Monday, September 1, 2014

Eggs Poached in Tomato Basil Sauce

Happy Labour Day to all our friends!

This morning we'll be enjoying a farm fresh recipe that includes Roma Tomatoes and Basil from the garden and eggs from the hen house.    Put on a pot of coffee and read your paper while this fragrant and healthy sauce simmers.  

This recipe serves 2 - 4 and can easily be doubled.

  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes  (adjust heat according to your preference)
  • 4 roma tomatoes, finely diced
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted baguette slices
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  
  2. Heat the avocado/olive oil in a medium saucepan and stir in garlic and red chili flakes. Stir for one minute and add the tomatoes. 
  3.  Bring to a simmer and cook down for ten minutes.  Add basil and chives.   Spoon into individual baking dishes that are arranged on a cookie sheet.  Round work best for one egg and oval works best for two eggs.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
  4. Break eggs into a custard cup and gently pour over the sauce.
  5. Bake in oven just until whites are set.  
  6. Remove from oven and arrange toasted baguette slices around the baking dish.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bread for the Journey

Early this summer the house where I lived from my birth until marriage was taken apart from the rafters to the foundation to make way for a new house.  I was invited to come and walk through once last time and then after the work of the excavator was finished,  I walked among the ruins searching for bits of nostalgic items that I might save. 

In the cellar I found a dozen glass canning lids that were layered in years of dirt and broken shards of jars. I gathered them as though they were a rare archeological fossil and took them home to soak in hot soapy water before I scrubbed through the hard clay to reveal the treasures linking me to my childhood.

Several weeks later my brother Ken came over and held out this bowl to me.  It was cracked nearly through in several places and covered with crazing.  "I found this in the cellar and I thought you should have it"... he said.   Like the glass canning lids the bowl had been caked with dried mud and clay and  he had uncovered his own memories of our Mom using that bowl as he cleaned it.  

The bowl was before my time.   I remembered Mom having a set of Pyrex bowls in the primary colors but had never seen this bowl.  For more than sixty years, that bowl has laid in the cellar that was not ever used again after the flood of 1948.  It was put there in a time when things were not easily discarded to the garbage.  I wonder at her reasoning for saving it from total destruction. 

 I imagine, it once held cookie dough and pie pastry and most likely some of my Mom's tears.  She will have prayed while she worked in her kitchen preparing meals for her hungry family.  The bowl is now safely sitting in a place of honor, reminding me of the one who washed it most often.  The value of the bowl is not significant to others, but only to me and yet I wouldn't trade it for a rare piece of fine china. 

I was reading in 2 Timothy this week and was struck by verse 21 and 22.  I read it in a few different translations to understand how I could apply God's word to my new/old bowl. 

If I want to be a willing vessel to serve and bless others, it is important that  my heart is right before the Lord so that I can be used by him.  I can look like I have it all together on the outside and no one would know the selfish, disobedient places in my life but when I confess those before God and live in obedience to his word, he can use me to be a blessing in service to others. 

 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV Translation
 In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.  

2 Timothy 2:20-21  The Message Translation

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ReiRei or Ruehrei - Gluten Free or Not

(just a note on the spelling of this dish ..  ReiRei is the closest to how I have always said it -- the correct spelling would be Ruehrei - German for "stir egg" - the 'e' indicating that the 'u' has an 'umlaut') 

ReiRei is a comfort food that goes back to my own childhood.  It is quick, easy and nutritious and I remember my Mom and my Grandmother making it often

I liked to eat it at my Grandmother's house because she would serve it to me with a little smirk saying, "I know at home you aren't allowed to eat it with sugar but at my house you can eat it with sugar!"
Of course I loved it with sugar and it just proved that things are always better at Grandma's house !!

Skipping down a couple of generation to my own grandgirls,  ReiRei very quickly became the dish of choice whenever my grandgirls would come over.
"Nanna, can you make ReiRei?"  was their repetitive request and I ,of course, was happy to make it for them .. and yes, they were allowed to eat it with sugar at my house!

I thought ReiRei was so easy to make every one knew how to make it... but sometimes the seemingly simple things are not so simple if you have never seen them done.
My girls would say to me, "Nanna, I don't want to hurt Grandma's feelings but you need to teach her how to make ReiRei."

So, in case someone else has never made it ,  here are the step by step instructions.
It really is a quick one dish meal that kids love.  ( I still like it too)  
And my grandgirls are happy that they can now have it gluten-free !


  • 1/2 cup reg wheat flour OR gluten -free flour mix (my favourite mix - equal amounts of brown rice flour/millet flour/white bean flour/white corn flour/tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (if using gluten free flour) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 1 tbsp butter 
1.  Whisk eggs and milk, add the flour and whisk until smooth (do not use blender - too much mixing makes the Rei Rei 'stick together'.) 

2. Melt butter in hot skillet.  Then pour batter into skillet. (I love my cast iron) 

3. When batter begins to cook on the bottom and turn brown, turn the bottom over to the top and let the top liquid settle on the bottom.  Turn again when it turns brown.  Watch carefully - it doesn't take very long to cook.

