Tag Archives: Gayle Hurmuses

Lisa Shamai’s Corny Cornbread

Yummy Cornbread
Yummy Cornbread

I first had this cornbread at Mr Rick and the Biscuits, CD release party for Cocktails & Cornbread in 2005 (here’s the title song, somewhat earlier at the Distillery Jazz Festival, where I met Lisa Shamai, local caterer extraordinaire, and the creator of this delicious, spicy, cornbread recipe.

A warm and gracious woman, Lisa has been cooking in Toronto for decades, at one time running a jazz club on weekends at her catering facility, Lisa Shamai Cuisinerie. Sadly, it was a brief candle, and the club blew out before I got to see it. Happily, the catering company is still with us.

I’ve always loved Johnnycake, aka cornbread and enjoyed this one a great deal at the show, going back to sneak extra helpings of the spicy, cheesy bread. Lisa was gracious enough to share it with me for this soup and bread edition of Eatin’s Canada and we thank her for it. I suggest you try it with the 3Bean Chili recipe from January…and lots of butter. Yummy.

November – Eatin’s Canada

Roasted Vegetables and Polenta Soup
Roasted Vegetables and Polenta Soup

November is the first of the truly cold months throughout The Great White North, and so it’s all about Bread and Soup for us here at Eatin’s Canada.  We’re featuring recipes for both, and a review about Enoteca Sociale,  in Toronto, along with an interview with Holger,  their Bread Baker and Pasta Maker, and a recipe for Enoteca Sociale’s Rosemary  Foccacia.

We have a Roasted Vegetable & Polenta Soup recipe from Glen Synoground, and many soup recipes from Bill Wimberly, beginning with his recipes for Basic Chicken Broth and Stock Variations about the differences between Broth and Stock.

Heart of Bread
We LOVE bread!

We also have recipes for some of my favourite bread recipes. One is from the Purity Flour Cookbook recipe for White Bread (with variations for 60% whole wheat), which was the first that I ever used when making my first loaves at the age of 10. This recipe was also featured in other popular flour company  cookbooks of the time. Also, Phyllis’s Bread, and Sunflower Bread from The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook, by Marjorie Winn Ford, Susan Hillyard, and Mary Faulk Koock, of Texas. A wonderful bread and a favourite cookbook…now sadly, out of print, but available online. Finally, we have instructions for Trapping and feeding Wild Sourdough Yeast.

Bill Wimberly in the army
Bill Wimberly in the army

A bit more about Bill Wimberly…he was a corporate chef, a good friend to me as a blogger,  and a wonderful and thoughtful man.

Sadly, we lost Bill  to Cancer shortly after this site was built, but it was created in part with him in mind.

Bill began cooking while in the service as a young man, and then went onto chef school to study formally on The GI Bill. When we first “met”  online in 2007, Bill was a semi-retired corporate chef and one of my best advisors in recipe development.  He is our patron saint, not unlike St. Vincent, and dearly missed.

We’ll post as many of his excellent recipes as possible.

Eatin’s Canada – November

Roasted Vegetables and Polenta Soup
Roasted Vegetables and Polenta Soup

November is the first of the truly cold months throughout The Great White North, and so it’s all about Bread and Soup for us here at Eatin’s Canada.  We’re featuring recipes for both, and a review about Enoteca Sociale,  in Toronto, along with an interview with Holger,  their Bread Baker and Pasta Maker, and a recipe for Enoteca Sociale’s Rosemary  Foccacia.

We have a Roasted Vegetable & Polenta Soup recipe from Glen Synoground, and many soup recipes from Bill Wimberly, beginning with his recipes for Basic Chicken Broth and Stock Variations about the differences between Broth and Stock.

Heart of Bread
We LOVE bread!

