Raisin Tea Muffins

For dessert, Minoo prepared a Raisin Tea Muffin recipe.  Muffin is great for breakfast, lunch box, after school snack or tea time.  It is easy to make, easy to transport and quick to bake.  All you have to remember is to combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl and combine them without over mixing.  Over mixing will yield tough muffin.

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This Raisin Tea Muffin has just the right sweetness and has a mild tea flavour with hint of spices.  Perfect with a cup of chai tea.

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Ingredients

  • 1 teabag
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon, nutneg, cardamon and cloves.

This recipe yields 6 muffins.

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Corn and Crab Salad

It is great to make use of fresh corns from the farm market in summer for this Corn and Crab Salad.   Fresh corn is much sweeter than the frozen ones.   We used artificial crab meat instead of real crab meat for this recipe.  You can always substitute with real crab meat when crab is in season and much more affordable.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels, about 2 corn
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • half white onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups jicama, diced
  • 2 cups crabmeat
  • 1/3 cup minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • lettuce and corn chips for presentation

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This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

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Quick Curried Couscous

The South Arm Community Kitchen meets again with the leadership of Minoo.  We enjoyed meeting one another after a long summer break.  We shared our summer stories while preparing and enjoying the food.

Minoo prepared three recipes for the first meeting.  The first recipe is a Quick Curried Couscous.  Couscous is a staple food of North Africa like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Libya.

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This Quick Curried Couscous is easy and quick to prepare.  The couscous we found in Western supermarkets is the instant type, i.e. the couscous have been pre-steamed and dried and only needs a small amount of boiling water or stock to rehydrate the couscous, covered tightly for 10 minutes.  The couscous will swells  and ready to be fluffed and served.  It’s preparation time is shorter than dried pasta or dried grain like rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 bunch parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of almond slices or slivered almonds

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This recipe serves 6.

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Peach Cobbler with Oat Scones Topping

We have Peach Cobbler as dessert in the South Arm Cooking Club for seniors.  Cobbler toppings take on many forms.  Some resemble sugar cookie dough while some are like pie crusts.  This topping is a tender oatmeal scone, which bakes up crisp, nubbly, and slightly sweet.

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A scoop of vanilla ice-cream will make this dessert perfect.

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This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and Cooking Light and it serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds peaches
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Oat Scones Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend

Christina and Chris made this dessert.

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Zucchini Rice Casserole

Helmut and Paul made this Zucchini Rice Casserole adapted from Cooking Light.  This recipe serves 8.  You may halve the recipe easily.  For solo dining, you may filled this in 1-cup ramekins and freeze them just before the baking process.  This way, you can bake the individual servings when needed.  Otherwise, you can bake it first and portion them into single serving plastic containers and freeze for later consumption.  You just have to reheat them in the microwave.

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The Zucchini Rice Casserole is creamy and rich and I’ll bet your kids will love this comfort food. They will not even noticed that it’s made with healthy zucchini.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup (4-oz) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream (or use 1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup cottage cheese)
  • 1/4 cup (1-oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

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P/S: missing ingredients from this photo: eggs, brown rice, Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, chicken broth, salt and pepper.

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Gazpacho

Ben enjoyed the Gazpacho while we were vacationing in Spain this summer.  Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup from Spain.  It is best described as liquid salad or ‘salad in the form of soup’.  Gazpacho is a wonderful way to serve summer fresh vegetables.

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June and Keiko made this Gazpacho recipe adopted from Elizabeth Shepard.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 46-oz can tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh, plain bread crumbs
  • Tabasco, to taste

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P/S: the Italian bread crumb and the nutmeg are not supposed to be in this photo.

This recipe serves 8.

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Salade Nicoise

The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors resumed for the fall season.  We are glad to see Paul and Frank back in the kitchen after they recovered from some health issues.  We also like to welcome Keiko and Chris who are new to the kitchen.

As usual, Charlene and Stella prepared a few delicious and healthy recipes for the seniors to participate in making and enjoying them for lunch.  The first recipe is called Salade Nicoise from Charlene.  This recipe serves 2 but we trippled it in the seniors’ kitchen.

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The Salade Nicoise is a wonderfully balanced meal, offering vegetables, starches, and proteins all on one plate.  This salad gets its name from a French seaside city of Nice where tuna is traditionally features in this salad.

Sydney and Frank made this Salade Nicoise.

Ingredients

  • 2 red potatoes
  • 6 oz. green beans (about two small fistfuls)
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, slice into half
  • 6 black or green olives, slice into half
  • 7-oz. can top quality tuna

Dressing:

  • 4 anchovies (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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P/S: missing ingredients in the photo include eggs, and dressing ingredients.

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Three-Ginger Pear Chutney

This is the second canning workshop organised by Richmond Food Secure. Originally, Karen wanted to do a peach chutney. But, since the Richmond Food Tree Sharing Project collected a lot of pears that week, Karen made a change of recipe to Pear Chutney instead. Karen is very versatile and she often has to decide on what to cook in the Gilmore Park Community Meal at the very last minute depending on what she gets from the food bank, Richmond Food Tree Sharing Project and other donors.

