Tag Archives: cooking

You Got the Power

“That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.”

― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

After a course in leadership and management I tried to define for myself the meaning of “power.” My strategy was to search through Winnipeg Public Library’s catalogue for books with the keyword “power” and then read all of them. While I am still pretty well stuck with the definition by Leo Tolstoy at this point, I managed to work myself through a whole mountain of books, some of which I would like to recommend.

Power Politics

The New York times has called Noam Chomsky, “arguably the most important intellectual alive” and “perhaps the clearest voice of dissent in American history.” Our expectations of Mr. Chomsky will not be disappointed by the collection of interviews in Power Systems : Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire. Chomsky explores many of the immediate threats to the U.S. and the dangers they pose to the “U.S. Empire.” Regardless of the fierce backlash he faces in his own country, he continues to be undeterred in his activism. He compares 9/11 to Bill Clinton’s bombing of a factory in Khartoum, Sudan, that resulted in as many as tens of thousands of Sudanese deaths. He charges the U.S with “stabilizing” countries by invading and destroying them. Regarding Osama Bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. troops he comments, “We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” Chomsky’s words will not find universal acceptance, but he isn’t afraid to speak his mind; and that is what makes his writing particularly exceptional and this book very worthwhile reading.

Power Yoga

I have to admit that I tend to be more of a couch potato than an athlete, but I do love yoga and its many benefits. This is why Power Yoga for Athletes, by Sean Vigue, caught my attention. I was not disappointed. Whether you’re looking to improve balance, focus, control, breathing, posture or flexibility; strengthen your back, joints, or core; or reduce or heal injury, yoga has been recognized to help with all of that. In this book, however, the author goes a step further and adapts yoga practices to the sport of your choice, to enhance performance, strength, and focus. Each pose features step-by-step directions, instructional photography, the muscle groups being worked, the overall benefits, and the sports for which each is ideal. Whether you already practice yoga or not, this book is a great addition to your regimen of athletic development.

Power Cleansing

Cover image for Power souping : 3-day detox, 3-week weight-loss plan : 50+ simple and delicious recipesMany of us may be familiar with the idea of juicing for weight loss, detoxification and boosting energy. In Power Souping, nutritionist Rachel Beller explains how souping can do all that, with the added benefit of being low in sugar and high in fiber. Plus, with the colder months not so far off (sorry) a nice hot soup sounds a whole lot more enticing to me than juice. Good bye juicing! Hello souping! Beller offers more than 50 delicious soup recipes, most vegan and many gluten free. The book also contains an easy 3-step action plan:

  • 3-Day Detox: pure, clean souping to jump-start your weight loss
  • 3-Week Transformation: shed up to 15 pounds with tasty soups and other healthy meals
  • Maintenance Method: tips to keep you on this simple and sustainable plan

What makes this book soup-erior (again, sorry), though is that it offers not only a practical, science-based weight-loss method, but also a guide to feeling your amazing, energetic best. This book is definitely worth a look, even if you do not need to lose weight and just want to boost your energy.

Power Horticulture

Cover image for Power plants : simple home remedies you can growPlants and their healing properties have been known and used for thousands of years. Unfortunately, much of this traditional knowledge has been lost to the western world. Two of Canada’s top authorities in their fields, gardening expert Frankie Flowers and alternative medicine expert Bryce Wylde have teamed up to help regain some of the lost art of harnessing the healing powers of plants. You do not have to go wildcrafting to reap the benefits of certain plants. Power Plants: Simple Home Remedies You Can Grow introduces you to a carefully selected list of forty-nine plants that can be grown in almost any Canadian garden. With Flowers’s easy instructions you can go step by step from planting to harvesting. Bryce then picks up with clear guidelines on how to put the plants to work; fighting everything from constipation to heartburn, high blood sugar to bad breakouts. Even if you have the legendary black thumb the book will help you out with simple substitutions. So go ahead and plan to supercharge your health with a simple trip into your garden.

