citrus pulled pork buns with coleslaw and peach layer cake with brown butter buttercream

this farmer bought his first quarter section in 1997… I’ve been farming with him now since 1999… and he is still smiling when I go for a ride with him in the combine… maybe he’s laughing to himself thinking that I am still asking him the same questions as I did back in 1999…

I can remember meeting him and asking him all about the farm… then he brought me home to show me the farm and I told his Dad I had ridden a ‘cultivator’, trying to impress him… his Dad told me he hoped I hadn’t and then the farmer told me I meant a ‘combine’…

if I had known back in 1999 when I was bragging about riding a cultivator that in 2020 I would have two sons and a daughter working on the farm with us, I don’t think I could have imagined what that would even look like…

and now comes the part where we are sad and happy… because we only get one more week of the boys working on the farm before one of them heads to College and the other off to High School… this year it won’t just be mom missing this boys… the farmer is really going to miss them...

we had a bit of a rain last week so it took a day to get back out in the field, but this allowed me to prep the pulled pork which was nice… I have to tell you, this is my family’s favourite pulled pork recipe and you are not wasting your time making this…

this looks like basically an entire pig and it felt like it when I was cooking it!

citrus with pork for the win… I use a heavy pan to brown the pork on all sides before placing it in the Instant Pot… don’t skip this browning step as it is what give it all the flavour with the rub…

my Instant Pot can hold the entire Pork Shoulder Roast and using a pressure cooker really cuts back on the total time… if you don’t have one a slow cooker is fine as well, you just need to plan farther ahead…

making this a day ahead, I shredded the pork and added the liquid and onions and garlic and stored this overnight in the fridge… (for the liquid I did the same as I would do with gravy, I let it sit and then poured the juice liquid without the fat on the top going back in)

the trick to getting it crispy is to put the shredded pork onto a baking sheet with a little bit of the juice and place under a broiler for a few minutes… toss, add more juice and broil again… this gets it crispy and the liquid keeps it moist (there I go with that awful word again)

now you can serve this pork with tacos (or even over some nachos would be so good), but for the field I chose to put it on some homemade buns…

my boys did tell me that they could have eaten 8 of these, opposed to the three I gave them… I told them I didn’t want to wrap up 8 pork buns for each farmer out there…

citrus pulled pork

Ingredients:
For the Rub:
8 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
For the Pork:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 heads garlic, thinly sliced
2.6 kg pork shoulder blade roast boneless (Costco)
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
4 bay leaves
To Serve:
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
cheese for topping
buns

Directions:
make the rub by combining the rub ingredients
cut the pork into four chunks
rub each side of the pork chunks in the rub
in avocado oil (or oil of your choice), brown the sides of the pork
place the browned pork, broth, orange and lime juice, cider vinegar, garlic, onion and bay leaves in a pressure cooker
on manual, set timer for 45 minutes (if you are using a slow cooker, this will take on high 4-6 hours)
when done, shred the pork and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet
broil until pieces are crispy, around 3 minutes
remove from oven and pour 1 cup or so of the reserved cooking liquid all over the pork
use tongs to toss and return to the oven for around 3 minutes under the broiler
pour more reserved liquid over the pork and give one last toss
serve on fresh buns with cheese or whatever toppings you enjoy

the farmer likes coleslaw on his pork buns, but I thought it would make them too soggy, so we sent them some coleslaw with a label saying they could add this to their buns… my guess is the farmer is the only one who took the time to do so…

cake time… and with peaches on the brain we decided this peach layer cake was going to be perfect… I also had my helper with me for this so was willing to attempt a ‘bigger project’ dessert…

this cake is a four layer cake, cutting the two 8 inch round cakes in half… for a stacked cake like this, it is really important to have everything cool while icing it or the whole thing could slide like the Tower of Pisa…