Chutney is a relish made by combining fruits and spices, originally accompanying Indian (south Asian) meals.  The Hindi word chatni means ‘to taste’.

Some chutneys use fresh ingredients and are served immediately, while others are cooked, then processed to preserve the fruits for later use.  Chutney can be sweet or sour, spicy or not; or combinations of these.  Like any relish, the texture can vary from smooth to chunky, depending on the creator.  Typical ingredients can include combinations of mango, apple, pears, peaches, plums, herbs, citrus fruits, tomato, raisins, coconut, vinegar(s), honey, sugar, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilies.  But generally, a chutney makes use of the ingredients which are typically at hand.

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For today’s recipe, we got to sample it.  Karen brought a jar of her Peach Chutney made last year for us to sample.  Chutney can be served beside cheeses and cold meats, or with hot meals.  Ginger/pear combinations are particularly delicious with pork or chicken.

The chutney pairs well with the tangy and creamy goat cheese.  This is a great appetizer for entertaining.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled, cored and diced/sliced fresh pears (about 6-9 medium, or 1.1 kg), preferably half ripe and half not so ripe
  • 1 cup tart apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins (50-60gm)
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar (160-175gm)
  • 1 to 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, peeled (or 1 teaspoon ground dried ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

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This recipe makes 3 to 4, 250 ml jars.

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Orange Plum Jam

In the plum canning workshop, we also made an Orange Plum Jam.  The color of this jam will wary from golden to jewel purple, depending upon the colour of the plums.  In our case, it’s golden yellow as we are using the Golden Plums.

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This Orange Plum Jam is delicious as a spread on toast, or as a topping for angel food cake or cheesecake.  You can substitute the orange flavoured liqueur with almond flavour liqueur, or with flavoured syrups.  If you choose to omit the syrups, the final yield will be slightly less.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups plums, pitted and finely chopped (about 2-3 lbs or 1-1.25 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, grated (about 1 large, or 2 small oranges)
  • 1 package powdered fruit pectin (1.75oz or 49-57g)
  • 5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange flavoured liqueur (optional)

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Plums in Syrup

Richmond Food Secure organised 3 sessions of canning and preserving the bounty of summer harvest for the enjoying in the winter.  The workshops will be conducted in the South Arm Community Center.  Chef Karen Dar Woon will instruct participants on easy methods of canning, using excess fruit and veggies that are coming out of the garden.  Each workshop costs $5.  I got to know of these workshops through Arzeena, the outreach coordinator of Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project.

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The theme for the first workshop was Golden Plum.  It is also known as Yellowgage or Golden Drop.  The Golden Plum is a small plum, with diameter around 3 to 4 cm.  The skin is sourish while the flesh is sweet.

Karen shared with us the following home canning knowledge:

What is Canning:

Home canning, also known as putting up, is the process of preserving foods (in particular, fruits, vegetables, and meats) by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars. Heating kills microorganisms and inactivates the enzymes which can cause deterioration.  The heat process also drives the air out of the jars, creating a hermetic (airtight) seal; this prevents reentry of contaminants.

Prior to the mid 20th Century, canning was one of the most common methods of preserving food for later use.  Freezers were not developed for consumer use until mid 1940s, when the Birdseye company began distributing frozen foods by rail.

A little science:

The microorganisms which cause spoilage include molds and yeasts, bacteria (salmonella, staph and botulism) and enzymes.  These microorganisms are already in or on the foods in nature, but can be killed.  Most molds and yeasts are destroyed at temperatures between 140-190F (60-88C).  Bacteria thrive at those same temperatures, but are unable to live in high acid environments. Fruit jams and pickles are considered high acid foods (pH of 4.6 or lower), and so are considered lower risk for home canning.

The use of a pressure canner, producing temperatures of up to 240F (115C), is used for processing low acid and acid nuetral foods such as meats and vegetables.

Heating jars in the water bath processor causes expansion of the food, and pressure within the jar.  Air escapes from under the lid throughout the processing time.  When the produce cools, a  vacuum forms and the lid conracts, creating a hermetic (airtight) seal and preventing re contamination.

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Equipment:

Boiling water bath: Any large, heavy pot can be used, as long as it is at least 3″ taller than your jars.  A rack keeps the glass away from the direct heat of the pot, and can be helpful for removing the jars later, but isn’t critical.

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A folded tea towel can be used instead.

Jar lifters: specially shaped tongs which fit around the top of the jar.

Pressure canner: specially equipped pot which features a pressure-regulating device and a locking lid.  Opten available at smaller hardware stores and some specialty cookware shops.  These differ from pressure cookers in both shap and manufacture (more precise regulator).  A pressure canner MUST be used for ‘plain’ vegetables, meat, poultry or fish.

Jars: Canning jars are designed to withstand the temperatures and pressures involved in home canning.  Jars and rings may be reused, but ALWAYS USE NEW SEALS.  The two-part sealer uses a soft compound in the lid which softens with heat and provides a cushion between the glass and the metal lid.

For more info, check out www.homecanning.ca (Bernardin website, and the The Art and Science of Home Food Preservation @ 2006 Jarden Corporation.

Ingredients

  • 3-5 pounds plums
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups water

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