Archive for December, 2011

December 28, 2011

the lighter side of leftovers

Citrus turkey pilaff with spinach and sun dried tomatoes.

Until today I haven’t felt the slightest bit hungry since Dec 24th! What a gorge-fest the holidays are! Like all of you I am sure you have a bundle of turkey in your fridge, and probably your feeling like once again you have over eaten yourself into oblivion. Well the good news is the holidays are almost behind us and then it will be much easier to put off the boozey coffee, holiday chocolates and gravy. Until then I have a fridge full of left overs and some light and easy recipes to ease us into the new year. Starting with Turkey of course!

I am also planning to get off this wheat train again, I am feeling like my tolerance for spelt is at it limit these days, and I am looking forward to sprouting grains and greens and getting away from the cream cheese spelt pastry crusts for a while! So while the new year isn’t officially here yet I am slowly stepping away from the holiday gluttony and moving toward a light and fresh new year!

This savoury veggie rice pilaff is quick and easy and makes great use of your little bundles of turkey, best of all it involves no gravy and it really is light and fresh tasting.

Start by cooking 1.5 cups of rice.

In a large deep pan brown with a glug of olive oil:

1/2 yellow onion chopped fine

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 large carrot chopped fine

S+P

Once they start to brown add:

2 cups of chopped cooked turkey breast

2 tbsp sundried tomatoes in oil (I started soaking a garlicky pint of this stuff a few weeks back and I have been adding these babies to everything! yum)

Season with:

a handful of finely chopped parsley

a squeeze of Braggs

1 tbsp miso

1 tbsp paprika

a pinch of saffron

squeeze of lemon

squeeze of ketchup or tomato paste

1 cup of water

1 tbsp Caribbean hot sauce

simmer away on low for about 20 minutes (or until the carrots and just tender)

when your rice is cooked add it to the pan along with:

3 handfuls of fresh spinach

and the juice of 2 mandarin oranges

combine quickly and serve while the spinach is still bright green!

Ahh, hearty, healthy and easy.

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December 22, 2011

cranberry mandarin sauce

Clearly there is some kind of rule that forbids you from eating turkey without cranberry sauce, and certainly you can’t eat a left over turkey sandwich without a good slather of said sauce, so it is pretty much written in stone that cranberry sauce is essential for a holiday meal. This year we are off to our friends house for a German Christmas feast, which means I am not making the turkey, but I have been asked to bring among other things, cranberry sauce, and obviously I have no intention of buying a can-o-cran! Cranberry sauce is so easy to make, there is no reason for those jelly cans to even live on the grocery store shelf.

I made a double batch of this sauce because I have tart dreams for some of it… you may opt to half this recipe.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat combine:

2 bags of fresh cranberries

2 cups of organic cane sugar

2 cups of organic orange juice

1 cup of water

2 mandarin oranges, peeled, separated and cut into 1 cm thick segments

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp each: all spice, cloves and nutmeg (all fresh ground)

Simmer away pressing and crushing some of the cranberries with a potato masher while stirring often for about 20 minutes. Shut off heat to element, cover the pot and allow it to sit there for about 30 minutes. Stir and serve, or make this a few days ahead of the big day and keep in fridge.

*Alternatively…. once the sauce is to your consistency liking you can add a whole new deep flavour level to it by pouring it into an oven safe pan and slowly roasting it for a couple hours on a low heat in the oven. This is what I opted to do, after my fruit butter experiments in the fall, I found I really enjoy the concentrated fruit flavour and  thickness that comes with this extra step!

Either way this will beat any canned glop you find in the stores, and the mandarin is a lovely touch!

