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If you have a favourite family recipe and would like it published in the April 2022 issue, please send on or before May 15th. 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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May 2022

Now that we are coming out of our two years of pandemic hibernation and everything being shut down, it’s nice to see various community events starting up again. A month or so ago Maple breakfasts slowly started to reappear. The Debert Legion is getting back into hosting people for great food with a Pancake breakfast on May 14th.

In addition to causing a lot of personal havoc, CoVid had a several and painful way of almost ruining church and community suppers. Not only did it cause financial woes to the organizations, because of the lack of fundraising, but all those volunteers, who are mostly seniors, have been out of the game for an extended period of time.

Two questions come to mind, when considering long term CoVid impact.

First, did the two year shutdown cause those seniors who for decades had worked tirelessly to support their church or community and to help make rural living more enjoyable cause them to consider, "I am too old to do this anymore"? Their dedication can be viewed as if they were an athlete. Stop and you get out of shape and it is difficult to resume what was "normal" community involvement.

Secondly, and this is meant more for those who have young families, or perhaps younger than 50, is there a chance CoVid has caused us to be more aware of the closeness of smaller circles; value living in our community and more appreciative of what we have?

Let’s hope we have learned a few lessons. Consider this, we often hear people mention how "Impersonal and not overly community minded people are in the big cities. Rural Nova Scotia is in a situation similar to walking a tight rope or picket fence. If we have strong feelings life in the country is good, we must work to preserve and improve it. If we have not realized rural Nova Scotia has been built on "caring and trust". Regardless of our age, we must commit energies and time to our community. I am hoping those from 13-50 make a commitment to themselves and community to do more. Now is the time for these people to step forward and ensure all the previous community events continue.

When I was much younger what was never considered enjoyable food for the table has been gathering a lot of traction in recent years. Kale started to become more prominent about 10 years ago. Perhaps to my own detriment my use of Kale is rare and even though I see it in the produce section I haven’t gotten to be an occasional or frequent user. The following recipe caught my eye for two reasons: What is consider adding to the garden is right around the corner, and I really like Garlic. Those who are leaning to healthier eating have chosen Kale because it is readily available, not overly expensive and proponents say "Kale is supposed to have cancer-fighting properties".

Easy Garlic Kale

  1. 1 bunch of Kale
  2. 2 TBLSPNS Olive Oil
  3. 4 cloves of Garlic, or appropriate amount of minced garlic.

Soak kale leaves in a large bowl of water until dirt and sand begin to fall to the bottom, about 2 minutes. Lift kale from the bowl without drying the leaves and immediately remove and discard stems. Chop the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add kale to the skillet and place a cover over the top.

Cook, stirring occasionally with tongs, until kale is bright green and slightly tender, 5 to 7 minutes.


April 2022 - Say thanks for warmer weather

Now that we’ve moved to daylight saving time, I appreciate the longer evenings. I’m not one to get up at the crack of dawn, but do like to start some of the days watching a fantastic sunrise as there are many awesome sunrises in Maitland.

Conversely I do enjoy not having to eat supper when its dark outside. Of course with the time change there was a sudden much needed change in the weather.

Although not shirt sleeve weather, or warm enough for just a sweater, but sure is nice not to have to bundle up and still freeze even though wearing a couple of sweaters and heavy winter jacket. Even better is disappearance of sheets of ice which meant high risk of falls and broken bones. I am not so smitten with spring that I realize early in April we can still get a couple of bad snowstorms. A thick blanket of snow can provide some of the most treacherous road conditions experienced all winter. The snow is wetter and quickly packs on the road to create a slippery layer of white that is as slippery as pure ice. All I suggest if we get a storm, drive carefully.

Hopefully, weather improves enough so I can get outside soon and don’t have to listen to all the "breaking news bulletins" about a new political crisis in Ottawa or Washington, or additional bombings in Ukraine. I wish somebody could tell me why politicians, and I mean all of them, suddenly, once they get elected, change their appreciation for truthfulness, transparency and adherence to the "Golden Rule".

My expectations from other people is to treat me like I treat them – with honesty, directness and transparency. Equally amazing is how about four years later they can come around expecting me to be excited about supporting them again. If that is what they call a litmus test, unfortunately everyone of them failed.

For this month’s recipe, after thumbing through recipes, I’ve gathered up over the years, I chose "Lemon Chicken Rice Skillet". I find the lemon adds just enough tang to the rice to make it more than enjoyable.

Lemon Chicken Rice Skillet

  1. 4 boneless chicken breasts
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. 1 tsp garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp diced parsley
  5. 2 tbsp butter
  6. 1 cup uncooked rice (Jasmine)
  7. 2 ¼ cup chicken broth
  8. 1 tsp lemon zest + 3 tbsp lemon juice
  9. 1 tsp dried parsley
  10. 1 whole lemon, cut into slices.

Optional add bit more butter, if desired

Heat a large skillet (with lid). Season chicken with salt and pepper, garlic powder and parsley.

Add butter to the skillet and cook chicken in hot butter until browned, but not cooked all the way, (about 2 minutes on each side). Remove chicken and set aside.

Add rice, chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley to hot skillet. (Cook on mid-heat). Let rice come to a small boil, then simmer. Then place chicken on top of rice. Cover with lid. Let cook 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Serve with choice of vegetable. I prefer carrots, but Maurice prefers asparagus or whole green beans.


March 2022 - The sun is brighter and stronger

Even though the sun is brighter and stronger, we still have some winter ahead of us, It could be 4-5 weeks, or spring could come early. Preference would be a bit more winter, and for May and June to be more like early summer. Lately we have been focused on the Mass Casualty Commission public hearings and the Freedom Convoy which occupied downtown Ottawa for three weeks and how the face of Canada has changed.

