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Roasted Pepper Cornbread

Roasted Pepper Cornbread

This moist and flavourful quick bread is a great accompaniment to soup or salad. It is best eaten fresh out of the oven.

Inspired by this AllRecipes recipe.

Ingredients

3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
½ cup finely chopped roasted peppers
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Optional: 1/3 c crumbled or grated cheese

Note on Roasted Peppers

You can use canned roasted peppers, but the flavour of peppers you roast yourself is so much better…  and roasting peppers is very easy.

Wash and cut peppers into quarters lengthwise. Remove all seeds and interior membrane.
Lightly brush with olive oil.
Place pieces on the bar-b-que at medium temperature.
Cook, turning occasionally, until skin is charred (time will vary by bar-b-que, but usually about 10-15 minutes).
The charred skin should slip off easily (though I often leave it on).
Roasted peppers freeze well. I often roast several peppers at once, keeping those I don’t use immediately in the freezer. Then, any time I want a little roasted pepper, I have some on hand.

If you use peppers preserved in water or oil, blot them well to remove as much excess liquid as possible. If you roast your own peppers, they do not need to be blotted.

 Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Add roasted pepper (and optional cheese) to dry ingredients.
Mix until peppers (and cheese) are coated.
Mix egg and oil into cornmeal.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
Pour batter into greased 8 x 8 pan.
Bake 30 – 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Coming Attractions and Highlights! April 2015

New Releases

Jade FeverJade Fever
Airs on Discovery Channel Canada, Tuesdays at 8 ET/9 PT

The demand for jade has jumped tenfold over the past decade. Follow the rush with Claudia and Robin Bunce, the owners of a large jade mining claim and tourist shop in remote Jade City in northern BC. They mine, cut, polish and sell jade. They employ most of the people in town – if they strike it rich, everyone wins; if they fail, a whole town falls flat on its face.

Bahama BlueBahama Blue
Premieres on Love Nature TV, Tuesday, May 6

This six-part documentary series takes you into the heart of the deep blue sea, from mangrove swamps filled with baby sharks to the sand flats where the green sea turtles graze. Each episode takes a deep dive into another compelling geological feature, introducing you to the abundant wildlife within.

Gourmet DetectiveGourmet Detective
Airs on Hallmark, May 16 at 9pm

Culinary consultant Henry Ross is a charming food industry insider in San Francisco. When suspicious sabotage ends in a shocking murder at his friend’s five-star restaurant, Henry is put on the case with strong-willed police detective and single mom Maggie Price.

A Ring by SpringA Ring By Spring
Airs on Hallmark, May 10 at 7pm

Caryn Briggs is in no rush to wed. She’s always been skeptical about marriage, thinking the commitment would mean throwing away her future. When a soothsayer predicts that Caryn will have an engagement ring by spring, or she’ll never marry, she must admit to herself that she needs to get over her fear of lifelong commitment.

Murder She BakedMurder She Baked
Airs on Hallmark, May 2 at 9pm

Hannah Swensen is a creative and bubbly baker extraordinaire in a sleepy town in Minnesota, where everyone knows each other, and secrets don’t stay hidden for long. Hannah’s bakeshop, the Cookie Jar, is where much of the town’s gossip percolates along with the strong coffee. But after she finds her good friend and delivery driver shot dead in the alley behind her shop, Hannah’s idyllic world is turned upside down.

OlympusOlympus
Airs on SyFy, Thursdays at 10pm

The story of how several brave men and women banished the gods from Olympus to The Kingdom of Hades, the Greek underworld.

.

EmergencyEmergency
Airs on Slice TV, Thursdays at 9pm ET

A riveting, high-stakes half hour that takes viewers inside the lives of real patients and real medical staff at two of Canada’s busiest E.R.s in BC. Narrated by Jann Arden, each episode interweaves the personal stories of three patients, each facing their own harrowing medical emergency.

 

Top Charity Picks

When Carolyn Vetter Hicks and Kelly Maxwell founded Line 21 back in 1994, they were thrilled to have the opportunity to shape the company the way they wanted. They committed to providing exceptional quality captioning and transcribing, to always approaching work playfully, to trying to always meaningfully support their staff, and to being part of the larger community. Supporting a variety of  charities was a way they saw fit to approach their last goal.  Here’s a list of their top picks from the past year.

 

Microfinance

Kiva

Empower people around the world with a $25 loan.

Kiva is a non-profit organization which arranges microloans to individuals and groups in cash-poor economies. Sometimes the amount of financing needed to jumpstart a successful business or turn around a household is shockingly small, yet remains out of reach for many. Kiva works with local agencies to help bridge the gap.

