Archive for January, 2010

January 29, 2010

Wonderful White Fish Spread

I had a hankering for hummus but no chick peas, so I whipped up this navy bean dip, and finally delved into the world of seafood sustainability + sardines! This turned out to be a super upscale “tunafish sandwich” that my daughter devoured!

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January 27, 2010

Gooey Gluten Free Gouda Mac n Cheese

Gooey Gluten Free Gouda Mac n Cheese

In this classic comfort food recipe I love using organic corn elbows, mainly because they hold up well to being re-baked, and they are yellow-orange, which makes the dish look even cheesier!

Boil to el dante 3 cups of corn elbow macaroni (or what ever you like) drain and set aside reserve about 2 tbsp of pasta water.

Basic rue

2 tbsp butter + 2.5 tbsp brown rice flour bubble and brown and stir constantly. grate fresh nutmeg and garlic into rue, and slowly add about 1 cup of milk or cream. season with a little squeeze of mustard and S+P (I use white pepper in this to keep the sauce all white)

When this is nice a thick (you can add extra milk if needed) add about 3/4 cup of semi soft cheese rind removed (I used a yummy French camembert) stir and them add slowly 1 cup of shredded aged gouda (SYLVAN STAR is my favorite local cheese maker) Shred an additional 1 cup of aged white cheddar, add 1/4 to this sauce, lower temp and your ready to assemble.

Add 1/2 the pasta to a cassorole dish and sprinkle with 1/4 c of the cheddar and 1/2 of the sauce, mix, and add the balance of the pasta and another 1/4 cup of cheddar. Top with white rice cheddar bread crumb and the rest of the cheese.

I didn’t have any gluten free bread crumbs on hand so I just slowly pan toasted 2 slices of bread and then smashed them all up.

Broil on high  uncovered for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Dig in!

January 26, 2010

Wholewheat Apple Cheese Tart with Cranberry Balsamic Glaze

I first made this amazing tart this Christmas in a double size batch and I used cherries my boyfriends sister picked off her neighbors tree in BC and I used honey goat cheese rather than cream cheese as I did today.  The cherry cheese tart was a whopping hit, and we enjoyed it into the new year (the tart pan I used was 20” so it was really big!

Today I found lovely fresh organic BC apples that cried to be turned into a tart, Also I decided to glaze it this time around, and I reached for a jar of EDIBLE GARDENS Coastal Cranberry preserve. Michael the owner of Edible Garden had done a wonderful job combining tart fruits with great quality balsamic vinegars to make stunning cheese toppers. I would have used my own fig balsamic jam made this year… but I am running dangerously low, and it will be a long time before I get to pick figs fresh off a tree again to restock!


Wholewheat Apple Cheese tart with cranberry balsamic glaze

1/2 cup soft butter, blended by hand in a large bowl with 1/3 organic cane sugar, a splash of vanilla, and 1 cup of organic whole wheat flour. Bring together until you can form a ball. Press dough into a tart pan and bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes, set aside and make cheese mixture.

1 cup cream cheese (or half and half goat cheese, mascarpone would be lovely too)blend with 1 egg and a pinch of cane sugar. Spread mix onto cooling tart crust.

Toss fruit (thinly sliced if using apple strawberries or pear) into a bowl with a little cane sugar and coat. Place the fruit neatly into the cheese, and bake for another 30-40 minutes (remove at 30 minutes if you are adding the following glaze)

In a small saucepan warm 2 tbsp of cranberry balsamic preserve, add 1/3 cup of water and a little pad of butter, bring to a low boil and allow to thicken just slightly. I used a submersion blender to get rid of the whole cranberry pieces, and make a nice bright syrup. Neatly spoon over the browned tart (not too much, just a even thin coating) and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes. At this point my edges were already as brown as I wanted them so I placed a tart pan ring one size larger over the edge before popping back in for the final minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

January 24, 2010

Snowy Sunday open face sandwich with a sunny Mexican feel

This open face egg on toast is incredibly simple to make, but has both rich and satisfying flavors and textures. It is also great for the day after you have make the yummy tacos below… as I you’ll have everything on hand.

