Monday, July 18, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Gelatt - Ice Cream, Maltese Style, and The Full Buck Moon

I recently posted the recipes that had been on the back of Safeway’s 2.5 Kg bags of Instant Skim Milk Powder.

If you missed the posts, the recipes were for Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup, as well as Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake, and Popover Oven Pancakes.
They’re easy to make, so why not check them out?

As I said, my friends and I were used to making the recipes found on the bags, and we miss them - and the economy-sized bags - now that Sobeys has decided to discontinue packaging large bags of powdered milk.
I am sure that if Ma had been living in Canada, she would have missed the recipes, too.

About the dairy products Safeway carried… Ma would have bought the 4 litre sized buckets of ice cream that are still available at both Safeway and Sobeys.
She knew we would happily enjoy a dish of ice cream on a muggy July day.
Vanilla ice cream is always easy to dress up with different sauces and fruits.
Anything would have been better than Pop’s purchase of 576 bars of strawberry shortcake after Bungalow Bar went out of business.
Six and a half months of strawberry shortcake ice cream bars for dessert, day after day, were more than enough for us.
I mean, you couldn’t add anything to change their taste.

Every so often Ma would make Gelatt - Maltese Ice Cream.
It was easy and economical, and reminded her of the treats she enjoyed when she was a kid growing up in Hamrun, Malta.
She always mentioned that it was served at wedding and holy communion receptions, and that it would be garnished with crushed peanuts and finely chopped candied peel.
Ma's recipe made just enough for us to enjoy as dessert for a meal or two - not like when Pop bought those 576 bars!

If you’re in the mood for an alcoholic recipe, check out Carmela’s Gelato Affogato.
It means "Drowned Ice Cream" and is easy to make - ice cream covered with rum and espresso coffee.
Definitely not for the kiddies.


If you have an ice cream machine use 300 ml water in the original mixture.
Add the candied peel and almonds to the mixture after you remove it from the freezer.
Add the unbeaten fresh cream to the mixture and follow the directions on your machine.
Ma didn’t have an ice cream machine, so she used the following recipe. 


60 g almonds
Cool and finely chop the almonds.
Set aside.

Finely chop
120 g candied peel

Bring to a boil in a medium saucepan
250 ml water
Add the chopped candied peel.
Stir the peel around for two minutes to remove the sugar and syrup.
Drain and thoroughly dry the peel.
Mix in the chopped almonds.
Set aside. 

Pour into a medium saucepan
1 354 ml can evaporated milk
1200 ml water
90 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 Tablespoon ground)
3 whole cloves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
grated rind of a lemon
Cook over a moderate heat until the mixture starts to boil.
Lower the heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer for eight minutes. 
Remove from heat. 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Stir to combine and allow to cool.
Strain it through a sieve into a container that has a cover. 
Cover and freeze it for about 35 minutes.

While the mixture is in the freezer, place in a large mixer bowl
400 ml fresh cream 
Beat to a thick consistency.

Remove the mixture from the freezer. 
Stir in the prepared candied peel and the almonds. 
Fold the beaten cream into the mixture.
Cover and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the freezer and beat with a spatula.
Cover and return to the freezer for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and beat with a spatula.
For extra smoothness, give it another freeze and beat cycle.
When ready to serve, leave to thaw for about ten minutes.
Slice and serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

July 18: The Moon and Pluto will be very close.

July 19: Full Buck Moon 6:57 PM. The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. 
July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month’s Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

July 24: The Moon will be in ascending node. This is the point at which the Moon’s orbit crosses, from south to north, the plane of the Earth’s orbit.

July 26: Last Quarter 7:00 P.M. In this phase, the Moon appears as a half Moon.

July 27: Delta Aquarids meteor shower. Best viewed before dawn and will last three days. The last quarter Moon should not interfere.

July 28: Saturn and Uranus will be at their highest. 

July 30: At dusk Mercury will be less than 1º from Regulus.

