Shawn L. Bird

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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.



Apple cinnamon rolls May 25, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:12 am
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I made up this recipe today and am thrilled with the results! You definitely want to try these!  So incredibly yummy you won’t believe it.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 12 pocket muffin tin.

Start with a basic biscuit recipe- mix 2 cups of flour, 4 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of sugar.  Cut in 1/4 c of cold butter until it’s all crumbly.  Add a cup of milk.  Mix until combined and then roll out into a rectangle about 10X15 inches.

Next mix 2 tbsp of butter (room temperature) with 1 tbsp of cinnamon, 1 c of brown sugar, and grate one medium tart apple (Spartans for us).  Mix well. Spread this filling  evenly over the rectangle, right to the edges.

Now starting from a long side gently roll your dough up into a log.  Cut into 4 equal sections, then divide each quarter into thirds.  Gently place each roll into a compartment of the muffin tin.  Bake at 400 for 20 mins. 

Let stand only 2 or 3 mins before removing from the tin, or they will glue in!  Cool on racks.  Be sure to scrape up any syrup on the bottom to put back on the rolls.  Mmmmm. 

Let me know  how you like them!


Roast everything dinner May 17, 2010

Filed under: Recipes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:24 am

Roasting dinner

A few years ago in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine I came across a recipe for roast zucchini. It involved dicing zucchini and onion, tossing them in olive oil and rosemary and roasting for 20 mins. The results were so tasty that it occurred to me that I could use the same method for a lot of foods, and our roast dinner routine became established.

I vary the recipe every time depending on what I have in the house, but the basics are that the food should be in 1” or 2 cm cubes, tossed in a couple tablespoons of olive or canola oil, and spread out on a cookie sheet to roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 mins. I have a convection oven, but a regular oven works as well.

I almost always use a diced onion with whatever other meats and vegetables I’m mixing and for one pan (serves 3 adults or 2 adults, 2 kids) I have about 4 cups of raw meat and/or vegetables that I toss in a mix of spices or a sauce.

Spices to mix and match: 2 garlic cloves, 1 tbsp French onion soup mix, 1 tbsp chicken or beef bouillon powder, ½ tsp of black pepper, onion powder, curry, basil, dry mustard

Sauces to consider (1/4 to 1/3 c): assorted prepared barbeque sauces, Italian or Ranch salad dressing, curry sauces

Meats: chicken breast, smokie sausage, pork or beef stewing meat, meat balls

Vegetables: onion, zucchini, potato, red pepper, green pepper, button mushrooms, carrot, parsnip, yam, turnip

I have tried broccoli and cauliflower, but the little flower tips tend to burn.

Tonight I mixed up meat balls, laid them out on the pan, tossed potatoes in BBQ sauce and poured them into the pan around the meatballs. Last week we loved diced smokies, onion, yams and carrots. Yummy!

Let me know what you try and how it turns out!


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