Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

more squash and more pickling

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There doesn’t seem to be an end to the preserving of things these days…. My sweet neighbor brought over the most beautiful pale green tiny zucchini’s yesterday I sliced them up along with some beautiful jumbo shallots and made mustard garlic quick refrigerator pickles, which smells divine! I can’t wait to try these. I also did a huge batch of sauerkraut both green cabbage flavored with juniper berries and red cabbage with some garlic and hot chili too.

Last post I did while letting a new bread recipe rise and I was honestly really happy with the results. Pretzel making was a first for me the recipe I tried was really easy and didn’t involve too much waiting or hand kneading for that matter! We devoured 16 pretzels and a batch of super garlicky lemon mustard dip within 18 hours! The dough was proofed, boiled salted and then baked. I think this would also be a great start to a bagel recipe…

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September 26, 2010

fall snacks

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I am starting to play with more savoury breads as the season change and I am looking forward to sharing more of these recipes with you all as I assemble some winners. Today I am working on pretzels, so I will report on my findings shortly.

Last night I threw together a really simple succotash to use up some left over shredded cabbage I couldn’t fit into a crock. We finally ran out of sauerkraut, just as we were all getting so used to having it on top of everything 😦  I am making a HUGE batch of green cabbage kraut as well as a smaller batch using purple cabbage that I will spice up a bit with ginger, garlic and chilli. But back to the succotash…. likely I am breaking traditionalist rules by calling our dinner a succotash but as I am not from the South nor have I ever tasted a true succotash, I figure when I fry corn and beans or veggies that pretty much makes for succotash onto itself. So here is what I made, and it was great I served it over brown basmati rice.

In a cast iron pan brown 1/2 onion with 2 cloves of garlic and a 1/2 pepper (I used a darling black pepper I grew.. and notably it was the only one that grew) brown these in oil and butter with S+P until just translucent. Add 8 slices of diced cured back bacon (or 6 slices or standard bacon or as the British call it streaky bacon). Let  everything brown on medium for about 5-8 minutes.

Add 1 cup of cubed summer squash (because no meal around here is complete without some squash snuck in) and kernels from 2 medium ears of corn. To this I added about 1 huge tbsp of a N’awlins spice mix I bought from a gal last year at Christmas Millarville Market. It’s a blend of paprika, peppers thyme salt and likely some garlic and onion granuils too. I think paprika and chili would be a great substitute here. Allow the corn and squash to cook for another 5 minutes along with a dash of red wine vinegar.

Finally add 2 cups of shredded cabbage to the top of the pan (don’t mix in yet) reduce heat to low and add S+P to the cabbage, a glug of maple syrup, and a splash of lemon juice. Leave this all for about 10 minutes, or long enough to take the scraps out to the chickens and enjoy the comedy therein, admired new chicken coop in progress, gets plates ready for dinner, toss and serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Last week I started playing with raw and non baked granola bar type recipes because I want to incorporate  more chia seed into my families diet. It is a wonderful super food (you may know as salba) I came up with my own modified recipe inspired from this chow gallery on power bars. The bars were a huge hit and disappeared within hours. I then made them at the cafe I now bake at 2 days a week and same thing… all gone! The recipe I made was simply seeds, nut butter, date puree and rice syrup. So satisfying. I’ll whip up another batch today after the pretzels!

I started picking concord grapes yesterday under stunning blue skies in the warm 25º sunshine! I don’t have enough yet for jelly so I started a freezer bag which I hope to fill in the next week, and get this jelly making done soon!

One more batch of pickled cuc’s and carrots today, this time spicy large jars.

September 17, 2010

For the birds

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We spent the afternoon daubing the waddle for the winter coop, what a simple forgiving grounded form of building! I just love slapping around mud! I will go into more detail about the chicken coop on the building blog later this weekend but today I wondered around the yard and garden in awe of the changes of season…. I am letting everything go to seed to collect later, I am drying beans and peas, waiting on green tomatoes while beginning to enjoy the lovely tomatillo’s . The grape vines are flush and incredible and the chickens are getting HUGE! Thus the need for the second coop and extended run. Tomorrow will be a big day in coop finishing! You’ll see some new pics of our lovely birds, my favorite image is of Red Barron the little black and white bantam, on the coop perch kacadoodle-do-ing… ? We thought he was a gal… but we stand corrected, which sadly means he would make a very little roast and no tiny eggs 😦 Lucky for him we love his personality and he was keep to lean to jump today while Mia and I fed the birds peas if they jumped for them! It was too fun. The other bird picture I love is Elvis (a feather footed black cochin) surrounded by his Ladies: Sid Viscious and Miss Corby, as well as Yoko.

