23 09, 2015

Fennel & Tomato Chicken

By |September 23rd, 2015|chicken, gluten-free, grain-free, recipe, tomato|0 Comments|

We’ve been enjoying the most beautiful produce in our CSA from Simpler Thyme Organic Farm this summer and this past week was no exception.

When I saw the HUGE amount of stalks and fronds on the bunch of fennel in our bag, I knew I had to find something to do with it.

Fennel fronds

The fennel was so huge, I couldn’t fit the bulbs into the pic. 🙂

So, I ‘Googled’ fennel fronds and found lots of recipes, but most of them were for salads and I really wanted to make a dinner out of this lovely vegetable. So, I decided to wing it and went to the grocery store to get some organic protein to go along with it. I ended up buying some chicken drumsticks and some organic canned tomatoes. I generally don’t buy tomatoes in a can because of the BPA, but since I had such a short amount of time in which to whip this dinner up I just went with organic and compromised this time.

Here’s what I did…

 

shallots

I sautéed 2 large shallots in coconut oil until golden.

 

Then I added the chopped fennel stalks and fronds (saving the bulbs for a salad later).

 

I cooked them until softened and then deglazed with 1/2 cup dry white wine.

 

I reduced the wine until the pan was almost dry and then added a large can of organic, chopped tomatoes.

 

Then I nestled the chicken into the sauce and covered the pan and allowed it to cook for about 25 minutes on medium-low.

 

I added 1/2 cup of chopped Kalamata olives and cooked for another couple of minutes with the pan uncovered.

I served it atop smashed organic potatoes (also from the farm).

I served it atop smashed organic potatoes (also from the farm).

 

This recipe is definitely a keeper. We all really enjoyed it and I was happy that although the fennel flavour was still there, it was quite subtle.

Chicken with Fennel and Tomato

  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Fennel stalks and fronds (I used about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 large can organic chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives

 

  1. Sauté shallots in coconut oil at medium-high heat until golden.
  2. Add chopped fennel stalks and fronds (save bulbs for another use).
  3. Continue to cook until softened.
  4. Add wine and reduce until it’s almost gone.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, then nestle chicken into sauce.
  6. Cover pan and cook for about 25 minutes.
  7. Remove lid, add olives and cook for another few minutes.
  8. Serve as desired (I served atop smashed potatoes).
7 02, 2015

Christmas Sausages

By |February 7th, 2015|christmas, gluten-free, grain-free, pork, recipe, sausages, turkey|1 Comment|

I’ve had my sausage maker/meat grinder for about 10 years.  I’ve probably used it about 10 times in those years.  I really did plan to use it often when I asked for it for Christmas, but for some reason it always seems like a big undertaking and I only end up dragging it out when I’ve done careful planning.  It usually starts with Perry saying “we really need to make sausages” and then we think of all the interesting different kinds we can make and then about 6 months to a year later, we actually do something about it.  Ridiculous, I know!

So when the Christmas holidays were upon us and we knew Perry would have over two weeks off, we decided that this time we really WERE going to make sausages.  We hadn’t decided what kind we would make and then Christmas came and went and I figured it probably wasn’t going to happen yet again.  Then a few days after Christmas I was shopping in one of our neighbourhood grocery stores and noticed they had a sale on organic turkeys.  I checked them out and could hardly believe that there was an 18 pound turkey there for less than $18.  I couldn’t pass it up, so I bought it and took it home.  My first thought was that since we hadn’t had turkey for Christmas this year, maybe I’d roast it with all the trimmings and we’d have a post-Christmas Christmas dinner.  Then I thought about all the leftovers and where the heck we’d put them all and then how we always end up wasting food and I decided to do something different.

Since I had learned the handy skill of breaking down turkeys in the community learning kitchen at Eden Community Food Bank where I volunteer a couple of days a week, I thought it would be a good idea to use the different parts of the turkey for a few different meals.

So, Perry and I gave it some thought and came up with the idea of making sausages that taste like Christmas dinner.  My mum makes the most amazing and delicious chestnut stuffing/dressing, so of course they had to be included.  We always use fresh sage with our turkey, so that had to go in to the mix and there’s no way we could leave out onions as they not only add flavour but lots of moisture.

We ended up spending about 4 and a half hours in the kitchen that afternoon (see, it IS a big undertaking), but we were very happy with the results.  For about $20 or so (including the other ingredients), we ended up with lots of fresh sausages and enough leftover pieces and carcass to make more than 12 meals for the 3 of us.

