Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Seasons Greetings

Another Covid Christmas

British Columbia has taken a beating this year... with our summer Heat Dome, too many Atmospheric Rivers to count, Cyclone Bombs, wild fires then severe flooding and landslides... and that was just the tip of the iceberg! We are now facing a Polar Vortex for Christmas with freezing rain, snow and minus temperatures. Not something we usually get here on the Island. Add in raging Covid case numbers and it has been a crazy, record breaking year.

We have so much to be thankful for... to live on Denman Island where many of the weather hardships were not an issue. 

Seven hens, a cold afternoon and a bowl of warm mash
As for Covid, we stay home a lot and are lucky to have a big property, winter garden, a warm, dry house with fur and feathered companions to occupy our time.

The hens have been such a joy in my life. With the cold weather I've been making them a warm mash each afternoon. Even the two shy birds get their head in the bowl with everyone else. It is heartwarming to watch.

Part of the Joy - beautiful eggs!



Even though the temperatures are dropping, the hens continue to lay their beautiful assortment of colored egg shells, from a yellow/green with speckles, pale pink/brown, dark/dark brown, pale blue, mint green and blue. 

So here we are ... looking at another quiet, Covid Christmas ahead of us. Much gratitude and appreciation for where we live and the type of lifestyle we have. Caring, helpful neighbors, technology for winter entertainment and to stay connected with friends and family ... plenty of food, water and firewood. We are beyond grateful!

From my home to yours, I wish you a safe, joyful Christmas and all the Best in 2022!

Until next year ... Stay safe, warm and dry ...
Happy Holidays and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Soup Recipe Switch Up

Sunshine Squash in the garden
My 'Featured Post' last month, 'Thai Sweet Potato Soup'... highlights one of my favorite flavor combinations and a soup recipe all served up in a bowl of comfort! Last week I had time to make a few recipes to fill the freezer. I had a great harvest of Sunshine Squash and wanted to use them for squash soups. The first go-to was from my cookbook that starts with a big pan of 'Curry Roasted Squash' from page 270+271 of 'For the Love of Food'. The left over roasted squash becomes 'Creamy Curried Squash Soup'. Yummmm!!

There were no sweet potatoes in my cold storage but lots of winter squash, so I decided to experiment and transform last months 'Feature Recipe'. The soup switch up became 'Thai Squash Soup' and was a great success. Sunshine, Buttercup and other Kabocha type squash are what I prefer for their dense, sweet flesh and vibrant color. Give it a try and let me know what you think...

THAI SQUASH SOUP      Yield: 8 servings
This soup is easily made vegetarian by using vegetable stock and omit the whipping cream. If you will be freezing the soup, do not add the whipping cream.

1 large Kabocha type squash; peeled, seeds removed and 3/4"diced (8-10 cups diced)
1 onion, fine diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 generous Tbsp. organic coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
5-6 cups flavorful chicken or vegetable stock
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Thai Squash Soup

1 fresh lemongrass stalk
2 Kefir lime leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
1 can (400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1/2-1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, optional
1/2 cup whipping cream, optional
Finely chopped cilantro or chives for garnish

In a large stock pot melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Sauté until softened and fragrant but do not brown. Clean the outer leaves then pound the bulb end of the lemongrass with a skillet or flat meat tenderizer. Add the stock, cayenne, lemongrass, Kefir lime leaves, salt, pepper and diced squash. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 20-30 minutes until the squash softens.Stir occasionally.

Remove the lemongrass and Kefir lime leaves. Use an immersion blender and purée the mixture until smooth. Whisk in the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer, stirring often... do not boil!

Stir in the whipping cream if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary with lime juice, powdered ginger, cayenne, salt and pepper. Ladle soup into servings, sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro or chives.

Until next time ... Stay safe, warm and dry,
Bon Appétit!

Recipe by Sally Rae
Photos by Sally Rae