African Yam Stew

This recipe originally called for chicken. That’s not something you’re gonna find in our house, so we adapted it until it was delicious and still super filling. The peanut butter adds a lovely creaminess. The yam, peas and chickpeas are there to remind you that it’s healthy dish, even though it tastes like comfort food. It’s been cold, rainy and gloomy here, so this dish has been nice to dig into!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yam, peeled and diced
4 carrots
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add chopped onion and saute for 4 minutes.
2. Add carrots and saute for an additional 4 minutes. Add garlic, yam, cumin, chili flakes, coriander and fry for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Mix in vegetable broth and water, cover, bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the peanut butter, frozen peas and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Make sure the peanut butter is well blended.
5. Remove from heat, add salt if needed, and garnish with 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley.

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Lemon Raspberry Muffins

We have a raspberry bush in our backyard. We have to watch the plant carefully and make sure we pick the berries immediately at the slightest hint of ripeness, or squirrels plan their attack and make off like bandits. Or maybe it’s the one squirrel; the guy who is always wobbling around in our backyard, stuffed with the tiny strawberries and other fruit we managed to grow.

As much as we love eating fruit on its own, sometimes it’s best in a fluffy muffin. These also make a delightful breakfast.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large lemon, zested
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Spray 12 muffin cups with a non-stick cooking spray.
2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sod, and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil and vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour mixture.
5. Coat raspberries in flour, and fold in very carefully. Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Homemade Pizza

In Croatia where our family is from, the pizza always has a thin crust. We prefer this type of pizza to the thick, doughy fast food pizza usually served in restaurants. While Calgary does have pizzerias that offer a delicious thin crust pizza, it’s nice to roll out your own dough, lay on fresh ingredients, and enjoy a slice that is not scant on ingredients.

Pizza Dough

1 cup water
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Toppings

1 small can tomato sauce
4-5 Crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful of chopped artichokes
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh tomato slices
Grated cheese (we recommend a four cheese blend such as Romano, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and smoked Gouda)
4-5 fresh basil leaves, washed and blotted dry
Dash of truffle oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour with the yeast mixture.
4. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth.
5. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the room temperature. Make the dough into a ball, and roll out onto a well floured surface.
6. Alternatively, you can use a bread maker on a pizza dough setting. Just pour all the ingredients into the bread maker bowl, starting with the water, oil, sugar and salt, flour and then yeast and oregano at the top. When finished, proceed with rolling dough out onto a floured surface.
7. Spread your toppings starting with the pizza sauce, cheese and then vegetables and oregano on top.
8. Bake for about 15 min on the middle rack, or until the cheese and crust are golden brown.
9. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sprinkle with truffle oil.

Canada Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s Canada Day! Our favourite way to celebrate anything is to eat, so DJ whipped up these mouthwatering red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in honour of the Constitution Act of 1867. There will be fireworks, food and more food. Then dessert will follow, which will be followed by more dessert.

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or vanilla soy yogurt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese spread, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
2 cups icing sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 16 paper baking cups.
3. Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Mix in eggs, yogurt, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.
5. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and stir into the batter until combined.
6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Arrange the cupcakes on the serving platter and pipe the frosting on with a big star tip.

Falafel Burgers

We love falafel. We love burgers. There’s an obvious solution here – and it’s so tasty.

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Canola oil for frying

1. Put the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, water and lemon juice into food processor and pulse until combined but still a bit chunky. Add the flour and pulse a few more times.
2. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or more if needed.
3. Roll the mixture into balls and flatten with your hands to make a patty.
4. In a shallow skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil until it’s hot. Fry the falafel for a few minutes on each side on medium high heat until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Make a falafel burger with tahini, tomato, cucumber and pickles, or serve in pita with tzatziki sauce.

Adapted from Culinaire Magazine, a new Calgary food and beverage magazine!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes pair nicely with tofu cacciatore, which we’ll feature on the blog next week! They also go great with our chickpea and eggplant curry. These mashed potatoes are also fantastic straight from the bowl with a big spoon.

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Saute the garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
2. Cook the potatoes in salted, boiling water until tender. Do not drain completely; leave some salted water at the bottom of the bowl. Add the margarine and garlic, then mash until smooth.
3. Add parsley and mix well.

Serves four.

– DJ

5 Minute Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a favourite of mine in the spring. The basil leaves and grape tomatoes are fresh, and I can sit on the porch, close my eyes and pretend I’m actually in Italy, and not in Canada where there’s a good chance the clouds will come out of nowhere and it will start hailing. This tends to happen when I’m heading outside in shorts, a tank top and have a scrumptious spread of food with multiple plates. Sigh.

Grape tomatoes (200 grams) 

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil plus enough to drizzle on bread slices

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 basil leaves, shredded

Dash of oregano

One shallot, chopped

Garlic glove, sliced in half

1/2 of a baguette, sliced

1. Put oven on broil setting.
2. Slice baguette, and brush olive oil on the slices. Put slices in the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes, watching closely until edges are browned.
3. Slice grape tomatoes into small pieces and put them in a bowl along with shredded basil leaves, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and shallot.
4. Mix ingredients until well combined.

5. When baguette slices are browned, remove from oven and rub the garlic clove across the top of each baguette to enrich it with flavour. Top slices with bruschetta.

– Silvia

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