Archive for September, 2011

September 30, 2011

garden harvest veggie ragu

My little green house is pumping out plump tomatoes, a couple handfuls a day.. most of which are chilling in the freezer, but these heirloom beauties were destine for a deep rich veggatarian ragu. This sauce is super versatile, I made a big pan full and had some on left over rice for lunch today dressed with fresh goat feta and oregano, the rest of the sauce (about a pint) will cozy in a jar and wait for a bed of pasta noodles this weekend.

In the event you too have a picky eater around, a thick tomato sauce is a great way to hid teeny tiny little veggie bits ūüėČ This ragu has 9 different veggies in it, I even slipped beet into this recipe, which I find adds a nice sweetness that works well with the mild acidity of the fresh tomatoes. I know a ragu is traditionally a meat based sauce… but seeing as this thick tomatoes sauce has a stick to your rib-nes to it.. I’m calling it a ragu!

Start warming a good amount of olive oil in a deep cast iron pan

add the following finely chopped veggies and brown:

1 yellow onion

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 of a large green pepper

1/4 of a small zucchini

season with S+P,  chili flakes, bay leaf, fresh minced herbs; oregano, thyme & basil.

Once all these veggies start to get  good and brown add in about 6 cups of diced tomatoes. I used an assortment of 6 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

reduce heat and to the tomatoes add

2 cups boiling water

2 heaping Tbsp red pepper spread

1 small grated beet

Allow everything to simmer away for as long as you have to wait (adding extra hot water and season as needed) 1 hour is plenty but 3 is ideal! If you have less time to cook it down or  if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can zip it up with an immersion blender, me I like some tomato chunks.

That’s is.. simple garden harvest ragu, ready to smother anything you want to cover in deliciousness!

September 28, 2011

crimini’s + zucchini’s

After almost a week away from home (and man is it good to be home and get back into the garden for harvesting today) I was looking for a comforting flavor for dinner and found myself inspired by the way my mom used to fry up a fresh zucchini bits in butter with parmigiana cheese… this was always a favorite of mine growing up,¬† and I had hoped that my daughter (who HATES zucchini) would fall in love if I drown it in butter and decked it out with cave aged grana padano cheese. Zucchini surrounded¬† in golden browned tofu and mushrooms, who could resist? Appanently her … She ate everything except the zuc’s, but the mister + I really enjoyed this combination of flavors. I served this over brown basmati rice, and it made for a good use of fridge treasures (crimini’s) and garden overrun (zucchini’s)!

In a large deep cast iron pan start by melting a good 2 tbsp of butter, to this add and brown:

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 block of firm ORGANIC tofu (cubed)

2 cups of quartered mushrooms

get these frying for 5-7 minutes before adding 1/2 of a medium zucchini quartered and sliced, along with another 2 tbsp of butter.

Season with


2 tsp chili flakes

2 tsp fresh parsley

2 tsp fresh rosemary

Don’t over toss, but slowly allow the faces of the veggies to brown.

Once everything looks lovely and golden on most sides add between 1/2-1 cup of grated grana padano cheese (or parm) season with a few more fresh herbs and toss. Serve hot, and enjoy.






September 20, 2011

honey mustard hemp dressing

perfect atop a divine locavore chef salad..

Seeing as I still have a mountain of smoked ham left overs, and abundant eggs from my lovely little hens along with a garden ripe with greens (and yellows and reds and purples) I decided to make the chef-iest of chef salads. Complete with red artisan lettuce, shisho leafs, escarole, lemon cucumber, sun warmed tomato, + fresh chives all from the land. The smoked ham slices are naturally raised and smoked just up the road, the croutons toasted with local organic bread, and pickles from my friends pantry. In addition to all of those lovely local goodies I toppped this salad with chia seeds and this perfect dressing:

In a re-sealable glass jar mix equal parts

liquid honey

grainy mustard

balsalmic vinegar +

apple cider vinegar

mix with 2 parts hemp oil


and finely diced fresh herbs: chives, oregano, and thyme.

shake shake shake, and drizzle!