So, here’s what we did…

 

First of all, I broke down the turkey, setting aside the thighs, wings and drumsticks for jerk turkey which made 3 meals for us. And I put the carcass into the oven to roast with some onions to make soup stock.

First of all, I broke down the turkey, setting aside the thighs, wings and drumsticks for jerk turkey which made 3 meals for us. And I put the carcass into the oven to roast with some onions to make soup stock (making a HUGE stock potful and resulting in LOTS of turkey and vegetable soup).

 

 

Sauteed a large spanish onion in schmaltz

Sauteed a large spanish onion in schmaltz

 

Minced about 1/2 cup fresh sage

Minced about 1/2 cup fresh sage

 

And minced a full bag of organic chestnuts

And minced a full bag of organic chestnuts

 

And coarsely chopped both breasts of the turkey (skinned)

And coarsely chopped both breasts of the turkey (skinned)

 

And chopped about 250g organic pork fat

And chopped about 250g organic pork fat

 

Mixed together the chestnuts, sage, onion and some Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mixed together the chestnuts, sage, onion and some Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

And added the turkey and fat to the rest of the mixture

And added the turkey and fat to the rest of the mixture, then placed it in the bowl above the feeder tube of the grinder

This is the grinder I use

This is the grinder I use

 

Then we put on one of the coarser grinding plates and started to grind the mixture

Then we put on one of the coarser grinding plates and started to grind the mixture

 

Once we had ground it twice, we removed the grinding plate and got the pork casing ready.  We washed it thoroughly as it's stored in salt.  Then we oiled the sausage attachment and fed on a casing after tying it at the end.  It's also important to prick it all over with a needle so that you don't get air bubbles in the sausages.

Once we had ground it twice, we removed the grinding plate and got the pork casing ready. We washed it thoroughly as it’s stored in salt. Then we oiled the sausage attachment and fed on a casing after tying it at the end. It’s also important to prick it all over with a needle so that you don’t get air bubbles in the sausages.

 

It took two of us as one needs to feed the mixture through the machine and the other needs to hold the casing and twist it every once in a while to make sausage lengths. It took us a few minutes to get the hang of it since it had been a while, but we got it :)

It took two of us as one needs to feed the mixture through the machine and the other needs to hold the casing and twist it every once in a while to make sausage lengths. It took us a few minutes to get the hang of it since it had been a while, but we got it 🙂

 

The resulting sausages were so tasty and juicy. Next time I think we'd add even more chestnuts as that flavour kind of got lost in the mix.

The resulting sausages were so tasty and juicy. Next time I think we’d add even more chestnuts as that flavour kind of got lost in the mix.

 

We had them again last night, but this time with my recently made sauerkraut.  This was my first time making it and we were so happy with the result.  I'll have to become a bit more of an expert before posting about that :)

We had them again last night, but this time with my recently made sauerkraut. This was my first time making it and we were so happy with the result. I’ll have to become a bit more of an expert before posting about that 🙂

13 08, 2014

Fennel & Watermelon Salad

By |August 13th, 2014|gluten-free, grain-free, Salad|0 Comments|

(Credit for above photo to Krestan Kühnen).

I was shopping at a new (to our city) organic market last week and when I got to the checkout, the cashier told me I’d earned a free gift for spending over $50.  She offered me the choice of 4 items, but the only one that really appealed to me was an organic watermelon.  I asked her to choose one for me and she chose one that was literally larger than a 6 month old baby!

I used a large egg for size comparison.

I used a large egg for size comparison.

After struggling to the car with this gargantuan thing and then manhandling it into the kitchen, I had to decide what the heck to do with it.  Since it’s been pretty hot here lately, I thought a nice, fresh salad would be a good idea.  I just made this up on the spot, but all three of us really enjoyed it.  Then I gave the rest of the watermelon to my mum to use as they eat a lot more fruit than we do and their fridge is always a lot less full than ours is 🙂

Here’s what I did to make the salad…

 

To a large bowl, I added 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and S&P to taste.

To a large bowl, I added 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and S&P to taste.  I whisked this together until emulsified.

 

Using a mandoline, I  thinly sliced a large, organic fennel bulb into the bowl.

Using a mandoline, I thinly sliced a large, organic fennel bulb into the bowl.

 

 

 

Also using the mandoline, I very thinly sliced 1/2 an organic, red onion into the bowl.

Also using the mandoline, I very thinly sliced 1/2 an organic, red onion into the bowl.

 

I added some minced fresh, organic mint.  Admittedly it had seen better days!

