Posts tagged with gluten free

nettle

 

In true-to-me fashion, I’m whipping up this post a mere 4 hours before the deadline for a fun recipe contest happening here in Halifax! It’s called FARM : MARKET : TABLE and is simple. Ingredients must come from my home away from home, the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market.

I spend every Saturday at the Seaport Market for my biz, Made with Local. There, I sling super-delicious and healthy granola bars that are made with loads of Maritime produced ingredients. I LOVE spending each weekend surrounded by my market pals and fantastic customers, but  the winter there feels loooong, and as much as I love root veggies, seeing greens trickle on to farm stand displays in the Spring is beyond exciting!

Many of Spring’s first greens are celebrated, common salad stuff such as spinach and mesclun mixes, asparagus, and our region’s seasonal veggie superstar, the fiddlehead. But stinging nettle is not something I’ve ever really paid attention to before. I purchased a nice big bag of it from TapRoot Farms via Noggins Farm stand at the Seaport and my wheels started to turn. Spring soup. Vibrantly green. A light lunch that’s perfect for cleaning out the system after a weekend of indulgences. And healthy? Nettle’s been used for centuries to remedy inflammation, allergies, arthritis, it’s a diuretic, and is great for your GI system. I hate the word, but dare I say, superfood?

I meandered over to RiverView Herbs’ table, and picked up a celery-like herb, lovage. It’s pungent and lovely and also something that’s not usually found in my cupboard. I’m breaking out of my winter sweet potato/turnip funk in grand fashion here, folks! The other veggies in this soup are common soup culprits though, some white potatoes, an onion, and a leek, all gathered from Noggin’s Farm. I picked up a tub of my favourite locally-made yogurt from FoxHill and headed ‘er for home!

Here are the fruits of my labours – a soup that tastes as green as it looks, in the best possible way! Keep your eye out for these lovely, off-beat greens and let your mind wander. Get creative. With ingredients this fresh, let their flavours shine through and keep it simple!

Stinging Nettle & Lovage Soup

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped (Noggins)

1 leek, white and light green parts, rinsed and sliced (Noggins)

2 cloves garlic, chopped (Noggins)

3 medium potatoes, chopped (Noggins)

200 g stinging nettle, tops only (TapRoot via Noggins)

1 handful of lovage leaves and stems, chopped (RiverView Herbs)

5 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp lemon juice

Salt, pepper to taste (I added about 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper)

1 cup plain yogurt, for garnish (Foxhill Cheese)

 

In a large pot, heat oil and butter and add chopped onion and leek. Sautee until softened, then add garlic and chopped potatoes and heat them through for  a couple of minutes. Add in nettle and lovage to pot, stirring and incorporating it until it begins to wilt. Once it reduces down a bit, add the stock and bring to a low boil. Cover and let it go until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit. With an immersion blender, food processor, or regular ol’ blender, puree the heck outta that soup. You want to make it as homogeneous as you can. Once it’s all smooth and lovely, taste test, and add more salt/pepper/lemon juice if needed. This soup’s flavour is delicate, but should be well balanced.

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or a drizzle of cream. The colours and flavour are so fantastic and unique; welcome, Spring, and all the freshness you bring!

 

 

 

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

quinoa

Right now I’m just croaking for fresh, light flavours to brighten up this oh-so-wintery winter. If I wasn’t the absolute worst plant parent, I would still have some fresh herbs at my place to liven up dishes all winter long. Alas, this is not the case. I’m brutal. I’ve killed off every little herb plant I’ve ever been gifted or bought! I have plans to get a little veggie patch in the works next summer so I really need to start doing some research on how not to be world’s most negligent gardener. For now, I leave it to the pros!

Tabbouleh is loaded with fresh herbs that will start up a little middle eastern food party in your mouth! Speaking of parties, this makes a great dish for potlucks, aside some grilled chicken or fish, or just enjoyed as a (vegan!) lunch. It keeps amazingly in the fridge, honestly, it’s best after being left in the fridge over night to get all those flavours a mingling.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-ish teaspoons salt
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered if they ar bigger
1 – 2 T of red wine vinegar
extra lemon juice, salt and pepper for seasoning

Prepare quinoa according to directions (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, boil in a covered pot for about 15-20 mins). When it’s done, fluff with a fork, dump it into a big bowl and let it cool a bit. Once cooled, add all the other ingredients, toss it well, and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

 

Sometimes I wonder if people who are real, knowledgeable cooks/chefs ever see some of my ‘original’ recipes and think ‘She’s doing it wrong’.

I have zero proper instruction on how to cook or bake and often find myself wondering if what I’m doing is the best way to get maximum tastiness out of the dish I’ve got at hand. My love for food revolves around the act of eating, and as much as I do like to spend time in the kitchen, it’s safe to say that I feel pretty freaking clueless sometimes.