Power Eating

Cover image for Power vegan : plant-fueled nutrition for maximum health and fitnessWhat do Canadian endurance athlete Brendan Brazier, world class tennis player Venus Williams, and Canadian two-time world champion pairs skater Meagan Duhamel have in common? Other than being super athletes, they are also vegan. Power vegan : plant-fueled nutrition for maximum health and fitness by Rea Frey is a guide to finding the foods that will power your daily life. The idea behind power eating is not a fad diet. Rather, it is about incorporating foods into your life which make you feel good, are easy to prepare, and are fairly inexpensive. I am confident that you will find more than one dish in there that you will thoroughly savour. The book is filled not only with tips, but easy 30-minutes-or-less recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks. Whether your goal is gaining energy, building muscle, or simply feeling and functioning better, you will be provided with the tools to get healthy while avoiding all-too-common pitfalls. This handy guide is not about being tied to the gym or the kitchen, but rather about creating a lifestyle for yourself that keeps you fit and healthy while being kind to the planet and all its creatures. In this complementary article you learn about Meagan Duhamel’s journey as a high-performance vegan athlete. Be encouraged to follow in her footsteps!

This is just a very small selection of materials I have found in the Winnipeg Public Library’s catalogue under the keyword “power”. There were so many more I really enjoyed, which got me interested in different subjects and broadened my horizon in a variety of fields such as history, politics, nutrition, sport and social psychology. As always the library has been a true treasure trove of knowledge and entertainment. A treasure trove right at your fingertips to explore, enjoy and challenge your brain, because “There is great treasure there behind our skull and this is true about all of us. This little treasure has great, great powers, and I would say we only have learnt a very, very small part of what it can do.” -Isaac Bashevis Singer

-Elke

Euro 2016 and Armchair Eating

The UEFA Euro 2016 has started! The international men’s football (soccer) championship of Europe is being held in France, and runs from June 10 to July 10. For the first time, Euro is being contested by 24 teams, instead of the usual 16-team format. Many of the countries represented have participated in past tournaments, including FIFA 2014 World Cup winners Germany, Italy, Russia, Euro 2008 and 2012 winners Spain, England, Czech Republic, hosts France, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Romania, Croatia, Switzerland, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, and Ukraine. Five teams secured their first-ever visits to the competition: Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, and Wales. I’m disappointed that my beloved Flying Dutchmen didn’t quality. (They lost both home and away against Iceland and Czech Republic, and away with Turkey with a resounding 3–0 score. Iceland, people, Iceland. OK, maybe I’m a bit bitter, too.)

During the last Euro competition in 2012, I put together a list of books by authors from each of the 16 countries represented. I considered doing the same thing this year, but frankly that’s boring, so I thought a different focus was warranted. Thanks to a suggestion from my co-worker Phil, I’m going to combine football with another one of my favourite things: food! After poring through many of the library’s cookbooks (note to self: next time I will wait until after lunch to do this), I’ve selected recipes from some of the 24 countries to try out during the competition. I hope you also find them enticing. If you haven’t already done so, check out the happenings of our cook book clubs!

Baked Swiss Dumplings (Switzerland)
Recipe found on page 33 of The Alpine Cookbook: Comfort food from the mountains  by Hans Gerlach
Serves 4 (makes 12 dumplings) – Prep: 35 minutes + 1 hour inactive time + 25 minutes baking time

For the dough:
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
Salt
7 tbsp clarified butter
½ cup milk
caraway seeds and Fleur de Sel to sprinkle on top

For the filling:
1lb 2oz (500g) pointed cabbage (or other white cabbage variety)
3½ oz (100g) Salsiz, pancetta or smoked bacon
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup beer
1 bunch parsley
3½ oz (100g) Tomme Vaudoise (a soft Swiss cheese) or Camembert
2 tbsp shredded Alpine cheese (such as Sbrinz, Gruyère, or Allgauer Bergkase)
freshly ground salt and pepper

