Archive for ‘Farm + Forrage’

November 4, 2013

lactose fermented mustard

fermenting mustard

This fermenting thing is pretty addictive, I have to warn you all!

Not only is it a easy, low energy way to put up food, it’s a brilliant way to add way more nutrients and health benefits to that food. You may have noticed I am kind of condiment crazy; I love the honey ale mustard that has become a staple in my family, we rely on my making endless batches of ketchup, HP sauce, hot saucechutney, even nutella and lemon curd. All of these things are better when they are homemade!

I recently attended a fabulous fermenting workshop and now knowing I can ferment many of the condiments I love, makes me even more happy to experiment. I know I said before how easy making mustard was… well now fermenting mustard makes it even easier to have nourishing condiments on the table. Check out how simple this is…

lactose fermented mustard

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November 3, 2013

green tomato ketchup

more green tomatoes

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.

green tomato ketchup

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October 29, 2013

albino beet harvest

pickled albino beets

This year I grew for the first time Seed Savers Albino Beets which I got from the Urban Hometeading Store (which I adore!) on a visit through Northern Alberta in the snowy early spring. I was eager to try to pickle these white beets and see how tidy the process might be without pink hands and a crime scene kitchen clean up. So far I have really enjoyed cooking with them. Adding albino beets to many soups and stews for that great fresh beet flavor without odd tinting of my meals, or the mess that goes with traditional beets. These look an awful lot like salad turnips, but are sweet and tender.

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October 19, 2013

sweet potato skillet pie

sweet potato skillet pie

This recipe is the origin of so many amazing adventures in my life. I recall always disliking Thanksgiving dinner as a child… I didn’t eat meat, I hate stuffing, dry potatoes arg, overcooked brussel sprouts… all bad things. One year my aunt brought to dinner something that changed my life forever… a baked mashed sweet potato dish covered in sugar coated pecans… finally FLAVOR for a holiday meal! I started making it myself as a teenager and really amped up the seasonings, I played with maple coated nut toppings and loved it all. It soon became the dish I always brought to the festive meals… that and the turkey later on, as I would seek out sustainable happy turkey farms and drive for hours and pay top dollar to deliver a raw fresh bird to whom ever was hosting the big family dinner that year, just so I could indulge in turkey and gravy along with my sweet potato pie!

This sweet potato pie dish welcomed me to the world of sharing food with folks, presenting a truly stand out dish and soaking up the oohs and ahhs. From there I was hooked on nourishing people with really tasty foods! Fast forward many years and when I was opening my second bakery and was developing vegan and gluten free recipes I decided one day to plop a couple cups of holiday left over sweet potato pie into the mixer… that moment the famous Pure vegan Sweet Potato Pow cookie was born. Here is a revised version of that killer cookie recipe and a little more of the story, but back to the pie…

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October 16, 2013

asian lake fish soup

asian fish soup

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.

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October 5, 2013

pickle palooza

pickle-palooza-2013 vallican BC

Our valleys 2nd annual Canning & Preserving Festival is finally here! Tomorrow Sunday October 6th 10-2 @ Vallican Whole, Slocan BC. There will be canning contests for best preserves in 4 categories, a lively jar swap, experts demoing a number of preserving techniques, local farmers and producers selling their bounty. There will be food for the whole family and canning crafts for the kids! If your in the Kootenays and your keen to learn, stock up, or compete come on down and join us for this Canning Jamming Extravaganza! For more info go here.

October 4, 2013

apple cider vinegar + hard cider

apple cider vinegar making

This is a very exciting harvest time for us, we just picked a truckload (literally) of apples from a number of different friends properties over the past week, and yesterday I loaded them all up and set off for the “Apple Jack” in Brilliant. William has been pressing apples with his home made hydraulic apple press sine the 60’s. He tossed and chopped and hauled and mashed and pressed and screened 25 Gallons of fresh raw unpasteurized valley apple juice for me and my friends. What an event! I didn’t bring my camera and sooo wished I had! The juice is divine, but I had other plans for this nectar…

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September 24, 2013

harvest wedding desserts

wedding dessert

Please excuse my absence over the past while, our friends equinox country wedding has taken over my culinary life for a time. I had the great pleasure of baking all of the desserts for their local harvest feast, along with the wedding cake, and some lovely condiments to go along with the exceptional charcuterie table, whole hog roast and the stunning seasonal dinner Chris Cho of Ayden Kitchan and Bar rolled.

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August 29, 2013

tomato jam + hot salsa {tomato squared}

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I am canning tomatoes like a mad woman still, and I discovered a great preserving symbiosis [CHUNKY tomatoes salsa + tomato jam]

I have made a number of different canned salsa recipes and often the results taste great, but are a little watery. This round I decided to cook down the tomatoes first with no additional seasoning, I then strained them and saved the juice for another project. Fresh in my mind was Isis’s grandmothers tomato jam which she had just been raving about,  and I knew that juice was destine for a sweet spread. I had heard of tomato jam in past, but was never driven to explore that idea much until now… let me tell you the results are fabulous! Tomatoes are fruit after all and they make a unique sweet and bright jam.

