I am pretty sure you all are familiar with the dish “wife saver” we lovingly call it wife beater around here because it is pretty “white-bread-trashy”, why do folks love it so? My mom used to make this on Christmas morning once in a while, with SPAM if you can believe it, and my sweeties grandma makes it pretty often for brunch; white bread (crusts off) layered with ham and orange cheese soaked in egg and topped with corn flakes and more processed cheese! I tried once to make a really fancy version of this for a brunch, I used baguette, smoked bacon, roasted garlic, fancy french cheeses and even a bechamel sauce with fresh herbs, I loved it but my guy was missing all the trash factor, seriously. He told me not to mess with his wife beater, and for the last 8 or so years I have complied, until the other day that is… My daughter and I made a big batch of chili and she whipped up some corn bread skillets using our families favorite recipe (with the substitution of corn flour for spelt flour). By day 3 we were over the corn bread and the chili, and I kinda forgot about half a skillet of corn bread for just long enough for it to start to dry out, and that is when it came to me; corn bread wife saver! It was worth a go, and I am so happy I tried it and the whole family LOVED this version.
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!
Such a nice take on same old same old guacamole, this feta dip is fresh and bright and totally dunk-able! Best of all the feta came from my favorite milk maid curiosity of her lovely dairy goat aptly named “feta”. This is by no means mexican in flavor, and you could so easily make this the spread on a BLT or any number of burgers. It is flavored with basil and lemon and garlic, it’s smooth and sharp and perfect for any manor of summer grilling menus. Best of all it’s so simple.
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.
There is a great indulgent presentation that comes from a platter of food, offering intrigue with each layer of fresh from the ground foods. I find myself leaning on this family style dinning presentation often, as it saves dishes and looks beautifully inticing. On this occasion I found myself trying to decide if I should serve a bang up breakfast for lunch or make use of some leftover black beans from tacos and make a mexican style beans and rice, My interns suggested I do both, and that is what you see here a brunch stack infused with Mexican flavors in each layer. Brunch, where the best of both lunch and breakfast come together to break bread.
Everytime I make chilli or baked beans or bean soup I feel inclined to make corn bread… and in theory I like the stuff, but recipe after recipe has let me down. I have tried it a million ways, on the grill, in a skillet, in muffin tins, with buttermilk, with butter, with honey, with maple syrup and while some I like more than others I have had more ho-hum batches than I care to admit. BUT FINALLY I found a keeper recipe for my house, and I am really excited to share it with you all. (did you imagine I said yall’ with a drawl, just now?)
If you have a tetra pack of tomato or red pepper soup in the back of your pantry just waiting for some inspired idea other than grilled cheese, then this mexican spin might be just for you. This isn’t my usual approach to soup… that is tossing canned and tetra pack ingredients together and serving after only a quick boil.. but today it was just what was required. I had hungry chicken coop fencers to feed and only a few minutes to put something hearty on the table. While this soup didn’t have the slowly simmered away all day with love taste… it certainly had a great chili kick and enough fuel to keep us all going through the afternoon (and saw the completion of the chickens happy new home in the forest!)
Admittedly the name of this cake drew me in and after I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks back I was dying to rush out and buy a can of pineapple, and crack into the mountain of over ripe frozen bananas in my freezer. Who would have thought this banana bread / carrot cake hybird would be so delightful. I had no idea this cake even existed… Those southern bells sure do dream up some lovely treats. Slow roasted bananas in a dreamy cake slathered in pecan laced cream cheese frosting. Oh my.
I just love coming home to a house that smells delicious only to find a hot meal all ready to go, slow cookers rock my winter! And sure I did all the work in the morning, but still a meal that is hot and ready when we are is good stuff. I made this chili to use up some left overs from my new favourite red pepper quinoa which I made again the other night. I also keep staring at the last 4 little pumpkins in my pantry that need to be eaten… thus this pumpkin quinoa chili. Full of black beans, carrots, tomatoes, and smoky herbs topped with creamy feta cheese and some bright cilantro, all of this made for a perfect winter weekday meal.