September 19, 2011

maple miso medley

Tonight’s dinner was a tribute to the garden abundance, after a quick little tour I chopped up a collage of goodies that were just waiting to be turned into a sweet and savoury quinoa pilaff, flavoured with a silky mustard maple and miso sauce and laced with garden fresh herbs. You could use any and all veggies you have on hand for this.. I also threw in some smoked ham we had left over after a nice dinner with our visiting grandparents.

Something really wonderful happens when you mix maple syrup with mustard, it’s a combination I turn to often, especially on the rare occasions when I happen to have pork on hand. I know all you vegans and veggies out their are turning your noses up at my piggy ¬†addition (albeit a happy local organic & delicious one)… I will say this would be excellent with tempeh or tofu.. or maybe just a handful of almonds!

Cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water, seasoned with

olive oil


a dash of dried parsley

and a dash of garlic granules


In a large deep cast iron pan brown up the following diced veggies (or whatever you have in abundance) in a good amount of olive oil:

1 large onion

1 large carrot

1 green pepper (this happened to be the first one I have ever grown)

2 large cloves of garlic

1/4 head of cabbage

2 cups of cooked cubed smoked ham


In a small bowl blend

1 heaping Tbsp miso

1 tbsp each yellow mustard and grainy mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp maple syrup


small handful of fresh herb minced fine ; chives, parsley, oregano, thyme

mix well with 1.5 cups boiling water.


Once all the veggies are brown and your quinoa is cooked, add 3 diced kale leaves along with the maple miso sauce to the pan then add quinoa and stir gently.

serve hot and enjoy!




September 14, 2011

chilli dilly carrots

The perfect winter pick me up for a crisp taste from the garden has got to be pickled carrots! These have always been my favourite preserved treat, and we are almost out of last years batch, so I restocked the cubbards yesterday.

I used honey and apple cider vinegar in this batch along with chilli flakes and dill (3 ways), to pickle a rainbow or carrot colours! I used mostly orange  carrots but some lovely yellow and purple ones as well. This recipe makes a pretty big batch and yields 14 x 500g jars

I didn’t weigh the carrots I used , but essentially I used 6 small bundles so maybe 40 medium carrots total.

Sterilize jars, lids and rings in boiling water, then you can keep the jars hot and clean in your oven set to 225 while you prep everything else. It’s really important to have a open clean work area for canning, and it’s great to have everything you need ready to go.

In a large pot boil brine:

6 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

3 cups apple cider vinegar

4 cups honey

3 heaping tbsp course sea salt

2 tbsp dill seeds

Slice carrots into sticks that work with the size of mason jars you have, allowing for the tops to sit 1/2″ below the last jar thread.

Peel and half 28 cloves of garlic (2 cloves per jar)

In each clean hot jar place

2 garlic pieces

2 tsp chilli flake (good quality organic)

1 tsp dill seeds

1 small dill flower

a few small pieces of dill weed

add and arrange carrot sticks into jars so they are snug and neat

top each jar with 2 more garlic pieces

then¬†pour hot brine into each jar to bring the fluid up so that everything sits 1/4″ below the last jar thread.

wipe the edge of the jars clean with a hot cloth and seal with lid and process (in hot water bath or steam canner) for 15 minutes

Ta Da! Now you have pickled carrots which will be divine come winter time

*** if you use purple carrots, be prepared for the brine to be HOT PINK ***

September 12, 2011

grana garlic gnocchi

We had a great garlic-y weekend, as we took in the Hills Garlic Festival again this year, and stocked up and indulged in many garlic laden foods. We came home with 1/2 a wheel of Kootenay Alpine Cave aged cheese and a few lbs of yugo garlic, which I plan to grow this next year… our Sunday night dinner was a homage to garlic, grana padano cheese and gnocchi (my favourite cheese sauce vehicle). This dish was ridiculously rich and needs a HUGE bright green salad and even a side of veggies to go with it.. essentially it is a vegetarian carbonara, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I used rice gnocchi so the dish was wheat and gluten free…. but I can’t promise it’s without guilt!


start by boiling (unsalted) water to cook gnocchi’s in.

finely mince:

