March is when we start to feel “spring-ish” and ready to prepare for the exit of winter. Flower vendors have bunches of daffodils stacked in buckets ready to add colour and joy to our homes.
This flower symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings, which is the feeling of this time of year. With sunny yellow flowers as a centrepiece, there is certain energy to finish setting the table with delicious and comforting food to be enjoyed.
This dish fills your home with a wonderful aroma when cooking. It is also a great way to use up the bottom of a jar of apricot preserves. Serve with a side of oven-roasted rice and some steamed green peas, carrots or a fresh salad.
- 1 c. uncooked converted rice 250 mL
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef 1kg
- 1 tsp. parsley flakes, or cut fresh parsley 5 mL
- season with salt, pepper and seasoning salt to your personal taste
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce 60 mL
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar 15 mL
- 1 c. apricot jam 250 mL
- 3 tbsp. vinegar 50 mL
- 1/2 tsp. paprika 2 mL
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Mix the rice, beef, parsley and seasoning together. Form into one-inch balls and place in a prepared casserole or baking dish.
Thoroughly combine the soy sauce, apricot jam, vinegar and paprika. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake for about 50 minutes. Serves four to six.
This dish can also be cooked in a slow cooker on low for six hours or on high for three to four hours.
Adapted from Companies Coming Appetizers Cookbook by Jean Pare. Jean’s contribution to my cookbook collection is extensive. She died in December after a long and fulfilling life. Thank you Jean. Your recipes bring so much nourishment and joy to the family table.
- 2 c. converted rice 500 mL
- 2 3/4 c. boiling water 675 mL
- 1 tbsp. butter 15 mL
- 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
Combine the rice, water, butter and salt and place in a greased casserole. Remember to use a large dish as the rice expands as it cooks. Stir well and bake covered at 350 F (180 C) for 50 minutes or until rice is fluffy and all the liquid is absorbed. Serves four to six.
I was served this dessert at a restaurant recently. It was so creamy and delicious, I wanted more so I tried this recipe at home with success.
- 5 large egg yolks (room temperature) 5
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar 125 mL
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste 7 mL
- 3 c. heavy cream 750 mL
- 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional) 2 mL
- 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C).
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar.
In a pot, combine heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, espresso powder and a pinch of salt. Heat up over medium high heat just until scalded. Do not boil.
Transfer the hot heavy cream into a vessel with a spout. This will make the next step easier.
Very slowly pour the heated cream into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Make sure to whisk constantly throughout the pouring for a smooth consistency.
Note: the sugar in the egg yolk mixture will help the eggs withstand the heat.
Then pour the creme mixture into shallow ramekins (8 oz) or oven safe bowls and arrange them in an oven safe baking dish.
Pour water into the baking dish around the ramekins. You want the water to come about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water in with the custard base.
Place in the oven and bake until set about 30 minutes. Careful not to over bake, you want them to have a slight jiggle but not too much.
Remove the creme brulee from the oven and carefully remove out of the water bath (otherwise it will continue to cook); let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Sprinkle sugar on top of each individual creme brulee.
If desired, toast the sugar with a blow torch until the sugar turns a deep golden brown. You can also do this by placing the bowls under the broiler for a very short time. Source: www.fooddolls.com
Yields four eight-ounce ramekins.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate chip anything is a hit at our house. My daughter made these cookies, which is different than our regular recipe. And when we voted on old versus new, the result was: in with the new.
- 1 c. all-purpose flour 250 mL
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
- 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature 125 mL
- 1/3 c. granulated sugar 75 mL
- 2/3 c. brown sugar, packed 160 mL
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 10 mL
- 1 large egg 1
- 1 1/2 c. rolled oats 375 mL
- 1 c. semisweet or dark chocolate chips 250 mL
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
Combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about one minute.
Add flour mixture; mix until almost combined.
Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. Chill dough for one hour to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and prepare the baking sheets.
Use a small ice cream scooper (two tablespoons) to drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about two inches apart onto the baking sheets.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the centre, eight to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, and let cool for one to two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Makes 24 to 30 cookies. Source: www.preppykitchen.com
- • Measure flour correctly by sprinkling it into the measuring cup with a spoon and use a knife to level it off.
- • Chilling the dough is optional but it created a cookie that spreads out less, concentrates the flavour and dehydrates the dough a bit as well.
- • Toasted walnuts make an excellent addition to this cookie. Try adding in one-half to one cup (125 to 250 mL) of chopped nuts.
- • The cookies are done when the edges start to brown, The centres will not be raw but they aren’t fully set either.
Peanut butter oatmeal
And a second sweet option with some added protein.
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 375 mL
- 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
- 3/4 tsp. salt 7 mL
- 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature 250 mL
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter 250 mL
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar 175 mL
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar 175 mL
- 2 large eggs, room temperature 2
- 2 tsp. vanilla 10 mL
- 2 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats 625 mL
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and prepare a baking sheet.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter on medium-low speed until smooth and well combined. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed until well combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, mixing just until almost combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the rolled oats. Mix just until combined.
Scoop about two tablespoons of cookie dough onto the baking sheet, placing each cookie about two inches apart.
For gooey cookies, bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges are set but the centre still appears wet or shiny. For crispier-edged cookies, bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned and the centre is no longer shiny.
Let cookies cool on the pan for five minutes. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. Makes 24 to 30 cookies. Source: www.preppykitchen.com.
I was not an English class scholar, but I always remember some of the lessons I had, and this poem stuck with me.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth, is about seeing a field of daffodils waving in the breeze and the inspiration it brought. My favourite was the last stanza:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
There is warmth at the end of the winter tunnel.
Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.