Irene I know your out there, and I would love love love your mothers tomato jam recipe for future use! I will share both recipes I used today and I strongly suggest you use this technique to make both… and if you are crazy like me, you might as well process a batch of dill pickles, and pickled hot peppers while you are at it. Geez look at what my morning yielded today…

a morning of canning

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July 16, 2013

rose petal jelly

rose petal jelly

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.

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July 12, 2013

snap pea + strawberry salad

snowpea strawberry salad

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:

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July 5, 2013

dolmades

fresh grape leave dolmades

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.

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June 13, 2013

mojito coconut bars

mint limr mojito jelly and bars

These gluten Free lime and mint jelly bars with coconut flour and chick pea flour make for a truly guilt free tropical escape. These bars started with an adventure in mint mojito jelly making, and ended with a truly special gluten free cookie bar.

Lets start with the canning adventure: My intention in the canning process was to make a small run of mint jelly to be used for roast dinners (along with 2 other jelly batches I had been waiting for sunny day and some free time to set out on), One of my interns Dave who I tough how to make jam a little while back, jumped in to learn the jelly making process, and I think at the end of it all, he and I had a refresher on what NOT to do!

Here is the abridged version of events:

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June 11, 2013

smoked trout potato skins

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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.

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June 10, 2013

spruce tip jelly

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I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen yesterday  running 3 batches of wild herbal jelly. Mint, Dandelion, and Spruce Tip. What excited me the most was processing some freshly collected spruce tips into jelly. A few weeks back I was sharing some of my dandelion jelly with our friends and they spoke of a traditional dutch jelly made with spruce tips, which had me intrigued. Then a few days ago our local master herbalist was teaching some medicine making techniques and she too mentioned spruce tip jelly, luckily my wild-crafting partner in crime here at the homestead was setting off to Alberta on a harvesting adventure and she keenly returned home with a batch of fresh tender spruce tips ready for canning.  Yeah.

So the plan was to thaw out the dandelion juice I made a few weeks back and put off canning because the weather turned grey and cloudy, make a fresh batch of spruce tip jelly, and finally give some mint jelly a go… I love mint jelly on roast lamb or beef, and I thought a mint jelly would be a nice starting point for some mint sauce. I opted however to make mojito jelly by adding some fresh lime juice to the batch, the next roast beast dinner might call for some rum!

Here is the story of and recipe for spruce tip jelly making …

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May 19, 2013

mint cubed chocolate cupcakes

choco-mint cupcakes

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!

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May 18, 2013

morels mushrooms on toast

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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…

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Not so much of a recipe today… rather a tidbit of inspiration. Make a simple lunch stunning, seasonal and freshly foraged.

May 16, 2013

wild forage souffle; nettles, dandelions, mint and morels

wild forage

So much foraging happening this time of year, wild food abounds! We have been eating nettles like crazy, also drying a good lot of it, same with the mint,  fresh in teas and dishes and drying it on mass to keep us cozy in the winters to come. Also the dandelions have been sunny and singing out to be made into another stellar batch of that dynamite dandelion jelly I made last year! And just today a tiny stash of morel mushrooms from the woods out back started to trickle in to the kitchen!

With such a big crew of folks to both help forage and keep well fed, the wild hunting is such a treat for all of us.

Today I tried my hand at a couple firsts:

1)  I made a cheese and nettle souffle, my virgin souffle, and it was lovely, golden and perfectly poof-ed and rich with nettles and a hint of sorrel.

2) I made two pretty darn nice looking loafs of caraway rye spelt bread.

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April 18, 2013

pig-in-a-day

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We did it… a whole hog (or rather 2 hole hogs) broken down join by joint, cut by cut, by our fabulous group of 22 participants! Our Back Road Butcher Ben lead us all through a super informative and engaging hands on day of all things pig. Not only did the participants enjoy the headcheese and pate I slaved away on, but we also seared up some lovely bits of pig heart as well as a really great sweet & sour pork hock dish… I will post the recipes for the heart and the hocks early next week.

We turned nearly 400 pounds of pork into neat little bundles of sirloin butt and leg roasts, thick chops, tenderloin, ribs, and best of all the charcuterie: We rolled up the bacon sides and next weekend we will get smoking, and I am looking forward to sharing all that smokey goodness with you guys in the future. Our pigs legs have a fine destiny having been carefully packed in salt in a “meat coffin” destine for pruscuttio goodness next year, we also set aside the capicola strips from both pigs and will have our butcher do a dry cure of those! YUM. We also made dozens of sausage and learned to link and tie them off, which was really fun. I opted to season one batch with maple syrup and rosemary for our breakfast link (which we all enjoyed this morning), and the other batch was a hot chili (surprise surprise) pepper and sage sausage.

All and all we had a great day, learned a ton, shared some delicious odd bits with the group and helped propel local food resilience one step further.

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April 14, 2013

our pork charcuterie

pork-platter

Well I can say the pig ears were a HUGE success, in fact we were fighting over the last of the crunchy salty ribbons of ear. Weird right? But really nice and yes I would make those again and again, given the opportunity provided itself.  It was also nice to have hard crunchy bits to contrast the soft and spreadable bits.  As for the haedcheese and the pate, they looked lovely. But I must confess the pate smell was far too fresh in my mind to enjoy this experience as much as I had hoped to, and none of the diners of this charcuterie plate had ever eaten or enjoyed pate before, so it was a unique experience for all. Luckily I have lots of leftovers packed up nicely to share with pate enthusiasts and I will report back with more expert opinion (or in the least the opinions of folks who didn’t do the processing work)!

