Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health

Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health
Includes Complete Meal Plans and 100 Recipes
by Karen Graham, RD, Certified Diabetes Educator

Paperback, 320 pages

For people diagnosed with diabetes, the world can seem all of a sudden much more restrictive and confusing. After all, what we eat is so very personal and we tend to eat for so many other reasons than just straight hunger.

Karen Graham is a registered dietitian and diabetes instructor who has put together a book to teach diabetics how to plan their meals and snacks for optimal health without sacrificing flavour.

She starts with the most important rule for healthy eating - make it yourself. Restaurants, especially fast food ones, don't got your back - if you know what I mean. Just by making your meals at home you can control the nutrients that you consume. Karen shows you how to put together meals so that you can balance these nutrients without feeling too restricted, and live a healthier life.

Sample meal plans include:

    Dinner #22: Sun Burger, Kale and Orange Salad, Dream Delight
    Dinner #30: Roti with Curried Filling, Cucumbers in Yogurt, Coconut Meringues
    Dinner #33: Thai Chicken, Poppy Seed Spinach Salad, Summer Fruit Cream
    Dinner #38: Pork Chop Casserole, Grilled Tomato, Mandarins and Cottage Cheese

Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health
Book has easy steps for:

    LOSING WEIGHT – More than a month of daily meal plans from 1,200 – 2,200 calories.
    MANAGING DIABETES – To help you manage your blood sugars.
    KEEPING YOUR HEART HEALTHY – Reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
    REDUCING YOUR RISK FOR CANCER – Shows high fiber and nutrient-rich meals.
    HEALTHY LIVING – Lots of tips for making lifestyle changes in a positive way.

Book Includes:

    Beautiful life-size full-color photographs.
        15 Breakfasts
        15 Lunches
        40 Dinners
        Hundreds of snacks
    100 everyday delicious recipes
    Nutrition information for each recipe – calories, carbohydrate, protein, fat, cholesterol and sodium.
    Diabetes exchanges (Food Choices) for each meal, as well as total carbohydrate and fiber.
    32-page guide at back of book shows food and beverage portions and helps you interpret food labels.

Try these sample recipes in your home, to see how simple taking control of your diet can be!

Prairie Quiche
The Prairies and Great Plains grow a large amount of the world’s wheat, which is ground into the flour that we bake into bread. Prairie Quiche has a bread crumb crust, which is much lower in calories and fat than a traditional pastry crust. The quiche takes about 45 minutes to prepare and cook, so it’s perfect when you have a carefree morning ahead. This recipe is delicious and satisfying, but because it’s high in fat it should be an occasional treat.

Makes 2 large or 3 small servings

1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) margarine or butter, to grease the casserole
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 slices raw bacon, fat partly trimmed off, chopped
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) skim milk
Pinch of black pepper
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) sweet red pepper or broccoli (or a combination), chopped into small pieces
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) light shredded cheese

1.    Grease the sides and bottom of a 6-inch (15 cm) casserole dish with margarine or butter. Spread the bread crumbs on the bottom of the casserole dish.
2.    In a bowl, combine eggs, chopped bacon, milk, pepper and vegetables. Pour on top of the bread crumbs. Top with the shredded cheese.
3.    Bake in oven on the middle rack at 400°F (200°C) for 25 minutes.
4.    Once cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Gently remove slices with an egg turner.

A small glass of orange, apple, grapefruit or cranberry juice is served with the Prairie Quiche. Juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, but is a high source of natural sugar and lacks the fiber found in fresh fruit. It can be chosen for an occasional breakfast choice instead of a fresh fruit. (See page 13.)

Per 1⁄2 quiche
Calories    310
Carbohydrate    21 g
Fiber    2 g
Protein    20 g
Fat, total    16 g
Fat, saturated    7 g
Cholesterol    214 mg
Sodium    615 mg

Tip: Where shredded cheese is an ingredient in recipes, you can use a 4- or 5-blend, which may include cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and specialty cheeses.

Excerpted from by Diabetes Meals for Good Health, Second Edition by Karen Graham © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Chinese Stir-Fry

Makes 4 cups (1 L)
(2 large meal servings)

1 small onion
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L) loosely packed vegetable pieces
3⁄4 cup/175 mL (or 6 oz/175 g) raw lean red meat, chicken or fish, thinly sliced
1 packet (4.5 g) reduced-salt chicken or beef bouillon mix
2 tbsp (25 mL) water
2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) cold water
1 tbsp (15 mL) reduced-sodium soy sauce
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger

1.    Chop up or slice your onion, garlic and 4 cups (1 L) of
vegetables. I usually put in one bowl the vegetables
that need the most cooking, such as carrots and broccoli. In a second bowl I put the vegetables that need less cooking, such as bean sprouts. Put the bowls of vegetables to the side.
2.    Place the raw meat (or other protein choice) in your cold wok or frying pan. Sprinkle the bouillon mix on your meat and stir. Add 2 tablespoons (25 mL) of water. Heat up your wok or frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes. If you are using cooked leftover meat instead of raw meat, it doesn’t need to be cooked first.
3.    Add the onions, garlic and first bowl of vegetables. Stir at high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until cooked. Now add the second bowl of vegetables.
4.    In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) of cold water, soy sauce and ginger. Add this to your wok. Cook for another minute or two.