December 21, 2011

lemon ginger meringues

aka pillows of heaven (as my daughter has dubbed them)

So for our solstice dinner tonight we decided to celebrate our abundance of eggs, and make another batch of home made pasta, which we added fresh parsley and grated garden garlic into the dough. The noodles will be part of a prosciutto carbonara our festive ode de oeuf ! As with all my adventures in pasta making, today called for a egg white dessert coupling. My daughter skilfully separated 12 egg yokes from their whites, which netted a GIANT HUGE BATCH of lemon ginger meringues (you may want to half this recipe)

you’ll need:

12 egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups of organic cane sugar

1 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

In a stand mixer:

Whip egg whites to soft peaks, then add cream or tartar and sugar, continue whipping to hard peaks before adding lemon juice and ginger, whip for 1 minute longer.

spoon mixture into piping bag with large star tip, squeeze into dollops on a parchment lined pan. then bake at 250 for about 30 minutes, or until just golden brown.

cool and enjoy quickly as they won’t stick around long!

December 19, 2011

deconstructed cabbage rolls

Otherwise know as lazy cabbage rolls 🙂

I made these a couple weeks back and the family has been asking for it again and again. The nice thing is it takes 20 minutes to put a hot steamy stick to your ribs meal on the table… perfect after a day of ice skating on the outdoor rink.

All the gratification of cabbage rolls… and 1/3 of the effort.

In a deep cast iron iron pan start by browning:

1/2 red onion diced fine

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 lb ground happy cow (local and organic of course)

a good glug of olive oil

Once browned add: 

2 roasted red peppers sliced thin (I used jarred peppers but you could use fresh… or use tomatoes instead)

2 tbsp red pepper paste (the Italian spread)

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp paprika

S+P

splash lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

1/4 green cabbage sliced razor thin

2 carrots shredded

1 cup tomato sauce

Simmer everything on low for 20 minutes (just long enough to cook some brown rice!)

When your rice is cooked add 2 cups to the sauce and garnish with 1 handful of fresh parsley chopped fine.

serve hot to red cheeked family!

December 16, 2011

pumpkin luv’n pie

Oh my perfect pumpkin pie! Not only a pretty pie, but a super easy fail proof recipe for dairy free decadence. This recipe originated from the Moosewood Cookbook, with a few tweaks on my end. I used again my spelt cream cheese dough for the base, and just like the roasted root veggie pie, I used a cookie cutter to make pretty little hearts to decorate the top with, using the extra dough bits. For a gluten free pie you could use a store bought GF pie crust.

You could easily use the largest size of spring form round pan for this recipe, but I used a 10″ square spring form and the 9 pieces it yielded were pretty substantial portions. You could of course use a standard pie plate, so long as it’s deep.

For the pumpkin pie filling in a large bowl blend together:

3 cups of pureed pumpkin (canned is ok, but I like to roast pumpkin pieces until tender sprinkled with just a pinch of cane sugar and cinnamon, then zip them up in a processor)

1 can coconut milk

3/4 cup local honey or maple syrup

2 tbsp unsulphured molasses

4 farm fresh eggs

pinch of salt

3 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp freshly ground ginger

1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)

1 tsp cloves

small squirt of real vanilla extract

 

pour filling into unbaked pie form with a 1/4″-1/2″ pie crust. If you are leaving the sides un-crusted, as I did, make sure to oil and parchment line the edges, so you get a nice release. If you are decorating the top with dough cut outs, make sure to roll the dough no thicker than 3/8″ and ever so gently place them onto of the filling, trying not to drop them into the batter!

Bake for 10 minutes at 450

then reduce heat to 350 and bake until set and just starting to crack, about 40 minutes.

Cool completely (even overnight) before cutting and serve with a dollop of something creamy!

December 15, 2011

rye vegan fig squares

These squares were like GIANT fig newtons, only more wholesome. I used a recipe from the post punk kitchen and while it wasn’t the nicest dough to work with by far… it yielded exactly what it claimed to: fig newton-ness. Everyone thought they were tasty, and as always I put my own SOLE spin on their recipe. You can find the original recipe here, and my adaption below. I must confess the dough was really sticky and hard to manage but it sure created a smooth flat top crust. The nice thing about this recipe is you only bake it once, unlike most squares which you have to bake twice.

