Posts tagged ‘breakfast’

September 10, 2013

Squash blossoms: delicious with cheese.

This summer I took a Maya Cooking workshop at UBC farm where we walked into the farm kitchen, took a seat and the Maya gardeners cooked us at least 6 meals accompanied by family chatter and the most delicious corn tortillas I’ve ever tasted.

The table setting had delicate greens and squash blooms, baby sunburst squashes and mystery herbs like Zapote and Yerba Mora.
Mayan Cooking UBC

We were cooking with Faviana, Francesca, Maximo, Nattie, Martina, Juanita, and Leche. Martina showed us a handful of greens, Amaranth/”bledo” and served us our mystery greens, blanched, sauteed with onion and served with pinto beans.
Nattie showed us Yerba Mora, “Very good in soup” and used as medicine, teas and poultices. She had also created her very own Yerba Mora juice- mixed with blueberries, acai, and pomegranate, and taken as a shot.
Slowly the wine from the night before faded away.

We ate a salad of Purslane, Macuy, Yerba Mora. The dressing: sea salt and lime juice. The mix of every single ingredient was magic. It didn’t need a coverup. All cooking techniques used minimal oil. No broth, just water. A pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime.

We had a harvest of squash blooms for our soup, complete with baby sunbursts and even the squash stems. I learned how to differentiate a male and female blossom. To leave some male flowers in the garden to pollinate the females. A female blossom has a small bulb under her bloom that will be a baby squash. Sex education for gardeners. A family tip to never remove the stamens from the bloom- “that is where the flavour is!”.

And this was summer.
This soup.

UBC: Squash Blossom Soup

Squash Blossom Harvest

I left the class and spent the next couple of weeks studying my sunburst squash plant. A few blooms. A boy. A girl here and there. Harvest, zero. I wanted a big bowl of squash blossom soup.
A bit of powdery mildew set in the leaves. I babysat my plant with a rescue remedy.
September rolled around and bloomless, with a harvest of one sunburst and a few babies, I considered chopping the stem and making a soup out of the whole plant.
Then last weekend I wandered up to the garden early enough on Saturday, and there were two beautiful blooms and a baby. Enough to make breakfast for two.

Saturdays Harvest: Squash blossoms, a baby squash, a handful of juliet romas and yellow pear tomatoes, a lemon cucumber.
garden harvest: squash blossoms
Our last meal with the Maya cooks was sauteed baby squash and blossoms. I remember the tastes and flavours of every single dish but with my prized two blossoms all I could hear was the clever and often repeated wise words from Nattie: Squash blossoms “delicious with cheese”.

Squash blossom scrambled eggs "delicious with cheese"

Squash blossom scrambled eggs “delicious with cheese”

Credit to my husband for piling the breakfast bounty on a bagel. I present to you: Breakfast bagel with Squash, blossoms, and cheese:

sh Blossom Breakfast Bagel

Squash Blossom Breakfast Bagel


-Thanks to my dad for documenting the class with beautiful photos, while I ate.
-And a very special thank you to the Maya families who cooked the most incredible dishes of my summer.

Maya cooking workshops are held at UBC farm:Three Sisters in the Kitchen- A Traditional Maya Cooking Class
The Mayan Garden is an initiative of the Vancouver Native Health Society, the VNHS Garden project has been growing and preparing food at the UBC Farm since 2005. The garden project runs a weekly community kitchen with urban Aboriginal participants who grow, prepare, and eat food while sharing knowledge and skills with members of the UBC community and beyond. Ceremonies and celebrations throughout the year mark important seasonal shifts in traditional food ways, such as harvest feasts and the use of the cedar smokehouse for fish (part of the project’s work to bridge land and sea).

March 6, 2013

Poached Pears without the sugar. Recipe: Chai Spiced Poached Pears (for breakfast or dessert).

In my last Rooted Nutrition class we learned how to poach pears “Free of refined sugar. Full of Flavour”.
The secret is to combine apple juice or even cranberry or raspberry with spices such as cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, and ginger.

These are the poached pears we made. They were anjou pears, poached in cherry juice, and served with an elderberry syrup.
Poached pears with elderberry syrup

Armed with my new poaching pear skills, I made breakfast this morning and as I ate I kept exclaiming “WOW”.

