Archive for ‘Wild Foraged’

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 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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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 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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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.

July 26, 2011

garden greens + hemp kiwi dressing

There are so many  greens and shoots and edible flowers popping up these days from the garden! My salad bar is back and it is fabulous!

The other evening we enjoyed a pot luck at a friends house up the river, I brought this garden salad with a really nice hemp kiwi dressing, but far more impressive than anything we ate was the show we got to enjoy: a fire dance accompanied by a chello along with a thundering lively lighting show, while sitting around the camp fire with our fabulous brew co-op wine in hand!

magical summer evenings.

I have been spending lots of time in the garden and on the lake these days, and although I am making lots of lovely meals for our revoloving door of guests I haven’t been taking the time to write about them all… so I am starting the process of going through images of meals past to reveal some recipes and do some posting, in all my free time!

This salad was simple any green assortment I pulled from the garden along with some thin cucumber slices, kiwi slices, shaved cabbage, edibale flowers and a handful of hemp seeds.

The kiwi dressing :

1 part hemp oil

1 part apple cider vinegar

2 juiced kiwi fruits

1 part olive oil

S+P

finely minced fresh chive and basil about 1 tbsp each

and about 3 tbsp black sesame seeds.

toss before serving and enjoy!

* the picture below is my evening dinner collections complete with the first lovely easter egg radishes that don;t have much chance to get to the table between me and my daughter and our snacking.

July 4, 2011

hemp pesto + mint meatballs

My most favourite girlfriend from the city spent a few nights with us here on the home-front for the Canada Day long weekend and we made and enjoyed a really lovely meal together last night… hemp seed basil pesto on corn spaghetti with a bed of maple caramelized onions and tasty little hemp and mint meatballs, made with our ‘oh so local down the lane neighbours, lovely organic beef. Dinner was smashing and even her insanely picky carnivore fellow enjoyed the dish. (Even though I am sure he was wondering where I hide the tofu?)

This whole meal started with a bright bursting-ly summer fresh bag of basil from my local organic greenhouse gal and the lingering taste of Lebanese fatayia (little pillows of toasted white bread dough lovingly wrapped around mint and tomato infused beef) which she made and brought with her, which we enjoyed late at night with good wine.

hemp pesto

In a processors blend:

1 large onion

5 toes of garlic

remove half of the mix and keep it in a big mixing bowl to use for the meatballs

Now add 3 huge handfuls of fresh basil

the juice of 1 + 1/2 lemons

1 cup of hemp hearts

S+P

and a good heavy glug of hemp oil

a pinch of chili pepper flakes

and finish with a drizzle of a nice olive oil

puree until smooth and silky

this batch yields about 500ml of pesto and we used 1/2 of the jar to season 4 dishes of pasta.

mint hemp meatballs

In the large bowl set aside with onion and garlic mince (from the pesto) add:

1 lb organic ground beef

1 egg

1/2 cup hemp seeds

S+P

about 2 tbsp each; fresh basil, mint and flat leaf parsley,

and about 1 tbsp each; chilli powder and lemon rind

mix by hand and roll into desired size meatballs

set balls onto parchment pan and bake at 375 for about 35 minutes

While the meatballs are baking you can slowly caramelize 2 onions in butter and maple syrup, and cook your noodles of choice.

toss the pasta along with a little reserved pasta water with the pesto, and top with the meatballs (which were fresh and bright with the divine addition of the mint) and onions.

you are certain to enjoy this.

June 20, 2011

buckwheat shoot micro green salad

I am flush with lovely crunchy buckwheat shoots, so we are grazing on them constantly on lazy garden days. I made a little micro greens salad the other night and the colours were enchanting! The deep dark purple of  the orak, the tender light green of the buckwheat, the vibrant purple heads of the garlic chive flowers, along with baby spinach, tiny collard greens, chives, fresh dill and flat leaf parsley bits. I covered these luscious greens with some garlic toasted baguette croutons, some lovely goat feta my girlfriend (a new milk maid), made which turned out wonderful. This salad was perfectly finished with 10 minute boiled eggs contributed by my feathered flock.

Finally we are starting to eat out of the garden! What exciting times. More good greens each day.

