Canadian Candy Bar Salad – “Fusion Salad”

So – It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog entry!

A LOT has happened – we packed up and sold our house in Minneapolis, got everything onto two shipping containers, and moved to Canada. Shortly before we sold the house, we moved into a small, 27′ motor home, and that’s been “home” right up until we closed on our new house a couple weeks ago. The kitchen didn’t really lend itself to creating blog worthy meals, and we’ve been very busy with getting settled, so.. no posts. We’re now mostly settled, so I can get back into posting from time to time.

For the first recipe being posted from within Canada, this one seems appropriate. We’ve been calling it “fusion salad”.

This weekend, we attended our first social event in Ontario – a potluck BBQ. We were fussing over what we should bring, and my husband joked that we should bring a Minnesota “salad” – basically a desserty item made with things like Cool Whip, fruit, pudding, etc. One thing led to another, and we ended up coming up with a “Minnesota-Canadian Fusion” version of Snickers Salad, which we brought to the event last night. (Along with my Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake, just in case our creation didn’t turn out well!)

We decided to use our 3 favourite Canadian candy bars, because neither of us wanted to actually choose. We decided to keep the Granny Smith apple, so the sour crunch could provide a good foil for all that chocolate.

For the fluff, we decided we would be adding maple syrup… because obviously we would. Knowing that, we decided on a cream cheese based fluff, so that the syrup wouldn’t be competing with pudding mix, nor would it be sickeningly sweet as a result.

What started as a joke ended up turning out really well! Once people got past the look of it (“What is THAT?”) and actually tried it, it seemed fairly popular. Definitely a conversation piece! The maple syrup in the fluff definitely elevated it from normal “salads” – it seemed to really tie everything together well. It just added a little something, without being overpowering.

If you are in the USA, these chocolate bars may be available in the international aisle of some grocery stores, and/or at World Market.

Also, as a tip: My $9 cheapie sushi knives that I bought off Amazon work REALLY well for cleanly cutting candy bars, as you can see with the garnish slice in the pic. (A Mr Big bar, sliced on an extreme diagonal!). You know, in addition to making sushi, carving foam, and everything else I use them for!

Enjoy!

Minnesota-Canada Fusion Candybar Salad
Makes about 8-10 cups worth

3 Wunderbars
2 Coffee Crisp bars
2 Mr Big bars
250 g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup icing / powdered sugar
1 L / 16 oz container Cool Whip, slightly softened
4 Granny Smith apples

Thinly slice all 7 candy bars, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and maple syrup together until smooth. Add icing sugar, continue mixing until well combined and smooth.

Gently fold in Cool Whip, until well combined. Add chocolate pieces, once again gently folding until well combined.

Chop Granny Smith apples into bit sized pieces, gently fold into mix.

Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. Top with reserved candy bar pieces, if you set some aside.

NB: The sugars in the Cool Whip and Maple Syrup will draw the juice from the apples, so if you let it sit TOO long – more than 12 hours or so – the fluffy will break and become runny.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Moving Back to Canada? Here’s a Timeline!

We’re quickly coming up on the “Two Months Before We Move” date, and it’s so exciting! I have my Google Calendar all colour coded (Daily chores, appointments, events, etc), and it’s thrilling to see more and more purple – move related tasks – coming up on the calendar. This has been SO long planning, it’s great to have things finally happening, you know?

I am a gigantic logistics nerd, and have had everything scheduled and on the calendar since the moment we had a vague target moving date. Once we scheduled a firm moving date, I updated everything, and have been obsessing over it ever since.

With the mass exodus of Canadians leaving the USA right now (I’m in multiple groups specifically geared towards Canadians moving themselves and their American spouses/families home!), I figured it would be a good idea to publish a timeline to help others. I know how overwhelming things can be, it’s a HUGE undertaking – and having things laid out can really make it seem more do-able.

So, here’s a list I came up with. Most of it is based on our situation (Canadian married to an American, spousal sponsorship applied for/approved while still in the USA, have pets/no kids moving with us), but can be easily adapted for your particular situation. Some things will vary based on province you’re moving to (for instance, health insurance). Maybe you’re moving back alone and don’t have to worry about immigration issues, etc. It should be a good start, and will hopefully inspire you to think of other things more applicable to you. (“Oh, that reminds me, we should _____!”).

All of these are ideal suggested time lines, for planning ahead. If you find yourself on a shorter timeline, just do anything under the time line target dates you’ve missed ASAP.

So, here we go:

As Early as Humanly Possible:

* Look into your employment / schooling situation in Canada. Will your schooling / certifications transfer over? Will you need additional education? Are you qualified to do your job in Canada? If you’re currently in school, will your credits transfer? Plan accordingly!

In our case, it turned out that my husband isn’t qualified to do the career he’s been doing for 20 years in the USA, as he doesn’t have a degree. So, he’s been doing some university here in the USA, and applied for University in Canada once we move.

* If you are married to an American (or someone from another country), look into the immigration process for Canada, and decide whether you want to do it yourself, or hire a lawyer. In our case, it was just my husband, we decided to go for spousal sponsorship from the USA, and it was VERY easy and straightforward, no lawyer needed. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

* Consider learning / brushing up on French. If a non-Canadian is moving up with you and is going on the points system (rather than by spousal/etc sponsorship), French competency is good for some points. It also opens up more possibilities for employment.

