Recently I did something I normally don’t do: I hit up a greasy spoon called La Binerie Mont Royal. It was the beans that drew me in. Sad to say I have never matched my grandmother’s beans and have “bean” looking for a recipe for a long time. The binerie came close. It was a taste of down home country living. Combine that with one egg, two strips of bacon, one sausage and a piece of ham, homemade hash browns and toast and you get a hunter’s breakfast worth its weight in fat. And therein is the problem. Unless you are going to be physically active you can’t eat this way and remain a healthy human bean.

Healthy living says a little fat isn’t bad; a little cholesterol isn’t bad, etc. It is when these things increase that you get all the harmful effects. The recipes this time around are a variety of country food and tasty healthy meals.


Bridget’s Garlic Linguine

This is an amazing side dish for the main course. Quite frankly, it knocked my socks off. I had the meal two ways; the first being with beaten chicken marinated in egg, a little garlic, Italian spices and white wine for two hours. Pound it thinly and add Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs coating thoroughly and then fry until light brown. This recipe also goes well with scampi, shrimp and most fish dishes. It is truly versatile but I recommend the shrimp. If used with the shrimp it can easily serve as the main course.

4 portions linguine cooked (just until they are approaching soft)

3 Tbsp fresh parsley (1 if dry)

1 Tbsp fresh basil (1 tspn if dry)

1-2 Tbsp garlic chives (chives optional)

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped finely

1/ 4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (Kraft is your last resort and not recommended)

2 Tbsps butter

2 Tbsps olive oil 1/4 cup white wine.

Take the butter, olive and white wine and put in frying pan to reduce the liquid. Add spices and half of the garlic while reducing. If using shrimp (1-2 lbs), steam first with steamer until just red. Do not over cook. Peel shrimp and add shells to the three ingredients. Reduce for about 15 minutes and remove shrimp shells.

Continue to reduce and as it thickens put in pasta with more garlic. Lower heat and add cheese and remaining garlic.

After five minutes add cream and stir constantly. When it is steaming it is ready to serve.


Beaver Chili

Here’s an interesting recipe from Western Canada. Cooking tip for this and other recipes is when you roast the chili peppers, bake them at 435 F for 10 minutes. Taking the skin off should then be easy. All the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store and on the land.

2-3 lbs beaver meat

salt and pepper, coarse ground if available


1 large onion, chopped 4 carrots, diced

6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 medium potatoes, cubed, optional 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce

1 can (15oz) chopped tomatoes

6 – 8 roasted chili peppers, remove skins and seeds, finely chopped 1/2 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp chili powder

Season meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Put in fridge uncovered for at least two hours.

Remove meat from fridge and place on counter for 20 minutes. Cut and cube meat into small bite-size pieces.

In a large skillet, pot or Corning casserole dish, melt a little butter. Then sauté the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until onion is transparent.

Add the meat and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Microwave the potatoes for about five minutes.

To the meat mixture, add the potatoes, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, chopped chili peppers, cumin and chili powder. Stir together.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 60 – 90 minutes. Add a little water if too thick and not fully cooked.

Rabbit Stew with Herbs and Barley

You can use chicken if you can’t snare a rabbit. By the way, while sage is burnt in ceremonies it can be used for cooking as well. Though in this recipe the barley is used as a vegetable you can add veggies to the mix. I tend to add potatoes, carrots, Spanish onions, and, occasionally, thinly sliced turnips and mushrooms (Portobello if possible but any will do).

50g (Zoz) butter 1 -1.5kg (2-3 lb) rabbit

450g (11b) washed and trimmed leeks, thickly sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

175 g (6 oz) pot barley

900 ml (3011 oz, 3 3/4 cups) water

3 generous Tbsps red or white wine vinegar

2 bay leavessalt or salt substitutepepper

15 fresh, roughly chopped sage leaves or 1 Tbsp dried sage

Melt the butter in a heavy pan and fry the meat with the leeks and garlic till the vegetables are slightly softened and the meat lightly browned.

Add the barley, water, vinegar, bay leaves and seasoning. Bring the pot to the boil, cover it and simmer gently for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and ready to fall from the bone.

Add the sage and continue to cook for several minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve in bowls.

Grouse and Bacon Stew with Walnuts or Hazelnuts

You may use partridge, quail or such as a substitute for grouse. Use the bacon with low-fat or Canadian bacon for best results. This one is the family version. A good side dish is rice.

6 rashers ol bacon, chopped roughly

3 cloves garlic

4 grouse (6 if quail)

225 g (8 oz) mushrooms, whatever variety, chopped roughly

75 g (3 oz) roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts or walnuts

300 ml (10 0 oz, 11/4 cups) real ale (your choice)

150 ml (511 oz, 3/4 cup) water

2 or 3 bay leaves

a little salt (or salt substitute) and freshly ground black pepper

6 slices brown bread

Fry the bacon, with the garlic, until it is lightly browned in a heavy bottomed casserole. Add birds and brown on all sides. Add the mushrooms and nuts, continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then add the ale and water with the bay leaves.

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer very gently for 2 – 2 1/2 hours—the birds should be falling off the bone.

Remove the birds from the juices, cool juices completely and remove any excess fat. The birds can be served whole on or off the bone. If the latter, carve them while they are cold. Then return to the skimmed juices and reheat gently.

Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve either the whole birds or the slices on the pieces of bread, with plenty of the juices and bits. A good green salad to follow is the best accompaniment.