When the sap starts running, it won’t be long until there are a number of community maple breakfasts with CoVid protocols. They are always a lot of fun, great food, good local music and lots of locally make product.

Power-Air-Fryer Ovens have become a rage in recent years. Many are very impressed with them, while others prefer traditional methods of what comes out of the kitchen.

To keep within the family food budget, we have to search long and hard to find nutritious food since costs have risen rapidly within the last year. The surge in prices has at least two contributing factors: Climate change and storms affecting transportation and CoVid-19 protocols, which have reduced production output from factories creating shortages. This will be the second and third year when more families start to grow more food in gardens and raising their own meat, beef, pork and poultry. CoVid has affected many garden supplies. It is recommended if you wish to avoid disappointment, make your list and shop early. For instance is has been near impossible to purchase tomato cages, if you are into growing tomatoes in your garden.

What meat you can afford to purchase is a weekly task. If you do decide to purchase chicken, and have some home-made tomato sauce left over from last year, you might make Chicken Cacciatore. I went searching and decided to make it my choice for this month.

Chicken Cacciatore 

Ingredients

  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), cut up
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes, cut up and juice reserved
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine or water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Hot cooked pasta
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Dust chicken with flour. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken on all sides in oil and butter over medium-high heat. Remove chicken to platter.

In the same skillet, cook and stir the onion, celery, pepper and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, herbs, garlic and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Freeze option: Cool chicken mixture. Freeze in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through slowly in a covered skillet until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 165°, stirring occasionally.


February 2022 - Chicken Curry with Vegetables

We were awaiting Christmas at time of last writing. Now that’s long past, decorations are all put away and for some the bills for Christmas spending are starting to arrive. Don’t know about you, but my presents were paid before they were wrapped.

Again this year was celebrated in non-traditional way – no festive parties, or dinners; mostly alone due to CoVid lockdowns or warnings not to travel or assemble in groups not normally in you "close bubble". This is the second solitary Christmas, hope there is not a third. But in saying that, far better to be safe and in good health, rather than feel sorry for ourselves, go out and get infected.

While we are on the subject of Christmas and family events around special times, we might as well accept that CoVid is going to be around us for many years. Do not be surprised, if you are encouraged to avoid large crowds and have a mask at the ready for two or three years.

Not what any of us want to hear, but we can save ourselves a lot of anxiety and stress, if we accept those possibilities and be ready to adjust our lifestyle. Look at it this way. Prior to CoVid, if you were going to visit friends or family, and just before your visit you learned they were "sick with the flu", did you visit anyway, or did you stay home? Operate on the same premise and you will be safer, healthier and less stressed.

Normally, the week between Christmas and New Years is a time to visit relatives or friends. Just prior to Covid, Maurice took off for a couple of days to visit his sons and families in Saint John. Since 2020 he has stayed put and not seen them in the interim.

Whenever he goes to Saint John he likes to go to the Saint John City Market, the oldest one in North America. It is surprising what products from Nova Scotia are available at the market. 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 frozen Chicken Vegetable Curry. It would serve six people and was priced around $25.00. He resisted the purchase, but as soon as he was home, there he was on the computer looking for a recipe.

Here is one picked out at 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. 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, 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 2022

WOW. What a warm winterless fall, other than a couple of snow flurry days, we have been able to enjoy. Looking ahead a few days before and after Christmas, the weather experts are suggesting the thermometer will get up to low teens over the next few days.

Of course the conditions for highway driving were almost excellent, it didn’t make much difference as health professionals were constantly to avoid non-essential travel with the recent spike on Covid-19 infections.

Earlier this year we have either projected or hoped Covid would have settled down to a reasonable level, although "reasonably normal" will not be anywhere close to what we enjoyed in the past.

Most people squirm when I mention that it’s my belief we will deal with some level of Covid-19 for the rest of our lives just as we still deal with minor outbreaks of polio, measles and TB.

Even though the children and skiing enthusiasts will not agree with me, now that we have gone this long without any major snow accumulation, I hope it continues this way. With people who are doing limited travelling to spend Christmas and Boxing Day with family, we certainly don’t want to have poor driving conditions. Much better to have a green Christmas than a number of people facing danger and maybe even stranded along the highway over the holidays.

If we recall our memory we faced a similar situation from previous years. Does that lead us to conclude a weather pattern similar to 2015 will follow us into the New Year? Some winters, bad weather doesn’t start until near the end o f January and then it doesn’t stop. Some years it seemed like it snowed every day for weeks. If it wasn’t snowing we were trying to dig ourselves out.

While thumbing through some previous submitted recipes, I came across a number of recipes, which Hazel Hill, now deceased, but was a long time resident of Great Village had sent in back in 2014-2016 era. Thinking ahead to the cold winter months, and a desire to include as much fiber in the diet as possible, I chose her great recipe for Refrigerator Bran Muffins. They are favourites of many families because just a few can be made at one time and you can have warm muffins, whenever you want.

Refrigerator Bran Muffins

  • 3 cups Quaker All Bran
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
  • ½ cup salad oil
  • 1 cup raisins, dates, currents or prunes
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour, unsifted, (may use 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour and 1 scant cup enriched white flour).

Pour boiling water over bran in large bowl, stir to moisten evenly. Allow to cool. Add eggs, molasses, buttermilk, salad oil & salad oil. Blend well. Stir together: baking soda, salt, baking powder, sugar & flour, then stir into bran mixture. Store in a tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to five weeks. When desired spoon batter into greased muffin cups and bake at 425 for 20 minutes.


 

 

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