Friday, July 18, 2014

A Health Claim for Flaxseed: A Canadian Grown Superfood

This year, Health Canada approved a health claim linking ground whole flaxseed to blood cholesterol lowering, a major risk factor for heart disease. Specifically, the claim indicated that eating 5 Tbsp/75 mL of ground (milled) whole flaxseed per day over three meals helps reduce cholesterol.

Why is flaxseed a superfood?
1. Flaxseed is High in Fibre: Like other Canadian grown superfoods – pulse, oats, barley and quinoa -flaxseed is full of fibre! It contains both soluble (cholesterol lowering) and insoluble (happy digestive system) fibres. Just 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of ground whole flaxseed contains 4 grams of fibre, which is about 15 percent of  the fibre you require daily.
2. Flaxseed is a source of plant based Omega 3 Fats: Omega 3s are a type of fat that we need to eat to stay healthy. They are sometimes called essential fats as our bodies needs them but can’t make them so we have to get them from a food source. Research suggests that higher intake of omega-3 fats are associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease. Omega 3 fats are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring; nuts especially walnuts, pecans and almonds; seeds especially flaxseed and chia; as well as some vegetable oils including flaxseed, walnut, canola and soybean oils.  The Institute for Medicine recommends that men consume 1.6 grams, women 1.1 grams  and children depending on age consumer between 0.5 and 1.2 grams per day.  Two Tbsp (30 mL) of ground flaxseed provides 3.5 g of omega 3, more then twice the daily recommendation. That’s a good thing!
3. Flaxseed is one of the best Plant Sources of Lignans: Lignans are high in antioxidants and help regulate hormone levels. Research indicates that lignans may help to reduce the risk of breast and prostrate cancer. A recent study also indicated that woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer who consumed a muffin containing 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of flaxseed, showed a significant reduction in tumour growth then those who ate a muffin containing no flaxseed.  Flaxseed may also reduce hot flashes in menopausal woman!  Flaxseeds contain over 75 times more lignans then other plant foods.

Do I need to grind flaxseed?  To get the most nutritional benefit from flaxseed it must be ground. Nutritionally whole seed has the same nutritional profile as ground flaxseed, however, the nutrients are much more available to your body if the tough seed coat is ground up.

Is there a difference between whole ground or milled flaxseed and flax meal?  Packages labeled flax meal can be made of whole ground flaxseed or it can be the meal remaining after flax oil is extract from the seed.  Both are similar nutritionally, in terms of most nutrients like protein, fibre and lignans. However, the meal leftover after the flax oil is removed would be lower in omega 3 fats then whole ground flaxseed.  In cooking they both act the same.

What is the difference between yellow or golden and brown flaxseed? Just the colour.  Nutritionally they are the same.

Should I freeze flaxseed to keep it fresh? Whole flaxseed has a hard seed coat which protects and preserves the seed.  It can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for up to one year. Ground seed is best refrigerated in an opaque container for up to 90 days. That said whole or ground flaxseed can be frozen for an even longer shelf life.

Flaxseed Can Replace Fat in Baking:
Flaxseed can replace all of the fat called for in a recipe because of its high oil content. If a recipe calls for 1/3 cup (75 mL) of oil or butter or other fat then use 1 cup (250 mL) of ground flaxseed to replace it.  Generally, use a  3:1 substitution ratio. When ground flaxseed is used instead of other fats, baked goods tend to be denser and brown more rapidly.

Flaxseed Can Replaces Eggs in Baking:
Vegan bakers often substitute a flaxseed mixture for eggs in baking recipes like pancakes, muffins, and cookies. These baked goods are slightly gummier and chewier than those that use eggs, and the volume is decreased.  Replace each egg with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground flax, plus 3 Tbsp (45 mL) water. Mix ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Add to recipe as you would an egg.

As the texture of the baked good will be different for both of these techniques, it is necessary to test the recipe first to determine if it meets your expectations.

