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Food That Really Schmecks

Food That Really Schmecks

by Edna Staebler
foreword by Rose Murray
introduction by Wayson Choy
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian
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Your Organic Kitchen

The Essential Guide to Selecting and Cooking Organic Foods
by Jesse Ziff Cool
photographs by Lisa Koenig
tagged : natural foods
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Canadian Living Cooks Step By Step

Almond Biscotti
Biscotti have taken the cookie world by storm. Originally from the small town of Prato in Tuscany, Italy, biscotti (which literally means "twice cooked") have been transformed into large and long cookies of every flavour -- and we are all the luckier for this transformation. Ideal for dunking into coffee, tea or the more traditional vin santo (sweet wine), these nutty cookies contain little fat and few calories. Standing the cookies upright during their second baking ensures that they dry out evenly, giving them their characteristic crunchiness.

1 3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
3/4 cup (175 mL) whole unblanched almonds
2 eggs
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1/2 tsp (2 mL) almond extract
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) grated orange rind
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. To measure flour accurately, lightly spoon flour into dry measure, without tapping, until cup is heaping; level off with blunt edge of knife. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and almonds.

2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and grated orange rind; stir into flour mixture until soft sticky dough forms. Transfer to lightly floured surface; form into smooth ball.

3. Divide dough in half; roll each into 12-inch (30 cm) long log. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.

4. Brush tops with egg white; bake in 350 degree F (180 degree C) over for 20 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and let cool on pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer each log to cutting board; cut diagonally into 34-inch (2 cm) thick slices.

6. Stand cookies upright on baking sheet; bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden. Transfer to rack and let cool. (Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

Makes about 24 cookies
Per cookie: about 115 cal, 3 g pro, 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 14 g carb, 1 g fibre, 25 mg chol. % RDI: 2% calcium, 4% iron, 3% vit A, 6% folate.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti: Add 12 cup (125 mL) chocolate chips to flour mixture.
Double Chocolate Biscotti: Reduce flour to 1 12 cups (375 mL). Add 12 cup (125 mL) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder to flour. Omit almonds and add 12 cup (125 mL) chocolate chips. Dissolve 1 tbsp (15 mL) instant coffee granules in vanilla. Omit almond extract and orange rind.
Hazelnut Biscotti: Substitute 34 cup (175 mL) whole hazelnuts for the almonds. Omit almond extract.

To prevent crumbling when slicing the partially cooked log of dough, use a sharp chef's knife and cut with firm, decisive strokes.


Sushi is one of the most wonderful appetizers because you can get your guests involved in assembling and rolling it, something I've never known anyone to refuse (any guest worth his or her salt, I mean!). This type of sushi is called futomaki, or thick sushi roll. Equip yourself with a few rolling mats (available at Japanese specialty stores) or use a folded tea towel as a substitute. For utmost authenticity, use seasoned rice vinegar (it is sweeter and more traditional) and serve with small mounds of pickled ginger and wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and a little bowl of soy sauce for dipping.

2 1/4 cups (550 mL) water
2 cups (500 mL) Japanese rice, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup (75 mL) rice vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) rice wine (mirin)
2 tsp (10 mL) salt
4 sheets nori (pressed seaweed)

10 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) wasabi powder
1 pkg (7 oz.200 g) frozen flaked crabmeat, thawed (or 2 oz.60 g smoked salmon, cut in strips)
Quarter English cucumber, cut in long 12 inch (1 cm) thick sticks
Half bunch watercress
2 tsp (10 mL) sesame seeds, toasted

1. In 8-cup (2 L) saucepan, cover and bring water and rice to boil; boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, mirin and salt to boil, stirring just until sugar dissolves; let cool.

2. Spread rice in large shallow dish. Sprinkle with half of the vinegar mixture; toss with fork. Toss with remaining vinegar mixture. Cover with damp towel; refrigerate for 45 minutes or until at room temperature. Meanwhile, toast nori sheets by quickly brushing 10 times per side over electric element on high heat or gas element on medium heat.

3. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, soak mushrooms in 12 cup (125 mL) warm water for 30 minutes. Add soy sauce and sugar; simmer for 10 minutes or until no liquid remains. Discard stems; slice caps thinly. Combine wasabi with a few drops of water to form paste.

