Christmas is fast approaching and I really try to stay away from the malls. Shopping local and online to me make the whole shopping experience more pleasant. Here are some ideas for the foodie on your list:
Lee Valley (www.leevalley.com) has a great zester and grater set, which is perfect for lemons or ginger or any grating needs you have. They also have a butter measuring guide, which we just started using. It’s perfect for when you have a leftover stub from a one pound block of butter. An instruction sheet tells you how to deal with all the measurements, including when you have a 4 ounce butter stick.
An immersion blender is a great tool for any kitchen. It does an excellent job at pureeing soups, gravy, applesauce, etc. Make sure you get one that has a detachable shaft to make cleaning easier. You can usually find one at your local hardware store.
The cook’s dream website—www.goldaskitchen.com—has everything you can imagine and a special “Holiday Gift Suggestion” section. The one item I have on my ‘wish list’ is called a Baker’s Edge Lasagna Pan. Its claim to fame is that in a conventional pan after you remove a few servings the layers start to slump and the noodles slide out. After awhile what’s left in the pan starts to look like a big blob. This pan solves that problem. Then check out the same pan, which is used for brownie fans! This is only a start.
A food lover can never have enough cookbooks. Here are a few that I have been trying out:
1. Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals – Delicious, Nutritious, Super Fast Food. The recipes are super quick, tasty and produces healthy food that you can eat every day of the week.
2. The Longevity Kitchen. Satisfying, big flavour recipes featuring the top 16 age busting power foods. This book has 100+ recipes for vitality and optimal health. In this collection of recipes culinary nutrition pioneer Rebecca Katz, combines smart nutrition and flavour while highlighting the top sixteen foods to fight the most chronic conditions.
3. A subscription to “Alive – Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine.” It has a bit of everything, from health, lifestyle, food, supplements and a book review. Twelve issues published per year costs $37. You can call 1-800-663-6580 or go online at www.alive.com/subscribe.
Sweet Potato Bars
This recipe is from the cookbook ‘The Longevity Kitchen.’ I switched the rice flour to Loon Song Spelt flour and replaced the pistachios with almonds. To save time I peeled the sweet potatoes, chunked them up and then threw then in a saucepan with a tight lid, added a bit of water, boiled them until tender and then mashed them.
Crust3/4 cup rolled oats 1/4 cup brown rice flour or teff flour 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios 1/4 cup pecans 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Filling1 pound sweet potatoes, baked until tender 2 eggs, beaten 1/3 cup plain yogurt 3 Tablespoons maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger Freshly grated nutmeg, for dusting
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan. Put the oats, rice flour, pistachios, pecans, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the maple syrup and olive oil and pulse until the ingredients are evenly combined but the mixture is still crumbly looking. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan. No need to clean out the food processor. Bake for about 15 minutes, until set. Keep the oven on.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Scoop the sweet potato flesh into a bowl and mash it. Put 1 1/2 cups of the mashed sweet potatoes in the food processor (reserve any leftovers for another use). Add the eggs, yogurt, maple syrup, orange zest, cardamom, and ginger and process until smooth.
To assemble and bake the bars, pour the filling over the crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the filling is set and just beginning to pull from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into 16 squares.