Simmer all filling ingredients together in a suacepan over medium heat until it becomes a nice jam consistancy, about 15 minutes, adding a touch more water as needed

Filling:

1 lb dried figs cut into small pieces ( i wish I had cut each fig 6-8 times rather than the 4 I opted for)

1 cup water

the juice from 1 lemon

a pinch of cardamom

1/3 cup of maple syrup

Bring together in food processor:

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tbsp molasses

Sift flours and powders together in bowl and slowly add to wet mix, pulsing in processor until  a shaggy sticky ball starts to form.

1 cup whole spelt flour

1 cup rye flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

Once combined work dough into a ball on a very well floured counter top, when you can pick up the dough and handle it as a whole, divide in half, and using wax paper or silpat well floured roll each half into 8×8 squares

oil or baking parchment prep a small square pan

flop your first dough layer on the bottom and press in flat, then spread fig mixture over the entire surface. Finally flop the 2nd dough layer on top and bake for 25 minutes at 350 or until golden brown.

allow to cool before cutting into tasty bites. enjoy.

December 13, 2011

rustic root veggie pie

Not only does this pie celebrate all things winter harvest, but it is beautiful and hearty and so very tasty!

I used my go to spelt cream cheese pastry dough for a pie crust but I omitted the sugar and added 2 tbsp of dried herbs: oregano, sage, parsley and thyme. This dough is so easy to work with, on a floured countertop roll it out to about 1/4″ thick, and as circular as you can, then slump it into a medium spring form pan, don;t push it in, just drape it and pat it. I cut all the extra dough off from the top of the deep pan and re-rolled it out to cut out some hearts to decorate the top with. Keep pie crust covered and in the fridge until your veggie filling is ready to use.

For the root pie filling: start by roasting what ever veggies you have in your pantry (6-8 cups worth) I used:

2 carrots

1 yellow onion

6 cloves of garlic

2 celery stocks

1 acorn squash

about 3 medium potatoes

2/3 of a small pumpkin

drizzle the lot in olive oil and season with S+P, chilli flakes, and the same herbs used in the pie crust dough.

Bake until nicely roasted (about 35 minutes at 375)

In a large bowl mash together all the roast veggies and add:

3 eggs

S+P

1 tbsp paprika

1 handful fresh parsley

2 handfuls of kale chopped into 1″ bits

and 2 cups left over pumpkin cheese sauce from pumpkin parmesan penne  dish, you can always make a sinple roux or cheese sauce as a substitution for this. Alternatively you could mash just the potatoes seperatly with some milk and butter then mix in the other veggies to the mash.

* leave some veggies chunky, you don’t want a homogenous blend for such a rustic dish.

Gently spoon veggie mix into pie crust, then push the extra edge dough down to create some lazy folds, decorate with cut crust shapes and brush the dough with a 1 egg + a drip of water wash.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Umm this is serious Yumm.

December 13, 2011

pumpkin parmesan penne

When ever I ask my partner what he wants for dinner he says “tacos” or “that corn chowder” I don’t even know why I bother asking, as for my daughter well her reply is always cheesy noodles please. Tonight I caved and made cheesy noodles with a serious mama spin. I managed to slip in 1/3 of a roasted pumpkin and used organic corn noodles, which yielded a gluten free meal packed with veggies and no one was the wiser!

The sauce for this was really special and it looked like I used orange cheese (which I never buy) but it made it taste cheesier somehow…

In a hot oven

roast 1 small pumpkin sliced into 1″ thick smiles (or any squash) until fork tender, with a drizzle of olive oil and S+P seasoning

also roast the seeds from the pumpkin (same seasonings)

and 4 cloves of garlic (skin on)

In a small sauce pan start a roux

1/4 c butter

1/4 c quinoa flour

allow to bubble away for about 5 minutes stirring often

season with:

S+P

freshly grated nutmeg (about 1 tsp)

a squeeze of course mustard

slowly add 2 cups of milk or cream

reduce heat and stir often as sauce thickens

Then add:

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

handful each of chopped: parsley, sage and oregano

Now add the 4 cloves of roasted garlic (peeled) along with about 2 cups worth of roasted pumpkin

Mix with immersion blender until smooth.