If I am totally honest this whole experience was still a little to close and fresh in our minds I think for anyone to really enjoy this pretty spread.

If you find yourself with a pigs head in future refer to my last post this little piggy for my recap of head cheese making, also I would recommend watching River Cottage Pig-in-a-Day for Hughes head cheese recipe, which is how I made my way through the process. Now if you find yourself with a fresh pig liver, and you want to try your hand at this recipes, hats off to you:

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April 12, 2013

this little piggy

bacon

First off I need to say to my vegan and vegetarian readers the next 3 or so post are likely not going to sit well with you, the images that follow are graphic and this is the story of taking a life to nourish a family, a community and a million little critters along the way. A few months back we set out on a pork culinary adventure with the purchase of this cute fellow, and yesterday was the day that our “little piggy went to market” as they say.

The past 24 hours have been a whirl wind of processing and pushing through comfort zones and mental barriers, but let me step back a little. This little small holding adventure started a few years back with chickens and food in the ground, we have been through raising chicks, and setting hens, dispatching roosters and even raising and enjoying meat rabbits. Along the way we have helped friends with butchering cows and goats, we have been enjoying raw milk and cheese, foraging, fishing, smoking and canning, all with the intention of connecting to our food systems, all of them, even the unpleasant bits. This adventure is by far the most real, the most challenging, and for me as a cook the most humbling. When we first decided to get a pig my intention was to honor the entire animal, and to challenge myself to use every part of it, and reconnect to my humble roots where using all and wasting nothing wasn’t an ethical decision, it was simply the way of life.

So I sit here exhausted 24 hours after our pig departed his pasture, and this is how the snout of this nose-to-tail  story begins…

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April 3, 2013

scavenger hunt salad

spring scavenged salad

It’s a funny time of year hear… we are excited about growing and have greens started and sprouting all around us, we are prepping beds for the upcoming season, and have been finding food all over, in tiny amounts. This lovely egg and potato salad features all sorts of spring time finds; eggs scavenged from the hen house, potatoes found in the soil along side yellow carrots, the tiny snipped tips of wee onions starts, chives and micro greens all delicately clipped from the window seed starting racks. This found salad was then slathered with a vinaigrette that used up the last of my homemade grainy mustard. A true Easter weekend egg hunt done right!

I just spent the last couple weeks back in the prairies taking some farming classes and meeting with farmers and chefs alike, it was really nice  to see just how connected some pockets of the culinary world are becoming… farm 2 fork is contagious and it’s about time it start catching on!

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February 1, 2013

quinoa coffee cake + masala spice pack give away!

masala quinoa cake

Think about this for a minute… Gluten free chocolate quinoa cake laced with the deep dark flavors of coffee and masala spice, are you drooling yet? What about dreaming up winning $60 worth of the best organic hand-ground  spices ever?! Maybe I have your attention now?!

Today’s recipe is a tribute to my favorite masala maker; I baked a chocolate coffee cake to die for (gluten free especially for her), the recipe is posted below, but first lets talk about my eatingwithSOLE, first ever GIVE AWAY:

You all know how much I adore Chamela Giri’s hand-ground traditional organic masala spice blends, I always use them and can’t imagine going back to making my own sub-par blends again. Here are some of my favorite recipes I have shared over the years here that feature her premium masalas: masala hashslow cooker vindaloo, kale + goat palak, my garden grown korma, cosmic chocolate chai cookies, roasted eggplant  masala, cinnamon chai hemp twists, channa masala guyanna style,  & chocolate chai pansy cake.

Well the exciting news is that Chamela Giri has offered up to one of my followers a masala gift package worth over $60! It features all of her spice blends ( a package each of her: winter chai, summer chai, chat masala, garam masala along with a package of her new and deeply divine masala coffee (which I am totally addicted to), AND 3 sample vials of her handmade all natural powdered perfumes!

masala coffee

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January 19, 2013

fish cakes

fish cake mix

We were gifted some lovely fresh lake fish yesterday, and after a town day spent perusing cook book after cook book I was inspired to make fish cakes, with a bit of an Asian kick. I don’t buy a lot of cook books in fact even if I own them I rarely read them, although I do enjoy some good internet food porn almost daily, but today I decided to spend a whopping $12 on a food magazine (I know crazy right) but this new quarterly called Lucky Peach just called to me… the articles are written by chefs I adore, like Anothony Bordain and even Fuchsia Dunlop (whom I have spent many a  night dreaming of schzeuan peppers and dan dan noodles after read her inspiring book), the mag is stunning and artsy and thick and lush without a million tacky ads, but the ad I did find was from my chef / knife aficienato and proviyer bud Kevin of Knifeware, home to the rest of my hand forged japanese knife collection / obsession… love the mag, love my knifes (here the first one I fell for), and love my evening inspiration.. but now I am totally off track here, expect maybe that the flavors of asian are again calling to me tonight!

