Snappy

After dealing with a lot of fish today at work, I came upon a gorgeous group of red snapper filets. Technically, it’s a rougheye rockfish from the north coast of British Columbia, but it’s part of the greater snapper family. It was dense, meaty and I knew I had to have some for dinner later. How I was going to treat it evolved as I went home on the bus. It started as a rub with caramelized onion mayo, then as I reached my kitchen and saw some of the sifted bran I had from a Christmas season of baking then it came together.

Caramelized Onion Mayo-Rubbed and Garlic Bran-Flax-Crusted Roast Snapper

For the Caramelized Onion Mayo:

1 cup water

2 Tbsp Gold Forest Grains flax seeds

1 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

1-1/2 cups Riverbend Gardens yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a small pot, heat the water and flax seeds over medium high heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes without stirring. Strain the thickened liquid, discarding the flax seeds (or save for a muffin recipe) and place the liquid in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and salt and sauté for 5-7 minutes until it starts to soften and lightly brown. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for a further 12-15 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan as it starts to grow more golden. Add a few tablespoons of water and stir if the bottom of the pan starts to brown, scraping the brown bits and stirring them into the onions until they become deeply golden brown (about 25-30 minutes total).

Place the caramelized onions in a blender or food processor along with the thickened flax-liquid. Purée until smooth and with the blender running slowly drizzle in the oil until very thick. Add the lemon juice, pulse the blender to combine and refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the Garlic Bran-Flax Crust:

1/2 cup sifted Gold Forest Grains bran (sifted from any of their wheat flours)

1 Tbsp Gold Forest Grains flax seeds

1 Tbsp Peas On Earth Organics fresh garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed dried red chilli

1 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

In a small bowl, combine the bran and flax seeds. Mince the garlic and salt together into a fine paste and work into the bran-flax mixture. Add the dried chilli and oil and crumble together. Set aside.

For the Snapper

500g/1lb red snapper, cut into 2 pieces lengthways

1/2 cup Riverbend Gardens yellow onions, sliced

In a small roasting pan, spread the onions out in a single layer along the bottom. Place the snapper filets on the onions, spread with Caramelized Onion Mayo and crumble the Garlic Bran-Flax topping over top, pressing it into the mayo to stick. Bake in a preheated 180C/350F oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish. A thinner filet needs less time, gauge by baking for roughly 10 minutes per inch of thickness of fish). To add a deeply golden hue to the crust finish by placing under the broiler for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve with a simple chopped salad. Serves 2.

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Soup to normal

I, like many at this time of year, have been going through one type of flu or another. The usual remedies like chicken soup are good. It soothes from the burst of vitamins and nutrients hitting your body all at once. Traditionally, growing up, our family’s chicken soup was done by poaching a whole chicken, cut into pieces, along with some vegetables for flavouring.

I build my body back from any flu by going from one soup to another. This weekend I went from a traditional chicken soup to Bison Sausage Minestrone.

Traditional Chicken Soup (á la Kozma family)

1 whole Sunshine Organic chicken, cut into 10 pieces, (back piece and neck included)

2 cups Riverbend Gardens carrots, roughly chopped

2 cups Riverbend Gardens yellow onion, roughly chopped

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

10 cups cold water

1 Doef’s Greenhouses red chilli (dried and crumbled)

1 Tbsp celery seeds

In a large pot, add the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, water, chilli and celery seeds. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is very tender. Remove the chicken to a large bowl. Strain the vegetables from the broth, reserving the broth.

For the soup:

1 cup reserved cooked carrot, finely chopped into 1/2cm(1/4″) pieces

4 cups reserved chicken broth

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup dried csiga noodles (a small hand-twisted noodle traditional to Hungarian cuisine. Cooked orzo or rice would be a good substitute)

In a medium pot, add the broth, carrots, csiga and chicken. Bring back up to a simmer and cook for a further 5-7 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Serve with a healthy grind of fresh black pepper. Serves 2 (with leftover chicken and broth for future use).

 

Bison Sausage Minestrone

2 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

150g/6oz Medicine Man Bison, smoked garlic sausage, chopped into 1cm(1/2″) pieces

1-1/2 cups Riverbend Garden yellow onion, chopped

2 cups Riverbend Garden carrots, peeled, finely chopped

1 Doef’s Greenhouses red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 Doef’s Greenhouses sweet red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 small can tomato paste

2 cups reserved chicken broth (from recipe above)

4 cups Smoked Pork Hock Stock

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 cup cooked red kidney beans

1/2 cup Gold Forest Grains red lentils

2 cups small pasta (shells, macaroni, fusilli, etc)

In a large pot, over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the bison sausage. Sauté until the sausage starts to brown. Add the onions and sauté for a further 5-7 minutes until the onions start to go a light golden colour. Add the carrots and sauté for a minute or two to start to soften. Add the chicken stock and Smoked Pork Hock Stock, along with the tomato paste, dried oregano and kidney beans. Bring to a boil, add the lentils, cover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the pasta is very tender. Serves 4.

 

 

Life. Shortened.

Life. Within it contains a range of emotions. Ups. Downs. We like to try to float in between but life has a way of showing us the extremes at times.

Life is oftentimes contained in its purest form as a child. Recently, the life of a child has been a theme in my life. On a recent visit to see my brother, I spent time with my 9 year old niece. A life full of hope and promise. She’s as confident and effervescent as any child that age with hardly a thing to furrow their forehead with doubt. But as Christmas passed and every dream and desire didn’t come to fruition, her brow began to furrow, “Is Santa not the bringer of all dreams?” So began her first real moment of doubt. Her first real personal moment of suffering.

Also on my visit, I heard about another child. Another child barely old enough to know life. He was born in a small village in Indonesia. This village was so remote that extra pints of blood did not exist. His was a difficult birth into the world, his mother needing a blood transfusion. There was none. She died in childbirth. That infant child will have a furrowing of his little brow a little sooner than most when he’s old enough to realize he has no mother.

My sister-in-law, from Indonesia, felt that suffering because it was from her family back home. Her cousin, within weeks, in Canada, went through a similar difficulty in childbirth. In Canada, as much as we ask for blood donations, we are very fortunate because there was a pint of blood for a transfusion for this mother and both mother and child were healthy enough to go home within days of childbirth. The hope of new life beginning.

Later in that visit, my cousin who I spent a lot of time with throughout my childhood, who I shared many childhood memories, recently had a child. A beautiful child who smiles at everyone and is comfortable in the arms of anyone. I held him while we were out at dinner and there was the same familiar comfort with him as I have with his mother. It’s as if a moment in time transcended time itself and I was a child again, sharing that moment with him. A sweet, smiling life.

I came home from my visit to continue my life and recently heard a friend, who was pregnant, give birth prematurely. Too prematurely. The tiny life barely breathing the air of life. Gone. Why suffering comes to those often least able to endure it will always be a mystery. I only look at life as a series of moments. Moments to share. Moments to say all that you want to say to those you love in the short moments you have. There’s always something more you wish you could say to those you love, but if you can show your compassion every day, those words are written on your life itself. How you share is how you live.