Archive for October, 2012

October 29, 2012

super spaghetti squash

“All time best ever spaghetti squash” claims my daughter, who is a hard sell at the best of time on the spaghetti squash, in fact when we pulled in a record harvest of ‘oh I don’t know maybe 45 of these babies, she was groaning in agony at the idea of having to eat that many of them! That was until I baked some with olive oil and garlic then tossed them with toasted garlic cheesy bread crumbs and a good kick of bacon and fried onion. She was in squash heaven, and I am under strict order to make this again.

It’s all so very simple, so there is no reason not to make this!

Start by halving a large spaghetti squash (lengthwise) drizzle with olive oil and a few cloves of minced garlic, season with S+P and roast at 400 for about 35 minutes. Until fork tender.

In a small cast iron pan brown up tiny ribbons of about 6 strips of bacon, along with a small yellow onion finely sliced.

In a separate small pan toast about 1.5 cups of bread crumbs, when they become fragrant and start to brown add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl combine:

roasted squash, gently forked out of the skin, maintaining the long spaghetti like strings.

toasted bread crumbs

bacon and onion bits

and a handful of fresh parsley

Add a drizzle of olive oil if you didn’t get enough on the squash before roasting

season with S+P as needed, and enjoy!

October 25, 2012

community chutney

This is the grand prize winning chutney in the salsa ‘n such category of our 1st annual pickle palooza! I called it community chutney because my community supported this deliciousness entirely… I grew some of the ingredients, my friends grew others, yet more friends helped me pick even more of the ingredients from other friends land, and then my friends mom shared her famous (and likely secret) chutney recipe with me. I adapted the recipe to work with the fruit I had in abundance and the results were exceptional! This sweet and zingy chutney is the perfect accompaniment for most any curry or rice dish, meat pie, or any flakey tasty appy that needs dunking. So here is my spin on this fabulous recipe (which I will keep it’s original form a secret for Carol)

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October 23, 2012

roasted squash & ricotta gnocchi

A handmade gnocchi is like a hug from your italian grandmother (which I don’t have) but I would imagine her being round and soft and sweet, just like these pillows of heaven. I was given some squash from a friend, not sure the type but the flesh was deep and dark and orange, and I decided to roast it up and mash it up with equal parts of ricotta cheese, then once turned into dough cut into tiny mouthfuls and simmered in brown butter with a garlic and sage infusion finished with a glug of white wine and sprinkle of a robust cheese. ‘Um heaven indeed.

These start off mostly healthy, and certainly you could boil them and toss them with a drizzle of your favorite pasta sauce, but if you really want to enjoy these in all their gnocchi goodness then go for the brown butter fry!

The dough is simple:

equal parts (2-3 cups) of mashed squash roasted (not boiled) and ricotta cheese

add 2 eggs

aprox. 3 heaping Tbsp spelt flour (don’t get carried away and add too much flour)

season with a handful of fresh herbs of your choice (I used chili flakes, rosemary and sage)

and a sprinkle of fine sea salt

toss into a bag and refrigerate for at least and hour (but overnight is good too)

* HALF of this dough recipe will make dinner for 4, the balance can be frozen, or used up within a couple days.

The to form the gnocchi’s you can use any number of techniques, there is many a web page dedicated to how to form the perfect gnocchi. I opted to roll out the dough from little balls into long snakes (on a well floured surface) then cut the snake into little 1cm thick “ovals” which you can then roll down the back of a fork or off a butter paddle… or if you rushing of to a knitting night with the gals, just chop and plop them into a pan filled with bubbling brown butter.

Pan fry each side for about 3 minutes until golden brown then toss browned gnocchi in a large bowl. Once all of them are cooked and waiting patiently in the bowl you can add 1 large minced garlic glove into a pan and brown, add a pad of butter and a splash of white wine (about 1/2 cup) simmer quickly and add a handful of fresh herbs (sage, rosemary and parsley were my herbs at hand) pour  the “sauce” over the gnocchi along with a handful of freshly grated grana or parmesan and gently toss until well coated. I threw a handful of fresh ribbons of kale in with the garlic too which was a nice addition.