* Contact an accountant that specializes in cross-border financial issues and find out everything you need to. There are tax implications for EVERYTHING. Get expert advice, schedule anything you need to (tax filings, when would make the most sense to transfer assets, etc etc.

* Research the logistics surrounding buying a house, as applicable to your situation. There are tax penalties for foreign buyers and non-resident buyers. Know what you’re getting into, early!

1 ½ years Before Moving:

* Decide on a firm moving date if you can. This will form the point from which you work backward on this list!

* Apply for residency for any non-Canadians, if that’s the way you’re going. We found the process very easy, and we liked having everything set before we moved. If hiring a lawyer, find one now.

* If you’ve had any kids in the USA and have not yet obtained Canadian birth certificates for them, do so.

* Figure out the basic logistics for HOW you’re getting back. Driving or flying? Taking a moving van yourself (U-Haul, etc), or hiring a moving company. If you have pets, how are they getting back? Will you visit ahead of time to set up a place to move directly to, or will you rent/stay in hotels while looking for a place? Schedule anything that needs to be scheduled.

In our case, our cats were a major deciding factor for us. We’ve heard too many horror stories about flying pets, and we don’t want them to be stuck in a kennel somewhere – exposed to kennel diseases – while we get our situation figured out. So… we bought an RV to move them from here to there, and for us to live in while we find a place. Unorthodox, yes… but when it comes down to it, renting won’t even be an option, so we had to get creative!

1 Year Before:

* If you’re selling a house, walk through and decide on everything that needs to be done in order to sell. Room by room, come up with a list of repairs to make, etc, and schedule it. It’s a lot easier to pick away at things well in advance, than to rush it all right at the end.

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1 Year to 6 Months Before:

* If you are moving in the summer, book your movers WAY ahead of time. Many Canadians moving home are using U-Pack – and they tend to book up well in advance. Even if you’re moving in the off season, you should still contact your moving company 6 months in advance to ask about when you should book with them.

* If you’re moving to close to the border, consider signing up for the NEXUS preferred travel programs.

* If your passport(s) are not up to date or valid, renew one or both, as applicable.

* Start a zip up file folder/binder for your important paperwork for the move. Ours has pockets for:

Travel Documents: Passports, NEXUS cards, my husband’s immigration documentation and permanent resident card, etc

ID Documents: Birth and marriage certificates, SIN paperwork

Itinerary Info: Moving company paperwork, hotels you’re staying at, RV park contract (in our case)

Vehicle Paperwork: Bills of sale, vehicle registrations, importing/exporting paperwork, etc

Packing Manifests: Copies of the paperwork that will go to both the border and the moving company

Vet Papers: Vaccination records, etc

Banking Info: Bank account paperwork for Canadian accounts, any Canadian credit card paperwork, etc. Copies of past tax returns (Can be good for obtaining a bank account/loans in Canada)

Mail and Cell Phone Paperwork: Info for the Canadian cell phone account we set up, info on the two PO Boxes we set up.

Job Search: Copies of reference letters, resumes, etc.

6 Months Before:

* Research mobile phone providers in the area you’re moving to. Find out if your current phone – if you’re keeping it – is compatible. Contact your current service provider to find out what you will need to to in order to transfer it (Pay off the phone, any extra fees, if they have to unlock it, etc)

* Take a trip to Canada if at all possible, do to as much of the following as possible:

– Set up PO box. As we are moving relatively close to the border, we also got a PO box in New York, just in case.
– Get a cell phone with a Canadian number, set up a bank account.
– Try to get a Canadian credit card – we were approved through our new cell phone provider.
– Reactivate your SIN if it’s gone dormant (Just go to a Service Canada location, it takes only minutes!)
– Check out neighbourhoods, etc

* Email yourself your Canadian mailing address and phone number, if applicable. It’s good to have in easy reach!

* Set up a Canadian based paypal account, link it to your Canadian bank account.

* Contact a local real estate agent and get an idea of the time line you’ll want to work with for your area. If you have a set move date, add in key dates based on this. (When you need the house completely cleared out to show, when you’ll need a dumpster for – if applicable, etc)

* Check into your benefits, see what you’re entitled to before you leave the job, and when you qualify. Book those appointments for before you leave the job: Eye exam, dental cleaning, etc.

* Look into the health insurance situation in the province you’re moving to. Some provinces offer health coverage as soon as you arrive, others – like Ontario – have a waiting period. You may need to arrange for interim health insurance for once you arrive. You can do so well in advance!

* Make a bucket list of things you want to do/experience in your area before you move, schedule them as necessary. (Restaurants, favourite theme parks, etc)

* Look into festivals, trade shows, etc that you’d be interested in, in the new city – add them to the calendar for after the move. If you are a vendor at conventions, or sell through trade shows (for instance, I sell my books at gluten-free shows), start researching the options in the new city, make contact.

* Look into importing your vehicle into Canada, and decide whether you’ll be doing that, or selling it / buying a new one. This is a very individual decision, and will depend on things like how attached you are to your vehicle, the value/ how much it will cost you to bring it over, how much life it has left, how necessary a car is where you’re moving, etc (For instance, if we were moving to downtown Toronto, we would not bring our car over)

* Start packing items that you won’t be using in the next few months. Sort out the things you’ll want to sell/donate, list items for sale.