  1. For the dough, combine flour and one large pinch salt in a bowl. Bring clarified butter, milk, and ½ cup water to a boil and pour over the flour. Stir using a large kitchen spoon until you have smooth dough. Cover and cool for about one hour.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the filing. Quarter the cabbage, remove stalk, and chop into thin slices. Peel and dice the Salsiz. Melt the butter in a pot; add the cabbage, Salsiz, salt, and pepper. Steam for 5 minutes with the lid on, deglaze with beer, and cook for an additional 5 minutes without the lid until the liquid has almost all boiled off. Season to taste and allow to cool. Pick the parsley leaves from the stem and chop; cut the Tomme Vausoise into small cubes, and add to the cabbage mixture along with the parsley and shredded Alpine cheese.
  3. Preheat the oven to 390ºF (200ºC) or 360ºF (180ºC) (convection oven). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 14 by 19in (36 x 48cm), or until about 1/16in (2mm) thick. Cut into 12 squares (4–4 ¾ in (10–12cm) edge length). Add a heaping tablespoon of filling to each square, brush the edges with water, and form into triangles. Seal the edges using a fork or trim using a serrated pastry wheel.
  4. Transfer the triangles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with water and sprinkle with caraway seeds and Fleur de Sel. Place on the second rack from the bottom of the over and bake for 22–25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Tepsi Böreği (Turkey)
Recipe found on page 204 of Mediterranean Cookbook: Fast, fresh, and easy recipes from Spain, Provence, and Tuscany to North Africa and the Middle East
Serves 6 – Prep: 30 minutes + cooling and standing + 1 hour cooking time

2lb (900g) spinach
7 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 red onions, finely chopped
2oz (60g) dried apricots, chopped
2oz (60g) pine nuts, toasted
6 sheets of phyllo pastry, 16 x 12in (40 x 30cm), thawed if frozen
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10oz (300g) feta cheese, crumbled
flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
lemon zest, to garnish

  1. Rinse the spinach, shake off the excess water, and pack into a large pan. Cover and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until just wilted. Drain well through a sieve, pressing the spinach against the sides to remove as much water as possible. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp butter and cook the spices with the onions over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 7–8 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in the apricots and pine nuts, and then set aside. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Grease and line an 8in (20cm) springform pan.
  3. For the pie, melt the remaining butter. Brush the pan with the melted butter and cover the bottom with a sheet of phyllo, leaving the edges overhanging, and brush with butter. Continue with 5 more sheets, brushing each with butter.
  4. Blot the spinach with paper towels, then chop finely. Stir into the onion mixture and season. Pile half onto the pastry crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the cheese, then cover with the remaining spinach mixture. Fold the overhanging phyllo over the spinach, piece by piece, brushing with butter. Brush the top with any remaining butter and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before carefully releasing from the pan. Serve hot or warm, cut into wedges, and garnished with parsley and strips of lemon zest.

Swedish beet and apple salad (Sweden)
Recipe found on page 117 of Mouthful of Stars: A constellation of favorite recipes from my world travels  by Kim Sunee
Serves 6–8

3 large beets
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 (8oz) container crème fraîche or sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 to 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground white pepper
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, coarsely grated
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tbsp coarsely chopped capers, rinsed of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  2. Rinse the beets and place in a large piece of aluminum foil. If they are very different in size, cut the larger ones in half so they will take about the same amount of time to cook. Drizzle with the olive oil and wrap tightly. Place on a baking sheet (to catch any leaking beet juice) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender but not mushy when pierced with a fork. Remove the foil and let cool until able to handle. Peel the beets and cut into thin strips (about ¼in (6mm)).
  3. Combine the crème fraîche, dill, horseradish, vinegar, and white pepper to taste in a large bowl. Stir in the roasted beets, apples, onion, and capers. Taste and add more pepper, vinegar, or horseradish as needed. Chill until ready to serve.