We also have recipes for some of my favourite bread recipes. One is from the Purity Flour Cookbook recipe for White Bread (with variations for 60% whole wheat), which was the first that I ever used when making my first loaves at the age of 10. This recipe was also featured in other popular flour company  cookbooks of the time. Also, Phyllis’s Bread, and Sunflower Bread from The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook, by Marjorie Winn Ford, Susan Hillyard, and Mary Faulk Koock, of Texas. A wonderful bread and a favourite cookbook…now sadly, out of print, but available online. Finally, we have instructions for Trapping and feeding Wild Sourdough Yeast.

Bill Wimberly in the army
Bill Wimberly in the army

A bit more about Bill Wimberly…he was a corporate chef, a good friend to me as a blogger,  and a wonderful and thoughtful man.

Sadly, we lost Bill  to Cancer shortly after this site was built, but it was created in part with him in mind.

Bill began cooking while in the service as a young man, and then went onto chef school to study formally on The GI Bill. When we first “met”  online in 2007, Bill was a semi-retired corporate chef and one of my best advisors in recipe development.  He is our patron saint, not unlike St. Vincent, and dearly missed.

We’ll post as many of his excellent recipes as possible.

CHFA East 2014

Article by Mimi Jones-Taylor, photos by Mimi and Gayle Hurmuses. Featured image is of Véronique Perez, the creator of Limonana.

Canadian Health Food Association East – September 14, 2014 This past Sunday, September 14, 2014, Gayle and I attended the CHFA.ca convention. Like all trade shows, there were the large producers who had the biggest booths and displays to show off their latest products. Most of these are brands you’ve probably heard of: SISU, Kentucky Popcorn, Kettle brand chips, Jamieson…but given that the whole movement is based on local producers, I wanted to concentrate my roundup on those smaller farmers and producers who you might not have heard of that are making quality food and health products while remembering what “having a conscience” really means, as opposed to just some gimmicky words on a label.

Coffee We tried a lot of coffee. We went early on a Sunday morning! Being a writer, a good quality cup of coffee is manna from heaven at those times when inspiration strikes the mind but the body starts to slump over. Or you’re trying to function in a non-writing environment.

Ethical Bean
Ethical Bean ROCKET FUEL!

So when we got to ethical bean, the first coffee I tried was their Rocket Fuel. It is a dark roast, but it has more of a kick than your usual dark roast. Dark roasts by design have less caffeine than their lighter roast counterparts. But this one gets you up and at em and ready to go. Added bonus: their booth had your choice of maple sugar, organic cane sugar, or blue agave sweeteners. I had the blue agave. I am seriously considering using this in my daily coffees from now on.

CHFA East 23 Degrees Coffee
CHFA East 23 Degrees Coffee

The next coffee we tried was from local Roastery 23 degrees. They are extremely local – right across from Downsview Park in Toronto. If you are going to a concert up there, they have the best pick-me-up which is better for you than Red Bull ever would be – their Suckerpunch medium roast coffee. I had it with almond milk (switching it up from cream – when at an organic show…) and it did not detract from the lovely citrus and floral notes at the end. What I liked about this coffee is that the floral notes didn’t turn bitter, not even after I had finished my cup and moved on. Roastery 23 roasts their green beans right in Toronto, so there’s no flavour loss from shipping.

Doi Chaang - Beyond Fair Trade
Doi Chaang – Beyond Fair Trade

The third coffee that I tried was DOI Chaang Coffee. They are local to Vancouver, and not only are they fair-trade, but the Doi Chaang coffee farmers own 50% of the Vancouver company, and get 100% of the profits from all Canadian sales.

The mild roast coffee is excellent too! This one I had black, and got the full effect of the citrus notes.

DOI Chaang is available at Longo’s, Pusateris, and other fine supermarkets.

Snacks The snack industry is ridiculously massive. As you can probably guess, it’s also where you can find the worst items that pass for food in the universe. Snacks are ruining our physical makeup – diabetes, obesity, hypertension – but we can’t put down the crap. Organic food producers know this. And some of them want to help us to make better choices. Now we passed a lot of these combination snacks – throw everything into the kitchen sink, hope it sticks together and give it a crunch. It might taste okay, but if you include superfoods and buzzwords, people will buy it. Maybe. But people are creatures of habit. They know what they like and like what they know.

