24 Mar 2015
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes
Tags: German, gourmet, rabbit, stew, traditions
Prepping sausage for hasenpfeffer
My regular readers will know that our Frozen in Ottawa dinner is well in hand. This, my fourth post on the subject, answers the question, “What should we serve for the main course?”
The man of the house wanted to feature his winter stew-making skills, well-honed in our climate. He suggested “Hasenpfeffer,” a dish he had recently cooked for the family with success. In fact, I thought it was the best stew he had ever made for us. But… what kind of meat is that, you might wonder. More
01 May 2013
in books, food, Main dishes, recipes, stories
Tags: family, French, gourmet, liquor, meat, mushrooms, oxtail, slow cooking, stew, traditions
Most times we settled for a turkey… but not always!
I owe my on-line existence to a mining engineer. Without Bill’s passion for food as well as rare minerals, I wouldn’t be blogging today. It was Bill who took his daughter Sharon, my alter-ego, under his formidable wing and taught her to cook.
Sundays would see Bill in his tiny, lemon-hued 1950s kitchen pouring over one of his many fish-splattered and chocolate-speckled cook books. Sharon was there, too, in her pleated skirt with her blouse hanging out, helping him find the canned pineapple bits, the dented More
17 Apr 2013
in food, health, Main dishes, recipes, stories
Tags: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicken, family, German, nutrition, probiotics, sauerkraut, traditions, vegetables
Will and Isla carefully chop through mountains of cabbage.
“In the old days,” Vinny says, “people made their own sauerkraut so they would have veggies to eat during the long winters.Your great grandpappy was a sauerkraut-maker extraordinaire. People came from all over to buy his home-made kraut. Now, we just go to the deli. It comes in jars or cans, too, at the grocery store. I like the Polish kind best myself. It’s good to keep the old ways alive. Keep chopping!”
“Val deree, val derah, val deree, val der-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” sing Will and Vinny at the top of their lungs. Isla just hums, too busy chopping to get involved with words.
Today we know that the old ways were healthy ways. Sauerkraut is what you get after cabbage is well salted and allowed to rest for a few weeks in a crock, closed off from air. Salt pulls water from the cabbage to make a brine. The little bugs that thrive in this environment are good bacteria. They make the brine acidic, in a process called fermentation.
Cabbage makes good sauerkraut
These healthy bugs go by the name probiotics. They work against the bad bacteria in our stomachs to improve digestion.
Many people think the healthy bacteria protect us by keeping inflammation in check, reducing allergies, preventing constipation, and boosting our brain power. The science is still young. But to be safe many nutritionists recommend two servings of probiotic foods a day.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods… like pickles, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and, of course, sauerkraut. You can also get probiotics in supplements. But unless you’re taking antibiotics, which wipe out the good bugs along with the bad ones, it’s best to rely on real food for your probiotics.
Sauerkraut processed in cans or jars doesn’t have any live probiotics, because heat kills all those cute little helpful bacteria. Instead, buy it raw at farmer’s markets or delis for the real stuff. Or make it yourself!
But processed or cooked sauerkraut still has all the nutrients from cabbage. Enjoy it both ways. It’s packed with vitamin C!
Pair well-rinsed raw sauerkraut with soft poached eggs in the morning. The meal has a nice tang and makes a satisfying start to the day.
At lunch, sauerkraut makes a tasty addition to salad. But what I like best is putting a big scoop into the bottom of my bowl before pouring hot soup over it. Yummy!
For dinner, Vinny suggests a Polish chicken dish, starring a heap of sauerkraut.
Vinny’s Polish chicken
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 large apple, cored and chopped
- 8 ounces sauerkraut, well rinsed to remove salt (if you have raw sauerkraut, reserve some to add to the plate at serving time)
- 12 medium Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 chicken breasts or legs, or a small roasting chicken
- Sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic in a large soup pot, using a bit of oil.
- Add the rest of the veggies, spices and other ingredients and over medium heat, bring to boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Before you start cooking the veggies, put a small chicken in the oven to roast or prepare three boneless chicken breasts for the barbecue. If the meat is ready first, keep it warm, then serve the chicken on top of the veggies.
- Alternatively, poach the chicken breasts in the soup pot, submerged in the liquid. Add the chicken after the liquid has come to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the meat to cook through, about 20-30 minutes. This method is easier, but I like roasted or grilled chicken better :).
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
Paprika boosts metabolism and fresh dill contains vitamins.