It is easy to add ground flaxseed your yogurt or cereal or smoothie. It can also be added to crusts for meats or your favourite baking recipes. Here are some new baking recipes using ground flaxseed! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies
1½ c. natural peanut butter 375 mL
½ c. margarine or butter 125 mL  
l ¾ c. lightly packed brown sugar 17 5 mL
½ c. granulated sugar 125 mL
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla 15 mL
1 c.  oat flour 250 mL
½  c. unbleached all purpose flour 125 mL
1/3 c. ground flaxseed 75  mL  
1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
½ tsp. salt 2 mL
1 c. old fashioned oats 250 mL
1/3 c. chopped roasted peanuts 75 mL
1/3 c. dried cranberries 75 mL
1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and position rack in centre of oven.
2.    In a large bowl cream peanut butter, margarine, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3.    In a small bowl, combine oat flour, flour, ground flaxseed, baking soda and salt.  Stir and blend into creamed mixture. Add oats, peanuts and cranberries. 
4.    Combine until all ingredients hold together to form a dough. Scoop dough using 1 tbsp. (15 mL) measure, slightly rounded on top.  Press and squeeze dough in palm of your hand to form into 1½ inch (3.5 cm) balls. 
5.    Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with a nonstick cooking oil. Flatten cookies with the back of a floured fork, making a criss cross pattern. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling rack.
Yield:  44 2 1/2 inch (6 cm ) cookies Serving Size:  2 cookies
Recipe Notes:
·      Using a natural peanut butter produces a slightly drier dough but equally delicious cookies.  Any peanut butter can be used.
·      To make oat flour:  In a small blender or coffee mill, process oats until finely ground.
·      Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Crunchy Granola Bars
2/3 c. lightly packed brown sugar 150 mL
1/3 c. unsalted butter 75 mL
1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
1¼ c. quick cooking oats 300 mL  
½ c. ground flaxseed 125 mL
½ c. ground almonds 125 mL
2 tbsp. whole flaxseed 25 mL
1.    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
2.    In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter.  Stir constantly while butter is melting and comes to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. 
3.    Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Add oats, ground flaxseed, almonds and whole flaxseed.  Stir well. Press into a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm pan) that has been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray.
4.    Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown on top and starting to brown around the edges.
5.    Remove from oven and cool. When cool cut into 8 2 x 4 inch (5 cm x 10 cm) bars using a sharp knife and wrap individually.
Yield: 8  2 x 4 inch (5 x 10 cm) bars Serving Size: 1 bar
Recipe Notes:
  • Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
  •      Variation: For a chewier bar reduce brown sugar to 1/3 cup (75 mL), add 1/4 cup (50 mL) liquid honey. Continue as above. It will puff up while baking and will be soft to the touch on top.  Deflates when removed from oven.  Let cool to just warm to the touch before cutting and removing from pan. (It’s harder to remove if left too long in the pan.)
  • Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Saskatoon Oat & Seed Bread
1 c. oat bran 250 mL
½ c. quick cooking oats 125 mL
½ c. whole wheat flour 125 mL
1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
½ tsp. salt   mL  
1/3 c. ground golden flaxseed 75 mL
1/3 c. lightly packed brown sugar 75 mL
¼ c. unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds 50 mL
¼ c. unsalted, toasted pumpkin seeds 50 mL  
2 tbsp. whole golden flaxseed 25 mL  
2 tbsp. sesame seeds 25 mL
2 tbsp. poppy seeds 25 mL
1 ¼ c.s 1% buttermilk 300 mL
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp. canola oil 125 mL
2/3 c. fresh Saskatoon berries or frozen, thawed and drained 150 mL
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and position rack in the centre of the oven.
2.    In a large bowl, combine oat bran, oats, flour, ground flaxseed, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole golden flaxseed, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.  Mix well.
3.    In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and oil.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir until moistened. Gently stir in Saskatoon berries.
4.    Spoon batter into a 9 x 5 inch (22 x 12.5 cm) loaf pan that has been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray.
5.    Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to cooking rack. Cool completely before slicing or wrapping.
Yield:  1 loaf (16 slices) Serving Size:  1/2 inch (1 cm) slice
Recipes Notes:
·      How to toast seeds:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Combine sunflower and pumpkin seeds in pie plate.  Toast 3 minutes, stir, toast 3 minutes, stir again.  If needed, toast another 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Note: delicious slightly toasted.
·      Brown flaxseed may be substituted for golden flaxseed
·      Substitute for buttermilk – 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) 1% milk plus 2 tsp. (10 mL) vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit 5 minutes.
·      Bread may be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Savory Salad Granola
1 c. old fashioned oats 250 mL
¼ c. flaked natural almonds 50 mL
¼ c. whole golden flaxseed 50 mL
¼ c. raw sunflower seeds 50 mL
¼ c. raw pumpkin seeds 50 mL
2 tbsp. agave nectar or liquid honey 25 mL  
1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
2 tsp. salt free roasted garlic seasoning blend 10 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced
dried cranberries, thyme, rosemary (optional)
1.    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees).
2.    In a bowl, combine oats, almonds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, agave nectar, canola oil and garlic.  Stir well. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet.
3.    Bake until golden, 12 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.  Watch carefully so as not to over bake. Remove from oven.  Cool.
Yield:  22 servings Serving Size:  1 tbsp. (15 mL)
Recipe Notes:
·      Serve on salads, cottage cheese, baked sweet potato, etc.
·      Store in an airtight container or sealable bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
·      Agave nectar can be found in large supermarkets in the health food or organic aisle or, in health and bulk food stores.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Caribbean Crunch Muffins
1/3 c. pitted, chopped dates 75 mL
1/3 c. organic, virgin coconut oil, melted 75 mL
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 small) 250 mL
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
1 c. quick cooking oats 250 mL
¾ c. all purpose unbleached flour 175 mL
½ c. chopped pecans 125 mL
1/3 c. unsweetened medium coconut 75 mL
¼ c. ground flaxseed 50 mL
1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
½ tsp. ground cinnamon 2 mL
½ c. quick cooking oats 125 mL
 ¼  c. coconut sugar or brown sugar 50 mL
2 tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil, melted 25 mL 
2 tbsp. finely chopped pecans  25 mL
1 tbsp. unsweetened medium coconut  25  mL 
1.    Soften dates in 2 tbsp. (25 mL) boiling water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Position rack in centre of oven.
2.    In a large bowl beat softened dates and coconut oil.  Blend in banana, eggs and vanilla.
3.    In another bowl, combine oats, flour, pecans, coconut, ground flaxseed, baking soda and cinnamon.  Stir. Add to wet ingredients.  Stir gently until combined. Spoon 1/4 cup (50 mL) into muffin tins that have been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray.
4.    To make topping:  in a bowl combine oats, sugar, coconut oil, pecans and coconut.  Stir well. Sprinkle each muffin with 1 ½ tbsp. (20 mL) topping.
5.    Bake 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool on rack 10 minutes before removing from tins. Remove from tins.  Continue cooling on rack another 15 minutes.
5.Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen up to 2 months.
Yield:  12 muffins Serving Size:  1 muffin
Recipe Notes: 
·      1/3 c. (75 mL) chopped dried mango, papaya, pineapple, etc. can be added to the batter before baking.
·      1/3 c. (75 mL) brown sugar or coconut sugar may be used to replace the softened dates.
·      Non-hydrogenated tub style margarine may be used in the place of the coconut oil.
·      Coconut oil appears white and solid at room temperature.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Golden Crackers
1 ½  c. whole wheat flour 375 mL
½ c. oat bran 125 mL
¼ c. ground golden flax 50 mL 
2 tbsp. whole golden flaxseed 25 mL
½ tsp. baking soda 2  mL
¼ tsp. salt 1 mL
¼ c. canola oil 50 mL 
½ c. 1% buttermilk 125 mL 
1 large egg
1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a bowl, combine flour, oat bran, ground flaxseed, flaxseed, baking soda and salt. Drizzle with canola oil.  Mix well, then work with hands as for pie dough to a crumbly texture.
2.    In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg.  Add to dry mixture. Mix to form a ball of dough.*  Knead about 20 times.
3.    On a lightly floured countertop, roll dough to 12 x 18 inch (30 cm x 45 cm) rectangle. Cut into 2 x 2 inch (5 x 5 cm) squares for a total of 54.
4.    Place squares on large baking sheet that has been sprayed with a non stick cooking spray. Prick tops a few times with a fork.
5.    Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. After cooling, store in an airtight container.
Yield:  54 2 x 2 inch (5 x 5 cm) squares Serving Size:  2 squares.
Recipe Notes: 
·      Variation:  add 2 tsp. (10 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1 tsp. (5 mL ) black pepper.  Substitute olive oil for canola oil.
·      Brown flaxseed may be substituted for golden flaxseed.
·      If you don’t have buttermilk combine 1/2 cup (125 mL ) 1% milk plus 1 tsp. (5 mL) vinegar or lemon juice.  Let stand 5 minutes.
·      Dough should be soft but not stick to your fingers.  If dough is too wet, work in flour 1 tbsp. (15 mL) at a time.  If dough is too dry, add buttermilk 1 tbsp. (15 mL) at a time.
·      Crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax

Greek Oat Bread
1 c. whole wheat flour 250 mL
¾ c. oat flour 175 mL
¼ c. ground flaxseed 50 mL
1 tsp. crushed oregano 5 mL
1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
½ tsp. baking soda 2 mL
½ tsp. granulated garlic 2 mL
¼ c. light crumbled feta cheese 50 mL
2 tbsp. chopped Kalamata olives (about 6) 25 mL
1 c. fat free plain Greek yogurt 250 mL
1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
1 tbsp. liquid honey 15 mL
olive oil, coarse sea salt for garnish (optional):
1.    Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine flour, oat flour, flaxseed, oregano, baking powder, baking soda and garlic.  Stir well. Add feta and olives
2.    In a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, olive oil and honey. Add to dry ingredients, stirring to moisten. With lightly oiled hands, form dough into a ball.
3.    Place on a lightly oiled and floured baking sheet. Pat into a circle 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter and 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Prick all over with a fork.
4.    Bake 12 to 15 minutes until browned on the bottom and lightly browned on top. Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes.
5.    Cut into 8 wedges.  Serve warm with a light drizzle of olive oil and a few grains of coarse sea salt.
Yield:  8 servings Serving Size:  1 wedge
Recipe Notes:
·      Substitute chopped sun dried tomatoes for the olives.
·      Bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
Recipe courtesy of POGA and SaskFlax