These golden potato pillows of fish were seasoned with chili, cilantro, lemon and  perfectly seared dolly varden trout, these little fish cakes were dreamy, I served them atop a bed of sesame roasted rice noodles gently laced with the last of our garden fresh red cabbage and some bok choy and onions. These fish cakes may read a little involved but actually took pretty little effort, here is how they all came together:

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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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July 14, 2012

foraging and harvesting

Wow it’s like the food bomb just went off this week! Suddenly there is food everywhere… wild harvests abound!  We have been picking saskatoon berries, cherries, strawberries, mint, and even cat tails have been collected by the dozens for both winter basket weaving and we have been eating the starchy crunchy sweet tender roots in all manners of preparation.

I was so flush in fact with free berries yesterday I had to get baking even though the heat was intense! I settled on making a couple batches of my favorite spelt cream cheese puff pastry, and busted out 2 extra large and 9 mini triple berrie tarts. We had friends for dinner who brought a lovely almond flour strawberry cake, and for dessert we had a trio of berry celebrations including: a slice of my berry tart, a slice of her strawberry cake, and a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt slathered in saskatoon strawberry syrup I bubbled up! Over the course of the day I must have eaten a pound of fresh sun warmed strawberries even before dessert was served!

So today I am sharing my easy quick berry berry pie filling recipe, which was divine with this no fail spelt puff pastry, but would be ideal in a classic pie crust too, even drizzled over ice cream or granola or yogurt, or even canned as a fruit topping!

As I said this batch yielded a HUGE amount of filling so if you are wanting to do just one pie cut it by 1/3! But I will share the recipe as I made it which would get you through at least 3 pies.

In a large heavy bottom stainless pot combine over medium high heat:

4 cups cherries

4 cups of strawberries

4 cups of saskatoon berries

stir and warm for about 5 minutes before adding:

1 cup arrow root powder mixed into

3 cups of organic cane sugar

Stir sugar into fruit and allow to boil for about 5 minutes before turning off heat and allowing fruit to cool slowly.

Use this fruit filling as you see fit and you will certainly enjoy it!

July 13, 2012

dangerous waters

I had the great pleasure of fishing last weekend with a master fisherman on my favorite lake in the world. We had a great day with lots of bites and we came home with 10 fine fish; 2 Dolly Vardens, 5 Rainbows, and 3 Kokanee’s. We invited some friends for dinner and enjoyed a great amount of fresh fish, cooked in the oven with great pads of butter, fresh dill from the garden, lemon wedges, garlic scapes, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Mmm what a perfect way to end a day in the boat, after soaking up the sun and swimming in crystal clear waters.

Fish is a real celebration in our house, a meal which we rarely eat, and *never buy. Why? because the oceans are a total mess!

Commercially prepared seafood is laden with scandal, toxins, mis-information, environmental catastrophe, species collapsechem farming and now even radiation. So I use my fork to vote that these methods of bringing fish to the table are NOT for my  family. I am sure some of you think me radical, but why on earth would I serve my family un-safe un-healthy food that is ruining my childs future planet?  I love fish, but we are sticking to eating it only on the rare occasion that we catch it ourselves (or does someone we know) right here in our very clear lakes.

I have ranted about this here in the past (back in 2010): Fishy Business, but feel this issue is important and everyone ought to be aware of what they are eating, always. Now with the onset of radioactive fish and garbage crashing into our coastline it might be a good time to get a little more informed and make some educated decisions for the health of your family.

The world isn’t a safe place, and frankly folks your local grocery store is among the most scary places around. We the consumers are expected to blindly believe that all of the endless-harvest all-seasonal all-animal abundance is packaged and safely managed using sophisticated technologies and ethical practices to bring to the shelves of these mega chain grocers everything our hearts desire everyday of the year at no cost to our planet, our bodies or our future! Geez, I am not buying it (literally).

Come on folks, time to wake up and start making relationships with your food. Grow it, Raise it, Name it,  or at least go and get to know the folks who are doing that all for you, because food is our medicine and our bodies are our temples, time to get smart. Stop trusting these multinational food chain mega corps to keep you nourished and safe, because all they care about is their bottom line.

Like this rant? Here are some others you might enjoy: Rant about Safe Food, Whats going on here?, The Corn Conspiracy, Or check out my FOOD SAFETY + SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES Category.

This blog entry is part of Fight Back Fridays at FoodRenegade

June 8, 2012

chai chocolate pansy cake

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.

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May 31, 2012

rhubarb almond buttermilk cake with hemp streusel crumb

Today started with a chill in the air and baking is just the right way to take the edge of a mountain morning. I have been watching my new (thanks to my back road buddy) rhubarb plant explode in the yard, and I finally went out this morning and chopped of 4 large (enough) stocks and fired up the oven. hmm what to bake? At present I no longer have a good source of affordable or trade-able local butter and I cringe everytime I pay $10 for a lb of organic butter at the grocery store. So I have been baking alot more vegan treats… yet I am flush with little happy eggs from my girls and ripe with new spring time growth around me. This recipe is a collimation of all of these element coming together in one damn tasty and beautiful looking cake.