 

Toss cooked gluten free pasta of your choice in this divine sauce and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and a little more fresh parm.

* this recipe made enough sauce for our family dinner plus I reserved about 2 cups for a veggie pot pie I am planning to make tomorrow!

December 12, 2011

seedy rice quick fry + import beers

There are so many foods I cook in volume when I cook them… to ensure the fridge is always armed with a quick fix meal, whether it’s rice, bean, lentils, ground meat or boiled eggs, I love to have them on hand. Because eating out of the pantry means planning ahead, and sometimes I am not very good at that… So when I go to the trouble of soaking beans, I make sure I have enough to make a few meals.

This quick fry rice is the perfect use for left over brown rice and an abundance of fresh eggs. Oh and all the beer cans in the picture, were just delivered from the “province of cheep beer” by a visiting friend the other day, was the perfect accompaniment for this dish. Oh Big Rock Beer!

In a wok or deep frying pan brown:

2 cloves of garlic

2 shallots

2″ ginger freshly grated

in a bleand of sesame oil and organic vegetable oil

1 small can of matchstick chopped water chestnuts

1 cup of thinly sliced green cabbage

S+P

1 tbsp chinese 5 spice

5 sichuan peppers ground

Once the onion, garlic and cabbage are just golden brown, then add:

2 cups of cooked brown rice

a drizzle sesame oil

and a good glug of rice vinegar + soy sauce or braggs

allow to cook for 5 minutes before adding:

4 eggs, cracked into a well in the middle of the pan, break yokes and run a fork through the eggs a couple times. Then wait a few minutes until they cook a little more, before running a fork through them again. Do this a couple times before mixing the egg into the rest of the dish.

Toss in a handful each of sunflower seeds, black seasame seeds,  hemp seeds, and fresh minced parsley.

Serve and enjoy. Dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes!

December 11, 2011

pretty pickled eggs … at long last!

I can’t tell you how long I have been wanting to make pickled eggs.. but it seems no one will share in their delight with me. On this cloudy sunday morning after peaking through the mountain of eggs we have on hand, I thought… this is it! Today I will pickle up some eggs, if only for me to enjoy.

I can understand the weirdness around the idea of pickled eggs, if one has never tried them before. But frankly if you like pickles and you like hard boiled eggs… then you are certain to enjoy pickled eggs. And if you have ever been to England or a british pub in the west you are very likely to find two jars on the bar top.. one containing pickled eggs and the other likely pickle sausage or at the least big dill pickles, and aside from a pack of crisps if your hungry in the UK at a pub, your not to likely to come a cross a menu of much other than those snackables. So best get used to them!

I grew up loving both of those aforementioned pickled oditties and though it has been year and year and years since I have eaten either, it seemed high time to preserve up some of the surplus off winter food we have right now, and get back to one of my earliest childhood food memories.

In a large pot:

hard boil 18 small and medium eggs for 13 minutes (or until hard in your area based on sea level, just ensure the yoke is just cooked fully… but not overcooked and dry!)

Once cooked immediately remove eggs from the hot water and let them cool in cold water until they are easy to handle and peel.

*when using farm fresh eggs, you really need to let them sit for 3+ days before hard boiling, otherwise peeling a super fresh eggs can be a nightmare, as the oxygen barrier around the thin skin, won’t have formed yet, and you’ll end up with a mess of swiss cheese like hard boiled eggs 😦

Mean while bring brine to boil:

1/2 L water

1/2 L vinegar (I used half white vinegar half apple cider vinegar)

1/4 cup honey

2 Tbsp course sea salt

Assemble in a clean 1 L wide mouth canning jar:

6 juniper berries (dried)

10 pepper corns

2 bay leafs

plop your peeled and cooked eggs into the jar

pour boiling brine over top to cover completely, allow to cool a little before capping and refrigerating.

