Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Makin Bacon

Today was a very rewarding day. many days are rewarding around here but today was kinda special. One of my students, actually the very first student who came to my very first cooking class, who also, has never cooked anything in his life....until now, came to me last week and asked me if I would teach him how to make bacon, because he wanted to cook his wife breakfast in bed for her birthday.

A few weeks ago, he asked if we could do a class on eggs and so we did. - we learned how to properly boil  and scramble and fry, and how to make a proper omelette.
So, the same student fried his wife a couple of eggs one day- he has never cooked a thing in his life before.
So, here we are today- frying bacon so he can cook his wife breakfast in  bed for her birthday.

great day!!!

Monday, 4 May 2015

All about Turmeric!

Hi foodies,

My name is Lisa Wilby and I recently joined the staff at Greener Village to manage the Teaching Kitchen and I want to share my love and knowledge of food with you!! Greener Village is turning into a Community Food Center which is extremely exciting for Fredericton. A Community Food Center is a welcoming space where people come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. A portion of what we do here as  a community Food  Center is to  provide people with emergency access to high quality food in a dignified setting that doesn’t compromise their self-worth. People can learn gardening and cooking skills and develop positive attitudes towards healthy foods.
Community members find their voices on the issues that matter to them the most and people find friends and support.

There are so many things going on here at Greener Village and we are just getting started. There are so many opportunities for our community in the area of food knowledge, food sustainability, food security and what those topics even means. 

It is difficult to know where to even begin.

This January we started offering cooking classes to our clients and we will welcome and ask for feedback to make sure we are giving them the information that they most need and want to receive.

Our Teaching Kitchen will also be available to rent for meetings, workshops and events. We will have our brochure online so check us out there or better yet, feel free to come see for yourself!!

We’d love to show you around and tell you about all of the exciting things happening here. But, for now I will tell you about one of my most favourite ingredients…

Turmeric comes from the root of the curcuma plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.

It has a peppery, warm and slightly bitter flavor and it is related to ginger root. It is best known as the ingredient that gives curry it’s yellow colour but it also gives mustard it’s bright yellow colour.

Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong anti-oxidant.

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric helps with brain function. It also leads to various improvements that can lower your risk of heart disease. It can help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplementation (remember- it is an anti-inflammatory).
It also benefits depression and helps delay ageing and fight age-related chronic diseases.

That’s right folks- these are bold claims but in my opinion it is a powerful food. If you can’t find the fresh stuff, which is not easy to find, you can use it in powder form. Add it to some of your favourite dishes. It will add colour, a bit of flavor and a whole lot of benefits. It is related to ginger, so if you are unsure of what to do with it, add it to anything you would add ginger to.

This is what ginger looks like—very similar!

It can also be made into a tea- with ginger and lemon-  great for an upset stomach- grate or slice the ginger (as much as you want or can handle) , add  a teaspoon of turmeric to  4 cups boiling water. Simmer and add some honey and drink. Delicious!

Add a pinch of turmeric to rice to add colour.
Add some to your scrambled eggs
Put some in soups and stews.
Flavour a roast chicken with it—
Make your own curry powder and go to town!

What is Curry you ask?

Curry is a mixture of spices and you can easily make your own. It is a great way to use turmeric and get more of it into your diet and also to introduce your family to spices. Curry DOESN’T mean hot, it simply means a mixture of spices.

To make the following recipe into a paste simply add 2 cloves garlic, minced and 1 tsp minced ginger and 1 tlbsp lemon juice.

There are many styles of curry- East Indian, South Asian,  South East Asian, African, West Indian. Each region has its own blend of spices and methods of making it and what to add to it.

Milk products, such as coconut milk are used in some curries to soften the heat factor and yogurt is used as a condiment served with or on top of curries to add flavor and sweeten the heat.

Make your own mild East Indian style curry powder-

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( optional) or use fresh if making the paste

Mix all together and store in an airtight container

Use this powder to make your own curry dishes. Yummy!!

Recipe of the Day

Easy Chicken Curry

1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
2 tlbsp veg oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 tsp curry powder (see recipe)
1 13 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 13 oz can stewed tomatoes

Serve with jasmine or basmati rice

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with ½ the salt
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium to high heat until hot but not smoking

Brown chicken turning over once, about 5 minutes total. Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate.

Stir in garlic, curry powder into the fat in the skillet, then add coconut milk, tomatoes with their juice and remaining salt and bring to a simmer.

Add back the chicken along with any juices accumulated on the plate and briskly simmer, partially covered until chicken is cooked through. About 20 minutes.

Option- Add some raw spinach to the chicken in the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Cover and let it wilt.

Serve with lemon wedges- a sprinkle of lemon at the end will add some zing and help to bring out the flavours.


Stay tuned for more recipes and kitchen know-how!

From the Kitchen,


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Mini Meatloaf -- Muffin Size

Portion control is particularly important for two groups of people -- people watching their calories and people watching their budgets. Meat is one of the most expensive items in the grocery basket (not that you needed us to tell you that). By portioning out this expensive item and filling up the rest of the plate with cheaper fare (vegetables, potatoes, salad, etc), it can really help stretch a dollar without leaving your family feeling deprived. One muffin is a full adult-sized serving of meat (4 oz - 100 grams).  