Start by creaming together (by hand-

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup cane sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla

Then in a separate bowl sift together:

2 cups spelt flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

a pinch of fine sea salt

Now gently alternate mixing

1 cup buttermilk

into the sugar cream along with the sifted flour

finely stir in 2 cups (4 stocks) of chopped rhubarb pieces

and 1 cup ch

For streusel topping combine:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup dark sugar

Sprinkle topping over cake or cupcakes and bake at 350, until a tooth pick comes out clean. This recipe will make enough cake for a 9×13 pan or you could get a 9″ round cake and 6 mini muffins. My 9″ cake took 25 minutes to bake and the cupcakes took about 18 minutes. Makes ure your pans are well brushed with oil, or parchment or butter (your recuperation method of choice)

*Sorry for anyone who was looking over this recipe earlier.. it appears the last bit cut cut off and some weird bits added… anyway all fixed up!

Happy baking!

Oh and I served this with a dollop of whipped cream mixed with 1 tbsp of my dandelion jelly which was marvelous!

May 27, 2012

maple banana nut egg rolls

Do I really need to say more? Ripe banana, crunchy almond butter, maple syrup, chocolate chunks and coconut mashed into a decadent slurry, then rolled up in a egg roll wrapper and quickly pan fried and best of all served  still warm with ice cream. Sign me up! I love these because they are like a fancy dinner party take on the camp fire banana boat classic. The prefect use for ripe bananas and they couldn’t be easier!

In a large bowl combine:

4 mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup coconut

1 cup chocolate chunks

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

Spoon filling into prepared egg roll wrapper and roll (starting with the sides then the bottom, moving upward to seal the top flap), brush edges with a well  beat egg, or a thick flour and water blend, then pan fry until golden brown on all sides in an organic veggie oil.

You can prepare the rolls ahead of time, but do fry them up fresh before serving them, so they are steamy and crispy. I should apologize for the photo quality. I was serving these to a troop of mouth-watering guys, who were just drying to eat them, as I rushed my way through the photos. BUT you will promptly forgive me for the image quality once you taste these… I promise!

December 10, 2011

putting a new S in S.O.L.E. food

A couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend about the word sustainable, and how it really isn’t something we should be striving for. Sustainable means to steady on the course, keep things going the same way, unchanged, constant. I realize that popular environmental culture has embraced the word as did I, but when I  think about how permaculture effects my daily life… my goal as a permaculturist is to improve things, and have a net positive effect on my world, not to steady on the course! Things are a mess, especially in our industrialized food system. I realized that my very blog title was in conflict with how I actually cook, and grow and eat… and the word Seasonal really resonates much more with my food world than did Sustainable. Maybe you noticed already but I have created a new blog banner and some fresh winter colours that embraces the new S in SOLE food, even in these cold months: SEASONAL, ORGANIC, LOCAL, ETHICAL… S.O.L.E. Food.

The winter certainly is a challenging time of year to eat from ones land, or even locally in most parts of this country. More and more I am learning how to use and rotate my food supply, I am well stocked up but certain items need to be utilized and restocked regularly. This means knowing that all the food I put up, is food my family enjoys (in volume) and can be incorporated into meals on a regular basis.

I can’t tell you how reassuring it feels to not have to goto the store every day or every other day for meal items. Of course I miss my garden under it’s blanket of snow but I have stashed away so much of it’s bounty that I do get to enjoy it all winter long. Eating seasonally and from my communities food shed, means going without all sorts of things… fruit for example, I just don’t really eat fresh fruit in the winter… apples of course are kicking around still as are pears, but mostly I processed them all into chips, sauce and butter. And frankly I just don’t need a pineapple in Decmber … in fact I don’t really need to invest the travel miles into the purchase of a pineapple any time of year really. I prefer sun warmed and peak ripened fruit from my own trees to the bland global gallivanting fruits from the south.

But yes I do have some luxury imports like rice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, coffee, and chocolate, (all of which I buy as ethically as possible, looking for trusted brands who nourish workers and land), but my day to day meals come largely from gardens and pastures I have dug my hands into the soil of. And this feels so good, to eat and nourish my family with.

Right now I am making butter from the heavy layer of cream on my gallon jar of raw farm fresh milk, which I trade weekly for 2 dozen eggs from my heritage birds. These chickens survive this time of year on organic layers mash, but my gardening plans for next year include a huge push to grow more chicken and rabbit feed, so that our animals are feed from our land too, well after the snow covers their forage land.

The last of our kale has been dried and eaten, and while I still have some brussel sprouts and beets and carrots out in the snow, I am now heavily relying on what I have put up to feed us. This means we are eating a LOT more meat that I am used too, along with sauerkraut, squash, potatoes, garlic, onions, pumpkin, dried fruit and veggies. I am baking a lot with oats and whole grains I am grinding fresh. We eat rice or quinoa and beans and lentils many times a week. We have a zillion eggs right now as our  flock has almost tripled since last year, and I am collecting nearly 1.5 dozen eggs a day. Many of our friends are hunting so we are enjoying venison as a nice treat when we can. My freezer is stocked with cow and pork our friends raised and again we traded our services for.  My pantry is full of smoked fish, chutneys, pickles, sauces, and for fruit cravings there is no end of low sugar jams and jellies made from fruit  my sweet sister in law or I picked at it’s peak.