Per 1 cup (250 mL)
Calories    120
Carbohydrate    16 g
Fiber    3 g
Protein    12 g
Fat, total    2 g
Fat, saturated    0 g
Cholesterol    18 mg
Sodium    293 mg

Tip: Put your rice on to cook before you start making the stir-fry.

Excerpted from by Diabetes Meals for Good Health, Second Edition by Karen Graham © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Armchair Novel Review: Let the Devil Sleep

Let the Devil Sleep
A Novel
Written by John Verdon

Hardcover, 464 pages
Also available as an eBook

Author John Verdon has been celebrated for bringing back the impossible puzzle mystery. He weaves a tight and taut story that will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Let the Devil Sleep is his third in the Dave Gurney series, following the critically acclaimed novels Think of a Number and Shut Your Eyes Tight. 

Dave Gurney is a highly decorated police detective who is trying to adjust to being a retired man of leisure in the upstate New York farmhouse that he shares with his wife Madeleine. 

Not well suited to boredom, Dave finds himself easily drawn deep into mysteries that challenge his mind and quite often his life. With connections to the police force, notably his friend and makeshift partner Jack Hardwick, Dave is able to tap into resources (however illegally) to help him solve these complex mysteries. 

In Let the Devil Sleep Dave has been contacted by an old friend, the very journalist who made him famous as a "Super-Cop" when he was on the force. Her daughter is doing her thesis on a well-known serial killer from ten years ago, The Good Shepherd, and her project is being picked up by a large media empire. Dave is talked into going along with her to the interviews as an adviser, and soon finds himself immersed in a puzzle so deep that his very own life is at stake as well as the lives of those he holds dear. 

Let the Devil Sleep is the most personal of the Dave Gurney books and a great keep-you-up-late read. 

Visit John Verdon's website here. 
John Verdon's facebook page
Read an excerpt of Let the Devil Sleep
To read his recently published essay on the appeal of novels featuring serial killers, click here.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Nieve de Mango con Limon

Nieve is Spanish for snow, which I - as a Canadian - was able to glean from its resemblance to the French word Niege. Nieves are icy treats that help keep Mexicans cool in a hot climate and I am all for that!

We have had banner heatwaves already up here in the Great White North. Actually, we seem to see less and less white up here year round. I think I shovelled three times last winter. Not that I am complaining. Rain is so much easier to deal with than snow. Than heat, actually.

But heat we have so I have to make my own snowy treats to cool down. Like this Nieve de Mango con Limon. Wow, mango sorbet sounds so much sexier in Spanish.

I made mine as Rick directs, though I omitted the orange rind, used frozen mango pieces and brown sugar - as that is what I had on hand. I'm all for using what you have! I also used my ice cream maker - because I have one. If you don't - use the scraping directions below.

The ice is so wonderfully delicious! The lime is just enough to perk up the mango and tickle the tastebuds. This would also be wonderful at the bottom of a long glass, topped with prosecco or cava. Mmm, now that's a summer treat!

Mango Lime Ice
Nieve de Mango con Limon

Rick Bayless, Frontera Recipes
Makes about 4 cups, enough for 6 to 8 healthy servings

Tropical fruit ices, fruit popsicles called paletas, ice milks and ice creams are a way of life in Mexico.  Places like Oaxaca are legendary for their slushy ices and ice milks in every flavor imaginable (avocado, corn, roses, burnt milk, even crumbled crispy pig skin), canisters of which are spun in salty ice baths, stirred occasionally with big paddles, then served as a thick slush or soupy granita.

Mango is the perfect fruit to choose when making an ice by the still-set (rather than an ice-cream machine) method, since its dense flesh turns out an almost creamy textured ice that’s tangy from the lime and just sweet enough to soothe a tongue that has enjoyed a lot of spiciness.  My thanks goes to Harold McGee in The Curious Cook for explaining the intricacies of making fruit ice.  Using this method, you’ll want to start the night before serving, or at least early in the day of your dinner.    RB 


4 large (2 1/4 pounds total) mangoes, peeled, fruit cut away from the pit and coarsely chopped (you need about 2 heaping cups)
The finely chopped zest (colored rind only) of 1 orange
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice


In a food processor, combine the mangoes, orange zest, sugar, lime juice and 1 cup of water. Process to a smooth puree, then press through a strainer into a stainless steel bowl or 9x9-inch pan. Freeze until the mixture is firm 2 inches in from the sides, about 2 hours. Whip with an immersion blender or scrape into a food processor and process until slushy. Repeat the freezing and beating 2 more times, then freeze at least 1 hour before serving.

It is best to eat the ice within a day, because it will become progressively more icy. If the finished ice has been in the freezer for several hours, soften it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving.

Variations and Improvisations.  This same process works well with 2 heaping cups of coarsely chopped, not-too-watery tropical fruits like mamey, guanabana, chirimoya, black zapote and chico zapote; they may not need as much lime juice to bring out their flavor. Guava is best cooked with the sugar until tender, then strained; it will need less lime juice. Juicier fruits like papaya, nectarine and peach should be used in larger proportions (2 1/2 heaping cups) with less water (about 2/3 cup). Sugar on all these versions can be varied, depending on the sweetness of the fruit, though if you eliminate too much, the ice will be icy.

Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded IHCC

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

of Harold Fry
A Novel
by Rachel Joyce
Hardcover, 336 pages
Also available as an eBook

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a magical book about love and loss and change. Coming to terms with who and what you are, and where you are in life.

Harold Fry is a recently retired gentleman living an empty life with a wife who can barely tolerate him. Without the structure of work to sustain him, he has taken to sitting in the house. To doing nothing at all.
One day he gets a letter from an old friend, Queenie. If he could even call her a friend. He's not sure. She was kind to him once and he has never thanked her properly. Now she writes to say she is dying and goodbye. Stunned, Harold can't put to paper a reply he can live with. He jots something down and walks to the post office. Then the next post office. Then the next town. Soon he is on a very unlikely pilgrimage indeed. An old man in boat shoes walking 400 miles to say goodbye in person, convinced that if he does this unlikely thing, then Queenie will live to receive him.

On the journey, Harold finds his emotions welling up in different ways - and the puzzle pieces of his unexamined life starting to piece together. Back home his wife, too, goes through emotional transformation at having been left behind.

I loved this book. It stirs something up deep inside. Absolutely wonderful. 

An Interview with Rachel Joyce
The author, Rachel Joyce, has written over twenty original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and has created major adaptations for the Classic series and Woman’s Hour, as well as a TV drama adaptation for BBC2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play. Joyce moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court and Cheek by Jowl; and winning a Time Out Best Actress Award and the Sony Silver. She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her family and is at work on her second novel.
Browse the book:

Friday, 20 July 2012

350 Best Vegan Recipes

350 Best Vegan Recipes
by Deb Roussou

Paperback, 384 pages

It's easy to fall into a rut with cooking. It's even easier with a limited diet. But eating vegan need not be boring! 350 Best Vegan Recipes delivers delicious and nutritious fare for any time of day, and even includes party foods, drinks, and sweets!

The book shows you how to stock a vegan pantry, gives you party meal planning recommendations, and opens up a whole new world of vegan recipes.

And what really sets this book apart from other vegan cookbooks is the "Vegan from Scratch" chapter which provides information on making everything from Vegan Bouillon to Soy Cream Cheese and Smokey Maple Tofu Bacon Slices. These recipes really bring a wholly authentic vegan lifestyle into the home kitchen!

Contents include:

Tools and Equipment
Vegan Pantry
Menu Suggestions

Vegan from Scratch
Small Plate Starters
Breakfast Anytime
Breads, Rolls and Crackers
Hot Vegetables and Cool Salads
The Mains
Beans, Pasta and Grains
Soups, Chilis and Curries
Sauces, Dips and Spreads
Dressings and Spice Blends
Cocktails, Drinks and Smoothies

Try some of these preview vegan recipes in your home - and discover how delicious vegan can be! 

Big Island Nori Rolls (page 38)
A sushi-style roll filled with Hawaiian macadamia nuts, sweet onion, jalapeño, avocado and cucumber has something for everyone. Don’t forget the wasabi and tamari for dipping, which some feel is the best part.

Makes 4 rolls

Fill a small bowl with water and 2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar and use to wet fingertips to prevent sticking while rolling the rolls.

•    Food processor
•    Bamboo sushi rolling mat

1⁄2 cup walnut halves 125 mL
2 tbsp tamari 30 mL
2 cups sushi or short-grain rice, rinsed 500 mL
2 cups water 500 mL
3 tbsp rice vinegar 45 mL
7 tsp granulated sugar 35 mL
2 tsp salt 10 mL
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 45 mL
3 to 4 tbsp walnut or olive oil 45 to 60 mL
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 30 mL
1 tsp Hawaiian salt or sea salt 5 mL
1 sweet onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) 1 pieces
1 cup macadamia nuts 250 mL
1 jalapeño, seeded and quartered 1
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 45 mL
4 sheets nori, toasted (see Tip) 4
1 avocado, thinly sliced 1
1 seedless cucumber, cut into matchsticks 1
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 30 mL

1. In a small bowl, combine tamari and walnuts and set aside to soak for 2 hours.
2. Rice: Place rice in a medium saucepan, add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, without stirring or lifting lid, for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small microwave-safe bowl, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for 10 seconds and let cool.
To toast nori: Turn heat to medium-high on stovetop. Hold nori with metal tongs and toast about 4 inches (10 cm) above heat until darkened and crisp, 3 to 5 seconds per side. Let cool completely before using.
4. Fluff rice with a fork or paddle and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle vinegar mixture over rice while gently folding to combine and completely coat. Fan rice while fluffing until just warm.
5. Filling: In another small bowl, whisk together lime juice, 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the oil, sesame seeds and salt.
6. Drain walnuts. In food processor, pulse onion, macadamia nuts, walnuts, jalapeño and cilantro until finely chopped, 10 to 12 times. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the lime juice mixture and pulse, adding additional juice mixture, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until mixture holds together.
7. Place bamboo rolling mat on work surface with bamboo strips running crosswise. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, lined up with mat edge closest to you. Cover nori sheet with about one-quarter of the rice, pressing and spreading until it is 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) thick and leaving a 11⁄2 inch (4 cm) border along edge farthest away from you.
8. Place one-quarter of the filling in a line on rice crosswise about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from nearest edge. Lay rows of avocado and cucumber slices crosswise along upper edge of filling row. Starting at nearest edge, lift bamboo mat and fold nori sheet over ingredients, rolling with a light but steady pressure and peeling mat back as you roll. Use finger to moisten riceless nori border with vinegar and finish rolling. Use mat to press gently but firmly to close and seal roll.
9. Repeat process with remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls. Cut roll crosswise into 6 or 8 slices. Serve with wasabi and tamari for dipping.