This cooks much faster than a traditional meatloaf -- so it saves money and time. Hard to beat that combo. Better yet, these freeze very well, so make up the full batch and put some away in the freezer. They'll keep for 3 - 4 months.

Ingredients:  Makes 20 x 100 gram muffins

  • 1.5 kilos (approximately 3- 3 1/2 lbs) ground beef (or use a combination of ground beef/ ground pork) 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs or finely crushed crackers... if going gluten free, use ground oatmeal and/or crushed Cornflakes. 
  • 1 cup salsa 
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional) 
  • 1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning or any favourite herb/spice. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Oil or use a cooking spray to lightly grease the muffin tins. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients by hand until well combined. In this case, we literally mean "by hand". Roll up the sleeves and really mix those ingredients. 
  3. Pack each of the muffin tins fully. 
  4. Cook for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees. 
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes and remove from muffin tin. 
Serving suggestion:  Top each muffin with a tablespoon of salsa for an extra burst of taste. Many recipes like this call for cheese to be added to the top. We think that in this recipe, it's a waste of cheese which is an expensive (and calorie laden) ingredient. Save the cheese for meals where it's going to have more punch.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Barley Salad -- Taste it at our Open House Sept 21.

The vegetable choices in this salad are interchangable. Add your family's favourites or what's in season. This salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. The salad can be served warm or cold; however, it usually tastes better if you can let it sit at room temperature for a while to take the chill off if it's been refrigerated. 

Enjoy this side dish all year round. 

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into large-ish chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/3 cup (250g) pearl barley (you can substitute half with with purple barley)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 300g broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 100g tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp small capers, rinsed (optional)
  • 15 black olives, pitted (optional)
  • 20g pack basil, chopped

For the dressing

  • 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1.       Heat oven to 350° F/ 180°C.  Place the squash pieces on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins or until tender.
2.       Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, still al dente.
3.       Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.
4.       Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

White Bean Ragout

This is a simple dish from the Tuscany region of Italy. Feel free to substitute various ingredients depending on what's in your cupboards. We've given the vegetarian version of this dish; however, it's frequently made with bacon or pancetta (a bacon like cured meat that's popular in Italy). Just dice up your bacon, fry it until crisp and then use the rendered fat to saute your onions, carrot and celery mix. Fresh tomatoes if you have them are great. In winter months, substitute canned tomatoes. 

Buon Appetito!!!


  • 1 cup of white (navy beans or white kidney) beans, soaked overnight (or use 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus some more for toast) 
  • 1-1/2 cups finely diced onions
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced 
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 3 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (substitute -- thyme, Italian seasoning) 
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 ciabatta buns, slice in half length wise. Alternatively, use hamburger buns, day old French bread. 
  • olive oil for brushing
  1. Boil soaked white beans in fresh water for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Alternatively, use canned beans, drain and rinse them well -- set aside.
  2. Using medium high heat in a heavy skillet, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onions, celery and carrots and saute for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and other vegetables are starting to cook. 
  3. Add garlic and allow to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add reserved cooked beans , tomato paste and 2 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring contents of the pan to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes at a simmer or until vegetables are fork tender. 
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes and oregano. Turn heat off and add additional vegetable broth if it is really thick. There should be a bit of "runny" to the stew so it can soak into the bread base later. 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 or turn on broiler. Alternatively, you can grill the bread on barbeque or in a dry fry pan. Whatever method works best for you, toast the bread and remove to a serving plate. 
  7. Brush olive oil on each toast and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese while the bread is still warm from the oven. 
  8. To serve, put toast in the bottom of a bowl and spoon the bean stew on top, letting the stew juices soften the toast. Top with additional Parmesan if desired. 
  9. Leftover bean stew will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days; freezes for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Fiddlehead Soup

Image courtesy Creative Commons

The only thing tastier in the spring in NB than a “mess of fiddleheads”, is pairing them with a bit of potato and some cream in the form of soup. Tuck into our simple and quick version of this gourmet classic. It can be made with either fresh or frozen fiddleheads. Alternatively, if you’re making it later in the year, you can substitute 16-20 asparagus stalks for the fiddleheads. The soup base can also be frozen to enjoy later in the year.


  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (3 cups or more) or shredded
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup of diced onion (about a medium sized onion)
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  •  1-2 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 ½  cups cleaned fiddleheads, tightly packed into the cup
  • Water as needed
  • 1-2 cups of cream (2 cup coffee cream or 1 cup whipping cream)
  • Salt to taste
  • Croutons (optional garnish)
  • Parmesan cheese leaves (optional garnish)


  1. Place the potatoes, celery, onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed pot. Add stock and enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cover pot and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until potatoes are starting to get tender.
  3. Add fiddleheads and recover pot. Simmer for 10-12 minutes. Fiddleheads must be thoroughly cooked. Potatoes at this point should be very done – mushy and falling apart.
  4. Remove a few of the fiddleheads and set aside for use as a garnish. Using an immersion blender or in small batches in a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  5. Return to pot and stir in enough cream to give it a creamy texture without overwhelming it. You probably won’t use the full amount called for in the recipe.
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved fiddleheads and/or croutons or parmesan cheese leaves.

Keeping it for later: After step 4 (before adding cream), this soup base can be packaged into freezer safe containers and frozen for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and heat the next day in a pot. Add cream, salt to taste and serve.