The Arts

Metro Theatre

Line 21 has supported a variety of arts organizations over the years. As each has a special place in their hearts, it would be difficult to pick a favourite. Last year, though, the Metro Theatre (a venerable Vancouver non-profit theatre company now in their 51st season) lost one of its keen supporters, a long-time board member. Kelly relates, “The Metro was a special favourite of our real estate agent, who passed away in 2014. We miss him very much and wanted to honour him and the the requests of his family by giving to his special organization.”

Vancouver’s Most Vulnerable

Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House

Though serving different populations, the Union Gospel Mission and Covenant House share an important goal: to serve and assist people when they are most vulnerable. You can read their individual mandates on their respective websites. Line 21 supports them because compassion should know no boundaries.

Coming Attractions and Highlights! March 2015

New Releases

Dead Rising

Dead Rising—Watchtower
Streams on Crackle, Premiers March 27

Based upon the video game of the same name, a group of people fights to survive in a zombie-infested town.

Bad City
Streams on DotstudioPRO

Bad City is on the edge of falling into the hands of a madman, you dig? A strange and funky new party drug is killing kids left and right, and that jive-ass, crooked city councillor Dominic Kincaid is behind it all.

Parked
Currently streaming online

A comedy web series that follows a group of long-time west coast friends in their early 30s as they wrestle with what it means to be dads, husbands, and men when life does not turn out as expected.

 

Man JamMan Jam
Currently streaming online

Man Jam centres on a group of friends who get together weekly to play music in order to escape their day-to-day, humdrum lives. We follow the guys as they struggle with marriage, divorce, raising kids, work, growing up—and refusing to grow up.

Game of Homes
Airs on W Network, Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT

Teams of skilled amateur home renovators compete for the chance to trade their skills for the prize of a lifetime: a house and a plot of land to put it on.

Mom’s A Medium
Premieres on CMT, April 4 at 9pm ET/6pm PT

A series that revolves around gifted medium Carmel as she takes clients on an emotional and spiritual adventure with the afterlife. From cheating spouses to missing persons to clients finding closure with recently departed loved ones, Carmel does it all while also navigating the demands of her husband and six children.

Carver Kings
Premieres on HGTV Canada, April 5

A companion to the hit Timber Kings series, Carver Kings follows a passionate crew of elite chainsaw mavericks based out of Williams Lake, B.C. as they turn raw wood into stunning custom art for the owners of the world’s most spectacular log homes.

If There Be Thorns
Premieres on Lifetime Network USA, April 5

The third installment in V.C. Andrews’ best-selling series that began with “Flowers in the Attic” follows Christopher and Cathy Dollanganger as they live together as man and wife.

Seeds of Yesterday
Premieres on Lifetime Network USA, April 12

The saga of the tormented Dollangangers comes to an end in “Seeds of Yesterday,” in which the family continues to coexist miserably.

 

Working Remotely: The Employer Perspective

Last month, we looked at what it’s like to be an employee working remotely. This month, we’re going to look at having remote staff from the employers’ perspective. Not surprisingly, things look different from the other side of the fence!

The happy news is that, regardless of where you sit—employee or employer side—working remotely really can work.

In the captioning industry, the possibility of working remotely didn’t become practical until the switch from linear to non-linear systems several years ago. Around the time that happened, one of Line 21’s long-time employees approached Kelly and Carolyn about the possibility of taking her job home.

Carolyn and Kelly had a choice to make. Lose a seasoned employee along with her vast stored knowledge and years of experience, or embrace a new work model. The choice seemed obvious. “We had these great people who are highly skilled, and we didn’t want to lose them.”

Once the first captioner made her way to Ontario, others followed to Nova Scotia, Victoria, and other Ontario locations. “We haven’t had anyone go anywhere truly exotic,” reports Kelly. “Not yet,” she adds. There is one Line 21 captioner planning an extended global tour. She plans to take her job with her as she travels. “That will take a lot of organizing,” Kelly comments. “Figuring out internet connections and time zones and making sure we can reliably communicate. We’re still planning.”

Today, there are far more people working for Line 21 out of the office than there are those working in it. Even Kelly and Carolyn work from home part of the time as they, too, benefit from the flexibility. Why, then, do they still maintain an office? Kelly explains, “We still need someone present 9-5 to keep the office open by phone, email, and in person. Clients need to know that we are totally accessible during business hours, and that they can find us easily for quotes, scheduling, and to answer questions. Having a really consistent front end allows us to be able to accommodate different staff schedules while maintaining total dependability.”

So what does all of this mean as employers? The answer is overwhelming: increased administration. It’s no longer acceptable to simply shout out a change in plan to the office. Now, shifting schedules require greater thought and communication. “You can’t just toss someone a VHS tape and get them working on it. You have to allow for download times and different time zones.”

