Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts

Calaloo Side Dish

calaloo amaranath leaves side dish
This year, we planted calaloo also know as amaranth leaves in our garden. This iron and nutrient rich leaves are a healthy addition to any meal. I cooked the fresh leaves with a combination of coconut and spices and served it as a side dish with rice. 

Trudeau Kitchen Tools

Trudeau, a leading Canadian supplier of quality kitchenware and tabletop accessories in North America is putting a fresh spin on salads and stir fries with their introduction of a few new kitchen tools. The multipurpose heat resistant 3 in 1 foldable silicone splatter screen is handy in the kitchen because we can place over a frying pan to take a quick peak, or release excess steam while the food is cooking, or use it as a strainer, or trivet. It fits over 11" diameter pots and pans, allowing us to use it as a pot drainer. I like that after our different uses of this splatter screen we can easily clean the surface.

Collard Stir Fry

collard stir fry
I used the collard from our garden to make this delicious stir fry.

a bunch of collard leaves cut thin
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds optional
1 tbsp onion sliced
1 green chillie chopped or 1/4 tsp chillie powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh grated coconut

Jalapeño poppers

I had a lovely time touring the Leaside Longo's store.  We had the opportunity to meet Longo's food experts and enjoy an array of freshly prepared food at the event.  I enjoyed the fresh delicious oysters that were shucked and served.

I like the Veggie Bar at Longo's, which has freshly chopped fruits and vegetables that are cleaned and pre cut.  We can use these freshly cut produce to make healthy meals at home without cleaning, cutting or chopping.  This type of service is convenient for busy families and helps small families to prepare fresh meals at home.  It also promotes eating healthy and including a variety of colourful fruits/vegetables in our meals.

It is good to know the freshly cut vegetables are replaced everyday and nothing is wasted because the unsold items are used for the products that are made in the store i.e pizza, sandwich etc.  

I would prefer if all the products including the ones made in the store i.e bread etc include labels of ingredients so it is easy for us to make sure there are no ingredients with allergies, and we don't have to bother the service people each time we want to know :)
Longo's is a family owned business that puts quality and customers first.  There wasn't fresh halal products at this location, however they had packeted products available.  

The cheese section had over 300 different types of cheese, that looked really delicious.  They have a fresh juice bar, sushi, pizza, under $10 meals, fresh baked breads, pops and many more.  Longo's at Leaside will also be having cooking classes for adults and children in their loft.  
I liked the atmosphere and the design of the 1919 brick building that had a market feel.  This Leaside building once belonged to the Canadian Northern Railway and was designed to service steam locomotives.

I made these delicious Jalapeño poppers with the Jalapeño from our garden and quinoa from Longo's.  This recipe is adapted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Reprinted with permission.  

1/2 cup cream cheese*

1/2 cup cooked quinoa**
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste
6 large jalapeño pepper halved

* to get a delicious flavour don't use fat free cream cheese

**any type cooked I used the multicoloured quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa before using by placing it in a mesh and rinse under water.  1 part quinoa with 2 parts of water bring to a boil then cover and cook in low heat for about 12 to 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.  

Remove the ribs of the jalapeño if you want to make it less spicy and wash it with cold water before putting the stuffing.  

Mix the cheeses, quinoa, salt and pepper then stuff about 1 tbsp of the mixture into the halves of the jalapeño.  Bake for about 9 to 12 minutes in a 450F until the cheese is browned and bubbling.  Serve hot.  
This book 500 Best Quinoa Recipes has 100% gluten free easy to make superfood.  The book explains all about quinoa then separates it by breakfast, appetizers, snacks, soups, stews, chills, salads, sides, vegetarian, main dish, seafood, poultry, lean meat, main dishes, breads and desserts.  This book also has information about other ingredients that are used in the recipes.  

Although quinoa (keen wah) is a seed, it is cooked and eaten like a grain.  It is harvested from a broadleaf plant that belongs to goosefoot family related to spinach, beets and chard.  The plant grows upwards about 7 feet.  When the seed head is dry, the quinoa is shaken out.  The seeds are coated in saponin, which is a bitter resin like substance that protects the plant from insects and birds.  Rinsing the quinoa before cooking helps get rid of the saponin.   

Quinoa has protein, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.  1 cup of cooked quinoa has 30% of daily food requirement.  It can be toasted like nuts, sprouted, steamed, baked or cooked.  We can grind the seeds to make quinoa flour to add into baked goods.  It is better to store the flour in the fridge or freeze to keep it fresh.  

