Category Archives: Food

Pineapple Pizza

The other night, my husband said he was going to make pizza. What pizza on plate photo d stewartkind, he asked. Pineapple and ham, I said without hesitation. They’re small, he said, so anything else? Pepperoni and pineapple. That’s what Sam Panopolous likes.

We had a can of pineapple rings and ham slices. No pepperoni but nice salami. And black olives. Jim said one of the best pizzas he ever had was a Hawaiian with black olives.

Hawaiian pizza

  • Store-bought pizza crusts (these are 9″ flatbreads)
  • then pizza sauce from a can,
  • shredded mozzarella, and
  • toppings – pineapple chunks, ham pieces (or sliced salami or pepperoni), sliced black olives
  • bake about 20 minutes at 375°Fpineapple pizzas photo d stewart

Thank you, Mr. Panopolous, they were delicious.

Sam Panopolous is the inventor of the Hawaiian pizza. Since 1982 he has lived in London, Ontario where he owned the Family Circle Restaurant on Wellington Street. Its website says it’s family-owned, his family, I assume.

satellite restaurant chatham ont tripadvisor.caBefore that, he ran the Satellite restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. There, in 1962, he came up with the idea of pineapple chunks on pizza. He liked it and, while not an immediate hit with his customers, he kept ham and pineapple pizza on offer. Eventually it took off and now is a standard item in pizza places.

Mr. Panopolous told CBC’s As It Happens that he is retired now and doesn’t even make pizza for himself. He likes Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizzas. A great testimony for them, and I agree with him.

Pineapple Tweets

Hawaiian pizza and Mr. Panopolous were in the news last week. It started with a furor over a tweet by a political leader. For once, not Donald Trump. Rather the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

President Jóhannesson put it out there for the world that he did not like pineapple on pizza. That if he had the power, he would ban pineapple on pizza. But he doesn’t have the power. And that’s a good thing. “I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don’t like. I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.”

Seafood on pizza? Ok, that’s weird. I thought his tweet was perhaps allegorical. A small reminder to, oh maybe Donald Trump, that personal opinion shouldn’t be the basis for policy making. But evidently it came from a classroom Q & A about pizza preferences. Sometimes a topping is just a topping. But I still think it’s a good allegory.

While googling, I came across a Guardian article from March 2015. The Pizzeria Boccalino in Lausanne, Switzerland politicized their pizzas by naming them after world leaders and celebrities. The Barack Obama included pineapple. What would be on a Donald J. Trump pizza, I wonder.

Apple Jelly

Making apple jelly is like making any other fruit jelly except you don’t need to add pectin. Apples have loads of pectin. When I started making jams and jellies and was much more conscientious about not apples-photo-d-stewartadding additives, I added a few apples to any fruit for the pectin. Then I got lazy and started using commercial pectin.

But in this year’s apple jelly making, I found a recipe that reminded me that you don’t need to add pectin to pectin-filled apples. And it’s easy. Basically, just add sugar and lemon juice to the apple juice and boil until it gels. (My notes are added.)

Apple Jelly (Mick Telkamp, HGTV)

Yield: About 6 half-pints (I got 4)

5 pounds apples (about 16 cups chopped)
6 cups water (to extract 5 cups apple juice)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups sugar (I used 3 cups)

apples-cooking-photo-d-stewartWash and chop apples into small pieces, including skin and cores, and place in a large pot.

Add 6 cups of water to the pot and bring to boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes until apples are soft.

Pour into jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl to separate juice. Allow to drain without pressing or forcing juice from the apples for the clearest jelly. (Leave several hours or overnight)

apple-jelly-froth-photo-d-stewartCombine 5 cups apple juice, lemon juice and sugar in a pot and bring to boil over high heat.

Continue to boil until a temperature of 220 degrees F is reached. (25-30 mins)

Test jelly by dipping in a cold spoon. If the jelly drips from the gel-test-photo-d-stewartspoon in a sheet, jelly is ready. If not, allow to cook a little longer and test again. (Watch it and you’ll see the colour deepen. Also when stirring, the resistance on the spoon increases slightly.)

Once the jelly thickens, transfer it into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.

Cap with lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes to seal.