Ohhh and the adorable new cloth napkins made our meal seem a little fancier than usual, I was so thrilled to receive my birthday present (to myself) last week from Oh Little Rabbit, a sweet print shop in the US, where they make the cutest printed organic cotton stuff. I got a whack of lovely napkins, which I am enjoying matching to my meals and table settings. You’ll see more soon… as I have been getting a little bored with my counter top / table top blog photo backdrops!
But back to the meal at hand… you could make this lovely red pepper quinoa dish first (a double batch) and use up the rest in this chili recipe, or you could just add the flavours and uncooked quinoa into the slow cooker and I’m sure the results will be just fine! either way here is what else you will need to jazz up some root cellar squash…
What do you do when your friend gives you 30 ears of corn?
Well I tucked into it right away! Beginning with a big ‘ol batch of this smoky sweet corn chowder.. followed by chilli corn bread muffins.. and the rest will end up in a run of frozen kernals. ‘Oh and then the chooks will be happy to peck clean each and every cob I use!
This divine soup has both farm fresh milk and coconut milk which makes for a lovely balance of richness and sweetness. The coconut milk also helps to soothe the intense smoky heat in this chowder. My batch was crazy hot… I scaled back the chipotle and cayenne for this post… but if your a spice fiend then by all means give ‘er!
If your vegan.. I think you could still pull this soup off amazingly; using half almond milk and half coconut milk.. and obviously you’ll want to omit the gateway meat… but if you do eat meat and have naturally raised lovely local smoked bacon on hand.. why would you make this soup without it?
As I mentioned earlier; in a sweeping mad rush (for fear of blight which is setting in hard all around me) I harvested all of my many tomatoes GREEN the other day, and now I find myself with boxes upon boxes of unripe heirloom tomatoes just sitting around taking up space, I don’t really have to offer. Slowly many of them are ripening as they do I am using or freezing them, but I decided to put to use a good lot of the smaller less mature green tomatoes over the weekend so I tried farmgirl fare’s green tomato recipe and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the results! My family love taco’s … Mexican anything in fact, so a jar of this mixed into a simmering pot of black beans or ground meat = instant taco goodness in this house. I am not usually one for relish recipes (although over the past weeks I have tried a couple fabulous ones), but it seems this isn’t so much a relish as it is a salsa, a hot a bright colourful salsa, complete with cilantro, hot peppers, and apples!
I followed this sugar free recipe pretty closely (which is a little out of character for me), although I added more garlic, and used extra hot peppers including chipotle peppers, and crushed chilis along with her “optional” cumin addition. I used apple cider vinegar and fresh lime juice blended 3:1 ratio to make up the entire vinegar amount.
Really this is a great recipe, and after I read about 30 reviews of it, I decided it was a must for my pantry. So glad am I with the results that I may even process another batch. I doubled the first batch, and feel like I should put another 9 jars up while I have the green tomatoes sitting around!
Nothing Nothing Nothing (shy of a icy cold micro brew) cools you down like a stunning pink refreshing hibiscus iced tea. When you are sweating and filthy from a hard day of garden work like I was today this simple drink restores and refreshes and tastes fabulous. If you have ever been to Mexico you have seen a those huge hot pink coolers full of this tea and if you tried some and fell in love with it as I did while living there, then rediscovering this jewel will make you smile and bring back the smell sticky mango trees baking in the sun.
I just got my hands on lovely organic dried hibiscus flowers and this is my method of brewing a perfect ‘cupa:
boil 4 cups of water
add 2 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
1 tsp lemon rind
juice from 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon chips (or stick)
Boil for 20 minutes
strain immediately and pour into a a heat proof glass jug.
* at this point you can add some maple syrup or organic cane sugar if you want it sweetened (Apple cider is nice too)
Let cool to room temp then stow it away in the fridge to get icy cold. Garnish with fresh slices of citrus and cinnamon sticks, and enjoy when you are good and dirty and hot!
I was thrilled the other day when our friend dropped of some beautiful fresh Dolly Varden fish steaks, from a successful day on the lake. I decided to whip us some fish tacos for dinner last night and I am happy to share the simple steps I took to get these beautiful fish steaks on the table. These tacos aren’t your traditional fish tacos, but they are a really nice spin on the old stand by.