July 31: Moon will be at its highest.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Safeway Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup by Margaret Ullrich

Okay… the two big holidays for North Americans - July 1 and 4 - have passed, so we are now officially into summer proper.
And, if you live in Canada, tomorrow is Free Slurpee Day!
Here’s hoping all Winnipeggers do their bit so that we will continue to be the Slurpee Capital of Canada!
A brain freeze headache never killed anyone.
It just helps to prepare us for our -40º C winters.

it’s funny how we get used to things being done a certain way on certain days.
Not having fireworks at the start of July just wouldn’t seem right.
Traditions help us make a few memories, it’s a bit of fun to share, and what’s wrong with that?
Not a thing, because, as we all know, laughter is the best medicine.

Laughter and traditions aside, one can’t exist on slurpees.
No, really, the green slurpee does not count as a fruit or vegetable.
We do have to eat or drink a bit of the four major food groups every day.
And that means carbohydrates, proteins and dairy products, as well as real fruits and vegetables. 

Before Sobeys bought it, Safeway could be counted on to have a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables of all kinds and forms: fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juices.
And their food was carried in budget-friendly and family-friendly sizes.
The same considerate marketing plan carried through to their dairy department, which carried 2.5 Kg bags of Instant Skim Milk Powder.
It’s pretty easy for a family to drink 25 litres of milk.

Sobeys has made some changes in what can be found on the shelves, and their plans aren’t quite working the way they hoped.
The second quarter’s results have come in and, as of July 8, president and CEO Marc Poulin has gone out.
Francois Vimard, Empire's CFO and chief administrative officer, has been appointed interim CEO.

On June 8 Lyne Castonguay was named to the newly created position of chief merchandising officer.
Along with holding other jobs, she’s had twelve years experience at Home Depot. 
According to the news article:
"Lyne is a passionate and successful retailer who brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record for growing the businesses she has led", said Marc Poulin, president and CEO of Sobeys.
Yeah, the CEO who was recently replaced by Vimard.

I’m sure Castonguay is experienced, but marketing fresh apples is a little different from, say, stocking and selling door knobs.
As any housewife know, buy too much produce at one time and you could end up with a mound of compost.
The events at Sobeys reminds me of the 1983 movie, Mr. Mom.
What Sobeys needs is someone like the wife and mom, Caroline, played by Teri Garr.
Remember how her 'in the trenches' experience as a budget-conscious housewife saved the day for the tuna guy?
You don’t learn that stuff from selling screwdrivers.

Back to that bag of Instant Skim Milk Powder…
I posted these recipes which were on the back:

There was a third recipe: Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup.
On the bag it said:
This fat-free, emerald green soup is ideal for a family dinner, or dress it up for company by marbling it with sour cream.
I wouldn’t say you’ll end up with an emerald green soup, but it is delicious.


Lima grands are also called butter beans.

The soup may be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen.

Have dried beans? 
No problem.  It’s easy to use them in this recipe.
They'll need a little prep work in advance.
One Cup of dried beans will give you an amount equal to about 3 Cups canned.
If soaked for 12–24 hours, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes.

Place in a bowl
2 Cups dried beans
enough cold water to cover by 2 inches
Let stand for 4 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
If the beans appear above water level, add more water.

Drain the beans and place them in a pot with fresh water to cover by 1/2 inch.
Bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cover the pot and simmer about 1 hour.
If the beans appear above water level, add more water.
When the beans are soft, drain and use as canned.

Just a thought…

If you find yourself with leftover cooked beans, Ma had another soup that had beans: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup.
Of course, Ma usually served soup with Maltese hobz. 
You could also serve it with Crusty Italian bread or cornbread.

                        Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup

Makes 8 servings

Thinly slice
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 5 medium)
Set aside.

Chop about 6 green onions.
You want to have 3/4 Cup chopped onions.
Set aside.