Apple jelly will store in a cool location up to a year without loss of texture or flavor.apple jelly photo d stewart

Lessons learned

A couple of lessons I learned in my first two times using this recipe. First, when you’re near the gelling point, check it every minute or so. I let it cook another five minutes after seeing it was almost gelling. Too long. I got one jar of jelly solid enough to make gummy bears.

Second, keep stirring. And use a pot with high sides. In my second batch, I left it unattended for a minute too long. I had it in a Dutch oven that I thought was plenty big enough. And it was – as long as I kept stirring the froth down. But left alone, it started frothing higher and higher. I couldn’t get it stirred down fast enough. A huge mess on the stove.

Learn from my mistakes and you’ll have delicious jelly, easily made.

See also my making apple juice. It’s exactly the same except you don’t gel the juice.

Apple Juice

apple-tree-photo-d-stewartIt’s been a good year for our apple trees. They grow near the house, in the fields and woods. More apples than the deer can eat. Different kinds – red, yellow, crab and not. Why couldn’t I make apple juice, I wondered. Cook and strain, just like I did for rhubarb juice. I googled and, yep, you can.

Apple Juice

apple-bins-photo-d-stewartI halved the small apples and quartered large ones. Smaller pieces cook faster and it also lets you better see parts that are bad or wormy. I didn’t peel them or cut the cores out.

Put cut apples in a large pot and add water. After some trial and error, I found about a third as much water as apples gave the right strength of juice. So for 16 cups of cut-up apples, add 5-6 cups water.

apples-cooking-photo-d-stewartCook until apples are soft, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantity and the apples.

Line a sieve or colander (plastic, enamel or stainless steel) with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, dampen it. Then sit it in a bowl or pot that fits so that there is clearance for the liquid to drain. Have two more containers nearby – you’ll likely need them in the next step.

Carefully pour the liquid and apples into the strainer. Your bowl will soon fill because the juice will drain through quickly. Move the colander over to your spare bowl with one hand and, with the other hand, pour the juice into another bowl or jug.

straining-apples-photo-d-stewartKeep doing that until all the apples and liquid are in the colander. Leave that to drain. Take another colander or sieve, put cheesecloth in it and strain the juice several more times from one bowl to the other. You’ll see a bit of apple pulp in the bottom. Rinse the cheesecloth, and repeat.

If your apples are sweet enough to eat, I doubt you’ll need to add sugar. Taste the juice while it’s still hot to see. Be careful, add only a bit at a time.

You can freeze it in plastic bottles or can it in sealing jars. You can likely make it as a concentrate by using less water.

Is it worth it?

apple juice photo d stewartIf you have the apples anyway, it’s worth doing. But if I had to buy them, I don’t think I would. The juice is a bit cloudy. Maybe a finer mesh sieve or a jelly bag. Maybe a juicer. But that’s just aesthetics. The juice tastes good.

See also my Apple Jelly. Or see how to make Rhubarb Juice and Rhubarb Jelly. It’s the same process, just with or without gelling or added pectin.

Rhubarb Juice

glass of rhubarb juiceLast summer, looking at my still flourishing rhubarb patch, a friend said “We used to make pies and jam and then made the rest into rhubarb juice.” Really? This had never crossed my mind. Just cook it down a bit and strain it, she said. So I did. It’s wonderful, like pink lemonade only better.

I cut washed rhubarb stalks into 1″ pieces and put them in a large stainless steel stock pot. I did 16 cups of chopped rhubarb at a time.

rhubarb-in-potI added water to more than cover the rhubarb and cooked it on medium heat until it softened, about 30 mins. Then I added sugar, 2 cups to start. The amount depends on how sweet you want the juice. Cook the rhubarb another 20 mins until completely soft. Taste the juice and add more sugar if you like. I added about another half cup. Add sugar when the juice is hot so it will dissolve.

While it cooked, I lined a big colander with 3 layers of cheesecloth, overhanging the edges. Use stainless steel, plastic or enamel. Rhubarb will discolour, and be discoloured by, some metals.

rhubarb-in-cheeseclothPut the colander on the rim of a deep pot or bowl, so it has clearance to drain. Carefully pour the rhubarb and water in it. Let sit until fully drained. Skim foam off the top of the juice.

juice-bottlePour the juice into clean bottles. I used 1.89 litre plastic store-bought juice bottles and filled about two and a half per batch.