6 fresh baby chives

1 small sprig rosemary

4 large sage leaves

1 large sprig of oregano


In a small bowl combine:

2 egg yokes

1 cup grated grana padano or parm cheese

1/2 cup cream or goat milk

and 1/2 of the herb blend


In a deep large cast iron pan fry

2-4 cloves of garlic finely minced,

in about 1/4 cup olive oil

along with the rest of the fresh herb blend

cook the garlic slowly on medium low


meanwhile cook 1 package of gnocchi’s

once the gnocchi’s start to rise to the top, strain them and drizzle with olive oil (so they won’t stick together) then add them to the garlic pan and allow them to gently ever so lightly brown. Don’t move them around too much as they are delicate, and you want to achieve a light golden crust.

Once the gnocchi’s are perfect (you could totally eat them just like this and you would be in heaven) remove from pan and pour into a large bowl, toss with the egg / cheese / cream mix and season with black pepper (not salt as the cheese should be salty enough) and gingerly stir togeher until combined and smooth, and coated with a silky creamy coating.

serve and enjoy, and enjoy and enjoy!


September 8, 2011

omega kale salad

A while back we were at our friends for a BBQ and they made the most amazing raw kale salad, and I have found myself thinking about it almost everyday since that night.. and although I have eaten kale almost everyday since then, it took me more than a week to recreate their wonderful salad. It is so simple I wish I had thought this combination up sooner.

So my advice is: do not put off trying this salad, go out to your garden.. or your local produce stop and gather a bundle of curly kale (purple is prettiest) and get to it! You won’t regret it.

Start with 10-12 large leafs of kale

along with 1/2 a bundle (large handful) of fresh curly parsley

slice your greens up ribbon thin / super fine, always removing the thickest part of the stock

then in a large bowl dress the kale and parsley with

3 tbsp hemp oil

3 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt (garlic chilli sea salt if you have it)

now massage the oil and citrus into the greens, garnish with a handful of hemp seeds and allow the flavours to soak up for a few hours at least.

the best part is licking your hands clean after the kale massage (just don’t let your guests see you do this!)

that’s it, that’s all… ENJOY!

September 7, 2011

drunken apricot jam

So i think this is the very best jam I have ever made…

and I don’t say that lightly. This is truly an amazing thing to do with apricots, maybe the only thing one ought to do with apricots, booze em up drown them in honey and spread them on toast! de-vine.

Last week my sister in law arrived with a monster box of freshly picked organic apricots in tow, so we promptly halved and pitted them, and popped them into the freezer, knowing they were jam bound, and we had a lot of other garden harvesting to take care of first. She ended up leaving before we could get around to this jam so I threw it down the other night when I realized I had 7 wild sockeye salmons coming in from the coast and had to make some serious room in the freezer. This freezer binge also prompted me to FINALLY cook up the 18 lbs of grapes I had from last years harvest into a wicked grape jelly, as my vines are again heavy with fruit this season.

Now that this amazing apricot jam is made I am going to have a hard time shipping off half of this batch to my sis, and I may need to hide my half in the pantry so my family forgets about it.

I am totally hooked on Pamons pectin, it is ultra low sugar and it yields ultra solid results, if you can’t find Pamonas at a natural food store and you have to use traditional pectin, you will have to increase the honey content dramatically, consult the directions of the pectin you choose. And be sure your always super squeeky clean and precise when jamm’in so you keep all your loved ones safe.

You’ll need:

12 cups halved pitted apricots

2 cups honey

1/2 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup brandy

1 box Pamonas low sugar natural pectin

*** whole vanilla bean; see note below


In a heavy bottom deep sauce pan, cook down apricots with about 1 cup of water for about 8 minutes, until soft and mashed.

In a large measuring cup, measure  honey and to it mix in pamonas pectin (quantity for triple batch jam as per the pectin box instructions)

In a separate container make pamonas calcium water

Add calcium water and brandy  to the apricots followed by the honey mix, stir well and boil for 2 minutes

Portion jam neatly into sterilized and prepared jars, leaving 1/4″ space in jar.

