Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cold Frames for Winter Harvest

It is December and finally I am writing this post - but that is OK because now feels like the right time to share this info with you. 

For the first time I am using cold frames in my garden! In the beginning of September I fit three frames inside existing raised beds. Since the bottom is open the cold frame is sitting on top of already prepared soil. They were angled facing south to get as much sun as possible. Pictured here are two and there is a smaller one against the wall of my house. Read more . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Preserved Lemons
Preserved lemons are a traditional North African condiment where the sour and salty flavour adds a distinct taste to everyday cooking - here I am using it Raw Style.

Preserved lemons are rich in lactic-acid producing bacteria, and delicious giving a light, clean flavour to foods, sauces, and they make an excellent condiment. Both the flesh and rind of the lemon become edible once they have been fermented.

2-1/2 pounds lemons, (preferably Meyer lemons)
1/4 cup unrefined sea salt

·       Trim the ends off lemons, taking care not to cut into the flesh and then slice the lemons as if to quarter them - keeping the base of the lemon intact.
·       Sprinkle the interior of the lemons with unrefined sea salt then layer in your Mason jar, crock or fermentation device. Sprinkle with unrefined sea salt then mash with a wooden spoon or dowel until the rinds of the lemon begin to soften and the lemons release their juice which should combine with the salt to create a brine conducive to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
·       Continue mashing, salting and mashing until your lemons fill the jar and rest below the level of the brine
·       Ferment at room temperature for three to four weeks, and transfer jar to the refrigerator
·       Lemons can be kept for one to two years

Moroccan Chickpea Casserole - Raw & Vegan

The smell and texture of this slightly sweet yet savory dish is sure to satisfy. Serve it in a bowl like stew, or pour it over veggie rice and present it on a platter. You will need to start preparing a few days ahead to allow for soaking of chickpeas.

1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked (in 2 cups water, set aside in the fridge for 3-4 days, changing soak water daily)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked (in 1 cup water for 30 minutes)
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Preserved Lemons (optional)
1/2 Tbsp Miso
2 Tbsp raw agave
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric, ground
Pinch Himalayan Sea Salt
Pinch black pepper, freshly ground
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup sweet potato noodles (in spiral veggie slicer using the smallest blade)
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 tsp pure psyllium husk (to thicken)

·         In a food processor, process tomatoes, onion, garlic, Preserved Lemons, soaked sun-dried tomatoes with 1/4 cup of soaking liquid, until smooth
·         To food processor add Miso, agave, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper and cayenne – process until mixed through
·         Transfer to a bowl – add sweet potato noodles, cilantro, carrot, bell pepper, soaked chickpeas, psyllium husk, and stir well
·         Transfer mixture from the bowl into an 8” square casserole dish
·         Remove bottom two shelves from dehydrator placing dish on bottom  
·         Dehydrate at 105ºF for 2 hours or more and do a taste test - It is ready when the mixture is warmed all the way through and the flavours have blended

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raw Spring Asparagus with Asian Marinade

Going into the dehydrator
Asparagus is in season, and my neighbour very generously brought me a bunch she had just picked fresh from her garden. So this is what I came up with to enjoy it IN THE RAW. 

Two different methods can be used. But whether you choose to use a dehydrator or marinate in the fridge, this dish will be delicious. 

Spring Asparagus
Yield:  one - 8" casserole

1 bunch asparagus, organic
Black sesame seeds, unhulled
  • Hold asparagus in your hand and cut where there is a bend in the stalk (usually an inch or so from the bottom) to remove tougher part of stalks
  • Rinse the asparagus and slice in half lengthwise from bottom to crown
  • Thicker stalks can be sliced lengthwise again, quartering the stalk
  • Place the asparagus in a glass 8" casserole
  • Sprinkle with black sesame seeds just before serving
Asian Marinade
1 Tbsp Organic Tamari
1 Tbsp Raw Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Organic orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 clove Organic garlic, pressed
1 tsp Organic ginger, grated  
1-2 tsp agave
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Mix marinade ingredients together in a small bowl - using a small wisk
  • Add marinade to the casserole dish containing the asparagus and toss together to coat
  • DEHYDRATOR METHOD - Place casserole in bottom of dehydrater (after removing bottom dehydrator tray) and dehydrare at 105 degeees for 1 hour
  • REFRIGERATOR METHOD - Place casserole in fridge for 1 hour to let the flavours mingle

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kombucha - Step by Step

Drinking Kombucha reminds me of a very fizzy fruit drink and when I play around with different fruit combinations the taste is divine! 

Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a kombucha starter culture (I use a scoby). The tea is prepared with boiled distilled water, sugar, fresh tea bags, and some kombucha tea from a previous batch (starter tea). 

The mixture is allowed to ferment at room temperature and can be consumed plain but I really like it after a 2nd ferment when flavoured with different fruit or juice combinations. A longer fermentation time gives a more cultured drink with a more vinegary taste - adding fruit or juice in 2nd fermentation can sweeten the Kombucha.

