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Recipe Rescue: October 2012

As difficult as it may be to acknowledge the eventual arrival of our Canadian winter,

September 26, 2012
By Patrick Mathieu

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As difficult as it may be to acknowledge the eventual arrival of our Canadian winter, it is time to welcome a beautiful time of year that most people take for granted. As the normal routine solidly sets back in, we know that we are well into fall: trees with their rich fall colours, brisk clear nights and – a food lover’s dream – the fall harvest.

My family in south Florida often reminds me that the changing seasons are something not everyone in the world gets to enjoy and we should take advantage of what a new season can offer. When the days grow shorter and the mercury drops, our taste buds inevitably start to crave fall foods and flavours. Our Canadian farmers’ fields are bursting with an array of fall fruits and vegetables just waiting to be turned into that perfect heart-warming comfort food. We are well into the holiday and tailgate-party season, so menus must change to fit these special occasions. What a perfect opportunity to enjoy a drive to your local farmers market! Apples and pears, hearty greens such as brussels sprouts and kale, root vegetables and pumpkins are all fall favourites to be transformed into piping hot dishes. The health benefits of fall produce are also unmatched; these fruits and vegetables are often characterized by rich dark colours – indicators of an abundance of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. Of course, we do tend to embellish these nutritious super foods with questionable ingredients (butter, brown sugar, bacon and cheese) to create comfort food, but that’s half the fun!

There is something about the food of this season that speaks to our hearts: the traditions of the holidays, comfort foods for cold nights and perhaps just enjoying foods that are harvested once a year during these colder months. Although I’m a beach bum at heart, the food and tastes of the fall season help put the memories of summer behind me. I’ve include four seasonal recipes that are sure to warm up your fire hall, celebrate your holiday season, or just bring the family together on a chilly autumn night. Enjoy!

RR-photo1-MeatloafB
 

Turkey meatloaf

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce (reserve ½ cup to glaze the top)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the seasonings, soy sauce, beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce and one cup of the barbecue sauce.
  3. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Then add the onion, bell pepper, salt, ground pepper and garlic. Sauté until the mixture is tender, then remove it from the heat and add it to the wet mix.
  4. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the ground turkey. Add the bread crumbs and mix it together with your hands.
  5. Transfer the meat mixture to a cookie sheet or baking pan. Using your hands, shape the meat into an oblong or rectangular shape. Alternately, you can pat the meat into a nine- by five-inch loaf and pour the ½ cup of barbecue sauce on top of the loaf.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and add the reserved ½ cup of barbecue sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.


RR-photo2-GratinA

Brussels sprout gratin

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces; reserve extra pieces for the dish
  • kosher salt
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated aged cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and butter a two-quart baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until they are tender, about eight to 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the brussels sprouts and halve them lengthwise. Transfer the brussels sprout halves to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, then spread out evenly. Add the nutmeg to the cream and pour the cream on top. Sprinkle with the cheeses and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.
  4. Bake the gratin until it is bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes.


 
RR-photo3-SoupA

Roasted root vegetable soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into two-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into chunks
  • extra virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 bulb garlic, roasted
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • a dash of honey
  • a dash of hot sauce
  • half-and-half cream (optional)


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and butter a two-quart baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until they are tender, about eight to 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the brussels sprouts and halve them lengthwise. Transfer the brussels sprout halves to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, then spread out evenly. Add the nutmeg to the cream and pour the cream on top. Sprinkle with the cheeses and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.
  4. Bake the gratin until it is bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes.


Bacon baked apples

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound extra-thick cut smoked bacon
  • 4 to 6 spring fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 4 medium apples, different varieties
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Arrange the bacon on a sheet tray, sprinkle with some of the thyme and bake until crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Slice the apples from top to bottom, creating five to eight cross-sections of the apple. On a separate sheet tray lined with parchment paper, lay the apples out in a single layer and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle a little sugar and thyme on each slice then bake in the oven until the apples begin to soften and the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. To serve, alternate apple and bacon slices to reassemble the apple. Garnish with green onions.

 


Patrick Mathieu is a 13-year veteran of Waterloo Fire Rescue, where he is acting captain. He has won several cooking competitions and has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities by auctioning gourmet dinners at the fire hall. Contact him at stationhousecateringco@yahoo.ca


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