Sunday, December 29, 2019

Thank You and Happy New Year!

I would like to personally thank you for spending time with me here every month. Your kind words, comments, support and feedback encourage me to continue sharing my lifetime food journey and gardening experience.

From our household to yours, I wish you a Happy New Year as we enter a new decade ... with all the best 2020 will bring!

Billie and Portia 2019

So, until next year ... Happy New Year, Joyful Cooking and Bon Appétit!
... Sally Rae

Photo by Sally Rae

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Last Denman Market of the Year

The sun came out this morning for a crisp, beautiful day at the final Denman Island Farmer's Market of 2019. I was in search of fresh, organic vegetables, both for meals and to stock my freezer with soups. I came home beaming, with so much more than I imagined!!

I have written previous posts about our incredible Denman Island Market and the dedicated local Farmers. Through sunshine, rain and yes... even snow, the tents and tables are set up, ready to 'feed Denman'! We do live in a very special place on Earth!

The Denman Island Market ~ December 21st, 2019
Naomi of Orkney Farms had some crazy huge parsnips that are destined for an amazing Curried Parsnip soup for the freezer. Also from Naomi, a package of Orkney Farms ground beef and a small, perfect red cabbage. The next stop was to visit Kate at Denman Island Heritage Apples for her Traditional and Blackberry infused Apple Cider Vinegar. I'm going to compare them both separately in my previous recipe for Marinated Vegetable Salad
Paleo Veg Marinade 
 with Blackberry infused
Apple Cider Vinegar
Then moving on... to stand in the (always long) line for Two Roads Farm. According to Sam, the last of the carrots and the Farm Stand will be open until Christmas Eve, then closed for the season. Also from Sam; fresh Brussels sprouts, a rutabaga, a few small white onions (I only grew red this year), a bunch of each red and golden beets. Jenny was there with beautiful jars of ready to heat-and-eat soups, her assortment of pepper condiments and soaps too.
Incredible Denman Market shopping spree in December! 
Tracy from Ruby Slipper Ranch had fresh turkey parts again. I'm not a fan of white meat and a turkey is just too big for two. Last year we really enjoyed the fresh turkey legs, so this Christmas we'll have that again... cooked in the Romertopf clay baker in the oven. Fresh eggs came from Pat of Corlan Vineyard and Farm... and don't forget to try her warm baked blueberry coffee cake and fabulous coffee to warm you up!! Cheryl was also at the Market with her organic chocolate delights, unfortunately the 'turtles' were no where in sight... long sold out! 
Fluorite, Rose Quartz and Black Tourmaline

I have brought home rocks, stones and pretty pebbles since I was a kid. I couldn't resist browsing the table of beautiful colored rocks and amethyst geodes. Yup, I came home with two incredible specimens to add to my collection and adorn my window sills. The 'Fluorite' slice, with its multi colored layers almost looks edible! The photo does not do it justice... When I picked up the chunk of 'Black Tourmaline' it just felt right in my hand, and the beautiful 'Rose Quartz' is eye candy. 

To top off the shopping, it was a relaxed, social day of visiting and chatting with friends and clients. I'm sorry for anyone who missed this amazing day at the Market on Denman. Mark your calendars for next year, it is an event you won't want to miss! We are so fortunate to have the incredible variety of fresh, local, organic food available into December! 

I extend deep gratitude and a huge Thank You to all the vendors and farmers today ... thank you for your hard work, long hours and dedication to feeding Denman throughout the year, allowing us to shop local and eat fresh!!

Until next time... Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays and Bon Appétit!
Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year ...

Photos by Sally Rae

Monday, December 16, 2019

Paleo Marinade for Vegetables

A basic guideline for Paleo style, clean eating is ... "eat whole foods, organic as much as possible and avoid processed foods ... if it looks like it was made in a factory, don't eat it!" 

Before changing to the Paleo diet, a bottle of my 'Bean Salad Marinade' (from For the Love of Food, page 156) was a staple in my fridge. Any leftover vegetables from meals became a quick marinated salad for the next day... whether it was stir fried zucchini, mushrooms and onions, roasted asparagus or steamed broccoli, carrots, even Brussels sprouts were tossed in a bowl with some thinly sliced fresh onion and the marinade.

Most of the Bean Salad Marinade ingredients from my original recipe are no longer allowed on my diet so I have been searching for a Paleo version. Last month I found a recipe that I have been adapting to my taste. I have used this marinade on raw vegetables, steamed vegetables and even with cooked sweet potatoes!

Fast and simple ~ Mixed Vegetables or Sweet Potato Salad

It is fast, simple and has numerous flavor variations. Warning this is addictive ... and healthy!! I use red onions because I love the color, but after marinating for 2 days it will turn the cauliflower pink. If that's a game changer for you, add the red onions just hours before serving or use sweet white onions instead. 
This is a make ahead salad. For the best flavor, allow the salad to marinate at least overnight, stirring occasionally... I let it marinade for two days before serving. You can use any variety of vegetables.

