Found tucked amidst sales flyers and the colour comics, November's new Milk Calendar's arrival is a an anticipated bit of Canadiana, linking together potentially millions of families across the country. Think I'm kidding? More than 2 million were distributed in Saturday newspapers.
I remember being little, leafing through its pages from --the full-colour pictures represented "Canadian" food for me--not what I got a lot of as a youngster. My Dear Little Mummy (okay, she was My Dear Big Mummy then) rarely cooked from it. Apart from the occasional muffin or cake, the recipes went largely untried in our household.
So there it dangled on a bare nail, part art, part time keeper and reminder of bills to be paid and those already paid. Each month had a different meal or treat--everything from milkshakes and smoothies to pastas and, of course cakes and other sweets. Each beautifully photographed to entice the home cook to cook with milk and its kindred foods. At the end of the year, the calendar came down and was stored in the basement, with the other calendars.
Ashamedly, I continued Mummy's tradition of not cooking from it. Yes, I looked forward to receiving the calendar, flipping through the pages and salivating at some of the photos and recipes, but it never really crossed my mind to try the recipes. Inexplicable, really, given I'm pretty much willing to try any kitchen treat at least once.
When this year's calendar arrived, I decided to change that. Not because this year's recipes seem better than last (they don't), or because I've recently developed a hankering for dairy (that's been an ongoing craving ever since I was little, much to Mum's chagrin). I don't know what it was, but I decided this year the calendar to use as more than a record keeper of my household goings ons. So once a month...probably on a Monday, I'll post that month's recipe.
January's recipe for Roast Beef Dinner Salad is quick, satisfying, and different from the usual leftover meal. It's ludicrously simple: lettuce leaves strewn with waves of roast beef, crumbles of tangy old cheddar, juicy little tomatoes, crunchy croutons and fingers of cooked green beans, dressed in a creamy horseradish and thyme vinaigrette.
I'll probably come back to this, but change it up a bit--add sauteed mushrooms and onions and switch the horseradish and cheddar for blue cheese.
Simple, delicious and easily adaptable, this is definitely worth a try.