I found a great cookbook recently at my local thrift store, called Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source by Terry Walters. This is my first recipe in using this book and I am already loving the focus on local, seasonal cooking. This pie was so easy to make and after trying a piece, my friend B said that this was the best pie he had ever tasted. I am looking forward to trying more recipes in this beautiful book!
Pickerel is such an easy fish to prepare and eat. It’s not too fishy, has a nice firm flesh and goes with any side side I can think of. Here is another great recipe from High Plains: The Joy of Alberta Cuisine. This is a simple yet flavorful way of preparing your pickerel. I double the amount of lemon juice in the sauce as I like mine very ‘lemony’. Today, I served the fish on a bed of brown rice with a side of salad.
1/2 cup flour (I use spelt flour or whatever freshly milled flour I have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1-1/2 lb. pickerel fillets
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup butter
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a shallow dish. Dredge the pickerel fillets in the seasoned flour, coating both sides well and shaking off any excess flour.
Heat canola oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When fat is sizzling, add the fish and panfry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Chavich, C. (2001). High Plains: The Joy of Alberta Cuisine. Calgary, AB: Fifth House, Ltd.
I have been wanting to mill my own flour for 20 years! It began when I lived up in Inuvik, NT and tasted my friend/employer, Judy’s freshly baked whole wheat buns. She made her bread with flour that she had milled just minutes before making the dough and they were the tastiest little breads with a lovely texture and a bit of a nutty flavor.
Finally just last week, after 20 years of thinking about it, planning for ‘someday’… we bought a WonderMill. It was my visit with my wonderful sister-in-law Laurie last month that set things in motion. She demonstrated using her NutriMill and I got to see how quick and easy it is to mill flour from spelt. Then I got to taste Laurie’s spelt buns, spelt pie crust (pumpkin pie, yum!), breakfast cookies, spelt tortillas and spelt pancakes– all of which were delicious!
Inspired (and craving more spelt bread!) we did a bit of research and decided on the WonderMill (pictured above). We wanted to support a local Alberta business and found a place in Cochrane, Alberta called Briden Solutions that carried both the mill and the grains we wanted. (By the way, Briden specializes in ’emergency preparedness’ and carry an extensive range of home and kitchen products including water filtration, oils, beans, whole grains, many of which are organic. They also have an informative blog called Briden’s Guide to Preparedness which features in-depth articles on their products and tips for being prepared for unexpected events.)
Through Briden, we also bought 50 lb bags of organic red heard spring wheat and organic spelt (great for breads), both from Grainworks, a certified organic farm. (Grainworks was first homesteaded on Alberta land in 1912 before moving to Saskatchewan in 1939. They have been certified organic since 1988.)
Like the wheat, you can cook the ‘berries’ and add to soups and salads. You can also sprout these grains and make sprouted grain breads (both with or without flour). I will be trying this soon and will post the recipe.
With more people choosing to live healthier lifestyles or in response to developing allergies or an intolerance to “commercial wheat”, as in the overly processed, hybrid wheat and products made from this wheat (very difficult to digest), ancient grain and whole grain flours have become a more popular choice. It is no surprise that they make a much flavorful food source. Artisan breads made from ancient and whole grains can be found in most bakeries and for those of us whole enjoy baking it ourselves, freshly milled flours can be found at health food stores, gourmet food stores and local farmer’s markets (i.e. through Gold Forest Grains at the Strathcona Farmer’s Market in Edmonton and coming soon to the Kingsland Farmers Market in Calgary and the Grand Prairie’s Farmers Market).
I look forward to learning more about ancient grains and whole grain flours and experimenting with these flours in the kitchen here at cabinorganic. I look forward to supporting local farmers and sustainable farming practices. I look forward to learning more about the nutritional benefits in milling my own flours and sharing my flours and breads with friends and neighbors. Mostly, I simply look forward to the delicious taste and smell of fresh, home-baked breads that are highly nutritious as well as delicious!
