Browsing: Heart Smart Cooking

Healthy eating and staying in shape from the comfort of your home

April1

Like me, if you’re someone who enjoys anything and everything food related, we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, right? Right. But, as much as I love my food, it does mean that I have to try and maintain a balanced diet and eat as healthy as I can. This also means that with all the savoury foods, I enjoy, I have to keep physically active and fit.

The winters can reach extreme temperatures where we are which sometimes means it’s advised that we don’t leave our homes. This then becomes an easy excuse (if ever I needed one) to not go walking or to a fitness class. Well now I actually don’t have an excuse because it’s recently dawned that I can bring the gym to me. Ok well not a gym exactly, but definitely part of it. In this case, I have been thinking of investing in a treadmill to keep me active during the cold nights. Not knowing the first thing about treadmills or where to even start looking to purchase one I came across a website that has been a great resource, providing in-depth reviews and information they from experienced treadmill buyers. What’s great for fellow food lovers is that Treadmillreviews offers information to help us understand the numbers that make up our bodies, and helps to calculate the figures in helping to lose weight! There’s also a section on the website where you can answer a few questions and it will work out which treadmill is best suited to you. How cool is that?!

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With that all said and in mind, I thought that if I’m to make changes to my body, it needs to start with my diet. To begin with, my diet isn’t bad, but like anything there’s always room for improvement. I started doing some research on “healthy eating,” although that didn’t prove to be much help because it only showed me what I already knew; eat your fruit and veg, drink more water, cut out junk food, and so forth. What I was really looking for was some in-depth information that was going to make me want to drink a kale and spinach smoothie in the mornings and be satisfied with a chicken breast for lunch, something inspiring and motivating. That’s when I came across this Super Salads blog post.

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At first thought, a salad can seem boring. However, after doing some research into super salads I found that boring is the last thing they are and it is the perfect way of staying fit and eating healthy, but tasty food. Nutritional, great for detoxing, tastes fantastic and benefits your body. Of course, you still need to be wary of the ingredients you’re mixing together in a salad, but with the endless options and choices, lettuce has never tasted so good!

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What I have learned is that working out actually makes me want to keep healthy eating. And healthy eating is doing so much not just for my body, but my skin, my mood and overall lifestyle.

These gorgeous photos are from my niece and Goddaughter’s Joyful Vitality Facebook page. Check it out and then “like” it.

Kath’s quote: “We have said how necessary it is that in the composure of a sallet (salad), every plant should come in to bear its part, without being overpower’d by some herb of a stronger taste, so as to endanger the native sapor and virtue of the rest; but fall into their places, like the notes in music, in which there should be nothing harsh or grating: And though admitting some discords (to distinguish and illustrate the rest) striking in all the more sprightly, and sometimes gentler notes, reconcile all dissonances, and melt them into an agreeable composition.”
-John Evelyn, ‘Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets’ (1699)

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Winnipeg’s Inaugural PEI Shellfish Festival-Blackbox Challenge

January27

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With the esteemed judges.

The life of a professional foodie is simply marvelous (forgive me-I just watched Downtown Abbey) with invitations to special events and restaurant openings. One such event stands taller than the rest. That was when I was invited to be a black box judge at Winnipeg’s first PEI Shellfish Festival sponsored by the good folks at WOW! Hospitality.

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I cannot give you a whole lot of detail about the Chefs (this photo was taken by someone else) because being an impartial judge means being kept in the dark about some specific details, but I can tell you this-many of the stars of the Winnipeg culinary scene were rumoured to be in the house. We were asked to grade an appetizer and an entrée from each of six chefs. Marks were allocated for presentation (after all-we first “eat” with our eyes) and then most significantly on taste. With the former, we considered portion size, colour, artistry, originality and that the item from the box had been utilized in the recipe. With the latter: texture, degree of doneness and balanced tastes and seasonings were all considerations.

Here is a pictorial recounting of my morning in the order that they came off of my camera, beginning with the appetizers (Please note-I was unsuccessful in reacquiring my notes from the event so some photos may be entrees when they were intended to be apps and vice versa):

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The entrees:

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Can you spot the winners?

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After each of the appetizers and entrees were tasted and evaluated, the judges met to compare our tally sheets and share our comments.  The exchange was passionate as is the case, in my opinion, when exceptional food is involved. In the end the standings were determined with only a single point determining third place.

