Luncheon

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Recipes best served at mid-day.

German Potato Salad

My wife requested I make this last night on Christmas Eve to go with our traditional supper of lobster. With me unemployed this year we could have never afforded to buy lobster, but fortunately my wife had 4 of them in the freezer from when she'd found them dirt-cheap and prefrozen back when I was among the employed.

I am not a big fan at all of the potato salad we all know so well from family picnics - drenched in mayonaise as it is. But German Potato Salad on the other hand is heaven on earth! It is a completely different thing altogether, with tart malt vinegar, bacon bits, celery and more. And it goes together surprisingly easy with a mini chopper food processor.

If you are vegetarian, I'm sure this may still be worthwhile, but to me the bacon really makes the recipe. Especially since I used my home made bacon this time around.

Turkey Organ Sausage

Here is a nice one I whipped up a couple weeks ago when we brined a turkey. It just popped out of my head based on what we had around :-)

I took the organs from a medium sized turkey and just put the organs in my large cast iron pan on about 1/4 heat on my electric range and turned them a few times over 15 minutes. I then tossed them into my mini-chopper food processor with about 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal that was left over from the boy's breakfast. I tossed in 2 really small end-of-thumb sized potatoes with skins on but this would be about the same without them. Also put in 1 tbsp of summer savory, 1/2 tsp salt (or less to taste), 1/8 tsp pepper. And I put in a few good tablespoons of fresh turkey fat from my mason jar, and a couple of cloves of garlic.

Refried Beans and Burritos

Refried beans can be a healthy snack, or a full meal if you want them to be. You can wrap them in a flatbread as I do at the end of these videos and turn them into a burrito, or you can dip corn chips into them for a snack. Or for a full meal of taco salad, lay down a bed of corn chips, then some refried beans, lettuce, tomato, green onion, bell pepper and whatever else you want on top. Then top it off with a bit of sour cream and your favorite hot sauce. Delicious, and nutritious!

Bleenies / Blintzes / Crêpes

Bleenies were one of the first "indigenous" foods I learned to make on my year on a student exchange in Soviet Ukraine. I wish for the life of me I could recall exactly how we used to make them, but I do recall it was really easy, and not really a recipe per-se but just tossing a few things together. It almost always involved some sort of soured milk product - either something like kefir that had been intentionally soured, or milk that had gone off, which happened a lot with their shoddy milk supply chain.

This recipe is one I got from a Romanian woman who served them at a BBQ she hosted last summer. It is easy to throw together, and pretty flexible too. In fact, the "recipe" she gave me did not really list the amounts of anything except the 1 litre of milk! So I've put some solid numbers on those ingredients in the many times I've made this since then.

  • 1 litre milk
  • 70 to 100g sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 to 2 and 2/3 cups flour (see below)

Home Made Chicken Nuggets

For quite some time now I've wanted to figure out a way to make my own chicken nuggets, because the boys love them so much, and generally speaking they are not very good for you. Ironically, we did manage to find some vegetarian "chicken" nuggets that do well on the nutrition front, but are pretty expensive. And the boys just won't believe us that they do not have chicken in them :-) Finally I started playing around with things and came up with a really great recipe. Especially because it goes together so easily.

Basic Pizza

It is astonishingly easy to make your own pizza - surprising that not more people do it. And in fact it can also be rather healthy when done right. I always make a whole wheat crust - you can find my basic dough recipe here.

Simply roll out your dough, top with your favorite tomato sauce - spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, does not really matter. We don't even add herbs and spices and just go with what is in the sauce and meat. Add your sauce, add your meat, add your grated cheese, then optional items like the few olives we add in this video. This is just a very basic pizza shown here, but obviously you could add whatever you want like green or red peppers, mushrooms, and so forth.

Better Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is never a 'healthy choice', but it can certainly be made a lot better if you choose a good quality whole wheat bread, and a good cheese instead of processed cheese slices. I've experimented with various ways to use good cheese, and slicing it - even thinly - does not work so well as it does not melt as well as you need to hold the two slices of bread together. But grating it works wonderfully!

I've used a number of different types of cheese, including ordinary ones like cheddar and mozza, and more exotic hard cheeses like the asiagio I used in this video. I also choose a decent margarine - even a bargain brand like this one can be good, just read the label.

Sambar

This is a yummy “cleaning out the veggie drawer” sort of soup. It’s lentil based, but uses pretty much whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. I’ve made it most often with zucchini because we buy an annual share in a CSA, and what farm doesn’t have too much zucchini in late summer? This is a great one to get going in a slow cooker, too, and reheats really well from leftover.

Poor Man's Poutine

Today before Aikido #1 son asked if we could go to the chip truck for poutine if he was good in class. I reminded him that I don't have a job and so we don't have money, but I did offer to make him poutine even if he were not good in Aikido! So we stopped at Loeb on the way home and bought some potatoes. Oh, and my applause to both of the boys for understanding that me not having a job means we don't have money for stuff. I was actually laughing as he several times at Loeb ran over to something yummy-looking on the shelf and pointed at it, and hollered across to me very loudly "Popo, look, if you get a job maybe we can buy some of this?". It really was hilarious!

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Nova Scotia Baked Beans

One of my favorite childhood memories are the many Saturday nights at the family table with a big plate of sweet baked beans, fresh brown bread and hot dogs. Baked beans are one of my favorite foods and, since moving to Ontario, I haven’t made them as frequently as I would like.

Why not? Apparently the beans we always used for baking beans just aren’t available here in Ottawa — I can find obscure beans from far-flung parts of the world, but I just can’t get ahold of the Jacob’s Cattle, Soldier, Yellow Eye or French Horticultural beans that my mother used for her Saturday night feasts.

Every year during my annual trip back to the coast, I stock up on my beans and horde them like gold — doling out each batch and making them stretch for as long as I can, knowing I won’t be able to replenish my stockpile until the next summer. Our unexpected and unfortunate trip back in January was a boon in one very pleasant respect: I now have beans — lots and lots of beans!

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