Archive for ‘Preserving’

August 11, 2014

3 bean salad 3 ways

3 bean salad 3 ways

My sweetie loves that deli counter style of 3 bean salad, and I am keen to see him grabbing healthy homemade easy lunch options, so this year I planted a bunch of green beans with the intent of making him some canned bean salad. Swamped with beans these past weeks I have busted out 3 different versions of a bean salad, all cozy and canned for future snacking! 1) Classic 3 bean salad style: chickpeas, kidney beans, and green beans with red pepper and onions 2) Cauliflower and white beans, with kidney beans and peppers 3) Spicy chili green beans and carrot with white and kidney beans, onion and garlic.

I researched a number of different recipes and finally settled on this adaption, make as much brine as you will need and if you have extra can it, and use it again later!

In a large bowl combine:Fresh beans (what ever type you fancy or have in abundance) trimmed to 1″ lengthsCooked beans of your choice (chick peas, kidney beans, and white beans are all great options) *dried beans you cook yourself will hold up better than already canned beansOnion finely choppedAn additional veggie if you fancyMix up your bowl and make sure visually it has the right ratio of beans to veggies.Guesstimate how many jars this mix will pack out and sterilize accordingly, and scale up or down this brine recipe to ensue you have enough for processing your lot.In a large pot combine:

4 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup bottled lemon juice

2 cups cane sugar

1 cup oil

2 tsp pickling salt

5 cups water

cook and simmer on low heat until you are ready to pack jars.

 

Pack your bean mix into sterilized jars leaving about 1″ veggie free, pour brine over veggies leaving 1/2″ head space.

Place clean new lid and ring on jar and hot water bath process for 20 minutes. Ta-da! bean salad all ready to go, with no creepy additives!

 

 

 

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July 14, 2014

saskatoon syrup slam

saskatoon berry syrup

Drowning in berries these days? I sure am. I feel barely able to keep up to the picking, let alone the processing!

My saskatoon tree is literally exploding the biggest juicy saskatoon berries I have ever seen! I find these berries a little mealy for my taste, not ideal for smoothies or jam IMHO, BUT dynamite as a jelly / syrup or baked in a pie!

I made a quick saskatoon berry syrup today using a little raw honey and a day of lazy berry dripping.

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July 2, 2014

quick fridge pickled radish

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Oh this is the most exciting time of year in the garden, finally flush abundance in every corner!

The strawberry are bursting, the first snow peas were picked today, radishes are erupting from the earth, and the carrots are screaming to be thinned! The odd blueberry is ripe enough to sneak a taste of, and the scapes have come and gone.

There are only so many radishes one family can eat! I have dutifully added them to every daily salad, and opted to add them into our favorite hot and sour soup as a water-chestnut-ish addition. And today I decided to slice some up thin and make a easy refrigerator pickle with them., and they look lovely! I am sure they will be spicy and perfect to top tacos with!

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December 3, 2013

holiday baking ideas…

I know some of you are chomping at the bit to get some holiday baking done, and that is why I have highlighted some of my all time favorite recipes for sweet holiday cheer. I’ll have plenty of new recipes to share starting next week. Some of these are vegan, some gluten free, some so buttery and wheat-y you’ll feel like your at grandmas.

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Rosemary brown butter shortbread-cookies

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Dreamy coconut pecan date bliss balls

lemon ginger pillows

Lemon ginger meringues

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Scandinavian rosettes

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Ginger Blissmas

buckwheat pear loaf

Ginger pear chocolate buckwheat loafs

cinnamon buns

OMG cinnamon bun madness

chocolate pretzel almond bark

Chocolate almond pretzel bark

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Truffle kisses chocolate mousse

vegan nut butter truffle balls

Vegan nut butter truffle balls

perfect pumpkin pie

Pumpkin luv’in pie

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Marvelous ginger marmalade

Now where to start?

November 13, 2013

kraut cakes + give aways

saurekraut n sauce

Exciting News, I have a really fun give away offer to kick off today for all my fermenting fans.. fear not failed fermenters, this give away will keep your spirits up and offer you successful future kraut crocks! My friends at the Urban Homesteading Store in Stony Plain Alberta are teaming up with me and eating with SOLE to offer my loyal readers a killer give away…

Lets talk sauerkraut for a minute… I love the stuff, my family is hooked and I have managed to make a few really great batches of kraut over the years… truth be told though, I have had a number of total failures too! That is what is so exciting about this give away; The Urban Homesteading Store is offering 5 packages of Caldwell’s Starter Culture for Fermenting Vegetables. This starter is added during the sauerkraut making process and essentially contains a really strong culture that over produces rapidly and blocks out other bacterias that can cause your ferment to go off, essentially providing you with the best chance at making great tasting beneficial ferments for you and your family!