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Bitter melon curry

1 1/2 cups (2 to 3) bitter melon sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
hot water


1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 to 2 dried red chillie ground to taste
1 tbsp coconut grated

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 tbsp onion
1/2 tbsp curry leaves
1/2 tsp garlic chopped
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt to taste
1/2 tbsp tamarind pulp
1/4 cup water

Let the sliced bitter melon soak in the hot water with the lemon juice and salt for about 20 minutes.  Then squeeze the bitter melon and throw out the water.  I usually put only salt to remove the bitterness, but this time I added lemon juice as well which helped. 
Grind the coriander seeds, red chillie and coconut together and keep it aside.  
Heat oil in medium heat, and sauté the onion, curry leaves, ginger and garlic.  Add the turmeric and bitter melon without the water; sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the ground spices and cook covered in low heat until the bitter melon is cooked.
Extract the tamarind pulp with 1/4 cup water and add to the bitter melon.  Mix and let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the flavours have incorporated.  Remove from heat and serve as a side dish.
First time planting a Bitter melon plant in our backyard.
This picture is after a few weeks of planting it.

This bitter melon image goes to black and white wednesday hosted at Divine food and art.  
The recipe goes to Gayathri's Walk through the memory lane event and MLLA #50.  I am also sending this to the 30 minutes meal mela as I served it with plain white rice and other curries.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Green Dolphin review and giveaway

Green Dolphin products are eco safe solutions for our home.  I tested three of their products; green bin deodorizer, calcium lime rust buster and stainless steel cleaner and polish.  The details of each product is on this post.
I like the feeling of using eco-friendly products that doesn't have abrasives, solvents and VOCs.  All the products are made in Canada and can be bought online.

Use the code CREATE to get 20% off
Green Dolphin would like to offer a Canadian reader of Createwithmom and Torviewtoronto a chance to win a package of Eco Auto Dishwash detergent and a bottle of coffee pot and kettle cleaner.
To enter the giveaway please leave a comment on this post or on Createwithmom before July 15th.
Please follow me on twitter and Facebook so I can let you know the winner.
Follow Green Dolphin on twitter to know about their new products and other information.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2012 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

What will you plant? Event

Pefferlaw has a wide range of potting soil, black earth, organic compost, hanging basket planter mix and manure from sheep and cattle. Mixing in manure to existing soil provides nutrient to plants, improve aeration and increase water-holding capacity. The manure from Pefferlaw is natural and free of contaminants. There is NO insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, industrial material or municipal sources that contain metals and pathogens or wetting agents.

Visit to an organic farm

I am pleased to share this post about my visit to an organic farm. Friends this is my longest post :) however it is well worth reading Enjoy!

Organic means no fertilizers or chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides used in any part of the production. For a farm to become organic, and to come to its natural fertility it takes about 3 years in which they completely stop using conventional methods.
Cows are fed feed from organic practices for 12 months before the certification is given. The accommodations for the livestock has to be ample in size with lots of room for the animals to socialize and access outdoors. Everything from composting manure to crop rotation is recorded and 3rd party certifies the whole process.

Organic meadow is the 1st organic company established in 1989 that represent the organic farmers in Canada. They represent more than 100 family farms that think of clean living. As it is locally produced energy used for transportation is reduced, and there are many social benefits that teach our children the basics of where and how our food comes from.

We were served a fabulous lunch meal that included many organic meadow products; milk, cream, butter, variety of cheese, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, ice cream and eggs. Organic food is rich in nutrients and has disease fighting antioxidants.
There are over 60 products available at about 1000 grocery and speciality stores. The facilities are Kosher certified and carry logos such as woodland Ontario and Canada organic logo.

I visited the Birchwind Holsteins farm located at the Oak ridges moraine.

Organic families, like the Vice family are protecting the environment for our future. They use natural responsible ways to raise crop and livestock, this good cause is becoming popular and I am happy I had the opportunity to learn and share.

Cows do supply a main source of nutrition to our bodies, and it is quite important for us to think of what the cow eats as it impacts its milk. There is a lot of process, hard work and human intervention that goes into the containers we buy at the store, after all cows don't send their milk to us :)

Cows are respected animals that are even mentioned in holy scriptures. We need to treat all creatures with respect including the cow that gives us this blessing. Every time we drink milk it is important to remember the prayer to ask God to "grant us blessing in this milk and increase it for us".

The cows at the Birchwind farms are well cared for, each cow is remembered and loved. All the cows have a name, a stall, a birth certificate and are accounted for with a traceable chip in their ear.

Each of these intelligent cows know where their stall and food is, the farmer doesn't need to direct them to go to the correct stall. It is amazing to watch them graze and how they are led to the pastures. Our host farmer, Ron, said that they used to have a cow that was like a leader, when her name was called she knew what to do as she brought the cows into the stall and led them to the pastures.

Our wagon ride to see the rented pastures.

The cows in this farm are inseminated as oppose to having a bull in the farm, which is hard to maintain. The cow gives birth about every 2 years. The 8 milking cows at the farm milk for about 1 1/2 years then take a 2 months rest before they become pregnant. The females calves stay in the farm and male calves go to a veal farm.

