Welcome to Dorothy's Kitchen Korner

By Dorothy Rees

PLEASE NOTE: Hoping you will want to use some of the older recipes uploaded to the Nova Scotia Archives. Reading and interpreting the old recipes can be challenging. For example, the ingredients are given by weight and not by cups, tablespoons, imperial or metric measure. Ingredients were also known by different names. For example, baking powder was called pearl ash and gelatin was called isinglass. Today's equivalents for several of the recipes tried by archives' staff are found in the modern methods section.

What's Cooking is the latest addition in a continuing series of digital products developed and released by the archives. For more information about archives' offerings, go to https://archives.novascotia.ca/ .

If you have a favourite family recipe and would like it published in the January 2019 issue, please send on or before December 9th, as the January issue will be published on December 19th, a few days prior to Christmas. Send to: The Shoreline Journal, Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0; Fax: 902-647-2194 or email:  maurice@theshorelinejournal.com


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December 2018 - Two more great recipes

Last month I mentioned with all the political antics before and since the mid-term election, I am glad I don’t live south of the border. However, the way the weather has turned extremely frigid, I need to find someplace warm to thaw out my chilled body.

In thinking back to last fall, I seem to remember part of November and December was reasonably warm. Not so this year. Strong winds and sub-zero temperatures meant the wind chill factor made it feel like -23. I wonder if this is unusual, or is climate change showing its full forces, and frigid November and December will be the norm.

Not that it had gained a stronghold on me, but with bad roads and blustering winds, but I couldn’t even get my mind toned onto doing some Christmas shopping. Most days I have enjoyed staying home with our two new kittens.

In early September, I was faced with the reality, my 7 year old Pomeranian was not going to get better, so we made one last trip to the animal hospital. I had told myself no more pets, but the house got lonely and was getting more so each day, so I contacted a friend. She had a batch of kittens needing a new home, so off I go. Yes, I came back with a little ginger coloured one. A few days later, I said to Maurice, I wish I had gotten the white one.

His response. Go get it. Two will not be any more bother than one. So, off I go. Now we have two brothers, who are quickly become monsters. No problem with a litter box. They learned the first day. Their favourite toy is a small ball of crushed up tin foil. Fun to watch them bat it around the floor, then pick it up and head off to bed.

Enough about Willy and Pumpkin. Time to determine my recipes. Think I’ll provide two. Not anything special for Christmas. Just two favourite cookie recipes, Grandma’s Molasses Cookies and Brad’s Snicker Doodles that are desirable any day.

Grandma’s Molasses Cookies

  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup raisins

Cream together Shortening and brown Sugar. Add egg. Mix together molasses and warm water. Add to mixture. Add dry ingredients. Mix well.

Drop by spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 380 oven for about 15 minutes.

Brad’s Snicker Doodles

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • ½ tsp soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 400. In large bowl combine first four ingredients, blend well. Stir in flour, cream of tarter, soda, salt, blend well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Combine 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon, roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Place balls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Makes 48 cookies.


November 2018 - Two Great recipes

I am glad I don’t live south of the border. I don’t want to be political, but I do have to have my say on how women are treated. During the USA judiciary hearings into the Supreme Court nomination process, that is all Maurice would watch. After listening to it for a while, I got my ears more tuned into what was happening.

It appalled me to watch powerful senators navigate to approve Kavanaugh, without regard to what has happened to other people, particularly women who claim they have been sexually assaulted many years ago, have finally been able to gather the strength to come forward exposing themselves and family to the world.

That is bad enough, but to be ridiculed, receive death threats, have to move out of their home and not one of the 51 GOP senators, or president Trump to put a stop to further harassment. Seems like they were marching to Trump’s orders. Don’t they have a mind of their own? Don’t they realize right from wrong? I’m just glad I’m not there.

I won’t go on about the weather, or what happened during the last month, like I normally do because, I have two recipes I wish to bring you this month. The second is pickled beets handed down from Maurice’s mother. However, the first I wish to present is Cowboy Casserole, which Chris Urquhart sent along with last month’s Masstown Community News. Thanks to Chris, she is a consistent submitter, and here’s her recipe.

Cowboy Casserole

  • 1 lb hamburger 4 potatoes
  • 3 to 5 carrots 1 large onion
  • 1 can baked beans in pork & molasses 1 can tomato soup

Place a layer of potatoes sliced thin, with a few dabs of butter in the bottom of a casserole dish. Next place a layer of carrots sliced thin. Then add a layer of onions, sliced thin. Cover with hamburger using your choice of spices. Then cover with baked beans. Last, cover the whole lot with tomato soup. Cover dish and bake in a 350’F oven for about 1 hour, until potatoes are cooked through.

Another ideal recipe for this time of year is Pickled Beets. Without a doubt they are my favourite. I have my own recipe, but I wanted to share with you the recipe Maurice’s sister, Gloria, sent down from his mother’s recipe collection. The recipe was given over the phone yars ago when Gloria was living in Winnipeg, but had a yearning for "Mum’s Beet Pickels".

Mum's Beet Pickles

Cook your beets, about10 lbs, salting as for dinner. (Don’t overcook. You want a little crunch to your pickle). Skin beets and slice as you want. As sliced, put beets in hot sterilized bottles.

Meanwhile put lids and caps into saucepan and heat until water boils. Turn of heat, but leave on burner.

Put 1 Cup Vinegar and Pickling Spice (large palm of hand size) in saucepan, bring to a boil. Boil vinegar and spices together for a few minutes. Then strain to remove spices. Vinegar to Sugar ratio will be 1 to 1 regardless of quantities.

FLUID / SAUCE: Four cups vinegar and four cups of white sugar. Use the above spiced-vinegar as one of your cups of vinegar. Mix vinegars and sugar together, boil till dissolved and is syrupy. Prepare syrup before cutting beets.

Make sure the jars are quite hot when you put the beets in. (To sterilize them, after washing, turn upside down and put in oven (275). Put hot bottles on cutting board or cake cooker rack.

Fill with sliced beets. Pour Hot Syrup over cut beets in the bottle. Tighten each bottle as you fill it. Leave bottles on cake cooker rack, but space about 1" apart.  

As bottles cool you’ll hear the lips popping all evening. Next morning, re-tighten each bottle to ensure tightness.

YIELD: Probably 6-7+/- pints.(6-7 x 250 ml jars). Time: An hour, or less, after beets are cooked.


October 2018 - Pickling memories – family recipes

For the most part, the humidity has disappeared as we turn towards fall. Within a few days we went from sweltering heat and humidity to a "cold wave" with temperatures dropping so low, I almost turned on the furnace.

The pace of change is gripping North America. Florence, the worst hurricane in history arrived and devastated the Carolina coast and over a couple of days dropped up to 40 inches of rain in some area which propelled additional disaster as a result of sustained winds, record levels of storm surge disrupting lives of 25-million Americans. Add to that the damaging political winds against the Trump presidency with the release of Woodward’s book, Fear, and the Op-Ed published in the New York Times.

Just as the track of Florence changed to turn southward, the political climate throughout the USA is changing. As American voters inch closer to the mid-term elections in early November, Trump’s approval Vs disapproval rating is changing.

Some pundits suggest the Democrats will take control of the house and there’s an outside possibility, if changes intensify, they could upset Trump’s last two years of his first term in office by having a majority in the Senate. It’s pure speculation, but the outcome of the mid-term elections will provide interesting times south of the border.

There are days, when I’m not happy with political events in Canada, but when I look South of the border, I’m thankful I’m on the northern side.