I added some minced fresh, organic mint. Admittedly it had seen better days!

 

Then I added about 4 cups of cubed watermelon.

Then I added about 4 cups of cubed watermelon.

 

And a cup of cubed feta cheese.

And a cup of cubed feta cheese.

 

Then I added 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives.

Then I added 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives.

 

I tossed it all together and topped with chopped, organic chives and a reserved fennel frond.

I tossed it all together and topped with chopped, organic chives and a reserved fennel frond.

 

 

Fennel & Watermelon Salad

 

  • ¼ cup roasted walnut oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large organic fennel bulb
  • ½ organic red onion
  • Handful fresh, organic mint
  • 4 cups organic watermelon, cubed
  • 1 cup cubed feta cheese
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • Small bunch organic chives, chopped

 

  • Into a large bowl, add oil through S&P.
  • Whisk until emulsified.
  • Using a mandoline, thinly slice fennel into the bowl, reserving fronds.
  • Also using the mandoline, but on a finer setting, thinly slice the onion.
  • Add watermelon, cheese and olives and toss well.
  • Serve in individual bowls topped with chopped chives and fennel fronds.

 

30 07, 2014

Foodie Pen Pals July 2014

By |July 30th, 2014|chocolate, foodie pen pals, gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo|0 Comments|

I’ve been participating in Foodie Pen Pals for about a year and a half now and I’ve received some really interesting packages filled with all sorts of delightful goodies.  Some of the boxes have been more to my taste than others and some have been so incredibly thoughtful, but I have to say that this month’s box definitely takes the cake!

I was teamed up with the lovely Jenn over at Bake and Be Merry  this month.  We exchanged a couple of e-mails and hit it off right away.  This was her first time participating in Foodie Pen Pals.  She mentioned in one of her e-mails that she participated in a foodie scavenger hunt which raised money for the Ottawa Food Bank.  I was so interested to hear that since I volunteer 2 days a week at a local food bank.  She wrote an awesome blog post on the subject, which I forwarded to our community liaison in hopes that we can do something similar in the future.

I sent Jenn my usual Foodie Pen Pal questionnaire asking things like ‘what’s your favourite food?’, ‘what don’t you like?’, etc… and she answered it and then added even more questions for me to answer.  One question she asked me was ‘Is there something that you’ve been wanting to try/make/eat/drink that you haven’t gotten around to yet?’  I answered that I’ve been wanting to attempt making macarons for my sister as they’re her favourite baked treats.  Well wouldn’t you know that the extremely sweet and thoughtful Jenn put together a macaron kit for me!!!!  I mean, could you possibly ask for a lovelier gesture?  I was blown away.

Okay, enough rambling and on to the package contents…

At the top of the box there was an envelope telling me to open everything before reading it.  I LOVED that!

At the top of the box there was an envelope telling me to open everything before reading it. I LOVED that!

The macaron kit was wrapped in this pretty box with a ribbon.

The macaron kit was wrapped in this pretty box with a ribbon.

It contained all the makings for one batch of macarons.

It contained all the makings for one batch of macarons.

I loved how everything had a little note attached and what fun that everything was wrapped up.  It was like Christmas :)

What fun that everything was wrapped up. It was like Christmas 🙂

Apple chips for a healthier option than my guilty pleasure, potato chips :)

Apple chips for a healthier option than my guilty pleasure, potato chips 🙂

She actually had a spice shop make up a collection of spices for me!!!

She actually had a spice shop make up a collection of spices for me!!!

One for each of my favourite cuisines!

One for each of my favourite cuisines!

I love how she attached little notes to each item :)

I love how she attached little notes to each item 🙂

I tried these the day I got the package.  YUM!

I tried this the day I got the package. YUM!

Even fancy napkins! :)

Even fancy napkins! 🙂

I was so excited to see what was in this package!

I was so excited to see what was in this package!

Dark Chocolate to pair with wine!!!

Dark Chocolate to pair with wine!!!

I mentioned that I'm on a tasting panel and she managed to work that in to the package too! :)

I mentioned that I’m on a tasting panel and she managed to work that into the package too! 🙂

I can't wait to try this.  I'm obsessed with flavoured salts!

I can’t wait to try this. I’m obsessed with flavoured salts!

And then I got to open the letter.  Reading this, you can tell how much care was put into the package.

And then I got to open the letter. Reading this, you can tell how much care was put into the package.

