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eG Foodblog: Zucchini Mama - A Merry Zucchini Christmas


Zucchini Mama
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Another Christmas Tradition: A trip down Gingerbread Lane

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World leader: Well I didn't vote for him!

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Log Cabin by Northwest Pacific Culinary Academy of Vancouver

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Eiffel Tower by Ganache Patisserie

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"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Jeepers, you're cooking up a storm today! The little sparrow poop is possibly my favorite dish-name of all time. There's just something about it.

Your yogurt won't curdle if you temper it first with a bit of the hot liquid, then only add the tempered yogurt to the dish after you've taken the pot off the heat and it's no longer bubbling.

Me too on the beany goulash. Beans in goulash???

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Jeepers, you're cooking up a storm today!  The little sparrow poop is possibly my favorite dish-name of all time.  There's just something about it.

Your yogurt won't curdle if you temper it first with a bit of the hot liquid, then only add the tempered yogurt to the dish after you've taken the pot off the heat and it's no longer bubbling.

Me too on the beany goulash.  Beans in goulash???

Yeah, but you cook up a storm every day, Abra. You must have amazing physical stamina. My bacon is achin'. Thanks for the advice on the yogurt. I cook and bake with skim milk yogurt a lot. I read that you can stabilize yogurt for cooking curry, but it involves adding eggs which defeats the purpose of using the lower fat product anyway.

So I asked my friends tonight if they had goulash on a regular basis and they said they didn't. I just assumed it was a quintessentially Canadian meal. We had gazillions of variations on the goulash theme when I was growing up. Beans in goulash? No. That would be chili.

When we were in this town in Austria called Bregenz, one of the street foods was käse spaetzle made to order with really good local cheese. People ate it as they were coming out of the bars at night. That was amazing. My mom makes it with lentil stew made with a big old ham bone.

I love squeezing the dough out into the water. It's so cathartic.

So people were asking about prairie soul food and I mean really, you need someone to blog a Ukranian Christmas, because to me, much of that comfort food of my childhood is cabbage rolls, perogies, sausage, etc. My friend Myron from Regina made this amazing dish once--it should be made in upscale restaurants, it's so good. They're called Halushkis or Beet Leaf Dumplings and they are little buns wrapped and cooked in beet leaves, then covered in a cream sauce. When they're done the buns look like they're wearing little green corsets. You need to make them in season when the beet leaves are young--maybe that can be one of my culinary resolutions. I will make Halushkis in 2006. Or better yet, I just get Myron to make them for me!

I mean, the Ukrainian weddings in our area were basically miracles performed by the bride who would singlehandedly feed the multitudes who attended her wedding by herself.

The Doukabors also have lovely vegetarian comfort food-and make good use of beets. The Mennonites, Norwegian Lutherans-all have their take on using local ingredients. Potatoes are always an important ingredient. Lately I find potatoes really lacking in the flavour department. I find that this is the food where I can really taste the difference between the organic and the chemically dependant. Has anyone else noticed this?

Okay, time to put up some photos!

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Here's the food mill. You can see the pulp and the seeds that remain after the mush is pushed out. On the right you can see pieces of quince that will be simmered in the quince mush.

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This is my prized spaetzle maker. The dough is elastic and gooey.

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They are ready in less than five minutes.

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Mushroom and Lamb Goulash. Because I used such dark stock, the red of the paprika is subtle, but it gives the stew a warm, toasty flavour.

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The pretzels were the favorite, but I like the chai shortbread best with the spicy tea. I made it with whole spices, skim milk, and rooibis tea.

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I adored this entire post, Zuke.

Quiet is like air, to me. Sometimes one just needs to fill oneself with a huge breath of it and feel its expansiveness.

I did have to laugh a bit at the Starbucks bus stop visual. Now that does seem a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, to me.  :cool:  :smile:

Thanks Carrot Top. I love your line "Quiet is like air to me." It's only when I go home to the country that I feel I can really soak up the sky, the space, and the silence (when the coyotes aren't howling!)

re: Starbucks: It's funny how irony has become the norm in advertising.