Excerpted from 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Vegetable Paella (page 193)
With the colors of a Spanish landscape, this richly flavored one-pan meal is fun and festive. Dinner on the deck and a pitcher of sangria; now that’s relaxing. As cooking with seasonal vegetables produces superior flavors, use green beans if asparagus is unavailable.

Serves 6 to 8

When garlic is browned too quickly it will become bitter. If sautéing with other vegetables, add garlic toward the end of the browning process.

To ensure time with your guests, make the paella up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate cooled paella in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Spread in paella pan, cover and reheat in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

•    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    Paella pan or large ovenproof skillet

3 tbsp olive oil 45 mL
1 onion, diced 1
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut 1 into bite-size pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped 4
2 cups short- or medium-grain white rice 500 mL
2 cups warm water 500 mL
11⁄2 cups dry white wine 375 mL
1⁄2 tsp paprika 2 mL
3⁄4 tsp saffron threads or ground turmeric 3 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1 can (14 oz/400 mL) artichoke hearts 1 in water, drained
3⁄4 cup sliced drained oil-packed sun-dried 175 mL tomatoes
8 oz thin asparagus or green beans, trimmed 250 g and halved
1⁄3 cup green olives 75 mL
3 tbsp chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley 45 mL

1. Place paella pan over medium heat and let pan get hot. Add oil and tip pan to coat. Add onion and fennel and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions and fennel are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in rice, lightly coating all grains with oil. Stir in water, wine, paprika, saffron, salt, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Gently shake pan to distribute rice evenly. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Remove pan from heat and scatter asparagus and green olives over rice. Cover pan and bake in preheated oven until rice is tender with a slightly crusted bottom, about 30 minutes.
3. Scatter chopped parsley over top and serve hot.

Excerpted from 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Rustic Open-Faced Peach Pie (page 365)
A blanket of sweet ground almonds surrounds plump peach halves in a flaky puffed crust. The easy glaze topping and a sprinkling of raw sugar finish it off beautifully.

Serves 6 to 8

•    Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
•    10-inch (25 cm) glass pie plate
•    Food processor

4 cups peach halves in light syrup 1 L (one 28 oz/796 mL can)
8 oz vegan frozen puff pastry, thawed (1 sheet) 250 g
1⁄3 cup raw sugar, divided 75 mL
1 cup chopped almonds 250 mL
2 tbsp vegan hard margarine 30 mL
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste 15 mL
1 tbsp plain soy yogurt or other vegan yogurt 15 mL
1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg 1 mL
Pinch salt Pinch

1. Drain peaches, reserving 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) syrup. Pat peaches dry, lay on a kitchen towel and set aside.
2. On floured work surface, roll out puff pastry to a 16-inch (40 cm) square. Fit into pie plate, letting pastry corners hang over edges. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
3. Set aside 1 tsp (5 mL) raw sugar for topping and place remainder in food processor. Add almonds, margarine, vanilla bean paste, soy yogurt, nutmeg and salt and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and process until fairly smooth, for 30 seconds more.
4. Spread almond mixture in prepared crust, building up mixture a little higher around edges. Place peach halves, cut side down, on top of almond mixture. Press down lightly. Fold corners of pastry over top of peaches, scrunching square pastry to fit in round pan.
5. Bake in preheated oven until almond filling (showing around peaches) looks dry and peaches have a slightly golden color, 45 to 50 minutes. If pastry seems to be browning too rapidly, cover edges with strips of foil. Let cool on rack 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place reserved peach syrup in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush syrup over peaches and sprinkle with reserved sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

An Invitation to Bake

The Babes will bake and post on August 15th in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and we would love for the Buddies (that is, anyone who would like to play), to join us in posting on that day.

Big thanks to Elle for creating the invitation.

For the recipe we will be baking, please email Susan:   susan at wildyeastblog dot com 

(NB: This is an invitation for NEXT month, August. THIS month (July), Buddies are still invited to make the Easy Little Bread.)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Easy Little Bread - Because it's hot outside!

It's no secret that Canadians like to take it easy, especially in the west. They are the ones who hold up our reputation for being laid-back and our West Coast Babe, Sara, has an easy little bread to play with in the height of summer.

This simple loaf can be added to to suit your own tastes, I added a half teaspoon of cinnamon, a couple of hands full of raisins and did an egg wash on top before baking, sprinkling a little extra cinnamon and oats on the top.

