Tag Archives: recipes

Seasonal Canning: Picklefest 2012!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to last month’s Picklefest editions of our seasonal canning workshops.  We learned the ways of hot water bath canning, as well as making a plethora of different pickles.  As always, it was great to hang out in the garden of the Compost Ed Centre at the end of a hot summer day to talk and make food together.  It feels even better to leave an evening like that with some jars of pickled beets, zucchini dill pickles and pickled blueberries to line the walls of your pantry and make you feel all stocked up for winter.  Click through for some recipes from the workshop as well as a round-up of tasty looking pickle recipes. Continue reading

Seasonal Recipe Round-Up: Zucchini Edition

Photo by clayirving, used under Creative Commons license

At this point, it’s pretty much a dusty old cliche that every gardener is frantically trying to unload squash on friends and neighbours at this time of the year.  However, some stereotypes exist for a reason, and this is one of them!  If your zucchinis are busting out of the garden faster than you can eat them, if you’ve started resorting to leaving baskets of zucchini on strangers doorsteps, or if you’ve ever played a rollicking game of summer squash baseball (the zucchinis are bats and the overgrown pattypans are the balls, in case you were wondering), this recipe round-up should help you out!  Continue reading

Food Dehydration

Photo by alyssssyla, used under Creative Commons license

Big thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Food Dehydration workshop!  There was a great group of folks with lots of expertise in growing and preserving food, and it was a lot of fun to hear about everyone’s projects, challenges and goals.  For those of you who missed the workshop, you I’ve put together some helpful information and tasty recipes to help you with your food dehydration adventures.  Continue reading

Seasonal Recipe Roundup: Cherries!

Photo by Wonderlane, used under Creative Commons license

As I type this, there is a huge bucket of cherries from one of the trees on-site here at the Compost Ed Centre sitting on the office floor.  We are all gorging ourselves on cherries, but I can still see tons more hanging off the branches of the tree outside the window.  I’m not telling you this to boast (honest!), but to mention that cherry season is here, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible!  In case you get sick of just gobbling them down fresh (it seems impossible at first, I know, but I’m getting close to my saturation point and it’s only been two days), I’ve put together a seasonal recipe round-up with some rad and unusual looking cherry recipes.  You won’t find any jams or pies or cobblers, but there are some shrubs, pickles, and fruit leathers that look pretty damn fine. Continue reading

Seriously Spectacular Sourdough

Photo by victoriachan, used under Creative Commons license

Thanks to those made it out to last week’s sourdough workshop — it was a great time, with lots of learning and tasting and sharing of skills.  For the folks who weren’t able to attend but who are still sourdough-curious, Karen, our workshop facilitator, has given me permission to reprint some of her bread info here.  She also put together a really amazing zine called “Sourdough Bread is for Everyone, or Why the @#%^ didn’t my bread rise?!?!” which is an excellent primer for new bread bakers, as well as having the added bonus of coming with helpful and endearing cartoons, some of which I’ve reproduced here.  If you’re interested in snagging a copy, drop me an email and I would be happy to hook you up.  For now, click through for a thorough primer to rocking some sourdough.  Continue reading

Seasonal recipe round-up: Peas!

One of my favourite parts of summer is eating fresh pod and sugar snap peas right from the garden.  Honestly, I don’t usually plant enough to actually have any left over to cook with after my snacking frenzy has abated (with the exception of my year farming when I was drowning in peas but lacking in time to cook them), but I made an effort to plant more this year and am hoping to try out some recipes.  I’ve collected some delicious looking options below — hope you dig them!

Minty Pea Pesto:  If you’re still only making the standard basil/parmesan/pine nut pesto, it’s time to start branching out.  Not just because pine nuts are now approximately the same price as gold, but because because there are so many other tasty flavour combinations to check out.  This minty pea pesto from The Cozy Herbivore is vegan (miso subs for parmesan to create a similar depth of flavour while cutting out the dairy) and looks incredibly flavourful.  Pesto freezes well, also, so this could be a good way to stock away your excess pea harvest.

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas:  This recipe for hot water bath canned pickled snap peas from Blazing Hot Wok would be pretty fast to make, and looks amazing (of course, that statement is coming from someone whose judgement is altered by a fairly serious pickle addiction, so keep that in mind).   The author suggests the pickles as a good companion to charcuterie, but I suspect they would be pretty totally great just fished out of the jar and eaten on their own as well.