5 Months Before:

* Start compiling a list of every company and service you’ll need to do changes of address with. Once you have a good list going, keep it updated anytime you get a reminder of something else to add. I did it via a table in WordPerfect, but a spreadsheet will work. I have columns for “How Far In Advance”, “Company”, “Where/How” (Online, phone, etc), “Which Address” (Canadian or American PO Box), “Status”, and “Notes”. I have sections for “2 months in advance”, “1 month in advance”, etc. Some hints on who to include:

– Credit card companies
– Banks
– Social groups / member organizations you belong to
– Doctor and vet offices
– Government offices: City/county taxes, DMV,
– Anyone you do business with

* Start compiling a list of the things you will need to cancel. For each one, find out when you should cancel the service/etc, and add it to your timeline for the appropriate date. Some hints:

– Online streaming services – Netflix, Hulu, etc
– Amazon Prime
– Home security company
– Utilities
– Insurance companies
– Gym membership (if it’s a chain that’s also in Canada, call and ask about transferring – you may get grandfathered in on a cheaper plan!)

3 Months Before:

* Start researching the various insurance coverage needs you’ll need in place once you leave you job in the USA. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider insurance for your pets, disability insurance, eye/prescription insurance, life insurance, etc.

* Research what your pets need in order to cross into Canada, and make those arrangements. (Link for info). In our case, our cats just need rabies vaccinations and vet certification for those vaccinations.

* Decide on the route you’ll be taking home, and what border you’ll be crossing at.

* Make plans for where you’ll be staying in between selling your house in the USA (if applicable), and settling into a new place in Canada. Make reservations as needed.

* Start asking friends in the area you’re moving to for recommendations on a real estate agent there. Decide on one, make first contact.

* Plan a going away party.

2 Months Before:

* Start working on paperwork to import your vehicle, if applicable. (Knowing what border you’re crossing at helps!)

* Submit changes of address to any organizations that you are members of, and anything else on your “2 months before” category for address changes.

* If you are an Etsy seller, set up a Canadian Etsy account, link it to your Canadian bank account, and start setting it up. Screen cap all of your reviews, etc – none of this will transfer over, and Etsy cannot/will not transfer your established account to be able to pay into your Canadian bank account – you need to start completely from scratch. I used screen caps of my past reviews on my old account as photos on new account listings.

* Start working on a folder to give the new owners of your house, if you’re selling. We included paint information for every room (where we bought it, the paint brand/type, the colour name and number), any quirks of appliances, a bit of history, paperwork for appliance warranties, user manuals, etc.

* If you are selling any of your American vehicles, discuss when you’ll list them, and schedule that. We are selling one of our 2, and listing it 2 months before.

* Talk to your doctor about any current prescriptions you’re on, and what your plan is for once you arrive. You likely won’t have time to decide on a new doctor right away when you arrive, and your current doctor’s prescriptions won’t be valid in Canada. You may be able to get a prescription for several month’s worth of your prescription. Alternatively, if you’re moving to somewhere close to a border, you may want to find an American pharmacy close to where you’re living, and have your prescriptions sent there until you’re settled.

* Look into the area you’re moving to, for fun things to do. Consider booking tickets, etc for an event or two, for something to look forward to. In our case, I signed up for a local discount thing similar to Groupon, and bought vouchers for a museum event, a tall ship cruise, etc that expire several months after we move. It gives my husband – who is terrified of moving – something to look forward to.

* Decide when you’ll be resigning from work, schedule it.

1 Month Before:

* File change of address with: Employers, the IRS, the Social Security administration, voter registration, USCIS (if applicable), city/county tax assessor, DMV, insurance companies, store/discount memberships (IKEA, CVS, etc), website hosting company, and anything else you scheduled under “1 month before”.

* Contact credit reporting agencies (Equifax, etc). Place a credit hold on your accounts, file change of address.

* Arrange for mail forwarding with the post office.

* If any of your American credit or bank cards are expiring in the next year or so, arrange to have them all replaced now.

* Arrange for any permits you may need for your moving day (parking permits, etc)

* Get reference letters / claims history statements from your home and auto insurance companies. Get reference letters from utility companies, etc. While you may not need the utility company reference letters, it’s better to be over prepared, than under.

3 Weeks Before:

* Send an email to the Canadian border office you’ll be crossing at, if applicable. In our case, the border wants an email with a scan of our vehicle title, with the VIN and ITN numbers as the email subject. They will send an auto response email, which we are to print and bring as proof of submission when we cross the border. This MAY vary between different border crossings.

* Contact auto manufacturers for fresh recall clearance letters. In our case, I contacted Ford through their website and had an email version within a couple days, and the printed copy a couple days later. File this in your binder for the border.

2 Weeks Before:

* Renew all prescriptions. (2 weeks gives leeway in case of any issues)

* Get proof of driving experience from your state. File this in your documents binder.

* Wire transfer money to your Canadian bank account, if applicable.

* Get reference letters from banks and credit reporting agencies.

* Fill out your customs forms.

* Back up all of your computer files onto disks that you will keep separate from the move. IE: if you are shipping your computers, keep the backups with you.

