Sunday, May 31, 2009

BBD: Whole Grain Bread with Ramon

I've just discovered "Bread Baking Day" and since I use only home baked breads instead of store-bought (Guatemala is tortilla country), I thought this would be a great incentive for me to play around with different breads instead of cooking the same tried and true recipe week after week. For the month of May, the theme of breadbakingday is Multi-grain Breads. When I arrived in New Brunswick last week, one of my first purchases was a multi-grain cereal, and I figured this would make an exceptionally great tasting bread. When I began rounding up the ingredients, I discovered, in Mom's pantry, a bag of Ramon flour that I had brought up with me last year, and I decided to include it for extra flavor and nutrition.

It took ages for me to find a recipe that I thought would be adaptable to the combination of whole grains with Ramon flour ... but I eventually found one that used bran (which I substituted for the whole grain cereal) and wheat germ (which I substituted for the Ramon flour) in The Bread Machine Cookbook". The description of the recipe says "Full of fibre yet moist and lush. Very good for breakfast". This sounded perfect.

Whole Grain Bread with Ramon


PLUS the Ramon flour that I forgot to put in the photo above ...


1 c milk
3 Tbsp. veg oil
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ramon flour
3/4 cup multi-grain cereal
2 c white flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast

1. Combine yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water and the honey and set aside to proof.

2. Combine all dry ingredients.

3. Combine milk and vegetable oil

4. Add proofed yeast mixture to milk mixture, then add both to the flour mixture.

5. Mix well. Turn out on floured surface and knead well.

6. Leave in loosely covered bowl in warm place to rise.

7. When it has risen approximately double in size, punch down and leave to rise again.

8. When risen again, punch down, knead and shape into a loaf. Place in loaf pan and let rise again.

9. When ready, put in preheated 350 degree F. oven and bake for 45 minutes.

The Verdict:

I was called out during the last rising, and I think it could have risen more if allowed ... so it was a bit flatter than I would have liked ... however, that didn't affect the taste which was superb! The multi-grain cereal gave it a nice crunchy texture and the ramon flour added a subtle but unique flavor. As the recipe promised, it was moist and lush fresh from the oven ... we ate it with baked beans for dinner ...

and toasted with home made red currant jelly for breakfast ...

(and that was the best!!)


Saturday, May 30, 2009


Fiddleheads are a local delicacy that appears fresh on the market for only a short time each year. They are a type of fern that grows in the shady bogs and marshes in the spring when the water levels of the rivers and creeks goes down. My mother is from the Miramichi River area of New Brunswick, which is one of the most famous locations for finding fiddleheads, and during my younger years, we always made a special trip "over" in the spring to pick as many as we could find. What we couldn't eat fresh over the next few days, Mom would parboil and freeze, to pull out for special meals (and to make meals special) throughout the summer, fall and winter.

I've heard it said that fiddleheads taste something like asparagus, but with a pat of butter and a few drops of vinegar, I find they have a taste all their own. They are cooked like most other vegetables ... you clean off the bits of brown fern frond, soak them in cold water for an hour or so, then steam or boil in a small amount of water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. They are a perfect accompaniment to seafood, particularly baked haddock with mashed potatoes which are also New Brunswick delicacies. I've been fortunate in arriving this year at peak fiddlehead time and although it has been many years since I have actually gone "fiddleheading", we have been able to buy as many as we can eat and freeze from local roadside vendors.
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Bacon Wrapped Scallops

A journey to southern New Brunswick would not be complete without a feast of scallops ... and although they are sweet and delicious when freshly shucked and raw (the way we used to eat them on the boat when my Uncle John had scuba dived for them) or just sauteed in butter, one of my favorite ways to eat them is wrapped in bacon and baked. My cousin Greg is visiting from "out west", and was missing seafood as much as I was, so he brought over enough to treat us all for dinner and even did the cooking!

