Shawn L. Bird

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apple cinnamon scones October 15, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:30 pm
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To be honest, these might not technically be scones, because of the whole rolling thing, but the dough is a basic biscuit dough like one uses for scones, so that’s what I’m calling this creation I came up with this evening.

The crust is very flaky and flavourful.  I cannot make pie crust to save my life, but no one will complain if I make this instead!

Pre-heat oven to 400F.  Serves 8, or two with left-overs!  ;-P


Dice one tart cooking apple (I used an Ambrosia) into approx 1/4″ cubes (or you could grate it instead), toss with 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp Demarara or brown sugar, 1 tbsp melted butter.

In another bowl, mix 2 c flour, 1 tbsp white sugar, 1.5 tsp baking power, 1 tsp salt. Cut in 1/4 c butter with pastry blender. Add in 1 c milk.  Mix well.

Turn out onto counter, Roll into a 12″ square. Spread apple filling onto dough, leaving 1′ border. Roll up. Squish down, keeping filling in! So it’s about 1″ high. Cut into 2 scones, each about 4″ X 6″.

Bake for 25 mins 400 F.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter. Brush scones with butter, sprinkle with a thin coating of icing sugar and cinnamon. Replace in the oven and bake for 4-5 more minutes.

To serve, slice each scone into 4 slices and serve with whipped cream or ice cream along the side.

SOOOOO yummy!


smokey asparagus May 16, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:05 am
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We live in an area that gets great asparagus this time of year, so we’re regularly dropping in to the local produce places and stocking up five pounds at a time.  As a result, we tend to look for inventive ways to serve up this tasty treat.  This evening I came up with a winner, so I’m sharing it with you!  To serve two.

2 smokies (smoked sausages about 3 cm in diameter and 15 cm long)  I microwaved mine 2 mins to thaw them.

500 grams/1 lb of asparagus.  (snapped and washed).

1 tbsp fancy European mustard- I used a coarse Dutch mustard.

1 tbsp of granulated sugar.

In a large pan with a lid, steam asparagus with the lid on for 4 mins, while you slice the smokie into long strips (In half lengthways, then slicing each half into thirds lengthways).   When the asparagus is bright green, toss in the sliced smokie pieces and remove the lid to let any remaining moisture escape.  Mix a tbsp of mustard and the sugar with a tbsp of water, sprinkle over the asparagus and smokies, toss gently to cover.  Turn off the heat and top with a lid while you make a salad, cook other veggies, or whatever.  (2 or 3 mins).  Serve!

The juices and fat from the smokie and the mustard provide a really nice counterpoint to the asparagus and the colour contrast is also quite attractive.  Very yummy!


French onion soup April 16, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:46 am
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When we were in France recently, we noticed onion soup on the menu of a small cafe for 20 Euros a bowl.  At that price, it’s not an appetizer! (I hope). I didn’t buy any in France, though it’s probably my favourite soup, and one wants to embrace all the tourist clichés!

However, after two weeks at home I was ready for a bowl  and made some tonight for dinner. I made a couple alterations to my normal way of doing it, and the result was the best onion soup I’ve ever made, so I’m recording exactly what I did for both my benefit, and for yours as well! This has a great mix of salt/sweet in it (and it cost about $2 to make, saving about 39 Euros). 😉

For 2.
Finely slice 2 medium onions.
In 2 tbsp of garlic butter (or plain butter with a clove of crushed garlic) gently saute the onions until starting to brown. Stir in two packets of Knorr OXO Beef bouillion sachets. Add 1.5 c of water, 1/8 c (30 ml) red wine, 2 tsp of soya sauce. Simmer for 20-30 mins.
To serve, sprinkle with cheese- parmesan is the easy choice, but swiss, emmental, gruyere are also options. You could add croutons before cheese if you like and if you use fresh cheese, broil or bake to melt the cheese before serving.


Curried Cauliflower soup March 26, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:23 am
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By popular demand by the staff of Carlin Middle, for whom I prepared this soup last Staff luncheon.

In 1 cup of chicken broth, simmer a large head of cauliflower for 20-25 mins.

Saute a large diced onion until clear. 

Mash the cauliflower, stir in the onion.  Add one can Cream of Chicken condensed soup, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp Garam Masala powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp marjoram,1/2 tsp of tarragon, one diced red pepper, 1 cup of water.  Simmer for awhile.  Add 2 cups skimmed milk mixed with 2 tbsp potato flour to thicken. Simmer Add grated cheddar if you are so inclined when you serve. (It tends to end up burnt on the bottom if added earlier).  Mmmm.  Yummy.  Serves a dozen teachers at lunch time, when combined with nice rye bread, coleslaw, and dessert provided by other potluck team members!


Farmer casserole February 11, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:20 am

This is based on maanmiehenlaatiko– a Finnish one dish meal I enjoyed in the Helsinki  train station in 2006.  I made it for Super Bowl Sunday this year.

You need a big casserole dish for this- 4 inches high, 10X15 or so.  I used a roasting pan.  As well, you need a rather large frying pan.