B.C. in B.C, I think that having a salmon dinner during Christmas has become a very common tradition as a relief from the turkey madness no matter where you live in Canada. We were going to bring a salmon, but it's tricky transporting them. We'd have to get it an extra seat and everything. (Small seats, big salmon.)

Miz Ducky, Thanks for the kind words about my poem, coming from a spoken word artist such as yourself it means a lot to me. :wub:

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Tomorrow I want to make some rice pudding.

This summer I spent a wonderfully peaceful five days at the Salt Spring Yoga Center. I was on a personal retreat, and was free to walk around the gardens, take a hike up the forest path, write in my journal, sing, and yes, I actually did some yoga! The people working at the center left me alone, but each took turns preparing three vegetarian meals a day, which we shared.

The ritual at lunch and breakfast was that the cook blew on the conch shell to let everyone working in the garden know that the meal was ready. Then we met in a circle around the food, chanted "Ohmmm", and then said "Jai!" or "Victory". This was to show appreciation of the food and to slow people down to prepare themselves for the ritual of eating. However, one day noon rolled around and no one blew on the conch shell. I wandered into the kitchen to see what was happening.

A group that met that morning had chanted and meditated for three hours that morning. Intrigued, I watched the ritual from a distance. The ritual which is performed on the morning of the full moon in July is called the Yogi Sadana. A garland of marigold heads hung over a photo of Baba Hari Dass, the teacher who has inspired this particular community. The participants wore white dresses or white shirts. At times two people blew on two conches with an interval of a minor third between them. Sometimes they sang in Sanskrit, sometimes in the English translation.

The celebration ended at noon, and as most of the group had been fasting, no one was much worried about lunch. A couple of us who weren't a part of the ceremony straggled into the kitchen in search of something to eat. One of the workers found some leftover curry and rice in the fridge, so we popped it on the stove and heated it up. It was a fun time, as it was a break in the routine, and we considered a moonlight swim that evening and we laughed as we prepared lunch.

One of the women who had participated in the ceremony put aside something special for me. When I was handed a bowl of sacred rice pudding, or Prasad, I was deeply touched. The pudding was covered with chocolate chips, dried fruit, fresh grapes and blueberries, and a bright red and orange marigold. The pudding was slightly sweet and comforting, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

And so I've begun my quest for the ultimate rice pudding recipe. The way to do it East Indian style is to cook the rice in milk instead of water, which requires constant attention and stirring. The modified way is to cook the rice first, then cook it further in milk. I may try putting some of it in the blender as well, since the authentic recipe calls for broken rice to start with.

I'm also trying out different kinds of rice. I've used red Thai this summer and one day I mixed a bit of whipping cream from Ullie's birthday into the pudding and then topped it with almonds and fresh blueberries: food for the goddess. Next time I'll put some rose petals on as well!

additions: chocolate chips, rose petals, rosewater

strawberries or raspberries or any fresh fruit

nuts: almonds, pecans, hazelnuts

seeds: sunflower, sesame, pumpkin

spice: green cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Zucchini Mama spent Chistmas here one year getting squiffy on cider with girlfriends. Which city is it? Clue: look in the reflection in the windows.

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Might it be Bath? :smile:

Edited by ~cayenne~ (log)

"If cookin' with tabasco makes me white trash, I don't wanna be recycled."

courtesy of jsolomon

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Zucchini Mama spent Chistmas here one year getting squiffy on cider with girlfriends. Which city is it? Clue: look in the reflection in the windows.

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Might it be Bath? :smile:

Congratulations cayenne, you win the prize and don't eat it all at once! Glendon'sgiant perogy . Alberta has a lot of statues:giant soul food.

Here's one for chrisamirault:giant sausage aka "the big banger".

Zuke

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Just for you, Zuke, straight from Ponteix on the bald prairie, via a 20 year detour, comes this yummy rice pudding. It's an unorthodox recipe, like my friend Marge, but it's strangely compelling.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Marge's Rice Pudding

Recipe By :

Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00

Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1/2 cup basmati rice

1 1/4 cups water

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup sugar

6 T flour

2 1/2 cups milk

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch cinnamon

Cook rice in water with salt until done. Plump raisins in boiling water for 10 minutes and drain.