Bacon Wrapped Scallops


Bacon (strips cut in half)
"Peaches and Cream" Corn as side dish (optional)


Cook bacon until it is about 2/3 cooked

Wrap bacon around rinsed raw scallops and fasten with a toothpick.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes and serve with fresh steamed "Peaches and Cream" Corn and mashed or baked potatoes.


SUPERB! The partly cooked bacon ensured that the scallops didn't dry while cooking (one of the challenges of cooking scallops) and the flavor of the bacon enhances the taste of the scallops. The corn was a perfect accompaniment. I wouldn't change anything.

Scallop Eyes

The distinctive shaped scallop shell


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CEiMB: Crispy Fish Fingers

This is my week to choose the recipe for "Craving Ellie in My Belly" and since I am visiting Mom in New Brunswick, Canada, I decided to make something that would be native to this area and not easily obtainable in the jungles of Guatemala. Something that involved seafood seemed like a natural, so I perused Ellie's recipes with that in mind. I thought first of making something with shrimp or clams, but Mom isn't crazy about shellfish unless its lobster ... and I didn't know how easily other chefs could get lobster. (I, myself, will most definitely be eating at least one or two lobster rolls here before I go back). In the end, I decided on a favorite from my childhood, Crispy Fish Fingers, although in those days my "fish fingers" were called "fish sticks" and came frozen in a box.

On my way through Boston to get here, my sister-in-law gave me a couple of boxes of Panko Bread Crumbs to try (we can't get them in Guatemala), so I decided to do an experiment and coat half of the "Fingers" with Panko Bread Crumbs (I used the Pecan Panko Breading) and the other half with the home made crumbs that Ellie suggests.

I also substituted regular mustard for the Dijon which Mom didn't have in the house ... and haddock for the flounder.

Crispy Fish Fingers
2008, Ellie Krieger


4 slices whole-wheat bread (1-ounce each)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound flounder fillets
2 eggs, beaten to mix
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
Put the bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until bread crumbs form.

Toast the crumbs in a large, dry nonstick skillet over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the crumbs with a spoon if they begin to stick together, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. On a plate, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Cut the fillets into 4 by 1-inch strips. A few pieces at a time, dip the fish into the flour mixture, dusting off the excess. Dip the fish in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet and continue until all of the fish is breaded.

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chives and cayenne, if using.

Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper and set aside until the fish is cooked.

Serving size: 6 pieces and 2 tablespoons sauce


I served them with mashed potatoes and cole slaw ... basicly a meal right out of my childhood.

After the 10 minute suggested cooking time, I didn't think they were cooked enough and put the back for another couple of minutes ... BIG MISTAKE. Ten minutes was obviously enough. They were somewhat dried out. Fortunately, the dipping sauce was excellent and went a long way to moistening them up.

Both types of crumbs were crispy and as near as Mom and I could tell, an unnoticable difference in flavor.

I will definitely make them again ... and the only difference I would make is to take them out of the oven after 10 minutes. Fish Fingers Rainforest Recipes HAS MOVED. Come and visit us at our NEW LOCATION: Project Ix-canaan: Rainforest Recipes


Sunday, May 24, 2009

CEiMB: Thai-Style Halibut with Coconut-Curry Broth

I was travelling from Guatemala to Canada last week and wasn't able to cook this recipe for publication on Thursday, but the recipe looked so interesting and received so many great comments (plus I love fish and am now in the land of fresh fish)that I decided to make it for Mom and I after I arrived. I picked up a couple of haddock filets and just before I began to cook, one of my brothers called and said he had bought some fish (also haddock) and fiddleheads to welcome me home, and was on his way with some of his family, to spend the day with us, so I decided to give this recipe the ultimate test and serve it to them all.

The recipe calls for both shallots and scallions, but in the local superstore all I could find were "green onions" which I think could also be called chives (I'm not really sure), so I cut them up and sauteed them for the sauce... and didn't add anything to the sauce at the end where Ellie calls for scallions.

I also decided to use red swiss chard instead of the spinach ... I like it better than most spinach and it was also cheaper!