Patatas bravas (Fierce potatoes)
Recipe found on page 169 of Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The world’s most delicious food made easy by David Joachim
Serves 8. Hands-on time: 20 minutes. Total time: 3 hours 29 minutes

2lb baking potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp saffron threads, finely crushed
¾ tsp salt, divided
½ cup chopped yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 bottled roasted piquillo peppers of 1 bottled roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
1½ cups unsalted tomato puree (fresh or canned)
1 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground red pepper
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

  1. Soak whole potatoes in ice water in refrigerator 2 hours; drain. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Steam potatoes, covered, 9 minutes or until just tender. Rinse with cold water; drain and pat dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 450ºF (230ºC).
  3. Combine 1½ tbsp olive oil and saffron in centre of a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 450ºF (230ºC) for 3 to 4 minutes to bloom saffron. Scrape oil and saffron into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula. Return pan to oven. Add potatoes and ½ tsp salt to saffron oil, tossing to coat.
  4. Spread potatoes on preheated pan; bake at 450ºF (230ºC) for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crisp, stirring twice.
  5. While potatoes cook, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 1½ tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and bay leaf; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted pepper, tomato puree, paprika, and ground red pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf. Place pepper mixture, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and vinegar in blender. Remove centre piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escap); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Spoon sauce onto plates or a platter. Top with potatoes, and sprinkle with chives.

Seafood crêpes (France)
Recipe found on page 167 of International Night: A father and daughter cook their way around the world  by Makr Kurlansky

For the crêpes:
3 eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1½ cups buckwheat flour
1½ cups milk

Beat the eggs with the melted butter, buckwheat flour, and milk. The batter should be thin but creamy. If too thick, add more milk. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day: Once you’ve melted some butter in a big pan, pour in a ladle full of the batter. Then, using the round bottom of your ladle spread the batter in a circular motion until it’s pretty thin. Once the centre part is dry, it’s ready to flip. You’ll also see that the batter will darken slightly, and even get a little bubbly. Then you slide a spatula, a big one, under the crêpe. Lift it and turn it on to the other side.

For the filling:
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1 leek, thinly sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
½ tomato, finely diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
a large pinch of salt
5 tbsp butter
½lb fillet of sole, cut into strips
½lb bay scallops
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
3 small heads endive
2 tbsp butter

Sauté the shallots, leek, mushrooms, tomato, thyme, and salt in about 2 tbsp of butter. After everything is thoroughly sautéed, add the sole, scallops, and wine. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Lift out the fish and scallops, place some on each crêpe, and wrap. Pour the heavy cream into the skillet with the liquid and cook vigorously until it has reduced its volume by about half. Add the remaining 3 tbsp of butter and stir vigorously until completely incorporated in the sauce. Pour sauce over crêpes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.
Serve with endive that is sliced lengthwise and sautéed in butter.

Sweet Ricotta Crostata (Italy)
Recipe found on page 240 of The International Collection: Home-cooked meals from around the world  by Canadian Living
Makes 24 servings

For the filling:
3 cups ricotta cheese (1½ lb/675 g)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
2 eggs
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk

For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Pastry: In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until in fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. Add eggs; toss with fork until dough starts to clump together, adding 1 tbsp cold water if too dry. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Whisk together ricotta, sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and cinnamon.

Cut off one-third of the dough; set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll out remaining dough into 13-inch (33cm) circle. Fit into 10-inch (25cm) round tart pan with removable bottom. Scrape in ricotta mixture, smoothing top. Trim dough to leave ½-inch (1cm) overhang.

On lightly floured surface, roll out reserved dough into 12-inch (30cm) square. Cut into twelve 1-inch (2.5cm) strips. Weave strips, about ½ inch (1cm) apart, over filling to form lattice top. Trim strips even with edge of overhang.

Whisk egg yolk with 1 tsp water; brush some under each strip where it meets bottom pastry edge. Press to seal. Turn overhang inside and flute edge.

Brush remaining egg yolk mixture all over top of tart. Bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven until pastry is golden, about 55 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Bàbovka (Czech Republic)
Recipe found on page 125 of The World on a plate: 40 cuisines, 100 recipes, and the stories behind them by Mina Holland
Serves 10–12