P.S. By the way, I am sure Judy is still baking her famous bread! If you’re ever planning a visit to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, consider staying at the Arctic Chalet. Book a tour with Judy and Olav, go for a ride over the tundra with Judy and her dog teams in winter or go canoeing or kayaking in the summer and enjoy the high Arctic in style!
If you enjoy delicious high quality food and are committed to supporting local foods and “independent local farmers who share our vision about the environment and the philosophy of eating healthy safe foods” then I highly recommend the ECOcafe.~Delena
Residents of Pigeon Lake, Alberta and the surrounding area are extremely lucky to have the ECOcafe in our neighborhood. The ECOcafe has been offering a unique and ethically-conscious dining experience since it opened its doors in 1997. Believing in “Food as Community”, this locally-owned restaurant is committed to serving naturally-raised foods and promoting local rural sustainability. Each of the items on their menu is a wholesome and tasty adventure and also includes a wide variety of choices for vegetarians.
The ECOcafe also offers items to buy and enjoy at home, including breads, desserts, and meat and fruit pies. Below are pictures I took this afternoon of their famous Elk Pie that I bought frozen a few weeks ago and then baked at home today for lunch.
The ECOcafe has been featured in many newspapers, magazines and even on television. Click here to find out more. Aside of the delicious food, another thing that impresses me and inspires my loyal patronage is the ECOcafe’s commitment to the community. According to their website:
The ECOcafé has worked with University students participating in mentorship’s and internships, as well as school lunch programs, cooking classes, complimentary yoga classes, speaking engagements, volunteer programs, fundraising and a host of other programs, directly and indirectly.
Even when the cottagers and tourists have left at the end of summer, there always seems to be something exciting going on at the café throughout the entire year. For example, there are monthly wine tastings, ‘open-mike’ nights, and on the first Saturday of every month they feature the cuisine of another country. Sunday mornings showcase an Eggs Benedict brunch, on Monday afternoons you can get an Intuitive Reading, and if you enjoy seafood, be sure to pop in on Friday evening for the Chef’s fabulous seafood creation. There are also special one-of-a-kind gatherings, such as last month’s Conversations with Marg.
Here is a picture of the restaurant as seen on their website:
I love dining at the ECOcafe. Not only have I met some great new friends there but I feel good supporting a local business that in turn supports my local community in many different ways. I always leave feeling nourished, both in body and in spirit. ~Delena
For Your Unique Dining Experience
Contact ECOcafe At:
#10 Village Drive, R.R.#2
8 am-8 pm Sunday through Thursday
8 am-9 pm Friday through Saturday
8 am-9 pm Sunday through Thursday
8 am-10 am Friday through Saturday
Nothing beats slow cooked food for tenderness, flavor and sensuality. The heady aromas and tactile pleasures of hand-grinding spices or hand-grating fresh ginger… The way your entire home smells warm and delicious all day long as the stew cooks, and of course the intensity of flavor and incredible tenderness as the meat literally falls off of the bone as you enjoy the meal with a glass of full bodied red wine… For this recipe, try and find the freshest prime local lamb in your area by visiting Alberta Lamb Producers.
Slow Cooked Lamb Stew
3 tablespoons coriander seed
2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds lamb stew meat, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes
½ cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper
½ cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
1 fresh tomato, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Put coriander and cumin seed in a mortar and pestle an hand grind to a fine powder.
Combine the flour and salt in a large resealable plastic bag (or plastic container with lid). Add the lamb and shake to coat all pieces completely.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb in batches and cook until browned on all sides. Drain browned meat on paper towels and transfer to slow cooker.
When the meat is done, add the onions to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add the ground spice mixture, garlic, ginger, paprika an cayenne and stir for a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the yogurt and mix well.
Transfer the tomato mixture in the pan to the slow cooker mix together. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro.
1-3/4 cups Thai fragrant rice
14 fl oz can coconut milk
1-¼ cup water
1-½ teaspoon ground coriander
1-2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 lemon grass stalk, bruised
1 bay leaf
deep fried onions (optional) to garnish
Rinse rice with cold water until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain then add to a pot or rice cooker. Pour in the coconut milk and water then add the coriander, cinnamon stick, lemon grass and bay leaf. Season with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick, lemon grass and bay leaf and fluff up the rice with a fork. Then cover the pot again and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve rice on a platter and garnish with the crispy, deep fried onions.