Of the many day’s highlights was chatting with PEI’s fisherman about the qualities of Bar Clams, which I had never tasted before. I learned first hand how the depreciation of the cod supplies has actually bolstered the shellfish industry. D and I are crazy about shellfish of all descriptions. Some of you know that our trip to Boston and Cape Cod was cut short last September. We would sure love to visit PEI!

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We have traveled the world to eat seafood and Canada has the most amazing product we have ever tasted! We lunched on …mussels (of course) at Ard Bia at Nimmos in Galway City where we had attended the Annual Galway Food Festival.

I also chatted extensively with Liam Dolan (the handsome judge to the far right of the photo) who is the originator of the annual Shellfish Festival in PEI. He also owns an Irish Pub in Charlottetown and hails from Galway-an amazing Irish city that D and I loved visiting.

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The remains of the day.

That evening at the fabulous PEI Kitchen Party held at 295 York, the awards went to: 3rd- Red River College instructor Luc Jean, 2nd-Kelly Andreas – Delta Hotel with top honours going to Gordon Bailey-  Red River College Patterson Global Institute.

Gord Bailey wins the opportunity to travel to PEI this September to compete in the 20th Birthday Bash of the PEI Shellfish Festival. I can’t wait to see how he fares against Canada’s top chefs.

Kath’s quote: “Do not overcook this dish. Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.” -Jeff Smith

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Seafood Paella

November24

I had the good fortune to travel to the Spanish island of Majorca many, many years ago.  I still remember the people and the beaches.  The clearest memory was of the seafood.  We had been travelling through Europe that spring and had arrived back in England where we still had another week of vacation before we flew home.  The time was May and although it had been warm and pleasant in Greece and Italy, Britain was suffering through a late and miserable spring.  Instead of enduring the rain and gloomy skies, we decided to see if we could find an affordable warm spot to spent the dwindling days of our vacation.  We went back to the travel agency that had booked our original tour and trusted them to point us in the right direction.  Our spending money had dwindled as well and upon arrival, we decided that we would find a market and stock up on fruit, cheese and lunch fixings and only dine out once a day.  On our second day we longingly watched people stream into the dining room and inquired about lunch details.  Lo and behold, we were booked into an all-inclusive without even knowing it and were missing out on our three meals per day!  That lunchtime, we were served a cold whole lobster salad and from that moment on, the seafood meals came in a continuous stream.

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Friends for 40 years

The same friend that I traveled with that spring. now lives in Toronto and she told me about a paella party that she and her husband had attended.  Supposedly a huge paella caldron was set up in the yard of their friends and they got to watch and participate in the preparation of this famous dish.  It has been years since I’ve enjoyed paella in Winnipeg but understand that both Hermano’s and Bonfire Bistro include it on their menus.

This past weekend, we dined at the home of good, good friends.  She is Italian and an amazing cook.  I know that we would have loved anything that they put in front of us.  To our delight, it was their favourite paella recipe.  She showed me the Anne Lindsay Heartsmart cookbook that her recipe came from but unfortunately it was not one that I had in my Anne Lindsay collection.  I have had the pleasure of meeting and being cooked for by Anne, a very long time ago (about the same time as this European adventure) and I remember the time (and the food) fondly.

I searched on line to try to find the recipe and could not come up with anything.  I found instead this one that looks to be pretty close.  It is from the Epicurious website and is credited to Claudia Roden-The Food of Spain.

Seafood Paella
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Spanish
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste or finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½ t sugar
  • salt
  • 1 t sweet paprika
  • a good pinch saffron threads
  • 4 cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into ¼-inch-wide rings, tentacles left whole
  • 2 c medium-grain Spanish paella rice or risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
  • 3 c fish or chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 12 jumbo shrimp in their shells
  • 16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Instructions
  1. Fry the onion in the oil in a 16-inch paella pan until soft, stirring often.
  2. Stir in the garlic, and before it begins to colour, add the tomatoes.
  3. Add the sugar, salt to taste, paprika and saffron, stir well, and cook until the tomatoes are reduced to a jammy sauce and the oil is sizzling.
  4. Add the squid and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
  5. Add the rice and stir well until all the grains are coated.
  6. (You can prepare the dish to this point up to an hour in advance).
  7. Bring the stock and wine to a boil in a saucepan.
  8. Pour over the rice, bring to a boil, and add salt to taste (even if the broth tastes a bit salty, it will not be salty when it is absorbed by the rice).
  9. Stir well and spread the rice out evenly in the pan (do not stir again),
  10. Cook the rice over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes, moving the pan around and rotating it so that the rice cooks evenly.
  11. Lay the shrimp on top after 10 minutes and turn them when they have become pink on the first side.
  12. Add a little more hot stock toward the end if the rice seems too dry and you hear crackling frying noises before it is done.
  13. When the rice is done, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a large piece of foil.
  14. Steam the mussels with a finger of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. As soon as they are open, they are cooked.
  15. Throw away any that have not opened.
  16. Arrange the mussels on top of the paella.

