Browsing: Sister #3’s Recipes & Reflections

Always keep learning-By Sister #3 (who turns 60 tomorrow!)


I will turn 60 this week. It’s hard to believe, life has flown by so quickly this far. While there are lots of days my body feels 60, thankfully my brain and spirit haven’t  caught up. I think continuing to learn is a vital part of staying mentally young. I love to learn new things about language, culture, and food. Compared to some people I know a lot about cooking. In college I learned proper knife skills, how to make the master sauces, memorized all the fancy French culinary terminology, and practiced cooking the classics. But I’ve learned so much more about food since then. While I think cooking skills are like muscles that strengthen with repeated use I continue to study and practice with new ingredients and different techniques.

A few years ago I discovered the sous vide method of cooking. And I love how tender everything that is cooked this way is and also how much easier it is to keep food at a particular temperature and not overcook it. Here is how it works. You attach what looks like an immersion blender to the rim of a large pot filled with water. Once the water has come to the soared temperature, you put the items you wish to cook into a freezer bag and slowly lower it into the water, allowing the water pressure to force the air out of the bag before you seal it. Then the machine acts like a whirlpool, heating and moving the water around the bag of food. It cooks it to what ever temperature you have set the machine at. It’s a slow cooking method, but when you are making a big meal it is helpful to have your proteins hot and held at the perfect temperature.

While I have used my sous vide for lots of type of meat my favourite thing to cook this way is fish. Here is my recipe for sous vide salmon and beurre blanc, one of those master sauces I learned in culinary school. 

Sous Vide Salmon

4 fresh wild salmon filets (skin off)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
Generously salt salmon filets and put into fridge for 30 – 60 minutes before cooking.    

Prepare sous vide bath: Fill water sous vide container (leaving room for water to rise when you put salmon in). Set the temperature on the sous vide equipment to 125 F for medium rare salmon.  Heat water to that temperature.

Wash salt off each filet.  Dry well with a paper towel. Brush all sides of salmon with olive oil, lightly salt & pepper, and place two filets in inside freezer safe ziploc bags and don’t seal bag. Lower a bag at a time  into the preheated water until top of bag is just above water (water will push air out), then seal bag. Or use a vacuum sealer if you have one. Cook for 40 minutes if salmon is 1/2-1 inch thick, or cook 40-60 minutes if salmon is 1-2 inches thick.

Beurre Blanc Sauce
½ cup white wine
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp shallots (finely chopped)
4 oz unsalted butter (cold and cut into ½” cubes)

Combine wine, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced to about 2-3 tablespoons. Strain the mixture to remove the shallots and pour it back into the warm pan. Discard the shallot. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cold butter, one cube at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Continue whisking over low heat until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt.


Make sure the butter is cold.
Whisk in one cube at a time until incorporated, take your time!
Be sure to keep the saucepan on low when adding the butter heat to avoid “breaking” the sauce. 
If the sauce does break (the fat separates), simply remove the Beurre Blanc from the heat, let it cool a bit and add a very small amount of water. Whisk again and the sauce will bind again.
Once thickened remove from the heat. Like a hollandaise sauce, you don’t want to overheat this sauce or it can separate.

Kath’s quote: “Lessons from a salmon: Spawn new ideas. Show your true colours. Swim against the current. Be a good catch. Cherish clean water. Always find your way home. Don’t give up without a fight.“-authour unknown

Love never fails.

Showing Love with Borscht-by Sister #3


I am not Ukrainian, yet I don’t think there is a culture that impacted my youth as much as Ukrainian culture did. My mom was Metis, but grew up with lots of Ukrainian friends. So she knew how to make borscht, perogies, cabbage rolls, and she was really good at these dishes. Her culinary skills were a bonus when she met our handsome Czech/Polish father.

Growing up, both my best friend and my boyfriend were Ukrainian. Terri and I met in grade two and even though she lives in the U.S. now, I still consider her my bestie. While I learned lots about Ukrainian culture from her family, we probably ate more dilly bars and brazier burgers than perogies, as they owned a Dairy Queen store. Whereas, my boyfriend Steve (who I dated from fourteen to twenty four)- his family was all about the food. His Baba was an amazing cook and generously taught me how to make many specialties. I’ll share her amazing holopchi recipe here in the future.

One of my favourite Ukrainian dishes is beet borscht. I recently visited St. Norbert market and picked up garden beets, potatoes, and onions, and pulled out a mound of dill weed from my freezer and went to work to make this rich delicious red soup. The recipe I use is from a friend I used to work with. It has a secret ingredient and while I love all borscht, I think this one is still my favourite.

Donna’s Borscht
4 large beets                          

4 large carrots

3 large potatoes

6-8 cups chicken broth  (enough to completely cover the vegetables)          

1/2 large cooking onion

1/2 lb side bacon               

20 oz can tomato soup

1 cup milk                              

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill                   

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream

Peel and cube beets, and potatoes, slice carrots.  Place in a soup pot with enough chicken stock to cover them.  Boil until tender.  Meanwhile cut bacon into small pieces. Fry bacon and when almost done add chopped onion and cook till translucent.  Add bacon and onion mixture to soup pot. Add dill, can of tomato soup and milk. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on the top.  Tastes even better the next day.

Sometimes I will add thinly slice cabbage to bulk the soup up.  You can skip the bacon and use vegetable broth to make a vegetarian version.

When war broke out in the Ukraine. I felt so helpless and really wanted to do something to help. So I contacted friends and family and offered to make them borscht in exchange for them making a donation to any organization supporting the people of Ukraine. I made 36 litres and together we donated approximately $2,500.00. My charity of choice was World Central Kitchen.  This team of volunteers is headed up by chef José Andrés and quickly set up to feed people fleeing to safety. So many lovely Ukrainians have feed me through my life, it was my turn to feed them. Praying for peace in Ukraine.

Kath’s quote: “The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” – Tom Robbins

Love never fails.

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