Just Before Moving:

* File change of address with: all bank accounts, all credit cards, any online payment processors/income sources you may have (for instance: Shopify, Etsy, Paypal, vet, your doctor/eye doctor/dentist/etc.

* Print out current credit report, file in your documents binder.

Immediately After Arriving in Canada:

* Apply for provincial health insurance.

* Register for a Canadian driver’s license. Do this AFTER you do anything that needs your ID (bank account, health insurance, etc), as at least some provinces take your existing license when you apply for a Canadian one.

Very Soon After Arriving in Canada:

* Check in with an immigrants organization in your area. (www.Settlement.org has details for Ontario, for instance.).

* Arrange for your RIV vehicle inspection, if you haven’t already. In our case, we scheduled it for the morning we crossed, at the location closest to that border crossing.

* Buy a vehicle, if applicable

* Register & insure your vehicle(s)

Once You’ve Purchased a House / Rented an Apartment:

* Set up with utilities: water, sewer, garbage/recycling, electric/gas, cable/satellite TV, internet, phone

Once You Have Settled into a House or Apartment:

* File changes of address with everything that you don’t want going to your PO box. Add in your new accounts: Canadian Driver’s license/vehicle registration, provincial health insurance, bank account, Canadian credit cards, mobile phone, etc. If keeping your PO Box, give them your new address as well.

* Find a doctor, eye doctor, dentist, vet, pharmacy etc as needed. Contact your former providers to have records transferred to.

Hope this helps you prepare for your Voyage Home!

In the meantime, if you need some comfort foods from back home, check out “More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods From My Home and Native Land”. It was written by an expat, specifically for expats!

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Crab Rangoon Pizza

A few weeks ago, a thread on a Facebook group – I don’t even remember what it was about – ended up drifting to the point where I learned something interesting: Crab Rangoon Pizza is a THING. I’d never heard of it, and had never considered the possibility, but all of a sudden I NEEDED IT.

I wanted it to be our own, so I brainstormed with my husband on what we would want “Crab Rangoon Pizza” to be. We decided no pizza sauce, using Rangoon filling as the sauce. I would do a higher proportion of crab to cream cheese than I normally do, to balance out the cheese that would top it. It would need a lot of green onions. The crust should be thin and crisp, as a stand in for the wontons.

Sweet chili sauce should be involved somehow. We debated this for a bit… Should we brush the crust with it before spreading the filling? (No, too messy). Should we drizzle it on before baking? After baking? Just use it as a pizza dip?

After some playing around with it, the clear winner was to drizzle it on after baking. Baking didn’t add anything to it, and it just looked nicer as a fresh, unbaked drizzle.

This was fantastic! A ton of flavour, a great alternative to traditional pizza flavours and textures. We made this gluten free, utilizing “Caulipower” crusts, but you can use any pre-made pizza crust or crust recipe that you like.

While I think thin crust works well with the idea of Rangoon, I think a thicker, softer crust would hit the comfort food feeling even more than this already did – I’m definitely going to try it that way in the future!

After we snarfed our pizza, we Googled to see how our creation compared to what was out there. Looks like we hit the same basic concept, had proportionately more crab (which it really needs!)… but the real stunner, for me, was that some people apparently make Crab Rangoon with fake crab? I had no idea – I’ve never had/seen if made with fake crab. Definitely use real crab if at all possible.

Anyway, enjoy!

Crab Rangoon Pizza
Makes enough “sauce” for 2 Medium pizzas or one extra large pizza

Sauce:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cans crabmeat (~6 oz each), well drained
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Assembly:

Pizza crust(s) of your choice
Thinly sliced green onions
Grated cheese – We like a mix of Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan for this.
Sweet chili sauce

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in crab meat, green onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and sesame oil, stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Following the baking directions for your pizza crust, assemble the pizza. (Some crusts/crust recipes want you to bake it for a bit before putting toppings on, some don’t. Do whatever is supposed to work for the crust you’re using.)

– Spread crust(s) with sauce.
– Sprinkle generously with sliced green onions, top with grated cheese.

Bake as directed. Remove from oven, drizzle with sweet chili sauce, serve immediately.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

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Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Moi-Moi Recipe

The brain can be a funny thing some time. I’ve been craving moi-moi for over a week now, ever since seeing Black Panther (One of the best movies I’ve ever seen, Shuri is EVERYTHING, I will spare you a page full of raving!).

The movie never made mention of moi-moi, btw. I don’t think it made mention of food at all, now that I think about it… but the MUSIC. The music made me homesick for Winnipeg, by way of Folklorama, where my husband and I love the African pavilions in particular. (and the Green pavilion… and the First Nations pavilion… and the Ukrainian pavilion.. well, basically everything!)

Being immersed in that music for a couple hours brought me back to the first time I had moi-moi, at the Africa Pavilion. We always try a bit of everything when we go to Folklorama, and I think we paid $1 for a serving of moi-moi. We had no idea what to expect, and we were presented with a pretty little mound that looked like a pink panna cotta. It was warm – which surprised us – and had a texture sort of like mousse, but more solid.

I was instantly in love, and broke my “don’t order more than one of the same thing at Folklorama!” rule… a few times. Whoops. Whatever, it’s healthy – moi-moi is MINE-MINE!