Let them sit in fridge at least 24 hours before eating, and then try to eat them all within a month.

* You can hot water bath process pickled eggs into smaller canning jars, for 12 minutes, if you want to give them away as gifts or store them in the pantry.

So this is a pretty easy entrance to the world of pickled eggs… who knows you night love them as much as I do!?

December 10, 2011

putting a new S in S.O.L.E. food

A couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend about the word sustainable, and how it really isn’t something we should be striving for. Sustainable means to steady on the course, keep things going the same way, unchanged, constant. I realize that popular environmental culture has embraced the word as did I, but when I  think about how permaculture effects my daily life… my goal as a permaculturist is to improve things, and have a net positive effect on my world, not to steady on the course! Things are a mess, especially in our industrialized food system. I realized that my very blog title was in conflict with how I actually cook, and grow and eat… and the word Seasonal really resonates much more with my food world than did Sustainable. Maybe you noticed already but I have created a new blog banner and some fresh winter colours that embraces the new S in SOLE food, even in these cold months: SEASONAL, ORGANIC, LOCAL, ETHICAL… S.O.L.E. Food.

The winter certainly is a challenging time of year to eat from ones land, or even locally in most parts of this country. More and more I am learning how to use and rotate my food supply, I am well stocked up but certain items need to be utilized and restocked regularly. This means knowing that all the food I put up, is food my family enjoys (in volume) and can be incorporated into meals on a regular basis.

I can’t tell you how reassuring it feels to not have to goto the store every day or every other day for meal items. Of course I miss my garden under it’s blanket of snow but I have stashed away so much of it’s bounty that I do get to enjoy it all winter long. Eating seasonally and from my communities food shed, means going without all sorts of things… fruit for example, I just don’t really eat fresh fruit in the winter… apples of course are kicking around still as are pears, but mostly I processed them all into chips, sauce and butter. And frankly I just don’t need a pineapple in Decmber … in fact I don’t really need to invest the travel miles into the purchase of a pineapple any time of year really. I prefer sun warmed and peak ripened fruit from my own trees to the bland global gallivanting fruits from the south.

But yes I do have some luxury imports like rice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, coffee, and chocolate, (all of which I buy as ethically as possible, looking for trusted brands who nourish workers and land), but my day to day meals come largely from gardens and pastures I have dug my hands into the soil of. And this feels so good, to eat and nourish my family with.

Right now I am making butter from the heavy layer of cream on my gallon jar of raw farm fresh milk, which I trade weekly for 2 dozen eggs from my heritage birds. These chickens survive this time of year on organic layers mash, but my gardening plans for next year include a huge push to grow more chicken and rabbit feed, so that our animals are feed from our land too, well after the snow covers their forage land.

The last of our kale has been dried and eaten, and while I still have some brussel sprouts and beets and carrots out in the snow, I am now heavily relying on what I have put up to feed us. This means we are eating a LOT more meat that I am used too, along with sauerkraut, squash, potatoes, garlic, onions, pumpkin, dried fruit and veggies. I am baking a lot with oats and whole grains I am grinding fresh. We eat rice or quinoa and beans and lentils many times a week. We have a zillion eggs right now as our  flock has almost tripled since last year, and I am collecting nearly 1.5 dozen eggs a day. Many of our friends are hunting so we are enjoying venison as a nice treat when we can. My freezer is stocked with cow and pork our friends raised and again we traded our services for.  My pantry is full of smoked fish, chutneys, pickles, sauces, and for fruit cravings there is no end of low sugar jams and jellies made from fruit  my sweet sister in law or I picked at it’s peak.

We are not starving and nothing is stopping us from going to the local organic market for what ever our hearts desire but just having a surplus and knowing that all of my efforts this last year have amounted to a good supply of real food, makes the “lean” winter months even more tasty that I ever anticipated.

