Culinary Goods

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culinary goods

Welcome to Culinary Goods a journal written by Trevor Walker. It includes a growing collection of simple recipes that I refer to when cooking for our own family and some reflections on (mostly) culinary topics. Feel free to post comments and share your own family's tried and true recipes.

Christine’s Italian Bread


A while back one of my former professors at U-Vic made a posting to comment on the closing of the store and to share a favourite recipe.   It’s been a long time since I was a student in the School of Environmental Studies and it’s really nice to feel the ongoing support of the community there.  Thanks to Nancy Turner and Christine Scott for sharing this recipe:

2 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
about 4-5 cups white flour (or whole wheat, and add oatmeal, cornmeal, sunflower seeds, flax seed or other)

Add yeast, sugar and salt to warm water and let sit until yeast is dissolved. Add flour (and other option ingredients), slowly until a thick dough consistency is reached, then knead 50-100 times, until dough is smooth (smear your hands with olive oil to prevent dough sticking to fingers). When dough is in a large ball, place in large bowl, coated with olive oil. Brush with oil, and cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Divide dough in half, form into two oblong loaves, and place on cookie sheet, well spaced. (sprinkle corn meal or oatmeal on sheet to prevent loaves from sticking). Slash loaves with diagonal cuts, and place loaves into cold oven. Set temperature to 400 degrees and bake about 45 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

Tonight I made Christine’s Italian bread and we ate it with bowls of Portuguese Fish Soup.  I typically make ‘no-knead’ breads but tonight much enjoyed the bit of kneading, shorter rising, and lack of a resting period in this recipe.  I chose to use a cup of spelt flour, a cup of Vancouver Island Red Spring Wheat (from True Grain), and two cups of regular organic white flour.  It was great with the soup and I’m looking forward to slicing up the remaining bread and toasting it tomorrow morning.

posted January 10, 2012 in All Recipes, breads

Brioche Cinnamon Buns with Chocolate


On Wednesday evening I made dough for brioche (click for the recipe) from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook and on Thursday morning we let it rise, popped it in the oven, and soon were enjoying a wonderful sweet buttery loaf with our coffee.  The recipe following the link doesn’t detail the actual baking of the loaf: place in a bread pan (butter it unless it’s non-stick - see note below), allow to rest for an hour and 20 minutes, preheat oven to 350 degrees, brush the top of the loaf with an egg which has been beaten with 1 tbsp water, and then bake the loaf for about 40 minutes.

So far we’ve baked several recipes from the cookbook including the basic Boule recipe, the Caraway Swirl Rye, Crusty White Sandwich Loaf, and the Olive Oil Dough (our standard for pizza).  The Portuguese Fish Stew recipe was good too. Flipping through it I’m excited to see we still have many new recipes to experience such as: Babka, Panettone (for next season), Almond Brioche ‘Bostock’, Challah, Lavash, Pretzels, and Oatmeal Bread (I’ll be making this one soon).

We often use a pizza stone and peal for the Boule recipe but we also have great success with our Kaiser loaf pan.  The authors state that a pan with a non-stick coating is essential for their method but I find that with a little oil or butter on the Kaiser pan (which doesn’t have the non-stick coating but is evenly dimpled) the loaves come out without much effort.

I halved the brioche recipe to make dough for two loaves.  Anton has been asking for cinnamon buns (he remembers the ones we used to get from Sally Bun, which was so temptingly near the store) so this morning Erica used the second round of dough to make decadent brioche cinnamon buns with chocolate (my fuzzy photo of them above).  She was inspired by a recipe for Cinnamon-Nut Buns on the Martha Stewart website. Erica substituted the brioche dough for the dinner roll dough used in the recipe.  The result was fantastic. There is only one left and I’m doing my best not to reach for it now.

In my e-mail today I received a link to a beautiful video on the Art of Bread-Making from Kinfolk Magazine.

Dutch Oven Bread from Kinfolk on Vimeo.

Wishing you many moments of grace and contentment in 2012 - and hopefully many fresh warm loaves too!

posted December 31, 2011 in breads, with coffee

Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes


One of our favourite meals is Aloo Gobi (Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes) from the incredible The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking: Lord Krishna’s Cuisine by Yamuna Devi.  It would take us a lifetime to try all the great recipes in this cookbook and we often look to it for inspiration when faced with an odd assortment of vegetables in our weekly organics box.  Aloo Gobi has made me look upon cauliflower with eager anticipation.