This recipe is taken from Rice & Risotto: Cooking with the World’s Best-Loved Grain by Christine Ingram.
I recently met a very creative woman named Anita who makes the most wonderful bags. Along with the shoulder bags featured in the pictures here, she also makes clutch bags, make-up bags and wallets. Each of the bags is Anita’s own design and even the crochet stitch that she uses is unique.
What makes these gorgeous bags extra special is that they are 100% made from plastic shopping bags. Anita starts by collecting the shopping bags and many of her friends help her by saving bright, uniquely colored bags for her. Then she cuts these into strips. Each large bag reuses 50 plastic bags and takes about 10 hours to make (smaller bags take a little less time). Anita crochets these using a double strip of plastic, which explains why her bags are so strong. You can easily fill a bag with canned goods at the grocery store and the bag will not stretch or break. The lovely variations of colors in the designs come from the actual plastic bags.
I love these bags! It is inspiring how Anita takes what we consider a ‘waste product’ (headed to the recycling station or worse, the landfill) and turns it into something very useful and beautiful. These artful bags remind me of the designer beach bags I saw in Hawaii for sale in every tourist shop. As Anita’s bags are waterproof and lightweight they are perfect as swim bags, grocery bags or book bags for library visits. If they get dirty they can be hand-washed with soap and water and hung to dry.
Anita is based in Calgary and charges $10 per large bag, $5 for the clutch and make up bags and $1 for the wallets. If you are interested in purchasing any of these bags, you can reach Anita by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or if you like any of the shoulder bags pictured here, email me at email@example.com and I can mail or drop off the bag(s) of your choice. I see Anita about once a month now so I can easily pick up any orders if you live in the Edmonton area.
Thank you for sharing your great idea and your gorgeous bags with us, Anita!
Mindsprings ‘magic’ happens when ideas spring from mind to mind in conversation.
Yesterday, it was my privilege and pleasure to spend part of an afternoon with a diverse group of women at the ECOcafe (located at the Village on Pigeon Lake). We had all come in response to an invitation by Marg Sanders of Mindsprings to ‘Remember and Be Remembered at Christmas: Receiving the Gift of Good Conversation’. I had met Marg and her husband, Hugh, last winter at another ECOcafe event and was really looking forward to see her in action.
The event was fun and very meaningful to all who participated. It was refreshing to share my own Christmas story and then hear the personal stories of others. Before we began, Marg gave us time to reflect on a few questions. Then she coached us on active, intentional, nonjudgmental listening– truly a rare quality found in people and a gift that we can give ourselves and others! By the end of the session, each one of us felt enriched by the time we had shared in creative expression and good conversation.
Marg and Hugh of Mindsprings offer conversational coaching, both for individuals as well as for groups. For example, individuals seeking personal growth, or for work groups as team-building or thinking about challenges in new ways, or even at family gatherings to focus on the gifts that each member brings to the group. There are many other applications for coaching conversations and their website is full of information. Both Marg and Hugh are skilled at helping you discover:
- exactly who you are as an individual or organization – your purpose, talents and objectives
- clarity about what you want to achieve
- your power and capacity to move forward
- a do-able and sustainable action plan
Upcoming Events at Mindsprings:
Weaving and Writing Our Way Through a Good Book
Making Sense of Our Lives, Story by Story
We believe that the knowledge you need to achieve your goals is hidden and waiting to be uncovered within you, both as an individual and as an organization.
Even in this short time spent with Marg I have learned (and remembered) so much. During this holiday season, I would like to be remembered as giving the people in my life the gift of good conversation…
Last Saturday, I braved the heavy snow and headed out to Lakedell Arena (close to the Village on Pigeon Lake) for their annual Country Christmas Craft Sale & Celebration. I had just run out of my favorite hand and face creams and was desperate to find Lynne of Wizard Lake Soap & Body Products and Dragonfly Lane Teas to stock up. I also wanted to buy a few items as stocking stuffers for my loved one. 🙂
Click here to see a previous post on Lynne and her products.
