Monday, November 20, 2017

I am a little obsessed

I can't believe it's been just over five years since Dan passed away. Often it feels like a moment ago, but then I look at the children and how they have grown and realize just how far we have come.

The J Team
Which brings me to the Haggis and Herring.  Dan and I loved/love food. We had so many fun adventures trying out new recipes and it was frequently our weekend entertainment.  I really miss it.  Now, in fairness,  the cooking part was always Dan's turf.  I was in charge of baking and eating.  Truth be told I am about ten pounds lighter than when he was alive. Silver lining?

With Dan gone feeding the boys has fallen to me. And it's been quite the journey to get to a place where 80% of our meals aren't being prepared by someone else.

The impact of Dan's death has dealt repeated blows over there years,  one of the first was when I went to the grocery store for the first time.  I suddenly realized I hadn't been "in charge" of groceries for a long time and had zero clue what I was doing.  It was kind of hilarious. In his A type manner, Dan wrote a  comprehensive list before he shopped based on the meal plan for the week. I set out with my half working bereavement/pregnancy brain with only a vague idea of what I need, realized I had no idea where things were in the store because I hadn't been in years, resulting in me backtracking all over the store and finally arriving back home all kinds "stuff" none of which could be combined to make any kind of  normal meal. Thankfully Jeremy who was two at the time and is affectionately known as "the Garbage Can" would eat anything.

Five Years Later

Fast forward to today.  This past summer I finally able to fulfill our original plan for the house which was to remodel the kitchen. It was somewhat emotional to tear out the kitchen where Dan spent so much time creating his masterpieces but it was time and I was happy to see the end of the green cupboards. If you never got to see them, yes they were as bad as you are picturing!

I am thrilled with the end result.  Isn't she isn't she pretty? Almost too pretty to use...... kidding!

Needless to say, I am obsessed with my new kitchen and the library of manuals to work all my new appliances.

I have had a few adventures in the new kitchen and the boys are thrilled that we once again have a working oven that will produce cookies.

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Finding a butcher was the best thing I ever did! - In memory of my brother Dan

My brother would be so proud of me, I found a butcher!

In this day in age of a world of superstores that sell everything from t-shirts, tv's and and apples, you don't come across many butchers that work in the store.  Yes, they have a deli counter, where someone was trained to slice meat, but they aren't a butcher.  And if those super stores have a butcher, they are not at the counter, they are behind the scenes just butchering meat, not talking with customers.

These super stores have definitely put a strain on small business.  I know I am guilty for shopping a lot at Superstore and Costco because of the convenience and cost.  We certainly get great deals on some of our everyday items.

When I wrote one of my first tribute posts in memory of my brother Dan, I didn't know it yet, but I met my butcher Dave.  Dave is the owner of Ben's Meat & Deli.  I walked in looking for a tenderloin to make a gluten free beef wellington.  I couldn't find a cut anywhere.  Until I walked into Ben's Meat, and met Dave and his family.

I quickly learned a few things after that first visit

  1. Dave really knows meat!
  2. Dave really loves talking to his customers
  3. Dave has what seems like his entire family working in the butcher shop
  4. Dave is Dutch, and proud of it!
  5. Dave has Celiac Disease, just like my wife, and has tonnes of extra gluten free goodies at his shop, which is great for me Gluten Free Edmonton blog.
Every time I go to Ben's Meats on a Saturday the place is jam packed and his family is working hard getting orders out.  But that doesn't stop Dave from walking with a customer around the shop talking about all the amazing stuff his carries, or some of the deals he has.  Or heck, even taking in suggestions from customers.  As I suggested he should sell his smoked brisket more often, and he has, and sells out pretty quickly when he does!

If Dan were still here today, I would have loved to take him to meet Dave, they would have got along just fine, and I'm sure talk food all day long!  Dave is full of great tips on food preparation.  One of which I just shared on Facebook about the best way to cut and warm up a brisket.

If you live in Edmonton, or ever visit, be sure to visit Dave at Ben's Meats!  You won't regret it.

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dafina - Moroccan Shabbat Stew - For Dan

September 14, 2015 marked the 3rd anniversary of the passing of my brother Daniel.  Daniel loved his family and loved cooking for his family and friends.  That's why he started Haggis and the Herring.

Every year I have been posting one recipe to honour him.  

I was recently in Toronto for a family wedding.  My sister'n'law Brianne was getting married.  During one of the post wedding celebration meals, her husbands aunt made a Moroccan dish that I had not had in a long time.  Dafina is a Moroccan stew made on the Sabbath because the cooking is started before shabbat begins, and finishes after it ends, so your meal is ready to be eaten.
This is what it takes to make some Dafina
This was a staple dish my dads mother (Mama) made every Saturday for lunch.  The whole family, all the aunts and cousins would cram into my grandparents 2 bedroom apartment around a string of tables and just enjoy everyones company.
Lets get this thing boiling!
After Mama passed away my Auntie Debbie and Uncle Gerry took over hosting shabbat lunch, and my aunt took over the tradition of making Dafina for the family.  I asked my aunt for her recipe, because I wanted to try it out.  In true form, like someone that cooks from the heart, she gave me a rough cut of the recipe, with no measurements of spices or ingredients, just guided by love of the food.  You know when its right.
Ready to eat!
So in true family fashion, I made up Dafina and invited my mother'n'law and father'n'law over to share the meal.  I was so happy to be able to make this meal for family like my grandmother would.  Made me proud, because I don't tap into my Moroccan heritage all that much, especially when it comes to cooking.  I'm glad they enjoyed it too!

This is how you can make this traditional meal (Roughly speaking of course since I guessed on some of the measurements):

  • Large piece of chuck steak (I used stewing beef)
  • Potato and Yams/Sweet Potato peeled (Enough for at least one piece for each person of each kind)
  • Eggs (Enough for at least one person)
  • Large can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • One large spanish onion
  • 3-4 Cinnamon sticks (depending on how much you are making
  • About 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • About 1 tbsp Paprika
  • About 1 1bsp Tumeric
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Season meat with garlic powder, paprika and tumeric and let sit with dry rub while you peel the potato and take skin off the onion.  If you don't think 1 tbsp of each is enough, just mess around and add more or less.  The meat shouldn't be drenched in it, just nicely seasoned.
  2. In a large oven safe pot, layer the following:
    • seasoned meat on the bottom
    • Potato (both kinds)
    • Onion
    • Eggs (gently to not crack)
    • Can of chickpeas drained
    • Cinnamon sticks
  3. Fill pot with water to cover ingredients in pot
  4. Boil for 1 hour (In a traditional sense, you would do this before shabbat starts)
  5. You can now either:
    • Place in oven at 225 all night until morning and then place back on stove top and put on low until you are ready to eat or;
    • Place in a slow cooker on low all night until you are ready to eat the next day
Serve with a baguette to dip and suck up all the sauce!

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
Try other tasty recipes
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