I know just how good fermented foods are, so I try to incorporate some in to as many meals as possible, and recently I came up with a pretty awesome savory snack to make with sauerkraut: savory gluten free sauerkraut pancakes! They are fabulous, and dunk-able and lovely when slathered in good homemade sauces. I used chickpea and rice flour to makes these silky fluffy kraut cakes along with farm fresh milk and coop fresh eggs. I used some of my “blue ribbon” cabbage sauerkraut which I fermented with shredded carrots… so lovely.

kraut cakes

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November 5, 2013

kimchi corn crusted avacado taco

kimchi taco

Korea meets Mexico, and falls happily ever after in love on this organic yellow corn tortilla wrapped up in homemade chipotle salsa, fresh feta and red cabbage. Kimchi and deep fried avocado who knew?

Well the other day me and by back-road girlfriend ditched our muckers, baled on our canning and went to town for lunch, we hit this new Mexican place and on the menu they had a panko and kimchi taco, yum right. Well I have been thinking of how it could have been improved and gave it a shot tonight. I decided to forgo the white bread panko crust and do a gluten free chickpea and corn meal crust on the avocodo quarters, and I used some lovely locally made kimchi, and garnished the tacos with a little more … get up and go. Perfect if I do say so myself. These avocado wedges golden fried would be pretty killer just served up for a party with a stellar salsa to dunk in!

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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 18, 2013

lactose fermented hot sauce

fermented hot sauce

Oh this might be even better than the lactose fermented pickles my family LOVES. I have been longing & trying to make this hot sauce for two years. Making this both a long time coming, and so worth the wait. This stuff is fabulous.

I am getting sucked into the world of fermenting, it’s slippery slope I have to warn you!

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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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September 12, 2013

simple roasted roots

 

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Some of my favorite moments involve a walk through the garden to decide what is for dinner! Tonight the beets and carrots called to me and I decided to keep it super simple, a celebration of September. Slowly roasted caramelized beets, carrots and onions finished with wilted swiss chard and a balsamic glaze. Adorned with local goat feta crumbles and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. Serve this with a green salad, crispy warm bread to soak up the extra reduction on your plate, or as a hearty side dish, however you enjoy it one thing is certain, you will enjoy it.

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September 9, 2013

blue ribbon cabbage {kraut, kimchi, mu-shu, + borscht of course!}

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Look at these babies! Not one but two blue ribbon cabbages were grown right here at tricycle acres! Over 32 lbs of cabbage in fact and after taking home these first place prizes from the fall fair we spent much of the day using up every crisp sweet leaf of these high achievers! I favored the hearty and “biggest” cabbage, a green leaf variety that I have been calling Audry and singing little shop of horror ballots to for months now, Isis was taken with the stunning “best savoy” cabbage, who surprised us all with it’s beauty as it was hidden away behind a mountain of kale. Beauty and the Beast!

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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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August 29, 2013

canning 101- sept 15

101-canning-sq

Covet my canning? It might be time to learn how to ‘put up for yourself!

I am teaching a canning and preserving intensive workshop on September 15 at the Vallican Whole in the Slocan Valley of BC.

The cost is $45 for a day of chutney making, jam processing and pickle perfection. We’ll cover safe canning techniques, tips on perfecting your preserves, the basics, as well as discuss other great preservation techniques; fabulous freezing, solar and electric drying & fermenting! This will be hands on and you’ll leave with jars of everything you make in class. To register email vpg (at) rbrand (dot ca) and for more information visit tricycle acres

August 26, 2013

pork ‘n beans ‘n pork

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Geez what a week! We roasted a whole hog on Wednesday to celebrate my mother in laws 60th birthday, and since then I have been up to my eye balls in pork puttin’ up! You think I should have learned my lesson from my recent “Bacon” experience, yet I signed up for another round of whole hog… albeit and thankfully awful-less.

It all started with a 77lb stuffed whole hog and a crazy roaster rental…  I made a killer BBQ sauce for the hog with about 8lbs of freshly picked heirloom tomatoes slowly roasted along with a mound of garlic, peppers and onions. After all of those veg roasted down in a flaming hot oven for hours I skimmed the liquids off and started reducing them along with molasses and cane sugar with some smokey seasonings.