I was serving 6, so I started with 6 smokies in  the frying pan.  (These are flavourful, big sausages about 1.5″ diameter and 6″ long).  I diced these up into 1/2″ slices and sauteed them with 2 diced onions and 3 large carrots.  The frying pan was full, but when everything was cooked, I poured the mix into the casserole dish.

Next I chopped up  a small head of cabbage, stirred in a large 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and simmered in the frying pan until the cabbage was cooked, then it was poured into the casserole dish. Everything was stirred together. 

Finally, about 4 cups of frozen hash brown potatoes were sauteed in the frying pan until they were thoroughly cooked and then they were stirred into the casserole dish.

Seasoning salt, black pepper and 1 tbsp of dill weed sprinkled and stirred gently to combine all ingredients.

Bake the casserole for an hour at 350 degrees.

Yummy supper!!


Chili con carne and garlic bread September 8, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:05 am

I had two requests for recipes of my chili this week, so here it is for the world:

I don’t use recipes, so I can only give you an approximation of what I did and estimate the amounts of the spices. This is as close an approximation as I can give.

Day before: put a cup to cup and a half of dried beans in a medium mixing bowl. Half fill with water. Kidney beans like about 18 hours of soaking. You may also consider soaking 1/2 cup of black beans for additional colour and flavour.

Eating day (morning): Brown half a kilo of ground meat. We generally use pork, but you can use beef, poultry or tofuburger. Dice and add large diced onion (softball size), 2 celery stalks, green bell pepper, red/orange bell pepper. (sometimes I also add diced zucchini and sliced mushrooms, though not yesterday). Stir.

AT this point, if it is morning, you can put everything into a large slow cooker or crock pot. This will give you excellent results… I didn’t yesterday, but would recommend it as ‘best practice.’ It’s good to be able to ignore it for the rest of the day rather than constantly having to check and stir. It needs about 4 hours on a stove top simmering on low, so 10-11 hours in a slow crock pot, or about 5-6 hours on high crock pot.*

When all is nicely browned or cooked add 2 large cans (796 ml) of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato soup and 1/4 c of powdered beef bouillion and a cup of water. Drain and rinse the beans. This removes the ‘gas factor.’ Stir in the beans. Add about 1/2 teaspoon each of marjoram, cumin, tarragon. Add a heaping tsp of garlic flakes or two/three fresh crushed garlic cloves. Add a tbsp of chili pepper and a tsp of cajun seasoning mix, and a tsp of black pepper.

The ‘secret’  ingredients: Add 1/4 c of red wine and a tbsp of vinegar (perhaps red wine vinegar could replace these?). Simmer for several hours until the beans are cooked, then add the final ingredient- 1/4 c of brown sugar (Demarrera prefered). If you add the sugar before the beans are cooked, sometimes they remain crunchy- there is some science happening there). Add salt to taste.

If you like hot chili, add a diced jalapeño or habanero or more chili powder to your taste.

Serve with garlic or garlic cheese bread (whip butter, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, tbsp of parmesan &/or 1/4 c of grated sharp cheddar- spread on sliced French bread, broil until golden.


(* Do not give your crock pot any illegal substances in order to get it high).


iced tea at home July 26, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:03 am

In Canada, iced tea is a syrupy sweet concoction that has very little to do with tea and much more to do with sugar.  My friend Heather, who worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken in tourist ridden Banff, said the Americans would come into the restaurant and freak out when they tasted it, so they had to add “American Ice  Tea” to their menu.  Guess what it was made from?  Tea.  Wow.

Since I’ve been trying to cut down on refined sugars in my diet, I have begun making my own iced tea.  I boil a kettle, pour it into my biggest tea pot along with a tea bag or two and let it steep.  When it’s ready, I add 2 packets of stevia powder to my 2.2 litre Tupperware™ pitcher and pour in the tea.  I put it in the fridge to cool.  To serve, I pour over ice into a glass.  Couldn’t get much simpler, could it?

But wait!  There’s more! 😉  There is a gourmet aspect to this simple beverage.   If your tea shelf looks anything like mine, you have a huge variety of flavour options!  At the moment I am sipping “Lipton Green tea with orange.”  I just finished a pitcher of vanilla Rooibus.   For my birthday last year, my daughter bought me “Ice tea blend” from Tea Delights in Vernon, a black tea with a subtle peach flavour.  My favourite is probably peppermint herbal tea.  It’s very cooling on a hot day.  I rarely have boring Orange Pekoe, but it works, too.  

This is a bargain beverage, as well.  A stevia packet is 10c, and a tea bag is about the same, so for 30c you can enjoy 2.2 litres of summer sunshine.  My friend Cyndy has an iced tea maker that works like a drip coffee maker, dripping tea onto ice cubes.  I think they usually use about 4 tea bags in it. Feel free to make your tea stronger if you’re so inclined.  You’re adding 30c more to the budget, but you’re worth the splurge.  Oh- and if you don’t have an issue with refined sugar, you could substitute 1/4 c of sugar for the stevia, but now you’re adding calories.



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