The dough is whipped up like a batter, I turned mine out onto some AP flour to get it into forming consistency and nestled it nicely into the well-buttered loaf pan. Mine needed about 45 minutes to bake through. All ovens are different, an instant-read thermometer is your friend. You want over 185°F for a pan loaf.

If you'd like to bake along with the Babes this month, and make your own Easy Little Loaf, visit Sara's post for more details on how you can be a Bread Baking Buddy!

Easy Little Bread
from 101 Cookbooks
link here

1¼ cups / 300 ml warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g rolled oats (not instant oats)
1½ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit - 5 - 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat - to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn't steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Makes 1 loaf.
Adapted from Gran's Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 35 min

 The Bread Baking Babes
This bread has been YeastSpotted!

BYOB 125 x 125

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Drunken Pintos with Cilantro and Bacon (Frijoles Borrachos)

Rick Bayless has given me a whole new appreciation for beans this year, I've loved exploring Mexican cuisine with our cooking club and have come to love beans as a side or even as part of a main.

These drunken pintos are perfect to go along with a BBQ or pulled pork meal. Leftovers are great with eggs in the morning. And the fact that there is both tequila and bacon in them? Brilliant! Exciting! Delicious!

Seriously, eat more beans. Start with these.

Drunken Pintos 
with Cilantro and Bacon 
(Frijoles Borrachos)

Recipe from: Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless
online recipe source: Cookbook Heaven at Recipelink.com

I love to serve a cup of beans at a barbecue. The smoke and fire and the ripeness of the air seem the right accompaniment to beans, especially beans with tequila and cilantro.

Other than the alcoholic baptism these beans receive just before serving, they are similar to frijoles charros, the brothy beans (half soup, half accompaniment) so beloved in Mexico's North and indispensable at a meal of wood-grilled tacos al carbon. This version is my take on a recipe shared with me by the well-known cooking authority Maria Dolores Torres Yzabal of Mexico City. It's a loose combination of her recipe and my favorite version of charro beans. I like the interplay between the tequila, green chile, bacon and cilantro
. -RB

Makes: 4 cups
Servings: 4 to 6 as a side dish

    8 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) dry pinto beans

    1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) cubed pork shoulder (or extra chopped bacon, if you wish)

    4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

    1 small white onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

    Hot fresh green chile to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed, seeded and sliced

    Salt, about 3/4 teaspoon

    1 1/2 tablespoons tequila (plus a little more if you like)

    1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

    The beans. Rinse the beans thoroughly and scoop into a medium-size (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican earthenware olla). Add 5 cups water, remove any beans that float, then add the pork shoulder (or extra chopped bacon) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and very gently simmer, partially covered, until the beans are thoroughly tender, about 2 hours. You'll need to gently stir the beans regularly and add water as necessary to keep the liquid a generous 1/2 inch above the level of the beans.

    The flavorings. In a medium-size skillet, fry the bacon (that is, the remaining bacon if you used some for the simmering), stirring regularly, until crisp, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, leaving behind as much of the drippings as possible. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the drippings and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and chiles and fry until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Scrape the onion mixture into the beans, then taste and season it all with salt. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

    Finishing the dish. If the beans seem quite soupy, boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the consistency of a nice, brothy bean soup. (An alternative here is to puree 1/4 of the beans in a food processor or blender, returning them to the pot to thicken the broth.)

    Just before serving, stir in the tequila and cilantro, then serve in warm bowls topped with the crumbled bacon.

    The beans can be cooked through step 2 several days ahead; refrigerate, covered.

    Two 16-ounce cans of pinto beans can replace the beans in step 1.

    A more rustic touch yet is to simmer the beans with a 2- to 3-ounce piece of beef jerky (cook it with the beans, then take it out, tear it into short shreds and return to the pot) instead of the pork. To make this more like the frijoles charros, replace the serrano with 2 roasted, peeled and diced poblanos and add 8 ounces of chopped tomatoes (roasted and peeled, preferably). As with most bean dishes, use any bean you like or can find easily.

Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded IHCC

Friday, 13 July 2012

Entertaining Made Easy with The Best of The Best and More!

The Best of Bridge series has been a culinary institution in Canada for over 30 years. What started as an actual bridge game with outstanding food, fun, and sisterhood turned into the backbone of Canadian cooking and entertaining manuals.

These new books, The Best of The Best and More and The Rest of The Best and More contain the much-loved classics as well as a slew of new recipes, reflecting the changes we have seen in cooking over the years. As the Ladies from Bridge pass into retirement, they welcomed a new Bridge friend, Sally Vaughan-Johnson; food writer, cooking professional and culinary whiz; to work with them in updating and modernizing some of the dishes (less canned soup, for instance) and adding some new dishes as well with the ethnic ingredients that are now widely available.

All the recipes have been multi-tested by both the Ladies and Sally and only the favourites made it in the book. They are happy to say "Our motto remains: 'Simple recipes with gourmet results' and, as our loyal fans have come to expect, the recipes work and the one-liners will keep you smiling."

Keep reading to find the history of the Bridge Ladies, as well as a few sample recipes to enjoy in your own home. Happy cooking!