After visiting Truro’s Farmer’s Market, Maurice came home with a large bag of yellow beans announcing we should make a batch of mustard bean pickle using his mother’s recipe. When he couldn’t find it, he sent an email to his two sisters in New Brunswick. Both replied, but Gloria provided the most informative prelude to the actual recipe.

Gloria indicated she was living in Winnipeg, at the time in the mid to late 80’s. Missing mom’s cooking, she developed a craving for bean pickles. The recipe was sent by snail mail, because the internet didn’t exist.

Maurice’s mother got the recipe, for both bean and cucumber mustard pickles, from her good friend, Audrey Bell, probably back in the 60’s. As a bit of trivia, it’s interesting to note how things go full circle. Slightly over forty years later, from getting the recipe, Barbara Bell, Audrey’s daughter, married Maurice’s youngest brother, Glendon.

When Glendon, retired from the RCMP he chose Guysborough, where he was stationed upon exit from the Musical Ride. He’s enjoying retirement, while wife, Barb is one of the medical doctor’s serving the residents of Guysborough and area.

Audrey's Bean Pickles - (also used for cucumber/mustard)

Sauce:

  • 6 cups Sugar
  • 6 cups Vinegar
  • Use 1 of the cups of vinegar for mixing these dry ingredients
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup mustard (dry)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Celery Seed
  • 2 Tbsp. Turmeric - probably only need 1 Tbsp
  • Boil for 5 minutes

Beans:

  • 1 Fruit Basket (approximately 8 Qts beans)
  • cut to size required.  Cook Salted as for dinner - till crunchy
  • Drain beans then pour into hot boiled syrup.  Cook for a few minutes.
  • Bottle while hot - tightening lids as you fill each bottle

Cucumbers:   

  • cut and salt overnight. drain well next day
  • mix with hot syrup - heat to boil - simmer a few minutes.
  • bottle as above.
  • If desired, add chopped green & red pepper before put into the syrup

As with any preserving or pickling project, be sure to re-check and tighten the lids once the bottles have cooked, preferably overnight.

There will be plenty of beets in early November. I’ll provide Maurice’s mothers recipe for pickled beets. Beets are my favourite pickle!


September 2018 - No potatoes

I guess we can’t get away from the lasting effects of June’s late frost.

Just this past week there was reports that several fish and chips trucks in Cape Breton were going to close this past weekend (August 26), because they could not get potatoes to make fries. One such unit in Glace Bay which a service club opened four years ago to create jobs and to use proceeds for other community work would be closing early.

Because of the late frost potatoes, which are normally available now, would not be available until mid-September.


According to reports not one potato producer or warehouse in Atlantic Canada has any "old" potatoes left. The same results from Ontario, no potatoes. French fries require a certain type of potatoes. Some different varieties have been tried, but the fries turn black. Normally, operators expect to pay approximately $10.00 for a 50 lb bag. Even if the different brands would work, the price was hovering around $29.00 for 50 lbs.

Yields from other crops, normally grown in abundance will be down significantly. Some estimate blueberries will be down at least 35%, and when some farmers decide not to harvest some fields, because of poor yields, the overall result is this year’s harvest will be down 50%.

Last Friday when it was hot and humid, one radio announcer reminded us, it was four months until Christmas Eve. His short statement sent me searching for some favourite Christmas recipes. I found two of my mother’s favourites, which were a mainstay around our house at Christmas time. Here are my choices:

Wartime Cake (Fruit)

2 c sugar

1 c shortening

  • 2 c cold water
  • 1 lb seeded raisins
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Put all together and boil 3 minutes. Let cool and add:
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ½ c flour
  • 2 tsp soda – dissolved in 2 tsp warm water.
  • Makes two loaves. Bake in 350 oven.

Cape Breton Pork Pies

  • (In 15 years, I’ve only found these once on the mainland and that was in Shubenacadie)
  • SHELL:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • Sift together flour and icing sugar, cut in butter. Form into balls, and press into pan. Bake in oven about 16 minutes.

FILLING:

  • 2 ¼ cups chopped dates
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Combine dates, water, brown sugar and salt in a pan. Bring to slow boil, stirring constantly until dates are soft and mixture is uniform. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool.
  • Preheat oven to 325. Bake about 15-16 minutes.

ICING:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • Cream ¼ cup butter with mixer. Add 1 cup sugar. Add milk and 1 ¼ cup sugar and maple extract. Beat on high until smooth. Add icing as soon as removed from oven. Let cool.

August 2018 - Can you believe our weather?

Last month I was drawing reference to frost in June and snow accumulation in cape Breton Highlands and Newfoundland on June 25th. Things changed significantly and July were suffered through some of the highest temperatures and extremely high humidity.

Some proclaim it’s a result of climate change. I don’t know, but if it is climate change looks out for the years ahead. What I do know is the weather certainly has changed since I was a teen. Or at least as I get older I mind the variances in weather patterns a lot more.

If memory serves me correctly, almost immediately after Labour Day fall weather seemed to arrive instantly. Now we get some of our best and most enjoyable weather late into October and the first week or so of November.

I did get home to Cape Breton for almost a week the week of July 15th. However, I had to shorten my visit by four days, when "Moe" my 4.5 lb Pomeranian took sick and I rushed him to the Vets in New Glasgow. He lost the use of his back legs and I was afraid of the prognosis. Compared to possible the news was relieving. The vet diagnosed him as having a "slipped disc". He seems to be recovering well, is able to stand and should be home as you are reading this.

All eyes were glued to the television last week to keep track of the NATO, and visits to London to meet with the UK Prime Minster May and the Queen, plus Trump-Putin events in Helsinki and the outfall from what was said and what might have been the true meaning of two hours of secret talks and the 45 minute press conference. Walking back on international public meetings and trying to explain things away between "would" and "wouldn’t" doesn’t bode well for the most powerful man in the world.

Needless to say with the heat, humidity and my ventures back home to Cape Breton, spending time in the kitchen has been very far from my mind.

Considering how fast time travels, here’s a couple of recipes for consideration for fall and winter enjoyment. If you have a surplus of green tomatoes, or a hankering for Chow Chow and mincemeat, you might wish to try these.

Green Tomato Chow Chow

  • 20 apples of your choice (macs are very good)
  • 20 green tomatoes (must not show any signs of ripening)
  • 5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 cups of raisins

Core and peel apples. Cut tomatoes into chunks. Run the tomatoes and apples through a grinder with a coarse blade. (Do not use a food processor). Add spices and raisins and bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes. Seal in clean jars using the hot pack method. The longer it sets the better the taste. Yield: 8 pints

Green Tomato Mincemeat

  • 16 cups finely sliced green tomatoes
  • 8 cups sliced onions
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup coarse pickling salt
  • ½ cup pickling spices, in a cheesecloth bag

In a large pot, sprinkle the tomatoes and onions well with pickling salt, and let sit overnight covered. In the morning drain the liquid off of the tomatoes and onions. Add them to a large pot, add the vinegar, the sugar, and the pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag.

Put the large pot on the stove and turn to medium. Cook the tomato mixture until it is soft and somewhat thickened, about two hours. Stir often, don't let it burn to the bottom of the pan. Seal in hot sterile mason jars. Makes about 6 pints.


June 2018 - Snow in the Highlands – June 25th

It’s hard to believe the weather we have been having. I’ve been waiting for some consistent summer-like weather. At least a few days in a row.

I’m getting tired of the variables. Heavy frosts in mid-June that have decimated agriculture crops in many areas. In addition to money-losing prices for the past couple of years, blueberry farmers are now facing the possibility of up to 75% of this year’s crop will be lost due to frost. Is that nature’s way of eliminating the glut of berries in storage? A significant drop in 2018 tonnage might cause prices to raise and reverse the downward spiral.

