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!
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.
OK this is crazy cool, We have crazy big grape vines here about 6 really hearty vines that produced well over 50lbs of grapes last year and are poised to do way better this year! Well it has only taken 4 years, but we finally harvested grape leaves and for the first time ever I made dolmades. So fun and lovely tasting. I am considering canning a good amount of leaves right now… but I might just steam and freeze them for future days.
I had some ground pork from our pig at the ready, along with some leftover rice and ample fresh herbs on hard, which all combined to make bright refreshing and delicious dolmades! The grape leaves were really easy to process and roll, and I am sad I have overlooked them for so long.
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:
A few years back I had the great pleasure of trying a fabulous Lebanese dish called fataya, my girlfriend brought some out to the farm here to share, and I feel in love with the fluffy bread bundles stuffed with spicy beef and mint. Reminded me of classic British Sunday roast slathered in mint sauce. These fatayas have inspired a few dishes, namely these minty meat balls, so I thought it was about time I tried to make some fataya for my self… not sure if it was the bountiful mint bog that inspired me, or the fact that our vegetarian interns are now gone, and we have had a 2 day meat party! Whatever the case I am thrilled at the results and I made a stellar veggie fataya too, complete with garden fresh peas, fresh mint, and my girlfriends goat feta. I tricked the guys and bundled all of the fatays in the same triangle shape, so they could’t skip out on their veggies in during their great meat gluttony (which is now behind us for the record)!
I searched for a nice sounding dough recipe and finally found this one, which I used, and it was a delight to work with, silky and soft, forgiving, and fluffy. I started the dough and let it sit and rise for a couple hours while I assembled the two different fillings.
Mint pea feta filling:
In a frying pan start by browning 1 small onion in a good glug of olive oil
add and fry 2 minced garlic cloves
when brown add 3 cups of fresh peas
season with S+P
add 1/2 cup of water and a splash of fresh lemon juice,
allow to simmer on medium for about 3 minutes.
add a handful of fresh chopped mint and mix, remove from heat.
In a bowl mix together
1 cup chopped (or crumbled feta)
along with the pea and onion mix
Set aside until your ready to stuff the dough
Meat and mint filling:
In a frying pan start by browning 1 small onion in a good glug of olive oil
add and fry 2 minced garlic cloves, and 6 finely chopped garlic scapes
cook for 2 minutes before adding in 1 lb of grass fed local / organic ground beef
2 tsp chili flakes
Allow to cook down before adding:
1 HUGE handful of fresh chopped mint
1 handful of fresh chopped parsley
Once cooked through set aside until your ready to stuff the dough.
Follow the dough instruction from the link above, which yielded me about 24 fataya. I used a 4.5″ circle lid to cut out the dough into rounds, then stuffed each with about 2 tbsp of either meat or veggie filling. I then pinched half of one side together, and then pulled the center of the open flap up to the triangle tip and sealed up the two new sides, to form these lovely little triangles.
Each one got a good beat egg brushing, and were baked for about 13 minutes at 350. I whipped up a spicy tomato chili dipping sauce that was perfect, and the dish was a huge hit. I will certainly make these again and again. I had a little of both of the fillings left over which I mixed together and plan to stuff into baked potatoes tomorrow night!
What do you get when you combine spinich, kale, feta, hemp seeds and dill all bundled up in fillo pastry… crunchy hempy pillows of goodness, that’s what.
I played with using hemp oil brushed between layers of fillo rather than the butter I always lean on, and the results were great! The fillo was toasted perfectly and the mild nutty flavour the oil imparted was amped up by the hemp seeds in the cheesy green filling.
I need to start this post by praising my new kitchen toy… I bought a insta-pot online (I know this sounds super cheesy already) BUT my old vintage stove is really a piece of work, and struggles to do much other than hard boil, I have no simmer or low settings, so as you might imagine making rice in a pot can be so very challenging. I was looking for a rice cooker, specifically one without a teflon cooking basket, but it seems they just don’t make them without hazardous coatings on them anymore?! My friend sent me a link to instructions on how to cook rice and beans using a pressure cooker, I gave it a go and viola wonderful! perfectly steamed rice and cooked beans in just minutes. The trouble now was my pressure cooker is actually a HUGE pressure canner (and made of aluminium) it also is a chore to get it boiling on my stove and not scorch the stove top. Basically I was back to looking for rice cookers when I stumbled upon the instapot. This is an electric pressure cooker / slow cooker / and rice steamer. It’s programmable and best of all there is no non stick anything! The cooking pot is stainless steal (and good thick steal at that).