The Best of the Best and More
With Over 70 New Recipes!
from The Ladies of the Best of Bridge
Spiral-bound, 304 pages

About The Ladies of the Best of Bridge:

In 1975, at a weekend getaway, eight women friends had an idea: Since a consistent highlight of their decade-old bridge group was the food they prepared and shared together, perhaps they should think about writing a cookbook. This spur-of-the-moment notion was the impetus for The Best of Bridge, which went on to become one of the most successful brands in Canadian publishing.

From the outset, "The Ladies of the Best of Bridge," as they like to be known, had a unconventional vision of how their business would be run. It would be a partnership of equals, a celebration of friendship and -- perhaps most of all -- it would be fun. The bank manager who approved their first loan warned them they would never stay friends. They vowed to prove him wrong.

More than 30 years and three million copies later, the ladies are enjoying the last laugh. In addition to creating a phenomenally successful business, they have remained close friends with fond memories of all the good times they've shared. "We had a lot of fun," they say now. "And the media loved us because we were just regular mothers who showed up wearing matching aprons. Sometimes people were astonished that the recipes actually worked, which amazed us because we knew what we were doing."

Not surprisingly, from time to time, life intervened to rock their idyll. "Like a large family, we've experienced everything -- divorce, major illness and deaths," they comment. Not only have they lost parents, husbands and children, two of the partners are deceased.

But the brand lives on -- not only in kitchens, but also in the hearts and minds of Canadians from coast to coast. Written in a welcoming style, the recipes are easy to execute, yet produce "gourmet" results. Their unique approach, which includes jokes to keep cooks smiling, has ensured a faithful following. Best of Bridge recipes are staples at potlucks across the country, and the generation of children raised on them is now cooking for themselves. "We get lots of mail from people looking for specific books to give to their adult kids," the Ladies report. "They want to make dishes that were always served at family celebrations. Our recipes have become part of their domestic traditions."

The Best of Bridge is more than a company. It's an institution that is deeply interwoven into the fabric of Canadian life. But more than that, it's a testament to the spirit and wherewithal of eight exceptional women whose collective head for business is matched by their commitment to each other. As the Ladies would say, "You should have these books. We've tested, tasted and revised. We promise you'll love every recipe." 

Shrimp 'N' Beer (Page 70)


3 Lbs.    Shrimp In The Shell    1.5 Kg
4    Garlic Cloves, Peeled    4
6    Allspice Berries    6
1 Tbsp.    Red Pepper Flakes    15 Ml
1    Bay Leaf    1
6    Sprigs Fresh Parsley    6
2    Sprigs Fresh Dill    2
12 Oz.    Beer    341 Ml
    Salt & Pepper To Taste

Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce
1⁄2 Cup    Butter    250 Ml
    Juice Of 1⁄2 Lemon
1 Tsp.    Worcestershire Sauce    5 Ml
    Salt & Pepper To Taste

To cook shrimp: combine all ingredients in large pot and cover. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let the shrimp simmer 2 minutes. (don't overcook!) Then remove from heat and drain.

To prepare sauce: heat butter in a saucepan until almost bubbling. Stir in lemon juice and Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve shrimp hot, in the shell. Spread out the newspaper on your patio table and let your guests "peel 'n' eat". Serve sauce individually to 8 happy guests.

Excerpted from The Best of The Best and More Recipes from The Best of Bridge Cookbooks
© 2012 www.bestofbridge.com / www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Grand Slam Finale (Page 267)
A Best Of Bridge Tradition!

1 Cup    Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crumbs     250 Ml
    (30 Wafers)
1⁄2 Cup    Toasted Almonds, Finely     125 Ml
1⁄4 Cup    Butter, Melted    60 Ml
4 Cups    Fresh Strawberries    1 L
12 Oz.    Good Quality White Chocolate    340 G
4 Oz.    Cream Cheese    115 G
1⁄4 Cup    Sugar    60 Ml
1⁄4 Cup    Orange Liqueur Or Frozen     60 Ml
    Orange Juice Concentrate
1 Tsp.    Vanilla    5 Ml
2 Cups    Whipping Cream    500 Ml
    Cocoa Powder

Combine wafer crumbs, almonds and butter. Press into bottom of a 9" (23 cm) springform pan. Wash, dry and hull berries. Reserve a couple for garnish. Cut a few strawberries in half, lengthwise, and press flat sides all around side of springform pan. Arrange whole berries, points up, on crust. Chop chocolate and melt in double boiler or microwave. Cool slightly. Beat cheese until smooth, then beat in sugar. Mix in liqueur (or juice) and vanilla. Slowly beat in chocolate. Whip the cream. Stir about 1⁄3 of cream into chocolate mixture and fold in the remainder. Pour over berries, shaking pan gently to fill in between berries. Refrigerate at least 3 hours (overnight is fine). Remove sides and bottom of springform pan. Dust with cocoa and garnish with reserved strawberries.

