Thursday, September 14, 2017

Delicious Breakfast

Perfect Soft-Boiled (Steamed) Eggs
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and happens to be my favorite meal .... with brunch a close second!

Who doesn't love a soft boiled egg? I make them just to use the adorable, wooden egg cups that I've had for years. But getting the timing just right, so the white is set and the yolk still runny is tricky. I heard a new method for soft-boiled eggs from the folks at Cooks Illustrated. Actually, not boiled at all, but technically steamed! The end result is a more consistently perfect egg without the tendency for cracked shells which can result from placing them into boiling water.

PERFECT SOFT-BOILED (STEAMED) EGGS   Yield: 2 eggs    ... from Cooks Illustrated
The key is twofold: get your eggs quickly into the pot with the lid on and immediately set a timer. A digital timer is best or even a stop watch so that timing is accurate. If you are doing a lot of eggs at once, adjust the size of the pot or use a steam basket so all the eggs cook for the same amount of time. Also, be sure to use eggs that come straight from the fridge!

Bizarre Breaky but delicious and so colorful!
Brie cheese, green and red 'kraut, avocado and 2 perfect eggs

2 cold eggs
salt and pepper for serving 

Fill a small pot with 1/2-inch of water. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a full boil. Quickly and gently, set the eggs in the pot and tightly cover with a lid. Immediately set a timer for 6-1/2 minutes, and continue to cook the eggs over medium-high heat.
As soon as the timer rings, put pot into the sink and run cold water over the eggs for 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Serve in egg cups if you have them.
Sally Rae's Breakfast Smoothie Ingredients
Smoothies are another one of my favorite 'breakfast to-go' items. I have a few beautiful, big, old-style milkshake glasses that are perfect for at home and work. For the ferry, a large yogurt container works just fine! Any extra is easy to store in the cooler for the day in town. When the container is empty, no need to worry about it getting broken or damaged.

        Yield: 1-2 servings
The 'Pepto-Bismal' color is from organic red beet crystals. All measurements are guesstimates, so the yield may vary.
Banana and Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened almond milk or plain homemade kefir
1 ripe banana
1-2 Tbsp. organic red beet crystals  
1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
1 generous spoon organic cashew butter
1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries 

Place all ingredients into a blender and whirl on high speed until there are no lumps. Pour and serve.

**CHEF'S NOTE: there are so many variations to this guideline recipe... substitute Coconut Milk and Mango, Banana and Blueberry, add Greek yogurt, flax seed... endless possibilities for a nourishing, fast, to-go breakfast!!

Another idea if you're in a rush for work or heading to the ferry ...a slice of Banana Bread or 'Pumpkin Pecan Loaf' and a fresh coffee fills the breakfast bill. I always have overripe bananas in the freezer (does this sound familiar?) They are used to bake different versions of banana bread ...with or without nuts, gluten free, grain free etc. Once the loaves cool; slice and wrap individually, pack into a freezer zip lock bag that is labeled with the item, date then pop in the freezer. In the rush out the door or for a lunch box they are ready to go... maybe not the most nutritious breaky, but it's home baked, you know the ingredients and it's better than no breakfast at all!

Till next time... Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae
'Steamed Egg' Method from Cooks Illustrated
Smoothie Recipe by Sally Rae  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Denman Island Blackberry Faire 2017

Produce judging and displays
"The biggest little parade this side of the Salish Sea"
Denman Island celebrates the end of summer with the annual Blackberry Faire. The festivities kick off early morning with the Blackberry Run/Walk. An 8.5 km course that takes participants up the big hill then onto Pickles, Lake and Northwest Roads. All proceeds from the run are donated to Canadian Breast Cancer Research. After the run the Blackberry Faire follows on the Community Hall grounds... a parade, food booths, a book sale for fundraising, music, produce judging and displays and craft booths. This is also the venue for the famous Denman Island Zucchini Races, where the only rule is that 'all axles must go through the zucchini'!

The parade assembly takes place at the Guest House then travels to the Community Hall field. Named in The Flagstone as "the biggest little parade this side of the Salish Sea", this year did not disappoint. Lead by a couple of frisky, side stepping horses, along with music and costumes there were kids on bikes, miniature goats with fairy wings and a tutu, baton twirling, a ewe pulling a cart of tiny fairies, assorted canines, an old truck, farm tractors, flashing lights of the Ambulance and Denman Island Volunteer Fire Department trucks and the grand finale, a beautiful, white steed sprinkled with glitter, complete with a flower wreath and braided tail with flowers.
Produce entries from my garden
I decided to enter some of my fabulous garlic for judging this year. The Hornby Island Fair has Denman judges who rave about the participation there. Our competitive nature has created a bit of a buzz on Denman this year to up our game for the judges who come over from Hornby Island. 

While watering the garden the night before Faire day, I realized there is more here to enter than just garlic!
Heirloom Tomato Collection takes first place!
The first ripe Aunt Ruby's German Green tomato was staring me in the face, the Seascape Strawberries are always a show stopper... and I pick Corentine cukes every 3-4 days!

I managed to round up five good looking entries; two varieties of hardneck garlic, my favorite Corentine cornichons in two sizes, an Heirloom Tomato Collection (Aunt Ruby's German Green, Sally's Salsa and Yellow Hawaiian) and last but not least, twelve stunning, huge Seascape Strawberries. 
Seascape Strawberries take second in the Berry Category

It was a busy day with lots of activity, socializing and fun. The weather was beautiful, although the afternoon got a bit hot for some of us. The Denman Island Garden Club ran the Produce Competition for the first time this year and I send out many thanks to all those involved in organizing all the activities that go into this annual event.

It was a great day on Denman! Now those winning tomatoes will become delicious sandwiches for dinner... and seeds will be collected and saved for next year!
Winner winner, makes great dinner!
Till next time... stay cool and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae
Organic produce lovingly grown, watered and cared for by Sally Rae