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November 8, 2011 - Kathleen
- 2 cups parsley
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 1 tbsp lemon juice to taste
Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth paste. Adjust seasoning.
Every year we grow a few patches of parsley and freeze it by removing the leaves from the stems and by then pureeing the leaves with a little extra virgin olive oil. We then freeze the puree in pint jars. We do the same with cilantro and basil. On cold days these emerald jars are reminiscent of summer. You can substitute one of these jars in place of the parsley and olive oil in the above recipe.
Spring Herbal Vinegar
May 12, 2011 - Kathleen
This is an excellent spring "tonic" that can be used in any recipe that calls for vinegar. It makes use of herbs, roots and fruits that grow well in Alberta and are commonly found at this time of year - except for the parsley, which we usually have on hand, dried from the year before. You can substitute arugula or spinach for the parsley, or omit it altogether.
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh dandelion leaf
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dandelion root or 1 tbsp dried
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 3 tbsp dried
- 1/4 cup of fresh nettle of 1 tbsp dried
- 1/4 cup of fresh mint or 1 tbsp dried
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh burdock
- 1/4 cup whole currants
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar
Fill a sterilized glass, porcelain or enamel jar or bottle with herbs and currants. Pour vinegar over the ingredients covering ingredients completely. Cover with a plastic, cork or enamel lid. If you use a metal Mason jar lid cover the opening with a couple of sheets of wax paper before screwing on the lid. Store your vinegar in a cool, dark place for about a month. Give the contents of the jar a shake occasionally. Decant into a second sterilized jar and seal. Store jar in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
March 24, 2011 - Kathleen
There are countless recipes out there for Kale Chips and it's good to have a few different kinds on hand to enjoy over the winter. This is one of our favourites:
- 1 large bunch of Lacinato kale (any of the kales work, but my preference is for Lacinato)
- 1/2 cup of tahini
- 1 tsp garlic salt (see note below)
- 4 green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup water
I remove the ribs from the kale and chop the leafy portions into bite sized pieces. Others leave the ribs, but I find these dehydrate at a slower rate than the leaves, resulting in the leaves being overdone by the time the ribs are finished. You can also cut the leaves into long strips, and this turns out a kind of funky end-product.
Combine tahini, garlic salt and a little of the water in a blender and slowly add the remaining water.
Massage tahini mixture into kale leaves for a few minutes and spread out evenly on dehydrator trays.
There are a few methods of drying kale. Dehydrate for 1 hour at 145°F and then at 115°F for the remaining 4 to 5 hours, or at 115°F for 8 - 10 hours. Alternately, you can dehydrate them on the lowest setting of your oven for a few hours. The point is to get them sufficiently dried to inhibit mould, especially if they are meant to offer some sustenance over the winter, but not so dry that they are both tasteless and lifeless.
Garlic salt is easy to make, and unlike conventional versions allows you to choose your salt and garlic. I'm a fan of Himalayan salt, though a sea salt or Fleur de Sel will work equally as well. This is a great way to use up cloves that aren't suitable for planting or eating.
- 1 cup Himalayan salt
- 6 cloves organic garlic left in their skins
Pulse garlic and salt in a food processor just until the salt is starting to turn to powder and the garlic is no longer discernable.
Spread evenly on solid dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115°F for 6 hours, or spread out on a baking sheet and at your lowest setting in your oven for a few hours or until completely dry.
Return mixture to food processor and pulse to remove lumps. Homemade garlic salt will keep for a long time if stored in a glass jar in dark, cool cupboard.
Let the People Decide
March 09, 2011 - Kathleen
There is a poll currently being conducted by MSNBC on whether a citizen believes that genetically modified foods should be labelled? Of the 43,742 votes 96.1% of respondents voted yes, that it was an ethical issue - consumers should be informed so they can make a choice. Of the remaining respondents 3.1% voted no - the U.S. government says they are safe and that's good enough for me. Only 0.8% voted that they were not sure - (that) it all tastes the same to me.
Visit the MSNBC website to cast your vote.
Here are some things we can do while we are advocating for our rights to labelled food and for policy to change:
- Grow your own food and make sure your seeds are not genetically modified
- Buy local organic from CSA's, farmers' markets and natural food coops and stores
- Select local, organic meats and limit intake
- Opt for wild or local seafood
- Choose whole foods and limit processed foods to those made with organic ingredients