Process the jars in water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes

yields 10 x 250 ml “oh my goodness so very delicious” jars * that just maybe my sister in law will one day get to taste ūüėČ

*** Immediately after finishing the processing of this batch, I remembered I have a good stock of whole organic vanilla beans.. if I were to make this again (or should I say when I make this again) I will most certainly add a vanilla bean to the fruit and cook it down with the works, so if you have one… add it.

This was a big jam day … and tomorrow I’ll be vacu-sealin salmon and blanched heritage beans for the freezer, followed by some pickling of dilly beans.

September 6, 2011

peachy coconut + hemp streusel muffins

These are the perfect energy snack for a day of canoeing on the lake! Last week we had friends and family up and we took our newly re finished canoe for it’s christening and loaded 6 adults and 2 kids into two canoes and hit the lake. These muffins were a hit, and my sister in law picked these organic peaches in the Okanagan valley on her way through, along with a monster box of apricots (which just last night turned into a divine drunken jam.. that recipe is coming soon).

I am not much of muffin fan, I find them cake-y and boring, I never buy them and rarely make them, however I must admit that this recipe breaks all my muffin boundaries and is sure to please the most cynical muffin hater, like myself. The super ripe peaches make perfect moisture pockets and the toasted coconut hemp streusel topping take them to the next level. ¬†This is a no fuss muffin I hope you’ll try and am sure you’ll enjoy.

warm oven to 400

prepare a standard 12 muffin pan with oil

while the oven is warming place an oven safe bowl with 3 oz of butter in it, in the oven to allow it to melt while you combine your dry ingredient.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together:

2 cups spelt flour

2/3 cup cane sugar + 1 tbsp

2 tbsp powder

pinch sea salt

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/2 cup coconut

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of cardamon

Remove melted butter from oven and add:

the fruit from 4 fresh peached choppes into 1″ cubes

2/3 cup of buttermilk (or soured raw goat milk as the case often is in my house)

splash of fresh lemon juice

combine wet and dry ingredients and portion batter into prepared tins

in a small bowl combine struesel ingredients:

1/4 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup coconut

3 tbsp cane sugar

3 tbsp hemp oil

blend and sprinkle a little streusel ontop of each muffin

bake for 18 – 20 minutes (until a skewer comes out clean)

enjoy warm or later while soaking up some sun…

* After rushing to get to the lake with these hot from the oven I discovered yet another use for my bamboo steamers; they make great hot muffin storage containers!

September 4, 2011

roasted beets on wilted greens

Nothing beats beets fresh from the earth, except fresh beets from the earth oven roasted and served on bed of wilted lemon garlic beets greens, kale and chard, topped with fresh goat feta and toasted pumpkin seeds, drizzled with hemp oil and kissed with maple syrup. * have I got your attention yet?

This all sounds like a lot of effort, but the dish comes together remarkably quickly and makes for a hearty weekday meal, or a stunning side.

I am sure I have confessed this before but I should reiterate that ¬†beets are fairly new to my culinary world, and after a pink pee back as a child I avoided them like the plague. Three years ago I was on a wine tour in the Okanagan valley and was served a warm beet and goat cheese salad perfectly paired with a crisp glass of Quale’s Gate Riesling, and after that there was no looking back… I adored beets.. and the pink pee well now it’s just a reminder of my how I enjoyed my newest favorite veg.

Start by quartering

6 medium (ish) beets, tossed in:

a drizzle of hemp oil & olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a sprinkle of garlic granules.

roast them at 350 until fork tender (about 25 minutes)

During the last 10 minutes of the beet roasting, start chopping your greens:

all the beet greens

6 leaves of kale

6 leaves of chard

In a a deep cast iron pan quickly brown in olive oil:

1 small yellow onion finely diced

2 garlic cloves minced

once golden toss in all your greens and rapidly satay for about 3 minutes

season with

a good squeeze of lemon juice

drizzle of hemp oil


finish this super fast fry with a little dollop of maple syrup

remove from heat and plate the greens, topped with warm roasted beets and

1/2 cup crumbled goat feta

1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds (seasoned with chili garlic sea salt and pepper)