While I was at Seedy Sunday picking up and eying over and a zillion locally saved seeds dreaming of my spring time produce isle in the front yard, I had a big ‘ol slow cooker pot of chili going back home so I planed to make a batch of cheesy cornbread muffins.
Last weekend we broke out the propane turkey deep fryer, and invited some friends over for a Texan fry up. We thawed and seasoned Paul, Ringo and George (our most newly departed Roosters). Two of the boys got a Franks Red Injection and the last Beatle got a garam masala rub down and all of them hit the corn oil, in rotation with french fries and corn fritters. This was our first success at poultry frying (anyone who attended our Easter ’10 TexasTurkey Mishap knows how earned this success was!). The night was wonderful the birds a hit and in fact the chickens disappeared so fast I didn’t even have a chance to snap a picture of them in all their golden glory. I did however roast another rooster the following night and part of the leftovers from him became maybe the best chicken stew I have ever made, and the rest went into this saucy smoky southern dish, assembled with left over basmati brown rice and rooster.
A few years ago I made some spice blend sets for Christmas presents and my favorite blend “Chili Hot Hot” snuck it’s way into many many a dish after that holiday season. The other day I was inspired to create another batch chili blend and I came up with what I am calling Tequila Sunrise. Using some of the most punchy bright and fresh organic spices and made a chipotle, paprika, chili, garlic lemon rub with a hit of toasted cumin. Yum. The blend is kick your ass hot and I went a little far on it’s virgin run; but this is what I threw together and it was smoking good! You could and likely should (unless your a masochist like me) keep the this toned down version:
I confess. It’s true. I am guilty as charged! This recipe is neither healthy, nor easy, nor local (per say), nor is it allergen friendly. What it is however is kickin’ and cheesy and wrapped in gooey organic goodness. I found a recipe online somewhere for Apple Walnut Cinnamon roll cupcakes, and I made a version of these at work the other day, and while working with the dough I kinda fell in love with it’s silky elastic-y body. And so in another effort to make interesting lunch treats for my daughter I decided to make a savory take on the sweet buns.
This is defiantly more of a Sunday afternoon recipe than an after work ordeal. It takes time and love and a few cups of tea before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but somehow when you get there it’s all worth it.
Ok if you haven’t grilled avocado before you are missing out on my new favorite food! Once this creamy fruit is grilled the flavor changes from mild, to smoky and rich. I saw the host of The Main grill some avocados a little while a go, and I was totally intrigued. Although I forgot his recipe, I came up with a stellar smoky chunky guac that even I really enjoyed!
I halved 3 ripe avocados, removed the pit, and the fruit from the skin. I used a searing hot cast iron grill pan on the stove well oiled to grill each side for about 4 minutes, without touching or moving them around. I sprinkled the halved with S+P and cut into cubes. These seared pieces of avocado are amazing just like this! They would be fab on a sandwich or salad, or filled with salsa as a appetizer.
I stared with 2 tbsp of Salsa Verde, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 of a jalapeño minced, the juice and some zest from 1 lime, 1 large green onion diced small, a splash of walnut oil, S+P and a pinch of cane sugar, along with the cubes of avocado. Mix by hand with a spoon until some cubes are broken up and some remain chunky. If you are not serving this immediately give the surface of your surveying bowl a good squeeze of lime juice to keep it from browning. ENJOY!
This open face egg on toast is incredibly simple to make, but has both rich and satisfying flavors and textures. It is also great for the day after you have make the yummy tacos below… as I you’ll have everything on hand.
Sunny open face sandwich
fry 1 farm fresh free range egg over easy, season with S+P
slice and toast your favorite artisan bread and butter lightly (one of my favourite loafs of bread in town is from Peasent Bread, My friend Aviv is doing something really special with his business: making great bread, supporting local business, giving back to charity, and delivering his bread by bike each week) So when ever I can I track down his amazing creations!
top toast with egg:
1/2 diced avocado
crumbled aged cheddar cheese
a dollop of good quality organic salsa from a jar or your own homemade one
and garnish with a sprig of green onion or cilantro.