Fresh Pea Salad:  Heidi of 101 Cookbooks describes this dish as a “jazzed up pea salad with a spicy mint-date dressing [with] some shredded romaine lettuce and a few toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch and texture.”  I’ve long been a fan of Heidi’s simple but original recipes, and this one is no exception.  The mint-date dressing sounds like it could be pretty versatile as well — you could always make a double batch and try tossing it with grains or pasta as well.

Chilled Pea Pod Soup:  This soup recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini is most excellently frugal, as it makes use of your pea pods after you have already shelled and devoured their contents.  The author describes it as “the nose-to-tail philosophy applied to the vegetable kingdom,” which is a pretty fantastic idea.  I had never realized that I could do much of anything with my pea pods besides toss them into the compost, so I’m stoked to try this simple but delicious looking chilled soup.

Fresh Green Peas and Sugar Snap Peas in Sesame Dressing:  You can’t get much simpler and faster than this double-pea recipe from Epicurious — the peas are just-cooked and tossed with an easy but flavourful looking dressing.  It looks like a great summer side dish, and you could easily adapt the idea to any flavourful dressing or sauce.

Peas and Lettuce:  I have always, perhaps unfairly, been slightly suspicious of cooked lettuce.  Maybe it’s just a lack of imagination on my part, but it kind of weirds me out, frankly.  With that said, this recipe for peas and lettuce with its allusions to simplicity and adaptations of traditional French cooking techniques makes a reasonable case for lightly cooked lettuce.  Plus, it’s a good candidate for an all-garden meal, with the main ingredients being peas, mint and lettuce, all of which many of us can pluck straight out of our yards.  I should probably at least give it a try in the interests of not narrowing my culinary options:  if cooked lettuce proves to be amazing, I will feel like a bit of a jerk for neglecting it all these years.

Book Review! Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

This book is amazing!  I got it from the library, but am seriously considering buying my own copy:  such is the radness contained herein.  Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen also wrote The Urban Homestead, which I dug, and I think this book is even better, or at least a fantastic follow-up.  In the intro to Making It, the authors talk about how The Urban Homestead was basically a book of ideas, and they wanted to follow that up with a practical toolbox.  I’m all for this line of reasoning — we need broad and inspiring visions for the future every bit as much as we need the nuts-and-bolts skills for how to get from here to there.

Coyne and Knutzen have a pretty epic urban homestead from the sounds of things, but many of these projects will also be completely within reach for folks who live in apartments and are just starting to learn how to garden or compost or become do-it-yourself makers of stuff.  I like how approachable they make the process of learning:  the book is organised into five sections:  day to day, week to week, month to month, season to season and infrastructure.   Each individual project gives you a very clear idea of the time commitment you’re making by taking it on.  If you’re working from the day to day section, you can start with what the authors describe as “gateway projects that may addict you to a more homegrown lifestyle,” such as homemade oil lamps that take five minutes to make, simple homemade tooth powder, styling gel (just flaxseeds and water, amazingly enough!), and the like.  Week to week tackles anything from easy one-pot meals to old-fashioned vinegar-based sodas like the adorably named switchel to basic sewing skills.  Month to month will school you on indoor gardening, tinctures, cloth menstrual pads and many other handy things.  Season to season contains more ambitious projects like soap-making, saving seeds, and how to espalier.  Basically, this book will inspire you, but also give you the practical tools and instructions needed to turn that inspiration into concrete results.

If you’re feeling inspired already, but your copy of Making It hasn’t appeared o the library hold shelf, I would recommend checking out Coyne and Knutzen’s blog, Root Simple.  They are mega frequent bloggers, posting anything from cool random DIY links to more involved tutorials or descriptions of their projects.  Definitely worth adding to your list of places on the internet machine to check out from time to time.

My initial quick browse through Root Simple turned up some inspiring and varied projects that I wanted to share:  Our New Earth Oven and How We Built It, Ditching the “Flushie” for a Composting ToiletHow to Roast Your Own Coffee in a Stovetop Popcorn Maker, and 3 Things To Do With Citrus Peel are all pretty totally fascinating, clearly presented, and look really fun to work on.