Archive for September, 2012

September 24, 2012

nectarine salsa : canned

Yummy this recipe is so perfectly versatile! After tasting just one bite of the leftover 1/4 cup that didn’t make it into cans for processing, I was sold and dreaming of a million uses for this sauce, other than the good old corn chip dip!

I was thinking: fruit salsa white bans and rice with coconut breaded tofu, maybe  slow roasted chicken with salsa, my sweetie suggested pizza sauce as he devoured the little left over bit, and promptly requested I get canning another batch!

The original recipe is for peaches, but as nectarines are sister fruit to the peach the swap is an easy one. I made this batch 1.5 times bigger and pumped up the heat, cause I like it hot… but you can replace any number of the hot peppers for sweet ones.

This batch size yielded 6 pints of perfectly hot fruit salsa.

You’ll need:

8 cups prepared peaches / nectarines

3 cups chopped red or white onion

6 jalapeno peppers finely chopped

2 red hungarian wax peppers chopped

3/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro or coriander

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 Tbsp honey

3 cloves or garlic

1 tbsp cumin

1 heaping tsp cayenne

pinch of sea salt

Pit and chop nectarines, add other ingredients bring to boil in heavy bottomed pot, then boil gently for 5 .min.

Portion into sterilized jar leaving 1/4″ inch headspace.  Process  in hot water bath for 10 min.

Taste, ohh, ahh and then make more!

September 22, 2012

storing the harvest in jars: 2012

So here it is all of my 2012 harvest canning thus far… most of which is all savory stuff aside from some elderberry cough syrup and apple butter and sauce, the jams are still to come but the fruit is all prepped and cozied into the freezer waiting for some cool fall days. WOW.

I just had to haul it all outside to really appreciate the beauty of all of this food in jars, and to take a second to take in my efforts neatly stored in glass; right from seed sowing way back in February through to this day of hauling 10 cases of jars outside for a single picture, it all makes for a HUGE amount of captured energies and satisfaction. Our cedar slab picnic table (that seats 20) is the only thing I could imagine fitting these 120 some jars.

All of this canning was done in the last 2 months (except the garlic pickled scapes those 4 jars were done mid summer).

So when I say I have been busy canning, I mean I have really been busy canning! Just wanted to take a moment this stunning equinox day to share my putting up for the cold seasons to come.

September 22, 2012

eggplant parmesan

Even though I am eyeball deep in canning / drying / harvesting and about 1 million client projects I had this incredible desire to make something super special for dinner the other night. The kind of dish that requires messing up a million pans, and pots and bowls, while balancing 3-4 burner temps and times all in stride. You see the night before I met my new farmer friend Tony on the side of the road and loaded up (again) with his bio dynamic organic goodness, from the valley next to us. He brought with him these stunning eggplants. Eggplant I think is the most voluptuous and sexy veg on the planet. I swooned and came home with a dozen of these perfectly deep dark purple glossy wonders and started dreaming of jars of Italian styles eggplant in oil, and of course of egg plant parmesan. Along with the aubergines I also bought 5 lbs of these fabulous tie-died looking colored peppers, that were so sweet and crisp and I just had to pull out all the stops and honor this beautiful food… And so these gluten free eggplant parmesan with oven roasted pepper sausage sauce was born.

Where to begin with this recipe…

Lets start with the eggplants. Maybe some of you like me have experience trying to fry eggplant in a pan of oil, only to discover the oil being lapped up and mysteriously disappearing into the eggplant, it has a unique ability to make you feel really bad about your ability to bang out a tasty veggie dish. Well here is the answer to that struggle:

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September 19, 2012

chili salsa

A couple weeks back in my flush of tomatoes I canned a mountain of salsa for the first time ever. I did it in the pressure canner and the results were pretty tasty!

I am just getting cozy with my pressure canner, and have had nothing but success so far. So if you find your self flush in peppers and tomatoes, and want to give pressure canning a shot then give this a go!

In a largo pot boil down and combine the following:

18 lbs of cubed tomatoes

3 lbs of peppers (I used a mix of hot and wax peppers)

3 cups of chopped onions

1/2 cup of garlic

1 tbsp salt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp cilantro

* you can use a submersion blender to get the consistency you desire, or you can be meticulous and finely chop all the ingreients to your liking. Cook down for about 25 minutes, before portioning into sterilized jars.

Using your pressure canner process PINT jars at 11 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes (25 minutes for quarts)

If you are new to pressure canning be sure to read your manual thoroughly, and read some canning literature like this great site.

September 18, 2012

fresh fabulous fruit salsa

I had a lonely mango sitting on the counter here for days I  had to use it up, so I tossed it up with some nectarines, avocado, chilies, garden fresh cherry tomatoes and other such salsa ingredients, and it made for a super fresh sweet and spicy salsa, that came together in minutes. Nothing like the nectarine salsa I canned the same day I made this (the recipe I will share tomorrow), but fresh and bright an delicious all the same. The avocado adds a nice creamy element to this salsa, and the sweetness and the heat are lovely.

simple cube all of the below into tiny cubes and gently toss:

1 mango

1 nectarine

1 avocado

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic finely minced

8 small tomatoes

1 jalapeño

1 small red pepper

add a dash of lemon or lime juice

sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of cumin

cilantro too if you have it on hand.