Blueberries are not the only crop suffering from frost damage. It extends to almost everything Nova Scotia farmers grow – apples, pears, grapes, and strawberries. Luckily Colchester strawberry growers do not seem to have suffered as much damage as other areas.

However, there are a few things, I don’t understand. Around here, many fields are soaking wet, and most days the grass is too wet to mow the lawn. Then I listen to the radio and around the province, the report the forest fire index is dangerously high. What gives?

I did get home to Cape Breton for a couple of days in early June. Weather was reasonably good, but certainly not good enough to head to the beach. What really confuses me about what is going on with the environment, is meteorologists were calling for "snow in the Cape Breton Highlands on June 25th. What gives?

Is it pointless to check out my sun bathing apparel, and dust off my beach-cooler?

Enough lamenting about the weather. Time to think of something good to eat. Might as well throw something together and use the oven to take the chill off the kitchen. Maybe I won’t have to turn on the furnace today. My sweet tooth is calling, so might as well go with the season. Off I went to pick off a few stocks of rhubarb

  • Rhubarb Crisp
  • 5 c rhubarb, chopped
  • ¾ c white sugar
  • ¼ c cornstarch
  • ½ c butter, cold, cubed
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 1 ½ c rolled oats
  • ½ whole wheat flour
  • Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease pan.

In a bowl stir together rhubarb, sugar, corn starch. Pour into pan. In a large bowl combine butter, brown sugar, oats, flour until crumbly. Spread over the rhubarb. Press lightly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Since hot days of summer might be here soon, I thought this would be appropriate for our four legged companions.

Dog Ice Cream

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 32 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • Blend together. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze.

June 2018 - A Very Successful Birthday Party.

The 8th annual 90 & 90+ birthday party was very successful and is now history. A couple pages of photos are printed in this issue. For the first time councillors for Districts 9 & 10 and Colchester Mayor were not able to attend. Mayor Blair, plus Councillors Tom Taggart and Bob Pash, who would have been attending for his first time, were off to Yarmouth for Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities meetings.

MP Bill Casey was not able to attend, due to a prior commitment. He did send certificates from the Government of Canada. Presentation of certificates kept Karen Casey, MLA busy because as the only elected representative, she had to present certificates from the Province of Nova Scotia, Government of Canada and Municip0ality of Colchester.

Karen enlisted some great help, her granddaughter, Kara was in attendance. They were assisted by three members of the CEC Reach for the Top team who won the provincials and have been in Toronto this past weekend for the national championship May 25-28.

Things got a little hectic around here about 10 days ago, when Maurice tripped and fell while in town. He picked himself up and went to Colchester Council’s committee meeting later that evening. He suffered for a couple of days hoping it was a bad sprain, However, when the wrist, hand and fingers swelled up to about double in size he relented and went to Emergency.

Said he was totally amazed when he got to ER about 2:00 pm on Saturday of the holiday weekend. He didn’t get to sit down to wait for triage to call him. With no one ahead of him, he was processed within 10 minutes, sent of to x-ray. In just over two hours he walked out sporting a cast on his left arm.

On the Tuesday after the holiday a call from the office of Dr Boudreau, bone specialist, in New Glasgow, requesting report to the 2nd floor of the hospital shortly after 9:00 am on Thursday. It was a day long affair, first trip to X-ray there were over 20 waiting in line, back upstairs, more waiting, then a new cast, then back to x-ray. Report back on July 4th.

Things changed around the house a bit. Not that I had to wait on him hand and foot, but some extra duties were required. Primarily, hitch up his pants the first couple of days and tie his shoes. Made me think of the days 35 years ago when son, Bradley was a toddler.

Menu for meals changed a bit, so I decided to make what I call, "My Mother’s Favourite". It’s simple to make, throw it in the oven and it’s a complete meal.

"My Mother’s Favourite"

(Problem with this recipe, I don’t have quantities. I’ve been making it for over 40 years. Primarily depends on how many sausage links, or how much I want to make)

  • Potatoes – peel and slice as if scalloped potatoes
  • Large Onion – (maybe two) – peel and slice like potatoes
  • Italian or hot sausage – (at least a pound – more if you wish) – slice like a tooney – ¼" maybe bit thicker
  • 28 oz Canned Tomatoes (More tomatoes if very large casserole)
  • 5 oz can tomato paste or 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • Tomato Juice – top up to cover
  • Seasoning – salt and pepper, plus your favourite.
  • Put all in your casserole or baking dish, except tomato juice. Stir until all mixed up and tomatoes are crushed, if you chose whole tomatoes. Add tomato juice to cover.
  • Cover casserole, place in 350 oven. Cook until potatoes are softened or cooked the way you like. Under cook potatoes a bit, if you are going for leftovers or freeze.

(Sometimes I make an extra large one then put in the freezer after the first meal).


May 2018 - 90 & 90+ Birthday Party

This time of year is always a happy and joyous time for Maurice & me. Not only because winter weather is getting behind us – even though we could still have a few miserable days – but the lawn is starting to turn green, but because on the Saturday prior to Mother’s day, we will be holding the 8th Annual 90 & 90+ Birthday party at the Economy Recreation Centre.

Eight years ago, when Maurice came up with the idea, I’ll admit I wasn’t that keen, as I did not think people at that age would want to go out. WOW, was I wrong. I was totally amazed how excited they were. It was also amazing to see friendships from decades ago reunited. In some cases, they might have lived at each length of the shore and met through normal college, or training to be nurses, or perhaps grew up as next door friends in their youth, but got separated with one having moved farther up the shore.

Ironically, I’ve seen cases where caregivers, drivers or guests for another reason meet up with a school friend 25-30 years ago. Maurice and I always look forward to the event, and early in March, he will get the occasional call wondering if the event is on for another year, or asking for the date. Then in early April he is finalizing the mailing list to send out the invites.

Also about the same time, Maurice is getting anxious to see if the Shoreline Journal has been selected as a standing finalist in the Better Newspaper Competition, during which the Shoreline competes against about 50 other community newspapers in the Atlantic Provinces. Right now Maurice is rejoicing because within the past 24 hours, he learned the Shoreline is a standing finalist in three categories. Winners will be announced in Halifax on June 1st.

However, the biggest news is on April 28th, Maurice will be inducted into the Atlantic Journalism Awards – AJA Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Halifax. He will be inducted along with Don Connolly, CBC radio morning (42 years); Jim and Linda Gourlay, Saltscapes magazine for 50 & 20 years; Dirk van Loon, Liverpool, Rural Delivery (41 years) and Aleta Williams, 40 years, New Glasgow, (posthumously), first African Nova Scotian woman to work in the province’s mainstream journalism industry. Maurice tops them all for longevity with 55 years.

Needless to say, not much time in the kitchen, although my sweet tooth has been craving some affection. Today, I’ve chosen "Chocolate Fudge Balls" to whet your appetite and start your cravings.

Chocolate Fudge Balls

  • 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 Tbspns butter
  • 1/3 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • (Coconut may be used)

Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler. Add potatoes, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Blend in sugar, one cup at a time, thoroughly mix, and knead gently. Shape into small balls and roll in walnuts, or coconut if you, family or friends have nut allergies. Set on wax paper to dry before storing.

I’m going to freeze most of mine. I’ll be able to take them out, a few at a time, so I don’t overdo it in one day.


April 2018 - We’re not smiling now!

In January and early February, we were all smiles. No snow, no really harsh cold days and when you looked outside, it was very similar to late April. From your gaze across the yard or towards the edge of the woods, you could almost imagine the leaves starting to come out.