Sienna and I thought this looked like a giant cookie… the cake itself is rich and tasty and the peach jam is sweet and adds a burst of flavour

the buttercream icing has a step involved with it that is browning some of the butter before whipping it up… this adds a very distinct nutty flavour to the icing which I enjoyed but Sienna didn’t really… still fun to try out to see if you like it… I really like the nutty flavour with the sweetness of the cake and jam…

peach layer cake with brown butter icing

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 cup canola oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 large eggs, room temp
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Peach Jam:
6 cups fresh peaches, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp bourbon (or replace with apple juice)
1/3 cup raspberry jam
Brown Butter Buttercream:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups)salted butter, room temp
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:
preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 (8 inch) round cake pans, line with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper, coat with flour
in a standing mixture beat canola oil, ricotta, eggs, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk
add the flour mixture
pour batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the cake
set on cooling rack in pan
once cooled a bit, turn out onto cooling rack, cover and let cakes completely cool
for the jam, cook the peaches, brown sugar, bourbon and raspberry jam until mixture is thick… let cool completely
for the buttercream, add 1 cup (2 sticks) butter to a saucepan and let brown until you can smell that it is toasty… remove from heat and add to mixing bowl until cool… when cool, whip up the toasted butter with the remained 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and the icing sugar and vanilla
cut the two cakes in half
ice a layer of the cake and add jam, then repeat with the next layer
ice the cake
chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you cut into it
store in fridge overnight if you have time and cut the next day for good results

we were able to put the cake in the fridge overnight and that really helped with cutting it the next morning… then I just left it on the counter and it was room temperature by the time we took suppers out…

another fun part of ‘family farming’ this year has been hearing the boys reaction to the food I take out… mostly the reaction that they could have ate two suppers… for sure with this cake they could not have handled more than one slice…

I also enjoying riding with the farmer and hearing the boys voices on the radio… although teenagers these days really need to work on their phone voice I think… they all sound like they are in the throws of a terrible depression and upset that anyone made them speak…

one more week of laughing, farming stories, making lunches, mounds of dirty jeans and socks in the laundry… and I am going to enjoy every moment of it! the farmer did mention to me that mom’s are never happy… during Covid here I just wanted my kids to have their life back and now that they are getting it back I just want them home forever…

save it for Facebook

when you are sitting by yourself, watching your daughter’s hockey practice (#girlscanplaytoo) (I forever will find this hashtag humorous) … and a strange man plops himself down beside you and begins the conversation with “I don’t believe we’ve met”…  you know you need to buckle yourself up for a wild ride…

just when you think we have evolved as a species… conversations like this occur…  where someone has not figured out that the only place that people brag about their offspring anymore is on Facebook…

it used to be we had a few options – annual Christmas letters, prayer chains, family reunions – but now I hope most self-aware parents realize the only avenue for pumping little Timmy’s tires is Facebook…

this being said – it did occur to me that Little Timmy most likely is not on Facebook – this is a crucial flaw in what would seem to be the perfect outlet for comparing the accomplishments of our young ones…

“so, which one is yours out there?” I politely ask… this way I am avoiding him telling me his name which I was never going to remember

he points to a girl and then, for context, describes her “the tall, athletic one with the hard shot”  …  before I could point out and describe my daughter, he quickly adds “gets her height and ability from both sides of the family”  

this I was comforted by, as you hate to see the competition ensue when one side is so obviously better than the other side of the family… (no offense to the farmer’s side)

a few things I learned during the 28 minutes I was held hostage in the stands… he was a bit of an ‘athlete’ in his day, still runs but not as fast as his superstar daughter…  he coached his daughter her whole life until now because no one else can get the full potential out of her…  refs hate him… the daughter hasn’t seen a sport that she didn’t dominate at…

I was doing fine handling my end of the dialogue… adding my ‘oh really, oh wow, oh geez’ when it seemed timely…  but when he said these words “we are so active we got rid of cable a few years ago and don’t watch any TV”… I thought I was going to lose my mind…

really?  pardon?  you just bike and rollerblade all evening long? haven’t seen a professional sporting event in three years? you missed Harry and Meagan’s wedding? do I dare bring up Game of Thrones or the 23 seasons of The Bachelor I have consumed?

blueberry pancakes

Ingredients:
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup milk
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
– zest of one lemon

Directions:
– sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda together in a bowl
– add the salt
– in another larger bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, butter and vanilla
– add the flour mixture and fold in
– add the blueberries and lemon zest
– in a saucepan, heat some butter
– pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot skillet (generally 3 pancakes per pan)
– cook until bubbles begin to form and pop, around 1 1/2 minutes and then flip and cook for another minute (serve with bacon that has pepper and maple syrup on it)