We are not starving and nothing is stopping us from going to the local organic market for what ever our hearts desire but just having a surplus and knowing that all of my efforts this last year have amounted to a good supply of real food, makes the “lean” winter months even more tasty that I ever anticipated.

December 9, 2011

mint sauce : best for roast beast

Our dear friends invited us to share a roast dinner with them tonight, from the cow they recently butchered, they are a French Canadian and German family who had ever heard of Yorkshire puddings!!! If you can imagine.

Well I insisted upon making my moms yorkies in a pop over style, along with the only other essential addition to any roast dinner… MINT SAUCE! This mint sauce was the only reason I would ever choke down brussel sprouts as a kid, and I have a hard time putting any roast meat into my mouth without a drizzle of it. Mmm on lamb and beef it’s divine.. but a really special thing happens to mashed potatoes and peas when topped with both gravy and mint sauce.

In our house the entire plate of a Sunday roast dinner gets drenched in gravy and mint sauce equally and generously by everyone at the table. I think it only fair to share this glorious gluttony with my friends tonight… as well as you all.

Mint Sauce

2 tbsp dried mint crumbled (I used wild crafted “mosquitto mint” harvested from our bog in the peak of mosquito season this summer)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 tbsp organic cane sugar

1/2 cup of boiling water

1/2 cup malt vinegar

combine and serve with most anything you want to smother in deliciousness! You can keep this brew in the fridge for quite some time, no problem!

November 24, 2011

apple butter hell and a silver lining

At the start of fall I made my first ever batch of apple butter.. and I vowed never to do it again. Why? because I was using a total piece of garbage food mill that had my kitchen a disaster and my stress level through the roof! I had to get out every pulsing, processing piece of equipment I owned to try and get that inferior mill to do anything! I spent hours and hours up to my eyeballs in apple muck all to get 3 lousy pints of fruit butter…. um no thank you. The time input to quality output ratio was all off.. and I am not a fan of make work projects.

Weeks past and then the box of quince showed up, and I was destine to make quince paste so I struggled through another 10 rounds with that borrowed food mill, while drooling over new models on the internet. Wonder just how much better a new one would be. Then found myself  meandering through a thrift shop (one of my must do’s when ever I head into town) when I stumbled upon a beautiful piece of vintage packaging, my heart fluttered, oh how I love an old kitchen tool in it’s original box! “PERFECT FOR CANNING AND FREEZING” it stated plainly in red ink on a punchy yellow background. It was a Victorio Strainer..  from the era when things were made to last and work. This large well built clamp down countertop food mill, was OMG the answer… all the pieces were in tact and accounted for according to the easy to ready instruction manual complete with exploded parts diagram. EEEEE! 🙂

Hello Quince Paste. Hello Apple Butter. Hello Pear Butter.

Moments after returning home from that town trip I had water boiling and the last of my quince bubbling away until tender, time to get cranking! and after only 5 minutes (assemble included) I had run 10 lbs of quince.. no sweat, no mess. All of the sudden I was aching to start processing the bucket of apples and pears sitting out in the snow I was trying to forget about!

So today I did just that I boiled up all the rest of my apples and pears (separately), ran them through my new most favourite piece of vintage kitchen equipment. I baked them off with a few cups of organic cane sugar each along with some lemon juice. The apples got a cinnamon treatment and the pears got fresh ginger. They are happily baking down in my oven right now! and tonight they will be processed into oh so worthwhile butter!

Finally I get it…. making fruit butter  or fruit sauce is no big deal when you have the right machine to process it! Yeah for the right machine!

Oh and when my girlfriend came to collect her food mill.. I happily sent her my Victorio No. 200 to borrow and compare! (I couldn’t in my right mind send her home knowing she had fruit to process with that inferior object!)  ‘Ha ha she called me glowing about just how amazing my new strainer was now they are on the look out for a similar find!

butter baby.. I’m back!

November 2, 2011

super flu fighter soup

Yes it’s that time of year again.. where it seems everyone around is sniffling and sneezing coughing and wheezing. Well I am super dosing my sniffly family with this flu busting brew made with all things immunity boosting! So what’s so great about this soup other than it’s chicken soup? Let me tell you…

It’s packed with:

garlic : Sulfur compounds in garlic kill viruses and fresh garlic has more immune-boosting potential than cooked, so in this soup I add fresh minced garlic at the end of cooking as well as throughout.

lemon juice : for a sweet vitamin c kick

ginger : which contains gingerol, a natural plant compound that fights off infection

rosehip : because it’s a super dose of vitimin C and a wondrous healing plant

sweet potato  & white beans : both full of beta carotine an immune-enhancing food. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which is  particularly helpful with respiratory infections.

parsley : one of the world’s seven most potent disease-fighting plants and all to often under valued, and underused.

oregano oil: this killer immune-booster is a virus and fungal fighter.

cayanne pepper : a kick of extra vitamin c and another  great antioxidant

tumeric : also high in vitamin c and boasts endless immunity support

and finally love, the most important healing ingredient of all!