Sunny open face sandwich

fry 1 farm fresh free range egg over easy, season with S+P

slice and toast your favorite artisan bread and butter lightly (one of my favourite loafs of bread in town is from Peasent Bread, My friend Aviv is doing something really special with his business: making great bread, supporting local business, giving back to charity, and delivering his bread by bike each week) So when ever I can I track down his amazing creations!

top toast with egg:

1/2 diced avocado

crumbled aged cheddar cheese

a dollop of good quality organic salsa from a jar or your own homemade one

and garnish with a sprig of green onion or cilantro.

January 21, 2010

Buffalo lime arugula + honey garlic caramelized onion corn tacos

So most importantly My boyfriend claimed that these were the BEST tacos he had ever had… EVER! This is a pretty huge feather in my chef’s hat, because he is a big fan (and critic) of all things Mexican.

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January 20, 2010

My two bits on buying local natural meat

This past weekend we decided to make a quick little trip out to Candian Rocky Mountain Ranch (CRMR) to pick up some naturally grass raised bison, and take a walk through the buffalo and elk yards.  While we really don’t eat much meat at all, the meat we do eat MUST meet very specific criteria before I consider exercising my vote as a consumer and make a purchase… It must be naturally + humanely raised, free of hormones and antibiotics, it must be local, and most importantly I really like to meet the farmers and just talk with them about their farming practice, and when possible I like to go and see their operation for myself, And that is exactly what we did on Saturday. I have purchased from CRMR before through the Millarville Market, after playing 101 questions with the super knowledgeable and very helpful team, and enjoying some tempting tastes! We went direct to the Ranch, and found the prices were a little better (as your not paying for the premium 17th ave overhead like at their retail store) Seeing the animals was really great for all of us. This is the part of the cycle of food we most often overlook, or aren’t allowed to look into. After reading only a zillion books on the subject of CAFO’s (confined animal feed operations) It was a really refreshing visit, and a reminder to me (ever the pessimist) that some people are really raising animals in environments which are contusive to healthy living, for both the end consumer and the creature who is turning solar energy into food energy for us to enjoy + be nourished by.

I think that meat is over-consumed more than just about anything in our western world, right up there next to water and petroleum, and I don’t believe it is sustainable to eat at the pace we are eating today (we being the majority of fat Westerners). So it only makes sense to ensure that when you are purchasing this product that you are mindful of the impact your purchase makes, choosing local and naturally raised animals make a HUGE and positive impact on the environment, animal welfare, the local economy, water, chemical and petroleum use. I think there are many misconceptions out there, that organic and naturally raised meats are just too hard to come by and too expensive, or that we live in Alberta and we have the best meat in the world! I challenge you to seek out some of these great businesses and see for yourself just how much better these meats taste, and consider the impact your dollars spent have made towards a brighter future.

To make this easier I have put together a list of my favorite local meat producers and lots of them have great direct pricing and bulk packages, as well most of these are easily found at local natural foods stores or at Farmers Markets:

CRMR

Sunworks Farm

Buffalo Horn Ranch

Spragg Meats

Valalta Bison

January 15, 2010

squash ravioli with rosemary brown butter sauce

I LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta, fresh home made and to die for!

Tonight my daughter and I celebrated my having a cast removed from my right arm, by  spending an hour rolling kneading and dough, I am thinking that dough making will be good physiotherapy for my wrist recovery. I usually made a semolina pasta but tonight I tried a classic wheat flour recipe from the joy of cooking and it was really lovely. I am going to play with my new found black bean flour and work on a gluten free fresh dough later this week, but for now this divine dinner was all about the filling:

Ravioli filling:

In a small cast iron pan brown 2 cloves of garlic + 1 shallot (or a leek stalk, which i used as I had one kicking around)

add  1 small roasted butternut squash, diced (you could also boil the squash if you are pressed for time)

add about 3/4 of a cup of vegetable stock and  mash the mixture in the pan until it is smooth and creamy (you could use a food processor)

season with s+p, crushed hot chilli, and 1 tbsp maple syrup.

