… pretend like it’s the weekend” – Jack Johnson was on to something… and I am afraid I have been in the dark about this Banana Pancake phenomenon! I just discovered, through various means in short succession that if you combine 1 banana 2 eggs and 1 spoon of peanut butter you get the most dense, moist rich gluten free pancakes on the planet! HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS ???? In the event you are like me and desperately looking for a carbie tasting breakfast snack to sop up some egg yoke, then your in luck! This recipe is way too easy, and once you ditch the gluten free pre-mixed pancake mix, for this you will be laughing! Continue reading
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.
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!
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…
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
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:
yum this dip is so nice and easy it’s perfect for dunking or as a dollop on a noddle / rice salad bowl!
In a food processor combine until silky smooth:
2 cups cooked white beans
3 heaping Tbps Italian red pepper spread
3 cloves of garlic
1 small yellow onion
3 tbsp tahini
splash of lemon juice + red wine vinegar
Glug of olive oil
A pinch each of paprika and cayenne
Garnish with a dollop of red pepper spread and a drizzle of nice olive oil. Enjoy.
Nothing tastes like camp food! I am not talking about hot dogs and smores (ack) I am talking about thoughtful meals made in nature with limited everything. You really do have to plan well and season at home if you want the best of your camp culinary experiences.
If you have time make a meal plan up for your stay do so and prep as much as you can and season everything while your at your pantry (to save space on having to bring the whole pantry to you). Some of the things I like to do are: Continue reading
flushing garden abundance all around!
I had to dig deep and bust out some mega batches of food tonight. We had guest from the Rockies visiting (former valley folks) who were dying for a taste of home grown real food with a serious paleo spin. I spent a couple hours slowly roasting green house tomatoes (which are exploding right now!) with hot peppers, onions and garlic along with parsley and basil, all from the garden. After harvesting a huge basket of kale and chard I realized I had to cook these iron rich greens at least two different ways so I decided to make kale pork meat balls made with our own smokey bacon. The meatballs were served in a hearty rich roasted tomato base with white beans and yet more kale and chard. Satisfaction Guaranteed.
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. Continue reading
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: Continue reading
I have been really enjoying baking with chickpea flour over the past few weeks. It’s dense and almost nutty tasting and it blends nicely with all kinds of other flours. Yesterday we picked the last of the very deep dark ripe raspberries of the season and had to put them to work immediately so I set out to bake a gluten free dairy free tart made in the lazy crumble top fashion of old school date bars (love this 2 step technique) The dough is a blend of chickpea flour / brown rice flour / coconut / coconut oil / and cane sugar used on the bottom and again on the top with a thick layer of smooshed freshly picked berries and some coconut chips.
This frozen dessert is so simple there is no way it should taste this fresh and lovely. Your just 3 ingredients away from something that screams summer and takes no time at all to prepare. We just just picked 2 huge baskets of raspberries and I planned to make a gluten free berry cake in this sweet little vintage cake pan, but the very thought of turning the oven on yesterday had me feeling faint… instead I threw a few things in the stand mixer, made a pink puddle and froze it in the spring form pan, viola… raspberry frozen dessert!
Such a nice take on same old same old guacamole, this feta dip is fresh and bright and totally dunk-able! Best of all the feta came from my favorite milk maid curiosity of her lovely dairy goat aptly named “feta”. This is by no means mexican in flavor, and you could so easily make this the spread on a BLT or any number of burgers. It is flavored with basil and lemon and garlic, it’s smooth and sharp and perfect for any manor of summer grilling menus. Best of all it’s so simple. Continue reading
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!
Honestly this might be the easiest, tastiest and most authentic tasting Thai style yellow curry I have ever had let alone made! This perfectly punchy sauce was made in a wide mouth mason jar with my handy immersion blender using only a few simple ingredients. The veg can be what ever you have on hand and of course you could add meat or fish or tofu, served over steamed rice you’ll think you were on a beach in Thailand… trust me this is ridiculously good! Continue reading
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.
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?
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!
Wow that is a crazy hot pink glaze! I made a batch of triple berry gratitude loafs and finished them with a quick saskatoon berry glaze that gave them this pink show stopping finish! We had a few folks to thank for some favors so I finally made time to do some batch baking and use my berry-berry-berry abundance! I also ran down to the local thrift shop in search of some semi disposable pans and came how with 8 small loaf pans which was the kicker in turning my berries into lovely loafs. The pans are great little commercial units and they baked these loafs perfectly!