I could not contain myself anymore and had to say “if my life every got to the point where I had no time for the odd TV show – I would know something had gone terribly wrong”

parenting is a tough gig…  and I for one would not have wanted to do it without the help of ‘the Simpsons”…  #ittakesavillage … when the kids get home from school, ever since the age of Kindergarten, they have tuned into the Simpsons

the farmer and I have always felt that whatever we missed in teaching the children about life would be covered in the hundreds of Simpsons episodes they have viewed…

I was totally with him, the boasting, the ‘one-upping’… I was fine with it all… maybe this is how he chats when he gets nervous or maybe he doesn’t have access to Facebook... 

but when he said his family had no use for a TELEVISION…  he lost all credibility to me… 

instinctually I just can’t trust someone that hates TV…  what has TV ever done to you?  other than entertain you?

worst part is – we live in Saskatchewan!!!  and unless you are at your cabin – it is not overly interesting to be outside…  its not like you are in the mountains of BC…

two questions to ask someone when I meet them

1 – do you love TV?

2 – how do you feel about hugging?

only two things I need to know about someone

matcha raspberry sponge roll cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

– 1 cup sifted cake flour

– 2 tbsp matcha

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

– 1 cup sugar, divided

– 1 tsp vanilla

– icing sugar for dusting

Raspberry Cream Filling:

– 1 cup raspberry jam

– 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature

– 4 tbsp icing sugar

– 1 pkg raspberries, plus more for garnishing

Directions:

– preheat oven to 375 degrees

– lightly grease a half sheet pan (18”x13”) with baking spray, line with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with baking spray

– sift the cake flour, matcha and salt together

– in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites

– whisk on high speed until light and foamy

– sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk till medium peaks

– transfer to a clean mixing bowl

– wipe the stand mixer bowl down and add the egg yolks

– whisk until light yellow

– add 1/2 cup sugar

– fold together with egg whites – try not to lose the volume

– sprinkle over the flour mixture and fold together

– pour into the prepared baking sheet

– bake for 10-12 minutes

– dust a clean linen towel with icing sugar

– while warm, turn the cake out onto the linen towel

– remove parchment and roll up

– cool on a wire rack

– for the filling – whip the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth

– add the raspberries

– unroll the cake and spread with raspberry jam

– spread the cream cheese over

– roll up again without the linen towel

– wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge

– dust the cake with icing sugar

– slice into pieces and serve with raspberries

seeding 2019 begins!!!

I thought I might be done blogging…  it takes a considerable amount of time and effort… with trying to run more and keep up with all the farm and kids sports/lives I just felt like I should let it go…  but then I was at my Grandpa’s funeral and his sister told me that her husband loves reading my blog…  and it made my day…

so here it goes!!!  and I have so much excitement for cooking this spring and sharing it – but also getting back to writing as well…

I also upgraded my phone for a trip I took to Costa Rica in February and now I don’t need to spend any time editing my photos because they just look great  #nofilter (my 15 year old told me I need to use more hashtags… not sure if this is what he meant… or if he is mocking me… its tough to tell when he is being sarcastic)

 the farmer brought me a 5 gallon pail of chickpeas after harvest last year and I usually make up a batch every week – being a vegetarian, this is a lovely source of protein…

Instant Pot is perfect for these…  soak them for 8 hours, drain and add water again until it covers them by around 1/2 inch and set on manual for 10 minutes…

drain again and they are good to go

in this case – for this salad – they were getting roasted with some chili powder…  and that is my son adding the seasoning as he has a school project where he was supposed to cook a meal with a slow cooker (guess how much I love my kids in the kitchen with me?  …  scale of 1-10? …  I’d say a 2 …)

spring apple cauliflower salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or make your own!!! see note below)
chili powder, salt and pepper
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and ‘riced’ (or buy as ‘rice’)
2 apples, cut into little cubes
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
a bunch of parsley and mint, chopped
2 firm avocados, cut into chunks (optional)
Dressing:
2 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
juice and zest of one lime
salt and pepper (to taste, if necessary)