Anyway your coat or cook these they are hug-i-lishious fabulous.

October 17, 2012

pickle palooza

I have been swamped these days not only with canning, but with putting on a celebration of putting up!

After a few years of wishing I would find time to organize a canning swap, I decided to just jump in and organize the Kootenay’s 1st Annual PICKLE PALOOZA: A Canning + Jamming+ Preserving + Prepping Festival of Local Harvest!

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October 16, 2012

pine mushroom pad thai

One of my favorite things about fall is mushroom hunting! This is my third year foraging for fungi and I just can’t get enough of this edible past time. My daughter and I took the fall mushroom class again this year, and finally I think some of this crazy mycelium is sticking in my mind! Me and the Chanterelles were on the same wave length, I could truly sense where they were, and found myself lifting bits of forest duff only to find a lovely chanterelle ready to burst out! What luck. Last night we enjoyed a creamy chanterelle fettucini and last year I made this killer cream of chanterelle soup. But my favorite mushroom of the day was the pine mushroom (Matsutake) . I am hopeless at finding them, but my daughter and her friend (with the help of our guide and local mushroom enthusiast) found a few sweet flushes. We left with a basketful and shared many with our friends and hunting companions.

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October 8, 2012

old school pickled beets

Burwell Store recipe swap time again! This months vintage ditty is a Russian salad, that actually didn’t sound too scary for a change! One main ingredient in the salad is pickled beets, so I thought I would step this swap back and do a DIY pickled beet recipe.

It has been a crazy busy tough start to this month and I had a massive basket of freshly pulled assorted heirloom beets to deal with before hitting the road, so I zoned into my kitchen canning meditation and got my beet on!

These beets are sweet and tart with a gentle hint of cinnamon and a kick of ginger root. Made with apple cider vinegar and cane sugar, these seem to please most folks and make for lovely salad additions in the midst of cold winters, or a simple jar full of snack food to be attacked by the forkful!

If someone gives you a jar of pickled beets, they must really like you! Seriously the process is messy and has way more steps than lots of other pickled things do, so be grateful for any you receive!

Here is how this breaks down…

As with any canning project, it’s all about multi tasking and having many pots on the boil at a time. You need to start by sterilizing your jars and keeping them warm (either in a hot water bath or in the oven), while warming your canning lids and also getting your sweet brine up to a gentle boil. The key to successful canning, is keeping everything super spanky clean, sterile and smoking hot!

You’ll need about 6 lbs of beets and this recipe yields 8 pints.


4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

3 cups cane sugar

8 x 1/8″ slices of fresh peeled ginger

4 cinnamon sticks or 2 tbsp cinnamon nibs

1 tbsp sea salt

Bring to a gentle boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Once all your pots are boiling away you need to wash and trim the tops of the beets leaving behind about 1″ of stock and all of the tail. Boil the beets for about 25 minutes (depending on size, you want a fork to easily pierce the beet but still be ever so slightly firm in the middle. Remove beet from boiling water and soak in cold water, then using your finger and the edge of a spoon remove the skin, root and the base of the stock.

Quarter or eighth your beets into similar sized bites (or slice them all into 1/4″ rounds) and fill your hot and sterilized jars up to the neck with beet pieces. Add 1-2 slices of fresh ginger root (peeled) into each jar and a small piece of cinnamon stick or some nibs. Top each jar to 1/2″ head space with boiling brine. Wipe jar top clean and place hot lid on jar, then screw ring to finger tight and water bath process in rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes (for pint jars). Ensuring the water covers your jar lids by at least 2″.

After 12 hours or so, ensure all of the lids are sealed tight, any that are not can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks, or could be re-processed.