Anyway, yes… Black Panther -> joyous African music -> Boom, week long craving activated.*

Moi-Moi (or moin-moin) is a traditional dish in Nigeria, a steamed bean pudding. It can be vegetarian or not, it can be served straight up, or with any number of items baked into it – hard boiled eggs, corned beef, etc. It can be served warm or cold, and is just a really great, healthy dish.

I’m very much “the way I first have it is the RIGHT way” when it comes to things (even when I know otherwise – again, the brain is a funny thing!), so I make it based on the first way I had it – vegetarian, no “extras” baked in, served warm.

I’ve tweaked my recipe a few times, and I think I’ve got it almost accurate to the source material, save for one small thing – texture. I don’t get mine QUITE as smooth as they do, because I kind of mail it in when it comes to peeling the beans. Theirs was silky smooth, mine is just slightly short of that. Still has an amazing texture, and the flavour is amazing.

You know, I hate the term “greater than the sum of its parts”, but this is one instance where that phrase really applies. This is such a simple dish, with pretty basic ingredients… I have no idea how it ends up so flavourful and amazing. It doesn’t sound like much, on paper!

I like to eat this straight out of the oven, or sliced and reheated. Serve it with rice or a salad for a meal, or just munch on it alone as a high protein snack.

* It’s not the only time we’ve had powerful Folkloama cravings brought on by music. The song “Hot” (by Middle Phinger) on the “Beatclub – A Celebration of Canadian Dance Music” CD reminds us of the music Afro-Caribbean pavilion dancers use for the limbo dancing, and it always makes us crave Roti.

Moin-Moin / Moi-moi Recipe

Makes 2 bread pans worth of pudding

1 lb dry black eyed peas
2 large red bell peppers
1 large onion
2 habaneros
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cubes of chicken or vegetable bouillon
2 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil

The night before you want to make this, get the beans started:

In a large bowl, cover the beans with hot water, allow to soak for 1 hour. Drain the water off, transfer beans to a food processor, and blitz about ten times, just to break them up a bit. Return beans to the large bowl, cover with hot water, and agitate – the skins will start to float.

Use a slotted spoon to skim off floating skins, and dispose. Stir the beans with your hands a bit, rubbing beans together as you go – more skins will float. Skim those off, and repeat.

Once skins stop floating, I pour the water off carefully – it’ll bring more water with it. I’ll scoop bits of skins off the surface of the beans – sometimes they don’t get carried off by the water. Cover with more water, and repeat.

Once I’m happy with the amount of skins removed, I’ll cover it with water one more time, and allow it to soak overnight.

To make the moi-moi:

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Liberally spray two glass bread pans (or several ramekins) with cooking spray, set aside.

Chop and seed the bell and habanero peppers, peel and chop the onion. Add peppers, onion, garlic, and bouillon cubes to food processor, process until smooth.

Drain the beans, add beans to food processor and process til smooth. Add a little water, if you need, to get it going – but not a lot. I tend to let the food processor run for about 5 minutes, your mileage may vary.

Once smooth, add salt, paprika, and vegetable oil, blitz again until well incorporated.

Place each bread pan into a larger baking dish. Add water to large baking dish until about halfway up the sides of the moi-moi dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, transfer to oven.

Bake for about 2 – 2 ½ hours, until the sides of the moi-moi start to pull away from the baking dish. Allow to cool a little, before inverting onto a serving plate.

Serve warm, enjoy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Gluten-Free Dumplings

This weekend, I’m finally getting around to doing belated American Thanksgiving. We’d actually taken a trip up to Winnipeg a couple weeks ago, so didn’t do anything really Thanksgiving-y at the time.

As with any time I roast a turkey, part of the grocery planning involves what do to with the leftovers – and that generally involves me making bone broth off the carcass. One of my favourite things to do with homemade broth is to make this soup, originally published in my first gluten-free cookbook, Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking. This is definitely a favourite at our house – rich, thick, hearty, and one of the ultimate comfort foods.

While the recipe was originally designed to be used with fresh chicken breast – for speed and ease – it’s easy to make this with leftover turkey. Skip the initial browning of the meat, and simply toss in chopped up roasted turkey breast leftovers with the wild rice, broth, and potatoes.

It’s very customizable, even beyond choice of poultry. Sometimes I’ll skip the dumplings, sometimes I’ll add some parsnip with the carrots, and sometimes I’ll toss a couple handfuls of frozen peas in, right near the end.

Whichever way you do it, enjoy!

Gluten-Free Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup with Dumplings

2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
3.5-4 lbs Chicken breast, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, pressed
3 Carrots, sliced
5 Celery ribs, sliced
1 1/2 cups Uncooked wild rice
10 cups Chicken broth
2 lbs Red potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Brown rice flour
1 cup White wine
3 cups Heavy cream
1 Tbsp Dried savoury
Salt and pepper

In a large, heavy pot, cook onions in olive oil until just starting to go translucent. Add chicken breast, cook until outside browns slightly. Add garlic, carrots, and celery, cook for one minute. Add wild rice, broth, and potatoes, bring to a boil. Set a timer for 35 minutes.