This dish is one of my favorites. The stove-top veggies are good with lots of lean meats… tasty even for folks who say they don’t like cabbage (or Brussels sprouts).
The veggies (per serving): Calories (kcal)100.1, Fat (g) 3.6, Sodium (mg) 377.0, Potassium (mg) 433.1, Fibre (g) 5.1, Vitamin A (RAE) 27.4, Vitamin C (mg) 48.7, Calcium (mg) 60.9, Folate (DFE) 51.4. The chicken: a 6-oz breast has 252 calories and 46 grams of protein.
A Polish meal is all I need
To make my day complete.
It’s hard to keep account of all
The cabbage that I eat.
09 Apr 2013
in food, health, recipes, Soups, stories
Tags: balanced meals, children, family, nutrition, protein, thrifty, traditions, vegetables
DIY with a different soup every time
The story of how bone broth came to be
On a winter’s night after a long day’s walk, a ragged beggar finds himself in a quiet farming village. He dreams of a warm fire and a hot meal. He knocks on the door of a tidy house. A pair of eyes peer out at him from behind the printed curtain. But no-one opens the door. At the next house a young woman with a crying baby tells him she has nothing to spare. He is even turned away from the Ukrainian church, where a few women are sewing together on a patchwork quilt. More
26 Feb 2013
in health, Holiday foods, recipes, Side dishes
Tags: balanced meals, buckwheat, carbohydrates, Christmas, family, gluten free, kasha, mushrooms, nutrition, traditions
Ukrainian Christmas stars kasha, AKA Buckwheat Groats… ♪♪♭♪
Vinny’s soup recipe today features an ancient food called kasha, AKA buckwheat groats. If you aren’t of Ukrainian or Russian descent, kasha might be new to you. This slow-carb staple, though, is not a grain. It’s a flower bud. How lovely is that! More
09 Jan 2013
in food, health, recipes, science, stories
Tags: baking, balanced meals, best recipes, chemistry, children, index 2012, mood, nutrition, reviews, traditions
A year in review, through Vinny’s favorite pictures. The pictures are a fun way to index some of the posts you liked best. Should old acquaintance be forgot… click through and remember! More
01 Dec 2012
in health, Holiday foods, stories
Tags: Advent, avoiding sugar, calendar, children, chocolate, Christmas, family, mood, reviews, traditions
Here we are, boys and girls, December First! It’s that magical time of the year when we start celebrating all things family, beginning with that special couple 2000 years ago who rejoiced together in a stable over the birth of their new-born son.
One fun tradition of the season is the Advent Calendar. Kids everywhere will be More
11 Oct 2012
in food, health, science, stories
Tags: biology, children, farmers market, fats, local foods, meat, nutrition, protein, Tibet, traditions, yaks
Let me tell you the strange tale of how a Sherpa girl called Yackity ended up on a ranch far from home and got to the meat of the matter. More
01 Aug 2012
in Appetizers, food, health, recipes
Tags: children, escargots, fats, French, garlic, goat cheese, gourmet, herbs, meat, milk, minerals, nutrition, protein, snails, traditions, vitamins
Bon Appétit !
Escargot, if you don’t already know this, boys and girls, is French for snail. Many of the best restaurants offer escargots on their menus. They’re delicious!
I know one little girl who ordered escargots whenever she had a chance, which was most often when we were traveling in Quebec or France. She liked her snails with lots of garlic butter, washed down with chocolate milk. Servers shook their heads in wonder when she placed her order. More
01 Jul 2012
in Desserts, food, health, Holiday foods, recipes
Tags: baking, cake, Canada Day, dates, goat cheese, nutrition, nuts, pizza, presentation, raspberries, traditions, war
Our home and native land is celebrating a birthday! Isla says: We need to bake a cake. Of course we do. I should have thought of that myself!
First, I thought about making a Victoria sponge cake, named after an old by-gone queen. But it doesn’t make the grade as a food suitable for posting here, where we like to feature healthy eating for kids of all ages… Darn!
Then I made a wonderful discovery. More
22 Jun 2012
in books, Drinks, food, recipes, Side dishes
Tags: British, children, cook books, custard, drinks, eggs, fruit, reviews, shrimps, tea, traditions, vegetables
Cooking up stories from Redwall Abbey
These traditional recipes were born during the scarce years of the Second World War… but many probably go back much farther than that, handed down by mothers and mother’s mothers in Britain ever since they began to grow potatoes and cabbages. More
09 May 2012
in Breakfast foods, health, recipes, science, Snacks
Tags: bananas, carbohydrates, children, diabetes, digestion, fiber, gluten free, heart, low glycemic, Native American, nutrition, oats, pemmican, sugar, traditions
Banana oat cones are healthier than ice-cream. They are also ridiculously tasty!
