Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian Foods We Grow, Raise and Produce by Mairlyn Smith is a celebration of the diverse Canadian cuisine from coast to coast and gives us an insight to Canada’s farmers and producers. It's a collaboration of PHEcs (Professional Home Economists) and PHEcs in training from the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) who contributed unique recipes from different parts of Canada.
The thirteen chapters (Quickbreads and Not-So-Quick Breads; Eggs: Mother Nature’s Little Vitamin Pill; Bring on the Cheese, Please; Grains, Make Them Whole; A Soup for Every Season; Vegetables — Make Room on Your Plate; Salads — Salute to the Leafy Green; Legumes — the Big Bang from the Prairies; Pork and Lamb — The Other Guys; Fish and Seafood from Coast to Coast to Coast; Canadian Poultry; Ode to Canadian Beef; Fruity Treats and Fresh-Pickled Indulgences) list over 160 recipes where the key ingredient is Canadian.
For each chapter, there’s an introduction to the Canadian key ingredient such as wheat, eggs, cheese, grains, vegetables, legumes, pork, lamb, beef, poultry, beef and fruits.
A chapter on seasonal menu planning and a listing of Canadian ingredients are included at the back of the cookbook. The Sources chapter lists the websites of Canadian farmers and producers. Full-colour photos are spread throughout the cookbook, although I find there is a lack of them in many recipes.
The 160 seasonal recipes, including gluten-free and vegetarian, are well formatted and easy to read. Most have ingredients that can be found at your supermarket depending where you live in Canada. I could only find the flours listed in the gluten-free recipes at a health food store or at the Bulk Barn.
Most of the recipes list PHEc tips and Ingredient Notes, and all list nutritional contents. Ingredient quantities are listed in both in metric and imperial measurements.
Sample recipes include: Five Canadian Whole Grain Pancakes; Quiche with Potato Crust; Pearl Barley and Butternut Squash Risotto; Maple Brussels Sprouts Slaw; Lentil and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad; Slow Cooker Baked Beans; Chickpea Burgers; Maple Pulled Pork; Seafood Chowder; Cod Cakes with Asian-Style Coleslaw, Grilled Flank Steak on Roasted Kale Salad; Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew; Saskatoon Maple Bread Pudding; Cranberry Maple Butter Tarts; and Apple Fruitcake with Whisky Glaze.
Cod Cakes with Asian-Style Coleslaw (Fall/Winter)
The instructions for making the Asian-Style Coleslaw were spot on. The dressing, made with apple cider vinegar combined with maple syrup, gave the coleslaw a good balanced taste.
I had some issues while making the cod cakes. The recipe called for two large baking potatoes. I would have liked if the weight of the potatoes was included. Not all large potatoes are the same size. The amount of canola oil (2 tbsp) was not enough to fry all the cod cakes. I had to add another two tablespoons. For the seasonings, I added ½ tsp pepper flakes (optional) and increased the salt to ½ tsp as a pinch of salt was not enough for my taste.
Overall, the Cod Cakes with Asian-Style Coleslaw was a very appetizing meal and I would make it again
Quebec Style Pea Soup (Early Spring, Fall and Winter)
Now that the maple syrup season has begun here in Quebec, pea soup will be served at every sugar shack. This version of the recipe is healthier as it does not use ham hocks and lard to make the soup, although crispy bacon bits are sprinkled on top just before serving. You'll need an immersion blender, a blender or food processor to puree the soup. I've tasted the original pea soup made with ham hocks and lard, and I must admit this version tastes just as good. Nothing tastes better than a bowl of pea soup with a sugar shack meal.
Red Lentil Waffles (Multi-Seasonal)
I'm a big fan of lentils, not only for their nutritional value but also because they taste good. They’re a staple in my pantry and I remember my mother making lentil soup when I was growing up. This recipe is out-of-the-box for me as I've only used lentil in soups and salads before.
I made the Red Lentil Waffles for breakfast one morning and served them with Greek yogurt and maple syrup. They tasted delicious! Even my husband asked me what was different with the waffles as he kept piling them on his plate. I wish I would have known this recipe when my daughters were growing up. They didn’t like lentils and this would have been a great way to serve them. Red Lentil Waffles will be served at our next family brunch.
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) dried red lentils
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) natural wheatgerm
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
- ¼ cup (60 mL) unsweetened applesauce
- 1½ cups (375 mL) skim milk
- 2 omega-3 eggs
- 1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Add lentils and water to a to a small sauce pan; cover, bring to the boil and stir. Reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are very soft. Use a wire sieve to drain any remaining liquid. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ and baking powder.
- When the lentils are cooled, take a separate, medium bowl and whisk together the applesauce, milk, eggs, vanilla and lentils.
- Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Whisk together until combined. Batter should be thick with small lumps.
- Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C). Place a cooling rack on top of a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Let batter rest while waffle iron preheats.
- Once waffle iron is hot, lightly brush both sides with canola oil.
- Add ⅓ cup (75 mL) batter to each side of the waffle iron, close the lid and cook until waffles are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer waffles to wire cooling rack, cover with foil, place in the oven to keep warm and continue cooking remaining batter.
• To create a waffle bar, provide a selection of sliced fresh fruit, warmed maple syrup, nut butters, applesauce and low-fat yogurt so everyone can personalize their plate.
• Cook more lentils than you will need for this recipe and either store the leftovers in the fridge or freeze in 1-cup (250 mL) portions. Cooked red lentils can easily be added to foods such as tomato sauce, soups, cooked rice, cooked ground beef, muffins and biscuits to increase fibre, protein and mineral content.
Carbohydrate Choices: 2½
Homegrown is a must-have cookbook and should sit proudly on every Canadian cook’s bookshelf. Not only does it contain seasonal recipes from coast to coast to coast, but it introduces us to the famers and producers who work hard to ensure our population can purchase good quality local food and products. I’ve realized that I buy imported products that can be found here in Canada and now I will make an effort to buy Canadian. Homegrown is a cookbook that every Canadian should be proud of.
Homegrown: Celebrating the Canadian Foods We Grow, Raise and Produce
Author: Mairlyn Smith
Publisher: Whitecap Books
Softcover, 304 pages
Recipe and photos excerpted from Homegrown, edited by Mairlyn Smith. Reprinted with permission of Whitecap Books, 2016.
The Homegrown cookbook was sent to me to review for Food Bloggers of Canada. The opinions are strictly my own.
The Homegrown cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and is improving her photography skills. Now, Sunday lunches are celebrated in her family. You connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.