Household Notes March 2014

Our call for seasonal eating has been rewarded. The recipes we received look great, are nutritious, and easy to boot. We hoped our readers would share their favorite winter foods made with the good bits found in the freezer. Most of us are ambitious in summer and fall to fill that freezer, but the thought of another meal from it in February isn’t always the most tempting. Not so with the recipes we have here. The combination of colors, flavors, and textures will tempt the most winter-weary palate.


Bruce Blakemore, Purgatory Point, N.S.

            “Here are some soup recipes for late winter-early spring when one discovers forgotten treasures in the freezer. I looked at recipes in six of my favorite cookbooks and made up this conglomerate recipe. To make it vegetarian simply substitute vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock. You can use red and/or green cabbage. All measurements are flexible.”

3 tablespoons butter 

3 tablespoons olive oil 

1 cup chopped onions 

3 - 4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1 cup carrots

1 cup celery 

1/2 -1 cup peppers 

2 cups cabbage 

2 cups tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked beans (kidney, cranberry, navy) 

3 - 4 cups chicken stock 

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil 

1/2 cup small pasta (macaroni, fusilli) 


fresh ground pepper 


            Slice the garlic, and chop the other vegetables. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic in butter and olive oil until soft. Add the carrot, celery, and peppers.

            Stir well and cook at medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir well, then add the beans and tomatoes. Let it all burble together for another 10 minutes, then add the herbs, followed by the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a while. Ten minutes before serving, add pasta and cook till done. Serve with Parmesan.


Bruce Blakemore, Purgatory Point, N.S.

            “There are meant to be as many borscht recipes as there are cooks. This one is an adaptation from ‘The Moosewood Cookbook.’ Again it can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock or water and you can use red or green cabbage.

2 tablespoons butter 

1 1/2 cups onion 

1 1/2 cups potatoes 

1 cup beets

1 large carrot 

1 stalk celery 

3 cups cabbage 

2 cups beef stock 

1/4 teaspoon dill seed

2 cups beef stock 

1 tablespoon cider vinegar 

1 tablespoon honey 

1/4 cup tomato puree 

1 teaspoon caraway seed


            Slice the potatoes and carrot, and chop the rest of the vegetables. In a large soup pot sauté the onions in butter. When the onions are translucent add the celery, carrot, and cabbage. Stir to coat and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the dill and caraway. Add the stock and stir in all the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sour cream, dill weed, or fresh tomatoes if desired.



Donna Lee Michaels, Souris, P.E.I.

            “This cake makes great use of leftover cranberry sauce. If you have no leftovers, cook up some frozen cranberries. You can use less sugar in the sauce than you normally would.”


1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sour cream or yogurt

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce

1/2 cup slivered almonds


            Cream the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream. Add the almond flavoring and mix well.

            Grease and flour an eight-inch spring form pan with deep sides. Put half the batter in the pan, cover with half the cranberry sauce. Add the remaining batter, then the remaining sauce, Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes, or until the batter is firm. Cool in the pan for five minutes, then remove and cool on a rack.


            Rose Doucet sent us this recipe to accompany her story on parsnips, on page 52 in this issue. As she points out, parsnips can be harvested fresh this time of year. That puts them up several points on my vegetable list.



Rose Doucet, Barnesville, N.B.


2 pounds parsnips

2 tablespoons oil 

1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)




            Peel and cut the parsnips in thick chunks. Toss with the oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. I use olive, coconut oil, or schmaltz (chicken fat). Place the parsnips on a preheated, stone pan or a parchment lined cooking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and tender.



Janice Dominic, Saint John, N.B.


            “This is an easy bread, if you have a stand mixer.  Without one, it takes a lot of hand beating.”


1 pound wheat-free flour mix 

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons quick yeast 

10 ounces milk

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

6 tablespoons oil

3 eggs

4 tablespoons seeds


            Grease and line a large (two pound) loaf tin. I use a blend of flours (potato, rice, tapioca, buckwheat, or millet flour) and xanthan gum, but you can buy wheat-free flour mixes until you get comfortable making your own. I switch up the seeds I use, but it’s generally some combination of pumpkin, sesame, flax, poppy, or sunflower, plus an extra spoonful for topping.

            Pour the flour into a free-standing food mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. Add the salt, sugar, and yeast one-third at a time. Mix together the milk, vinegar, oil, and two eggs in a bowl. 

            Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl and add the seeds. Switch on the mixer and whisk the ingredients for about four minutes.

            Put the batter into the prepared tin, cover with oiled cling wrap and leave to proof for about one hour, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, cover with foil after the first 10 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, brush the loaf with egg wash, made by beating the egg, and sprinkle the extra seeds over the top.

            Remove from the oven when fully baked, and cool on a wire rack.