Spicy Bison Samosas

I’ve been invited to a potluck dinner this weekend, so I thought I should make something that’s good at room temperature so it’s enjoyable even if it sits on a table for awhile. It’s also a group of people who are passionate about local food, so I decided to do an international-inspired dish using almost all local ingredients. I even worked in the first chives of the year into the dough and had coriander seeds still lingering on last years cilantro plant in my garden. For a sometimes harsh Canadian climate, that’s pretty awesome.

Spicy Bison Samosas


2 cups Gold Forest Grains Park Heritage wheat flour

3/4 cup Gold Forest Grains soft white wheat flour

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp fresh chives (optional)

1/4 cup Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

3/4-1 cup warm water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt. Whisk in the fresh chives, if using, then work in the oil with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Slowly work in the water until a soft dough forms. Depending on the batch of flour or atmospheric humidity, the amount of water can vary. Just add and stir and feel with your fingers until a soft dough is achieved through occasional kneading. Split the dough in 12 equal walnut-sized balls of dough, cover with a moist, clean towel and set aside as you prepare the filling.


1 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

500g/1lb Medicine Man Bison ground bison

1-1/2 cups chopped August Organics onions

2 Doef’s Greenhouses red chillis, seeded and chopped (seeding is optional depending on how hot you want the filling)

1 Tbsp, each, ground coriander seeds, garlic powder, salt, turmeric

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp dried Doef’s Greenhouse red chilli (I dry my own chillis and crumble them as needed)

In a large pot, brown the ground bison in oil until uniformly browned. Add the onions and fresh chillis and sauté for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. Grind the spices together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and add to the meat and vegetables. Cook the spices, stirring to coat the meat mixture for a further 3-4 minutes until aromatic and starting to dry slightly. Allow to cool

To assemble:

Roll each ball of dough into 10-12cm(5-6″) circles about 1/2cm(1/4″) thick. Cut each circle in half and take each semi circle in your hand. Roll it into a cone shape, pinching the curved seam together. Fill the top of the cone with the cooled bison mixture (roughly about 2 Tbsp of mixture per samosa), leaving a lip at the top of about 1cm(1/2″). Pinch the top closed, ensuring as much of the air is pressed out as possible and crimp the seal decoratively to be doubly sure the seal holds. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet dusted with flour. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Add 2-3 cups of oil to a large wok fitted with a thermometer. Heat the oil to 190 C (365 F) and fry the prepared samosas a few at a time until golden, turning after 2 minutes and frying for another minute. Drain on a clean towel. Can be served immediately or frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, then packaged in a freezer bag for further use. Serve with a yogurt dipping sauce of your choice. Makes 24 samosas.

Quick Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

1 cup Bles-Wold natural yogurt

1/4 cup Coal Lake Honey Farms wildflower honey

1 tsp dried Doef’s Greenhouse red chilli

2 Tbsp August Organics dried oregano

Grated zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Stir together sauce ingredients in a small bowl and allow flavours to combine for a few hours in the refrigerator or overnight.


Roasted Barley Tea

      I eat a lot of food that is locally grown, raised or otherwise produced, but when it comes to beverages, to drink local is usually reduced to water and maybe some fruit juices in the summer. I was reading about a popular Japanese tea called mugicha, a tea made with roasted barley. After experimenting with Gold Forest Grains’ delicious Tibetan barley in many ways I thought that this interesting beverage was worth a try. The roasting process is similar to what one would do with green coffee beans, but on a smaller scale. All you need is a medium sized wok, a wooden spoon and a bit of bravery tossing the tiny barley pearls as they roast.


Roasted Barley Tea

1/2 cup Gold Forest Grains Tibetan barley

3 cups boiling water

2 Tbsp Coal Lake Honey Farms honey (or to taste)

     Preheat a wok over medium heat on the stove top for about a minute. Add the barley and begin to stir with a wooden spoon. Alternate the stirring with the occasional shaking of the barley in the wok and tossing it to ensure even roasting of the barley. Continue this stirring, shaking and tossing motion over the course of 7-9 minutes until most of the barley has turned a very deep, caramel brown colour.

     Place roasted barley in a large measuring cup or medium bowl, pour over the boiling water and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes. Strain into a pitcher with the honey, stir to dissolve the honey and serve immediately or if you wish pour over ice and serve chilled. Serves 2-3.

Maple Mac N Cheese

     I was making breakfast for a friend a few days ago and made a simple pepper, cheddar and egg scramble with pancakes. I jokingly warned, “Watch out for maple syrup dribbling in your eggs.” Yet lo and behold when the cheddar intermingled with some of the maple syrup, my friend exclaimed,”Try the cheddar with the maple!!” I did and suddenly thought I should incorporate it in a mac and cheese recipe. I’m a Canadian boy so I’m not much of a proponent of the baked mac and cheese like those in the Southern United States, so mine is as quick to make as cooking the pasta.