We’re not smiling now and it seems since last week of February we are getting more winter that we did all of last year. Add to that, noticed a long range weather forecast indicates spring is going to be cold and wet and approximately two weeks later than normal.

Seems like, within the last decade or so, the seasons have moved about 2-3 weeks from what I seem to remember. I know we don’t get as much snow as when I was in elementary school. So it’s understandable if seasons have moved a few weeks. Later spring, and then the fall tourist season spreads into early November.

If we are looking south of the border, we certainly don’t have many reasons to smile. School shootings, drive-by killings; Trump’s extra-curricular activities even from 10-15 years ago, all coming at us in a rush. Very overwhelming. I know things change, however, If today is the standard, I’m not looking forward to the future.

I’ll suggest guns, arrogance and extreme racism are the basis of a majority of their problems. I’m not suggesting it’s happening only south of the border. We have plenty here to be ashamed and concerned about.

Even though I don’t like many things he has done or is doing, but thank goodness, Justin’s government seems to be focusing on changing life’s lot with the aboriginal people.

We didn’t get to this point in a couple of years. It is going to take a decade or so to eliminate most of the plight of many aboriginal people. Working hard with them and getting the rest of Canada to help eliminate racism will be most helpful and provide a quicker transition.

Now back to the kitchen. When in Halifax for some medical appointments, Maurice came across this great recipe for "Pulled Pork". Thought I would share it with you.

Pulled Pork – Slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Kg Pork – bone in (Excess fat trimmed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Oil - canola preferred
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth (low sodium?)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Pat meat dry and season with salt all over. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat, add oil. Brown pork on all sides, about three minutes per side. Then transfer to slower cooker.

Add onions, carrots, jalapenos and garlic to the pan. Cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in spices and cook another minute. Scrape mixture onto meat in the slow cooker.

Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, pineapple juice and worcestershire sauce.

Cook on low for 10 hours. Remove pork from insert to large bowl. Strain sauce into a large frying pan, reserve vegetables and add to pork. Skim off any fat from the sauce.

Boil liquid, stirring often, until reduced to syrupy consistency, about 30-35 minutes. Stir in vinegar.

Using two forks, remove bone and shred meat. Combine with sauce. Serve over rock or on buns.

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 10 ½ hours; Serves 12


March 2018 - Cabbage and Meat Layered Casserole

The last week or so has been very discouraging. I am yet to figure out where society is heading and how we are going to solve problems. Yes, I am speaking about the Florida massacre of 17 school students by a former 19 year old former student, who had a troubled past.

Very troubling the FBI fell short and tips did not get passed along to area offices. Although unfortunate, the FBI failed, I commend them on owning up to failures of staff to take appropriate actions. Yes, they have a part to play, but the problems are much more systemic.

The USA systems, including Canada and others, need to be overhauled and soon. I fail to see why it would not be possible for instances of mental illness, or a person suffering with depression, and multiple police calls to the residence could not be put into a database available to all departments nation-wide.

Even though I don’t agree with the right to bear arms, the USA’s Second Amendment is part of their constitution. In 1776, when written many things we have today were not developed. About all I can say is I don’t think assault rifles should be sold to someone who is mentally ill or a criminal record, particularly to a teenager who is not legally permitted to buy beer or liquor.

I love making cabbage rolls. Being raised in Cape Breton instead of having lobster or other seafood, my mother developed the tradition to have a cabbage roll feast on Christmas Eve. Even though I’m on the mainland the tradition continues, alternating with lobsters which Maurice first developed when he moved to Yarmouth in the ‘70’s.

One of the things which always irritated me is what to do with all the smaller and broken cabbage leaves. Almost seems like half a cabbage remains. You can only eat so much cabbage over the next few days. Then one day while browsing through "The Best of Cooking" cookbook with over 600 illustrated recipes, I came across what I determined would be the solution, "Cabbage and Meat Layered Casserole". After a cabbage roll making session in early February, I decided to try it out. I was impressed it would be a solution, I decided to reproduce it here.

Cabbage and Meat Layered Casserole

  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 1 stale roll
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup beef stock
  • 5 tablespoons cream
  • 5 tablespoons grated cheese

If you don’t already have cabbage from making cabbage rolls, core cabbage and separate the leaves. Cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Drain. Soften the roll in the water; squeeze out; break into small pieces.

Mix the meat with bread, nutmeg and seasonings. Arrange half the cabbage leaves in a greased ovenproof dish. Top with half the meat mixture and half of the sliced pepper, then repeat for another layer.

Melt the butter. Stir in flour and cook for one minute, Stir in the stock, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Pour over the meat mixture and sprinkle on the cheese.

Bake in 400 oven for 35 minutes. Serves 4-5. Ideally serve with mashed potatoes, or rice.


February 2018 - Chicken Curry with Vegetables

When I last wrote, we were awaiting Christmas. Now that’s long past, decorations are all put away and for some the bills for excessive Christmas spending are starting to arrive. Don’t know about you, but all my presents were paid before they were wrapped.

However, we did spend a bit more than anticipated, because just before Christmas the large television went on the blink, We checked around and got a new one the first day when the stores opened. Hadn’t planned on it, but you have to do what you have to do.

During the week between Christmas and New Years, Maurice took off for a couple of days to visit is sons and families in Saint John. I was going to go, but it was cold and I wasn’t feeling up to par, so I stayed home with the pets and minded the home front.

While in Saint John, he got to go with his oldest son to visit the Saint John City Market, the oldest one in North America. At one of the stalls, he found a lobster chowder powder mix produced by a company from Port Williams. Then at another stall he got real interested in a frozen Chicken Vegetable Curry. It would serve about six people and was priced over $25.00. He resisted the purchase, but as soon as he was home, there he was on the computer looking for a recipe.

We haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve picked out his favourite.

Chicken Curry with Vegetables

  • 2 tblspns Vegetable Oil
  • 2 12/ tbspns Curry Powder
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced with grain
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Lime Wedges, for squeezing.

Cook 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, curry powder and onions in a large sauté pan on medium heat, constantly stirring, but let it sizzle, for 5-6 minutes. Pat chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining oil pan. Cook the chicken in the onion-curry mixture until golden brown on all sides. Add the broccoli, carrots, basil, garlic and lime zest and cook, stirring until the vegetables are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Let the chicken simmer until cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken – about 20 minutes. Squeeze with lime juice before serving over rice or egg noodles, or your favourite pasta.

Should serve 4-6 people. Prep time is 10 minutes and about 35 minutes cooking for total time of 45 minutes.


January 2018 - Corner Brook’s Mystery Icing

We are almost there. Guess I’m getting older and either I’m slowing down or the passage of time has speeded up. Seems only a few months ago the stocking were hung, the baking was nearing completion and the little ones were getting excited.

Yes, Christmas arrives in just a few days. Then it will be left-over turkey, spending time with family and trying to get out to visit friends, kids out of school for a few more days, then we’ll settle in for about eight weeks of winter until it starts to warm up in March.

Not sure how the retailers fared over the heavy shopping season. The stores didn’t appear to be as busy and shopping mall parking lots not as congested. However, it’s probable a significant increase in on-line shopping will be reported just after we right in the new year.

Not sure if the scurrying of all the courier delivery vans and Canada Post rural drivers making their daily trek with vehicles piled full of parcels is any sign, but early in December our local post mistress expressed amazement at the increase in parcels.

Hope everything purchased online fits and meets expectations, because it can become a hassle if returns are required. In our household we cut back on purchasing, not because we went on-line, but due more to the fact an our age a lot less is required.