Instructions:
– preheat oven to 400 degrees
chickpeas – cooking them in the Instant Pot – soak in water for 8 hours if you can, then drain and add enough water to have around a 1/2 inch over the chickpeas
on manual, cook the chickpeas for 10 minutes and release
drain – I like my chickpeas a bit on the crunchy side…
on a baking sheet covered in tin foil, add the chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper
roast for 20 minutes and let cool and dry
cauliflower prep – if you weren’t able to buy cauliflower ‘rice’ – you can rice your own in a food processor or Vitamix… but work in very small batches
for the dressing – shake everything in a jar
to assemble, add everything except for the chickpeas together and stir well
place chickpeas on top of the salad and enjoy!

this part of the salad prep I did not allow him to help on… ricing the cauliflower… I pictured him turning it into a paste and finding cauliflower all over the kitchen for weeks to come…  it is a tricky thing to do and I sure wish Costco had been open for me to buy riced cauliflower there!!!

when you are giving the farmers chocolate cake – a nice light apple/cauliflower salad is in order… (if you look hard you can see his foot and my foot)

top with the roasted chickpeas and it is light and yummy and satisfying!

then I was able to get the kitchen to myself… and began the sandwiches…  the farmer loved roasted garlic and so I’m trying to find ways to include it…  this time it went into the whipped butter – which my 17 year old told me he could have ate the entire bowl with no bun…

the pork tenderloin gets cut up and roasted and my daughter told me she loves anything pig…  the farmer asked me how much I spent on it as apparently China is killing pigs and the price is on the rise… I must have gotten in on it before the price hike??? pork is cheap

pork caesar salad sandwiches with roasted garlic whipped butter

Ingredients:
1 fresh Pork Tenderloin
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
onion powder
garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
romaine lettuce, shredded
creamy Ceasar dressing
parmesan cheese
long buns or sourdough baguette, split down the middle lengthwise

Directions:
preheat oven to 375
line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil
slice the pork tenderloin in to 1/2 inch slices and line the slices on the baking sheet
sprinkle with salt, pepper and onion powder
add the garlic cloves (make sure they have oil on them)
roast pork for 15-20 minutes or until slices have just cooked through
continue to cook garlic if it is not done
in a mixing bowl, whip the butter, onion powder, salt, pepper and roasted garlic
in a bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, dressing and parmesan
to assemble: butter the bun with the whipped garlic butter, add pieces of the pork and top with caesar salad

now for the real reason I love seeding and harvest…  cakes and pies…

you kind of need a reason to bake…  seeding and harvest is a great reason…  even though farming isn’t quite as labour intensive as the good ‘ol days…

blackberry, cherry chocolate cake with blackberry buttercream icing

Ingredients:
Cake:
12 oz (2 pints) blackberries, plus more for decorating
1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp espresso powder or 1 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup reserved blackberry syrup
(milk if needed to get it creamy)

Directions:
add the blackberries, cherries and 1/4 cup sugar to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil
turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes – smashing the blackberries
let cool
preheat oven to 350 degrees
line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter or lard
in a large mixing bowl, combing the flour, sugar, instant coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
in another mixing bowl, mix the oil, milk, egg and vanilla
slowly add the flour mixture and the blackberry mixture – making sure to keep 1/2 cup of the blackberry syrup for the icing
divide the batter between the prepared baking pans, and smooth in to an even layer
bake for 35-35 minutes until a cake-tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean
let cool on a rack
for the buttercream, beat butter, scraping it down, until light and fluffy
add the sifted cocoa and icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until the frosting is thick and creamy
add the blackberry syrup
the buttercream should be spreadable, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake
assemble the cake
store leftovers in a covered container at room-temperature or refrigerated if longer than a day

it is Easter break here in Saskatchewan so kids in the kitchen seems to be inevitable…  and this 10 year old needs to put sprinkles on everything…

ok – maybe its ok having kids in the kitchen – once in awhile

happy seeding!!!

seeding… finally!

here we go!  after a freezing cold April with so much snow, we are finally getting going around here…  well, the farmers have been going for a few days but I finally got the ‘nod’ to bring suppers out…

as it so happened, my run took me by the cemetery this morning and I stopped by to have a chat with the farmer’s Grandpa…  both the farmer and I miss him this time of year…

