Newfoundland Kitchen Parties

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Newfoundland households love a cozy kitchen filled with family and friends and the typical Newfoundland party atmosphere. To the surprise of many, Newfoundland has its own signature style cuisine. Its long winters and brilliant, sun-filled shorter summers makes for the ideal environment to catch up on family recipes passed down from one generation to the next and the innovation of today’s modern Newfoundland cooks who give these recipes a new appeal.

Welcome to Newfoundland’s Kitchen Parties

The first thing the new brides in Newfoundland learn is how to utilize all of the freshness of each season’s bounty. Creating a kitchen that is like a dinner invitation is important in summer or winter. There are plenty of opportunities to create barbecues that take cooks from their kitchens to the outdoors where the fresh salt air of the great expanse of Atlantic breezes add to the flavors of Newfoundland dishes.

Traditional Newfoundland Cuisine

There are many traditional Newfoundland dishes like Fish N’Brewis, a mélange of salt cod, an important ingredient in many Newfoundland kitchens local, salty Purity bread. This is served with pork scrunchions, tasty salty bacon and may be offered with vegetables on the side. This is a wonderful dish for young cooks to try because it is simple, quick and easy to prepare. Fish is served smoked outdoors in summer with little work or time involved. In a Newfoundland kitchen, no party is complete without a “duff” which, in summer might be made with local partridge berries or in winter “figgy” duff made without figs. (Ref. http://encounternewfoundland.com/traditional-newfoundland-food-unique-island-dishes-and-where-to-find-them/)

Another tradition among Newfoundlanders is seal flipper pie. As its name implies, this is the meaty cartridge of the knuckle of the seal flipper. Many kitchen parties in Newfoundlanders’ home also include toutons, a kind of fried dough. These are ideal for kitchen parties planned for brunch.

Don’t forget to provide something to drink. For adults, this might be one of the family’s home brews or for the kids, fruit flavored soft drinks.

Kitchen Party Extras

Newfoundland is the most distinctive of all Canadian provinces. The climate can be like spinning a roulette wheel. This doesn’t stop Newfoundlanders from enjoying family and friends gathered in the warmth of a kitchen, eating delicious meals and then gathering for a music and song fest. Newfoundlanders are quite proud of their inherent love of music and often invite guests from outside of the province to enjoy the signature Newfoundland music style.

The Newfoundland Kitchen

Today’s Newfoundland kitchens may be outfitted with the most modern appliances. Yet, there is something remarkably rustic about the curtains, accessories and the all important dining table and comfortable chairs. Be sure to provide sufficient seating for family and guests that is comfortable enough to go from dinner to after dinner entertainment. (Ref. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/shows/great-canadian-cookbook/photos/a-true-newfoundland-kitchen-party/#!1-newfoundland-kitchen-party-lynn-walking)

No Newfoundland kitchen party is complete without a few musicians who play basic instruments like concertinas, accordions, fiddles, a tambour drums or two and a harmonica. A kitchen party song fest is sure to evoke memories of traditional folk tunes and the most interesting lyrics.

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The Essential Vegan Family Kitchen

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Raising a vegan family is awesome but not without its challenges. I love preparing nutritious meals and healthy snacks for my kids and husband. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to make healthy meals that will please everyone. I have been figuring out what I need to keep my kitchen running efficiently and to make sure my family has enough variety in meal options. I hope a few my tips will help you.

Have a well equipped kitchen.

kitchen-1129803_640My kitchen is equipped with the basics: Safe cook and bake ware, good knives, cutting boards, cooking utensils, and plenty of glass containers to store food in. There are a 2 items I find I can’t live without.

  • I use a slow cooker for chili, stews, and broths.
  • My blender stays on the counter for pureeing creamy soups and making smoothies.

Prepare foods in advance for the week.

I make time on weekends to prepare certain recipes in large batches that I can use for weekly meals or freeze. This is a great time saver during a busy week.

  • Brown rice: Make ahead to serve with quick stir fries or to use for fried rice.
  • Granola: Bake a batch of nutty, oat, and coconut granola to have for breakfast with fruit and nut milk.
  • Tomato sauce: I make enough to have for pasta or a layered vegetable dish.

Purchase fresh foods a couple of times a week.

vegetables-791892_640I always have on hand a variety of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, as these are the basis of our meals. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Bok Choy
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Butternut squash

A well stocked pantry makes meal planning easier.

pantry-416596_640My pantry is stocked with everything I need to compliment fresh food dishes and for baking. This is where you will find our protein packed and fiber rich food options, as well as condiments and snacks.

  • Keep a variety of dried beans for soups and chilies.
  • Rice, oats, millet, and quinoa will keep well stored in glass jars.
  • Whole grain flours, cornmeal, and flax meal are there for baking.
  • Olive oil and coconut oil are the fats I cook with.
  • Pure maple syrup and stevia are my sweeteners of choice.
  • Liquid aminos are perfect for stir fry dishes.
  • Canned organic tomatoes are on hand for sauces.