In a saucepan mix together the sugar and flour. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until thick. Beat the egg yolks lightly, add a little of the hot mixture to them, then whisk egg yolks into the milk mixture and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and raisins, and add nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.

--------------------

Abra

Food for all and all for food!

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Good Morning! Today is all about the perogy. I am excited to tell you I have a special guest coming to help me out this afternoon whom I will call the Diva of Perogies! If you grew up with the Canadian version of Sesame Street, the perogy song should be running through your brain right now.

I woke up to the sound of heavy rain, and the sky is just beginning to lighten out my window where I am looking south. I myself a medicinal papaya smoothie with yogurt to sooth my tummy and I added some special Apitherapy Rejuvination Tonic to it to start my day with a kick. It is made with blueberries and raw honey from Vermont from this apiary:honeygardens. This was the first product I ever ordered over the internet. I so want to visit their operation some day. Are there any eGulleters here from Vermont? That state seems to have some great artisanal culinary products like chocolates and cheese.

Okay I've got to go do my mad woman's work out:stretch, strengthen and dance around like a mad woman for half an hour.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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You know, what is really striking me about this blog is the Kookiness Factor.  We all seem to take outselves so seriously, and I'm sure that if we all painted ourselves green we'd be a more interesting lot.  And I love how you already have Ullie on the path to Righteous Kookiness.  It's wonderful.

This   is the recipe I use.

No kooky cutter is Zuke!

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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good morning, zuke! a wonderful blog so far. i'm so enjoying the stories, the wit, and the photos. you do us proud!

yummm, perogies! an old friend is from dauphin, manitoba, and i loved going there for xmas as we always would have a huge ukrainian feast. homemade perogies, cabbage rolls (i know how to say it but not spell it...holopchy?!!), sausages and etc. my other favourite memory from there is going to the local husky for borscht on borscht day. such a canadiana moment.

might i bug you for your recipe for the chai shortbread? that sounds absolutely yummy!

have another fabulous day of food adventures!

Quentina

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So while I was dancing about to the music of Sarah Harmer, I cooked some brown basmati rice with green cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. I threw in some dried unsulphured cherries. I've got to go out and get some evaporated milk to finish it up.

Ullie is busy drawing plans for his inventions: a candy making machine that makes jellies and a toy making machine that can make any toy and stamp it "made by Ullie."

Thanks for the recipe from Madge, Abra. Your recipe files are a natural treasure! You're a blogger's best helper.

New Flash: We have been invited to a neighborhood progressive party and our course is themed "the future of food." Mike thinks we should do soilent greens and Clockwork Orange Juice.

Any other ideas?

I've got to get my son out of the house and down to Solly's Bagelry. That's going to be the hardest thing I do all day. He's such a little home body.

Check out Sarah Harmer's song Oleander-it sends shivers down my spine.

lyrics

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Ullie is busy drawing plans for his inventions: a candy making machine that makes jellies and a toy making machine that can make any toy and stamp it "made by Ullie..."

I've got to get my son out of the house and down to Solly's Bagelry. That's going to be the hardest thing I do all day. He's such a little home body.lyrics

Funny that you say that, Zuke. As much as Noah enjoys going out, there are days when I couldn't pry him out of the house with a crowbar. While I type, Noah's examining all manner of small things with his newly acquired magnifying glass.

Mmmm, Solly's. It's been forever and a day since I've been there. Have you tried the newer one on Yukon and 7th? Do me a favour and order a jam rugelach and a mushroom knish for yourself while you're there, would you? I need to eat vicariously through you as we'll be on the opposite end of town. :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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This is where I went for rice pudding on Saturday.

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The pudding was made with sweet rice, coconut milk, and raisins. I just love the colors they've used--it's such an appetizing environment.:wub:

The week before, I'd had lunch there and a bunch of "radical vegetarians" were talking about sabotaging a Vancouver restaurant that serves horse meat. I got some great quotes for future shows: "I mean, she's so rude. I'm eating my lunch, and she's talking about how great her horse steak is. I mean, not only am I a vegetarian, but I OWN a horse!"