And, while they are flexible about when the work gets done during the day, Carolyn and Kelly need employees to keep to a semblance of a routine. “We need to know the pattern of the week and to keep it fairly consistent so we don’t have to reinvent the scheduling system every week.”

Probably the most difficult part of having remote employees is finding the balance between giving people the right amount of information to do their jobs versus not enough information. “Everything we do is interconnected. When workers are side-by-side, they do a lot of their own coordination. Now we have to have someone doing that for people, keeping a keen eye on what’s coming and going. It’s just more administration and advance planning.”

Then there’s the issue of computer challenges. “Trouble-shooting is more difficult when you can’t just look over someone’s shoulder. We need to either figure it out remotely, or find some local support.” If hardware needs to be replaced, it is purchased and configured in Vancouver, then shipped to the employee. “It’s the only way we can ensure all of the software is tied in properly.”

Overall, embracing the “work from home” model has been a very positive thing for Line 21. “We’ve been able to keep a lot of really valuable people for a lot longer. It’s good for people’s families and it’s just the right thing to do,” reports Kelly. She stresses that the move has been fueled by the desire for employee retention and doubts that it would work well for new employees. “There’s just too much training at first. I don’t know how we’d manage that long-distance.”

Lemon Curd

March Recipe: Lemon Curd

This delicious, tangy sauce is wonderful over fresh fruit, sponge cake or ice cream (or all three!). (Taken from The Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition.)

Ingredients

3 eggs
1/3 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon
½ c fresh lemon juice
6 T butter
¼ t vanilla

Directions

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon zest. (Do not turn on heat yet.)
Cut butter into small chunks.
Add butter and lemon juice to egg mixture.
Turn heat on medium (or medium low).
Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
Stir in vanilla.
Strain mix to remove zest.
Cool.

Keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Working From Home: The Employee Experience

Technology has changed everything.

Time was, to work in the captioning industry, you needed an awkward double-monitor + CPU + VHS player set-up in order to get the job done. It was cumbersome, heavy, and expensive. Furthermore, it tied captioners and scripters to their office desks, since you’d never describe the essential equipment as portable.

With the shift from VHS media to digital media, the old-style hardware-centric setup has been replaced with Wifi and a laptop. That change has done more than free up desk space around the office; it’s freed Line 21’s employees to completely redefine where the office is.

But wait, there’s more to the story….

Trust and a willingness to experiment has changed everything.

While the change from analogue to digital made it technically possible for Line 21 employees to redefine their workspace, the fact that Kelly Maxwell and Carolyn Vetter-Hicks, co-owners of Line 21, were willing to embrace new work models is what made it practically possible. So, several years ago, when the first long-time Line 21 employee approached Kelly and Carolyn about working from home in another province, they said “yes.” Since then, multiple employees have moved across the country while retaining their positions with Line 21, and some of the Vancouver-based employees have shifted their work to home, at least part of the time.

Flexibility. The word came up repeatedly when talking to Line 21’s distance staff. For many, the shift to home has allowed them to adapt their work schedules around the needs of young families. They still put in a full work day, but the hours are tucked in and around preschool, story time and the inevitable doctors’ appointments. Others appreciate the freedom to adopt non-traditional hours which are better suited to their personal rhythms. Line 21 employs one notorious night owl. She’s worked the regular 9-5 routine, but now loves that she can work when she’s at her peak: in the wee hours of the morning. Not only is she happier, but she’s more productive during the hours she works.

Another recurring theme that emerged when talking to Line 21’s distance employees was a surprise. Virtually everyone reported that they now handle sick time much differently than when they worked from the office. From home, they are usually able to work through an illness. Not only is the fear of infecting fellow employees eliminated, but they can break up their day to accommodate their illness: work for an hour or two, nap, work for an hour or two, nap, etc., until they have put in their full work time.

Family factored into the decision to work remotely for almost all of the Line 21 employees who’ve made the shift: not just the flexibility to accommodate young families, but the desire to be closer to extended family. The fact that they could take their jobs with them made the decision to relocate from Vancouver much easier.

The other word that came up time and again was ‘trust.’ Over and over, I heard the same refrain: “it works because Kelly and Carolyn trust me to get the work done.”

Quick Notes on Working From Home: The Employee Experience

Coming Attractions and Highlights! February 2015

New Releases

 

AirShow
Airs on Discovery Canada, Mondays at 10pm ET/7pm PT

Airshow is a twelve-part observational documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes to the most dangerous part-time profession on the planet.

Yukon Gold
Premieres on The History Channel, February 25 at 10pm  ET/PT

Yukon Gold is back for an exciting third season. This high-stakes series captures the physical and emotional struggles four sets of gold miners face as they chase their individual goals over the 16-week Yukon gold mining season.