4. Using egg turner (can use knife to help) chop and cut the 'pancake'  into small pieces,  stirring and cutting.

5. Keep stirring until the pieces are all nicely browned.

 Enjoy ! with or without sugar (depending on whose house you are at!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins - Gluten Free

These muffins are easy to mix up and delicious.
I use my own all-purpose flour mix, the recipe for which is included.
  • 1 3/4 cups My All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 3 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup butter (cold grated) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 med apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cups chopped walnuts 
  • 2 tbsp sugar 
  1. Sift or mix together the dry ingredients 
  2. Stir in the grated butter 
  3. Remove 1/4 cup (for streusel crumbs) 
  4. Toss apple bits in the 1 tsp lemon juice 
  5. Add apples and nuts to dry mixture
  6. Whisk the egg and milk, add vanilla 
  7. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix lightly
  8. Fill muffin tins - lined with paper cups or greased - about 3/4 full 
  9. Mix the extra 2 tbsp sugar into the 1/4 cup crumbs and sprinkle on top of the muffins 
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

My All-Purpose Flour Mix 
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white bean flour 
  • 1 cup millet flour 
  • 1 cup potato starch 
  • 1 cup tapioca starch 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour 
  • 6 tsp. egg replacer 
  • 4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 3 tbsp potato flour 
Mix together thoroughly and store at room temp. or in fridge if it will not be used within a month. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Renate's Zwieback

Making fresh home made buns is a novelty for me. You'd think that by now we have exhausted all our recipes. Today I will share with you my favorite 'go to recipe' for white buns. This recipe too, came from a good friend, Renate. It's a favorite for our family. I've never had success making Zwieback tops, so I've just shaped the dough into round buns.  The versatility of home made buns are many: add them to any meal, soup or salad or just add a jar of strawberry jam and peanut butter.

 A few of us will be making our favorite bun recipes as we serve the Kiev Symphony Orchestra in Chilliwack at the Alliance Church on September 9, at 7:00 pm. The KSOC  is under the leadership of Wes Janzen, former Professor of Music at TWU.

This past week we spent time preparing our cabbage rolls and apple pies at the Alliance Church.
Thank you Kathy (Kathy is the sister to Wes) for organizing our cooking day.  You can read all about it at Kathy's blog. We all feel that this is such a rich opportunity to serve the choir members, especially during the current unrest in Ukraine. We have just heard recently that the children from the Good Shepherd Shelter (our first royalty project) have been moved to Kiev where they are safer.  Please join us as we continue to pray for the safety of staff and children.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 -10 cups white flour
 Kitchen Machine Mixing Procedure
  1. Scald milk and add butter.
  2. Add water to scalded milk to become lukewarm.
  3. In mixing bowl add half of the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture to flour mixture and mix for five minutes on lowest setting.
  5. This process has activated the yeast.
  6. Add eggs, oil and remaining flour and continue kneading for 10 minutes  until dough becomes soft and is not sticky.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Form into buns and place on greased pans. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in 400° for 15 minutes.
Special Tip:  One of our readers gave a comment suggesting a new tip:   "When using instant yeast and mixing in the Bosch, that it is not necessary to do the first rising of the dough... after mixing, kneading in machine, shape & put buns directly onto pans, let rise, bake!"
I will definitely consider this time.  Thankful for any shortcut tips from our readers.

These buns also serve well as 'Sliders' 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Make ahead Maple Soy Pork Kabobs

I bought a box of Neufeld Farms  pork kabobs through a Youth fundraiser recently.
They were delicious and a great option for a quick, "freezer to grill" dinner.
They got me thinking about trying my own version.
So I gave it a try and was pleased with the results. Weeks later, on a busy day,  it was so nice to just pull the bag out of the freezer, thaw them and grill them for an easy supper.
Here's what I did.

2 fresh pork tenderloin (NOT previously frozen)
Depending on the size of your tenderloin and the number of pieces on each kabob, this should make 6-8 kabobs.

For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (tip for grating ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar or shaker and mix well.
  2. Pour over pork in ziplock bags and remove as much air as you can before sealing.
  3. Of course, you can use this marinade for pork tenderloin or chops as well.  Just marinate the meat for about 2-3 hours before grilling.
Here's a few pictures to show how I put the kabobs together.:

The wooden skewers I had on hand were too long so I snipped them to length with my pruning shears. 
(My 'problem solver' husband's suggestion)

Using fresh (not frozen) pork tenderloin, cut the meat into 1 1/2 inch chunks and thread 5 or 6 pieces on each skewer.
Do not crowd them.

  1. Make the marinade and set aside.
  2. Place enough skewers for a meal into a ziplock bag. (Fold a piece of parchment paper several times and put it into the bottom of the bag and then tuck the sharp tips of the skewers into the fold so that they do not puncture the bags).
  3. Divide marinade between the bags.
  4. Zip bags shut, being sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.
  5. Label the bags and date them and freeze.
  6. The day you want to serve them, thaw in the fridge.
  7. Grill over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes, basting frequently with remaining marinade. Use a steak knife to cut into a chunk of pork to test for doneness.
  8. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spicy Dark Chocolate Cookies

These cookies with surprising ingredients are very tasty and have a nice after kick of spice to them. Enjoy them with a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee. My sister Lana made them this past weekend and shared them and the recipe with me.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together either on the stove top in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (whisking until glossy and smooth) or in the microwave in 25-second increments (whisking after each 25 seconds). Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat together the brown and white sugar, eggs and vanilla extract on low speed until mixed well. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated well.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Scoop 12 equal rounds of the cookie dough for each cookie sheet making 24 cookies in total (approx.1-1/2 tablespoons each)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Cookies should still be a little puffy and soft.
Immediately slide the full sheet of parchment paper with the cookies onto a cooling rack.
Cool and enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
Note: If you enjoy sweeter cookies you can increase the brown sugar to a cup.