Soup’s pretty hard to screw up, but I managed to do just that, a lot last winter. Soup and I lost our mojo and took a little break from each other. Fall 2012 has been a time for us to rekindle our relationship, and so far, things are going pretty well!

I had some tasty root veggies that I picked up at my local farm stand, Noggins Farm. A couple of turnips, carrots, onions, the homely veggies that so many hearty, starchy soups are spawned from. In rummaging around my fridge looking for some butter, I found a pack of gorgeous, thick-cut bacon from a local butcher. Um, yeah. That bacon was going in my soup. No questions.

So here’s when I get a little iffy about my soup-ing method. Obviously I wanted to put the fat off that bacon to good use; my onions were getting browned in it, for sure. So chop bacon, get it all brown and toasty in the bottom of the pot, lots of tasty bacon grease to work with. Now…to leave the bacon in the pot or remove it? I left it in there. The bacon was along for the full soup ride. Not sure if that was the right way to go about this soup but hot damn…the end result is indisputably amazing.

Next post - this gorgeous, oat-y, sweet, soup-dunkable bread!

 

The smokiness of the bacon, earthiness of the veggies and a generous drizzle of maple syrup makes this soup the lunch equivalent of a heavy home-made afghan. So cozy and warm. This one’s a keeper, peeps!

 

Maple, Bacon & Winter Veggie Soup

Ingredients

  • 2-3 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 medium turnips (about softball size) chopped in about 1 inch cubes
  • 5 cups broth, I used veggie
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

In a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven (I used my Creuset), sautee the bacon until just done.

So here, I left the bacon in, but most bacon-y soup recipes call for it to be removed at this point, placing the bacon on some paper towel to drain. Do whatever!

Now sautee the onion, carrots and turnip in the bacon fat, seasoning with salt and pepper, cooking until onion softens, 5 or so minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer a let it go until all veggies are cooked through.

Once they are tender, remove the pot from the heat, throw the bacon back in (if you removed it in the first place), and add nutmeg, cayenne, and maple.

Puree using immersion blender or regular blender...just be careful! Once smooth, return to pot and adjust the seasonings as necessary for your tastes!

Enjoy with a thick slice of brown bread and have a little love for the winter!

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Meaty Fusion Chili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chili rules when you’ve gotta feed a crowd. This past weekend, we had a bunch of buds over prior to a charity wine tasting; I whipped this up because it’s  smart to lay down a good food foundation before the vino starting flowing! It ended up being one of many yummy dishes on the docket, because I’ve got some pals that are mega-talented in the kitchen, especially Miz Kathy of Eat Halifax. Girl brought over a squash risotto that had everyone going for seconds, and thirds!

I’m just realizing now, this post is the first of me coming out of the closet, officially. The carnivore closet, that is. I’m back on the meat, folks. After three years of vege/pescetarianism, I’ve decided to bring some sustainably raised beef, pork and fowl back into the mix! Honestly? I’m loving it. I still find my meals at home revolving around fish, tofu, or legumes; the biggest change has been that I’m no longer that dinner guest who’s constantly reassuring the host that greens and spuds will hit the spot. Don’t get me wrong, as a P-E-Islander I love me some potatoes. However, many a time I’d feel bad that the host would feel bad about me just eating potatoes, y’know? So that’s over with. Sometime soon I’ll put a little post up showcasing some of the farmers who raise some damn fine animals in an ethical, sustainable way in my neck of the woods. For now, we’re going back to this chili.

I posted a recipe a while back to Sweet with Heat Veggie Chili. It is super tasty and easy as pie to whip up. This one, however, really is sweeter, and hotter, and contains a shameless quantity of meat. And not one types of meat, but two. Pig and cow. There’s also beans thrown in there too, lots of ‘em, because I do love the creaminess of beans in a chili.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is based loosely on one from Allrecipes.com, I’ve buggered around with it so much I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty close to my own. It got loads of compliments from my guests on Saturday night and is enough to feed a crowd of about 12. We buddied it up with some tasty little cornbread muffins and it was a straight up, house-party, tex-mex good time. Enjoy!

Meaty Fusion Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs hot sausage, casings removed
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine OR dark beer
  • 2 large cans (29 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup wershersher sauce (aka worchestershire)
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (like Tobasco)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup molasses (honey would be okay too)
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 2 large cans chickpeas

Place sausage and ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove meat from pan, and set aside. In a large pot, Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of the meat drippings over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onions are soft and translucent. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in tomato paste, and allow to caramelize. Pour in wine (or beer) to deglaze the pot, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom.

Stir in cooked meat, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce. Season with cumin. Bring to a boil, then stir in molasses. Carefully mix in kidney beans and chickpeas without breaking them. Cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Stir and scrape the bottom every hour or so.

This will keep in the fridge really well for 3 or so days. Makes great leftovers!