Chasing Tomatoes


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Win a YEAR'S worth of pasta: Cooking with Lynn Crawford and Catelli Ancient Grains Pasta

Last week I was invited to join a bunch of other bloggers and Food Network chef Lynn Crawford at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts to cook and learn about an awesome new line of pasta that Catelli® has launched in Western Canada-Healthy Harvest® Ancient Grains!

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Did you know I've secretly wished for years that I had attended culinary school? To be there with Lynn Crawford made me ridiculously excited-Kevin and I had seen her last year at Eat Vancouver, and she's a very funny lady. I was so thrilled that Catelli® had invited me! It's always quite the trek to go into Vancouver, but culinary school + Lynn Crawford ( I love Pitchin' In) = me happily driving 3 hours return in the rain, no problem. I did get terribly lost for the first time EVER, but that's a whole different story.

Lynn Crawford 40

We started off learning about ancient grains while Lynn passed around bowls of the different kinds of grain contained in the pasta-teff, amaranth, quinoa, millet, and sorghum. Lynn even heated up a pan, threw in a little oil, and then the sorghum to show us how it pops just like mini popcorn. Of course it popped all over the place, jumping out of the pan here and there like mini missiles.

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There may have been a little discussion about fire extinguishers. Why is it every time I see Lynn in person, there is talk of fire extinguishers?

Eat Vancouver, 2014. Note that Lynn is holding a fire extinguisher.
  Anyway. I digress.These ancient grains are really, REALLY good for you. They have all sorts of health benefits such as being high in fiber and iron, protein to helping control blood pressure, lowering the risk of diabetes, and more.  We really should be eating more of them. Well, you say, this is all well and good and I know I should be eating healthier grains, but how does it taste?  That's the true test for me, really. Anyone can tell me that something is good for me, but if it tastes like cardboard it's totally a no go.

Honestly, this stuff is really delicious. As in, I think I'd make a switch and just cook with the Ancient Grains pasta all the time. My guys here at home don't really eat pasta-I think John won't because he feels it's not all that healthy, but he'd really like this version.  Some of the culinary school staff came out with various bowls of pasta, cooked at 7 min, 8 min, and 9 min. It wasn't gummy or gluey like I find whole wheat pasta can be, but rather had a slight nutty flavour and a bit of chew to it without being too chewy.  Next, we had a little taste of the pasta with a spicy marinara sauce and again with a bit of pesto.

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Of course, we had some fun with the pesto. Amy Bronee from Family Feedbag rocked out with Lynn to Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass", but we all changed "bass" to "basil". Because with pesto, it really is ALL about the basil. Am I right?   Now every time I hear that song, all I'm going to see is Amy and Lynn dancing around a food processor singing about pesto. (you can catch the video here on the Vancouver Sun)

Next up, we hit the kitchen and made a chilled noodle salad with ginger wasabi dressing that Lynn had created for Catelli®. There's so much veggies and good stuff in this salad that it really looks beautiful once you have it all in the bowl and toss it. Did I mention that cooking is just downright fun?

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Catelli® launched this pasta in Western Canada this January-you can get spaghetti, spaghettini and rotini. It is GMO free certified/Non GMO project verified, contains no preservatives, and has 75% of your daily recommended whole grain servings in each 85g serving. How awesome is that? Besides all that awesomeness, it just tastes really good. My family inhaled the pasta I brought home, and even the kids in my cooking program loved the noodles. I plan to make up a recipe for them to try once we're back from Spring Break.

Get the recipe for Lynn's Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing HERE.

Lynn Crawford 388
We were having some serious fun in that kitchen.

Even better, YOU can actually WIN some pasta from me and Catelli®! Isn't that awesome?!

Win a ONE YEAR supply of Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Ancient Grains Pasta!  

Leave me a comment telling me how you like your pasta best (Alfredo? With a meaty sauce?Vegified?) right here on Chasing Tomatoes. Only one entry here per person.

But.. you can get another entry if you tweet "Win 1 yr supply of #Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta with @scatteredmom ! " only 1 tweet per person.

I'll be running this contest until March 31, at 11:59pm (PST). The winner will be drawn at random. Canadian residents only. The winner will be drawn at random and announced on social media. Please make sure to leave an email address so that I know how to contact you if you win.


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Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing

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This salad is amazing. When I was at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts cooking it, I carefully followed all the instructions and at one point stopped because it looked so beautiful. All those luscious veggies just sitting in a bowl, waiting to be tossed with pasta. Total thing of beauty.


Then Lynn came over and I suspect in an effort not to let any of the extra veg laying around go to waste, she began tossing more in my bowl.

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"How about some green onions? Hm. Maybe some cabbage? Red pepper?" In went bowl after bowl and my salad grew to ENORMOUS proportions. My eyes grew wide.