Deep River Chips
Deep River Chips

People know chips. They like chips. They understand chips. Chips, on the whole, should be pretty simple. Potatoes, oil, salt. That’s what the folks at Deep River think, too. They are a US company, however, what makes them stand out is that every flavour is sponsored by a charity, so the proceeds from each flavour go back to the charity sponsoring it through their “Give a chip!” program. Simple, smart, and they were great-tasting.

 

Simply 7 Quinoa Chips
Simply 7 Quinoa Chips

Simply 7 is another company doing chips, also from the US. Their chips are much like Pringles – the flour of the grain is moulded into a chip shape, coated with flavouring as necessary, baked, and then flash-fried. It sounds like a lot of processing, but they have Quinoa chips which have the highest protein content of any chip-based snack in Canada. They tasted like bad-for-you snacks as well, which is always an added bonus if you’re trying to get the younger people in your house to have better-for-them snacks. Kids won’t grab anything with the word “chia” on it, unless it’s a weird-shaped head with green stuff sprouting from it.

Crosswind Farms Goat Cheese
Crosswind Farms Goat Cheese

Cheese. How do people live without cheese? I know there are a bunch of lactose-intolerant and raw food vegans out there who might have been offended by this question. It’s okay. I’m allergic to capsicum, and people continually ask me how can I live without roasted red peppers? (Quite fine, actually.) Cheese is the food that defines the “think local” movement. Most of us live within a 100 km, never mind 100 mile, radius of a dairy farm of some kind. A good cheese will be representative of its local terroir: the flavour of the grass that the animal eats, the contentedness of the animals, the nursery where the cheese is ripened…all of this comes out in the flavour.

Plus, with local product purchased on the farm’s property, a case can be made for the production of raw milk cheeses without fear of the pasteurization police. I tried Crosswind Farms’ Triple Crème Cretain cheese – they are the only producers in Canada making a Triple Crème raw milk goat cheese – and I melted on the spot. We get little bites of manna from heaven on this planet every once in a while. This was definitely one of them. They also do the regular goat feta cheese and spreadable goat cheese, but this…it’s worth the drive to Keene, near Peterborough.

Best Baa Farm - Sheep Milk & Cheese
Best Baa Farm – Sheep Milk & Cheese

I also tried Best Baa Farm sheep Eweda Cru – a raw sheep milk gouda-style cheese. It’s not for the faint of heart. It packs a punch the way a true Dutch Gouda would. The regular Eweda almost pales in comparison, but if you have friends who aren’t fans of that which makes cheese the reason to live, it’s still a lovely cheese. Best Baa Dairy, which is the location to buy the cheese, as well as sheep milk yogurt, quark, and actual sheep milk itself, is located in Fergus, near Guelph. Their cheese is also available at the Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens store.

Rumble Supershake
Rumble Supershake

Low-Glycemic Food Substitutes Here’s the thing – diabetics are continually told they have to keep eating small meals throughout the day so their blood sugar doesn’t spike and fall like a roller coaster. And sometimes, you can’t. It’s too much, especially if you’re a senior citizen. Or if you’re an athlete and you want to keep your blood sugar at a steady level, and maintain your glycemic index. What this means is you need to keep your body on an even keel – spiking your insulin levels in the morning with coffees full of sugar and muffins is not the best way to keep things even. But yes, I tried some of the substitutes and, for those of you who have been prescribed Boost or Ensure as a meal replacement because you’re not getting the proper nutrients,

Rumble Supershake makes an excellent alternative. If you are diabetic and you take the commercial brands, what you may not realise is that they are chock full of actual sugar. They have to give you energy somehow. But Rumble’s founder has cystic fibrosis and is diabetic. He wanted something that he could take that wouldn’t make his health suffer, and his insulin go completely out of whack, and also tasted good enough to drink instead of feeling like you had to choke it down.