Needless to say, the chocolate didn't make it past day one and it paired beautifully with a glass of dry red wine. I did share :)

Needless to say, the chocolate didn’t make it past day one and it paired beautifully with a glass of dry red wine. I did share 🙂

 

I truly hope that Jenn enjoys my package as much as I did hers.  And I hope that next month she’s paired up with someone as thoughtful as she is.  I wonder if maybe I should quit Foodie Pen Pals now as I can’t imagine any package topping that one! 🙂

 

 

 

25 06, 2014

Sugar-free Grain-free ‘Coffee’ Cookies

By |June 25th, 2014|cookies, gluten-free, grain-free|0 Comments|

 

These cookies were an experiment.  I decided to try to have another attempt at sugar-free as all the things I’ve made so far have either had a bit of an aftertaste from stevia or the cooling sensation from erythritol or xylitol.

I think these are actually very tasty and I was happy with the sweetness.  They didn’t taste artificial at all and I used such a small amount of erythritol that they didn’t have the usual cooling sensation.  Along with the erythritol I used Lo Han Guo, which is a non-caloric sweetener made from a ground fruit.  I haven’t used it half and half with another sweetener before and was worried the aftertaste would be very strong, but it really isn’t at all.

I also decided to experiment with a mixture of nut flours.  I generally stick with almond flour as I have it on hand, so it’s quick and easy.  But today I ground up cashews to make a cashew flour.  I’m really pleased with the texture and flavour this gave the cookies.  They’re a little softer than an all almond flour cookie and I think the cashew added a little sweetness.

I know I would have really liked some sort of dried fruit such as raisins or dates, but since I was trying to make these as low GI as possible, I decided against those.

I used Dandy Blend instead to give them a coffee-like flavour and raw cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips.

All in all, I’m very happy with the result of this experiment.  I’m looking forward to trying other flavours and combinations to come up with different cookies.  Maybe I’ll try using some cocoa next time.

So, here’s what I did…

June25

To a large bowl, I added 1 cup of almond flour.

1june25Then I added a cup of ground cashews (measured after grinding).

2june25I added 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs and 1/4 cup chia seeds.

3june25And 2 tbsp. erythritol, 2 tbsp. lo han guo, 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt & 1/4 cup Dandy Blend.

4june25Mixed the dry together then added 1 local organic duck egg (what I had on hand) & 1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil. Then mixed it all thoroughly.

6june25Dolloped onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and baked at 350F for 12 minutes and cooled on a wire rack.

Sugar-free Grain-free ‘Coffee’ Cookies

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1 cup cashew flour

  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs

  • ¼ cup chia seeds

  • 2 tbsp. erythritol

  • 2 tbsp. lo han guo (I ordered mine here)

  • ½ tsp. Himalayan salt

  • ¼ cup Dandy Blend (I ordered mine here)

  • 1 large oranic egg

  • ¼ cup gently melted virgin coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.

  3. Add eggs and oil and mix until well-combined.

  4. Onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, dollop mixture by the tablespoonful.

  5. Use a wet fork to press down the tops of the cookies.

  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and after 5 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool.

18 03, 2013

Chickpea Crackers with Chives

By |March 18th, 2013|Crackers, gluten-free, grain-free|2 Comments|

 
I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and knew I had to try it.  We’ve pretty much cut grains out of our diet, so I’ve really been missing crackers.  I have a fantastic recipe for crackers made from seeds that I use often, but sometimes I just crave a cracker that actually tastes like a cracker.  This one really fit the bill.  The only thing I’d do differently next time is to roll them very slightly thinner.  Other than that, they’re my perfect cracker because they’re crunchy and tasty but not overwhelming, so theyre the perfect base for dips and spreads.
Here’s what I did…
 I sifted 1 cup of besan (chickpea flour) into a large bowl
I added 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
Then I added 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
I stirred in 2 tsps. of extra-virgin olive oil and a few tbsps. water and then started to mix it with my hands until it all came together.  Then I kneaded it for a couple of minutes, rolled it into a ball and covered with plastic wrap.  I let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
I removed it from the fridge and broke the dough into 4 pieces.  I put one piece on the counter top which I’d sprinkled with more besan.  Then I sprinkled a little more on top and rolled it out to 1/4″ thickness (next time I’ll do it a bit thinner).
Then I cut them into little shapes and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  I repeated with all of the pieces of dough.  Then I baked them in a 350F oven for 20 minutes.
Then I removed them from the oven and let them cool.  I considered adding more chives, but was worried it would make them too moist.  I don’t think that’s a problem, so I may do that next time too.  Tiny pieces of sundried tomato might be a nice addition too.