I felt like he asked me a bunch of questions about seeding that I didn’t have the answers to and then told me I shouldn’t run so much…  seeding, farming, this land, this area… it all reminds the farmer and I of the hard work, sacrifices and joys that Grandpa and Grandma went through for us to be were we are today and doing what we are doing…

seeings how I had ran all morning I had planned ahead yesterday and bought what I consider to be Costco’s finest achievement… Tiramisu Cake…  it is delicious…

dessert being done… I moved on to the Pulled Pork on a Bun part of the meal… having gone a winter with minimal meat cooking and no pork/bacon in the house, this was a bit much for me to handle…  so I called upon the help of my 14 year old… turns out, he was just as disgusted by the texture of raw pork as I was!  none-the-less he slapped some spices on it for me and then proceeded to wash his hands like he was heading into the operating room

I used the Instant Pot to brown the pork, then added the garlic and onions in to saute and then returned the pork to the pot

I added some Passata (tomato sauce), apple cider vinegar and worcestershire sauce and set the Instant Pot for 70 minutes

whilst that was cooking away… I quickly cut up some bok choy and cabbage for a salad… it occurred to me that I have made more complicated main dishes and salads but I’m not exactly sure why…  when this was so simple and easy and quick!

salads are most likely thrown out by the farmers I’m assuming but it doesn’t mean one cannot try!

when the pork is done it gets shredded and added back to the sauce with some brown sugar in the sauce…

in seeding I am never sure exactly how many guys will need to be fed so I plan for apparently 54 of them by the amount of pork I made…  good news is the farmer will be getting pulled pork sandwiches in his lunch all next week!

I’ve been told by the farmer that you cannot have a pulled pork sandwich without coleslaw on it…

this was one of the easiest meals I have made and I was very glad today to have a few easy things to throw together for my first meal to the field… as I get older I realize you shouldn’t start seeding with your most complicated meal as you are just remembering how to cook for a big group again…

I also will be very sad someday when I have no one around the house helping me out… no wonder back in the day they had so many kids…  they didn’t like kids any more than the rest of us do… they just knew they couldn’t run out of manual labour around the farm!  I have found that my children will still do every job I ask them to do for a pop and dessert…

crunchy bok choy and cabbage salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice of 1/2 lemon and zest
  • salt

Salad:

  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • 1 cabbage chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • white sesame seeds
  • black sesame seeds

Directions:

  • make the dressing
  • in a large bowl, make the salad and pour the dressing on
  • place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinade

pulled pork with coleslaw on a bun

Ingredients:

Pulled Pork

  • 4 lb boneless pork shoulder or loin, skin cut off
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup passata (tomatoe sauce)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Coleslaw:

  • 1/4 cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

  • in an Instant Pot, saute the pork that has been rubbed in the spices in butter until is is browned on all sides
  • take out and saute the onions and garlic
  • add the pork back and add the passata, vinegar and worcestershire sauce
  • set cook time for 70 minutes
  • when finished cooking, shred the pork and add the brown sugar to the sauce
  • for the coleslaw, add all ingredients together
  • serve the pork and coleslaw on a big bun

 

caesar salad with chickpeas, pork mushroom casserole & beet red velvet cake

summer is over and harvest begins… recently a friend asked me ‘what makes you happy?’

my answer ‘money… and the things money can buy… but other than that I love cooking and running’

so here we go!!!  the time of year I get to throw away my vegetarian/healthy meals and bake cakes, put mayonnaise in salad and serve a slab of meat with every dish…

our local grocery store knows when harvest hits because I generally come in and clean them out of cream cheese…

for this red velvet cake recipe – you add grated beets to buttermilk to get the colour…

I’m not exactly sure what diet plan this board of butter, cream cheese and eggs would fit under but I would sign up for it…

I think it might be called the ‘no more swimsuits’ diet…

I asked these cake pans of mine – ‘what were you up to all summer?  haven’t seen you since spring’

they said ‘not a whole lot Catherine’… then they turned the question to me and I replied ‘trying to not laugh at my middle son doing yard work’…

some of us were meant to be hard workers – like the farmer… it’s in him… and then some of us started out softer, creamier… like me… and needed to learn the pleasure of hard work… that is my son Ethan… doesn’t quite see the value in it yet…

his yard job that had me laughing till I cried was pulling weeds from around a row of trees…  I was outside and could hear him screaming at the weeds… and then crying and yelling and I started giggling under my breath…

he wandered back over to the house and had a huge goose egg and blood trickling down his forehead… here he had become so enraged with the weed pulling he had chucked a rock in the air to ‘let off some steam’…  then he looks up and the rock hit him in the forehead…

worst part is, he didn’t get any of this red velvet cake because I didn’t have enough…

planning ahead when baking is preferable… if you don’t give yourself enough time for your cake to cool properly, your icing job will look like this…

still edible and delicious… just harder to handle and dish up…

beet red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup grated raw beet
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar

Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • grease two 8” square pans (or circle) and place parchment paper in bottom
  • place beets in the buttermilk and allow to sit while mixing other ingredients
  • in electric mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla
  • in separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • add to the butter mixture
  • add beet/buttermilk mixture to the bowl and add the white vinegar
  • fold in and pour evenly into the two cake pans
  • bake for about 35 minutes
  • allow to cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes
  • remove and allow to completely cool on racks
  • for the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl
  • add icing sugar one cup at a time
  • add vanilla and beat until well combined
  • ice cake when it is completely cooled and serve
  • (you will only need half of this icing – it stores well in the fridge and can be used for other cupcakes or cakes)

my kids love love caesar salad… but are not huge fans of the croutons… I always find their plates with croutons left on them…

also, the health benefits of a caesar salad are not exactly high… so I thought, what if, instead of croutons you put chickpeas on it???

(I think the farmer needs to grow chickpeas for the amount I go through them… he brought me home a 5 gallon pail of red lentils when he saw how much I was spending on them at the grocery store… now he needs to plant some chickpeas!)

so I experimented with it and it was a hit… for the kids at least… not sure about the farmers…

chickpea croutons

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz/398 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • place chickpeas on paper towel and pat dry
  • in a bowl or on the baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • roast for 15 minutes, shake them and roast another 15 minutes
  • remove and let cool for 10 minutes
  • they will be soft coming out of the oven but will firm up

when your kids say to you ‘this is the best supper we’ve had all summer’… you’d think I put a lot of effort into it… not the case and rather disappointing that Campbell’s Mushroom Soup paired with brown rice, mushrooms and cut up pork chops is the best thing they have tasted in ages…

I had previously chopped and cooked up these pork chops and froze them so they wouldn’t go bad (when I was waiting for harvest to start)…  so I just defrosted the pork, cooked the brown rice, chopped up some mushrooms and mixed everything up with the mushroom soup…

I like to call this a lazy man’s risotto…

wait till I give my kids Tomato Soup… they’ll think they died and went to heaven…

happy harvest cooking!

Opa in the Field

yay…  a few hours of combining took place!  on the menu tonight was Opa pitas with pork souvlaki, greek salad and nectarine upside down cake with whipped cream…

when we go to the mall, my favourite food court go to is Opa…  and did you know that you are able to purchase their pita bread (which is heaven) and their tzatziki sauce…  so I was so excited to take the food court to the field tonight!

all that is required is to brush this beautiful bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and brown on both sides in a pan…

bbq the pork souvlaki and then assemble!  I used two of their tzatziki sauces for 16 pitas and it was lots…  wrap them in tin foil and then you don’t even have dishes…

(I’m a little too excited about this meal)

at Opa they give you wonderful fries and greek salad to go with your pita…  I didn’t get around to the fries… which I do regret…  but the greek salad with the farmers grandma’s salad dressing is the perfect side for your pita…

grandma swan's greek salad dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Crisco oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced red onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp minced red pepper

Directions:

  • in a shaker, mix ingredients and shake until completely combined
  • pour over red, yellow and orange peppers, red onion, feta cheese, romaine lettuce and tomatoes

and to wash it all down…  cake…

I did this cake last harvest, but changed the recipe slightly today…  and was happier with the result…

fruit and cake like each other…  almost as much as butter and sugar… 

my daughter absolutely loved making this cake with me and told me it is going to be her birthday cake request this year!

nectarine upside down cornmeal cake

  • Servings: 2 - 9 inch cakes or 16 pieces
  • Print

Nectarine Upside Down Cake with Whipped Cream

Ingredients

For Cake:

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 4 cups nectarines, cut into slices (around 6 nectarines)