SoLo Gi Energy Bars
SoLo Gi Energy Bars

For those of you who are athletes, or diabetics or gluten-free glycemic index-conscious consumers, you’ve probably been confronted with the power bar situation.All power bars taste like crap. But people force themselves into believing that they taste great because they have the word “chocolate” on them and/or are dipped in some type of waxy, “organic” chocolate coating to hide their horrifying flavour. Solo bars decided they wanted to change all that. The founders of SOLO GI Nutrition created the bar in association with the University of Alberta, trying to achieve the perfect balance with Glycemic Index regulation, nutrition, and taste. This was not an easy feat – it took them years to develop the perfect balance. It is the only energy bar to be certified by the Canadian Celiac Foundation and GI Labs.

What really impressed me was the taste. The Dark Chocolate Almond tasted like a chocolate bar and NOT like an energy bar. This makes them wonderful and edible alternatives to granola bars or chocolate bars for kids snacks, pregnant women, and especially diabetics and athletes looking to keep their glycemic indexes steady.

BareJuiceSpecialty Foods/Novelties There are two other products that I want to mention. Drink mixes don’t have to be crap. They don’t have to taste like powder in a bottle. They can be made with real juice. In fact, that reduces their calorie count. BARE organic mixers are just such mixes. On display they only had the margarita mix, and it tasted like absolute pure, authentic margaritas. Not that day-glow stuff in a bottle you find at the grocery. All pure citrus juices. And with reduced calories because of the real juice, you can add alcohol guilt-free and enjoy!

Finally, for the people who are in a hurry and just want to have the semblance that they made a meal when they didn’t really lift a finger – premade dinners. Not just frozen dinners, but something that gives the dinner you made an extra touch, or if you just need a sauce for your meal. I tried Soul to Bowl’s Vegan Mac’n’Cheeseless Sauce made with carrot juice. Having just eaten half a Gouda, I didn’t expect much. But I was blown away. I could not tell that this was a dairy-free sauce. Founder Kailey Gilchrist managed to create a vegan sauce that is a little stuttery lumpy like an authentic béchamel, and that behaves like a béchamel, to be used over macaroni and baked, or poured over broccoli and served. They also have a Vegan Alfredo sauce. And for me, the sauce snob, to be blown away by the vegan substitute has me wondering what other joys of veganism I’ve missed. So that was my experience at the CHFA this year. Organic food doesn’t have to be snooty or intimidating. It’s just the best ingredients put into the best dishes and served. Our bodies know the difference between something with incredible taste and something that is just thrown at us because we need to put something down our necks to survive. There’s no reason why it can’t be both, and why we can’t sustain the Healthy Food initiatives…

Note from Gayle…planning to add some further comments soon as time permits about all the other wonderful foods I tried there. Meanwhile, please check our twitter feed for images of great food and wonderful vendors!

Dead Easy Dills – Kosher Style

Kosher Dills
Kosher Dills

These are those crisp pickles that snap in your mouth. Crunchy because they are uncooked, making them the hands-down easiest pickles you can make.

You need a saucepan, cheesecloth, jars, or a crock, and the ingredients. Maybe a funnel if you’re using jars. It takes about 15 minutes top to bottom if you use ice cubes instead of cold water.

I have a thing for alliteration, so could not resist putting dill in the title, but fennel is a nice alternative.

Aging them for 2 days makes them what is called “half-sour”, aging for 4 or more days is called: “full sour”.

Note that the longer you age the pickles, the more yeast will form on the top. Try to skim it off, as this will affect the pickle taste. It’s perfectly safe though and a natural part of the kosher pickle.

If the yeast weirds you out, then stop aging the pickles at two days.

Skinned-knuckle free grating!

“It’s a poor carpenter that blames his tools, but nevertheless, bad tools suck.”
Me (Quote that as much as you want to. :-))

Article and photographs by Gayle Hurmuses,

A well designed tool does its job with style and grace, assisting in the task in ways that transcend the obvious: A blade that begins and remains sharp, a grip that reduces fatigue and helps transfer force to a blade, a sheath that protects.