We are in the midst of a kitchen reno (hole in the roof is patched but there is still a rather large gaping hole in the ceiling - much more work to be done) and most of our cookbooks are packed safely away.  I googled “Yamuna Devi, Aloo Gobi” and received 1480 results - not a difficult recipe to find!  I suspect that this is a much loved recipe in many households.

Yamuna Devi (1987). The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking: Lord Krishna’s Cuisine. Illustrations by David Baird. New York, New York: Bala Books.

Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes (Aloo Gobi)

5 Servings

  • 2 hot green chilies, minced
  • 1 1/2″ piece of ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (or 2 tablespoons each vegetable oil & butter)
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium cauliflower in florets
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped coriander

Combine chilies, ginger, cumin seeds & mustard seeds in a small bowl. Heat ghee in a large pot. When hot, add the spices. When the mustard seeds start to pop, drop in the potatoes and cauliflower. Fry for 4 minutes or so.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, sugar, salt and half the minced coriander. Mix well, cover and gently heat for 15 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick, add a few drops of water. Top with remaining coriander and serve.

Click here to read a wonderful profile of Yamuna Devi.

posted November 27, 2011 in All Recipes, comfort food

Pumpkin Biscotti - by Bobbie Holob

photo by Bobbie Holob

photo by Bobbie Holob

Hey pumpkin bumpkins, “Seasons Greetings”!

I smell a theme…..just found the recent plenty-posts and thought I would join in. You know me - love a theme and what better! These ‘pumpkin spice biscotti’ turned out quite good but were chewy versus the normal crunchy. They have been enjoyed and more so with a favorite cuppa!

TW: Bobbie followed a Pumpkin Biscotti recipe submitted by Garrett McCord to Simply Recipes. Garrett recommends enjoying the biscotti with a warm cup of chai or espresso.

–  Bobbie, thanks for the photo and inspiration to try my hand at biscotti.

posted October 28, 2011 in All Recipes, Fall recipes, with coffee

Halloween Pasta

Photo: Harald Bischoff,

Photo: Harald Bischoff,

Here’s another pumpkin recipe to celebrate the season.  We had pumpkin left over from the Lentil Soup with Pumpkin and Fennel that I last posted.  It’s little known that roasted pumpkin (other squash as well) makes for a great pasta sauce.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 400g / 1 lb pumpkin, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • a few sprigs thyme, leaves snipped (optional)
  • pepper, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste (optional)
  • a splash of water or white wine
  • 400g dried pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • grated parmesan
  • toasted pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts
  1. heat olive oil and sweat the onion, ~ 10 min.
  2. add garlic, pumpkin, salt, thyme and cover & cook over low heat until disintegrated into a course puree (add water or wine as needed to prevent it from drying out), ~ 35 min. stirring occasionally
  3. once cooked, season with pepper & nutmeg
  4. while the pumpkin is cooking boil water for your choice of pasta (was wonderful with rigatoni tonight) and prepare as directed
  5. when the pasta has finished drain it and return to its pot with butter, stir to melt and coat the pasta
  6. mix in the pumpkin mixture
  7. divide into warmed bowls and top with the parmesan and toasted nuts.
posted October 24, 2011 in All Recipes, Fall recipes

Lentil Soup with Pumpkin and Fennel (for 4)

Over the next month I’ll start posting recipes here that I plan to use as our family’s standards (and some special ones for the seasons).  Erica is finished her maternity leave soon and I’ll be keeping the home fires burning during the day until Viola starts kindergarden.  The recipes will in general be fairly straight forward and reasonably quick.  Our diet is largely vegetarian but fish and the odd poultry recipe may make the cut.  They will be categorized not by ingredient but instead with an indication of when I’m likely to want to make the recipe (i.e.: Monday evening, school lunch, Fall, rainy day…).  It’s a method of categorization that is loosely inspired by Stereomood.  We try to eat in season and cook with what arrives in our weekly Share Organics box but generally when I cook it comes down to what I am in the mood for (hopefully that’ll most often correspond with the season and what’s at hand).
So here it goes, this Fall recipe used the pumpkin we picked up at the Moss Street Market last week.  It comes from Erica’s handwritten recipe journal and she notes that it originates from Katherine and Ken’s Books for Cooks Test Kitchen Cookbook (I’m not sure which version or which cookbook Books for Cooks was testing it from… like all great recipes it’s been passed along).  I remember Katherine telling us to be sure to remove the seeds from the lemon as they can impart a terrible taste to the soup - so I’ll add that note to the recipe below.
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 cup Du Puy lentils
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 240 g / 8 oz pumpkin (one grown to be eaten, not carved into a jack-o-lantern), diced
  • 1/2 lemon sliced (remove seeds)
  • flat leaf parsley, very roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper
  1. heat olive oil & gently sweat the onion with 1/4 tsp salt until softened, ~10 min.
  2. add fennel & cook 5 min.
  3. add lentils & fennel seeds, pour in boiling stock & simmer 30 min.
  4. add pumpkin, lemon slices, 3/4 of the parsley, & cook for ~20 min., until pumpkin and lentils are tender.
  5. add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. ladle into warmed soup bowls & serve with a spoonful of olive oil and parsley to taste.