4. Place rolling mat (maki-su) on work surface with shortest side closest; place nori sheet, shiny side down, on mat. With wet fingers, press one-quarter of the rice evenly over nori, leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) border on far side uncovered.

5. Dab thin line of wasabi over rice 12 inch (1 cm) from edge. Top with one-quarter each of the crab, then mushrooms. Arrange one-quarter of the cucumber in row beside mushrooms; top with one-quarter of the watercress. Sprinkle with 12 tsp (2 mL) seeds.

6. Holding filling in place with fingers, tightly roll mat over filling. Using mat as guide, roll up firmly, jelly roll-style, squeezing to compress. With sharp wet knife, trim ends; cut into eight 12 inch (1 cm) thick slices. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Makes 32 pieces
Per piece: about 65 cal, 3 g pro, 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat) 13 g carb, 0 g fibre, 4 mg chol. % RDI: 1% calcium, 2% iron, 2% vit A, 3% vit C, 4% folate.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 lb (1.5 kg) chicken thighs and breasts, skinned
1 potato, peeled and cut in large cubes
2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled butternut squash
3 tbsp (50 mL) butter
1 cup (250 mL) pearl onions, peeled and halved
3 each carrots and stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) quartered mushrooms
3/4 tsp (4mL) each dried thyme and dry mustard
1/2 (2 mL) tsp each dried oregano, salt and pepper
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) 18% cream
1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

5 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted

1. In large saucepan, bring stock, 1 cup (250 mL) water and bay leaf to boil. Add chicken; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes for breasts, 25 minutes for thighs, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Remove chicken; let cool. Cut meat from bones; cut into bite size pieces.

2. Return stock to boil. Add potato; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add squash; cook, covered, for 10 minutes or just until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Drain through sieve, reserving 2 1/4 cups (550 mL) liquid, adding water or boiling to reduce liquid if necessary for correct amount.

3. Meanwhile, in separate large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until softened and starting to turn golden. Add thyme, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid and cream ; bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken, potato mixture and peas. Pour into 8-cup (2 L) oval casserole dish.

5. Pastry: Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface, keeping remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying out. Brush lightly with butter. Scrunch gently with fingertips to 6- x 5-inch (15 x 12 cm) oval; place on filling. Repeat with remaining phyllo to cover filling.

6. Bake in 425 F (220 C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling and phyllo is golden. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings
Per serving: about 495 cal, 37 g pro, 22 g total fat (12 g sat. fat), 38 g carb, 5 g fibre, 144 mg chol. %RDI: 9% calcium, 24% iron, 146% vit A, 23% vit C, 22% folate.

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Healthy Starts Here!

Knowledge is power. The more we know about a subject, the better able we are to make excellent choices. This theory explains in part why I’ve been married so many times; I didn’t know a lot about men back in the day and I made a couple of choices that seemed like a good idea at the time, but which didn’t pan out. Every day we make choices, and some of them are more important than others: Do I sleep in or get up when the alarm goes off? Do I marry that guy or not? Do I eat a plate of poutine or have an apple? Not all our choices are a matter of life or death. Sleeping in won’t affect your life in the long run; marrying the wrong person may, while, in the big picture, eating that plate of poutine instead of the apple probably will. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and fatty liver disease aren’t something you catch from someone on public transit. In general, these diseases happen as a result of years of eating the wrong foods, not exercising, not coping with stress, and neglecting your general health. We can choose to eat healthy, fabulous-tasting foods, or not. We can become more active, or not. We can choose to always look on the bright side of life, or not. It’s our decision. Everyone knows someone who eats junk food, smokes like a chimney, and wears the couch as the latest look in lounging outfits, and they’re doing just fine. There will always be exceptions, but if you’re banking on your future turning out like that person’s life, you need to re-evaluate your attitude. There is an old saying that goes, if I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself. You don’t want to be that person. I want to live a fabulous life and I want to feel great every day. Choosing healthy foods and an active lifestyle gives me a leg up. It’s an investment in my health gic with a much better rate of return than my local bank is giving. I have cancer on both sides of my family and heart disease on one, so my genes aren’t helping me out any. But although genetics play a role in our long-term health, they are only responsible for approximately 30 percent of our future. So I have 70 percent input into what my longevity will be. I know that if I follow my own advice, I have a really great shot at living to see my son married with children. I’m so optimistic that I am planning on living to be 100 and still remembering my name.

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