Start by browning in a deep soup pot with a good glug of olive oil:

1 large yellow onion chopped fine

6 cloves of garlic minced

2 stocks of celery chopped fine

2 carrots chopped fine

2 small sweet potatoes chopped

season with:

1 tbsp cayanne

1 tbsp tumeric

1 tsp hot chili peppers

S+P

minced ginger LOTS of it

2 tbsp sage

Once lightly golden add

1 chicken carcass (with some meat on it still)

1/2 cup organic lemon juice

8 cups of hot water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup braggs

1 cup of white beans (soaked overnight)

4 whole dried rosehips

Cover the works and let it bubble and brew for a few hours (until beans are tender)

remove rosehips

remove chicken carcass and pick clean returning meat back to soup pot

finally season with

1 huge handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

2 more cloves of garlic minced

and another fresh hit of minced ginger

S+P (if needed)

Serve with a cup of ginger green tea and honey for a guarantee get well quick dinner and delicious cure (better than buckleys, thats for sure)

October 19, 2011

all things apples (and cake of course)

I still have many an apple to address even after a million loads of apple chips, apple butter, and scones… I still had to make an apple cake!

I settled on testing a recipe from 101 cookbooks for Heidie’s buttermilk cake, but I used spelt flour and your guesses it apples! The cake was loevly with a slather of the apply pear butter I made last week, and a snowy icing sugar dusting.

When I tasted this cake.. all I could think was how lovely a rosemary brown butter version would be… maybe one cold winter day to come.

For this simple cake sift together dry ingredients:

2 1/2 cups spelt flour

1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup dark cane sugar

pinch of sea salt

add and mix in:

2 cups of apple cut into tiny cubes

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup melted butter

pour into a prepared pan, I used a nice tart pan with a push through bottom..  a style of pan I use as often as I can. Bake for 20 minutes or so at 400

enjoy!

 

 

October 16, 2011

smokin’ candy trout rolls

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To celebrate thanksgiving last weekend, we went fishing up at Arrow Lake, and thanks to our skilful friend and guide we came home with a whack of beautiful Dolly Varden’s (a type of lovely silvery trout), and our holiday meal was a tail gate party of smoked salmon, crackers, cheese, cured meats, dried fruit and local beers followed by a soak in a mineral hot spring! Certainly this Thanksgiving will be a memorable one.

I caught a 7.5 lb fish (the second biggest of the day), as well as a smaller 4.5 lb one, these fish also happened to be the only fish I have caught since I was about 12, so it was a pretty remarkable experience! We decided that we would smoke the whole 30 lbs of fish we brought home together, so our friend filleted the lot and brined them for 5 days in a brown sugar, salt, garlic and pepper bath, which I smoked yesterday for 8 hours, mopping the filets regularly with maple syrup.

The result: a deeply smoked candy cured dry fish to die for. Well at least the fish died for the cause.

Part of my candied dolly was bound for greater things, and with half a package of egg roll wrappers in the fridge, I blended some smoked fish with cream cheese and leek, and baked off some crispy “bouche to amuse” ourselves with:)

If you find yourself in the company of candy smoked fish give this recipe a try for lovely appy:

filling:

1 cup of candied smoked fish (bone and skin removed)

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese grated

S+P

1 small leek chopped fine

1 Tbsp grainy mustard

squeeze lemon juice

1 small bunch of fresh finely minced parsley

combine filling ingredients in a bowl

Add about 2 tbsp of filing to each spring roll, brush edges with a 1 egg wash then roll: staring by folding the bottom up, then the sides in, followed by rolling the bindle up towards the top flap, to create a neat and pretty standard egg roll wrap.

brush with oil and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes OR you can fry them oil for 2 minutes

serve warm with a hoisin sauce or a sweet chili dip.

October 9, 2011

giving thanks for abundance

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Along with the abundant joy and abundant fulfillment that comes with living and building our little farmstead on this stunning mountain side, in this magical valley… comes the abundance of harvest time. What a wonderful thing it is to be exhausted with putting up food. Good food, grown with love in my very own dutifully built soil… or from the overflow of abundance our friends are also sharing in. We are thankful to be in this place, in this pinnacle time, drowning in food that needs putting up.

In the last 3 days alone I have:

Shucked a mountain of dry beans, harvested nearly 1lb of dill seeds, harvested and passively dried dozens of kung pow hot peppers, in fear of the tomato blight I harvested everyone of my pounds and pounds of green tomatoes many of which are destine for a spicy green tomato salsa type relish to be canned today, we picked 3 enormous baskets of apples and pears which are drying into sweet snacking chips in a borrowed electric cadillac dryer, tonight I do both pear and apple butter batches too, I pulled blanched and froze a good little supply of purple carrots, I stowed away the last of the ancient Peruvian fingerling potato’s, I have bagged up the last of the passively dried bee balm leaves for earl grey tea, and the ancho chillies a precious few are also passively drying. I have fruit leather to make still at my daughters request (this will be shocking news to those of you who know her), and I want to dry a bunch more kale and some onion flakes from some of my wee little onions while I have the big food dryer here.