Rosemary brown butter sauce:

Normally I wouldn’t use meat in this dish, but had on hand a really lovely organic pork sausage from Sunworks Farm (a great local source!)

I diced into tiny bits + browned the sausage using a little olive oil.

then I added a big big big slab of butter and over medium heat let it brown, just. To stop it from getting to dark, I removed it from the heat and added a swig of olive oil, a pinch of S+P and some fresh rosemary.

To plate these perfect raviolis which I boiled for about 2 minutes, I spooned a mere 2 tbsp of the butter sauce bits and all over the pasta, topped with a sprinkle of aged cheddar and another bit of fresh rosemary. mmm.

January 14, 2010

Black Bean Brownies : no gluten no dairy (but you would never know)

OMG black bean brownies

12 dried prunes coarsely chopped + It is really important to use organic prunes, because we will make a sauce with the fluid they are reconstituted it.

in a small pot quickly simmer the prunes in 1.5 cups of water

use the prune simmer as a double boiler to melt about 2/3 cup of quality dark bittersweet chocolate, in a glass bowl.

use a submersion blender to puree the water and prunes, into a sweet syrup, add this and the melted chocolate to 1/2 cup oil (or melted natural buttery spread) and then 2/3 cup organic cane sugar + 1 tbsp pure vanilla, and mix well.

sift 1 cup of black bean flour

1 cup brown rice flour

and 1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

add these to wet mixture and bring batter together and add 1/2 cup course chunks of a good quality fair trade dark chocolate

pour batter into small square pan lined with baking parchment

bake at 350º for about 35-40 minutes, for a nice soft centre, 45-50 minutes for a firmer centre.

this is high in fiber and free of dairy, wheat and gluten.

and no one will know it has prunes and beans in it! and did i mention OMG GOOD!

January 11, 2010

corn

Truly you will find corn in just about every processed food item and conventional meat product you eat.

This is because corn = cheap sugar, filler and feed. Corn is cheap simply because it is subsidized by the US government to be grown on a massive scale as a monoculture in a chemical dependent militarized industry. Corn production in the US represents a backwards and petroleum greedy way of getting food to the masses: rather than growing food for humans to eat, a genetically modified commercial grade of corn is grown which cannot be consumed by humans until it is transported, refined and then transported again only to be added into foods as a non nutritional additive in everything from soda to gravy mix. Not only is this way of growing and feeding humans unsustainable it is horribly dependant on gas and petrochemical fertilizers, well those and cattle too, as feedlots are the number one consumer of this commercial corn. Except cattle are ruminants (which means they eat grass, and there bellies are made to digest grass, not corn!) But this subsidized “cheap” corn is a more cost effective and transportable way to feed unimaginably huge feed lots full of hungry cows (CAFO’s). These cows must meet the needs of the consumers who want beef to be fat and huge and marbled! Because of this cheap food, cattle are fed a constant stream of meds and antibiotics to keep them alive and there stomachs tolerating corn just long enough to get them to slaughter. So now the consumer can then buy cheap beef, which is about 8 times fatter than meat from grass fed cattle, making the burgers 8x higher in saturated fats…mmmm.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture! All of these costly inputs (gas, chemicals, energy, pollution, animal welfare, pharmaceuticals, and tax payers hard earned cash) go into making foods which are really low quality causing dangerous health concerns (diabetes, heart disease, and obesity to name a few)

The industrialized food system is a scary place, Here are some of the eye opening books and movies on this subject you should look into:

Recommended Docs: most of these you can watch as streaming video by going to rbrand.ca/watch

King Corn

Food Inc

The world according to Monsantos

Frankensteer

Books:

Omnivores Dilemma

The End of Food

January 9, 2010

fishy business

So once upon a time I was a happy Pescatarian (vegetarian that ate fish and seafood) and then I stumbled on the book bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe and it really shook my entire principals of eating! I am however a pretty easy convert I will admit! I don’t need meat, I don’t need sugars, I don’t really miss eating junk food or fast food, and once I get an idea in my head from any reasonable source about a corrupt system, company, or a chemical process I really can walk away from ever eating the guilty food again, that goes with cosmetics, cleaners, anything!