14 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
1 1/8 cups Czech flour (polohrube mouky) or all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the cake pan
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ tbsp vanilla sugar, or 1 ½ tbsp super fine sugar and 2–3 drops of vanilla essence
4 medium eggs, separated
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
confectioners’ sugar to dust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter and 9½– to 10-inch ring-shaped cake pan, sprinkle a little flour around the sides and shake out the excess.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter with approximately two thirds of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla sugar. Slowly beat in the egg yolks and blend thoroughly. Add half the flour and the baking powder and beat well, then stir in the rest of the confectioners’ sugar and the flour. Don’t mix too much from hereon or your mixture will become too sticky.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form peaks, and then gently fold these into the mixture. Be careful not to overmix. The mixture should fall off a spoon in lumps, not drip. Halve the mixture and separate into two bowls. Sift the cocoa into one half and mix well. Keep the other half white.
  4. Spoon the light and dark mixtures into the cake pan in layers, running a fork through the middle in a swirling motion to create a marble effect. The pan should be two thirds full.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan and sifting some confectioners’ sugar over the top to serve.

T’boftë mire! Smakelijk! Dobar tek! Dobrou chuť! Tuck in! Bon appétit ! Guten Appetit! Jó étvágyat! A ligean ar ithe! Verði þér að góðu! Buon appetito! Smacznego! Bom apetite! Poftă bună! Приятного аппетита! (Prijatnogo appetita)! Dobrú chuť! ¡Buen apetito! Smaklig måltid! Afiyet olsun! Смачного! (Smačnoho) Mwynhewch eich bwyd!

Fermentation 101: A Cook Book Club Update

Fermentation is a process that dates back more than 6,000 years, when it was likely used by our ancestors to make alcoholic beverages and preserve food. Fermented foods are enjoying a renaissance.  Examples include making alcohol from fruits and grains, kombucha from tea and sugar, kimchi from vegetables, yogurt or kefir from milk, and sauerkraut from cabbage.

fermentationfort garry

Danielle Nykoluk promoted the benefits of fermented  foods at a recent Taste Buds Cook Book Club meeting at the Fort Gary  Library. Danielle is a founder of The Real Food Revival which offers traditional food skill-based workshops for folks who want more choice and control over their health and the health of the environment. She demonstrated how to make the health-supporting elixirs kombucha (a fermented tea) and kefir (a tangy drink made from fruit of milk) or a fraction of the cost at the grocery store.

What is fermentation? In a nutshell it is the use of beneficial bacteria and yeast to preserve food and beverages. In scientific terms, yeast, moulds, or bacteria convert sugar and other carbohydrates to acids, gases, or alcohol.

Not only does fermentation preserve foods and enhance flavour, fermented foods are good for digestion. Eating these foods actually improves the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of eating pre- and pro- biotic foods, which help to improve digestion and regular bowel function, enhance the immune system, ease anxiety and alleviate allergies.

For more recipes and instructions on how to make your own homemade fermented foods such as bread, cheese, yogurt, beer, pickles and other foods, check out these books:

artfermentation

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz

An in depth exploration of essential concepts and processes from around the world by a leading expert in the field.

fementvegetables

Ferment Your Vegetables

A fun and flavourful guide to making your own pickles, kimchi, kraut and more.

fermentedfoods

 

Fermented Foods for Health 

Use the power of probiotic foods to improve your digestion, strengthen your immunity and prevent illness

 

Join the growing movement of home fermenters and get great taste and good health with probiotic foods.

-Jane

Going Vegetarian- A Cook Book Club Update

einstein

Aside from devouring a raw bison liver in his Oscar winning performance in The Revenant, Leonardo Di Caprio is an avowed vegetarian. Di Caprio helped to launch the 2015 Netflix film Cowspiracy, a condemnation of animal agriculture as a  major contributor to global warming through production of methane gas, inefficient use of water, habitat loss and pollution from pesticide use. By avoiding meat, consumers also refuse to support an industry that raises animals in crowded pens, denies them  fresh air and sunlight and  then trucks them to inhumane slaughterhouses.

Besides reducing one’s carbon footprint and promoting animal welfare, there are some other feel good reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet. Health benefits include weight loss, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure and reduction of the incidence of diabetes and heart disease.

The key to a responsible vegetarian diet is to include a wide variety as no one food source is complete. For sound advice on kick starting your plant based diet consult Dietitians of Canada or Toronto Association of Vegetarians to ensure you include enough protein, Vitamin B12 and other nutrients in your diet.