I much prefer love and affection and friendship.

Also because of watching the waistline, I decided we needed less in the sweet department, so I spent a lot less time in the kitchen or fretting about it. A couple of presents, a nice Christmas dinner and good health are our priority. Hope to fine a couple of days of fine weather in between Christmas and New Years so we could perhaps make a quick trip to Saint John, NB to see Maurice’s two sons, spouses and grand children.

Was wondering what to research for this month’s recipe, when without prodding, John MacLean came to the rescue. He sent along a recipe which Jeanette Bartlett had sent to his family, with the following note: "

  • Some of you expressed interest in the icing used on your Dad's birthday cake - here is the recipe".
     
    Corner Brook’s Mystery Icing
     
    1 c. boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp. white sugar
    2 rounded Tbsp. custard powder (e.g. Bird’s) mixed with a little cold water
    Lemon or orange flavouring
    1 c. butter
  • ½ c. white sugar

Procedure:

  • In a small saucepan, dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar in the boiling water.
    Add dissolved custard powder to water-sugar mixture & cook until colour changes, stirring constantly. Let cool. Add flavouring.
  • Cream butter well; add  ½ c. sugar a small amount at a time, beating until very creamy.
  • Add custard mixture, a teaspoon or two at a time, beating well after each addition.

The recipe can be found in the 4th edition of "Corner Brook’s Favorite Recipes", Bentley Club, First United Church. 1960.

Before I close off, Maurice and I would like to wish all Shoreline Journal subscribers, families and readers a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year filled with good health and prosperity in 2018.


December 2017 - Turkey Lasagna

Ole man winter has only shown us a slight image of himself and it is impacting how we normally prepare for winter’s icy blast. Warmer weathers far into the fall caused many dedicated golfers to get in that "one last game" instead of heading to the garage to get winter tires installed. Clothing retailers are suffering from the lack of interest in winter coats, boots and mittens.

The extremely milder fall lasted into the early part of November, and was a concern to hunters who had to deal with many leaves still on the trees and the lack of colder weather to get "the deer moving".

I could go on and on to mention the number of birds who delayed their migration south and are still sticking around. On the other hand, we have not had storm day school cancellations other than some isolated instances where wind storms have caused power outages in the windier parts of Nova Scotia.

It’s hard to believe in exactly three weeks, we will experience the shortest day of the year. Does than mean with an additional two to three minutes of sunlight per day that spring is close at hand?

When I started to look for a recipe, Maurice mentioned maybe it’s the season to make Turkey Lasagna. A few days after our Christmas feast of turkey, we wonder "What can I do with all this turkey. I’m tired of it". Everytime we have turkey and get tired of it, Maurice gets into the act with his own recipe. So here goes.

Turkey Lasagna

  • 1 pkg oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 3 - 4 cups (maybe more) cooked diced turkey
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pkg Mozzarella cheese – thinly sliced

Sauce

  • For the sauce consider you are making gravy.
  • Using a thick bottom medium size sauce pan (low heat) make a white sauce which includes:
  • 4 – 6 tblsps (maybe ¼ lb) Butter
  • Flour – maybe add water, as if making gravy
  • Melt butter, add flour, constantly stirring, cooking slowly until thickened.
  • To make liquid sauce gradually add milk until you have desired consistency. Actually thinner the better. (Probably saucepan half full).
  • Add seasoning – salt and pepper – to taste.
  • Then stir in granulated garlic powder (quantity to your taste). Maurice likes lots of garlic.

Baking dish

Choose traditional lasagna dish. Warm dish, coat bottom and sides with shortening. Layer lasagna and ingredients in traditional way.

Pour approximately 1 cup sauce over layer of noodles, turkey, veggies and mozza. Repeat layering. Should have at least three layers. Make sure lots of mozza on top layer. Add remainder of sauce.

Before putting in 325 oven, go around edges with spatula, to ensure noodles don’t touch the side. Add more sauce if available, or fill cavity with water or milk. Cover with tin foil and bake. Near end of baking check sides and add more water or milk around the sides to ensure moist lasagna.

Let cool, Cut into individual portions. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze. Put individual frozen pieces on plate and heat in microwave. When partially thawed, remove from microwave and cut into smaller pieces. Finish in microwave, probably 3 minutes 30 seconds. Enjoy.


November 2017 - Warming Ocean Temperatures

The warming temperatures of the gulf stream most certainly has been changing our climate. Some say it’s global warming, but I’m not qualified to confirm. However, I do know I appreciate the above average temperatures, we are having, and it looks like 4-5 degrees above normal will continue a while.

Neither Maurice or myself are weather experts, but over the last two or three years, we have noticed a change in live lobster, which we treat ourselves to around Christmas time. In the past lobsters purchased in December had very hard shells and they were full of meat, but not so recently.

Last year when purchasing from a lobster seller from Yarmouth in a parking lot in Truro, Maurice inquired about the quality and shell hardness. The seller mentioned he really had to carefully pick what he was going to sell. Shells were a lot softer and not full because warmer waters were causing the molting season to be extended into the fall. He suspected it would take another month for lobsters to return to the "norm". Maybe we’ll change our tradition by having cabbage rolls at Christmas waiting until later in January to splurge on a feed of lobsters.

If those suspicions are true it could have a very negative impact on Southwestern Nova Scotia, as lobster is one of the most important economic drivers.

To follow up on the warmer weather lasting later in the fall on October 17th Maurice received the annual fall and winter Accu-Weather forecast for Canada which stated: Snowstorms to frequent Ontario, Quebec; Dangerously cold air to grip the Prairies. A snow-filled winter is in store for much of eastern Canada (Ontario & Quebec) as storms frequent some of the country's most populated cities.

Projections are for several significant snow events from Windsor through Toronto and up into Ottawa and Montreal this winter, especially in January and February. While much of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Valley will face a snowy winter.

For Atlantic Canada, we might be luckier than most. The Accu-Weather forecast milder conditions for Atlantic Canada. Cloudier and milder conditions will prevail in cities such as Saint John, Halifax and Charlotteown.

The expected track of storm systems and the warmer-than-normal waters in the North Atlantic will help to keep the bitter cold of winter at bay. This may also increase the potential for some major ocean storms during the winter that may target Newfoundland with rain or snow.

With all of that it’s time to head back to the kitchen. This month I have chosen "Mary’s Lemon Loaf", which I’ve had tucked away in my recipe file for ages.

Mary’s Lemon Loaf

  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ c shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c milk
  • Rind of one lemon
  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c nuts
  • Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs. Mix dry ingredients alternating with milk. Add chopped nuts and rind of lemon. Put into your favourite loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  • Dissolve ¼ cup sugar in juice of one lemon. Pour over loaf immediately on removal from oven.

October - I have pity for Caribbean residents

Last month I wrote about the horrible condition in Texas as a result of Hurricane "Harvey" and how awful it must have been to go through so many days with areas receiving fifty inches of rain. As bad as that was it is nothing to the devastation in the Caribbean islands from IRMA.

I realize back around the turn of the century from the 1800’s into the days prior to World War I, residents in Canada and most places around the world did not have the comfort and luxury of electricity, telephones and other modern conveniences. Can you imagine the trauma of being inside your poorly built home (shack to us) and listening to 160 mph winds, then all of a sudden the house is blown away and you are left huddled with your family.

After the storm has passed, you look around realizing there is no electricity; communication towers lay in a twisted heap in front of you; no clean water to drink and no stores to buy food if you did have some money. My heart goes out to all 3.5-Million residents in Puerto Rico who are being advised it could take a month to restore electricity to hospitals and those hospitals, which are currently operating with generators, will soon lose service when generators run out of diesel.