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Toni’s version did not include squid but did include Italian sausage, chicken and clams.

Kath’s quote: “Do not overcook this dish. Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.” -Jeff Smith

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Love-that is all.

 

Manitoba Chicken

November21

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I live a wonderful life.  Unexpected invites give me particular joy.  Recently one came from a foodie friend who asked me to join in at a Chef’s Table (Chef Brent Barna of Pine Ridge Golf Course to be specific) featuring Manitoba Chicken and De Luca Fine Wines.  How could I refuse?

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I was pleased to be sitting with my friends Robin a.k.a. PegCityGrub on one side and Getty Stewart on the other.  Over dinner and wine, we had an opportunity to get caught up on life and our mutually favourite topic: eating in Winnipeg!

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First up was chicken (of course) which had been slowly poached in a garlic and thyme broth and then encircled with foie gras.  The treat was subtle but delicious, made even more so when paired with a Canadian Riesling from Chateau des Charmes a family vineyard that D and I had the good fortune to visit one beautiful fall.  I am happy to know that Chateau des Charmes wines are now available in Winnipeg at De Luca Fine Wines.

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Mulligatawny has long been one of my favourite chicken soups (second only to Sopa de lima y pollo).  I appreciated Chef Barna’s light touch with the curry so that flavours of coconut and apple could shine through.  The soup was married to a fine Lingenfelder Gewurztraminer which next to Rieslings is my favourite white wine.  I was one happy girl.

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This jerk spiced boneless chicken thigh accompanied by watermelon salad adorned with queso fresco of bison mozzarella was my favourite dish of the evening.  The jerk spice was beautifully offset by the sparkling tastes of watermelon, lime and cilantro.  A Croatian Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) was sipped with this course and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this wine as I usually go more heavier and drier red wines.

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The main was  a classic chicken breast supreme served with a nutty barley pilaf, braised bok choy and ginger coriander sauce.  I appreciated that the breast had been seared and oven roasted with the skin on but that the it was so easy to remove.  Truth be told, I love to indulge in poultry skin because it holds all the seasonings and much of the flavour but a skilled chef can transfer all that yumminess into the meat, which is what Chef Barna was able to achieve.  The coriander ginger sauce was a light touch of heaven.  This grand dish was paired with a Chilean Pinot Noir.

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An amazing dinner deserves an equally amazing dessert and Constance Popp’s chocolate cake was spectacular-not too sweet but rich and dense with glistening chocolate and if that was not enough, there were shards of chocolate too.

Good company, excellent food, well chosen wines, what could be better?

Kath’s quote: “Often, admiring a chef and getting to know him is like loving goose liver and then meeting the goose.”-George Lang

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

“Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce” by Rachel Rappaport

October30

I was first introduced to Frank’s Hot Sauce years ago when it was the hot sauce of choice used by The Keg (dubbed The Keg ‘n Cleaver in those days) on their Buffalo Chicken Wings.   Since that time, we often grab it from the door of the fridge to add some extra “oomph” to a chili or jambalaya.  One of my favourite dishes is J1 and J2’s low cal variation of cauliflower tossed in hot sauce that caramelizes when broiled-yum.

If you are interested in spicing things up in your kitchen in ways you never dreamed possible, you need to get yourself a copy of this recipe book.  There are 65 imaginative recipes that turn up the heat with Frank’s: Honeyed Beer-Hot Sauce Ice Cream (J1-did you hear that?), Cinnamon Cayenne Buns, Smoky Hot Bacon Mac and Cheese and Tangy Pineapple Pulled Pork.  The illustrations in the book are mouth-watering and best of all the font is big enough for me to see without my reading glasses!

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I made up a batch of the Spiced Party Mix with excellent results.  The recipes are well-tested and produce predictable results.

Kath’s quote: “I mixed business with pleasure, added some hot sauce, and ate it.”-unknown

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Love-that is all.

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