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Frittata Frenzy: Brunch for the Family!

It all started with trying to find an easy way to host a large family brunch and it turned into a Frittata Frenzy!  Actually, it was more fun then frenzy with several family members coming early to help chop vegetables and whisk eggs. We got creative with the ingredients and suddenly 3 frittatas turned into 5, including versions for special diet requests.

For those unfamiliar with the frittata, it is an Italian egg dish that is sometimes described as a crustless quiche or pan-sized omelet.  They are super easy to make and once you have the basic recipe then you can easily create your own masterpieces. They are wonderful for brunch but also make a great mid-week supper and are a super way to use up leftovers.

Our brunch was completed with several other family members bringing hot crossed buns, heart shaped waffles, Asparagus Gruyere Tart, fruit salad, hash brown casserole, Greek and quinoa salad and Pecan and Saskatoon pie for dessert.  It was a feast (there were over 30 of us) and with everyone pitching it – not that much work either!

Here are few recipes from our brunch, including a basic frittata recipe.  I hope you try it out and have as much fun creating frittatas as we did! Enjoy!

Basic Frittata Recipe
1 cup protein 250 mL
2 -3 cups mixed vegetables 500 – 750 mL
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 – 2 tsp herbs and or spices 5 – 10 mL
1 – 2 tsp minced garlic 5 – 10 mL
½ - 1 tsp salt 2 – 5 mL
½ - 1 cup shredded or cubed cheese 125 – 250 mL
6 – 8 large eggs (enough to cover ingredients)
Large skillet, cast iron pan or baking pan.
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
2. If protein requires cooking, cook it first and then set aside.
3. In a large nonstick, ovenproof skillet heat canola oil over medium heat. Add vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook.  Cook until vegetables are tender. Drain any excess liquid. Return protein to the skillet.  Stir to combine.
4. Add selected herbs, spices, garlic and salt.  I tend to over season as once you add the eggs the flavor will soften.  Arrange mixture in your skillet, cast iron pan or oiled baking pan. Cover with shredded or cubed cheese.
5.  Whisk eggs together and pour over vegetables and cheese. Ensure the eggs cover the other ingredients and that they settle evenly through the vegetables and cheese to the bottom of the pan.
6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are set.  Timing will depend on which ingredients you use.  It is best to test the frittata by inserting a knife into the middle.  If the eggs are runny cook for a few more minutes; if the eggs are set remove the frittata from the oven.  Cool, for 5 minutes, cut into pieces and serve. 

Protein Ideas: (choose 1)
1 cup diced chicken, beef, pork… 250 mL
1 cup chopped bacon, ham or sausage 250 mL
1 cup chopped smoked salmon 250 mL
1 1/2 cup cubed tofu 375 mL
extra ½ cup shredded or cubed cheese 125 mL

Vegetable Ideas: (choose 2 or 3)
1 onion, diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 cups spinach or kale 500 mL
1 potato, sliced
1 green, yellow or red pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced
8 – 10 cherry tomatoes, No need to precook these.
½ cup shredded carrot 125 mL
1 cup chopped cauliflower or broccoli or zucchini 250 mL
1 cup leftover potatoes (or rice/pasta) or 250 mL

Seasoning Ideas: Basil, red pepper flakes, tarragon, oregano, chili powder, Dijon mustard
Cheese Ideas: Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, sharp cheddar, Gruyere, Emmental, Monterey Jack, feta, ricotta, mozzarella

Here are the ingredients we used for our frittatas.  Because we were cooking for a bunch we used baking pans. Not only did they serve more but also we could fit more in the oven at one time. We oiled them before using and then simply filled each pan not quite ¾ full of vegetables, chees and protein. Then we whisked about 8 to 10 eggs for each pan. Just ensure that the eggs almost cover everything.