While soup is boiling, make your roux:

Melt butter in a medium sized pot. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to turn slightly golden. Add wine, whisk until smooth. Add cream, continue whisking until smooth. Turn heat down to lowest setting, keep warm, while making the dumplings:

1 cup Light buckwheat flour
3/4 cup Millet flour
1/4 cup Potato flour
1 Tbsp Parsley or savoury flakes
2 tsp Tapioca starch
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Shortening or butter
1 1/4 cup Milk or buttermilk

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flours, parsley or savoury flakes, tapioca starch, baking powder,and salt. Measure shortening/butter into the same bowl, and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork(s). The idea is to work it in until it’s evenly distributed throughout, in very small pieces.

Add milk/buttermilk, stir just until dough comes together. Don’t over stir or beat it. If dough is too crumbly, add a small amount of extra milk. If the dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour.

When the timer goes off, add the roux mixture to the main soup pot, stirring to combine well. Add savoury, season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop rounded tablespoons worth of dough into boiling soup. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes WITHOUT LIFTING THE LID. Serve hot.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Pirate Cookies, Do-Si-Dos)

As with many of the cookies in my gluten-free cookbooks (“Beyond Flour”, “Beyond Flour 2”, and “More Than Poutine”, which are available for purchase HERE), these are another example of a recipe that is actually better done as a gluten-free cookie, than the source material. As many GF flours have more flavour than regular/all-purpose flour, proper blending and use of them will result in a more rich, flavourful end result.

The recipe for these cookies began as a craving for an off-the-shelf cookie from back home – Pirate Cookies. My husband had never tried them, so I made a gluten-free version… and I was promptly informed that they were very much like a Girl Scout cookie he liked. (After some Googling, it appears he means Do-Si-Dos). Either way, they turned out amazing, and now disappear FAST whenever I make them. I aimed for a little softer and smoother of a cookie than the source material, because I’m not a fan of crispy cookies. If you prefer a crispy cookie, allow to bake for an extra minute or two.

If you are making these for someone who is gluten-free, be sure that they can handle oats. Also, be sure to only use oat flour that is certified to be gluten-free.

Makes about 30 2″ cookies

Oatmeal Cookies:

3/4 cup Gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Butter, softened
2/3 cup Granulated sugar
1 Large egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Corn starch, for rolling

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/4 cup Smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 cups Icing (Powdered) sugar
2 Tbsp Water

For Cookies:

Whisk together dry ingredients (except sugar) until well combined, set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in egg, beat well. Add vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Slowly add dry mix to the mixer bowl, and carefully mix until well incorporated and smooth. Wrap dough in plastic film, chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C), line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle clean work surface with corn starch, roll dough to 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out rounds, place cookies 1″ apart on greased baking sheets. For added accuracy, use a fork to gently make a grid pattern on top of half of the cookie rounds, before using drinking straw to punch a small hole in the center of each of those marked rounds.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms look lightly golden.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving. Cookies need to cool completely before filling, so make your filling now!

For Filling:

Whip peanut butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix until incorporated. Slowly add powdered sugar a bit at a time, until incorporated completely. Beat on high for 1 minute – mixture will be very, very thick.

Lower mixer speed to lowest setting, and slowly add water. Once incorporated, check for consistency. Add more water or powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

To fill:

Spoon prepared filling into a pastry bag. Cut the tip off and pipe about a small amount of filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Flip over, top with another cookie. (If you went for the accuracy with a straw, use the cookies with holes in them as the top in each cookie sandwich.)

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Big Changes – If You’ve Purchased My Cookbooks, Please Read This!

Hey everyone,

So, I’ve been dealing with a … uh, fun… hand dealt to me, and I guess it’s time to let you all know about it, as it could possibly affect you – especially at this time of year.

Almost *immediately* after my latest book – More Than Poutine – was released, the printer jacked their prices for that particular size/format of book by over 50%. This rise in print prices eats up my entire profit, when it comes to wholesale book sales – including those sold through Amazon and other major online book retailers. After print cost and wholesale discount / book sellers cut comes out, there was nothing left for me!

Not only was it obscene, it was the worst possibly timing – I effectively lost online sales profit from the first month that More Than Poutine was released. First month, right before the holidays… Ouch.

In going back and forth with the printer/publisher, it came down to either increasing my retail price drastically, or changing the size of the book. After some thought, I decided to go with the latter option.

The original size of the books – all of my cookbooks – was 7 x 10. A small change, down to 6×10 was all it took to bring the cost down to almost what it had been, originally. Luckily, my original font size was large enough that the change is barely noticeable -it’s still very easy to read.

It’s been a LOT of work to reformat each of my six cookbooks – re-cropping every single photo, changing font sizes, adjusting everything as a result, completely redoing the covers, etc – but most of the books are now currently in revision at the printer/publisher, with the final two (Evil Cake Overlord and The Spirited Baker) going in for revision later this week.

How does this affect you?

Well, personally – and this may be my own autistic need for consistency! – I would be really annoyed to be collecting books, and have the next purchase end up a different size. So, here’s the deal:

The books I personally have on hand are all of the original size. If you are looking to complete your collection, or are looking to buy more for someone you’ve previously gifted one or more of my books to, you’ll want to order them off my website , here: http://www.celebrationgeneration.com/blog/book-store

I have a limited stock of these, so you will want to do so sooner rather than later – sorry about that! Once my current stock is gone, I’ll have to order the new size in, as that’s all that will be available.

