Sometimes you just need a kick of spicy rich noodle soup, when those days happen and you still want dinner on the table within the hour, then this recipe is your soul warming solution. Tender beef (or not) in a steamy broth of ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppers and chili, laced with earthy garden kale, cabbage and carrot ribbons with just enough rice noodles. Yum. ever since I made those melt your face off to die for dan dan noodles I have been a wee bit scared of the sichuan pepper, but I freed myself of that fear and it was liberating! Also this would so easily be a killer vegetarian soup, omit the beef (duh), use mushroom broth instead of beef broth, pump up the mushroom volume and likely you’ll already have vegetarian fish sauce in the pantry (which is all I use anymore). Easy.
These represent my favorite flavors in one little healthful mouthful! There is this sweet cafe in a nearly town that sells lots of yummy raw treats and I often find myself with a pocketful of their maca maple balls when my sweet tooth sings to me. This is my bliss ball perfection easy take on those treats. Quick and lovely super-food-rich-guilt-free treats.
In a food processor combine:
2 cups unsweetened coconut (+ more to roll the balls in after)
4 tbsp coconut oil1/4 cup raw honey1/4 cup maple syruppinch of sea salt1 tbsp black maca powder1/4 cup hemp seeds (hulled and organic)splash of vanilla
Process until your mixture begins to ball.
Portion bliss mix into small bite size balls by rolling them in your palms, then toss in a small bowl of coconut to fully coat the balls.
Allow to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes, they dig in!
Eager to bake something gooey and gluten free, my daughter and I set out to make some nice jar squares. These are similar to those really yummy mojito mint coconut bars I made back when the mint was flushing in the bog below. These days I am still flush with a big batch of refrigerator raspberry jam I made weeks back to fill those gluten free doughnuts with. I realized half way through this recipe I didn’t have any more coconut flour, and I decided to make my own, just like I make bean flour, or oat flour or nut flour… and it seemed to work OK. After a long ride in the processor my fancy shred organic coconut was very flour like and preformed well in the recipe.
Round 2 of using up that giant squash I roasted. These gluten free muffins were lovely and spicy. They baked up really nice with a perfectly risen muffin top. I made these dairy free and gluten free and the whole family loved them. Even my sweetie who hates pumpkin in anything but pie ate a number of these warm from the oven.
I mashed together a couple different recipes to come up with these, and was thrilled with the results. I used chickpea flour and some gluten free four mix (Bob’s) along with freshly roasted winter squash, coconut oil and my daughter insisted we throw in chocolate chips. The streusel topping was the perfect finish to these lovely muffins.
My winter storing squash are calling to me… EAT US, EAT US. The trick is to eat them all without having the family go on squash strike! I have already made a batch of these darling squash and ricotta gnocchi, pureed squash into a Jamaican curry, and served it roasted with butter and garlic. Today I had to cook down a pretty massive blue warty squash, I opted to roast it un-seasoned then pureed half of it (froze a portion) and made really great gluten free chocolate streusel muffins with some, and this yummy dinner with the rest. I will share the muffin recipe tomorrow. Tonight I combined smoked cured thick cut happy bacon with caramelized onions, toasted chickpeas and seared squash. Paleo perfect and just the right balance of salty and sweet.
Sorry about my color troubles with my photo’s.. these new LED lights and the dark of winter are playing havoc with my light meter and white balancing 😦 arg… I am trying to cook more in the day time to capture more natural light. Bare with me.
So the other day while my daughter and I were making doughnuts I figured we might as well stack our deep fry functions and make some pakoras to go with the killer pot of chicken curry that was waiting for us in the slow cooker. These turned out perfect and were actually really easy to make.
I know some of you are chomping at the bit to get some holiday baking done, and that is why I have highlighted some of my all time favorite recipes for sweet holiday cheer. I’ll have plenty of new recipes to share starting next week. Some of these are vegan, some gluten free, some so buttery and wheat-y you’ll feel like your at grandmas.
Now where to start?