A thoughtfully designed tool makes work easier and often safer. The Microplane graters do an excellent job of the former, and the glove does the latter beautifully. Use the gloves properly, and you will never have a shredded knuckle again.

These things are freaking awesome. First, Nancy Whitmore, their charming PR rep, sent the long, slim citrus grater and the glove. I immediately  put them both to the test, grating frozen Parmesan and taking it to the tiniest piece I could hold, blithely careless of my fingers.

The grater did a beautiful job of grating frozen Parmesan rinds, which was the toughest test I could dream up. It did a masterfully impressive job, shredding the cheese into fluff. I remain in awe, especially considering that I’ve never owned a food processor that could handle even fresh Parmesan rind, let alone frozen…and this is just a handheld manual grater. Bonus, it comes with a plastic cover that will prevent any accidental finger shredding while rummaging through drawers.

The glove was great, protecting my fingers from harm. It is  made to be cut resistant and and as such,  does its job excellently. It’s not impossible to damage the glove however, so you should still be watching your hands to make sure it isn’t in the danger zone.

Since then, Nancy has sent me a couple of their ‘Elite Series’ graters, the covers of which also serve as a bowl and measuring cup for the grater when you reverse them and attach them to the blade in the opposite direction. Quite a clever design.

I’ve used the larger gauge grater to demolish a potato for latkes, a task it accomplished with velocity, and the smaller gauge again for the frozen Parmesan rind test, and it was like grating mild cheddar, easy, quick and really felt like nothing at all.

On Monday, they’re going to demo this year’s new products…and I can’t wait to see them!

Microplane Elite Series
Microplane Elite Series and frozen Parmesan rinds. The toughest test.

Pear Chutney

Pear Chutney
Pear Chutney

This is a wonderful chutney that I love with steak and that friends love with their curries. It’s a great way to use up pears in a bumper crop year and lasts a long time even after opening.

It looks lovely in the jar and makes a great gift.

However, after opening these you should swap the tin lid for a plastic one that is not susceptible to rusting.  The vinegars can be quite aggressive with these sorts of preserves that are used over a long period of time.

Perfect Pickles

PicklesCrpArticle, recipe, and photographs by Gayle Hurmuses

What makes a pickle perfect?

Whether your favourites are sour or sweet, tangy or salty, you want them to have a certain snap when bitten into.  We have a full list of crisp pickle tips to read and follow here.

Given that there are few things more disappointing than trying to bite into a pickle only to have it dissolve in your teeth, it’s worth taking the very few minutes to properly prepare for perfect plump and succulent satisfying pickles that snap.

In addition to these tips, make sure that all your ingredients are at the same hot temperature when you assemble the jars. Your boiling water bath should be properly hot, already at a rolling boil when you drop the jars into it and the jar contents should also be as hot as possible.

This is a cold pack recipe, so make sure that the brine solution is boiling at the ready to be added after the jars have been filled, and immediately before capping them.

Crisp Pickle Tips

Use these tips with our pickle recipe.

Grape Leaves!
Last year at a party a friend told me that the grape leaves growing in the garden could be used to keep my homemade pickles crisp. We have Concord grapes growing and I have been using a small leave or portion of a larger one since. Results have been excellent.

Other things to consider:

  1. The cucumbers should be perfectly fresh and unblemished, just as with any other preserves you might make.
  2. Trim off the blossom end of the cucumber. This can have microbes that will give you soft and meh, whatever, pickles.
  3. Use the appropriate type of cucumber, making sure they are not more than 2″ in diameter. In general, pickles are better and crisper when they are smaller.
  4. Salt the cucumbers after washing them and before putting them into the jars. This will draw out excess moisture. Rinse and drain them before putting them into the jars.
  5. Make certain that your immersion bath (canning water) is boiling and your pickling liquid is hot when you add the liquid to the jars, immediately before putting them into the bath. These two things will minimize the amount of time required for the bath to come to a boil again and reduce the overall time your pickles need to be processed. (Processing time is counted from the beginning of a rolling boil, not from the moment the jars hit the water).