It freezes well. Don’t fill the bottle right to the top so it has room to expand. You can also bottle the juice in sealer-lid jars. Here is how to do that. This recipe is for a concentrate. You add water when you want to drink it. Some recipes call for zest (grated rind) of lemon or orange, added while the rhubarb is cooking.

Roast Guinea Fowl

Hi Dorothy, from time to time I´m going through your web site. You are doing a great job to cover all fields and sharing with other people. I also checked the part with the recipes and decided that one is missing, so listen:

Roast Guinea Fowl with Vegetables and Rice

roast guinea fowl Gesell-photosYou need:

for the meat –
* two guinea fowls, each ca. 1 to 1.2 kg
* fresh garlic
* groundnut [peanut] oil
* beer
* salt
* pepper
* curry powder
* red sweet pepper powder

for the vegetables –
* potatoes
* sweet potatoes
Tilda rice Ghana Gesell-photos* carrots
* zucchini
* tomatoes
and what else you like

for the rice –
* 400 grams basmati (Tilda if possible)
* 720 ml water (180ml per 100 grams rice)
* salt
* two big spoons butter

for the joy –
5 to 7 friends to be invited for the dinner

How to prepare:

guinea fowl over veges-Gesell-photosTake a mortar and grind salt and plenty garlic until you get a smooth paste to an amount of 50 to 60 grams and apply it to the chicks.

Mix the spices with the groundnut oil and the beer. You will need it to pour on the chicks while they are roasting.

Set the chicks on the rack which fits in the oven and you need an oven veggies-in-roaster-Gesell-photospan to set below the rack and fill it with all the vegetables I have written and more if you like. Soft vegetables like zucchini can be added later because they are done faster.

To prevent the vegetables from burning, pour groundnut oil on the oven pan before you set the vegetables in.

guinea-fowl-veges-in-oven-Gesell-photosWhen every thing is set, you start the oven at 160°C [320˚F]. It might be necessary to rise the temperature up to 180°C. One has to watch. Don’t forget to pour the spices, mixed with beer and oil, over the chicks as they are cooking. After 70 to 90 minutes everything should be ready.

[ds – great oven design! In ovens with racks attached to the walls, you need to pull out both racks at once to baste – carefully, with oven mitts. Or maybe put the birds on a separate rack on top of a deep roasting pan?] 

Rice:

To prepare the rice you melt the butter in a pot and fry the washed rice until it is glassy.

frying-rice-Gesell-photosBoil the water with salt in a different pot and pour it over the rice while it’s still on the hot stove.

adding water to rice Gesell-photosLet it boil for one minute on high temperature and stir it around. Then lower the temperature to the lowest point, take a cover that fits the pot exactly and close it.

rice cooking Gesell-photosLet it simmer for 18 minutes and don’t open the cover before the 18 minutes are over.

Now you can serve your guests and remember the guinea fowls of Tamale. Greetings from Germany.

Yours, Helmut

roast guinea fowl dinner Gesell-photos

My friend Helmut and I met years ago when we both lived in Tamale in Northern Ghana. I think the first guinea fowl I ever ate was made this way, at his house there, made by him or the cook he learned it from. Helmut sent me the recipe last month, then cooked it at home in Germany and Helmeted_guinea_fowl-steve-2007-wikicommonsdocumented the process. Danke schön, Conny, the photos are great.

I asked about substituting chicken since it’s easier to get here. Needs to be dark meat, he said. Guinea fowl of New Brunswick, beware!

Macaroni and Cheese

This stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe is the best ever. I’ve made it a lot of different ways, and love this one. It is easy and consistently good.

stove-top macaroni and cheese cookingMakes 4 main-course servings or 6-8 side-dish servings (If you really like mac & cheese, you’ll want this amount for two people so you can have seconds)

2 large eggs
1 12-oz (341 ml) can evaporated milk
¼ tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
¼ tsp (1 ml) ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp (5 ml) water
½ lb (225 g) elbow macaroni
4 tbsp (50 ml) unsalted butter
12 oz (350 g) Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (bat 3 c/750 ml). Use sharp or mild cheddar, as desired
Toasted bread crumbs or crumbled saltine crackers* (optional, to me)

1. Mix eggs, 1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk, Tabasco sauce, ½ tsp (2ml) salt, pepper and dry mustard in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 qt (2 L) water to boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1½ tsp (7 ml) salt and the macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.