Place in a 3-quart saucepan
the thinly sliced zucchini
the chopped green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 Cups chicken broth
1/2 can ( 15  1/2 ounces) lima grands, drained
1/4 Cup instant skim milk powder
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
Bring to a boil.
Cover and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Puree in a blender for the smoothest texture or a food processor with the metal blade.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle hot soup into bowls.

If garnishing, stir sour cream to soften.
Spoon a dollop into centre of each bowl and swirl with a knife to marble.
Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of green onions.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Safeway Popover Oven Pancakes and July Holidays by Margaret Ullrich

Yesterday we celebrated our forty-fifth Canada Day!
We enjoyed it much more than the day we had on our first Canada Day.
We strolled through Lower Fort Garry, seeing and living a bit of history, thanks to the fine young actors who had taken on the personas of the folks one would have met at the Fort about 150 years ago.
There was also a six foot beaver who posed for pictures with anyone who asked.
A beaver is much friendlier than a bald eagle is, at least I think so.

Last night we saw the fireworks at a local elementary school, compliments of our MP, Kevin Lamoreaux.
We walked to the school about a half hour before the action was scheduled to begin.
Many of our neighbours had the same idea, so it was like we were enjoying a giant block party.
Youngsters were playing basketball, using the school’s four hoops.
Infants, up way past their bedtimes, were enjoying the fun.
The gathering was relaxed and enjoyable, while the smoke and smell of gunpowder added to the excitement.
All in all, a grand time was had by all.
And Monday is the American holiday, the Fourth of July!

It’s one of those weekends which begs for a break in routine, a bit of fun, or at least a small change in diet.
Instead of the same old same old, why not make a special brunch dish?
it is festive yet simple to make, and a perfect dish for one, or two.
It can be served with fruit for a brunch or a dessert, or with vegetables for a lunch. 
And it’s easy to make a larger amount if you’ve invited the gang over.

I recently posted the recipe for the Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake that had been printed on the back of Safeway’s 2.5 Kg bag of Instant Skim Milk Powder for a few years.
It had become a staple and people had expected that it would always be available.
It might’ve worked out that way, if Sobeys hadn’t bought Canada Safeway Limited and decided to make a few changes.
About those changes… not working out as they hoped.
Gues they never heard the old saying If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

About the bag of Instant Skim Milk Powder that Sobeys decided to discontinue… 
there were two other recipes on the bag: Popover Oven Pancakes, and Tuscan White Bean and Zucchini Soup.
The Popover Oven Pancakes is a nice variation of Ma’s Puffy Brunch Omelet.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few folks wishing they’d jotted down the recipe.
So, here it is. 

On the bag it said:
Let the kids watch through the oven window as the batter rises to voluminous heights. Serve immediately - it deflates quickly.


Want a bit of fruit with your pancakes? Here’s an easy fruit filling:
Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 can of peach slices, drained
Stir the peaches until they are warmed through and the sugar has melted.
Serve on the French Toast.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional)

You can also use thinly sliced fresh apples, peaches or pears - or a mixture.
This is also good with waffles and chicken.

                        Popover Oven Pancakes

Makes 6 servings

Place rack in lower third of oven.
Preheat oven to 425° F 

Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Place the pan in the oven to melt the butter or margarine.
Remove the pan and tilt it around to coat the bottom of the pan.
Keep warm.

While the pan is in the oven, place in a large bowl  
6 eggs (or 3 whole eggs and 3 egg whites)
1 1/4 Cups water
Whisk together.
1/2 Cup instant skim milk powder
1 Cup flour
1/4 Cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whisk vigorously until blended.
The batter will be lumpy.

Pour the batter into the hot buttered baking pan.
Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden. 
Sprinkle with 
confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Cut into squares and serve with maple syrup.

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

July 4 - There’ll be a New Moon. 

Can’t see it, but won’t miss it if you’re enjoying the fireworks.
The New Moon is in Cancer, so warm family feelings should be in the air.
And that’s always a good thing.

Wishing a safe and Happy Holiday to everyone!