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:
My dear friend turned 50 this weekend, and I had to make a show stopping cake to help her celebrate in style. I decided on making that lovely chocolate quinoa cake I made a couple weeks back, and to go all out I made two batches of cake and opted for a coconut milk chocolate mousse center finished with a stellar Saskatoon berry syrup. Then the whole cake got a coconut oil butter cream chocolate frosting and a final raw cacao nib crumble edge.
The whole cake was gluten free and flour free, and parts of it are vegan, other parts are powered with super foods… And although it is deeply indulgent, on the whole I would say it’s a pretty healthy option as far as chocolate cakes go. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
So this is why I haven’t posted in some time 😦
I dropped a tiny little vase on my new slide in kitchen aid convection oven that I have been enjoying and loving for a wee 6 months. TRAGEDY!
It just so happened to break the night before I served a meal for 12… no big deal right? Currently I am feeding 8 two time a day, with no stove.
I took one giant step back in my kitchen cook-ability, back to the fire pit.. which is ok I did that for months when we first arrived here, but still it’s heart breaking. Good thing we just got the cob oven fired up and are trying to figure out how to cook well in it. I have the old BBQ and my faithful Instapot, and one day soon and a zillion dollars later the cooktop will be replaced.
Is this crazy or what, the salesman told me when I was shopping for the perfect convection oven, that I would have no issues with the ceramic cooktop, and that even though I only cook with CAST IRON, a point I stressed!, I should have no fears about breaking the cooktop. Geez the vase I dropped weight about 100 grams… I think my cast iron wok weighs about 15 lbs!
My vegan friends, this is a divine sauce straight up I promise you will love this creamy “cheesey” goodness. I opted to celebrate our favorite lactose intolerant intern being away for dinner and added a good amount of sharp cheddar and some smoked bacon to this dish to throw it over the top. But totally unnecessary unless you are living in forced cheese lock down, and need to break out once in a while. This sauce would be a great vegan fondue substitute, and would certainly make killer mac and cheese. Inspiration for dinner tonight came from PPK’s chipotle Brussels sprouts. Soaking and pureeing cashews are the secret behind this rich sauce. A trick I have never tried before and am so happy to have in my kitchen tool box now.
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. Continue reading
Wheat free, flour free, gluten free, dairy free cake that is divine and deeply chocolatey, it must be too good to be true, right? WRONG, and the kicker is I finally cracked the perfect vegan frosting dilemma! So my intolerant friends, rejoice you can have your cake and eat it too!
I have been carrying this magazine page in my cookbook for about 3 years, and never had the time or energy to make this quinoa chocolate cake made with whole grain cooked quinoa not quinoa flour… well finally the day arrived and I just so happened to have need of 1 delicious chocolate birthday cake and as it happened I had on hand about 2 cups of left over un-seasoned cooked quinoa… PERFECT. Continue reading
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! Continue reading
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:
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.
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!
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. Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
This is a great dairy free take on a garden fresh spinach curry, made with my canned tomatoes and Chamela Giri’s Garam Masala. I used local organic tofu as the paneer and coconut milk to thicken this rich dark curry. For a from scratch curry, this is pretty easy to make. Serve over rice with a garnish of cilantro and your off to the races! Continue reading
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! Continue reading
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…
Not so much of a recipe today… rather a tidbit of inspiration. Make a simple lunch stunning, seasonal and freshly foraged.
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.
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. Continue reading
I have been subbing out butter in recipes in exchange for coconut oil for some time, but more recently I am leaning on coconut milk instead, which offer’s another coconut flavor component to anything baked, or raw for that matter. Today I used my goto coffee cake recipe but opted to omit all the dairy (our latest farm intern is lactose intolerant). In place of sour cream and butter I used grapeseed oil and coconut milk, I made sure to add coconut into the cake batter as well as the streusel layer, and the result (although it took much longer to bake than usual), yielded a soft coco-nutty cake with the perfect tooth, and just the right sponge like spring, balanced with crispy deep dark crumble line through each slice. Continue reading
Yum! Tonight I whipped up the most fabulous peanut-y satay sauce and it was the perfect addition to some quinoa, tofu, veggie bowls. I wish I had thought to make a cold peanut satay style sauce before now! This stuff is fabulous, I will certainly make this again and again. Continue reading
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.