Stocked up on more canning supplies today and plan to do another round of pickles and and beets in the next few days as well as grape jelly…soon.

While wondering through the garden I picked a little basket of pizza toppings and we used Greek style store bought pita to make individual pizzas the one I especially adored both making and eating had a simple olive oil crust and garlic rub base (no sauce) topped with slice tomitillos (which were bright and almost citrus like), fresh fennel greens, some endive, black olives, hot peppers from the garden too, goat feta and mozza, topped with sea salt and pepper… mmm I then topped the toasted browned pizza pie with a  simple salad of greens and endive finely ribboned and tossed with Mia’s garlic lemon dressing. YUMM!

September 14, 2010

Fall Harvest, Fairs and Garlic

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Although we are amid a rainy and cloudy early fall the harvest is very abundant and exciting! This weekend we enjoyed the fall festivities of our thriving community, we took in both the local Valley Fall Fair as well as the Hills Garlic Festival. Seeing the huge and beautiful produce grown right here in my valley on display was a real treat; there were sunflowers over 12 feet tall, there were pumpkins that likely weighted more than me and my daughter put together, we drooled over giant squash, and perfect pears, lovely jellies and baked squares! Most of all we ate and ate and ate. My daughter bravely but  thoroughly enjoyed some locally made vanilla garlic gelato, and we all tasted dried garlic slices (for hours in fact we tasted it), pickled garlic and garlic scape (the stock of the garlic plant so I just learned), we also enjoyed wonderful deep dark Ontario maple syrup, local honey, gypsy tea, borsht, and fry bread, to name a few of our indulgences.

Our plant expert biology folk friends visited this weekend and we really really enjoyed walking our property with them again as they pointed out some real treasures in the woods, most impressive (for me anyways) was Marks keen eye for the multiple hazelnut tress we have right here! What a wonderful surprise. They are scrappy little tree’s with not much fruit this year… but now that we know they are here, we will given them some attention and look forward to the improved yields to come. We also picked some lobster mushrooms on our walk but after some research decided not to eat them, although we had no trouble identifying them I later learned that lobster mushroom are in fact a parasite to other fungi and are not mushrooms at all, so to safely enjoy these one should be able to clearly identify the original mushroom that has been taken over by the lobster “mushroom” parasite. We are all new to mushrooming so I cast the lovely specimen back into the woods. But our family will be doing a local mushroom walk and lesson in the coming weeks, and who knows one day soon we may be dining on mushrooms of all sorts!

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September 2, 2010

Fire pickling

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Just had a cool reminder that fall is around the corner this week, which has me getting my winter greens in the ground, and starting to forge forward on the coop building, commencing tomorrow! I have a weekend with our mom’s visiting so I am hopeful that they will want to help me get the garden together and slap some earthen plaster around.

Last night I fired up the wood stove and decided to do a round of pickling inside, as I was growing wiry of the camp stove kitchen set up, the problem is that massive caldron of water took nearly 4.5 hours to boil, even with our fireplace burning at a raging 500º the whole time! The whole batch was sweaty and frustrating, but I yielded my favorite pickled veg; carrots! During the day we visited some neighbors and Mia picked some beautiful purple carrots from their garden, which I added to some orange ones we got at the Nelson market, along with some local garlic, dill, hot peppers, and a few of our tiny carrot ball variety thrown in for good measure.

While waiting for the vat of water to boil I whipped up a yellow summer salad to die for; I sliced some yellow sunburst squash paper thin, along with some thicker slices of these darling crisp little lemon yellow cucumbers we are growing, added some thin slices of locally grown organic yellow watermelon, & some tiny yellow heirloom tomatoes, all topped with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil, lemon and lavender sea salt and some fresh purple and green basil and a pinch of fennel tops all fresh from the herb spiral. I have seen watermelon and tomato salads many times before and never had the desire to try one, until my good friend and foodie reminded me on her recent visit how amazing the combination was, that and the fact the watermelon was yellow was all the convincing I needed.  Mmmm, it was stunning and I will defiantly play with this combination of flavors again.

After the long weekend, I hope to have pictures of the chicken coop progress.