Other tips include:

  • Incorporate “Meatless Mondays” into your week
  • If you can’t give up one animal product, give up all the others
  • Try substitutions – bean burritos instead of beef, marinara sauce instead of bolognese, veggie burgers instead of hamburgers
  • Eat out at ethnic restaurants which often have vegetarian options on the menu such as Thai, Indian, Chinese or  Mexican

Check out one of the many vegetarian cookbooks Winnipeg Public Library  has to offer. Here are some of the recipes tested by members of Fort Garry Library’s  Taste Buds Cook Book Club who made a foray into the world of plant based foods.

lentil-a-roni   Carla’s Lentil-a-roni from Isa Does It

chuckitin    Melinda’s Chuck It In Chef’s Salad from
At My Table: Vegetarian Feasts for Family and Friends

veglunchbowl2 Anne’s Vegetable Bowl from Mason Jar Salads

With a little effort it is easy to eat well, help to save the planet and embrace compassion for animal welfare.

Give peas a chance,

Jane

 

Full of Beans

 “Red beans and ricely yours.” Louis Armstrong loved red beans and rice so much he signed his personal letters thus.

2016-Pulses

The lowly bean was raised to super food status when the United Nations declared 2016 The International Year of Pulses. Beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas are the key to eradicating world hunger and addressing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Not only do pulses improve our overall health, they are also economical. According to The Bean Institute the average cost per serving of lentils is 8 cents as opposed to $1.14 for lean ground beef.

Pulses have the lowest carbon footprint of any protein source. Reduced reliance on meat consumption results in decreased greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. The water footprint required to produce a kilogram of beef is 18 times higher than the water required for a kilogram of pulses. Growing pulses improves soil health and reduces the need for fertilizer.

A  study by Dr. Peter Zahradka, a lead investigator into the health benefits of pulses, will look at a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as a reduced risk of diabetes due to the promotion of healthy blood sugar levels, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure through the consumption of pulses.

pulsepostpic

The gluten free humble legume is high in fibre, low in fat and packed with nutrients like folate, potassium  and iron. Typically Manitobans eat less than one third of cup of pulses per week. A healthy benchmark is ½ cup a day. Check out these cook books at WPL or look for more recipes online through  www.manitobapulse.ca.

veganbeansVegan Beans from Around the World – Adventurous recipes for the most delicious nutritious and flavourful bean dishes ever.

 

 

 

spillingbeans  Spilling the Beans- cooking and baking with beans everyday

 

 

 

The “Bean Team” from Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers will make a guest appearance at the Fort Garry Library on Tuesday February 2 at 6:30 pm to talk about the benefits of  beans and other pulses and to demonstrate some recipes. Call 204 986 4918 to register for this free event.

And join the Pulse Pledge, a global movement to commit to eating nutritious, affordable pulses once a week for 10 weeks.

“Red beans and ricely yours,” Jane

Gallery

It’s Freezing! A Cook Book Club Update

This gallery contains 8 photos.

It’s that time of year when the piano recital is back to back with the hockey game, Aunty Paula and Uncle Joe need to be picked up from the airport and your boss wants that project done “yesterday”. What’s for supper?! … Continue reading

What’s Cooking at Westwood: a Second Successful Year of Feasting!

In its second year, the What’s Cooking at Westwood? Cookbook Club met 10 times, reviewed 54 cookbooks, tasted 80 recipes, and drank countless cups of tea. Though the club includes seasoned (pardon the pun) cooks and novices alike, every meeting held a new taste or technique. For a second year, we tried new things and made new friends.

Carla made this delicious Warm Berry Sauce from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison

Carla made this delicious Warm Berry Sauce from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison

Our final meeting was a potluck, as it was last year. This year, members had a choice of making their favourite dish from the year or trying a new dish from a celebrated cookbook. In usual What’s Cooking fashion, the final potluck was a wonderful assortment of savory and sweet. We tasted spinach quiche, beer rosemary bread, mandarin orange salad and caprese salad to start. To finish we sampled from peach dumplings, cheesecake brownies and rhubarb hand-pies. It was a wonderful culmination of an exploratory culinary year.

