February 10, 2011
Truly nothing grosses me out more that seeing yellowy pink chicken breasts in a foam tray wrapped in plastic film on the grocery store shelf. Nothing, well aside from mayo, but that stems from a lifelong issue I have yet to uncover, and no desire to get into at this time. From this I am sure you can assume you will not find a “super chicken salad sandwich” recipe here, ever!
But lets get back to the bird. I can’t tell you when the last time I ate conventional chicken was. The thought of beakless caged, medicated almost translucent ghost birds eating old battery house hens, cows and often times mercury and lead rich fishmeal, had all driven me to vegetarianism for years. But in the past 5 or so years I met a number of really stand up poultry farmers, who’s farms I toured and who’s birds I came to enjoy. Now I always laugh (sickly to myself) when I see pictures of a quant little farm on the packaging of any conventional meat & dairy products, as if the food in those containers comes from anything but industrialized processing compounds. Compounds where animal health and the impact on the health of the humans who eats those animals, is never calculated in to profit projections.
Well now I have my own little farm and a lovely flock of chooks which I have raised from 2 day old chicks through the slaughter, and the plucking, and the cleaning right to the fryer (as was the case for many of our roosters). We enjoy the chicken-ness of the chickens fluffing away in the garden, and we cherish the warm fresh multi-coloured eggs we collect each morning from our little feathered friends. I have learned a thing or two about chicken keeping and eating this year, but more than anything, all of this chicken-ness has given me cause to celebrate the full life cycle and all the bits of a whole bird.
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November 1, 2010
Ok, so maybe you are thinking.. again with the tofu and mushrooms? enough all ready.
But in all honesty this recipe is truly an amazing combination of flavors, and it takes about 12 minutes to make. I am sure you could easily add chicken and cashews instead of mushrooms and tofu and it would be just as wonderful.
In this recipe I used 3 of my favorite ingredients: Soba king rice noodles (the pumpkin flavored ones) SilverKing Tofu (firm) and fresh local mushrooms (I used shitaki tonight)
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October 20, 2010
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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September 30, 2010
There doesn’t seem to be an end to the preserving of things these days…. My sweet neighbor brought over the most beautiful pale green tiny zucchini’s yesterday I sliced them up along with some beautiful jumbo shallots and made mustard garlic quick refrigerator pickles, which smells divine! I can’t wait to try these. I also did a huge batch of sauerkraut both green cabbage flavored with juniper berries and red cabbage with some garlic and hot chili too.
Last post I did while letting a new bread recipe rise and I was honestly really happy with the results. Pretzel making was a first for me the recipe I tried was really easy and didn’t involve too much waiting or hand kneading for that matter! We devoured 16 pretzels and a batch of super garlicky lemon mustard dip within 18 hours! The dough was proofed, boiled salted and then baked. I think this would also be a great start to a bagel recipe…
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September 2, 2010
Just had a cool reminder that fall is around the corner this week, which has me getting my winter greens in the ground, and starting to forge forward on the coop building, commencing tomorrow! I have a weekend with our mom’s visiting so I am hopeful that they will want to help me get the garden together and slap some earthen plaster around.
Last night I fired up the wood stove and decided to do a round of pickling inside, as I was growing wiry of the camp stove kitchen set up, the problem is that massive caldron of water took nearly 4.5 hours to boil, even with our fireplace burning at a raging 500º the whole time! The whole batch was sweaty and frustrating, but I yielded my favorite pickled veg; carrots! During the day we visited some neighbors and Mia picked some beautiful purple carrots from their garden, which I added to some orange ones we got at the Nelson market, along with some local garlic, dill, hot peppers, and a few of our tiny carrot ball variety thrown in for good measure.