(3 quarts = 12.49 cups Cdn)
3 quarts distilled water (12 cups)
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 tea bags, Oolong or Jasmine
3 tea bags, Green
1 scoby with 6 ounces harvested tea

1st Ferment
  • Bring 6 cups (1/2 of the water) to a boil
  • Remove from heat, add the cup of sugar and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve
  • Add the 5 tea bags (2 Oolong, 3 Green)
  • Steep tea bags for 15 to 30 minutes - remove and discard the tea bags - cool tea to room temperature
  • When completely cooled, mix in the remaining 6 cups (other 1/2 of the distilled water)
  • Pour the tea into a one gallon container (or divide between two 2-quart glass jars
  • No metal should touch the mushroom (scoby)
  • Add a whole scoby to the one gallon container placing the darker side down (or if using two jars, divide the scoby in half placing each half into a jar)
  • Add a large scoop of harvested tea from a previous batch (when you receive a scoby it comes in a bag or jar with harvested tea)
  • Cover each jar with a thin, clean handkerchief, white cloth, or paper towel and secure with a rubber band
  • Place in a dim, quiet ventilated space 70-90 degrees for 7-10 days
  • After a week or so, taste to see if it is to your liking (shorter time is sweeter)
  • When tasting try not to disturb the new scoby, which grows on top of the mother scoby - poking a straw down the side of the jar is an easy way
  • Separate baby scoby from mother scoby and set both aside with 6 ounces of this new harvested tea to make more Kombucha

2nd Ferment
  • After the tea is cultured I do a 2nd ferment by pouring the tea into clear glass jars and add fruit or juice to each bottle (Grolsch bottles with flip tops are my bottles of choice - I buy them from the bottle recycling depot)
  • Put a lid on and leave sitting in a warm place until fizzy (I keep mine in a camping cooler) just remember to release gases by burping the bottles each day
  • Taste and when to your liking, strain and store in the fridge
  • Work up to drinking 4 ounces or more a day - before, after, or between meals

I add Ginger slices to every batch but am always experimenting with new flavourings:
Blackberry, hibiscus
Rose Hips, hibiscus
Raspberry lemonade
Strawberry lemonade

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Asian Sprouted Lentil Salad

Lentils are an excellent source of folate for your nervous system and heart health. Pairing iron-rich lentils with foods high in vitamin C (like tomatoes and oranges) help your body absorb the iron. Soaking the lentils with a piece of Kombu or dried kelp infuses the beans with minerals and enhances digestibility. This works in either sprouting or cooking, but sprouting is known to further enhance this process. 

Asian Sprouted Lentil Salad
Yield:  1-1/2 cups

1 cup lentils, dry (with a piece of kelp)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup sweet bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely
  • Soak the lentils in 2 cups water for 12 hours or overnight with a piece of Kombu or Kelp
  • Drain off the water in the morning, then rinse and drain every day for 3-4 days until sprouts have started to form
  • Keep the lentils covered with a damp paper towel to prevent them from exposure to airborne pathogens 
  • When the lentils have sprouted, combine them in a glass bowl with the other salad ingredients
1 Tbsp Organic Tamari
2 Tbsp Raw Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2-3 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp Ground Sesame Seeds  
2 tsp agave
  • Mix together the dressing ingredients in a small blender (I use a Tribest)
  • Add dressing to the bowl containing the salad and toss together to mix
  • Refrigerate awhile to let the flavours mingle

For those times when I have not planned ahead (and yes it does happen) when there is no time to sprout I will cook a small amount of lentils that is enough for a meal. Today was one of those days and this is my lunch. 

Cooked Lentil Version 
Yield:  1 cup

1/2 cup lentils, cooked
Yellow bell pepper, chopped
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 radishes, sliced thin
2 celery, chopped

Make the same dressing as above and any extra can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for another day.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Peanut Butter-Coconut Bites (for the PB Officianado)

These were one of the snacks I made for the Seed Savers meeting this week and since they didn't last long (they were gobbled up really fast) I needed to make another batch for myself. 

I wondered if there was any value in sharing this - but then again why not? Even though this recipe was originally called Raw Coconut Bites, I felt like changing it into to something new. 

Each time I make a recipe (whether an old standby or a new experiment) I'm in a different space with different ideas that are just waiting to be tried and tested. From there the recipes seem to evolve . . . like this one did!

Peanut Butter-Coconut Bites
Yield:  30-1" bites

1-3/4 cups coconut flakes (shredded)
1/2 cup raw carob powder

1/8 tsp Vanilla powder
pinch of Himalayan salt
1/3 cup Agave
2 Tbsp peanut butter (raw organic and definitely not roasted)
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted

  • Start by melting the coconut oil (either heat in a dehydrator, or melt in a jar sitting in a bowl of warm water)
  • Mix ingredients to underline together in a bowl, set aside
  • Mix together the Agave and peanut butter in a measuring cup BEFORE adding to the bowl
  • When first 6 ingredients are combined, add melted coconut oil to the bowl and mix again 
  • Form into bite-sized balls with your hands
  • Put in fridge to set, store covered in the fridge, or store inside freezer bags in the freezer
    This recipe uses only seven ingredients and is super easy to make. Simply changing a few of the ingredients and combining them in a different way opened me to the discovery of a new taste and texture in each mouth-watering bite.