Wilted Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Grapes and Tomatoes

Looks like the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors has a theme in this week’s meeting.  One common ingredient in Spinach.  Spinach is rich in iron and calcium and it’s Popeye’s energy booster.  As fussy as Nanzaro is, I’m glad that he likes spinach.

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Sydney and Lorna made this Wilted Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Grapes and Tomatoes.  This salad is slightly unusual that it’s served warm.  This salad can be varied according to your preference.  Instead of grapes, you can try experimenting with dried fruit, like cranberries and raisins.  You can sprinkle the salad with toasted nuts, sliced avocados, or drained canned chickpeas before serving.

We were quite surprise that the grapes stained the quinoa purple.
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Roasted Parsnips

Christina and June roasted some parsnips for the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors.  Roasting parsnips really brings out the vegetable’s sweet flavour.  This recipe can be multiplied endlessly – just count on about one medium parsnip per person.

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Roasted Parsnips have a strong aroma to it.  Not everyone will like it.  Paul just tried one and said no thank you.  This is the first time Paul tried parsnip.  This recipe is for 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt

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Parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips look like carrots, but are  white (or pale yellow) instead of orange in colour.  It has a stronger flavor.


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Creamy Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs and Spinach

The next dish which the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors made is a bean soup.  Soup is comfort food especially in the colder fall and winter.  This bean soup is adapted from Cara Brunetti Hillyard and it serves 6.   Chris and Paul made this soup.

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Chris and Paul made two versions of this bean soup.  One is the creamy version while another is the broth version.  The creamy version is smooth while the broth version has more texture to it.  The soup is very filing too with the beans as a source of protein.

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Under normal circumstances, I will end a series of the community kitchen meet up with the dessert but for this week’s South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, I will start with dessert.  The reason is, Charlene started off the day’s cooking with a quick briefing on baking.  Charlene observed some very common mistakes in her several seniors kitchens and she decided to share them with this kitchen.

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Baking is unlike other cooking that you can estimate the ingredients and more or less in fine.  Baking is science as the right amount of ingredients are crucial for the reaction of the of the processes to achieve the right texture in the baking goods.  Here is a summary of the briefing.

  • One must use a dry ingredient measuring cup to measure dry ingredients.  To measure flour, use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup until it overflows.  Then, use a knife or spatula to level the flour.  Do not tap the measurement cup as this will compact the flour and yield more flour than needed. Do not scoop the floor directly into the measuring cup and try to level the flour by pressing against the wall of the flour container as this will also compact the flour.
  • One exception in measuring dry ingredient is measuring brown sugar.  You have to pack the brown sugar and the brown sugar should take on the shape of the measuring cup when you turn it out.
  • When measuring liquid, place the cup on a flat surface and check the liquid amount at eye level.

So, with the above fresh in mind, Ken and Frank started working on the Spiced Pumpkin Bread recipe.

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This Pumpkin Bread recipe is adapted from Vern Bertana and it makes 2 loaves.  This bread freezes well.  Wrap the loaf with saran wrap and place in a ziplock back and store it in the freezer until you have company.

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Toffee Apple Cake

Chris shared this Toffee Apple Cake recipe with the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors as dessert.  According to Chris, this cake is tops.  The best part is we can make most out the local apples in the fall.

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This Toffee Apple Cake is very moist and almost custard like.  The toffee bits topping add some crunch to it. This is certainly not a dietary kind of dessert.  Well, it’s ok to let ourselves indulge for a treat once in a while.

Chris and Paul worked on this dessert.  This recipe serves 24.

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Mashed Cauliflower

>The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors served Mashed Cauliflower as the side dish for the Turkey Meatloaf instead of the regular mashed potatoes.  Mashed Cauliflower is popular among dieters, who crave for mashed potatoes but with lesser carbohydrates.

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The Mashed Cauliflower is delicious, diet or no. It has the texture of mashed potatoes and the taste of cauliflower. Being Chinese, we seldom have mashed up food except food for baby.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water or broth
  • sea salt to taste

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This recipe is adapted from Whole Foods Market and it serves 4.  Helmut and Lorna made this very simple side dish.