Motive
Premieres on CTV, March 8 at 10pm ET/PT

Back for its third season.  Each episode of Motive opens by revealing the victim and the killer. It’s not a “whodunit,” it’s a “whydunit.” The audience navigates a complicated maze of clues to figure out the motive.

June in January
Airs on W, March 12

Wealthy Alex and blue-collar June are madly in love, but get their wires crossed while racing down the aisle.

So You Said Yes
Airs on Hallmark, March 7 & 8

The owner of a specialty bridal shop falls for the son of her fierce bridal shop competitor.

All of My Heart
Airs on Hallmark, Feb 21 and March 7 & 8

A young caterer’s life suddenly changes course when she inherits a country home and learns she must share it with a career-obsessed Wall Street trader.

Garage Sale Mystery – All That Glitters
Airs on Hallmark, March 15

A sleuthing yard-sale treasure hunter uses her keen eye to solve crimes.

 

Eggplant Bharta

This delicious dish is full of flavour, and works brilliantly as a side for any curry. Because the eggplant needs to be roasted, advance planning is required. If you roast the eggplant in advance, the final preparation is very quick. Based on this recipe.

Ingredients

3 medium eggplants (roughly 500g/1 lb)
2 T vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 T garlic paste or finely chopped garlic
1″ piece of ginger finely grated
2 green chillies (optional)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 t coriander powder
1/2 t cumin powder
1/2 t garam masala  (make your own garam masala if you wish)
2 T finely chopped fresh green cilantro (coriander)

Directions

Roast the eggplant. Here are two possible ways:
1.   Gas stove method. Place the eggplant straight on the burner. Keep flame on low. Keep turning and cooking till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft. A good sign to watch for is that the eggplant seems to ‘cave in’ on itself.
2.   Oven or Bar-b-que. Turn periodically till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
Once the eggplant is roasted, allow to cool fully, then peel and discard the charred skin. Once cool, coarsely mash and keep aside.

Final preparation

Heat oil in large pan on medium heat.
Add cumin seeds and cook till the spluttering stops.
Add the onions and fry till soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and the ginger and fry for 1 minute.
Add the tomato and all the powdered spices. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often to prevent the spice mix from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a little water if needed.
Add mashed eggplant and mix well.
Add the cilantro and stir.
Cook another minute and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice and your favourite curry.

Cooking Vocab 101

If you caption enough cooking shows, you’ll pick up commonly used terms and become aware early on of the emerging buzzwords. Below are a few of our favourites.

beurre noisette

Browned butter used for cooking.

anti-griddle

A kitchen appliance that instantly freezes (or semi-freezes) food.

beurre blanc

A hot butter sauce made with white wine or vinegar and shallots. Prepared properly, the sauce does not separate. Tastes divine over fresh seafood.

courgette

Another word for zucchini.

crème fraîche

Cream thickened with the addition of bacterial culture. Differs from sour cream in that it is less tangy, higher in fat content, and not quite as thick.  It is also absolutely delicious over fresh blueberries.

dulce de leche

A sweet delight made by slowly heating sweetened milk. Try it warm over ice cream.

EVOO

Extra virgin olive oil. Use it only at room temperature. Heating EVOO destroys the unique flavour.

ganache

A mixture of cream and chocolate.

gelée

A jellied food. Connoisseurs would be horrified, but even humble Jell-O could be considered a gelée.

gluten

A protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains.

kaniwa

A grain similar to quinoa, but the seeds are about half the size. Gluten-free, it’s high in protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. Comes from  South America. Poised to become as popular and ubiquitous as quinoa.

mignonette

A condiment usually served with raw oysters. The traditional recipe consists of shallots, pepper, and vinegar.

pois mange-tout

Snow peas.

ponzu sauce

A traditional Japanese vinegar sauce. It is dark brown, tart, has the consistency of water, and is used as a dip or dressing.

roux

A cooked mixture of fat and flour (traditionally butter and flour, but may be made with a variety of other fats). Used as the basis for sauces.

sabayon or zabaglione

An Italian dessert made with egg yolk, sugar, and sweet wine. Move aside, tiramisu. Here comes sabayon.

sous vide

A cooking method. Food is sealed in an airtight plastic bag and submerged in a water bath or placed in a temperature-controlled steam chamber. The food cooks at a very low temperature for many hours (up to 96).

teff

A very fine (about the size of a poppy seed) African grain. Memorize this. It’s one of the hottest new grains.

torchon

French for “dish towel.” A foie gras torchon is prepared by wrapping foie gras in a dish towel, which is then poached in a multi-day process.

tuile

Made from either cheese or dough, a tuile is a thin, crisp wafer.

velouté

One of five classic French sauces. Velouté is made with a light-coloured meat stock (typically chicken or fish) thickened with roux.

yuzu

A citrus fruit from East Asia.