Cod and kale and blueberries, oh my!

On Jan 25,  we had our first cooking class of the Wintertime Harvest series, and what a yummy success it was!

Our instructor, Katrina, a nutrition student from Mount Saint Vincent University and dedicated Food Action Committee volunteer, joined us to share some delicious and nutritious recipes with everyone. Being a nutrition student, Katrina planned a meal for us that was refined sugar, lactose and gluten free.  She was very informative about the health and environmental benefits of this kind of diet!

To begin, we started off with a massaged kale salad with roasted beets, Honeycrisp apples and sunflower seeds in an apple cider vinaigrette. Katrina demonstrated the proper way to massage kale (in olive oil, salt and lemon juice) to soften up the texture by breaking down the cellulose walls. Katrina admitted she is a kale fanatic! We spent a lot of time discussing the many different ways everyone prepares kale and discovered that kale chips and kale salad were quite popular. However, some participants suggested everything from a kale tomato pasta sauce to kale biscotti.

As an entrée we prepared delightful cod fillets in a basil pesto sauce. We purchased the hook & line cod from the Community Supported Fishery program, Off the Hook, facilitated through the Ecology Action Centre. We discussed the importance of purchasing sustainable seafood.  For more information about sustainable seafood, check out Seachoice.

As filling as the kale salad and pesto cod were, everyone somehow managed to save room for the delicious dessert Katrina had planned for us. Following Katrina’s refined sugar, lactose and gluten free diet approach, we made scrumptious blueberry squares. First we blended soaked raisins, sunflower seeds and unsweetened coconut in the food processor to make the crust for the squares. This was then pressed into baking pans and baked at medium heat until it was hard. A mixture of agar, arrowroot, silken tofu and blueberries were then blended and spread out over top of the crust and chilled.

We were fortunate enough to have Angus Bonnyman, a Nova Scotia wild blueberry farmer, join us for the dinner. Not only did we get to use his mouthwatering, organic blueberries in our dessert, but we also got to hear him talk about his farm and the process of growing and harvesting blueberries. His blueberries can be purchased in 5lb frozen boxes year round at the Halifax Grainery Co-op. They are definitely a great way to bring something new exciting to your wintertime produce.

Please check back next week to find out how our second class went. Lots of great recipes to come!

Blueberry cheesecake squares (serves 8)

Filling
1 cup apple/pear cider
1 Tbsp agar powder
2 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot
1 cup extra firm silken tofu
1 T vanilla
2-3 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

Crust
2 cup of almonds (can use other nuts or a mixture of sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut should work 1 cup of each)
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup of raisins

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350F

Crust
Soak raisins in hot water for 5 min then drain. Put all crust ingredients in a food processor and blend until it starts to stick together. Press into a pan and bake for 10 min.

Filling
Mix first 3 ingredients + 1 cup of blueberries in a pot until thick. Allow to cool in the refrigerator. Add the tofu and vanilla to food processor until smooth.  Spoon chilled blueberry mixture into the food processor and combine. Pour filling into crust and chill for 2hrs.

Massaging the kale

Kale salad with beets and apples (serves 4 depending on how much kale you use)

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 scant teaspoon of salt

Salad
Bunch of Kale (stalks removed and ripped into small bit size pieces)
2 beets roasted and cubed
1 apples diced
1 small red onion diced
Handful of pumpkin seed or other seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Slice beets in half or in quarters. Wrap in tin foil and put in the over at 375F for 30 min. Peel and dice.
In large serving bowl, add the kale, lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining oil, vinegar, dijon and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the roasted beets, apple, onion and pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve.

Haddock with dairy free pesto sauce (serves 4)

Pesto sauce
1 ½ – 2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds may be substituted)
1-2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Fish
4 pieces of haddock (or other white fish)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350F

Pesto:
Toast pine nuts/sunflower seeds in a skillet until lightly brown. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Fish:
Lightly spoon pesto mixture over the fish and cook for 12 min until flaky.

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One thought on “Cod and kale and blueberries, oh my!

  1. I was lucky enough to attend last night’s cooking class and had an absolutely wonderful time. Great food, great folks and great fun. Also, a big thank you to Rupert from Ironwood Farm who joined the group for the evening and told us wonderful tales (tails!) from his farm. Thanks, Keltie

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