After we feasted and fed the party goes and gorged on pulled pork for a day, I had to start canning all that meat. I had been researching prior to the pig roast how to pressure can homemade pork and beans and I was thrilled to be able to tackle that. Along with that I also pressured canned whole quarts jars of pork in some savory pork stock. After two days of this processing (along with salsa and more druken apricot jam) We finally gave in and vacuum sealed bags of yet more meat.

Making your own pork and beans was totally appealing to me… My sweetie loves buying cans of beans, and although I grew up loving the stuff the contents scare me off these days, and I am much happier sending my family camping with home made goodness.

So if your up for this pressure canning challenge, hold on to your hats, this recipe is for the best damn “canned” pork and beans you ever did have:

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August 16, 2013

lactose fermented dill pickles

lactose fermented dill pickles

I just came home after a few days canoeing the lake to yet another bushel of pickling cucs needing my attention! With some conventional dills under my belt as well as a batch of fridge pickles already this season, I opted to try my hand at a big ‘ol batch of fermented pickles… which are about the easiest thing ever! I added a few grape leaves from the vines to help keep them crunchy, and after finding the perfect big jar / weighted lid situation I was off to the races.

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August 13, 2013

in a pickle

fridge pickles

Oh boy… life has bowled me over the last couple weeks, not only am I swamped with harvesting and processing veggies, visiting family and friends but I have been swamped trying to organize my community through a really challenging time. We recently had a fuel spill in our precious and pristine river, meanwhile a wild fire has been burning for 2 weeks on the ridge behind out little homestead.

So today after two rounds of dill pickle processing I opted for an easy out of my abundant cucumber situation… I made fridge pickles! Mainly because they are fast and easy… Here is the scoop:

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July 20, 2013

squash and feta fritters

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In the event you are drowning in summer squash, this recipe is a great way to hide and and serve it to your family even after they have played the NO MORE ZUCCHINI CARD! Every one loves golden brown pockets of cheese + herb goodness, so much so no one will be the wiser if it is stuffed with squash! I harvested a couple more patty pan squash from the garden today along with an armful of fresh herbs, and together along with my favorite local goat feta, some eggs from the hens and some corn meal you have the makings of some lovely summer snacking!

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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 14, 2013

hot damn BACON jam!

hot damn bacon jam

Geez, now I totally get what all the hype is about! Bacon Jam, sound right up my ally right? What with our pig in the freezer and the homestead triple smoke bacon in abundance, and seeing as I am a jamming / canning machine, I thought “what the hell”, while processing some other preserves I decided to bust out a batch of bacon jam, and frankly I am almost sad I did, because life without this stuff is tasteless!

I made my own hybrid recipe after some internet research and what I yielded is a true celebration of Canadian flavors; smoked homestead bacon, maple syrup, dark beer, coffee… have I said enough? Are you drooling? How about caramelized onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, molasses, homemade HP sauce, some chilies and black pepper for good measure? What about now? Are you convinced?

triple smoked homestead bacon

This stuff was so damn good I had to make a batch of homemade hamburgers and fire up the grill just to properly honor these flavors, with avocado cheese burgers. The process of making this divine jam is just like making chutney, only with the enticing aroma of smoked bacon lingering about. From start to finish the process was about 3 hours of effort, and netted a mere 5 x 250ml jars, one of which was devoured in all of 7 minutes. The guys were licking the bowl and spatulas clean.. even the counter top! It was suggested we can this Canadian Crack rather than bacon jam… but what ever you call it, whatever you slather it on, you are in for a delightfully carnivorous culinary treat!

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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 20, 2013

pickled garlic scapes

pickled scapes

Today was a garlic scape extravaganza!

My friend and gardening guru Tony so kindly shipped me off a GIANT case of all his garlic scapes for some loving processing. And today I used about half of the big ‘ol box to make 25 jars of pickled scapes! Luckily my Mom is visiting and her and her friend were stationed at the table chopping and separating curly scape stocks, by size and shape!

We also harvested our own 300 garlic scapes the day before and zipped them up along with my first ever abundant basil harvest from our new greenhouse, to freeze up a grand batch of hemp garlic pesto (similar to this recipe but with basil instead of parsley). Now I sit with about 10 more lbs of scape to process and a well advised plan to dehydrate a good lot of them to be ground into garlic powder, and the rest will be blanched and frozen down for future stir fry dishes.

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June 15, 2013

vietnamese pork vermicelli

vietnamese pork vermicelli

All this time living in the country I have been missing Vietnamese food so much, and finally tonight I decided to crack into my lovely stash of our very own piggie and char up some sweet marinated chops and serve them atop vermicelli noodles with farm fresh lettuce, some homemade chili pickled carrots and green onions, all drenched in a kickin’ fish sauce. Wow! better than lots of crappy Vietnamese meals I have had in my life! All this dish was missing was some veggie spring rolls. The troops LOVED this meal, and it will defiantly hit the table again soon!