I have eaten a good amount of ox tail curry in my life (love it), and since our pig-in-a-day snout to tail cookery and butchery experience I feel like my chef-y odd bit cookery skills are more honed than ever. When my friend brought be a bundle of ox tail bits I was pretty stoked to bust out a curry, and tonight was the night. I knew I had to braise the meat and then pressure cook it for the softest tender beef, and that is exactly what I did. These nubby tail bits were slowly braised in pork lard and a heavy seasoning of salt and my favorite garam masala spice, then set to cook (in my instapot pressure cooker) for a few hours with some frozen whole garden tomatoes, loads of onions, and garlic… the yield was the most insanely moist buttery bits of beef ever! This curry also got a healthy dose of potatoes, peas, more spice and coconut milk for a creamy robust spicy curry, very similar to a vindaloo.
Ox tail isn’t for the faint of heart though! It’s no boiled pig head, but it is a little gnarly, albeit an abundant and cheap cut of meat. It’s a little bit like cleaning a roasted chicken carcass for soup, you need to caress the meat from the bone and sort out the fatty cartilage-y undesirable bits, of which there are about equal amount yuck to yum factors with tail. Totally worth the effort, and in fact the only time I have cooked as buttery melt in your mouth meat was in fact when I was making headcheese, the pork check was divine.
So if you find yourself flush in tail chunks, here is the low down on making a killer curry with them, you won’t soon forget:
Korea meets Mexico, and falls happily ever after in love on this organic yellow corn tortilla wrapped up in homemade chipotle salsa, fresh feta and red cabbage. Kimchi and deep fried avocado who knew?
Well the other day me and by back-road girlfriend ditched our muckers, baled on our canning and went to town for lunch, we hit this new Mexican place and on the menu they had a panko and kimchi taco, yum right. Well I have been thinking of how it could have been improved and gave it a shot tonight. I decided to forgo the white bread panko crust and do a gluten free chickpea and corn meal crust on the avocodo quarters, and I used some lovely locally made kimchi, and garnished the tacos with a little more … get up and go. Perfect if I do say so myself. These avocado wedges golden fried would be pretty killer just served up for a party with a stellar salsa to dunk in!
This time of year is sleepy and chilly in the garden and there are only a few bits and bobs still needing attention… namely the green tomatoes (and some more sauerkraut). I already put up my favorite green tomato “verde salsa” en mass, and the whole monitoring of endless green tomatoes is a little to exhausting for me, so I opted to can a big batch of ketchup, green tomato ketchup that is. I still have a few pounds of green toms to consider but the stress of the sorting and storing is all nicely put up in pint jars, whew. Apparently this recipe goes really well with tourtiere and other such meaty dishes, and is pretty popular in Quebec. This batch got me thinking about the holidays with all this tourtiere talk… I think i might finally try my had at a French Canadian classic meat pie this year. I have been making my own ketchup for a few years now, and this green tomato spin was calling for me to give it ago. I read a half dozen well reviewed recipes and settled on my own seasoning blend, the results were bright and hot and really well spiced… I can see that meat pairings would be nice here.
I also had a good yield of still-not-red cayenne peppers which I pulled from the green house in my final fall clean and decided to flush this recipe with some unknown heat elements… turns out, though not ripe and red the peppers were still pretty kicking, which I love.
This is the real deal my friends. If you are from Calgary you know what I am talking about when I say Ginger Beef, this is a homegrown Western Chinese classic, born in “cowtown” Alberta, this dish can be really hard to find all over the place. I don’t think I have actually eaten ginger beef since I was about 16, but tonight I made a killer super authentic ginger beef, that blew my family away, and my guy is a total ginger beef connoisseur, he claimed it was the best ever, and I totally agree! I made it gluten free and of course the beef was grass raised grass finished happy healthy beef, I also made mine super heavy on the garden veg.
Now straight up this is not a easy dish to bang out in a pinch, it took hours of marinating and a double fry, with a wok stir fry finish. Lots of steps, but if your miles away from a decent Chinese meal and your family is aching for a fix, this is the answer. Pair this with my vegan hot and sour soup, and a batch of mu shu pork noodles and you are off to the races… just need some fortune cookies to finish the night off.
