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A little challenge. A week ago I challenged members of my outdoor forum to a little cooking exercise of sorts. Well I finally got around to doing this today. Bryan and Tobias are devouring this as we speak. Bryan says it isn’t as good as my Citrus Lentil Salad, which is his favorite, but he still likes it.

white bean, tuna and mango salad

© 2008 Laurie Ann March
makes 2 to 4 servings

I used a combination of dried mango and dried green mango in this dish. Sambal oelek can be quite spicy so adjust to suit your taste. I only had white kidney beans in the pantry so that is what I used.

White Bean, Tuna & Mango Salad

white bean, tuna & mango salad

Salad Mixture
2 cups white beans such as cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 3 oz can white tuna, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon dried lemongrass
1/3 cup dried mango, chopped

Dressing
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon honey
1 fresh lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl except for the lemongrass and mango. Put the lemongrass and mango in a small heatproof bowl and barely cover with boiling water. Let sit for 5 minutes and drain off any excess. Add the mango mixture to the rest of the salad.

Combine the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

ineeka ma-chai tin

ineeka ma-chai tin

Today I was at the post office picking up a shipment. Our local postal outlet is in a Shoppers Drug Mart and they have a great range of organic teas and coffee. As I was browsing the selection a silver tin caught my eye — tea made by a company called ineeka (little earth).

The company’s tagline is “Cultivating Consciousness” and the goal is “to be socially responsible for the subsistence of the 25, 000 people who live on the farms.” They have a strong emphasis to be environmentally responsible as well.

The tin is much like a humidor and contains 14 bags of ma-chai. The ma-chai is a whole leaf, 100% organic tea blend containing black tea leaves, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, clove, rose petals, and saffron. There were other flavors but this one really intrigued me.

What impresses me about this product, other than the fact that the tea has a wonderful aroma and taste, is the way in which it is brewed. Each bag is actually its own infuser called a “Brew Taché” which gives you the convenience of a bag with the

ineeka brew taché

ineeka brew taché

benefits of loose leaf brewing.

The bags are flat and are slightly larger than a traditional tea bag. To use the “Brew Taché” you gently tear off the top strip of the tea bag and open the bag up into the infuser. It rests on your cup. You can see how it looks when set up in the picture to the right.

The tea itself is a superior product. Delicious. The pre-measured infuser makes for a perfectly brewed cup of tea. The aroma is incredible and the flavor was superb. Clean up is a breeze. These are a little more expensive but well worth the extra cost.

As you know, I love to backpack and canoe, these will definitely be in my pack on the next trip.

About a week ago my 7 year old boy, Tobias, and I went apple picking at a place called Brantwood Farms. It was loads of fun and now I have more apples than I know what to do with. Friday evening we had company for dinner so I whipped up a batch of apple crumble from my grandmother’s recipe. You can switch the apples out for peaches, plums, berries or a combination of fruits.

apple crumble

© 2008 Laurie Ann March
makes 4 servings

This is best served warm with a little table cream or ice cream. The recipe can easily be doubled.

2 1/2 cups prepared raw fruit
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats

Arrange the fruit in a buttered pan and sprinkle with white sugar. Cream the butter, brown sugar and salt together. Blend in the flour and rolled oats. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit.

Bake at 375ºF for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the top is golden brown.

You have probably noticed that I have been a little scarce around the craveable blog lately. So many things have been going on including a few camping trips, working on the second wilderness cookbook, client work and getting my son settled in the back-to-school routine.

My current trail cookbook, A Fork in the Trail, is doing well and I have been doing signings, interviews, demonstrations and such for that.

Now that I have a little more time I can get back to experimenting in the kitchen. Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating some new recipes to share with you and resurrecting some old family favorites.