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January 29, 2013

A secret to a good oatmeal

Don’t you love it when people talk about poo?
Poo and food? Poo and trying to encourage you to try a recipe… say, oatmeal?

There are times I feel slightly horrified with what might be going on in my digestive tract, which is when things like red lentil soup or oats or miso come back into my life. Times like when I eat a WhiteSpot burger and discover that was 1074 calories. I must remember this fact. Yet each time I think I forget. Nah, it can’t have 1074 calories! It’s just a burger, and an innocent little bun! What the hell is in that sauce to hike up a simple burger to 1074?! And if you are going to eat a burger you really may as well go all the way and have bacon and cheese.

Isn’t it diet efficient if you order a double burger? You’re saving calories of a 2nd bun!

I hope my humor is glossing over the fact I sort of sound like an old lady on vacation talking to the other old ladies by the pool-“Oh dear I can’t possibly take this heat, my bowels blah blah blah not to mention blah blah “.

I’d rather make an nod to Ms. Gillian McKeith from “You Are What You Eat“.

She demands a poo sample from her booze guzzling, take-out addicted, icecream, bread, pasta, and burger eating, over indulgent guests (Do you remember the guy that would wake up in the middle of the night to make a shepherd’s pie, eat the whole thing, then go back to bed?). “Oh my God”, she would scream. “You have simply the worst poo I’ve ever seen. No wonder you feel miserable, your poo looks like…”. They even showed the offending poo on TV. You never saw the actual crap. Just a lump of what was likely a crap in an opaque Tupperware container. “Wahh” people scream and shield their eyes while Gillian rambles on behind her face mask, tupperware in hand, about the importance of a good healthy poo.
(Here is a link to her Poo Chart, if you are interested).

Vegetarians are accused of scaring meat eaters by reminding them that red meat is sitting in their gut and rotting away for 3 or 4 days because it is not easily digested by the body. I searched around to find a definitive answer, and cannot find one unfortunately. Digestion appears to have many factors. How much you ate, how long you chewed, what else you ate, the time you ate it, the state of your digestive system. I still use the red meat scare tactic in my non-vegetarianism as a way to remind myself that red meat is a treat not an everyday occurrence. and if I am going to indulge in a white spot burger I must then help the whole thing move along.

Now I really did want to start this post by saying I finally learned how to make oatmeal. I’ve tried a few bowls but I never got past the gluey, this-is-concrete-in-my-gut result. Quinoa for breakfast has been the reigning champion. It has texture. I hear all these wonderful healthy benefits to eating old fashioned rolled oats and I try again. And I get a bowl of glue. In an effort to be more budget conscious I put down the $6 bag of quinoa and bought the $2 bag of rolled oats and tried Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions Breakfast Porridge.
The secret is to soak your oats overnight with a bit of yoghurt or kefir. In the morning your soaked oats cook up in 5 minutes. A quick breakfast, yes, but the real magic here is that the oats retain their shape, actually have a slight bite, and while they are creamy and stick to the spoon, they are nothing at all like glue.

    Sally Fallon’s Oatmeal (serves 2)

    1 C oatmeal
    1 cup warm,filtered water
    2 T yoghurt or kefir

    Combine and soak overnight (Sally fallon recommends 7+ hours).

    In the morning bring 1 C water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add your soaked oats. a bit of butter, Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

I’ve cut sally fallon’s recipe in half and tried some oat experiments: apple/cinnamon, pear and chai spice, one with frozen blueberries I won’t ever try again (purple oatmeal.. esh). Leftover oatmeal, fried up, or turned into pancakes, or bread does not appeal to me yet. Today’s breakfast was the first oatmeal I know for sure I will make again.

My variation: Oatmeal with pears.
I quite liked the pear oatmeal with chai spice. I forgot to grind the spices though and got a mouthful of clove one bite. It wasn’t terrible, but it was missing something. Considering I was experimenting, and this was the first time I’d ever made chai, I think it went well but I will head back to the oatmeal test kitchen with that one. Instead, here is the winner: I sliced up some pear, added it to the oats in the morning, and when the oatmeal was cooked through I put in a spoon of honey, some cinnamon, and very important here, a grind of black pepper.

Pear Oatmeal

Worth checking out: The Nourishing Cook’s reviews of Sally Fallon’s recipes.
Ho Yummy’s White Spot Triple O sauce secret recipe challenge.
The Good and the Bad about Gillian McKeith.