OMG my fear of all things white and creamy have had me avoiding tahini most of my life, admittedly I still do when eating out as so often it is mixed with yogurt which I still can’t manage to eat… But the other night I made a killer batch of homemade falafels with sesame seeds and all sorts of crunchy deliciousness, and imagined the dinner needing a bit of a dressing to appease my sweet heart who drowns his falafel in all sorts of white sauce. This killer green tahini dressing was born and I just have to share it with you all, because it is so very good!
Oh this might be even better than the lactose fermented pickles my family LOVES. I have been longing & trying to make this hot sauce for two years. Making this both a long time coming, and so worth the wait. This stuff is fabulous.
I am getting sucked into the world of fermenting, it’s slippery slope I have to warn you!
I have a huge backlog of recipes to get through, boy the harvest time is busy!
Last week my sweetie came home after a long day of fishing with the boys with 2 lovely and large fresh lake Dolly Vardens, which as I understand are land locked salmon, they are a little oilier than salmon and even yummier. I don’t buy fish ever, if you want to know why check this out. I miss eating fish a whole lot so when we go fishing and come home with fresh caught lake fish I sure try to make the most of all of it! I also decided to fillet these lovely fish myself, thankfully youtube guided me through the process and I can’t believe how much easier it was to do than I imagined. First night I oven roasted 1 fillet with a thick coat of grainy mustard, maple syrup and garlic, yum! The I started the fish stock. I boiled down the spines and tails and all the boney bits and fins with some onion and garlic all night and much of the next day. After straining the result was a deeply rich fish stock to build this aromatic Asian inspired soup with.
yum this dip is so nice and easy it’s perfect for dunking or as a dollop on a noddle / rice salad bowl!
In a food processor combine until silky smooth:
2 cups cooked white beans
3 heaping Tbps Italian red pepper spread
3 cloves of garlic
1 small yellow onion
3 tbsp tahini
splash of lemon juice + red wine vinegar
Glug of olive oil
A pinch each of paprika and cayenne
Garnish with a dollop of red pepper spread and a drizzle of nice olive oil. Enjoy.
flushing garden abundance all around!
I had to dig deep and bust out some mega batches of food tonight. We had guest from the Rockies visiting (former valley folks) who were dying for a taste of home grown real food with a serious paleo spin. I spent a couple hours slowly roasting green house tomatoes (which are exploding right now!) with hot peppers, onions and garlic along with parsley and basil, all from the garden. After harvesting a huge basket of kale and chard I realized I had to cook these iron rich greens at least two different ways so I decided to make kale pork meat balls made with our own smokey bacon. The meatballs were served in a hearty rich roasted tomato base with white beans and yet more kale and chard. Satisfaction Guaranteed.
I have been really enjoying baking with chickpea flour over the past few weeks. It’s dense and almost nutty tasting and it blends nicely with all kinds of other flours. Yesterday we picked the last of the very deep dark ripe raspberries of the season and had to put them to work immediately so I set out to bake a gluten free dairy free tart made in the lazy crumble top fashion of old school date bars (love this 2 step technique) The dough is a blend of chickpea flour / brown rice flour / coconut / coconut oil / and cane sugar used on the bottom and again on the top with a thick layer of smooshed freshly picked berries and some coconut chips.
This frozen dessert is so simple there is no way it should taste this fresh and lovely. Your just 3 ingredients away from something that screams summer and takes no time at all to prepare. We just just picked 2 huge baskets of raspberries and I planned to make a gluten free berry cake in this sweet little vintage cake pan, but the very thought of turning the oven on yesterday had me feeling faint… instead I threw a few things in the stand mixer, made a pink puddle and froze it in the spring form pan, viola… raspberry frozen dessert!
Honestly this might be the easiest, tastiest and most authentic tasting Thai style yellow curry I have ever had let alone made! This perfectly punchy sauce was made in a wide mouth mason jar with my handy immersion blender using only a few simple ingredients. The veg can be what ever you have on hand and of course you could add meat or fish or tofu, served over steamed rice you’ll think you were on a beach in Thailand… trust me this is ridiculously good!