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June 14, 2013

independence challenge here on the homestead

honey bee

I was inspired again by Independence Days by Sharon Astyk A great book I read and loved a few years back, and then I just discovered this great web ring and decided to ramble off this list and participatein the five little homesteaders Independence Challenge, so here is what we have been doing at the homestead in the last couple days to continue our food resilience efforts:

Plant Something:

Although the garden is fully planted we keep adding bits and bobs…  yesterday Isis planted: yarrow (for medicine and food) and chives both in our newest fruit tree guilds, marigold for dye and pest control, and lovage because it’s tasty and lovely.

Harvest Something:

We have been wild harvesting chick-weed for salads, wild pineapple camomile for tea, yarrow flowers for tea and medicine, red clover for tea, mint from our bog for everything, horsetail for stir fry, volunteer mustard greens which are everywhere in the garden along with, orach spinach, swiss chard and kale are all making their way into most every meal.

In fact we are challenging ourselves (and me the cook) to eat wild foraged food each day!

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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 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 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 2, 2013

Mu Shu Pork Noodles

Mu Shu Pork

Seriously folks this dish is sooooooo amazing, and delicious you have to try it. I just happen to have for the first time in my life some pork in the freezer (a whole pigs worth in fact), and as I am not really adept at cooking pork I had to Google myself some inspiration this evening. And when I entered pork+ cabbage+Chinese in my search engine, Mu Shu arrived and instantly I was gun-ho to create a noodle hybrid of an old favorite of our families – My Shu Pork. I Love Mu Shu… although I have never had a pork version of this as I always had to order it sans pork, I was pretty sure that my happy little piggie would taste great in this dish I was already drooling over in my mind. I read a few “authentic” mu shu recipes before settling on being inspired by the flavors of two, which I combined along with rice noodles rather than the traditional mu shu rice cake wrappers.

I used two huge thick fatty pork chops to make this dish, along with cabbage, dried mushrooms, celery, eggs and my favorite brown rice noodles, all finished with hoisin sauce and chives fresh from the garden. Yumm. Who knew pork was so delicious when you raise it with love and let it live outside and feed it good food and let it do what pigs want to do!??

My veggie friends I have not abandon you, In fact this dish I know will be just perfect without meat. Maybe add some bean sprouts instead or tofu if you feel you need it, but the mushrooms are really meaty and rich.

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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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March 13, 2013

pickled beet dressing

_MG_1059By far this is the most perfectly pink and fabulous dressing ever! I have been trying to use my mother-load of canning up in good order, realizing the first of the dandelion jelly isn’t to far off now, and I need to start making room… and in the midst of no fresh greens in the garden blues, it’s lovely to enjoy the bounty of our summer harvest. I have a great stock of pickled beets and after slicing a pint jars worth of beets up to adorn a winter salad, I wanted to use the sweet acidic syrup to make a luscious pink dressing, and let me say, that no jar of pickled beet juice will ever go to waste again!

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February 15, 2013

red pepper relish quinoa

red pepper relish qunioa

This might be the most amazing quinoa ever! And frankly you won’t be able to duplicate it at home, but I can tell you how you might a) use up some pantry items and b) make something kinda closely resembling this deliciousness, bear with me here…

Back in the fall I plotted and pulled of (with lots of help) a wonderful celebration of canning in my community “Pickle Palooza” which featured a canning contests and jar swaps along with how to’s + puttin’ up demos etc… One of the entries I enjoyed a great deal was a ginger relish, and when I was given the opportunity to swap some jars I grabbed for one of those jars first off! No idea what exactly is in it… other than the obvious: ginger, garlic, vinegar, and sugar (come to think of it, I will dig through the entry ballots and get back to you all on what else was in this lovely relish)… not that that is the most important detail here. I really think most any crazy relish you have made or been gifted would be so nice with quinoa! It tastes like summer BBQ in a hot side dish, especially if you add a hearty dollop of Italian red pepper spread and then add ginger seared beef and red peppers with caramelized onion on top. YUM  That is what this dish tasted like somewhere between hamburger , summer time, and skewer of Mediterranean gilled veg, with that sweet relish POP!