Allow the beets to settle into their new flavor bath for a few weeks before enjoying, or cracking open to make a russian salad if your say flush in herring, or best yet give as holiday gifts to people you really love!

Check out everyone else’s recipe swap:

October 3, 2012

ginger pear breakfast loaves

These luscious little parcels of warm fall flavors were my simple solution to the cool breezy new season blues today. I needed a mid day warm up and the over-ripening scent of pears in the air were beckoning for a cozy baked home.

Like all muffins, these come together quickly and after a ginger cinnamon sugar sprinkle the top crisped up with a doughnut like lace finish. Yum. Made with spelt flour and two kinds of ginger, just enough coconut and a hint of cardamom, these are perfect for a blustery day in the garden.

In a large bowl combine:

3/4 cup cane sugar
4 oz melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1 splash of real vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fresh ginger zest
1 tsp cardamon
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup almond milk
2 1/2 cups pears, unpeeled and diced small

Portion into prepared muffin tins (I used coconut oil to grease the cups)

Sprinkle with a blend of cane sugar, ground ginger and cinnamon

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Oh enjoy at least one warm or at least with a warm cuppa.

October 2, 2012

honey cream ale mustard

Ooooh almost as exciting as making homemade ketchup, or homemade nutella, is mustard making … fancy grainy flavored mustard I might add! The whole process will leave you wondering why on earth you’d ever bother paying $10 for a jar of fancy mustard again! It takes two days, but has very few steps. I used the Food in Jars recipe for grainy white wine mustard, to guide me and ended up  tweaking it a little… which when canning is not recommended unless you keep the acid levels the same (which usually means NOT adding and extra veggies or tweaking the volume of acidic additions)

In a pot bring to a boil:

2 cups of cream ale

1 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/2 cup brown mustard seeds

Once boiling cover with lid and remove from heat, let sit overnight.

The next day process with 2 cups of hot water until your reach desired consistency of broken seeds.

(my food processor is kinda crap, so I wondered if I might have had better luck grinding some of the seeds in a mortar and pestle before the first boil… and I might try that next time)

Return to pot and heat to a boil along with these lovely flavor additions:

2 cups of apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup honey

2 tbsp garlic granules

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp chili flakes

2 tbsp lemon juice

Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to thicken for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile sterilize your jars (this batch will yield 3 pints, or 6 lovely gift sized half pints)

Portion mustard into hot sterilized jars, and water bath process for 15 minutes.

* I was recently gifted some of these fabulous vintage jars by a fellow canner extraordinaire  (thanks Cindy), so I opted to fill this rubber gasket 1 L jar and keep it in the fridge rather than processing it. I did make a few extra jars for my sweet sister in law, who helped me get the mustard going the night before (thanks Dayna).

October 1, 2012

ginger granola

An ideal fuel source for fall foraging days! 3 kinds of ginger in a tasty gluten free granola sweetened gently with brown rice syrup and laced with flax and hemp seeds oh and walnuts too of course! The recipe inspiration for this granola came from the most beautiful canning book in my collection: Food in Jars, by Marisa McClellan, who as it happens has just featured my storing the harvest in jars image on her blog, how cool is that? I love this book, and am as I type making mustard for the first time in my life thanks again to Food in Jars!

In a large bowl combine:

6 cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut

1 cup millet

2 cups walnut pieces

1 cup flax seeds

1 cup hemp seeds

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp fresh ground ginger

Mix in:

1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed to melting point)

1 cup brown rice syrup

the whites of 4 eggs whipped until frothy

Toss and spread evenly on a large baking sheet, bake at 325 for about 30 minutes, tossing gently once during baking.

As soon as the mix is toasted to your liking remove from oven and sprinkle with:

2 cups of crystalized ginger cut into tiny pieces, gently fold into mix without breaking the whole sheet up. Allow to cool completely before putting into a jar to store. The addition of egg whites in this recipe makes for lovely clumps throughout the granola… which makes it fabulous!