"Uh, Lynn? I don't think my family will eat this much." I have a teenager and a very picky husband at home, and this salad was enough to feed a whole pile of people.

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"Share it with the kids at school!" Lynn then began adding things to my dressing jar. "Trust me, I'm a chef."

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Well. If you can't trust Lynn in the kitchen, who can you trust? She mixed and tossed, and soon my salad was this beautiful, enormous bowl of goodness. We packed it up into containers and the next day, I *did* share it with my 10 year old little chefs at school. You know what? They weren't so sure about the vegetables, but they LOVED the noodles. Staff loved the salad and requested the recipe, my family inhaled huge portions, and I have to say-it was a total hit. I'll definitely make this again, more likely when the weather has turned warm and I don't really want to cook. I think adding a little shrimp or even shredded chicken would make it better, or a little drizzle of hot sauce on top? HEAVEN.

Before you get too far, check out this post where I have a contest going and you can win ONE YEAR'S worth of pasta from Catelli!

This recipe was developed by Lynn Crawford for Catelli®Healthy Harvest® Ancient Grains pasta. Reproduced with permission.

Makes 4 servings
Cook Time: 8 min
Prep Time: 10 min

one 340 g package Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Ancient Grains Spaghettini
2 cups snow peas, sliced diagonally
2 cup shelled edamamae
1 small English cucumber
2 cups napa cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup red pepper, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tbsp black sesame seeds

Ginger Wasabi Dressing:

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
wasabi to taste.

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well. Rinse under cold water until chilled; transfer to large bowl and set aside.

2. In pot of boiling water, cook snowpeas and edamame until tender-crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water until well chilled; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, halve the cucumber lengthwise and use the end of a spoon to scoop and discard seeds; cut cucumber into julienne strips.

4. Add the cucumber, snow peas, edamamae, Napa cabbage, red pepper, green onions, and avocado to the noodles; toss with enough dressing to coat. 

Ginger Wasabi dressing:

In a mason jar measure the rice vinegar, canola oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, sesame oil, fresh ginger and wasabi. Tightly screw on a lid and shake well until it's well mixed. Season with more wasabi if you feel it needs some.

5. Garnish the salad with cilantro and black sesame seeds. you can also chill the salad for 1-4 hours if you have the time.

Per serving: 590 calories, 19g fat,  0 mg cholesterol, 710 mg sodium, 84 carbohydrates, 145g fibre, 13 g sugar, 21 g protein

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Michael Smith's Weekend Pancakes with Strawberry Compote


Cooking with kids, especially ones who aren't your own, is always a bit of a challenge. You never know what their previous experience with food is; do they have issues with textures? Are they used to only eating white food? Will they have a meltdown if you cut out sugar? I feel like everything is always a gamble-and that's totally okay, I'm up for the challenge.

Back in 2013 I sat in a hotel lobby with Chef Michael Smith and he lit up as he told me about his family's weekly pancake ritual; how his daughter fishes around the bowl for the egg yolks and has become the expert egg cracker. This stayed with me for so long that when I was asked to put together a cooking program from my students at work, the first thing I had to make (as an homage to my inspiration, of course) was his pancakes from Family Meals.

I'll admit, I wasn't sure how they'd go over with the kids. Would they revolt at whole wheat pancakes? Besides THAT, I had greatly reduced their beloved syrup and made a strawberry compote to top the hot pancakes with. Would that be something to cause a mutiny?  Well. if anything, I've been reminded this week that kids will surprise you, especially if you just throw stuff out there and let them decide for themselves. Never assume they won't like something-one day they wanted to eat a Meyer lemon!

pancake by Zach
Pancake cooked and plated by one of my lovely 10 yr olds
We mixed and flipped and the kids were so into it and excited (and took it so seriously!) that when it came time to eat, they sat around the table and each gobbled no less than THREE pancakes each, declaring them delicious. Not just that but they took giant spoonfuls of strawberries and begged for more. They couldn't believe that the sweet compote was just berries with a little sugar.

"That's it? Just berries? They are YUMMY."  I'm quite sure they would've eaten it by the spoonful.

Calling our introduction into cooking a giant success doesn't even come close to the happiness that was in the kitchen that morning.

Thank you so much for the inspiration, Michael. I can't think of a better way to kick off our twice weekly cooking adventures. (and for the rest of you, buy Family Meals. It's a GREAT cookbook)

Ingredients for the pancakes:

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups milk (I like buttermilk but regular milk will do)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vanilla

Ingredients for the strawberry compote:

4 cups frozen strawberries
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar (more or less to taste)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. In a different bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, honey and vanilla.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

4. On  a hot, greased griddle, drop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter, spreading it out a little. These pancakes cook up nice and thick. Wait until you see some little bubbles forming on the pancake before checking the underside to see if it's browned. When it is, flip the pancake over and cook the other side.