And thats it! Serve fresh or refrigerate in an air tight container for an hour or so, and serve this with just about anything.

September 17, 2012

chutney canning

I have a “Kootenay Mom” my mother in law appointed our regional mother when we moved to a new province, and far away from our folks. My Kootenay mom is a super woman, her garden is magnificent and her husband and her grow all of their own food for half the year right here in the Kootenays and then pack up their VW bus with all of their homegrown food canned and preserved foods, and head south to live in Mexico for half of the year, where they promptly get canning tropical fruit salsas and chutneys to bring back north with them in the spring. Truly an inspiring year of eating and growing. She has shared so many delicious relishes and chutney with us over the years, and just the other day I called her for her fabulous plum chutney recipe, which I am inclined to share with you all, because it’s great, I am drowning in plums so likely this will not be the last canned plum recipe you see here.

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September 16, 2012

grilled veggie primivera au gratin

OMG this dish was not only beautiful but it was so very delicious and  so very cheesy. A wonderful way to celebrate garden freshness and yet more cave aged cheesy goodness.

This dish is a whack of veggies slowly roasted with herbs and garlic then combined with my favorite Italian semolina pasta and tossed in a thick and creamy 5 cheese sauce and quickly broiled until it is bubbling and “goozing” * this is a phrase my daughter coined a few months back, which we use all the time to describe perfectly gooey-oozing things.

So in a sense this is just mac and cheese… but it’s packed with enough veggies to keep mom’s happy, and enough flavor and texture to keep the veggies going down.


Start by chopping a medley of your favorite veggies into similar bite sized bits, I used tomatoes, onion, red peppers,carrots, garlic and zucchini. Then I tossed them in olive oil, sea salt, fresh parsley, a drizzle of lemon juice, black pepper and a pinch of paprika. Roast on high heat (400) for 25-35 minutes, tossing at least once during the roasting. Once charred to your likeness set aside.


1 package of your favorite pasta, when finished strain (reserving some pasta water) and toss with the roasted veggies. If you are going GF and using straight up rice noodles leave them ever so undercooked to avoid expanding broken noodle bits, as you will be re-baking them for at least 10 minutes.

Finally the 5 cheese sauce:

In a heavy bottomed pan melt 3 tbsp of butter

then add 3 tbsp of any flour (rice flour works just fine if you are going GF)

stirring often season with nutmeg, sea salt and cayenne.

Cook the roux for about 3 minutes before adding 2 cups of farm fresh milk.

Add a tbsp of course mustard and black pepper.

Reduce heat and allow sauce to thicken, before adding 2 cups of grated cheese whatever you have, and a bit of everything if you have a good selection. Robust cheeses and aged sharp selections add a depth to cheese sauce that you will not get if you use only mozza or some other mild cheese. Taste your sauce and salt as needed (depending on the saltness of the cheese you added). If you need to thin the sauce use the reserved pasta water for this.

Slather pasta and veggies in sauce, and put the works into a nice oven safe casserole dish. Cover the top with a handful of grated cheese and garnish with more fresh parsley and pepper. bake and broil until perfectly “goozing”. One of the nice things about adding roasted tomatoes to this mac and cheese is that you end up with a bit of a rose sauce!

happy plate licking!

September 13, 2012

dave’s best caesar dressing

I know this is a grand shout out, but this recipe makes the most perfect caesar salad dressing of all time! It’s true. My father in law Dave, passed it along to me from a newspaper clipping he has used for years and years, and it has yet to meet it’s match!

This past weekend we took in the hills Garlic Festival and loaded up on our favorite local cave aged organic cheese, we took home huge 1/4 wheels of all our favorite types, and I was just aching to dive into the mountain grana today, and a caesar salad seemed a most fitting venue for a salty parm like cheese.

So folks here it is, the best caesar salad dressing recipe ever:

In a food processor pulse:

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup of fresh grana or parm cheese

the add:

1 egg yoke

tsp anchovy paste

tsp dijon mustard

juice from 1/2 a lemon

dash of Tabasco sauce

dash of Worcestershire sauce

dash or red wine vinegar

1/4 c good olive oil

pinch of sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Serve slathered on a bed of garden fresh romaine, with garlic toasted crutons and if you so desire some pan seared bits of bacon, and you must not forget a good shred of grana cheese to finish it off with.