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Turkey Meatloaf

Marcel and Sydney worked together to make Turkey Meatloaf as the main dish at the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors.  This lean and yet moist meatloaf is simple to make and is wonderful for dinner or as a sandwich filling.

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When making meatloaf for solo dining, don’t form the meat mixture into one large loaf.  Instead, spray a muffin tin (or two) with cooking spray and fill with meatloaf mixture.  Fill each muffin cup to the top, but don’t pack down the mixture.  Bake at a preheated 375F oven for about 25 minutes.  A good way to save your hydro bill.

You can freeze the individual muffin loaves for future meal.  Just thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. (more…)

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Brown Basmati Apple Walnut Salad

If I remembered correctly, June shared this recipe of Brown Basmati Apple Walnut Salad.  Brown Basmati Rice is gaining popularity for it’s higher nutritional values.  It also tastes nuttier than regular white rice.  A friend told me that after a few months of changing from white rice to brown rice, she is actually losing weight.  I may try to include some brown rice in my regular rice and my family will slowly accept it.  I’m sure Ben is going to make a fuss of it as he hates grainy stuff  like whole wheat or whole grain bread.

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This Brown Basmati Apple Walnut Salad can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days, which makes it the perfect make-ahead dish for company.  You may add the apples and toasted walnuts just before serving.  In fact, this salad tastes better the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, raisins or cranberries
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 5 to 6 celery leaves, chopped
  • 4 sprigs parsley, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

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You may toast the walnuts in the microwave. Microwave them on high at 45-seconds intervals, smelling for doneness. It takes between 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

June and Frances make this healthy and nutty salad.

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Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

For the first meeting in October, the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors whipped up 5 dishes.  What a great start for fall.  Stella decorated the dining tables with a spaghetti squash and some miniature pumpkins.  The squash and pumpkins are gifts from members of the community center.  Initially, Stella wanted to use the squash as a prize for some kind of quiz.  However, at the end of the cooking session, no quiz idea yet.  So, the squash went to whoever who wanted it and it went to Chris.   Stella also shared some pears and prune plums with us which she got free from friends who harvested them from their gardens.  It is the time of the year where lots of sharing is going around.

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The first item on the dining table is Cranberry Feta Pinwheels.  These pretty pinwheels are perfect for a Christmas buffet with the festive colours of red from the dried cranberries and green from the chopped green onions.

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The Cranberry Feta Pinwheels are great as appetizer.  They are so rich with the feta cheese and cream cheese.  This recipe is taken from tasteofhome.com.  Christina and Ken made this delicious pinwheels. (more…)

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Applesauce for Home Canning

Due to the great response to the home canning workshops organised by the Richmond Food Security Society, Arzeena and Karen decided to hold three more workshops on home canning.  This time, it’s home canning apple sauce as it’s the season for apple harvest.

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The apples we used were donated by various sources which include groceries stores and people’s backyard who has planted apple trees.  You dont have to use perfect apples, just trim off the bruises.

Ingredients

  • 12 to 14 pounds apples, roughly chopped; peeled and cored if desired
  • 3 cups sugar (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice or 2 teaspoons citric acid, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon and allspice for flavoring (optional)
  • 8 x 500 ml jars

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Applesauce is a great snack especially for kids and babies.  It is also a good substitute for fat in baked goods.  Substitute half of the fat in baked goods for a reduced fat diet.  It is not advisable to substitute all the fat in baked goods as the result will be denser and chewier and not as tender as those baked with fat.  To use the applesauce to substitute for fat, the applesauce must be of a thicker consistency.

Applesauce can also be used as a savory glaze on poultry.  Season the applesauce with thyme or rosemary and salt.  Glaze on roast chicken about half way through the roasting time.

A thicken applesauce can also be used as a filling for cake like swiss roll or used as a spread for your toast.

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