Category Archives: Seeds, Spring, and Promise

Fish Au Gratin

A lovely dish, full of comfort and warmth.   My father used to say that fish was ‘brain food’.  This is ‘brain food’ that the stomach will also love.

Great when it’s hot out of the oven, and this recipe can also be fully cooked, then frozen.   Thaw on countertop and then reheat to warm through.  This dish is always enjoyable.

Jaine’s mom’s Pecan Pie

I’m a day late for Pi Day…oops.

Recipe by Mrs Ross, photos by Gayle Hurmuses

Use with Pie Crust recipe

*Note: Jaine tells me that it’s important to use white sugar, rather than brown (flavour)…and I have discovered that agave syrup is a great substitute for the corn syrup.

I also cut the syrup portion by 1/3 and increased the pecans to make up the volume. For me personally, this makes a very satisfying pie.

Pizza Dough

Once upon a time, I would want to make pizza and if the weather was nasty out, I’d just forget about it because the bakery was so far away. Despite the fact that I’d spent most of my life making homemade bread, it didn’t occur to me that pizza dough doesn’t require as much time and work.

You can mix this up and use it immediately, but I prefer to let it sit for at least an hour in the oven with the light on before stretching the dough.

Pizza Dough Stretched
Pizza Dough, Stretched

You can vary the amounts of flour, which will give you different textures and degrees of pliability. This recipe is easy to stretch while in the pan, simply plopping the ball of dough in the pan and then pulling it like taffy (for those that remember this) to the edges of the pan. It’s a very good texture for making a thin crust and gooey enough that if you make a tear, you can easily break off a piece from a thicker part and use it as a patch. It will heal itself quickly if placed across the tear.

Increasing  flour to 3 cups will give you a dough that could work if you want to try your hand at stretching it by tossing above your head.

If you have never done this before though, I recommend practicing your flips with a wet towel first to get the technique, and then making  extra dough in case something goes wrong. A fun trick to master though, and I fondly remember my time as a pizza cook in the West End of Vancouver in my teens.

Pizza With Sauce
Pizza With Sauce

As long as you don’t drop it on the floor, you should be able to get something out of it. As this dough is tender, it is best to use a thin sauce, rather than  a thick one. I tend to thin mine with olive oil.


Pizza Toppings
Pizza Toppings

When it comes to topping the pizza, I find that it works best to chop all the ingredient to the sizes that I like best for each and then mix all together in a bowl before topping the pizza. You get better distribution this way than by individually placing items on the dough, which relatively speaking

Eatin’s Canada – March

The theme for March is: Seeds, Spring, and Promise, so this month’s articles and recipes focus on seeds.

aFennelSMarch is when the plans for the year’s food activities begin, planting the garden and using the first early produce (for those lucky enough to be in a warmer area this year). So, this month’s main Food for Thought feature looks at that.


Labrador Creole Bean Soup – Photo and recipe, GaddAboutEating

Recipes this month feature seeds and beans, we have: GaddAboutEating‘s Labrador Creole Bean Soup, Gurpreet Chana‘s Butter Chicken with Whole Seed Spices, Lindiwe Sithole‘s Zimbabwean style Red Kidney Beans, my own Chai Packets, Sean Gault‘s “Down to a Science Ribs”, and Alison Cole‘s article on Sunflower Seeds, featuring a  recipe by RawRose, Sunflower Seed Hummus.

Convivial01I’ve introduced our Events Calendar and invite you to submit events to it. If you have any issues with that, please message me through the contact form that is also on the page.


MexicanVanillaPlantationThere will be more reviews coming, but this months main review is on The Mexican Vanilla Plantation.  This is without exaggeration, the best Vanilla I have ever had. There is an audio interview on the page to listen to as well as the review.

Sugarbush Pails - Photo by JP Campbell
Sugarbush Pails – Photo by JP Campbell

My personal favourite feature this month, is JP Campbell‘s Sugarbush Sugarshack, also the first article to have a voiceover. Eatin’s Canada wants to be inclusive on all levels and this is intended to help the blind and those that have difficulty reading from the screen the opportunity to enjoy the content.

There’s more to come, but that’s all for  now!


The Mexican Vanilla Plantation – Magic Beans

vainilla-portada-origenesAt the 2013 CRFA Show, I met Eleazar Hernandez of Origenes, the Canadian importer of vanilla from The Mexican Vanilla Plantation.

At the end of the show, he handed me an envelope with some vanilla beans in it, almost apologetic, concerned that they would not be good enough, as the package had been opened and closed throughout the event.

To the contrary, they were so wonderful that I had to have an interview to learn what made them so exceptional.

I used the pods throughout the year and then, as it was drawing to a close, tossed one of the beans into a pint of rum to make some Vanilla Extract. The last time I had tried to make extract, it had taken 3 months and 6 pods bought from various stores to obtain an acceptable vanilla flavour…

This time, the year old bean from a pouch that Eleazar had worried might not be good enough after only a weekend, created a beautifully aromatic extract in just 3 days.

¡They may come from a lovely orchid, rather than a legume vine, but these are truly magic beans!

In this interview, Eleazar explains what makes the beans from the Mexican Vanilla Plantation so special, their variety and the painstakingly careful method of curing the beans, and a bit of the history and legend of Vanilla.

Thinking I’ll go and savour the fragrance of the extract for just a moment right now, and plan how I’ll use the last remaining beans.

Sunflower Seeds ‘Hummus’

Article by Alison Cole, recipe by RawRose, used with permission.

As innocuous as it may seem, the little gray kernel of a beautiful yellow flower actually leads as a super food when it comes to boasting high nutritive values as well as being a convenient and tasty snack. That’s right, the sunflower seed is all that and deserves some attention when considering the addition of health benefits to one’s diet, packing in vitamins, protein, and more.

This gift from the sunflower is one of the first plants to be ever cultivated in the United States, and today the world’s leading suppliers of the sunflower seed include the Russian Federation, Peru, Argentina, Spain, France and China. Sunflower oil is one of the most popular oils in the world, and the seeds themselves are easily available and very affordable.

When examining the nutritional worth of the sunflower seed, it has many benefits to offer. Sunflower seeds provide an excellent source of vitamin E, which is the body’s principle fat soluble antioxidant. The seeds also provide linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), and some amino acids, especially including tryptophan. Tryptophan aids in creating the neurotransmitter serotonin, which transmits nerve impulses to regulate mood, appetite and sleep and to improve memory and learning.

Sunflower seeds are also rich in phytosterols, which lower LDL cholesterol in the body, and several B vitamins. And if that weren’t enough, these powerhouse particles additionally provide an excellent source of fiber, as well as protein, with 7 grams of protein in a small ¼ cup serving. There are many reasons to eat these tasty morsels, nutrition-wise alone!

As with nuts and other seeds, because sunflower seeds are high in fat, they are prone to rancidity, so it is best to store the dehulled seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer if you prefer. Whole seeds (with the shell) may be stored at room temperature in a container, without the risk of going rancid.

The most simple (and perhaps enjoyable) way to eat sunflower seeds is straight from the package, whether you are dehulling them in your mouth or have purchased the seeds already without shells. You can also garnish your salads and cereals with them, or use them in recipes to make delightful desserts, dips and pâtés.

Try out this yummy hummus recipe by RawRose, which features sunflower seeds as one of its main ingredients. You can also listen to it, if you find that helpful. Voiceover by Lew Williams.