5. Keep your pancakes warm on a baking sheet in a 200 F oven until you are finished cooking them all, or give them to the kids hot off the griddle. Serve with the berry compote, fresh bananas, and real maple syrup.


Strawberry Compote:

1. Thaw the strawberries. Pour them and the juice in a medium sized pot over medium low heat and bring them to a simmer. Mash them up with a potato masher, leaving some chunks. Add in the sugar to taste. If you want to get all fancy, you could add a little lemon juice and zest, too. Simmer the strawberries for about 5 minutes, stirring.

2. In a small dish combine the cornstarch and cold water. Stirring, pour it into the strawberries and continue to cook them until they thicken slightly . Remove from the heat and let them cool.

**make ahead** you can make the strawberry compote with just about any kind of frozen berry, let it cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge to be used the next day. When you want to use it just heat it up on low, stirring.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Homemade Cereal Snack Mix

Alright, alright. I realizethat most normal people post about cereal snack mixes around Christmas time, and this may seem a little bit weird to you but believe me; cereal mixes are not just for Christmas. They are for every day. Every day that you have to pack lunches for your kids, or want something a bit salty and crunch to nosh on, these mixes are the perfect thing.

I ADORE this snack mix. Over the holidays I made it at LEAST 4 times and each time, we devoured the batch in a few days. It's just buttery enough, with a bit of spice, but not too salty or greasy that you feel guilty. The crunch and the flavour is just perfect.

Kids will love this in their lunch, and I think it's likely FAR better for you than the pre-packed stuff that is full of artificial things and MSG. The cool thing is that you can also limit the salt, if that's an issue for you. It may seem expensive to buy all these different cereals to make the mix, but you'll have enough to make about 2-3 batches which will last for quite awhile.

See, now all this talk about snack mix is a problem. It has me craving more, and now I may have to just go buy some cereal.

(seriously, this stuff is addictive. Make some!)



6 cups Crispex
3 cups plain Cheerios
2 cups Shreddies
1 1/2 cups goldfish crackers
2 cups pretzel rods, broken in half

Butter drizzle:

2/3 cup butter (or about 5 oz)
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp seasoned salt
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne


Heat oven to 250 F.  Position your racks in the middle of the oven as best you can.

In a large bowl, toss together the Crispex, Cheerios, Shreddies, goldfish, and pretzels. Transfer them to a very large 9x13 inch baking dish, if you can.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat until smooth. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, paprika and cayenne.

Drizzle the butter mixture over the cereal, tossing and mixing as you go. Try to get things evenly coated-you may even have to get in there with clean hands, tossing away.

Spread the cereal out on two rimmed baking sheets and put them in the oven.

The cereal needs to bake about an hour. Give them both a good stir and swap them between racks every 15 minutes. This will help the mixture to cook evenly. Once they are dry and crisp, remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Store the cereal mix in an airtight container. It will last about a week or so, but I doubt you'll need to worry about it hanging around that long.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gordon Ramsay's Spiced Sausage Rice

spicy sausage rice

This meal hits all the right points-loads of flavour, fast, filling, and so easy to make, it's sure to fit into the regular rotation at your dinner table. Similar to jambalaya, it's one of those things that you can put together and then leave on the stove to simmer away while you toss a salad or tend to something else.

I used mild Italian sausage that I found on sale for only $3 a pound, but you can substitute whatever fresh sausage you like. Want more spice? Use chorizo or hot Italian. Does a local market offer a fantastic homemade sausage? Try that. You really can play around to see what you like best.


1 red onion, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into chips
1 hot chile pepper (optional)
1 lb fresh sausage (I used mild Italian)
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup long grain white rice
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock  (if you have white wine, substitute 1/2 cup chicken stock for wine)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1. In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, saute the onion over medium heat in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the pepper, garlic, and chile, continuing to saute and stir over medium heat while they cook for about 3 minutes.

2. Squeeze the sausage out of the casings into the pan, breaking it up with a spoon into smaller bits. Continue to saute and stir over medium heat until the sausage has some color to it and is no longer pink.

3. Sprinkle the smoked paprika over your sausage and veggies, stirring to incorporate. Add the rice and continue stirring. At this point, you can add the wine if you are using it or pour in the chicken broth. Give the works a stir.

4. Turn the heat to medium high to bring the mixture to a boil, then back down to low and allow it to simmer. Keep it at a low bubble for 15 - 20 min until the moisture is all absorbed.Give it a good stir.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the chopped tomato, scallion, and parsley. Enjoy!

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Butter Baked Goods' Homemade Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

If I could marry a cookie and have little cookie babies with it, this recipe would be it. Back in October I received the Butter baked goods cookbook at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference, and over the past few months I've had a lot of fun baking out of it as much as possible.