3. Drain and return the macaroni to the pan over low heat, add butter and toss to melt.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt.

5. Gradually add remaining evaporated milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.

6. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs or crumbled crackers.

macaroni and cheese served with peasI got this recipe several years ago from a London Free Press AP article written by Tommy C. Simmons. He says about the different ways of making mac & cheese:

“There are two styles of macaroni and cheese. One combines macaroni with a cheese-flavoured white sauce… The other is layered macaroni and cheese topped with a milk or milk-and-egg mixture that forms a custard when the combination is baked.

The food staff at Cook’s Illustrated magazine found a third style of macaroni and cheese preparation, which they credited to John Thorne’s Simple Cooking cookbook. [This recipe] The recipe testers at Cook’s Illustrated described Thorne’s recipe and their adaptations in the January-February 1997 issue and rated it the best macaroni and cheese recipe they tested.”

Reading a Kirkus review of Simple Cooking, John Thorne’s books sound worth reading as much for his commentary on food and foodie trends as for the cookery information and recipes.

 

Zucchini Boats

baked-zucchini-boats photo D StewartGot huge zucchinis? Stuff them. Here is how my husband makes them using left-over spaghetti sauce. The ingredient quantities below are for one zucchini, which makes two zucchini boats. Adjust amounts according to the size and number of zucchini. The one he used was about 10 in./25 cm.

zucchini-scooped-out-photo-D-StewartSlice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the soft part in the middle. He discards the seeds and keeps the pulp. Chop that up and put it in a frying pan with chopped onion. Cook the mixture until it’s soft. Zucchini has a lot of water in it, so leave the pan uncovered so as much water as possible evaporates.

adding-spaghetti-sauce-photo-D-StewartAdd green pepper, mushrooms, hot sausage or whatever you like. Add half a cup of breadcrumbs. When everything is cooked through and the mixture is fairly thick, add about three-quarters of a cup of your leftover sauce. Heat it through.

Put the zucchini boats in a baking dish and spoon the stuffing mixture filling-zucchini-boats-photo-D-Stewartin them. Grate cheese – parmesan, cheddar or mozzarella – over the tops. Pour a bit of water in the bottom of the dish so they don’t stick to the bottom. Put in a 350° oven and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until the zucchini shell is nice and soft. If your zucchini has grown to monster size, the outer skin might stay too tough to eat but you can still scoop out the insides.

 

Perfect Rice

washing-rice The trick to fluffy steamed rice, with grains nicely separated, is wash it first. Put the amount of uncooked rice you want in a pot and add water. You’ll see the water go cloudy. Pour it off and add more water, repeat. You can let soak a few minutes before draining. Keep doing it until the water runs clear. By doing this, you’re removing the starch and it’s what makes rice sticky.

measuring-water-for-riceUse long grain rice. Basmati and jasmine are my favourites. If your package doesn’t have instructions, or if they don’t work right, here’s how I was shown to make steamed rice. It’s easy.

To the washed rice in your pot, add cold water until it is over the rice. Lay your hand, slightly arched, so just your fingerpads lightly touch the rice. Add or remove water to make it cover your fingers to the middle of your first knuckle.

steam-coming-from-riceCook the rice on high heat, uncovered, until the water is almost gone. You usually can hear it, a change from bubbling to a slight crackling noise. Turn the heat to low (even turn off) and place a tight fitting lid on the pot. Let it sit for the same length of time as it took to boil the water off, about 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t remove the lid – the rice is steaming in there. Do not stir it at any point.

finished steamed riceAnd there you have it: perfect steamed rice. Depending on how much heat was under it during the steaming, there may be a crust of browned rice on the bottom and sides of the pot. That’s fine. Put cold water in the pot and it will soak off easily. I was told the crust was the mark of perfect rice. With it or without, this way of cooking rice has worked for me in any amount and any size pot.

