (close to our family recipe, but we use red wine).