September 10, 2012

sweet date ‘n pork meatballs

I know what must be going through your mind … What is she thinking with this one? Well it’s that time of the month (not that time) but Burwell General Store Recipe Swap Time, and this months challenge was pork and fruit cake. Yip pork cake. Hmm as a baker I was a little put off my the idea, but it occurred to me that I have loved many an asian dish featuring sweet pork, and then and there, these sweet little maple syrup pork and date meat balls were born.

Here is the original recipe from the (vintage) Nebraska Pioneer Cookbook:

And here is my spin, a sweet pork balls with tidbits of caramelized onions and sweet ribbons of date, with a hit of ginger and chili. I used molasses as called for in the original cake recipe, and like a good Canadian I swapped maple syrup in for the sugar.

Combine the following in a small bowl:

1 lb of happy local ground pork

1 farm fresh egg


1/2 cup of slowly browned caramelized onion, finely chopped

6 dates, pitted and finely chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp hot pepper flakes

Form mixture into small meatballs and either bake until cooked (about 20 minutes at 375) or if you are feeling really indulgent, and hey if we are talking about fruit pork cake, then throw caution to the wind and brown these babies in a cast iron pan full of bacon drippings like a real pioneer woman.

I decided to pair the sweet meat with spicy bitter greens tossed in buckwheat noodles with a simple ginger maple tamari vinaigrette, and finished the dish with some extra caramelized onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Way yummy, and sooo not a cake of pork and rasins!

To check out everyone else’s pork and fruit cake experiments, use the below link:

September 9, 2012

spicy starburst squash relish *aka zesty zucchini

By best backroad girlfriend passed this recipe on to me after sharing a stelar jar of this zesty zucchini relish with us, This year I have been coming up with a million and one uses for my starburst (patty pan) squash abundance, and this was the perfect addition to the growing “what to do with squash” list.

Hopefully your not all growing boarded with canning recipes… I have so much to preserving get through still but  I will be sure to keep the non canned recipe coming too, as we move fully fall forward into my favorite eating season!

We have been harvesting everything, gleaning trees, and collecting seeds, foraging for mushrooms and watching the fall crops come to ripen up, what a terribly exciting and busy time of year!

For this Easy Relish You’ll need:

12 cups shredded starburst squash (or zucchini)

4 cups chopped onion

3 large sweet / hot peppers*

1/3 cup course sea salt

1 ½ cups can sugar

2 tbsp fresh ground nutmeg

4 tbsp turmeric

2 ½ cups apple cider vinegar

1 large hot pepper with seeds

* The original recipe calls for 4 tbsp horseradish, but I’m not a fan so I omitted it and subbed in an extra hot pepper for the sweet pepper.

Shred zucchini and chop the peppers, sprinkle with the sea salt and allow to sit over night in a colander or cheesecloth, give the lot a squeeze in the morning before cooking down.

Finely chop all ingredients and bring to a boil in a large heavy bottom cauldron for 35-45 minutes. Use a submersion blender to reach desired constancy.

Portion into sterilized jars and hot water bath or steam process for 20 minutes. Ta-da zesty relish for all your BBQ needs, and yet another great place to hide excess zucchini!

September 8, 2012

chipotle peach BBQ sauce

Canning canning canning. I am trying to focus on canning things that can be used as elements to hearty winter meals rather than as accompaniments. So sauces are top of my list. Today I branched out and tried a southern style chipotle peach BBQ sauce made with honey and apple cider vinegar. Yum, my friend and I licked the vat clean, (after the jars were canning away of course). I can’t wait to slather this on a rack of ribs, or stir it into baked brown beans, I think this would also be a lovely dipping sauce for spring rolls and baked crunchy goodies.

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September 5, 2012

stuffed spagetti squash

You either love spaghetti squash or you hate it… I love it and my family and visiting guest had better learn to love it too, as we have already harvested over 100 lbs of the stuff, and there is more growing each day.

I decided to stuff a squash with a medley of garden fresh veggies in a simple garlic and red paper sauce and roast the lot until all the veggie were perfectly cooked. Half of the squash got eaten the first night and the other half transformed into a wonder roasted veggie soup  the next day for lunch. This recipe is simple and uses up no end of garden bounty.

In a large bowl combine all the following veggies cut into small similar sized cubes:

1 onion

1 carrot

1 small zuchinni

2 small eggplants

1 green pepper

2 large tomatoes

Toss veggies in the following dressing:

4 coves of minced garlic

2/3  c olive oil

1/3 c roasted red pepper spread

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

sea salt and pepper

a handful of fresh herbs, whatever you have (I used parsley, thyme, sage, and oregano)

Halve your squash and remove seeds. Then stuff to over flowing each half, drizzle with a little more oil and a final sprinkle of salt and herbs.  Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes (or until the squash is fork tender and the veggies look nicely roasted). When they come out they can be served as is in the squash, just be sure to serve with a spoon and fork, so that you can scrape the squash out with each portion… or you can pre scrap, combine and re stuff  the mixture, which is slightly more convent, but a little less beautiful!

Either way this is a great dish for celebrating seasonal veggies.