As we enjoyed our final feast, we discussed favourite cookbooks and laughed about the meetings of 2014-2015. Highlights of our discussions were food politics, the food we ate growing up, individual cooking techniques, and in one instance, a “spirited” debate about the “correct” recipe for peanut butter cookies. We are all looking forward to another tasty and exciting year of What’s Cooking at Westwood when we resume in September.

Happy summer cooking!

-Britt

Food Fights and Diet Wars

“Food is an important part of a balanced diet”- Fran Liebowitz

Nutrition fads declaring the latest weight loss or magic cure-all diet dominate the media. The internet too spreads its share of less than accurate information. It all adds up to dietary confusion.

Most of what we thought we knew about nutritional evils turns out to be wrong. Every five years the United States updates its Dietary Guidelines and recently dropped its recommendation to restrict cholesterol. Scientific evidence shows only a weak link between dietary cholesterol & cholesterol levels in the blood. Eggs and shrimp are now back on the menu.

bigfatThe Big Fat Surprise explores the science behind why butter, meat, and cheese were once vilified and why they now belong in a healthy diet.

vitamaniaVitamania suggests that vitamin supplements are not the health enhancers we might wish. The reason is synergy,  the way in which substances work together. Vitamin C in a capsule, for example, may not act in the same way as it does when its surrounded by an apple’s other compounds.  Synthetically produced vitamins may actually cause more harm than good.

fedupAll studies agree that we’d  benefit from less sugar. Fed Up is a 2014 documentary that explores the fact that for the first time in history more people die of obesity than starvation. The food industry is at the heart of the problem. The U.S.  government issued regulations to lower the fat content in food. To make food more palatable, the industry added sugar. Now almost 80% of processed food has added sugar. As a result, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rates are soaring.

What diets should one follow to ensure proper nutrition? Taste Buds Cookbook Club wanted to find out. Here are some cook books that were awarded the Taste Buds “seal of approval”:

detox3Beet Avocado and Arugula Salad from Clean Slate which emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed food as part of a primarily plant-based diet.

berrycobbler

3 Berry Cobbler from Super Foods is a delicious way to eat a variety of berries. Berries may slow memory decline, reduce heart attack risk and provide anti-aging benefits.

Chicken Soup with KaleChicken Soup with Kale from Kale, Glorious Kale.  A superfood that packs a punch, kale has high levels of Vitamin A, lutein, calcium and antioxidants including Omega 3 as well as 9 essential amino acids.

whitebeankalamatahummus

White Bean, Kalamata and Basil Hummus from Eat Less Salt by the American Heart Association helps you to recognize “hidden salt”, include more  low sodium meals and stock your pantry wisely.

captain'scurry Captain’s Curry from 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes which encourages us to eat like our ancient ancestors.  The pros of this diet include more fiber, protein and omega 3. The danger is the lack of  grains, legumes and dairy.

The Tastebuds concluded that a one size fits all diet probably doesn’t work for most people. Incorporate what makes sense for you and ignore the rest. The current dietary recommendations to control sodium, enjoy low fat dairy and dairy substitutes, choose more nuts, fish, legumes and lentils and eat less meat will help to reduce your risk of disease and even increase your longevity.

Bon Appetit!

Jane

What’s New This March?

New library materials arrive every day, and it can sometimes seem overwhelming when you’re looking for something new to read. I thought I would help by putting together a list of the books I’m most looking forward to this month. Hopefully you will too.

Dark rooms Secret History meets Sharp Objects in Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik, a stunning debut about murder and glamour set in the ambiguous and claustrophobic world of an exclusive New England prep school. Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only 16. The crime is solved, and quickly – a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession – but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed. Working at the private high school from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.