Excerpted from The Best of The Best and More Recipes from The Best of Bridge Cookbooks
© 2012 www.bestofbridge.com / www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

The Rest of the Best and More
With over 100 New Recipes!
from The Ladies of the Best of Bridge
Spiral-bound, 324 pages

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Page 78)

3⁄4 Cup    Hoisin Sauce    175 Ml
11⁄2 Tsp.    Rice Vinegar    7 Ml
1 Tbsp.    Liquid Honey    15 Ml
2 Tbsp.    Water    30 Ml
1 Tbsp.    Fresh Lime Juice    15 Ml
2 Tsp.    Sesame Oil    10 Ml
1    Large Garlic Clove, Minced    1
1 Tsp.    Freshly Grated Ginger    5 Ml

2    Boneless Chicken Breasts    2
1⁄3 Cup    Grated Carrot    75 Ml
2    Green Onions, Diagonally Sliced    2
1 Cup    Dry Steam-Fried Noodles    250 Ml
1⁄2 Cup    Unsalted Peanuts, Chopped    125 Ml
1    Head Iceburg Lettuce, Separated     1
    Into Whole Leaves, Core Removed

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, blend sauce ingredients. Set aside to cool. Poach chicken in a small amount of water until no longer pink. Cool. Cut each breast in half horizontally and then dice to about 1⁄4" (6 mm).
In medium bowl, toss chicken, carrots and onion with enough sauce to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add noodles and peanuts, gently toss with more sauce to coat.
To serve: set out lettuce and chicken mixture. Let guests wrap their own. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Excerpted From The Rest Of The Best And More Recipes from The Best Of Bridge Cookbooks
© 2012 www.Bestofbridge.com / www.Robertrose.ca Reprinted with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Eat the City

Meet some of the people featured in the new book 
Eat the City by Robin Shulman. 

Video by David Kaplowitz. Music by Marwan Kanafani.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Armchair Novel Review: The Nightmare

The Nightmare
by Lars Kepler
Translated by Laura Wideburg

Hardcover, 512 pages
Also available as an eBook

He knows your darkest dreams. Then he makes them come true.

We have Stieg Larsson to thank for opening up Nordic crime fiction to the North American audience, and fans of his books will love the dark, intense psychological thrillers of Lars Kelper.

Hot on the heels of international bestseller The Hypnotist, which I loved, Kepler explores international intrigue and deep personal terror in The Nightmare.

On a summer night, police recover the body of a young woman from an abandoned pleasure boat drifting around the Stockholm archipelago. Her lungs are filled with brackish water, and the forensics team is sure that she drowned. Why, then, is the pleasure boat still afloat, and why are there no traces of water on her clothes or body? The next day, a man turns up dead in his state apartment in Stockholm, hanging from a lamphook in the ceiling. All signs point to suicide, but the room has a high ceiling, and there's not a single piece of furniture around -- nothing to climb on.b Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, but the logistics are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events. At its core, the most frightening aspect of The Nightmare isn't its gruesome crimes -- it's the dark psychology of its characters, who show us how blind we are to our own motives.

This book kept me up late in the wee hours. Once I got going I couldn't put it down.

If you are a fan of Nordic crime fiction, or crime fiction in general, you will love The Nightmare.

Click here for a chance to win The Hypnotist, 
Mysterybooks.ca contest for July, 2012

Saturday, 7 July 2012

5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking

5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking 
500 Recipes for Lifelong Wellness
by Camilla V. Saulsbury

Paperback, 552 pages

"The actions and choices we make at the market, in our kitchens, and around the dining table can affect our health (for better or for worse) and are the most powerful steps we can take toward well-being. And remember no one food can make you healthy on its own -- aim instead for a varied and balanced diet. The diversity of the recipes in this collection offers ways to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods throughout the day."

This is not only a great cookbook, with 500 delicious and healthy recipes, but it is a guidebook packed with information on how to easily transition to the ideal eating habits for a long and healthy life.

You will not find diet foods here, only whole and fresh ingredients to make your body strong and happy and the information you need to make healthy choices - and eat well!

The five steps are:

• Choose fresh, whole foods.
• Eat mostly vegetable- and fruit-based foods.
• Opt for healthy fats and proteins.
• Select superfoods (nutrient-dense foods).
• Eat more whole grains.

This is definitely a book whose time has come and deserves a place in every home. The five steps are simple and will help you lead a healthier life.

Contents include:
The Five Steps
Common Nutrition Terms
About the Nutrient Analyses
Ingredients for Healthy Cooking

Power Snacks, Spreads and Nibbles
Soups, Stews and Chilis
Sandwiches, Wraps, Burgers and Pizzas
Meatless Main Dishes
Multigrain Pasta and Noodles
Side Dishes
Natural Sugar Sweets

I chose a couple of fun, healthy recipes from the book that you can sample this weekend - see how easy and delicious healthy eating can be!

Walnut Flax Waffles (page 50)
Makes 8 waffles

Great for Steps 3, 4 and 5
You might try these waffles because of all you've heard about the benefits of flax seeds - from the omega-3s to the lignans to the fiber - but you'll fall in love with them (and make them many times over) for the flavor.