They proceeded to talk about cruelty to animals very loudly through my whole meal. :sad:

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Ullie is busy drawing plans for his inventions: a candy making machine that makes jellies and a toy making machine that can make any toy and stamp it "made by Ullie..."

I've got to get my son out of the house and down to Solly's Bagelry. That's going to be the hardest thing I do all day. He's such a little home body.lyrics

Funny that you say that, Zuke. As much as Noah enjoys going out, there are days when I couldn't pry him out of the house with a crowbar. While I type, Noah's examining all manner of small things with his newly acquired magnifying glass.

Mmmm, Solly's. It's been forever and a day since I've been there. Have you tried the newer one on Yukon and 7th? Do me a favour and order a jam rugelach and a mushroom knish for yourself while you're there, would you? I need to eat vicariously through you as we'll be on the opposite end of town. :wink:

Yes Moosh, I think Ullie lived exclusively on knishes at one stage of his development. I'm jonesing for latkes right now though, girl! I haven't tried the new Solly's since we live so close to the one off Main. We grab a dozen bagels on Cheap Wednesdays and I stash a bunch in the freezer.

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Anyhow, here is a poem I wrote with a perogy reference. Maybe Pamela Reiss will recognize the story as it's inspired by a woman in Winnipeg.

I don't know the story... or recognize her specifically, but I've certainly seen her sisters and cousins over the years. Lovely lovely poem.

Alberta has a lot of statues:giant soul food.

it's not just Alberta... we have those huge statues all over the country... I wonder why.

I hope we get pictures of the perogy making - and who is this diva?

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Anyhow, here is a poem I wrote with a perogy reference. Maybe Pamela Reiss will recognize the story as it's inspired by a woman in Winnipeg.

I don't know the story... or recognize her specifically, but I've certainly seen her sisters and cousins over the years. Lovely lovely poem.

Alberta has a lot of statues:giant soul food.

it's not just Alberta... we have those huge statues all over the country... I wonder why.

I hope we get pictures of the perogy making - and who is this diva?

The Diva wears sweatpants...I'll tell you that much. :wink:

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C'mon, enough with the bagels and rice pudding already...let's get to the pierogies! We used to eat them a lot in Regina, potato-stuffed, nestled in caramelized onions and napped with sour cream. Lots of freshly ground pepper on top. Swoon. They don't exist here, alas.

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The Perogy Diva has left the building!

Pop Quiz: Zucchini Mama once shopped for Christmas presents in this city.

Could it be Paris?

No, but I'll give you a hint. It was featured recently in a wonderful blog.

C'mon, enough with the bagels and rice pudding already...let's get to the pierogies!  We used to eat them a lot in Regina, potato-stuffed, nestled in caramelized onions and napped with sour cream.  Lots of freshly ground pepper on top.  Swoon.  They don't exist here, alas.

You don't have perogies! Call in the Perogy Diva Emergency Measures Squad!

JasmineL, a Vancouver eGulleter who used to work at a Vancouver shop called "Perogies, Perogies!" very kindly assisted me this afternoon. Excuse me, I assisted her High Peroginess as she made about five perogies to my one. She used to make hundreds of perogies every day, and knows all the tips. I will explain more once I post the photos after supper tonight. I will let her regale you of the stories of the crew that she worked with. We made 55 perogies, half potato and onion and half rotkraut. Then we parboiled them until they rose to the surface of the water and I will freeze them on saran on baking tray. These will be so good, as Abra says with soft onions, sour cream and freshly made sausage.

Kudos to Jasmine, who was brave enough to help out someone she has never met before! That's the spirit of eGullet, bringing people together with comfort food. And yes, she is as beautiful as her avatar.

Let me give you one piece of advice: if you ever want anyone from the prairies to do anything for you, they will do it if you pay them in home made perogies. It's like crack for gophers!

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Zuke-

I wanted to add a quick comment on how captivating your blog is. The way you use words gives a real texture and pastosity to everything you describe. I feel like I can touch, smell and feel what you are talking about. You trigger my sense memory woman...wow!

I've gotta feed myself now, I'll post some of my thoughts and holiday memories that you triggered for me later...

Thanks for the effort!

Genny

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