Yet another day in paradise spent slaving over a hot stove canning! My daughter and I enjoyed a morning making this stunning fragrant rose petal jelly, which was a really similar process to my favorite dandelion jelly. We started last week by picking a few bags full of lovely rose petals from our friends garden (which of course are untreated & un-sprayed, which is ESSENTIAL when making any food or medicine with flowers or wild-crafted herbs). From there I sorted 8 cups of the prettiest pinkest fullest petals which I set in a glass bowl along with 9 cups of warm water, left to sit in the fridge for 3 days to simply and passively saturate their lovely flavors into the rose water.
Nothing screams English garden to me as much as green peas and strawberries! And they both are flushing in my yard right now. This bright and sweet salad is entirely from a mid day wonder around the yard (with the exception of a small walla walla onion), the dressing is made with that yummy saskatoon syrup I made last week, blended into a zippy balsamic vinegarette.
Combine leafy and bitter greens with fresh mint leaves, toss in handfuls of fresh strawberries and handfuls of fresh snow peas garnish with razor thin slices of yellow onion and then drizzle with this rich berry blissful dressing:
My dear friend turned 50 this weekend, and I had to make a show stopping cake to help her celebrate in style. I decided on making that lovely chocolate quinoa cake I made a couple weeks back, and to go all out I made two batches of cake and opted for a coconut milk chocolate mousse center finished with a stellar Saskatoon berry syrup. Then the whole cake got a coconut oil butter cream chocolate frosting and a final raw cacao nib crumble edge.
The whole cake was gluten free and flour free, and parts of it are vegan, other parts are powered with super foods… And although it is deeply indulgent, on the whole I would say it’s a pretty healthy option as far as chocolate cakes go.
My vegan friends, this is a divine sauce straight up I promise you will love this creamy “cheesey” goodness. I opted to celebrate our favorite lactose intolerant intern being away for dinner and added a good amount of sharp cheddar and some smoked bacon to this dish to throw it over the top. But totally unnecessary unless you are living in forced cheese lock down, and need to break out once in a while. This sauce would be a great vegan fondue substitute, and would certainly make killer mac and cheese. Inspiration for dinner tonight came from PPK’s chipotle Brussels sprouts. Soaking and pureeing cashews are the secret behind this rich sauce. A trick I have never tried before and am so happy to have in my kitchen tool box now.
Wheat free, flour free, gluten free, dairy free cake that is divine and deeply chocolatey, it must be too good to be true, right? WRONG, and the kicker is I finally cracked the perfect vegan frosting dilemma! So my intolerant friends, rejoice you can have your cake and eat it too!
I have been carrying this magazine page in my cookbook for about 3 years, and never had the time or energy to make this quinoa chocolate cake made with whole grain cooked quinoa not quinoa flour… well finally the day arrived and I just so happened to have need of 1 delicious chocolate birthday cake and as it happened I had on hand about 2 cups of left over un-seasoned cooked quinoa… PERFECT.
All this time living in the country I have been missing Vietnamese food so much, and finally tonight I decided to crack into my lovely stash of our very own piggie and char up some sweet marinated chops and serve them atop vermicelli noodles with farm fresh lettuce, some homemade chili pickled carrots and green onions, all drenched in a kickin’ fish sauce. Wow! better than lots of crappy Vietnamese meals I have had in my life! All this dish was missing was some veggie spring rolls. The troops LOVED this meal, and it will defiantly hit the table again soon!
I just dug a vacusealed bag of smoked candy trout out of the freezer yesterday from and old fishing and candy trout making adventure I guess I must have forgotten just how delicious this fish was, or it never would have lasted this long in my freezer! I wanted to make a gingery Asian inspired take on the much loved potato skin or double stuffed potato. This dairy free recipe was so great; hearty and fresh with nice garlic ginger & maple flavors. It was perfect with a garden foraged salad slathered in glory bowl dressing.