posted October 20, 2011 in All Recipes, Fall recipes


Letter from Rachel Berman

A letter from Rachel

One of the really nice things about Plenty is that it brings us into contact with remarkable people.  Artist Rachel Berman adopted Plenty several years ago, took us under her wing, became our Patron Saint, and then almost as suddenly as she appeared she was back in Toronto.

We weren’t completely left in the lurch though as she is a prodigious writer and kept in touch with us and with the rest of the community that she had formed around her in Victoria.

Well, Rachel is here again and - Plenty’s Patron Saint is back.  An upcoming exhibition features some of the letters that she sent back to Victoria. It’ll give you a sense of Rachel’s community here and the art that permeates her life and relationships.   Somewhere Somehow Somewhen (November 25th to December 24th,  Dales Gallery) also includes recent works by Denise Nicholls and GJ Pearson.

To view the recipe that Rachel includes in the “dear really dears” letter shown at the top of this page please scroll down.


Sole Albert Premier


posted November 5, 2010 in All Recipes

Corn Husk Boats

Corn Husk Boat by Shelora Sheldan

Corn Husk Boats (with roast chicken, gravy, roasted vegetables and sautéed mushrooms, and finished with cream sherry). Photo and meal by Shelora Sheldan.

Hey, sailor!

If you’re not up for making tamales, dried corn husks, a common wrapper used for those delectable snacks, can be reconfigured as a fun container to hold rice or salad.
Have you noticed the unusual corn husks at Plenty (usually placed near our rice, masa harina and tortilla presses) and wondered what to do with them?  They are generally used for tamales but Shelora Sheldan suggests another creative use.  She recently featured instructions for Corn Husk Boats in her blog, Cooking with a Broad.  Thanks Shelora for sharing this!
Also, have a look at some of the colourful and mouth watering posts from Shelora & Bill’s new year trip to Mexico (select ‘newer post’ at the bottom to progress through each entry from the trip) and the recipe for Stuffed Chilie Pasilla de Oaxaca!
posted June 11, 2010 in All Recipes

Fathers Favourite Foods - by Bobbie Holob

Bobbie & George

Bobbie & George visiting Hungary

Working at one of the greatest little food emporiums Victoria ever had, leaves me with thoughts of food as Father’s Day (June 20, 2010) approaches…hmmmm what would our customers consider for their Father’s Day purchases?

My next thoughts are about my own Dad’s favorites and what he would have liked.  I think it would be our peanut butter filled pretzels and an authentic black licorice rope.  I remember days of licorice (all kinds but mostly black), pretzels, peanut brittle, all sorts of nuts and sunflower seeds in the shell. Those were saved for (open window) long road trips when I was a kid in the backseat of the blue Buick…ducking those sticky shells flying back at me!  My Dad was an elementary school principal and as a family we always had entire summers off.  I was fortunate to have a family that loved spontaneous travel and adventure.  I did far more than the average kid and realize now how lucky I was.

If I had to think what I have inherited from my Dad, I might be inclined to think it’s his silly (perhaps not always tasteful) sense of humour.  Dad’s was borderline corny!  I hope mine is not so bad.  Honestly though, I find myself resorting to humour sometimes more than I should.  Blame it on Dad. I love you Dad.


posted June 7, 2010 in All Recipes

Cooking Like a Hungarian - by George Zador


The native cuisine of Hungary is one of the most diversified and flavorful of Europe yet most people associate it only with goulash and paprikash. Among the many signature dishes Hungary is renowned for, the simple lecso (pronounced ‘lecho’) seem to fly under the radar perhaps because it is used so widely and so much the basis for stews, sautés and sauces that making it is akin to boiling an egg to Hungarians.

A healthy, vitamin packed dish of stewed peppers, tomatoes and onions that tastes superb and is endlessly versatile, quick and easy to make to eat fresh or for canning in jars, rates it as Hungarian soul food. (It certainly is in my soul)


posted June 7, 2010 in All Recipes
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