Heard on the radio today, in some of the islands, it could take up to six months to restore basic services and they are suffering from extremely high temperatures and no air conditioning. What bothers me is as citizens of USA their plight seems to be forgotten while President Trump, plays verbal "chicken" with leaders of North Korea and engages in a Twitter fight with professional athletes, primarily NFL players, who cross their hearts and kneel during the singing of the American Anthem.

Sometimes I think he does these twitter "dust ups" to divert focus away from his continued racial traits not wanting to help those whose skin is not as pale as his.

Regardless of how much we complain about the weather or dread the onslaught of winter, nothing we experience can hold a candle to what these people are suffering. Just say "thanks" for where we live and what we experience.

Enough of my rant for this month. Time to get back into the kitchen. Pork is still relatively cheap and occasionally, I find a real hot price on Pork Tenderloins. In fact, I have two or three twin packs in the freezer. Looking for something a bit different, I chose a great recipe for Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to personal taste
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • ½ - ¾ cup spicy brown mustard

Heat broiler with rack 4" below the heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Rub pork with oil, season with salt and pepper. Broil for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together jam and mustard, then warm until jam is melted. Remove from heat. Transfer ½ of mixture to small bowl for drizzling – keeping jam mixture sauce warm.

Remove pork from broiler brush with half the sauce. Continue broiling until pork is blackened in spots and registers 150 on meat thermometer. Broil for another 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and loosely cover pork with foil and let sit at least five minutes before slicing. Drizzle sliced pork with remaining warmed sauce.

I like it served with white rice and garlic buttered green beans – slightly undercooked. Drain beans, return to the hot burner, adding 1-2 tbsp butter and minced or powdered garlic. (Shake pot to saturate and mix beans with butter and garlic. Cover pot and let sit 2 minutes.


September 2017 - Hurricane Season & Schools In

The past few weeks we’ve been complaining about the humidity and that for the past three weekends it has rained on either Saturday or Sunday, or both. Which brings to mind, the joke. What do you call the day after two days of rain? ANSWER: Monday.

Yes, we’ve complained, as usual, about the weather……. Humidity, rain, heat and feeling uncomfortable. After watching television this weekend, all of us should stop complaining about the weather or anything related to it.

I haven’t been glued to CNN or other American stations, but after seeing the havoc Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas, we need to really thank our lucky stars that we live where we live. Can you imagine the personal trauma of living through a night of 140 Mile/hr wind and rain and then be told the storm had stalled and another 4-5 days of rain was headed your way.

I just watched a bit of CNN and the meteorologist commented on the airport outside Houston received 10 inches in 90 minutes. It’s only Sunday and some areas have 30 inches of rain, and forecasters say the rain will continue until Thursday or Friday and 40-50 more inches expected in some areas.

With all the damage to trees, power poles, and anything that was standing it will be weeks if not months before people will be back in their neighbourhoods. Not only don’t they have electricity, or cell phone service, the urban areas are like a time bomb all the natural gas lines snapped or punctured and gas flowing freely into the atmosphere.

With Trump as president, I didn’t want to move there anyway, but with weather of that potential magnitude I’m happy to stay right here and watch the Bay of Fundy tides come and go.

Within the next week the wee ones and those not so young will be heading back to school. Please remind yourself students will be near the road as they await a school bus or a walking to school. Everyone has a responsibility, but remember your vehicle is a lethal weapon.

When my mind turned to what to cook for dinner, I reached over and grabbed my binder of hand written recipes handed down to me over the years. Not that I was thinking about it, but when I opened one of the pages, a certain recipe seemed to "jump off" the page. Hence I decided to prepare some Swiss Steak.

Swiss Steak

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp sale
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • Garlic (fresh or dry minced)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large green pepper (cut up)
  • 1 cup celery cut into pieces similar to carrot dollars)
  • 1 cup carrots (cut round like a coin)
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1 – 1 ½ lbs round or sirloin steak

Cut up vegetables and set aside. Cut steak into 1’ pieces. Heat oil in a large dutch oven; if you wish sprinkle flour over meat, or add meat to saucepan then sprinkle in the flour, add salt and dry mustard. Brown meat on all sides with medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Once meat is browned, add water and stir thoroughly to ensure nothing is stuck to bottom.

Add remainder of ingredients, stir thoroughly, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5-10 minutes. Continue cooking for 1-2 hours on top of stove until vegetables are as desired. If your saucepan is oven proof slip into 325 oven. However, I put mine in a slow cooker for about just over an hour.


August 2017 - Where has the summer gone?

Remember, last February we had to pay for this heat. We moaned about being cold; another storm was coming our way, or it as hard work shoveling the walkway. Even though we don’t have to shove, we are still complaining.

Think about wildlife and how much they are enjoying the lush grasses and probably the tops off some of our garden vegetables or flowers. Like us they are probably not enjoying the infestation of flies and insects.

Here we are only five weeks until students will be back in school. Is time going faster, or are we getting older and it just seems to pass us by like we are standing still. Where has the summer gone? It’s a bad way to look at it, but I the next column, I’ll probably be chatting about drive safe and look out for students on there way to or from school, then the next one, it will be pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

On a completely different note, I’ll mention that occasionally how nice it would be to operate a coffee shop, because people are the happiest once they get there first sip, or cup of coffee. I enjoy people when they are happy. Of course, I’d be able to keep up with all the gossip, as I suspect a waitress with a keen ear would be astounded with all the juicy gossip.

However, during the last week being a waitress in a coffee shop in Colchester County it would not have been as much fun. It would be akin to watching CNN hour after hour, where it’s a constant rehash of what President Trump tweeted today, or who he called out. basically the same story. Locally, it would have been a matter of paying attention to determine who was taking what side and if they thought the alleged racist comments attributed to two councillors was true or not.

True or not, it will take a while for the blemishes from the bruising we’ve taken during the last week to disappear. There can be a positive outcome. We don’t need or want such attitudes to exist anywhere, but we can only control our own space. Maybe people will think before they speak, and be aware maybe we should join others to put a positive stamp on Colchester by ensuring there is inclusiveness and respect for others.

Now that I need to start some activity about what’s happening in the kitchen, I spent a few minutes leafing through the recipe binders I have accumulated over the years. Not long ago, I was talking to an elderly friend of mine in Cape Breton, and within a day or so, when I opened up the binder, there was a recipe she gave me several years ago.

Toonie gave me the recipe about 10 years ago. At that time she was in her early 90’s. She’s still going strong and I promised her, I’d drop by for a visit on my next trip to Cape Breton. Here’s the recipe just as she gave it to me.

Toonie’s White Cookies

  • 1 cup margarine (2 blocks)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tarter
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • 2 cups of flour (maybe a bit more)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Mix ingredients together. Ensure all is moistened and well mixed.
  • Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. (I add a sheet of parchment paper)
  • Bake in 350 over until brown.

July 2017

Finally summer is here. In a day or so the school buses will stop running and take their turn at annual summer maintenance, while students are enjoying two months of a more relaxed lifestyle and hopefully a nice vacation with family.

I spent the last month primarily doing my domestic engineering duties, but did arrange a few different things. As I looked at the month, Maurice’s 70th birthday was upcoming on the 17th, plus I had a call from Cape Breton that a good friend and neighbour of many years was gravely ill and friends were going to have a retirement party for a long standing friend, also on the 17th.

My challenge was to arrange my life so all could be accomplished.