Moving forward – as I have at least 1 more cookbook to write – the original size of new titles will be made available through Kickstarters ONLY, as a special “legacy sized” option – and this will cost a bit more than it has, historically. The new size will be the main option, and this will be indicated in the details for the campaign.

My sincerest apologies for this! Had it been a small change – and just a matter of making a little less on each book – I probably would have let it slide. Not being able to earn anything from my work, however, is untenable!

Once again, thank you for all of your support!

Marie

“Moon Mist” Ice Cream Recipe

Yesterday marked the official release date of my latest cookbook, “More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from My Home and Native Land”!

Maybe it’s that I’m a Canadian living away from home – during troubling times! – maybe it’s that I love a challenge… but I am especially proud of this book. It’s definitely my favourite among the cookbooks I’ve written – not only does it have all of the great traditional recipes from back home (from across the country!), but I developed a bunch of homemade, VERY accurate versions of all of the store-bought comfort foods that are most prized by expat Canadians.

There’s a lot of really great stuff in here, to the point where I can’t help but laugh when I flip through the book – I really got ridiculous about it. There are recipes in there that I’ve been meaning to replicate for years, and just hadn’t gotten around to. It was funny, some of the things I got the MOST requests for… like mass produced cream cheese chip dips, and BBQ sauce you can buy for $2.XX back home! I’m so proud to have created recipes that are all but indistinguishable from the source material!

Due to trademark issues, none of the actual source material names are mentioned in the book, so I had fun coming up with alternative names. Canadians will be able to identify most – if not all – if them almost instantly, from the photos alone. For everyone else… consider it a fun game, a bit of bonus entertainment! 🙂

In addition to having over 120 base recipes for traditional and retail Canadian foods, all but 2 or 3 of the recipes that aren’t already inherently gluten free include alternate ingredients and instructions to create very accurate, pass-for-normal-food, gluten-free versions of almost everything in here!

Anyway.

This recipe – which I called “Lunar Vapour” in the book – ended up being a last minute addition to More Than Poutine, as the result of a conversation with a Halifax food blogger, Lindsay of “Eat This Town“. Lindsay mentioned a type of ice cream popular in Nova Scotia – one that sounded either amazing or revolting, I wasn’t quite sure! – Banana, Bubblegum, and Grape marbled ice cream!

After a bit of research, I was shocked that this hadn’t come up when polling people for recipes to include in this book, as it appears it’s wildly popular – not only in Nova Scotia, but in New Brunswick and Newfoundland too! I was shocked to hear about Newfoundland, as I’d never seen it there in the few years I lived there… but then again, I was pretty obsessed with The One True Ice Cream there: Moo Moo’s Turtle Cheesecake. MMMMmm. Anyway, here we are.

This recipe is the only one I’ve had to do with no exposure to the source material, because logistics are absolutely in the way in this case. So, I adapted my own basic ice cream recipe to be a bit closer to commercial ice cream style (higher milk to egg yolk/heavy cream ratio than I normally go with!), and flavoured it to a nicely balanced level, using widely available flavourings. Even if this isn’t exactly as the source material is, it should definitely be very close – and it’ll be the closest you can come, using retail-available flavourings!

The colours I used were all Americolor gel paste colourings, in “Lemon Yellow”, “Sky Blue”, and “Regal Purple”. The Regal Purple was mixed with a little bit of “Electric Pink” to tone down the blue in the “Regal Purple”.. but this was completely optional fussiness on my part!.

These colors are widely available at cake decorating supply stores, as well as online… but any food colouring will work!

While you’re waiting for everything to chill, be sure to check out what others are saying about the book on Amazon – HERE – and buy your own copy, either from Amazon, or from my site directly, Here.

Enjoy!

“Moon Mist” Ice Cream

Makes about 8 cups / 2L ice cream

6 Large egg yolks
2 cups Granulated sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
3 cups Heavy whipping cream
3 cups Milk
Food colouring in yellow, blue, and purple
LorAnn Flavour Oils in Banana Cream, Bubblegum, and Grape

In a large pot, beat egg yolks together with sugar and salt until fluffy. When thoroughly combined, add a little of the milk at a time, whisking until fully incorporated and smooth – you don’t want any unblended chunks of egg mixture. Add remaining milk and heavy cream, whisk until well combined. Heat just to the boiling point, whisking constantly. Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat. Divide mixture out evenly into three glass bowls, allow to cool to room temperature

Once cooled, use food colouring to tint the mixture in one bowl yellow, another blue, and the third purple.

Add 1/4 tsp Banana Cream flavour oil to the yellow mixture, 1/4 tsp Bubble Gum flavour oil to the blue mixture, and 3/4 tsp Grape flavour to the purple mixture. Stir each well, rinsing the spoon off between flavours. Cover all bowls and transfer to fridge to chill overnight.

Prepare yellow ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once it reaches a good thick ice cream texture, transfer back to the bowl and freeze. Allow ice cream maker to refreeze for another 2 hours, or – ideally – overnight.

Prepare blue ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once it reaches a good thick ice cream texture, transfer back to the bowl and freeze. Allow ice cream maker to refreeze for another 2 hours or – ideally – overnight.