The day the pot arrived I was having friends for dinner and opted to do two whole pork loin roasts and make pulled pork… which was pretty good, well cooked, but I will work on the liquid amounts in future, next I made quinoa (in 8 minutes perfectly), then baked brown beans (a total flop… but more on that later), and finally a perfectly cooked pot of brown basmati rice TADA! I love this thing! Especially these days when I am busting my but in the garden and feeding 3 grown men + me and the little one regular hearty meals on time! This thing is really saving me all sorts of time and effort.
Today I made lunch rice bowl for the crew and with the help of this new toy It took al of 10 minutes to put these beautiful bowls on the table. I adapted the whitewater glory bowl dressing to put a mediterranean spin on it, and the results were divine!
Start by cooking 2 cups of brown basmati rice
In a large mason jar mix up this roasted red pepper dressing:
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp italian red pepper spread
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cidervinegar
2 minced cloves of garlic
3/4 cup hemp oil
1 handful of dried oregano crumbled
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
shake shake shake and set aside (you can keep this dressing in the fridge for a couple weeks)
In a large bowl combine:
1/2 of a cucumber chopped into bit sized pieces
1 cup of feta cheese chopped into bit sized pieces
2 large canned whole fire roasted red peppers, sliced thin
2 cups of chick peas (canned or cooked)
1/2 cup of hemp seeds
Toss with a good amount of dressing and set aside to soak up the flavours (this will keep well in the fridge too)
Now assemble, cooked rice along with some salad greens and the marinated chikpea salad, drizzle with some more dressing and garnish with extra hemp seeds and some more oregano.
When you serve these you’ll look like a veggie rock star chef and you don’t even have to break a sweat.
Something magical always happens between the sheets of fillo pastry, and this easy savory recipe is no exception. Hearty greens blended with local cheeses, caramelized onions, hemp seeds and grainy mustard is the perfect combination of flavors and textures for these little ditties. I served these along with a roasted squash soup, and it made for a great crunchy oozy accompaniment, but they would also make a lovely appy.
This orzo is really great on it’s own and would be a nice vegan entree, but these sweet little meatballs make the perfect addition to this dish. I have marked this recipe as Vegan, Gluten free and vegetarian, although all together it is none of these things. The orzo is veg friendly and NOT gluten free, but the meatballs are the exact opposite. Just to clarify.
Tonight’s dinner was a yummy vegan wheat free knock out! The flavors were sharp bright and punchy. I was inspired by a (food network of all places) recipe for Green Goddess Rice, and realized I have been ho humming over a box of tempeh taking up residence in my fridge for almost too long.. So I slapped this up and will definitely make it again and again. *** Just a note on tempeh, if you are gluten intolerant, be sure to buy plain tempeh, without flavouring as it often hosts wheat hidden in soya sauce. Also be sure to buy an Organic variety, as with all soy products it is really important to stay away from GMO soy, so organic is best! Especially if you have breasts that you love!
I had a hankering for hummus but no chick peas, so I whipped up this navy bean dip, and finally delved into the world of seafood sustainability + sardines! This turned out to be a super upscale “tunafish sandwich” that my daughter devoured!
It is a pretty rare event in our house when I cook meat, but I am always very sure to meet the producer of any meat I buy or research them extensively, but usually I do both. One the first snow fall of the season I was craving something warm and comforting so when the great folks at Sunworks Farm down at the Calgary Farmers Market were sampling there juicy organic rosemary chicken sausages, i knew that fit the bill, and I had a fresh batch of my slow roasted tomatoes to use. Here is the simple but stunning dish I created using Lebanese couscous (which is NOT gluten free) This couscous is a large (pea size) ball of pasta made with semolina flour.