I got lured by the Casino Nova Scotia advertisements of all you can eat Prime Rib and lobster tails for $9.99 on Friday and Saturday evenings, so to celebrate Maurice’s birthday, we decided to celebrate a week early. It was a great time and an enjoyable meal. Prime Rib was excellent, but the lobster tails were not up to my liking. However, hard to complain when two meals and one beer with taxes comes in at $30.13.

As I was going some running around in preparation for my trek to Cape Breton, I discovered my car needed to visit a mechanic. It took a couple of days to make arrangements and get the parts, so my drive was delayed later in the week. By the time I got to Sydney my friend and neighbour had passed, but I was able to get there in time for the wake and funeral.

Back home now after a very enjoyable week to my old stomping grounds and doing the stomping with long-time friends.

Earlier in the month, I decided that the next day or so, we’d fire up the BBQ to enjoy some chicken breasts. Of course, you know my luck. The weather changed and it was raining hard and the wind was howling, so I had to go to plan "B". I came across a Chicken Dijon recipe I had found a couple of years ago. So I decided to give it a try. Turned out to be a good choice when you don’t want to BBQ in the rain.

Chicken Dijon

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter/margarine for about 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove from skillet and place on a warm oven-proof platter. Preheat oven to 150 degrees F (65 degrees C).
  • Stir flour into skillet drippings. Add broth and deglaze skillet by stirring vigorously until flour is somewhat dissolved and liquid has the consistency of a sauce. Add cream. Simmer, stirring, over moderate heat for about 10 minutes until sauce is a little thick. Stir in mustard and heat through. Pour mustard sauce over chicken breasts. Put platter in warm preheated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, then serve!

If you are going to keep the chicken on hold for a few minutes, or just to keep food moist, cover chicken with aluminum foil. Additional benefits are it cooks evenly and makes clean-up easier.


June 2017 - Truro Farmer’s Market

For several years, there have been very few Saturday’s I was either working of had a full schedule and could not get into Truro. However, this past Saturday, Maurice and I had to take the dog to the animal hospital. We got done earlier that anticipated, so we dropped by the Truro Farmer’s Market.

I was totally amazed how much it has grown. We didn’t get there until around noon and it was packed.

If you haven’t been there for a while, or ever, I really recommend you take the time. Probably a great place to meet up with friends you haven’t seen for a while.

Changes in eating habits and emphasis on "buy local" certainly has helped vendors. Every stall was busy and there was lots of money changing hands, which bodes well for the local economy.

I was disappointed, no one was selling cabbage rolls, which I love to make. Not bragging, but I do get a lot of compliments. Maurice suggested, I should get a table and give it a try. He asked the price I would charge, if I did do it. I tossed out a figure and he said I was too low.

Later in the day, he had to go back into town, so he did some deli shopping from one of the large grocery stores. He couldn’t find cabbage rolls, but did bring home a few samples of other products. When I looked at the prices charged, I was amazed. For a small quiche, about three inches across he paid almost 50% more than I thought people would pay for a cabbage roll.

It’s got me to thinking. As a result, I thought I’d share my version. I’ve been making them so long, that I don’t have a recipe, so I can’t tell you ½ cup of this and one cup of that. You’ll have to be content to determine your own volumes. (When I make them, I normally make 50-60 at a time, then freeze them for later).

Here goes:

Cabbage – choose a firm one – probably the largest in the store. I boil mine, lightly salted until I figure it’s about half done. Remove from stove and let with in water for 20-30 minutes (cooler is easier to handle. Put cabbage on counter, or large roaster and gently remove the leave one by one. (Put leaves in the top of roaster.

If you get towards the centre and the leaves are too crisp and won’t remove easily, return to water and boil a few more minutes.

Meat filling I prefer lean or extra lean. Season (to your taste) with salt and pepper, minced or powdered garlic, perhaps a bit of cayenne pepper. (Some people like to had a bit of left over cooked rice). Occasionally, I’ll add a bit of tomato sauce or juice – just enough to make the meat mixture a bit moister. Mix all together. (Get in there with your hands, make sure there are no lumps of meat.

Rolls – Put meat mixture into one leaf. Put near base of leaf and roll tightly until all leave is used. Squeeze, lightly, to make sure it stays together. Then place each roll into bottom of roaster, which is very lightly greased.

Sauce - I use a combination of tomato paste, sauce and tomato juice. One or two 48 oz cans. Season your liking with salt, pepper, garlic (minced or powder) and cayenne or crushed red pepper). Pour over cabbage rolls and bake in covered roaster. I use the same one as I cook a turkey. 350 oven. Probably at least an hour, maybe two. A bit under cooked is better, if you are going to freeze.

If you have extra ingredients after using all the cabbage, you can always use for a meat loaf or put in the refrigerator and dream up another use, or use to make spaghetti sauce.


May 2017 - Mini Pizzas on the Grill

One day last week, even though I thought I noticed a couple of snow flurries in the air I was doing the usual work around the property: a bit of clean up; remove some of the debris winter’s winter deposited on the lawn; get the BBQ in position for the summer; replace an outdated propane tank, and a few other odd jobs, while "Moe" my Pomeranian shadow enjoyed running around, even though he was on a long leash.

After I went into the house, I started to think what "new to us" things we could try on the BBQ this summer.

My mind went blank, just as Maurice came in talking about a recipe, he noticed in the Port Greville area’s Shore Drive Development Association April 2017 newsletter.

After he printed it off, I decided what a novel idea, and a great project for the coming BBQ season. I must thank Barbara Aris, newsletter editor for making such a wise timely choice. I haven’t tried them yet, but I am sure will be a great diversion. If your family or friends enjoy, say a big "thank you" to Barbara Aris for her great editor choices.

  • Mini Pizzas on the Grill
    5 cups (22.5 oz) all-purpose flour (dough)
    1 tablespoon sugar (dough
    1tablespoon kosher salt (dough)
    1 teaspoon instant yeast (dough)
    2 tablespoons olive oil (plus some for
    shaping dough)
    1 ¾ cups room-temp water (dough)
    2 ½ cups organic tomato sauce
    1 tablespoon dried oregano (sauce)
    2 teaspoons salt (sauce)
    2 teaspoons black pepper (sauce)
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (sauce)
    1 teaspoon garlic powder (sauce)
    2 lb low-moisture mozzarella cheese
    1 0 cups various veggie/meat toppings

To make dough, mix flour, salt, sugar, and yeast together in a large bowl. Add in oil and water and stir with a large spoon until the dough forms a rough ball. Using your hand, dip it in water and vigorously work the dough until it forms a relatively smooth ball. This will probably take 3-4 minutes.

Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is very smooth, but not sticky. If it's too sticky, knead in more flour. If it's dry and cracking, knead in water a tablespoon at a time. Divide dough into 10 small balls. They should weigh about 4 ounces a piece. Lightly coat each dough ball with olive oil and let sit, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Then transfer to fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove dough from fridge 90 minutes before making pizzas.

Roll dough balls out onto a lightly floured surface until they are about 6-7 inches in diameter. If you want, you can roll out all the dough balls before starting to make them on the grill. Just set the prepared pizza rounds on clean baking sheets with a bit of olive oil.

Heat grill to medium-high and let get very hot. Add 3-4 pizzas depending on grill size. Let cook for 90 seconds. Flip pizzas and immediately add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Let cook for another 5 minutes, covered. Turn down heat to medium-low after you flip and top the pizzas. Remove pizzas and slice them up.


April 2017

We are almost out the nastiness of winter, although in April we get a couple of difficult days with wet snow which makes driving more dangerous that the dead of winter. Our salvation is we know the snow will not last long, as the sun is much stronger, and migratory birds are returning.

