There are three recipes this week that cover a lot of bases—easy to make, ingredients on hand, extra for another meal, and also to give as a gift! One of the recipes is “for the birds.” Read on.
Spiced Baked Beans
Instead of the typical Boston baked beans I found this recipe in the cookbook ‘High Fiber, High Flavour’ and like it even better. The bonus is no sugar except for 2 Tbsp of maple syrup. You have a choice of cooking the beans the overnight soak method, or using the Instant Pot (30 minutes) cooking method or buying canned. Make a double batch.
1 1/2 cups navy beans soaked overnight, or canned, or Instant Pot beans
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Hot sauce to taste
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 thick pepperoni or cooked garlic sausage, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp apple cider or wine vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly; set aside. Cook the onion in oil until soft, add the spices and cook for another minute. Add the garlic, beans, tomatoes and stock. Add salt and pepper to taste with a little hot sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes. (The time changes when you use the overnight soaked beans. Add on about an extra two hours before the beans become tender.)
When the beans are tender or after the 45 minutes cooking of the canned beans add the sliced sausage, vinegar and maple syrup and cook for another 20 minutes. Taste test with hot sauce, salt and pepper if needed. Before serving garnish with parsley. (The beans tasted the best on the third day.)
Salmon in Creamy Sundried Tomato Sauce
I changed this recipe and made a bit extra to use the next night as a pasta sauce. The cream was switched to coconut milk and salmon to local whitefish—and why not! The honey and butter seems a bit different but do as the recipe says because the fish will come out perfect and very flavourful. You can use sundried tomatoes in oil but try to drain them a bit.
Four salmon fillets, skin removed or
Whitefish *serving size for 4 people
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp honey
3 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp Italian seasoning blend or your own combination of thyme, basil, oregano and parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes (drain excess oil)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
2/3 cup parmesan cheese (the good kind)
Make the sauce first and keep warm.
1. Sauté the garlic in a bit of oil, add the Italian seasoning, sundried tomatoes, chicken broth, heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil stirring periodically until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you cook the fish.
2. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt butter in a large skillet and once melted add the honey. Add the fish to the pan and cook 4-6 minutes on each side until caramelized around the edges and cooked through the centre.
3. Place salmon or whitefish on individual plates and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with some more parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
We have been making this recipe for years and have noticed that birds are also picky in what they like and don’t like. We have two suet feeders that we use. One has the suet cake you buy from the store and the other the suet cake we make. Hands down, every time, the one we make is gone by the time the other is half eaten. The other bit of advice is if the temperature goes above freezing your homemade suet will disappear even quicker because the birds will take bigger chunks.
2 parts melted fat (bacon fat, suet, or lard)
2 parts yellow cornmeal
1 part peanut butter
(Add dried fruits like raisins or cur-
rants, extra sunflower seeds or millet at
Mix the fat, cornmeal and peanut butter together and cook until melted. Let it cool a bit so it becomes thick but still pourable and add your extras. Mix well.
Pour into a baking pan lined with parchment paper and place it in the fridge to harden. When hard, lift out the parchment paper and cut the suet into squares that will fit your feeder. You can also place the suet into a mesh bag. Hang outside a watch the birds go “yummy.”