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Eating less fat for your New Year's Resolution

A popular New Year's resolution is eating healthier and/or having less fat in the foods we eat everyday. Every January we will notice an onslaught of extra people at the gym or on local outdoor running tracks. It seems we all want to be healthy, and sometimes all it takes is some small changes and that are applied gradually to our daily eating habits. Here are a few helpful tips to get you motivated.

Memories of my Grandmother

This past Monday my hometown, Rainy River, Ontario, lost one of its Grandma's… mine…

While the first several decades of her life she lived elsewhere, the past two (or so) she called Rainy River home. But unlike others, she was not known by her actual surname…. Between this column and my Mom, Norma-Jean Johnston, introducing Jean Heard as “Grandma Jean,” that is how everyone knew her!

Grandma bought a beautiful home on the corner of 6th St and River Ave. West… the latter street name saying it all… she loved seeing the river out her front viranda.

West Coast Cauliflower Kedgeree

Happy new year! As of Jan. 1, I became the official Corporate Chef of BC Egg, the marketing board that represents BC Egg Farmers. I am proud to share my first official recipe for them with you: West Coast Cauliflower Kedgeree.

“What is a Kedgeree?” you may be wondering. It is a curried rice dish from the UK and is classically made with smoked haddock and boiled eggs. I have replaced the traditional rice with cauliflower rice and used smoked salmon instead of the haddock, to give it more of a West Coast flare.

Making food prep easier

One of the most common reasons as to why one doesn't cook from scratch more than they currently do is because of how long it takes to prepare ingredients for the meal.

Whether it involves slicing, dicing, measuring, or simply getting ingredients out of the fridge and pantry; let's face it, these tasks require some time.

In a world of horrible pre-cooked, pre-packaged foods that are meant to enhance the schedule of our busy lives, I thought it would be practical to discuss options to make food preparation easier, rather than avoiding it altogether.

Banana bread variant embodies holiday season

Since my last column entry was all about quick breads, I thought it would be appropriate to share one of our family favourite recipes.

I am certain that we all have made a banana bread in our lifetimes, but this one embraces the spirit of the season by including cranberries and pistachio nuts.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Pistachio

Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves

“The half slice of banana on the top of the loaf gives this loaf a unique recognizable presentation”

Ingredients:

Quick breads named for their convenience

Some of the simplest baking products to make are quick breads.

Quick breads, as the name implies, can be made in a shorter amount of time than traditional yeast breads.

Examples would be banana bread, muffins, scones, etc., and although easier, there is still information worth knowing.

The biggest, and most obvious, difference between yeast breads and quick breads is that quick breads are not leavened with yeast.

The term “leavening” can be described as the creating and capturing of gases in a baked product to produce structure and height.

Cranberries, sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving

The autumn season is finally here!

This is my favorite time of the year. The changing of the leaves, the crispness in the air, and of course, the food!

Considering that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I think it would be interesting to discuss a couple of essentials included in a classic Thanksgiving dinner: cranberries and sweet potatoes.

In North America, it is very traditional to serve cranberries with our Thanksgiving Day turkey. It is called sauce but is more like a form of jam or jelly.

Cookbooks: inspiration at our fingertips

One of the oddest couples I have ever met was after one of my live cooking performances at a local fair.

A woman in the distant crowd was watching the tail-end of my show and approached me afterwards.

“I can see by watching you that you love to cook,” she said.

"I can see that the crowd was inspired by your show, but my husband and I, we never cook. You could even go as far as saying that we hate to cook, so we never do it.

Reduce liquids to increase flavours

Have you ever experienced an incredible meal at a fine dining establishment, which included an intensely flavoured accompanying sauce?

Chances are you have.

These companion sauces, although sparse in volume on the plate, deliver unmistakable and compelling tastes reminiscent of the flavours in the food being served.

With the knowledge of some sauce basics and some practiced perfection, anyone can accomplish this same feat in their home kitchen.

Long gone are the days that described gourmet cooking as dishes covered in thick glutinous sauces.

Scallops in sage brown butter delicious

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This recipe for scallops is the perfect example.

However, when I say “simple” that means very few ingredients and fast to prepare.

Some people, however, may feel some anxiety when contemplating cooking scallops.

Let's be honest, scallops aren't cheap, and thus you don't want to mess them up. Probably the biggest mistake made when preparing scallops is overcooking them.

Your best plan of execution is a hot pan and a fast cooking process, so you still get the desired browning without overcooking them.