Frittata Frenzy #1: Bacon, broccoli, Monterey Jack, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Frittata Frenzy #2: Sausage, spinach, peppers, mushrooms and sharp cheddar cheese, garlic and oregano
Frittata Frenzy #3: Smoked salmon, asparagus, shredded carrot, tarragon mustard and Emmental cheese
Frittata Frenzy #4: Ham, Gruyere cheese, shredded carrot tomatoes, peppers, garlic and basil
Frittata Frenzy #5: Bacon, onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Ricotta cheese, kale and red pepper flakes

Hash Brown Casserole
There are never any leftovers with this dish. There are many versions of this casserole. This one is based on Campbell Soups’ recipe. I have also seen recipes that include bacon, red peppers and even green chilies.
1 pkg. (1 kg) frozen hash browns, thawed
1 can (10 fl oz/284 mL) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup light sour cream 250 mL
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted 125 mL
½ tsp ground black pepper 2 mL
2 cups mozza-cheddar blend shredded cheese, divided 500 mL
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes 125 mL
1.    Heat oven to 350 F (180 C).
2.    In a large bowl, hash browns, soup, sour cream, onion, butter, pepper and 1 cup (250 mL) cheese; mix lightly.
3.    Spoon into 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) oiled baking dish. Top with corn flakes and remaining cheese.
4.    Bake 40 to 45 min. or until hot and bubbling.

Whole-Grain Waffles with Strawberry Rhubarb Topping
Ellie Krieger of the Food Network originally developed this recipe. It is perfect for a spring brunch as these waffles are served with a tasty strawberry-rhubarb sauce.
1/2 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into ½-inch -(1 cm-) pieces 125 mL
1 Tbsp orange juice 15 mL
3 Tbsp maple syrup 45 mL
1½ cup strawberries, quartered 375 mL 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 175 mL
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour 175 mL
2 Tbsp toasted wheat germ 30 mL
1¼ tsp baking powder 6 mL
1/2tsp baking soda 2 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt 125 mL
1 cup nonfat milk 250 mL
2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
1 Tbsp maple syrup 15 mL
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 mL
Canola oil cooking spray
Confectioner’s sugar for garnish (optional) 
1.    To make topping: In saucepan, combine rhubarb, orange juice and maple syrup. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for five minutes until rhubarb has softened and starts to break down. Add strawberries. Return to boil and then reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have softened and liquid is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
2.    To make waffles: Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. In large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, canola oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ones, mixing only enough to combine. 
3.    Spray waffle iron with canola oil cooking spray and ladle batter onto waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. Close waffle maker and cook batter until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar, if using. Serve with strawberry topping. 
Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 1 large, Belgium-style waffle or two regular waffles and 1/4 cup (60 mL) topping.

Three Citrus Mint Dressing on Seasonal Fresh Fruits
Cookbook author George Geary developed this recipe. The light and zesty dressing is like a mint pesto and really compliments fresh seasonal fruit.
8 cups sliced fresh seasonal fruits (melon and berries) 2L
1/2 cup canola oil 125 mL
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped fine 75 mL
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice 30 mL
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 30 mL
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 30 mL
2 tsp poppy seeds 10 mL
1. In large bowl, combine fruit. Set aside. 
2. In small saucepan, heat oil on low to about 120 °F (50 °C) or until just heated. Turn off flame and add chopped mint. (It may sizzle.) Let sit to infuse for 1 hour and to cool down. 

3. In food processor bowl fitted with metal blade, process orange, lemon and lime juice. Add oil/mint mixture and process until fine, about 45 seconds. Toss over fruit with poppy seeds. Stir to evenly coat. Serve. 

Yield: 16 servings. Serving size: 1/2 cup (125 mL).

Asparagus Gruyere Tart
When I was searching for recipe ideas for the brunch. I came across this one on  It was so pretty I had to try it.  I accidently bought phyllo dough rather then puff pastry dough.  The phyllo dough worked out fine (no flour required). I used about 6 or 8 phyllo sheets, which I brushed with melted butter as I layered them.
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 ½ oz (2 cups) Gruyere Cheese, shredded 500 mL
1 ½ lbs medium or thick asparagus 750 g
1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
Salt and pepper
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
STEP 2: Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Source: Everyday Food, March/April 2003 via