Inspired by the wafts of mint coming from our little mint bog My daughter and I found the time to squeeze in a batch of perfect little chocolate mint cupcakes on Saturday afternoon. The easy 1 bowl batter and the coconut milk gnache both were laced with peppermint essential oil, and then we topped them each with a whole fresh mint leaf. They are triple threat kind of mint muffins!
My wild take on the classic mushrooms on toast… With our little stash of morels I decided to pan sear a them with some onions, garlic and kale in butter, served atop a thick toasted slice of my own homemade caraway rye bread, adored green onions and a soft boiled egg, ready to ooze yoke all over the toast! like so…
Not so much of a recipe today… rather a tidbit of inspiration. Make a simple lunch stunning, seasonal and freshly foraged.
Seriously folks this dish is sooooooo amazing, and delicious you have to try it. I just happen to have for the first time in my life some pork in the freezer (a whole pigs worth in fact), and as I am not really adept at cooking pork I had to Google myself some inspiration this evening. And when I entered pork+ cabbage+Chinese in my search engine, Mu Shu arrived and instantly I was gun-ho to create a noodle hybrid of an old favorite of our families – My Shu Pork. I Love Mu Shu… although I have never had a pork version of this as I always had to order it sans pork, I was pretty sure that my happy little piggie would taste great in this dish I was already drooling over in my mind. I read a few “authentic” mu shu recipes before settling on being inspired by the flavors of two, which I combined along with rice noodles rather than the traditional mu shu rice cake wrappers.
I used two huge thick fatty pork chops to make this dish, along with cabbage, dried mushrooms, celery, eggs and my favorite brown rice noodles, all finished with hoisin sauce and chives fresh from the garden. Yumm. Who knew pork was so delicious when you raise it with love and let it live outside and feed it good food and let it do what pigs want to do!??
My veggie friends I have not abandon you, In fact this dish I know will be just perfect without meat. Maybe add some bean sprouts instead or tofu if you feel you need it, but the mushrooms are really meaty and rich.
I have been subbing out butter in recipes in exchange for coconut oil for some time, but more recently I am leaning on coconut milk instead, which offer’s another coconut flavor component to anything baked, or raw for that matter. Today I used my goto coffee cake recipe but opted to omit all the dairy (our latest farm intern is lactose intolerant). In place of sour cream and butter I used grapeseed oil and coconut milk, I made sure to add coconut into the cake batter as well as the streusel layer, and the result (although it took much longer to bake than usual), yielded a soft coco-nutty cake with the perfect tooth, and just the right sponge like spring, balanced with crispy deep dark crumble line through each slice.
Remember a couple weeks back when I posted this delicious spelt espresso vegan cake recipe, well when I was enjoying a bite of this dense and moist cake I though about how great it would be with chai spice rather than espresso, and so I busted one out to take to a lovely dinner party, and I was right… it was FABULOUS with a spicy chai kick. My daughter picked little purple pop up pansies from all over the garden and they were the perfect finish for this divine vegan dessert.
I didn’t tweak too much from my original post but I did double the batch to yield a whopping 12” spring form pan that made for 12 hearty portions (easily could have served 24)
I used in this recipe both a chai concentrate liquid as well as a chai spice blend. If you don’t have both I am sure just the concentrate (or a stiff brewed chia tea) would do, but you may want to add a pinch of a few chai essential spices from your pantry; especially cardamom and cinnamon and clove.
There is nothing like a fresh bunch of parsley to make one crave tabouli salad, bright and green, fresh and crisp. My mother in law is visiting this week and she came home from the local market with a huge bunch of organic parsley, and immediatly I put the couscous on!
quickly boil 1 cup of water along with a glug of brags and season with S+P and lemon peel, add 1 cup of couscous, stir and remove from heat and cover, set aside for 5 minutes.
meanwhile finely chop 1 bunch of fresh parsley and toss it in a large bowl.
give the lot a good glug of olive oil as well as hemp oil (about 1/4 cup+ total)
add 3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
season with S+P
add 1/2 cup hemp hearts
Once the couscous has sat for 5 minutes, fluff it with a fork and add it to the parsley with, toss and refrigerate for an hour, then enjoy!
This is lovely when you substitute millet for couscous to make it gluten and wheat free!