I love giving gifts that promote health and healing. Lynne makes this easy as everything that she offers is natural, organic (where possible) and highly practical.
You don’t have to study herbal medicine to know which herbs to brew for certain ailments. Lynne has done this for us, using her extensive knowledge of herbs to hand-blend her own delicious teas to treat whatever ails you, whether it’s fatigue, a cold, anxiety, trouble sleeping, or simply wanting to boost your immune system.
I was quite excited to see the three sea salts that Lynne offers: smoked, Pink Himalyan and black lava. These would make great gifts for the ‘foodies’ in your life.
… and face creams. Along with a few stocking stuffers, I picked up a jar of my favorite Acai Sandalwood face lotion and Healing Hands Gardener cream, and I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of Sun God’s to try out during these cold and dry winter months.
It’s November and many of us are beginning to hunt for Christmas gifts and treats. I like to give consumable gifts- either something edible (like jams, wine or dried herbs) or something to use (like candles, incense, soaps or handmade cards). Christmas craft sales are a great place to find unique gift items and are also a great way to buy ‘organic’, ‘handmade’ and ‘local’. I asked Lynne of Dragonfly Lane Teas and Wizard Lake Soap and Body Products to let me know when she has her pre-Christmas sales schedule so that I could share it with you. I will definitely be shopping at her table for ‘stocking stuffers’. If you don’t live near any of these locations, see your local newspaper for a craft sale near you.
November 6: Small Business Expo at Wetaskiwin Legion 5003-52 Avenue, hours 11 am-4 pm
November 12: Arbor Greenhouses Highway 2A, hours 9 am-4 pm
November 19: Rundle Mission at Pigeon Lake, hours 11 am-3 pm
November 26: Mulhurst Bay at Community Hall, hours 10 pm-4 pm
November 27: Falun Community Hall on Highway 13, hours 11 am-4 pm
December 3: Lakedell Agricultural Society Christmas Craft Sale at Lakedell, hours 11 am-4 pm
I will be volunteering at the Rundle Mission at Pigeon Lake craft sale which is just down the road from the cabin. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
This recipe comes from the cookbook: High Plains: The Joy of Alberta Cuisine. I’ve been working with this wonderful cookbook for many years now and love all of the recipes that I’ve tried so far. At the back there is a helpful listing of local Alberta producers of dairy, meat and poultry, bison and wild game; as well as growers of fruits and vegetables, grains, pulse and seeds; and local bakeries. Here is an excerpt from their website:
Alberta is a province with a landscape that encompasses both the prairies and the spectacular Rocky Mountains, with all of the food traditions that these natural places entail, from bison and wild game to indigenous mushrooms, berries and crops like wheat, barley and corn. The bounty of this landscape has spawned a unique brand of regional Canadian cuisine, a style of cooking inspired by both the Native people who lived here first, the earliest ethnic groups to settle the West, and the creative modern cooks inspired by seasonal and regional ingredients. With profiles of some of Alberta’s top food producers and the sumptuous photography of award-winning photographer Mike Sturk, this book takes you on a culinary journey through the best of Western Canada.
Spiced Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegetable Mash
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 green apple, finely chopped or grated
1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries or sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup or tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter
4 green onions, minced
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup milk or whipping cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine curry powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt and pepper. Heat canola oil over medium heat and saute spices for 30 seonds until fragrant. Add onion, ginger and apple and saute until tender and beginning to brown.
Add ground meat to pan and cook until browned. Drain any excess oil. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in remaining ingredients and spread in a shallow baking dish.
Meanwhile, combine potatoes, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips in a sauce pan. Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain well and mash together until fairly smooth (the mash can be a bit rustic and chunky).
Saute green onions and ginger in butter for 2-3 minutes. Stir into mashed vegetables with milk, salt and pepper. Pile on top of the filling in the baking dish and smooth the top.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for 45 minutes, or until filling is hot and topping is golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting into squares to serve. Serves 4 to 6.