Prepare purple ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. As it approaches the frozen stage, remove the yellow blue ice cream from the freezer.

Scoop random balls of yellow and blue ice creams into a freezer-safe dish that will hold 2L of finished ice cream. Ladle some mostly-frozen purple ice cream all over it, allowing it to flow into any crevices. Press mixture down slightly to eliminate any air holes.

Scoop more yellow and blue ice cream in, top with more purple and repeat until all of the yellow, blue, and purple ice cream is in the final container. Cover and freeze until firm.

Alternately: If that sounds like too much work – or too many dishes to wash, just layer the flavours into the final freezer container, as they come out of the ice cream maker. Just be sure to dig deep when scooping!

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Berbere Lentils Recipe (Yemisir Wat)

As you may know from previous blog entries – and social media posts! – we recently attended Folklorama, in Winnipeg. It’s my absolute favourite event every year, and has been kind of … therapeutic?… since moving to the USA.

Anyway, I’m planning to do a write up on it eventually, but in the meantime, back to today’s recipe!

The Ethiopian Pavilion is a must stop for us, every time that we make the trip for Folklorama. It’s not as big and flashy as many of the other pavilions, but what it DOES have is some of the absolute best food of the entire festival.

After returning from the trip this year, Porter requested that I figure out Ethiopian cooking – ESPECIALLY the firey lentils that he loves. So, I did a bunch of research and put together recipes for both the berbere seasoning (which seems to vary wildly, based on who makes it!), and the lentil dish named for the seasoning. Made a batch, LOVED it.

Couple days later, I get the following photos and a text of “YOU FINISHED THE LENTILS!?” from my husband:

… So I made another batch, and decided that I should probably blog the recipe. HIGHLY addictive stuff, this is!

First off, you’ll need to make the Berbere Seasoning. This makes more than you’ll need for the lentils recipe, but is great in almost anything that could use a kick. Try it as a dry rub on chicken!

Berbere Seasoning

½ cup dried chiles (packed!)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Measure chiles, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves into a dry, nonstick pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

In a spice grinder, process toasted spices into a fine powder. Allow to spices to settle a bit before opening the grinder – the powder can be irritating to lungs and nasal passages!. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add remaining spices to the bowl, stir well. Store in an airtight container until use.

Berbere Lentils

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1/2 cup canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped or grated
1/3 – 1/2 cup Berbere seasoning
1 Tbsp ginger puree
1 Tbsp minced, pressed, or pureed garlic
1 cup dried red lentils
3+ cups water
Salt and pepper

In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, cook onions in canola oil until soft. Add Berbere (Start with 1/3 cup if you’re not used to this!), ginger, garlic, and lentils, stir well. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil.

Once mixture boils, turn heat down to medium or medium-low. Simmer lentils – stirring frequently – until water is absorbed and lentils are mushy. Remove from heat.

Taste, add more Berbere if you’d like, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, with injera.

Spinach Pies Recipe

So, we’re at that point in the moving phase, where we’re starting to look at pre-move bucket lists : things we want to do here, before moving to Canada.

For me, that means spending time with friends when possible. For my husband – who grew up here – it’s more things like going to the State Fair, Valley Fair, etc one last time. Also: Have me create a great Spinach Pie recipe. There’s a great local Lebanese deli – Emily’s – that makes spinach pies that he adores.

While we’d usually go for a direct replica when it comes to something like this, he decided he preferred to have a bit of fun with it, developing a custom filling. So, if you’re looking for an Emily’s knockoff, this is not the recipe you’re looking for! (It is definitely in the same ballpark, though.)

To adjust it a bit more to my husband’s tastes, there is more filling than in the source material, as well as flavour additions like kalamata olives. Ours features an egg glaze, giving the outside of the crust a bit of sheen, and a bit of bite/crunch. For a softer finished crust, skip the egg glaze.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 large hand pies

1 cup warm – not hot – water
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
½ cup sour cream
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, beaten

4 packets frozen chopped spinach (40 oz total), defrosted
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 oz crumbled feta
3 Tbsp finely chopped kalamata olives
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 oz pine nuts, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper

1 egg
1 Tbsp water

Stir yeast and sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl: combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, stir well to combine. Add sour cream, olive oil, and eggs; mix well to combine.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, make your filling:

Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach, set aside.

In a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add spinach and garlic, stir well to combine, cook over medium heat until liquid is completely gone. Remove from heat.

Stir in feta, olives, dill, pine nuts, lemon zest, and nutmeg, stirring until well combined. Add yogurt, stir until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out. We divided the mixture into 6 equally sized balls, – but you can make them smaller by dividing into 8 sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 , line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stretch each dough ball into a round, approximately 8″ diameter. Scoop about 3/4 cup of filling into the center (1/2 cup, if making smaller ones), and fold the edges in to make a triangle, as shown below:

Gently flatten each pie out to about 1″ thick.

Once you have all of your pies formed, set them on lined baking sheets to rise for another 10 minutes.

Whisk egg together with 1 Tbsp of water, brush over the tops and sides of each hand pie. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm or room temperature, with tzatziki dip, if desired. (I have a great recipe for it in More Than Poutine!). Wrap any unused pies in plastic and chill until use.