April 26, 2011

stinging nettles + seedy chickie cereal balls

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We had the most wonderful culinary cultural adventure this easter weekend! The weather was divine and we toured from home to farm to home to farm, visiting friends and making new ones! We enjoyed a lovely spelt pancake breakfast complete with a decadence banana butter maple spread, also a Frasier river salmon roasted over an open fire, and the high light for me, was when a friend showed up with a HUGE basket of stinging nettles which she had picked from our lovely rail trail pathway. She sautéed them over the fire with butter and garlic and ginger and sea salt. They were fabulously fresh and injected a super dose of greens into us all. She sent me home with a bundle and last night I made a stinging nettle frittata, with fire roasted red peppers and farm fresh goat milk! I served it along with a massive smoked happy ham we bought from our local butcher. I have never roasted a ham before but I remembered my grandmother making ham often and our family always fought over the cracklin. The ham was juicy and divine and I served it with an apple cider ginger pear glaze. What a feast-full weekend.

My daughter and I made some little easter treats which we bundled up and delivered like little eater bunnies all over the valley. We made oat and coconut rice syrup birds nest and some rice crispy inspired seedy birdie balls with little pumpkin seed beaks.

Here is the recipe for our chickie balls, complete with a small amount of marshmallows…yes store bought white-y GMO marshmallows (‘hey it was easter and my daughter adores the stuff) I have however made some truly amazing homemade marshmallows in past, and I would certainly recommend trying to make your own some time.

seedy chickie cereal balls

In a large  bowl mix

3 cups of cereal (I used an assortment of all wheat free organic flakes and puffs and O’s)

1 cup of mixed seeds (flax, chia, & hemp)

1 cup oats

1 cup of coconut

pinch of sea salt

In a double boiler melt and blend

1/3 cup organic canola oil

2/3 cup almond butter

2 cups marshmallows

1 tbsp vanilla

If you have good bakers hand and can tolerate heat well, grease up your hand with oil and combine the melted almond butter lava into the cereal mix. If you are using a spoon or spatula you may want to oil it up too! Mix until combined, and work quick! You can press the mix into a prepared pan or roll into balls. Enjoy.

March 16, 2011

Honey Lime Lake Fish Tacos

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.

read more »

February 15, 2011

Storing Solar Energy, in Mason Jars!

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Store & Capture Energy : A Permaculture Principle

It dawned on me the other day, as I was digging around my pantry for some yellow pickled beets, that my pantry is full of stored solar energy. The foods in those jars are a harvest of sun power delivered to my veggies and herb, stored and waiting to deliver their vital nutrients to us on a cloudy winter day. A taste of the summer sunshine and abundant harvest.

Back in the summer I made the following commitment in an earlier blog and I am still striving to follow it each day;

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October 20, 2010

Chantrelles & Moma Cows

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The garden is finally frosting and getting ready for a long winters rest. I have lots of work to do to clean up the beds and do some due diligence work to keep spring couch grass at bay. The garlic is getting planted tomorrow in a deep dark bed of soil from my first Kootenay compost pile! Currently I am drowning in grapes so I am going to attempt a batch of grape juice tomorrow, I had hoped to dry some and make raisins except the grapes I am flush with right now are seeded and after removing seeds from a few I decided juice would be more fun to make.

While I write this I am drinking the most delicious cup of tea ever, made with creamy delicious milk from the glowing mommy cow you see above. It doesn’t get much closer to your local food source than a gift of fresh milk 😉

Last night I whipped up a small batch of yellow pickled beets, which are sure to be my last pickles of the year.I couldn’t resist buying 10 lbs from a no spray farm we visited in Chilliwak last week, they were $2 a bag! I really love the recipe I am using for pickling beets which includes vinegar, apple cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon sticks, yum!

Mia came home from school today with a lovely little selection of Chanterelle mushrooms, as her class did a mushroom walk with the same biologist who taught our excursion 2 weeks ago.  So I did an Asian inspired stir fry of Chanterelles with tofu and pumpkin seeds on a bed of brown basmati rice for dinner tonight that was pretty divine if I do say so. (recipe below)

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October 5, 2010

mushrooming

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You will see from the first image in this set that within 2 sq/ft of our lawn alone there are over 7 species of mushrooms (that I can see anyway, I am sure, in fact certain that a mushroom expert would spot double amount) So you will understand with our forest flush with fungal life why we all anticipated our Sunday mushroom study so!