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February 6, 2013

apple butter brown betty

apple butter brown betty

I totally forgot just how divine the ginger apple butter I canned this fall is! It’s great and this recipe is a lovely way to use a pint of a golden rich deep apple spread to infuse oat crumble with fall goodness. After spreading apple butter on the crust of this dessert i liked the spoon and swooned, I think it’s time to bust open a jar for toast topping!

I used the same crumble crust recipe as I used for the fabulous balsamic fig dessert I made a couple weeks back, but this time I added slivers of dried apple chips to the topping for a double hit of apple preserve. I also kicked up the cinnamon warmth and the results were perfect, this dish was my contribution to a permaculture pot luck, and my sweetie dashed around all night soaking up the glowing reviews telling everyone how hard he worked at the dessert all day!

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December 22, 2012

marvelous ginger marmalade

_MG_0412

Not sure I have ever sought out marmalade for my toast, but on occasion I have indeed indulged in its citrus sweetness. For some reason I decided on a whim in the local natural food store to load my cart with 8 lbs of organic Mexican oranges and a big bag of candy ginger, In that moment I dreamed of lovely jars of marmalade, which seemed to be festive, although oranges are certainly not  local or seasonal, nor have they ever been part of my holiday traditions, yet here I set out to get jamming on the snowy solstice.  This recipe yielded a really unique and kicking gingery citrus spread that had not to many chunky bits and just the perfect balance of sweet and heat. We will be enjoying this recipe for years to come I am certain it will make many a repeat performance in my kitchen. I am dreaming of ginger cookie sandwiches with marmalade cream filling…

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December 3, 2012

romeo rabbit

Rabbit Butchery
Vegetarians, you may not enjoy this post at all, so be forewarned!
But tomorrow I have a lovely tofu and bean recipe coming.

rabbit whole

This is the story of Romeo, our rabbit buck who was to propel our rabbit breading program forward. The idea of breeding rabbits has always been 3 fold for me: nice fur for crafting, great manure for soil building, and lovely lovely meat for enjoying. We did however has some issues trying to get the bunnies, to do what they are meant to do best. When we finally felt we had a pregnant Juliet and just as I was beginning to dream of rabbit dished for the winter, our doe made a dash one day while foraging with the chickens, out and under the fence, where a good race took flight but our playful guard dog won, and his reward, well he ate her and all the little bunnies to in utero too. It was a sad day for all of us, including her lover Romeo. The poor guy was heartbroken to loose his friend, and as the winter approached, I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep him in solitary confinment. Instead to celebrate my Birthday this week past, I requested that we butcher him and eat him, celebrating his life and time with use these past few months. And I wanted to be very very hands on for the whole process, I felt this dinner would be a great test to ensure we really do want to take another go at rabbit breading in the spring.

I was really thrilled to have a butcher friend walk us through the whole process, which compared to chicken processing, was a breeze. Way less smelly and messy and time consuming. The following day I broke down the rabbit, Which was unlike any process I was familiar with there were bones in places I least expected them and pockets of meat where I didn’t imagine, After some time I yielded a good 5+ lbs of lean meat. I left lots of bits on the bones, and today they will make a nice rabbit soup.

The rabbit meat got a good 4 hour marinade in chili, onions, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, our dried garden parsley, and some sweet paprika.

Rabbit Marinate

I wanted to cook the rabbit with as much of our own garden fair as I could, following no particular recipe, but inspired but a creamy tomatoes Cacciatore (hunter) style stew. I busted open the first jar of my precious canned red peppers, and unfroze about a dozen plump red tomatoes, used up the last of our tiny red onion bulbs, and spiced it up with our dried oregano, thyme and parsley all still hanging in the drying rack. In addition to all of that garden goodness the stew was filled also with  yellow onions and mushrooms, thickened with yogurt and garnished with fresh parsley. I quickly seared the meat for only 3 minutes of so, before adding it to the pressure cooking “Instapot” along with the deglazed pan liquids and some S+P. I set the pressure cooker to stew and let it cook for about 3 hours. The result was a tasty thick rosa sauce that we ladled over potatoes from the garden roasted golden brown, and everyone at the table enjoyed the feast, and gave thanks for Romeos huge contribution to the meal.

Rabbit Stew

The following day I cooked some Italian semolina noodles and used the rest of the stew as a lovely pasta sauce. There way even enough left overs for my daughter to get lunch out of that stew today. All that and the soup today, made for a good amount of feeding the family and friends from one rabbit.

Rabbit Cacciatore

So the end of this story is just that this is only  the begining, as we certainly plan to continue with more rabbits in the coming season, this lean healthy easy to process meat is divine, and our farm is the perfect little place for some more furry additions.