While waiting for the vat of water to boil I whipped up a yellow summer salad to die for; I sliced some yellow sunburst squash paper thin, along with some thicker slices of these darling crisp little lemon yellow cucumbers we are growing, added some thin slices of locally grown organic yellow watermelon, & some tiny yellow heirloom tomatoes, all topped with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil, lemon and lavender sea salt and some fresh purple and green basil and a pinch of fennel tops all fresh from the herb spiral. I have seen watermelon and tomato salads many times before and never had the desire to try one, until my good friend and foodie reminded me on her recent visit how amazing the combination was, that and the fact the watermelon was yellow was all the convincing I needed. Mmmm, it was stunning and I will defiantly play with this combination of flavors again.
After the long weekend, I hope to have pictures of the chicken coop progress.
August 27, 2010
Finally today I got around to harvesting a big bunch of purple beans and rattlesnake beans which are a striking green bean with purple markings. I dug out the canning equipment at set to work in my outdoor “kitchen” ie: coleman stove, to do some pickling. The sad thing about processing or even cooking all my pretty heirloom beans is as soon as you add heat they resort to common green bean in appearance. I managed to get enough today to do 6 pint jars of spicy garlic dill beans and with a neighborly trade, the last of my plums for 2 long english cucumbers, I managed also to get 5 jars of pickles done too! I had dreams of pickling carrots until the cows come home but I grew these stupid little Romeo round heirloom carrots, which as nice as they taste are way way too small to do much with other than admire and eat from the garden, like a two bite brownie.
As I said the last of the plums are down and I yielded about 10 lbs of now frozen pitted diced plums along with the dozens we ate and baked, all and all the yield from this wiry old tree was entirely respectable.
I was really fortunate to join my neighbors for a short time yesterday while they harvested wheat and oats, 2 acres, naturally grown with no chemicals. The harvest was done with no combine or too much conventional farming equipment. It was amazing to take it all in. I have promised to clear my schedule in 3 weeks to participate fully in the Buckwheat harvest, I will bring my camera along and share images of the brilliant hand made farm equipment in use. I can’t wait.
I am trying to get my winter cold hardy veg in the ground, but I have so much in the bed I am waiting to seed I am finding it hard to make enough room, I really can’t procrastinate much longer.
August 10, 2010
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…
August 6, 2010
Busy days on the home front! The past week was spent cooking for the troops and unfortunately less time in the garden. However I have been harvesting some amazing things! I have no end of huge Yukon Gold potatoes, and I have been gushing at all the tri coloured star burst squash.
The other day my garden made the best ever salad: butter letus, endive, yellow starburst squash, purple pole beans, cucumber (the first one), purple basil, lemon basil, dill and anise greens: OMG with a little goat cheese from down the street and a handful of sunflower seeds with lemon mustard vinaigrette, it was a sunny summer day in ever bite!
I finished my first batch of elderflower syrup, and found my neighbours tree was flush with a dozen new flower bursts so I started a second batch. I also harvested some more saskatoon berries which are drying, shucked some peas (although I didn’t plant nearly enough), I also collected some pineapple chammomile growing wild on the driveway, which is also drying for tea.
All of these tasty adventures and by far the most exciting thing I have to report is my sheet mulch garden has been pretty darn successful! I dug out a volunteer potato plant that crept up in the middle of my lasagne garden bed and low and behold when I dug the tatters out I found soil! Deep black earth full of fat and juicy worms and critters, the soil was deep and dark and from the sandy stale state it was in back in May, it has come a long way!
The chooks are growing and we ‘ll have eggs soon enough! I can’t wait to have a rainbow of eggs collected fresh each day. I have been watching the plum tree for the first sight of ripe plums, and I am eager to harvest elderberries too! I have also just been told about small dukabor bear apples growing all along the rails to trails pathway, I plan to harvest and dry in cinnamon rings this fall too. I had better get my old vintage stove top running in time to do some canning and preserving soon!
The image in the slide show of the stunning spread of squash was my fabulous dinner the other night: one huge squash cut razor thin and raw drown in a citrus garlic dressing. It was divine.