Here are a few suggestions for variety and whether to pre-cook or use them raw...
 ~raw florets of broccoli and cauliflower
 ~raw celery, sliced on the diagonal
 ~raw small zucchini, cut into coins
 ~raw red or sweet white onions, julienne, sliced thin 
 ~raw Sugar Snap peas, tips removed and cut diagonally into 2-3 pieces
 ~raw bell peppers in every color **only if you can tolerate nightshades
 ~raw or lightly steamed carrot slices
 ~steamed Brussels sprouts, cut in halves or quarters
 ~roasted asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
 ~cooked golden beets, skin removed and diced 

Remember, always try to eat in season and choose organic when possible. Your local Farmer's Market is the ideal place to shop!

PALEO VEGETABLE SALAD MARINADE        Yield: about 2 cups
Marinated Raw Mixed Vegetables

    Keep a bottle of this basic marinade as a staple in your fridge!
The Basic Marinade:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
Flavor Options:
**Season the above Basic Marinade with your choice of the following;
   1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh dill weed 
   or 1/2 Tbsp. dried dill weed
   or 2 tsp. crushed dried thyme + 1 tsp. crushed dried sweet marjoram
   or 2 Tbsp. sulfate free grainy mustard + 1 tsp. dried dill weed 

In a 2 cup jar or shaker bottle, measure and add all the 'Basic Marinade' ingredients. Add your desired 'Flavor Options', shake well, label with the date and store in the fridge. 

For a 'Marinated Vegetable Salad': prepare 8-10 cups of vegetables and toss with a full recipe of Marinade. Serves 8-10

For a 'Sweet Potato Salad': Cook, cool, peel and dice 2 jumbo, orange sweet potatoes. Finely dice 1/4 cup each celery and red onions. Gently mix sweet potatoes, onion and celery with 1/2 cup or more of the Marinade. **Note: the grainy mustard option is fabulous with this one! Serves 6-8 

For a 'Red Beet Salad': Cook, cool, peel and julienne or slice red beets, toss with red or green thinly sliced cabbage and thinly sliced red onions. This one is messy but delicious!!

Any of these salad ideas are a welcome addition to a potluck any time of the year. With the busy holiday season approaching, take advantage of a make ahead, healthy dish to share with friends and family. 

Until next time... Happy Holidays and Bon Appétit! 

Recipe Ideas by Sally Rae
Photos by Sally Rae
Inspiration from Lichen Paleo, Loving AIP 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Homemade Gifts From Your Kitchen

The thought, time and effort involved in homemade gifts from your kitchen show you care, and are gifted with love. 

One of my favorite standby gifts any time of year, is Caramel Nut Popcorn... it is a much appreciated treat at my house compared to the store bought versions! It can be made with or without nuts... if using nuts try; peanuts, a fancy nut mix or specific nuts that are favorites.
Caramel Nut Popcorn
Cellophane food grade bags can be found at Craft Supply Stores and sometimes Dollar Stores. With the addition of a personalized label and fancy twist tie or ribbon, it makes a thoughtful parting gift to dinner guests, stocking stuffer or ... package the whole recipe in a one gallon fancy container for that 'big kid' in your household! (No names mentioned!!) With 14 cups of popcorn and nuts, this recipe makes quite a few small gift bags, so it goes a long way.

At the other end of the homemade 'foodie gift' spectrum is the elegant French Macaron. Make these sweet little gems for a very special gift. They are time consuming and a bit fussy but oh so elegant! 
Elegant French Macarons

Hand dipped Chocolate Truffles
Gingerbread Boys, Girls and Reindeer
For a quick, easy and decadent gift try Chocolate Nut Bark for the chocoholics on your list. Chocolate Bark satisfies the cravings without the time and labor intensity involved in making hand dipped Chocolate Truffles.

If you are an avid baker, a fancy assortment of festive cookies and squares packaged in a pretty tin make a tasty, caring gift. 

Asst. Pickles and Pickled Quail Eggs
On the savory side, small jars of homemade fermented pickles, pickled eggs (think tiny quail or Bantam hen eggs) or even sauerkraut are great gifts but please be sure the recipient knows these gifts must be kept in the fridge at all times!! 

If you are a gardener, gift a small braid of your home grown garlic adorned with dried herbs or flowers and a pretty ribbon. Or an assortment of fruit jams, vinaigrette or condiments prepared from your garden produce.
How about a fancy bottle of Homemade Liqueur ... or my cookbook 'For the Love of Food'? There are links to my Blog recipes offered on most of these suggestions above, just hover over them and click.

I hope these suggestions have your creative juices flowing. To get you started, a recipe from my cookbook 'For the Love of Food', enjoy my Caramel Nut Popcorn!

CARAMEL NUT POPCORN           Yield:  About 14 cups
Fill colorful tins or cellophane bags with this treat for an inexpensive holiday gift that both kids and adults will enjoy receiving.

12 cups popped popcorn
2 cups mixed nuts or peanuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
½ cup butter
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
Without stirring, boil 5 minutes

Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine popcorn and nuts in pan; place in a 250°F oven while preparing the glaze. In a saucepan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat. Without stirring, boil 5 minutes.

Break apart and cool on bake sheets
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn and nuts; stir to coat well. Place in pre-heated oven 60 minutes, stirring occasionally (every 20 minutes works well).

When done, remove from the oven and divide the mixture onto 2 non-stick bake sheets with sides. Quickly break apart or into chunks while warm. Allow to cool. Store in tightly covered container. 

Until next time... Have fun in your kitchen ... and Bon Appétit! 

Photos by Sally Rae 
Recipes by Sally Rae