I haven’t seen any robins yet, but I am sure they are arriving in small numbers, or will very soon. The other positive note is that Saturday is a sure sign of spring. It will be "April Fool’s Day, so be careful how and to what you react to prior to noontime.

Now is the time to think about what vegetables or flowers you want for Canada’s 150 birthday, if you wish to get out of a habit and try something new. Seed packs are abundant in most retail outlets. If you choose not to plant seeds, you can wait for the garden centres to open, but now is the time to think about different varieties you wish to plant this year to change things a bit.

A while ago there was a great documentary on the Maitland Volunteer Fire Department. Sure I knew everyone there, and it was a great story. Even though it focused on this small brigade of 20 members, name of the community could be been changed as it would apply to any of the fire brigades in our area. I probably would not have the opportunity to hear the documentary again, but I understand it will be repeated on Monday, March 27th.

The highlight in many communities for the past few weeks and will continue into the first three weeks of April has been the many maple syrup breakfasts, brunches and events. It’s always a great feast, lots of local entertainment and the opportunity to stock up on the quantities of locally produced maple syrup to get us through another year.

If you are in a rush doing some of the things you traditionally do around the house this time of year, you might wish to try a bit different slow cooker recipe, I came across the other day. If you have sweet tooth maybe the family would enjoy an easy to make fudge recipe. Both are presented below.

Cowboy Crockpot Stew

  • 1 sm package of stew meat
  • 1 pkg sausage or kielbasa
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1 med potato chopped
  • 1 can baked beans, your choice

Place ingredients into a crockpot in the order shown. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. If you are brave or have a desire for a particular spice, you can experiment to your own satisfaction. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Serves: 6 to 8.

Never Fail, Five Minute Fudge

  • 2/3 cup un-diluted evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • ¼ tsp sale
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cup diced marshmallows (16 med).

Mix evaporated milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Heat to boiling, then cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla and nuts. Stir 1-2 minutes until marshmallows melt. Pour into buttered 8 inch square pan. Cool. Cut into squares.


March 2017 - Sloppy Joes

Other than one week in February when we had storms than seemed to last the entire week, and was combined with the one day closure of schools due to NSTU’s first ever strike, Granted it only lasted one day and was sandwiched in between a Thursday storm, then two solid days of severe winter on Monday and part of Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the snow around here was piled as high as the bucket on the tractor could pile it, Then low and behold, the sun came out, the temperature increased, and combined with some overnight fog, the piles as of this afternoon are half the size.

Missing two days of work due to Masstown Market being closed on the Monday and Tuesday certainly didn’t help the pocket book, but at least with the market being closed, I didn’t feel guilty about sleeping in late, then basically doing very little all day.

Lately every time Maurice or I go to the grocery store, different cuts of pork have been on sales and I mean at rock bottom prices. I can’t believe the low pricing on two pork tenderloins to a pack. It’s been going on so long now that I’m getting tired of thinking of pork.

As a result I started looking around for something different. After checking the deep freezer, I found a package of hamburger. Then off to the cookbook for something different, other than meat loaf or making patties. As a result I stumbled on a great recipe for Sloppy Joes. We had just had turkey, and I had a package of hamburger sitting on the counter. So this month we are going to enjoy the almost traditional recipe I used to crave years ago, when Bradley was home and we wanted something quick.

Sloppy Joes - Ingredients

  • 1 pound of extra-lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 red pepper, small diced
  • 1 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt for Life Sea Salt Blend Black pepper, cracked
  • 8 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Preparation

1. Brown meat and onion in large sauté pan. Strain remaining fat and juices from pan. Add garlic, jalapeno and red pepper; cook about 5 minutes more. Stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 5 to 10 more minutes. Scoop 1/2-cup portion onto each bun and serve. Serves: 8 sandwiches


February 2017 - Chicken Dijon

The lack of constant frigid temperatures is sure having a good affect on the oil bill. Got our second one the other day and upon checking it was about $200 less. Of course the drop in price helped, but I shudder to think what it might have been had we been having a cold nasty winter.

After moving to the mainland and seeing how much attention Maurice give to the 4-H clubs and even gets columns of club news from some whose job is club reporter, I realize I wasn’t as lucky as some mothers who have children going through the 4-H process. My son and I lived in Westmount, a suburb of Sydney and 4-H was not available.

If there is one thing 4-H does, it trains youth in a variety of ways. I’ve heard many adults and business people say, finding 4-H on a resume is a plus for youth and many of them are much better workers and very mature for their age.

I don’t mean to editorialize, but the current AMADA contest which will give away four $15,000 prizes to 4-H Clubs is tremendous. Truro Agromart, Onslow needs to be congratulated on their partnership in the contest. If this area is chosen as a winner, the $15,000 in prize money will be used for much needed improvements at the 4-H barn at the exhibition grounds.

With prize money available, a local partner and monies designated for a worthy 4-H facility, everyone in Nova Scotia should get busy voting on a daily basis. To start your participation Google "thank a retailer" or go to www.thankaretailer.ca/vote. Then click onto the Eastern Canada button. Be sure to tell your friends.

Probably time to head into the kitchen and see what I can find for a recipe. With pork being so low priced, and seems like all the retailers are featuring pork, I wanted to think of something else.

As a result, I have chosen a chicken recipe.

Chicken Dijon

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced green onions
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp  ch fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp Jijon mustard
  • 2 oz low fat cream cheese

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets plastic wrap and flatten. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 7-9 minutes or til no longer pink in the centre. Turn only once.

Place on warmed plate and cover with foil. Add onions, to same skillet, cook 30 seconds. Add broth, wine and brandy, stirring vigorously to loosen an brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add tarragon, mustard and cream cheese, cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Return chicken to pan along with any accumulated juices, cook 1 minute or till heated thoroughly.


January 2017 - Cookies!

It certainly has not seemed like Christmas. First in November it was too warm to think about all the jingle bells and the pressure we put upon ourselves to get "just the right gift" for everyone on our list. Then of course if becomes a budgetary item.

Along with the warm weather in late November spreading on into December, all of us as grandparents or parents and even students were concerned about what was going to transpire in the education system. Students and parents then had to deal with the fact we’d have a Christmas without the school concerts and sporting activities, including the many tournaments that occur over the Christmas holidays. Disappointment among the students was the biggest stresser for parents. Oh, how to pacify the youngsters and appropriately explain what was happening.

After we settled into a different Christmas season, Atlantic Canada was thrown into the midst of severe winter weather. Lots of snow and frigid temperatures, which last week in some areas dropped the thermometer to -24. One farmer in Glenholme let it be known that -24 was two degrees colder than any time last winter.

Wonder what’s ahead for us until mid-April. Surely, we won’t have an abundance of snow, then a period of Nor’wester winds that howl for days upon end. If so, I’m not looking forward to it.

With all the above, including work at the Deli in Masstown Market, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. However, realizing there are still a few more days to catch up on some Christmas baking, I went looking for some of the favourite family recipes from my days as a youth in Sydney.

100 Good Cookies

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 egg – unbeaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup rice crispies
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 1;2 – 4 cups flour

Cream sugar with butter and oil. Add egg and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Roll into balls, press with fork. Bake in 350 oven for 10-15 minutes. Should make 100 cookies.

Christmas Cookies

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup almonds (Pieces or slices) Optional
  • ½ cup red cherries – cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup green cherries – cut into small pieces

Cream butter, add sugar. Add vanilla, salt and flour. Add cherries and form into balls. Bake in 325 oven until golden brown. Do not grease cookie sheet.


 

 

Maurice & Dorothy Rees, Publishers
The Shoreline Journal
Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0
PH: 902-647-2968; Cell: 902-890-9850
E-mail: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com