17 carnations17 Carnations: The royals, the Nazis and the biggest cover-up in history, by Andrew Morton, is the story of the feckless Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, and his wife Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Joachim von Ribbentrop embroiled the duke in a German plot to use him as a puppet king during their takeover of the British Empire. The Duke’s collaboration with Hitler had resulted in piles of correspondence between them; this damning correspondence could forever tarnish the reputation of the royal family. For the first time in history, the story of the cover-up of those letters, starting with a daring heist–by order of Churchill and the King–to bring the letters back safely to England, out of American hands is revealed.

pocket wifeSusan Crawford makes her debut with The Pocket Wife, a stylish psychological thriller. Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Dana’s mind is rapidly deteriorating. Suffering from a debilitating mania, the by-product of her bipolar disorder, she has holes in her memory, including what happened when she saw Celia the day of the murder. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before she descends into madness. Dana couldn’t be the killer. Or could she?

life from scratchLife from Scratch: A memoir of food, family, and forgiveness is a culinary journey like no other. Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook – and eat–a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal – and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

clash of eaglesClash of Eagles by Alan Smale is perfect for fans of military and historical fiction–including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove. This stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. A legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must re-evaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.

better on toastBetter On Toast: Full meals on a slice of bread—with a little room for dessert, by Jill A. Donenfeld, features delicious, quick, easy-to-follow recipes for toasts with every possible topping – from hot to cold and savoury to sweet. Anyone can make delicious toasts, no matter his or her level of experience or kitchen size. Whether you use thick-cut French bread, slices of whole wheat, or her gluten-free bread recipe, Jill puts emphasis on flavour, using quality, wholesome ingredients to make each recipe stand out. You can enjoy these elegant yet simple meals anytime and for any occasion, using classic ingredients in new ways and playing with interesting ingredients you’ve always wondered about.

girl underwaterGirl Underwater, by Claire Kells, sees college student Avery is on her way home to Boston for the holidays with some fellow members of her swim team. When their plane goes down in a Colorado mountain lake, she and the other four survivors fight to stay alive in an icy wilderness. Following their rescue, Avery must come to terms with the crash, the secret she is keeping, and some specific new phobias, such as airports and water. She is also torn between two men: boyfriend Lee, who wasn’t aboard the plane and doesn’t know how to help her; and teammate and fellow survivor Colin, who understands the trauma she endured. Skillfully interspersing flashbacks with current events, debut novelist Kells has written an absorbing tale that will grip anyone who enjoys survival stories or psychological dramas. It is also a great choice for readers looking for new adult fiction with a bit more adventure.

strangler vineThe Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. This dazzling historical thriller is set in the untamed wilds of 19th-century colonial India. William Avery is a young soldier with few prospects; Jeremiah Blake is a secret political agent gone native, a genius at languages and disguises, disenchanted with the whole ethos of British rule, but who cannot resist the challenge of an unresolved mystery. What starts as a wild goose chase for this unlikely pair – trying to track down a missing writer who lifts the lid on Calcutta society – becomes very much more sinister.

reluctant midwifeThe Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman is the heartfelt sequel to Midwife of Hope River. The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

mademoiselle chanelFor readers of Paris Wife and Z comes Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner,  a vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel. Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood. Transforming herself into Coco, the petite brunette burns with ambition, and an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life.

Barbara

What’s Cooking at Westwood? Tea Time!

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

The second year of the What’s Cooking at Westwood Cook Book Club got off to a shining start with an English Tea Party. I polished Granny’s tea service and cutlery and ironed the linen tablecloth. I felt as if I belonged with the downstairs staff at Downton Abbey. One of the members kindly brought china cups and saucers.

The books explained tea ceremonies, etiquette, folklore, and tea growing practices in addition to recipes. Joanna compared a story from Arabian Nights to her tea drinking experience during a recent trip to Turkey.

We samples 3 kinds of savoury puff pastry; chicken and mushroom in Madeira Cream Sauce and Roasted Vegetable with Cheese. Irish Soda Bread was served with homemade apple jelly. We tasted 4 types of cookies; Shortbread, French Macarons, Dulce de Leche, and Pumpkin. We finished with Creamy Blackberry Tarts.

Three new members joined the 10 regulars from last season. I have never participated in a more enthusiastic book club. I anticipate a very interesting year for this book club.

And, yes, tea does taste better when served in a china teacup.

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