Maple Mac N Cheese

225g (1/2 lb) dry macaroni or other small curved pasta

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup Gold Forest Grains soft white flour

3-1/2 to 4 cups 2% milk

3 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika

1 cup Sylvan Star 8 year old cheddar, shredded

1 cup Sylvan Star Italian spiced Gouda, shredded

1 cup Sylvan Star sheep’s milk Manchego, shredded

1/4 cup medium (amber) maple syrup

     In a large pot, bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil.

     As the water comes to a boil, shred the cheeses. Set aside.

     Add 1 Tbsp salt to the boiling water, add the pasta and stir occasionally as you move to the next step.

     In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then gradually whisk in the soft white flour. As the butter and flour tightens up, cook the mixture for a further minute. Slowly whisk in the milk a half a cup at a time, taking the time to fully incorporate the milk and thicken the mixture. When all of the milk is finally incorporated, add the paprika and maple syrup. Whisk to ensure there are no lumps of the spice and the maple syrup is uniformly combined. Take the sauce off the heat, add the variety of cheeses and whisk slowly to combine, allowing the residual heat of the sauce to melt the cheese into the sauce.

     Drain the cooked pasta and ladle the prepared cheese sauce into the pasta. Stir to uniformly coat each pasta noodle and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Tibetan Barley Risotto

     With Gold Forest Grains recent availability of Tibetan barley, I wanted to do a risotto. The grain of this cracked barley is very much like small pebbles. Once stirred slowly with ladle after ladle of hot stock, it becomes a luxurious, toothsome treat that is a base for any number of flavours: sausage, grilled vegetables, or as I did it today, with hot smoked salmon from another small Edmonton business, Ocean Odyssey Inland.


Tibetan Barley Risotto with Hot Smoked Sockeye Salmon

2 tsp Mighty Trio Organics canola oil

1 cup onions, chopped into 1cm(1/2″) dice

1 cup celery, chopped into 1cm(1/2″) dice

1 cup Gold Forest Grains Tibetan cracked barley

4-5 cups chicken stock

4-5 cups water

200g(6oz/0.4lb) Ocean Odyssey Inland hot smoked sockeye salmon

1 cup Sylvan Star sheep’s milk Manchego cheese

2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics flax oil (optional)

     In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer on the back burner. Keep at a low simmer throughout the cooking process.

     In another large pot, sauté the onions and celery in canola oil for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat until softened, but not browned. Add the cracked barley and stir for 1-2 minutes until the barley starts to toast and become fragrant. Ladle one or two ladlefuls of heated stock to the toasted barley and sautéed vegetables. Stir constantly over medium low heat until the stock absorbs almost completely. Keep adding a ladle or two of stock and stir constantly, allowing the stock to absorb in between additions over the course of 45-50 minutes until the barley is softened, swollen and still maintains a bit of pleasant, textural firmness. If you only cook for about 45 minutes, the firmness still highlights the unique texture of this heritage variety of barley, but if you cook for a further five or even ten minutes with another ladle or two of stock, the texture softens more and becomes almost like a porridge.

     When the desired texture is achieved, remove from heat, add, the flaked hot smoked salmon and shredded Manchego and fold them in gently so as to maintain large flakes of the salmon. Serve immediately in a bowl. Serves 4-6.

Barley Polenta

    When John from Gold Forest Grains posted last week on Twitter the arrival of Tibetan barley and its flour my first thought was to make a polenta with the flour. Normally done with a fine cornmeal in Italy, this smooth porridge makes for a great base to a basic ragu or a couple of grilled fish skewers.


Barley Polenta

4 cups water

1 Tbsp salt

1 cup Gold Forest Grains Tibetan barley flour

3/4 cup Sylvan Star 8 year old cheddar, shredded

2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics flax oil

   In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the salt, and very gradually whisk in the barley flour until uniformly smooth and combined. Whisk for a further 5-7 minutes until thickened, resembling the texture of a smooth mashed potato. Turn off the heat, whisk in the shredded cheese and flax oil. Serve immediately as a base for stew, braised lamb shanks, fish skewers or a creative base for roast  chicken and gravy. The leftovers can be placed in a parchment paper-lined baking pan or loaf pan and set in the fridge overnight. Slice the set polenta into squares, brush with oil and grill for a unique side to accompany a sandwich, burger or weiner schnitzel.