If food allergies or intolerances are an issue when stocking your pantry, you can get some good advice and recipes from Angela at http://ohsheglows.com/.

Keep perishable staples in the refrigerator.

I keep certain products in the refrigerator after opening them. They seem to stay fresh longer.

  • Almond and coconut based milks we use in place of dairy milk.
  • Naturally fermented vegetables (pickles) are good for digestive health.
  • Nut and seed butters we have on toast and in smoothies.
  • Raw apple cider vinegar is used in salad dressings.
  • I store a variety of raw nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them mold free.

Always have a selection of dried herbs and spices.

Fresh and dried herbs and spices are great flavor elements in many dishes. I have too many to even pick favorites.

Everyone likes snacks.

dried-fruit-1631158_640This is a tough category when raising children. Kids are exposed to lots of unhealthy food options as soon as they head out the door. We can’t force them to live in a vegan bubble. They will experiment. I keep some go-to snacks on hand to ward off hunger pangs between meals.

  • Small boxes of raisins are great for sweet cravings.
  • Trail mixes of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are good for energy.
  • Naturally sweetened fruit roll-ups come in so many flavors now.
  • Popcorn seasoned with a little sea salt and some nutritional yeast tastes cheesy.

With a little planning ahead my week of meal preparation is something I look forward to. A good vegan family recipe data base can be found at http://www.veganfamilyrecipes.com/recipes/.

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The Difference between Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine

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Eggs are awesome. “Eggcellent,” in fact! They fit in every menu, cuisine, and type of dish imaginable. Healthy when eaten in moderation, eggs can actually be the best protein substitute, complete with its own power pack of good calories, fats, and flavor.

Now, let’s talk about two egg recipes that people often tend to confuse: Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. Notice that I did not use the word “versus” as my measure of comparison. There is no need to battle out which one is the best, since both are so different. How different? Check out how these two recipes contrast, and decide for yourself which one is the most delicious.

Eggs Benedict

A restaurant favorite, this dish reigns supreme in every American brunch menu. This is because of its versatility and perhaps even because of its history.

In one version of the history of the Eggs Benedict, the recipe is attributed to Charles Ranhofer, who was the chef of the first restaurant ever opened in the USA in 1860, “Delmonico’s.” According to lore, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, was a regular customer who, one day, needed something different for her lunch. In the recipe he later published in 1894, these “Eggs à la Benedick” called for:

2 English muffin halves, crosswise and toasted without browning

1 round slice of ham no thicker than an inch in width and diameter to be placed in halves on the muffins

2 poached eggs to place on each half of the muffins

Hollandaise sauce to pour on top of the eggs

A second story involves a 1920 Commodore, yachtsman E.C. Benedict, who claims to have received this very recipe from his mother.

Regardless, the recipe calls for the basics of egg, hollandaise, ham, and a muffin. Whatever you add to the recipe is entirely up to you. Some modernized versions of the same recipe add cheese on top of the poached eggs and butter on the muffins. These additions are the criteria of the chef, but any changes should be explained to customers who are looking for the traditional dining experience.

Eggs Florentine

This one is easy. Anything with the name “Florentine” in it means one thing: it has spinach.

The history of Eggs Florentine, however, is less commercial and much more royal than the history of the Benedict. The Eggs Florentine recipe dates back to the Renaissance period!

The French are responsible for the coinage of the word “Florentine,” to associate it to spinach. The reason may have been that Catherine de Medici introduced spinach to French cuisine (she was born in Florence), after she married Prince Henry of France. Hence, the spinach in Florentine would take the place of the ham in the Eggs Benedict recipe.

The sauce used in Florentine is Mornay sauce, which is cheese sauce, essentially. The poached eggs are the same on both recipes. In Florentine, however, they can be also scrambled or boiled. Still, there is a 1898 eggs Florentine recipe that addresses the use of mushroom cream sauce and artichoke, which was yet another vegetable also introduced by Catherine de Medici.

If we stick to the original, the recipe for Eggs Florentine calls for:

Bread, or a muffin, which would have taken the place of an actual dish back in the day.

Spinach, whether cooked or fresh

A poached, baked or scrambled egg

Mornay sauce on top

Mushroom cream and artichokes optional

Personally, I prefer the Benedict, but they seem to appeal more to the American palate altogether. That doesn’t mean that the Florentine are not delectable too. I have made them with steamed spinach, often mixing the Mornay sauce with the spinach to serve it to my kids. They still do not dig it, but I definitely do.

So, which is your favorite? These two recipes are awesome for breakfasts and lunches. They can be awesome for small dinners and even for those days when you simply feel bored with the usual.

Most cooking stores now sell plastic containers that will make a perfectly poached egg for you in less than one minute. All you need to do is crack the egg onto the container, and place it in the microwave. So, do not think that you need to become a chef overnight to be able to do this.

Try these recipes today and enjoy the benefits of good eating with not that much effort!

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