•    Preheat waffle maker to medium-high
•    Blender

1½ cups    plain almond milk    375 mL
2 tbsp    vegetable oil    30 mL
1 tbsp    pure maple syrup    15 mL
2 tsp    vanilla extract    10 mL
1½ tsp    cider vinegar    7 mL
3 tbsp    ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal)    45 mL
1 cup    whole wheat flour    250 mL
1½ tsp    baking powder    7 mL
1⁄2 tsp    baking soda    2 mL
1⁄8 tsp    fine sea salt    0.5 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped toasted walnuts    125 mL
    Nonstick cooking spray

1.    In blender, combine almond milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla and vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add flax seeds and blend for 1 minute or until slightly frothy.
2.    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add almond milk mixture and stir until just blended. Gently stir in walnuts.
3.    Spray preheated waffle maker with cooking spray. For each waffle, pour about 1⁄3 cup (75 mL) batter into waffle maker. Cook according to manufacturer's instructions until golden brown.

Tip: Look for packages of ready-ground flax seeds, which may be labelled "flaxseed meal," or use a spice or coffee grinder to grind whole flax seeds to a very fine meal.

Nutrients per Waffle
Calories    114
Total fat    10 g
Saturated fat    1 g
Cholesterol    0 mg
Sodium    201 mg
Carbohydrate    5 g
Fiber    1 g
Protein    3 g
Calcium    43 mg
Iron    0.4 mg

Excerpted from 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Spicy Chickpea Burgers (page 235)
Makes 4 servings

Great for Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5
This two-in-one indulgence combines the irresistible toppings of top-notch burgers - goat cheese and chiles - with the classic flavors of deep-fried falafels.

•    Food processor

1    can (14 to 15 oz/398 to 425 mL)     1
    chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1    can (4 oz /114 mL) diced mild green     1
3⁄4 cup    packed fresh cilantro or flat-leaf (Italian)     175 mL
    parsley leaves
1    large egg, lightly beaten    1
2⁄3 cup    fresh whole wheat bread crumbs    150 mL
1 tsp    ground cumin    5 mL
3⁄4 tsp    hot smoked paprika    3 mL
1⁄2 tsp    fine sea salt    2 mL
2 tsp    extra virgin olive oil    10 mL
1⁄2 cup    crumbled soft goat cheese    125 mL
4    whole-grain hamburger buns, split     4
    and toasted
Suggested Accompaniments
    Sliced tomatoes
    Mesclun greens
    Sliced cucumbers

1.    In food processor, combine chickpeas, chiles and cilantro; pulse until finely chopped.
2.    Transfer chickpea mixture to a medium bowl and stir in egg, bread crumbs, cumin, paprika and salt. Form into four 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) thick patties.
3.    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add patties and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and cook for 3 minutes. Top patties with goat cheese and cook for 1 minute or until patties are golden brown and hot in the center.
4.    Transfer patties to toasted buns. Top with any of the suggested accompaniments, as desired.

Tip: If you can only find larger 19-oz (540 mL) cans of chickpeas, you will need about 11⁄2 cans (3 cups/750 mL drained).

Nutrients per serving
Calories    325
Total fat    9 g
Saturated fat    4 g
Cholesterol    54 mg
Sodium    553 mg
Carbohydrate    48 g
Fiber    8 g
Protein    15 g
Calcium    100 mg
Iron    3.2 mg

Excerpted from 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos with Mango Salsa (page 366)
Makes 4 servings

Great for Steps 1, 3, 4 and 5
This dish showcases tilapia's outdoorsy side and the bright, fresh flavor of early summer mangos in tropical tacos that are perfect for lunch with friends or a light dinner eaten al fresco. Brushing the delicate fillets with a spiced lime vinaigrette seals in their juices and intensifies the flavor of the tacos.

•    Preheat barbecue grill to medium-high

1 cup    chopped fresh or thawed frozen     250 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped red bell pepper    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    packed fresh cilantro leaves,     125 mL
1⁄4 cup    finely chopped red onion    60 mL
1⁄4 tsp    fine sea salt    1 mL
1 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    15 mL
1 tsp    ground cumin    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    chili powder    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    fine sea salt    1 mL
1 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    15 mL
2 tsp    vegetable oil    10 mL
4    skinless farmed tilapia fillets (each     4
    about 6 oz/175 g)
4    8-inch (20 cm) whole wheat tortillas,     4
2 cups    shredded purple or green cabbage    500 mL

1.    Salsa: In a small bowl, combine mango, red pepper, cilantro, red onion, salt and lime juice.
2.    Tacos: In a small cup, whisk together cumin, chili powder, salt, lime juice and oil. Brush on both sides of fish, coating evenly.
3.    Grill fish on preheated barbecue, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork. Flake fish into small pieces.
4.    Fill warmed tortillas with fish, cabbage and salsa.

Tip: According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, U.S.- and Canadian-farmed tilapia are the best choices because the supplies are abundant, well managed and farmed in an environmentally friendly way. A good alternative is tilapia farmed in Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras or Ecuador.

Nutrients per serving
Calories    370
Total fat    9 g
Saturated fat    2 g
Cholesterol    88 mg
Sodium    579 mg
Carbohydrate    34 g
Fiber    5 g
Protein    41 g
Calcium    52 mg
Iron    1.7 mg

Excerpted from 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.