December 9, 2011

mint sauce : best for roast beast

Our dear friends invited us to share a roast dinner with them tonight, from the cow they recently butchered, they are a French Canadian and German family who had ever heard of Yorkshire puddings!!! If you can imagine.

Well I insisted upon making my moms yorkies in a pop over style, along with the only other essential addition to any roast dinner… MINT SAUCE! This mint sauce was the only reason I would ever choke down brussel sprouts as a kid, and I have a hard time putting any roast meat into my mouth without a drizzle of it. Mmm on lamb and beef it’s divine.. but a really special thing happens to mashed potatoes and peas when topped with both gravy and mint sauce.

In our house the entire plate of a Sunday roast dinner gets drenched in gravy and mint sauce equally and generously by everyone at the table. I think it only fair to share this glorious gluttony with my friends tonight… as well as you all.

Mint Sauce

2 tbsp dried mint crumbled (I used wild crafted “mosquitto mint” harvested from our bog in the peak of mosquito season this summer)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 tbsp organic cane sugar

1/2 cup of boiling water

1/2 cup malt vinegar

combine and serve with most anything you want to smother in deliciousness! You can keep this brew in the fridge for quite some time, no problem!

December 6, 2011

puffy lentil pillows

I had a total baking disaster today, and my chickens were rewarded with my mishap, which I must admit had me utilizing very colourful language at a rather elevated range, for just the briefest of periods. 😦 Here is what happened…

My morning started out with a plan to make my most favourite simple spelt cream cheese puff pastry and stuff little pockets and rolls with the left over curried lentils I made in excess last night for this very purpose. Well I pulsed and kneaded and stuffed and pinched away to create a few dozen 3 bite pillows which I was certain would make lovely lunch treats for both my sweeties. Mmm the pastry as always was baking up to a beautiful golden brown as my first batch filled the house with the smell of baked goodness, the timer chimed and as I removed the first pan and set it above the stove top on a slow cooker (that hadn’t found it’s way home yet),  just as I was tucking the second and last pan into the oven I watched in horror as the 3 dozen divine little pillows, pan and all slowly slid down the back of the oven and crashed into the creepy crawl space behind my 60 year old stove! Cobweb and dust bunny laden I swept the steaming little pockets up and all I could do not to cry was think, at least the dogs and the chooks will enjoy these.

So after all that love and time and effort was poured in, I yielded about 10 little pierogi sized pillows and 6 sausage roll type parcels.. oh and about 30 happy chicken and two dogs that were thrilled at my mishap! What a way to start a day!

So as lack luster as I feel about this recipe the finished results likely won’t make it until lunch tomorrow, as my daughter hasn’t stopped stuffing these in her mouth since she got home, as for the mister, well he will be walking in the door any minute and I think they will have a similar effect on him.

I started as I said with this wonderful spelt creamcheese puff pastry dough… which is so simple to make. I then rolled in to about 1/8″ thick and used a biscuit cutter to create about 40 rounds, in each I added a hearty tbsp of the below quick lentil curry. Then folded the dough and pinched up the seems, brushed the lot in a egg wash and baked them at 375 for about 18 minutes (or until stunning golden brown). Do not throw them on the floor, rather set aside to cool and enjoy.

quick red lentil curry

In a deep cast iron pan start by browing:

1/2 large yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic

in a good glug of olive oil (it’s funny just how many of my meals start this very way)

let brown befor adding:

2 roasted red peppers sliced thin

2 tbsp thai red curry paste

1.5 cups of lentils, any colour will do

simmer with 2 cups of water

and season with:

S+P

tomato paste about 1 tbsp

a pinch of allspice, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of paprika

2 tbsp coconut milk powder

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup of  squash soup (I had leftover from lunch which was great, but you could use extra stock or water alternatively)

Simmer over medium heat for about 25 minutes, or until the lentil are tender.

Enjoy over rice and the leftovers are just perfect in these  puffy pillows!