This is hands down the best baking cookbook I've ever owned. Everything turns out not just good, but AMAZING, including these cookies. I've made homemade versions of that popular sandwich cookie before and they were good, but not fantastic. There was something missing. I was never quite sure what, but they still didn't capture the flavour I was looking for. Sometime the texture of the cookies wasn't quite what I wanted either. It seemed as though a homemade Oreo that competed with those little bites of heaven in a package was just out of reach.

Well, I don't need to search any longer because Butter Baked Goods has totally nailed this recipe. If you need a reason to run out and buy their cookbook, these cookies alone are it. Normally, I can resist baked goods but after taking photos I grabbed one and took a nibble, which is where my self restraint ended entirely.

That nibble resulted in me being completely transfixed, savouring each and every bite, stopping only to blissfully lick buttercream from my fingers. Do you know I don't even like buttercream? Somehow here it works and captures of the flavour of those packaged cookies so beautifully! In fact, these are BETTER than those packaged cookies. There's no weird or obscure ingredients either, just good wholesome stuff that you probably have in your cupboard.

The only change I would make is that they are so large I'd likely make them a little smaller next time. But really that's up to you. I haven't adapted much from this recipe-let me encourage you to run, not walk to the store and buy this cookbook. There's so many delicious things in there you'll thank me.

butter oreos



3 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened, dark cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar, plus extra for the tops
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla


1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla


1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F and line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer on medium or high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, blending after each to make sure they are well mixed in. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the vanilla, and beat a bit to blend.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Give them a stir and then add to the butter mixture. Mix on low until they are combined.

4. Scoop the dough out with an ice cream scoop into 24 equal sized portions. Set them about 2 inches apart on your cookie sheet. Flatten a cookie slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass (this makes the glass a bit sticky) by pressing down, then give the glass a twist and remove. Dip the glass in sugar to coat and gently press down on the dough again to coat it with sugar, giving it a twist before removing. Continue with the rest of the cookies-flattening them, and coating the tops with sugar.

5. Bake the cookies about 15-17 minutes. They will spread, but the edges will firm up and the middles will be soft. Remove them from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Once the cookies have cooled, fill with buttercream.

6. To make the buttercream, beat the butter on low with the icing sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and turn the mixer to high, beating well until the mixture is light and fluffy. Fill the cookies by spreading about 2 tbsp of butter cream on the bottom of one right to the edges, then topping with another, smooshing the bottoms together.

7. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. Makes about 12-18 large sandwich cookies.

Want more awesome recipes? Go get Butter Baked Goods' cookbook. I'm not being paid to tell you this-I did get the book for free at a conference, but it has easily become my favourite.

butter cookbook
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Friday, January 2, 2015

Apple Mint Salad with Candied Walnuts


Inspired by a salad recipe from Chef Michael Smith's Family Meals cookbook, this take was brought about by my family's tastes. The original doesn't have romaine or dried cranberries, and uses pumpkin seeds instead of the candied walnuts. John isn't fond of too many carrots, and Kevin doesn't like raisins in salad so I thought the changes would make them more inclined to eat it. With a little tinkering, it's become our family's very favorite salad. I love the addition of big candied walnuts with a bit of cinnamon and pepper, and the sweetness from dried cranberries adds a nice touch. The best part is the dressing, which I haven't changed at all. I never would have thought to add cinnamon to a dressing, but this works so well with the other salad ingredients I wouldn't change a thing. I can eat this for lunch, dinner, or even snacks with a soft dinner bun and a few pieces of cheese.

While you're at it, I highly recommend Family Meals-there are all kinds of wonderfully easy, family friendly dishes in there to try!


3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
1 carrot, peeled and then shaved
1 apple, sliced into sticks or very thin wedges
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
3/4 cup of walnuts
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
cracked black pepper

Dressing (adapted from Chef Michael Smith)

2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, apple, carrot, cranberries, and mint. I like to cut around the apple core and slice the halves into thin pieces as pictured. Peel the carrot and then shave it in thin pieces with a vegetable peeler. I cut the peels in half.

carrot apple walnut

2. Heat the walnuts in a dry pan, shaking and watching closely until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Once they are slightly toasted, add the honey. It will sizzle and bubble. Toss the nuts in it until they are well coated, then sprinkle with cinnamon and pepper and toss some more until they are completely coated. Continue to cook and toss for about 1 minute. Remove the walnuts from the pan to a plate or cutting board to cool so they don't cool and become a big sticky clump in the pan. Chop them a bit if needed.

candied walnuts

3. Toss the chopped walnuts in the salad once they are cooled to room temperature.

4. Measure all the dressing ingredients into a 1 cup Mason jar. Screw on a lid and give it all a good shake until it's emulsified.  Serve with the salad to drizzle over top. The dressing will keep a day or so but will eventually get goopy.

Serves four!

carrot apple salad
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