“Why do Mares and Does eat oats?” asks Will. “Oats look like dry little bits of paper. Ugh. Does Bambi’s mom know something we don’t?” More
12 Apr 2012
in Desserts, food, health, recipes
Tags: British, Christmas, custard, desserts, eggs, fats, fruit, rhymes, shortening, steamed pudding, suet, traditions
Spotted Puddink in English tea cups, with stirred vanilla custard
Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string;
If you’ll tell me this riddle,
I’ll give you a ring.
You may have already guessed the answer to this little riddle: steamed pudding!
04 Apr 2012
in food, recipes, Side dishes
Tags: British, Brussels sprouts, bubble and squeak, cabbage, carbohydrates, carrots, children, left overs, nutrition, potatoes, rumbledethumps, traditions, vegetables
Rumbledethumps, without its coat of grated cheese (so you can properly see the filling).
British kids like Harry and Hermione find foods with the strangest names on their school menus. Which of these dishes isn’t like the others… Is it Bubble and Squeak? Rumbledethumps? Hash? Or Spotted Dick? Here’s a hint: Think potatoes. More
05 Feb 2012
in Holiday foods, science, Side dishes, stories
Tags: alkaline, chemistry, children, Chinese, duck eggs, experiments, New Years, play, preservation, protein, sulfur, thousand year old eggs, traditions
They’re from Land Before Time!
With the Chinese new year just behind us, I invited some friends over to help me look into that famous Asian delicacy, 1000-year-old duck eggs. When the gang arrived, I pulled the brown, grassy ovals from the cupboard.
“These can’t be duck eggs!” Isla gasped.
“They look more like duck-billed dino eggs to me,” Will agreed. More
20 Dec 2011
in books, food, Holiday foods
Tags: art, children, Hanukkah, humor, latke, Lemony Snicket, potatoes, reviews, traditions, vegetables
Let’s make a latke!
I dare you to read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming without immediately jumping up to make a Latke. More
07 Dec 2011
in food, Main dishes, recipes
Tags: children, herbs, local foods, murre, Newfoundland, poultry, protein, savory, traditions, turr
Common murre… a food source in northern communities
Local foods sometimes make a tasting experience like you can get nowhere else. When I travel, I always try to find foods from the region. And at home I like to buy foods grown nearby. I find these foods are fresher and tastier than most supermarket stuff. Way more fun!
Watch an awesome video of a couple of guys in Newfoundland doing some home cooking. They got themselves a pair of murres and some local savory, and they’ve cooked up a real scoff ‘o turrs (a large meal of ducks for a party). Bake it like a man! More
20 Nov 2011
in food, health, Holiday foods
Tags: Advent, avoiding sugar, British, calories, children, chocolate, Christmas, London, play, traditions
London Tower helps bring Christmas closer
Only 10 more sleeps until we turn the calendar on a new month – December. Then the fun begins! Many people start counting down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar. Each day comes with More
10 Nov 2011
in food, Holiday foods, recipes, stories
Tags: British, hunger, rations, Remembrance Day, starving, sugar, traditions, trench food, trivia, vegetables, war
Food rationing in Canada, WWII
This week Vinny hopes you’ll stop to remember the bravery of our troops in past wars. But it’s not just guns and bombs they had to face up to.
During wartime, hunger was also a torment. As much food as possible was dished out to the troops, to help keep them strong in battle. But often, it wasn’t enough. More
15 Apr 2011
in books, food, Holiday foods
Tags: bones, children, Easter, eggs, horseradish, lamb, matzah, mood, Passover, reviews, traditions
What do a roasted bone, a hard-boiled egg, and some horseradish root have in common? They all find themselves on top of a biscuit called Matzah during the Jewish Passover. More
05 Dec 2010
in Breads, food, health, Main dishes
Tags: blood sugar, carbohydrates, family, French, meat pies, nutrition, pork, poultry, tasting, traditions, wild foods
Vinny made this tourtière from pork, not pigeons
Remember that song about a pocketful of rye? The king cuts into his pie, and surprise… a blackbird nips off his nose! This nonsense isn’t as silly as it first seems. More