 

DIY Kraft Dinner

kd with elbow macaroniKD is the ultimate comfort food/fast food, especially for Canadians (says Wikipedia) who have grown up on it since it came on the market in the 1930s. A lot of people take pride in “doctoring” it, using it as the base for their culinary skills. But for me, it’s best just as it comes out of the box, with ketchup on top.

But Kraft changed the macaroni from the regular elbow type to thin tubes. To me, two kinds of macaronithey always seem overcooked and they have no texture, no body. It’s like eating orange pablum. KD became a constant disappointment to me, despite always being hopeful that a new type they brought out would be how I remember it. (KD macaroni left in photo, elbow macaroni right)

Kraft Dinner boxesIn Bulk Barn one day, passing the bin of bright orange cheese sauce powder, I had a thrilling thought. Maybe I could make my own. I had recently read that Kraft Dinner was born when, in 1937, a Kraft salesman put a rubber band around a packet of grated cheese and a box of macaroni and sold them together as an instant meal. Why couldn’t I retrace his steps? Treating them as separate components lets me pick the macaroni I want.

Bulk Barn cheese powderBulk Barn has instructions for its Macaroni and Cheese Sauce Mix #252 beside the bin. The amounts of cheese powder and macaroni called for is exactly the same as what is in a box of KD. You make it exactly the same way. And it tastes exactly the same, only with nice fat elbow macaroni. You can, of course, use any pasta you wish.

Amazon link for Jamie Oliver Comfort FoodJamie Oliver’s cookbook Comfort Food shows you how you can make tastier and healthier versions of your favourite foods. He probably has a delicious mac and cheese. But when you want Kraft Dinner, that’s what you want. Bulk Barn allows me to make it look and taste the way it does in my memory.

Corned Beef Macaroni

A ‘how we think it was made’ recipe for corned beef and macaroni that my grandmother Burwell cooked. It should look like a stew or thick soup. Grandma said it was Pennsylvania Dutch in origin, as was she, and it was something her mother made.  I learned how she made it from my niece via Facebook messages.

Chat_bubbleAre you there?

Hi – I am now.

I was making Gramma’s corned beef pasta stuff and couldn’t remember if potatoes went in! All is well, it turned out 🙂

ok good. You’ll have to tell me how you make it. I don’t know how. Your dad and I have talked about it but can’t remember. We thought potatoes were in it.

Yes that was my question – potatoes or not! I added small cubes and onion. Dad doesn’t think there was onion but I’m sure there was!! He thought there was cubed cheese too but I don’t think so. lol

Ha! I don’t think there was onion, but I would put it in. No, I don’t think cheese, but that would be good. I don’t know how she creamed it – flour and water? I don’t remember mom or grandma using milk or cream. I’d use milk. When I made it, it wasn’t like hers. It was kind of like cream of macaroni soup. lol

eating macaroniNo cream or milk! Cook your potatoes and the potato water thickens with the macaroni. So yummy! 🙂 Now you must remember. I was about 4 when I cooked this with great-grandma!!

Well, I never! (as Grandma B would say). No wonder it didn’t taste right. Can you send me what you did, including the kind of corned beef.

Corned Beef Macaroni Recipe

corned beef and macaroni* 4 cups water, to boil
* Add 2 potatoes cut in small cubes and 1 small onion diced.
* Add 1 can of corned beef ( I just used no name – looks like spam)
* Let boil another 4 min.
* Add 2 cups of elbow macaroni. You may need to keep adding water as the noodles cook but don’t make it too watery. Stir often because noodles will stick.
* Add salt after cooking as the beef is salty!! Yum yum, the kids even enjoyed it!

corned beef canYou mean the rectangular cans of corned beef? Do you just plonk the whole lump in or chop it up first?

LOL sorry, yes, the rectangle one. I break it up first but it usually falls apart after a while in the broth 🙂

So, there is the recipe for our favourite meal at Grandma Burwell’s house.  I don’t remember my mother making it and, although I knew it was simple, I could not replicate it.  All this time, my niece could. Fortunately she had a memory lapse so I found out how.  Grandma, I think, would snicker and say “Land o’ Goshen!” if she knew we were doing this.