Our day started with a classroom lesson on mushrooms and what we are likely to see right here in our own backyard. We touched, smelled and digested a great deal of information. We then went on a mushroom hunting forest expedition and found all sort of crazy fungi. Both deliciously edible and unimaginably strange and beautiful. The one I found the most striking was the oozing strawberry and cream, the red ooze has been used as a die and it is one of the strangest mushrooms I have ever seen. We picked tons of lobster mushrooms, honey mushrooms, a crazy corral fungi, and dug up maybe a dozen the alluring pine mushrooms. Prized in Japan these very masculine mushrooms were my favourite taste of the day as well as the most challenging find.

After our forest hunt we had a tailgate mushroom tasting complete with wine and yet more myselium knowledge.

We left there having tasted and being able to identify (along with notes pictures and our trusty guide book) a great selection of tasty local options including; Boletes, Lobster Mushrooms, Chantrels, and the pine mushrooms of course.

Right after our day of mushrooming we went to visit “our kootenay parents” the namesake and responsibility was given to some amazing family friends by my partners mother, they had us over for a lovely Sunday dinner, where we enjoyed and entire feast of their plentiful garden. We left them with a good collection of mushrooms to enjoy and while we were there I did a lobster mushroom satay in garlic and butter.. mmm!

Last night I cleaned and sliced the rest our our pine mushroom haul and prepared a delicious asian marinade of garlic, ginger, braggs, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Tonight I will serve these seared over soba noodles with an asian vinaigrette and some other grilled greens.

August 10, 2010

Kimchi, Kraut, elder-bubble and gingerbread

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Well I just finished kimchi part 2 and it was sooooo very easy! I did 5 jars of squash kimchi, 1 large jar of sauerkraut  all the while I drank gin with elderflower syrup and soda water. The drink is divine; slightly sour crisp with a floral finish, I used my best organic green juniper berry gin and I can’t imagine a more refreshing summer night drink. Next year I will collect way more elderflowers and make more than 3L of syrup, which is what I yielded after two batches. 2L I have ready to drink and I froze 1L down to use for making plum jelly, just as soon as my plumbs are ripe.

I also broke down and made zucchini bread today; I know I know everyone hates the stuff, but inspired by “A home made Life by Molly Wizenberg” and her ginger chocolate banana bread so I tricked my daughter into making chocolate ginger bread with just a little bit of zucchini 🙂 instead of bananas. I used the Joy of Cooking’s zucchini bread recipe with lots of tweaks (as I usually do) I added cocoa powder, diced candy ginger, and lots of Callebaut chocolate chunks, and it passed the Mia test!

More on fermenting in my last post…

March 4, 2010

Venison + Stout Stew

There is nothing quite as warming as a hostess gift that includes bundles of game meat and bottles of home made stout. OMG I was in heaven, so I have Dan to thank for this cozy comfort stick to your ribs Sunday dinner!

I thawed about a pound of venison stew meat, which consisted of  lovely huge chunks of beautiful game, not at all the way I think of stew meat, there was no sinew or fatty bits. I cut the chunks into a little smaller portions and tossed them in potato flour seasoned with S+P and cumin.

In my big soup pot I started this stew with olive oil a few good glugs, a couple carrots, 2 celery stocks and a yellow onion all chopped into similar size pieces. slowly brown all these veggies and then add about 1/2” of broth (what ever you have, I used a turkey broth I made over Christmas with my GIANT Winters turkey and froze down) To this I add 3 bay leafs, a whole sprig of rosemary, 5 chopped cloves of garlic.

While these veggies are simmering with just a little broth, get a large heavy bottom pan nice and hot and sear all sides of the coated meat in hot canola oil. When just seared not cooked through toss into stew pot with the veg and quickly deglaze the frying pan with about 1 cup of stout. * This can be a problem when you are arm-wrestling your partner for the last of the mighty home brewed glorious dark beer, finally we shared and he really enjoyed the outcome, as he got to enjoy it twice!

Add the pan dripping stout sauce to the stew along with about 4 more cups of stock. Throw in some cubed potatoes and sweet potatoes, cover and start simmering on low for a few hours.

Throughout the course of this cook time, I add seasoning sporadically, and my best summary of what made this so good is apox: a dash of balsamic vinegar, a dash of apple cider vinegar, a dollop or red pepper spread, more cumin, chili powder, black and white pepper, and a dried herb mix I made from the summer garden, which has thyme, oregano, rosemary, & sage, and some of my favorite blend of sea salt with chili + garlic.

Serve with warm rolls and DO NOT give leftovers to the dog… because it does not smells nearly as good the second time round! On that note… ENJOY.