The farmers's wife Deb mentioned that these cows are playful as well. Drinking milk from a happy cow is always better :) Before milking the cow they disinfect their teets with a natural solution for about 45 seconds to a minute to remove bacteria and after this it is wiped individually with a clean paper towel to avoid cross contamination. This helps to release the milk when the milking tubes are attached. The cows are milked twice a day and the milk is picked up everyday.

All milk in Canada are pasteurized, which means it is heated up to a point of 70 degrees Celsius or 130 degrees Celsius. The high point of pasteurization makes the shelf life of the milk longer. One of the high cost in the farm is to have the milk heated. It would help the cost we pay if there are cheaper sustainable options like solar powered heating systems. Canadian milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D, full fat is not fortified has it has Vitamin A. More on pasteurization if you are interested.

As the farms don't use any type of pesticide the flies are controlled with a web like tape on the roof in which the flies stick onto. The milk container that hold 800 gallons of milk is washed with cold water and vinegar.

What we eat makes us healthy and protects us from sicknesses. The pastures are pesticide free and there are no synthetic growth hormones added to anything. The cow manure is reused in the pastures and garden; the methane in the manure is removed using natural methods to preserve the ground water.
Wheat is planted in the fall and it grows in the Spring. Everything consumed by the cows are organic and natural. In the Summer the cows eat grass and hay, they spend 22 hours outdoor and 2 hours indoor, which they love. During the Winter months they eat 70% hay and 30% all natural organic corn, peas and cereal grains. If the weather is extreme they spend 22 hours indoor and 2 hours outdoor. The cows can stay out in the cold weather because of their digestive system and coat, which after all is leather :)
The visits by the vet has drastically reduced as natural methods are used rather than antibiotics.

The cost of these products are little more than conventional because everything used in the farm is organically approved and labour intensive. It is worth the little extra cost, as we need to seriously think global by using locally produced products. This is good for the environment, economy, politics, biodiversity, social society and our health.

Thank you Ron, Deb and the fabulous team of organizers at Organic meadow for this invitation. I met some like minded fabulous people in person and truly feel that there are no barriers on how we think about food and health.

See it for yourself, understand and appreciate you'll know its worth going Organic. Hope you learnt as much as I did and start seriously thinking where our food and products come from, in hopes that we can change the impact it has for a healthy future for all of us.

Disclosure: I am not paid to do this review. All opinion and rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Lemonade with mint

3 lemons
2 tbsp or more mint
4 to 5 cups of cold water
6 tbsp sugar or more to taste
pinch of salt optional (regular or black salt)

Put the lemons for about 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave which makes it easy to release the juices. Roll the lemon by pressing with the palm then cut into half and squeeze the juice.
Add cold water, sugar and salt if using.
Pound the mint with a mortar and pestle to release flavour then add it to the lemonade. Serve this refreshing drink cold.

June 25, 2011 Featured as daily special mint.
This lemonade goes to serve it chilled and anyone can cook.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Raspberry frozen yogurt

1 cup yogurt *
1 cup raspberry homemade puree **
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar to taste

When it is cold the amount of sweetness will be less so add a little more sugar according to taste.
Combine all the ingredients well using a whisk or hand mixer then pour into the freezer bowl. Freezer bowl needs to be frozen before making the yogurt.

Switch the ice cream yogurt maker on and let it thicken for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve or put in an air tight container and place in the freezer.
* can use vanilla flavoured yogurt
** used raspberry puree from last Summer that was made with

2 cups raspberry
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2" vanilla bean

In medium heat put all the ingredients and cook till raspberries are soft. Let it cool and put into a jar and leave in the fridge. Can be used as jam or for ice cream.

Recipe adapted from Cuisinart ice cream, sorbet and yogurt maker machine manual and goes to celebrate sweets ice cream at Rasoi, bookmarked tuesdays, hearth and soul, figure friendly friday, fun and sun, Food palette series pink and ice cream challenge.

A fun activity to do for this season, check out the instruction on my site here.

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Torviewtoronto © 2011 unless mentioned. Please Ask First

Food palette series Green and giveaway

Food palette series Green is sponsored by Herb seeds. The winner of this month will win a kitchen herb value pack. Check out their online site for lovely gardening and herb seeds.
It is always exciting, fun and healthy to grow your own food. I feel it does make one closer to the wonders God made.
Please join, this months Food palette Green by using the linky below
(name of recipe and country)

<a href=""> <img src="" width="150" height="150"></a>

I have included the html code to be pasted on html mode or put a word link and logo
in your post.
* the logo background is green peppers harvested at home

veg or non-veg
no dishes with pork or alcohol

end product or ingredients used can be green

Maximum of 2 links per blog (new dishes I would prefer, but archived is fine)

Please send me an email at the URL of your post.

Event is open to all. Giveaway is for USA and Canada due to shipping.

Thank you everyone and herb seeds for the giveaway. Let the fun begin :)