Also, as I mentioned above, I substituted haddock for the halibut ... haddock has always been my favorite fish since I was a child and spent my summers fishing with Dad so Mom would have lots of haddock to freeze for our large family for the winter months.

Thai-Style Halibut with Coconut-Curry Broth

2006, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved
4 Servings

Ingredients :

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste*, or 2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon, plus more for seasoning
4 (6-ounce) pieces halibut fillet, skin removed
Steamed spinach**
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
*Available in the Asian section of most supermarkets

**Steam or microwave 5 cups of washed baby spinach for 2 minutes

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.

Season the halibut with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the fish in the pan and gently shake the pan so the fish is coated with the sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 7 minutes.

Arrange a pile of steamed spinach in the bottom of 4 soup plates. Top with the fish fillets. Stir the cilantro, scallions, and lime juice into the sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle the sauce over the fish and serve with rice.


This dish was superb! Everybody cleaned their plates. The curry flavor wasn't strong at all, and the flavor perfectly suited the swiss chard.
Even Landon loved it when my niece, Chavah, mashed some up with his fiddleheads!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken with Jerk Sauce and Cool Pineapple Salsa

I probably would not have chosen to make this recipe myself ... mostly because E. doesn't like his food too hot and finds fruit with meat a little weird. However, I was glad to see it come up as the weekly Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe so I would have the excuse to try it for myself. This weeks pick was by Jenn from Notes From the Table.

I was also happy to note that the recipe contains THREE ingredients that I have growing in my garden ... hierba buena, which is not EXACTLY the "mint" that is called for in the recipe, but is more like a "spearmint" which a lot of of the local housewives grow in their "garden"; chives, which are also not exactly the "scallions" that are called for in the recipe, but I love to use things I have grown myself if absolutely possible (it makes me feel like a "pioneer") and I figured in this case it was close enough; and lemons, which are not EXACTLY the "limes" that are called for, but these lemons are green and I have still to find the difference between a green lemon and a lime.

I also thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the light, lemony Doncella Honey that I had bought recently from a travelling honey saleswoman.

One of the great things about Ellie's recipes is that they are so fast and easy to make. Taking the photos is sometimes more time consuming than producing the actual recipe!

Chicken with Jerk Sauce and Cool Pineapple Salsa

Recipe By: 2007, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved
Serving Size: 4


For the salsa:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup finely diced pineapple
1/3 cup finely diced ; seeded English cucumber
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

For the chicken:
4 teaspoons olive oil ; divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves ; about 5 ounces each, pounded to 1/2-inch thick
1 cup chopped scallions ; (about 6 scallions)
1/2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile pepper ; seeded and finely minced (wear gloves when handling)
1 clove garlic ; minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger ; or 1/4 teaspoon ground
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice


For the salsa:

In a small bowl whisk together the honey and the lime juice.

Combine the pineapple, cucumber and mint in a medium bowl, pour the dressing over and toss to combine.

Set aside.

For the chicken:

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Stir in the scallions, pepper, garlic, ginger, allspice, and thyme.

Cook for 30 seconds over a medium heat. Add the chicken broth and soy sauce and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.

(I somehow missed getting a photo of this step)

Put the chicken back in the pan and coat well with the sauce. (Since I forgot to flatten the breasts a bit before cooking them, I decided to actually put them back into the sauce and let them simmer for a few minutes).

Serve with the pineapple salsa.


I loved it! Shortly after starting to cook the chicken, I realized that I had forgotten to flatten out the breasts, and I was sorry that I hadn't. In the end, it probably didn't make a lot of difference, and it might have been the reason that the chicken was so juicy and moist. I served it with fluffy white rice which seemed to be the perfect backdrop for the exciting blend of flavors ... the coolness of the salsa with the spicy heat of the jerk sauce. But what is more surprising is that E. liked it as well ... he ate it all and said that yes, he would be happy to have it again!

To see how other bloggers are preparing this dish go to the Craving Ellie Blogroll.


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