July 21, 2010
Excerpt from rbrand building blog…
“I have also decided to amend my cooking with S.O.L.E blog: while living in the city, seeking out Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical Food could be quite a challenge, and cooking with found treasures, while meeting sustainable farmers was really enjoyable, but now that I am living as part of a food system that is so strongly founded in my ethics of eating I am going to shift my blog focus to my adventures in harvesting and preserving and preparing the bounty of my local Food Shed. The blog will be renamed FOOD SHED (in Kootenay time), and I can’t wait to get cooking, fermenting, drying, canning, cold cellaring and over wintering my bounty and sharing my trails and successes.
The garden is EXPLODING which is wonderful, I am still fearful I have not planted enough food, but I feel this way every year, and this garden is by FAR the largest under my belt. I am trying to follow a new mantra these days to do one thing daily which adds to our food shed. Inspired by the novel Independence Days by Sharon Astyk “ a guide to sustainable food storage and preservation” where I will attempt to do one of these things each day: Plant Something, Harest Something, Preserve Something, Minimize Waste , Waste Not, Cook Something New, Manage my Reserves, Work on my Local Food System. And I will add out of my own permaculture ethic BUILD SOIL to this list. Some of these things (especially the later half) I already strive for most days, or on any given opportunity… but planting and harvesting and preserving are my current challenges. Newly inspired by this great read Mia and I starting harvest huge bushels of Mint from our bog, which we have since dried and jarred. We will do more tomorrow along with picking thimble berries starting to splatter the hillside. I have a “Build Solar Dryer” on Dylan’s “TO BUILD” list but it is soooo long these days I am going to keep small batching things with what I can dry inside right now… which might mean frozen berries for a while.”
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June 25, 2010
This dinner was picture perfect spaghetti and meat balls, only batter. It was Wheat Free, Vegan, and totally guilt free.
When I made the below barley beet and bean burgers I set aside about 1/3 of the batch which yielded about 10-12 patties total. The portion I didn’t turn into patties I rolled into little bit size “meat”balls which I browned for dinner last night. Dinner came together in about 15 minutes and was super easy. I started with 1/2 of a red onion and a few cloves of garlic diced and browned, simmer this with a can of tomatoes, whole stewed if you like your sauce chunky or crushed if you like it a little smoother. * I can’t wait to savor the first tomatoes from the garden this year! anyways as for garden goodie these day I had a bunch of basil and some parsley so I diced this up and added it to the simple sauce along with a pinch of S+P and a squeeze of lemon. In a separate pan (or the sauce pan if you want to do the meatballs first; simply brown the formed and refrigerated balls in olive oil slowly, rolling them around often to evenly brown all sides. Boil a package of Organic corn spaghetti toss it all together and top with more fresh herbs! Viola.
June 25, 2010
The only thing weird about this burger is that the beets give the patties a raw red meat colour! That aside these patties are really substantial and tasty. I added cheese into the mix but you could leave it aside for a great vegan patty which I have made with tofu instead of cheese many times. Also we devoured them so quickly I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of one all dolled up, so as you can see I just have a shot of my little one enjoying a big bite!
Boil 1 cup of pearl barley with 2 1/4 cups of water for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed (this recipe will work best if the barley is a little mushy and over cooked). While your boiling the grain; grate about 1/2 c of sweet potato,1/2 c beet and 1 carrot blend in large bowl and mix with 1 tbsp canola oil, S+P, 1/4 cup goat feta chopped or medium tofu, 1 tbsp pesto, 1/4 c pumpkin seeds, & 1 tbsp flax seeds. Blend all of this together with 1 can of refried pinto beans and the hot barley once it’s cooked.
Form into patties and refrigerate to set up for as much time as you can up to 1 day.
I don’t have an working oven right now (so sad I know:( I have a beautiful vinatge stove out in the wood shed with no electrician to help me rewire it yet) so I had to just pan fry these, but I would suggest that you bake the patties on a cookie sheet at about 350º for 20 minutes and then pan sear them in hot oil until both sides are golden brown. I had to sear them off then reduce the heat to allow the inside to cook a little. Dress and serve these as you would any burger, enjoy!