Roasted Squab with Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, and Italian Seasoning

I wanted to start this post off with a witty comment about being at the end of the school year and so poor I had to resort to eating pigeons… but when I calculated the approximate cost of the meal, it became very apparent that this meal is a bit on the expensive side of my usual budget.

Loki thinks this dinner is for her

Loki thinks this dinner is for her

A few weeks ago we were selling squab at work. I wasn’t quite sure what it was at first, but not entirely surprised when I was told it was domesticated pigeon. Naturally, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided I needed to try it, even though I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. It looked kind of like a small chicken, so I thought that roasting it might be nice (and the evenings have cooled off enough that I can justify turning on my oven again). The recipe that caught my eye called for the squab to be marinated and grilled, so I adapted it. I didn’t have time to marinate the squab, so I skipped that step. And I roasted the squab whole instead of breaking it into pieces and marinating it.

Loki must be thinking: "Food Girl, this smells like chicken, my favourite. You're going to share, right?"

Loki must be thinking: “Food Girl, this smells like chicken, my favourite. You’re going to share, right?”

So, what did I think of it once it was cooked? It was yummy! The squab is all dark meat, tasting similar to chicken/turkey.  The balsamic and honey was very nice basted over the squab as it cooked. The sweet and tangy sauce was good, but had mostly evaporated by the time the squab was fully cooked, so I’d probably take the time to marinate the squab next time I make it.

Roasted Squab with Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, and Italian Seasoning

Adapted from Honey-Thyme Squab from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 squab – approximate cost $11.50
  • 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon honey – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 3/4 cup water

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rise whole squab well.
  3. Place in baking dish.
  4. Pour water over squab.
  5. Drizzle honey and balsamic vinegar over the squab.
  6. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and sea salt.
  7. Bake breast side down and covered until mostly cooked through.
  8. Baste squab in liquid.
  9. Flip squab so the breast is facing up.
  10. Turn oven to broil.
  11. Uncover and return squab to oven.
  12. Broil until skin is crispy and squab is cooked through.
  13. Remove from oven.
  14. Allow squab to rest for a few minutes.
  15. Serve with sides of roasted potatoes and green beans.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $6.20 per serving).

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Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint Smoothie

I’ve had a smoothie almost every day this summer. They’re really a great breakfast. Filling and nutritious, yet easy to prepare (and to take on the road if you’re in a hurry). I try to keep things interesting by combining different ingredients. I usually start with a liquid, such as water, chilled tea, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk. Add whatever fruit I have on hand. Greens of some sort, such as spinach, kale, or cucumbers, Sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey if the flavours are tart. Maybe a spoon of cacao, maca powder, or chia seeds to make it extra healthy.

What is maca powder, you ask? Maca is “a highly nutrient-dense whole food, as it is packed with vitamins, plant sterols, many essential minerals, amino acids and healthy fats. This is a particularly powerful and balanced food for athletes and those who are looking to combat stress or increase stamina” (Navita Naturals). I learned about Maca at the Raw Food Workshop last year. Chef Shaidle told us of the many benefits of eating maca. The first few times I included it in a smoothie, I hated the taste. So I put less in, hoping that the other flavours would overpower it. Though, I’ve found that I’ve come to enjoy it (still in moderate amounts).

Maca powder gives smoothies a strong flavour. If you dislike or don’t have maca powder, you can easily leave it out. If it’s your first time using maca powder, use about half of what this recipe calls for.

If you eat maca, how do you add maca powder to your food? I’d like to know how I can use this other than in smoothies!

Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon, cut into 1 inch pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch pieces – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 heaping teaspoon maca powder – approximate cost $0.70
  • 1 tablespoon honey – approximate cost $0.50
  • Handful of mint leave, reserve 4 pieces for garnish – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 6 ice cubes

Method

  1. Place the watermelon, cucumber, maca, honey, mint leaves, and water in a blender.
  2. Blend until ingredients are well-combined
  3. Add ice cubes.
  4. Blend until ice cubes are crushed and mixed well into smoothie.
  5. Pour into two serving glasses.
  6. Gently rub the mint leave to release flavour.
  7. Garnish with reserved mint leaves.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $2.10 per serving).

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The Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Pumpkin pie is one of my favourites. It rivals my grandmother’s apple pie and nana’s lemon-meringue pie. I think I generally enjoy these pies because they’re not very sweet.Because Thanksgiving is a special occasion, it requires that I prepare a dessert. This is an infrequent task on my part. I usually don’t want sweets and am reluctant to make a pastry. It never seems to turn out quite right. I’m sure I’d get better with practice, or if I followed the directions a bit more closely. Or, I can opt for a recipe, such as the one I found on Oh She Glows, which omits the pastry altogether and uses a pecan-based crust.

I liked this pie and crust recipe because it was flexible. It allowed me to substitute ingredients I had on hand instead of buying something I would use just this once (e.g. honey instead of brown rice syrup). On top of that, it’s very easy to put together because both the crust and the filling are prepared in the food processor.

B and I enjoyed the pie so much that we ended up eating it for breakfast the next day.

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

Adapted from Oh She Glows (Note: The original recipe is vegan. This recipe is not.)

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 cup oats – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 cups raw pecans – approximate cost $4.00
  • 2 tablespoon sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 tablespoon ground flax – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 cup honey – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75

For the filling

  • 1 large can of puréed pure pumpkin – approximate cost $1.75
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup – approximate cost $0.75
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.75

Method

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the crust.
    1. Place the oats in the food processor and process until they become a powder/flour.
    2. Add the pecans, sugar, flax, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and process until the pecans are chopped into fine pieces.
    3. Add the honey and the coconut oil. Process until the entire mixture is sticky and begins to form a ball.
    4. Divide mixture into two and press firmly into two 10 inch pie baking pans.
    5. Bake crust for about 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the filling.
    1. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in the food processor and process until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Putting it together.
    1. Divide the filling into half and pour the mixture over the prepared crusts.
    2. Bake for 30-45 minutes (the top should start to brown slightly).

The original recipe suggests refrigerating the pie for at least 3 hours. We enjoyed the pie fresh out of the oven topped with whipped cream and it was fantastic. It was also great when served cold the next day.

Makes 2 pies, about 16 slices (approximate cost: $1.16 per slice).

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