– 3 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup cornmeal

– 3 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp kosher salt

– 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

– 1 cup melted coconut oil

– 1 1/4 cup sugar

– 4 large eggs, room temperature

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

For Whipped Cream:

– 500 mL whipping cream

– 1 pkg Whip It

Directions

– preheat oven to 325 degrees

– place 1/4 cup butter into a 9 inch round cake pan 2 inches deep (this recipe is for two of these pans)

– melt in oven, remove and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter

– arrange fruit over the brown sugar mixture in pan

– in a medium bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt

– beat butter and oil with sugar and then beat in eggs one at a time

– add yogurt and combine

– beat in vanilla and then dry ingredients

– with a spatula, spread the cake mixture over the two cake pans with the nectarines in them

– bake until cake is dark golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean… around  1 hour

– let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes

– run an knife around the edge and invert cake onto serving plate

– cut and scoop into containers

– for Whipped Cream, chill beater and bowl in freezer if possible

– pour whipping cream in bowl and the package of Whip It and beat on med/high until it forms soft peaks

– put a large dollop on room temperature dessert in container

happy harvest everyone…  let’s hope for sunny days…

 

seeding meal #5

“oh we don’t know the roads that we’re heading down…  we don’t know if we’re lost, that we’ll find a way… we don’t know if we leave, will we make it home…  we don’t know, there’s hope, then we’ll be okay”

(the stumbellas)

the haze from the forest fires near Fort McMurray, Alberta finally lifted today… fires raging 600 km away but the haze blocks out the sun here and you can smell it…  and only imagine what the fire fighters are battling…

these pink flowers were still in bloom through the haze…  reminded me that life is constantly moving forward…  always forward…

as I was outside in this haze, cultivating my yard in the dust and wind, something flew into my eye…  I rubbed it, never wanting to quit a yard job…  and I ended up having to go to the doctor to get it checked…

he had a big name for the blister that covered my eyeball and told me I would be fine… and I could still drive and cook…  and sent me on my way to do both…

he also asked me if I knew I had a slightly lazy eye…  and this is why I don’t go to health care practitioners…  the last time I saw a chiropractor he pointed out that one of my legs was longer than the other…  my dentist thought my over-bite was worsening… the lady that lasers hair off of me suggested botox…  my hairstylist confirmed my grey hair increasing… my boys even made me change my clothes the other day because they thought I was ‘trying to hard’ with the outfit choice I had made… and they are not even qualified to have an opinion on the matter…

I need to spend less time getting critiqued and more time with the farmer who views me through rose coloured glasses (he looks so funny when he puts them on)

I turned 37 this week and was blessed with a giant blemish for my birthday…  it made me think of the first zit I ever had… it was in grade 5…  and it had a life of its own…

it grew on my face for a few weeks until I finally did what any girl in grade 5 who loved Cindy Crawford would do…  I went to my mom’s makeup bag and got a black eyeliner and  turned it into a beauty mark…

I still love Cindy Crawford and considered doing this little ‘beauty trick’ again but wondered if ladies in their late thirties would fall for it…

can you tell which eye is lazy?  or which eye had the blister?  remnants of the blemish on my chin? botox potential?

I hope not because I put a SnapChat filter on this picture to send to the farmer to show him the blister on my eye…  (which had gone down by the time I got home and took this picture so he never really believed me as to the size it was to start with)

so this turned into another quick meal I had to get together and in times like this you need pre-made Costco salads kicking around…

if I learnt anything from the farmer’s mother it is that you can add items to a pre-made salad (her choice was coleslaw) and turn it into a very homemade tasting salad…

enhanced costco mediterranean pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made Costco Mediterranean Pasta Salad
  • 1 can chickpeas, strained and rinsed
  • 1 english cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in four
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup Feta cheese, cut into chunks

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, add the salad, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cheese
  • pour dressing over and toss
  • chill for 2 hours and serve

 

my hair dresser told me about lemon pepper last year… about her love affair with it… and it was life changing…  I perhaps use the term ‘life changing’ too flippantly but I really enjoy the lemon pepper seasoning…