Whew!  To think this season alone (with the help of many many people I adore) I have :

canned and added to the pantry:

grape jelly, hibiscus jelly, strawberry jam, kung pow crab apple pepper jelly, smoked salmon, HP sauce, pickled carrots, dilly beans, dill pickles, & drunken apricot jam.

dried and stowed:

bushels of peppermint (or mosquito mint as I like to call it), bee balm, mullen, comfry, oregano, coriander, dill, basil, kale, peppers, peas and beans beans and more beans.

harvested and frozen:

fried chanterelle and shaggy main mushrooms, blanched carrots, beans beans and more beans, salmon steaks, dill, some roosters, strawberries, saskatoon berries, and huckleberries.

That my friends is a good amount of foraged and grown food all ready for the cold winter ahead.

no recipe today… just gratitude for the bounty of mother earth and the lessons we are learning in utilizing healing foods and giving back.

 

 

 

October 2, 2011

cream of chanterelle soup

It was a real hunter gatherer kind of day which started in the wee dark hours of the morning, as my partner set off for his first ever bow hunt,  I was in bed dreaming of venison meals to come. Mid morning the hunters came back empty handed, but luckily our mushroom hunting afternoon was totally successful!

Today was our local fall mushroom class and forest foraging, and just like last year it was wonderful! There is so much about mycology to learn and taste! Last year we were flush with pine mushrooms, and this year we came home with a huge basket of chanterelles. At the end of the foraging session we enjoyed a tail gate mushroom and wine tasting… which got my taste buds fired up! I came home and cleaned and trimmed a whack of these beautiful shrooms, while deciding what kind of meals to build around them. For tonight I settled on cream of chanterelle soup, and it turned out divine and rich, and meaty with mounds of thick cut mushrooms throughout. After sharing some fungi and making this big old pot of soup we still  have enough mushrooms for a few more meals!

It is one thing to forage through your garden and pick your dinner, one of my favourite things in fact to do, but the hunt of forest walking and foraging is a whole different level of rewarding and deliciousness!

Cream of Chanterelle Soup:

In a large soup pot start by frying in olive oil (about 1/4 cup of it):

I large yellow onion diced fine

3 cloves of garlic minced

about 8 cups of sliced chanterelles

Cook these all down for about 15 minutes at which time they will be golden brown and have reduced by nearly half and your house will smell divine.

Season with S+P

1 bay leaf

heavy pinch of fresh minced herbs; thyme, rosemary, and parsley

mix and add:

3 cups boiling water

2 cups of milk

2 tbsp soy sauce or Braggs

2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

reduce heat and let slowly simmer for about an hour

In a small bowl put 2 tbsp potato flour and stir/ wisk really well into about 2 cups of boiling water, remove lumps and add thickener into soup.

Allow soup to cook for another 15 minutes, then remove bay leaf, finish with a sprinkle of more fresh herbs and serve.

September 20, 2011

honey mustard hemp dressing

perfect atop a divine locavore chef salad..

Seeing as I still have a mountain of smoked ham left overs, and abundant eggs from my lovely little hens along with a garden ripe with greens (and yellows and reds and purples) I decided to make the chef-iest of chef salads. Complete with red artisan lettuce, shisho leafs, escarole, lemon cucumber, sun warmed tomato, + fresh chives all from the land. The smoked ham slices are naturally raised and smoked just up the road, the croutons toasted with local organic bread, and pickles from my friends pantry. In addition to all of those lovely local goodies I toppped this salad with chia seeds and this perfect dressing:

In a re-sealable glass jar mix equal parts

liquid honey

grainy mustard

balsalmic vinegar +

apple cider vinegar

mix with 2 parts hemp oil

S+P

and finely diced fresh herbs: chives, oregano, and thyme.

shake shake shake, and drizzle!

September 14, 2011

chilli dilly carrots

The perfect winter pick me up for a crisp taste from the garden has got to be pickled carrots! These have always been my favourite preserved treat, and we are almost out of last years batch, so I restocked the cubbards yesterday.

I used honey and apple cider vinegar in this batch along with chilli flakes and dill (3 ways), to pickle a rainbow or carrot colours! I used mostly orange  carrots but some lovely yellow and purple ones as well. This recipe makes a pretty big batch and yields 14 x 500g jars

I didn’t weigh the carrots I used , but essentially I used 6 small bundles so maybe 40 medium carrots total.

Sterilize jars, lids and rings in boiling water, then you can keep the jars hot and clean in your oven set to 225 while you prep everything else. It’s really important to have a open clean work area for canning, and it’s great to have everything you need ready to go.

In a large pot boil brine:

6 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

3 cups apple cider vinegar

4 cups honey

3 heaping tbsp course sea salt

2 tbsp dill seeds

Slice carrots into sticks that work with the size of mason jars you have, allowing for the tops to sit 1/2″ below the last jar thread.

Peel and half 28 cloves of garlic (2 cloves per jar)

In each clean hot jar place

2 garlic pieces

2 tsp chilli flake (good quality organic)

1 tsp dill seeds

1 small dill flower

a few small pieces of dill weed

add and arrange carrot sticks into jars so they are snug and neat

top each jar with 2 more garlic pieces

then pour hot brine into each jar to bring the fluid up so that everything sits 1/4″ below the last jar thread.

wipe the edge of the jars clean with a hot cloth and seal with lid and process (in hot water bath or steam canner) for 15 minutes

Ta Da! Now you have pickled carrots which will be divine come winter time

*** if you use purple carrots, be prepared for the brine to be HOT PINK ***