That said this book really changed my understanding of the seas and I delved deeper into the subject of depleting seafood, toxic seas, black market fish, farmed fish, even shark and whale welfare and I found myself drowning in despair. Last night we watched end of the line a documentary which neatly summed up bottomfeeder essentially. It is a horrible story yet wonderfully impact-full to see this made into a documentary which has such a broader audience than a book does… especially for a subject matter we really don’t spend to much time thinking about. Well as a prarie dweller at least I hadn’t. I mean I knew that tuna had mercury concerns and that dolphin were often caught in tuna nets, and I did know that not so long ago the cod fisheries out east collapsed… but I didn’t really change the way I ate because of any of that knowledge (aside from my pregnancy without sushi) Fish seemed to be a food topic I just overlooked! Well that has all changed over the past 7 months…

I can’t begin to summarize what I have learned  over this time but I will recommend some docs + reading and I will not be posting any depleted or endangered fish recipes ever, likely you will not find salmon or shrimp recipes here either. Truthfully I haven’t eaten a piece of fish in forever…but I am challenging myself to cook for the first time; sardines, as they are really the most sustainable fish I can eat. I will post on the results! any who knows it might just be wonderful tasting.

In the mean time download a seachoice app or wallet  guide, and use it to help you vote with your dollars and consume with a conscious.

MUST SEE DOCS:

end of the line

shark water

addicted to plastic (you can watch this whole movie online here)

RESOURCES:

http://www.seachoice.org/

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/plasticoceans/

BOOKS:

bottomfeeder

January 9, 2010

Simple Brown Rice Salad Bowl

The best thing about this really easy recipe is that you can eat it cold or at room temp when you make it, and the left overs can be warmed up in a pan and enjoyed in a whole new way, more like fried rice, so it’s not a boring second day meal.

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January 8, 2010

rapid fire posting + roasting

Welcome!

This is the first of what will be a series of posts about my adventures as an Ethicarian. For some time I have been shooting pics and documenting great recipes using foods from my tiny but abundant garden and from many great local growers, And now after a decade of working in the food industry (mainly in Natural, Organic and Special Dietary) my businesses are sold and I finally have some time to start sharing them. I was just going through some yummy images from my hefty tomato yield this summer, and I think that is as good a place as any to begin.

What I hate most about winter is the lack of juicy warm from the sun tomatoes 😦

The summer of 09 was by far the highest quality yield of tomatoes we have harvested to date. We grew some beautiful organic tiger tomatoes, a nice variety of HUGE beef-house heirloom (one no joke was the size of my daughters face), organic roma’s (which were a bit pulpy, but great for sauces), and finally about a zillion of the sweet million variety of  cherry tomatoes.

In an effort to save some of this abundance I slow roasted and frozen about 6lbs of these tasty summer treats, and now I delight in using them…

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Half cherry tomatoes or slice larger ones 1/4 – 1/2″ thick

Place on baking sheet spaced evenly (not overlapping), generously coat with olive oil,  sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and add few whole cloves of garlic.

Roast at 250º for a few hours (depending on the size of your tomatoes) the small ones took maybe 2.5 the larger one (which I roasted on a separate sheet) took about 4 hours.

Cool and eat, puree, or freeze!

I ate about half of them right away, with cheese and bread, on toast with butter, and on salads, the rest got bagged and hit the deep freeze.

January 8, 2010

slow roasted tomatoes with Lebanese couscous

It is a pretty rare event in our house when I cook meat, but I am always very sure to meet the producer of any meat I buy or research them extensively, but usually I do both. One the first snow fall of the season I was craving something warm and comforting so when the great folks at Sunworks Farm down at the Calgary Farmers Market were sampling there juicy organic rosemary chicken sausages, i knew that fit the bill, and I had a fresh batch of my slow roasted tomatoes to use. Here is the simple but stunning dish I created using Lebanese couscous (which is NOT gluten free) This couscous is a large (pea size) ball of pasta made with semolina flour.

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