I don’t cook pork very often, but when I do, I use lemon pepper in my dredge…

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

pork chops with peppers and gravy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 10 bone-in pork chops
  • olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 green bell peppers. sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper. sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups tru-Roots Ancient Grain Blend
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  • whisk together flour, lemon pepper, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper
  • pat the pork chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper generously
  • dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture
  • on medium-high heat, pour some olive oil in a pan and brown the pork chops two at a time
  • when they are browned on both sides, place in a 9×13 casserole dish in a 350 degree oven
  • continue this method until all the pork chops are cooked
  • clean the pan and pour more olive oil into it
  • saute the onions and peppers until soft
  • place these in a 250 oven if you have two or place it along with the pork chops and turn the heat down
  • in the same pan, add butter and melt
  • add flour and whisk until it turns colour
  • add salt. pepper and chicken broth
  • whisk and add in cream
  • transfer to a dish that you can pour it out of
  • assemble the supper by starting with the Quinoa tru-Roots blend
  • add the peppers and pork chop
  • top with the gravy and serve

sugar cookie cream bars with strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 (100 g) Lindt Swiss White Chocolate bar, melted
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • spray a 7×11 pan with cooking spray
  • in a mixer, combine butter, sugar and vanilla
  • add flour and press into the bottom of the pan
  • bake for 30 minutes, until brown around the edges
  • allow to cool completely
  • beat cream cheese and melted white chocolate until well combined
  • spread over the cooled cookie crust
  • cut into squares and serve with strawberries

so as I age, I realize my body will slowly decline (it must be really hard for those that were excited with their bodies in their 20’s… I almost pity them)… but my mind and my soul are never more alive…

I have never felt so loved and cherished like I do now… at 37…

and in the haze these last few days and in the constant fight with the land to stop producing weeds and begin producing food, I know you can’t look back…  you have to live out each day and then the next and then the next… and not be afraid of it…

“oh we don’t know the roads that we’re heading down…  we don’t know if we’re lost, that we’ll find a way… we don’t know if we leave, will we make it home…  we don’t know, there’s hope, then we’ll be okay”

(the stumbellas)

seeding meal #2 

 

lesson learned…  when you see something on Pintrest or Facebook that looks amazing but doesn’t come with a detailed recipe… keep looking… unless you enjoy wasting your time…

the salad was fine…  basically just added what I had in the fridge to make a carrot salad and the reviews from the 12 and 14 year old were good so I think it was a success…

carrot pistachio salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions:

  • grate the carrots and place in a large bowl
  • in a small mason jar, add dressing ingredients and shake until well mixed
  • add to the carrots
  • add cilantro and using tongs toss the salad
  • top with pistachios and serve cold

and the crockpot Mexican Chicken over rice is an excellent recipe to have kicking around if you have a busy day and want a nutritious supper…  I served it over Basmati Rice which is my favourite type of rice…

crockpot mexican chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.4 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (1/2 a bunch)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (or put slices of lime beside the dish)
  • optional toppings: chopped green onion, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream
  • serve over rice

Directions:

  • in a slow cooker, combine tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth, green chiles, onions and garlic
  • add chicken on the top and season
  • cook on high for 4-6 hours (or on high for 2 hours and then low for 6 hours)
  • when the chicken is cooked, add cilantro and lime juice
  • serve over rice with toppings or also great on tacos or in burritos

but…  if you want to waste about 5 hours of your day wasting your time… try doing this…

first of all, you view a video of someone making something in fast forward on Facebook… many of them are called ‘Tasty’ or ‘Little Things’…

then you look for the recipe only to not be able to find it…

so you pause the video and write down the recipe as it flashes up on the screen…

you go buy all the ingredients and proceed to cook it… only to figure out that it didn’t tell you how many cheesecake cupcakes it was supposed to make… or it left out details about cooking time or temperature… or exactly how to make a caramel sauce…

or you buy 4 packages of cream cheese only to find out that you didn’t need that big of a cheesecake recipe for the little muffin tins you are filling…

and 1/3 of it goes to waste…

when you finally get to the last step which only took 20 seconds on Facebook but has taken you 4 hours to get to…  you realize it might be a bit tricky to make a caramel sauce…

this is after you have burnt sugar onto two pots and ran out of pots and had watched two YouTube videos on making a caramel sauce…

you resort to melting a chocolate bar to pour over the top of the cheesecakes because your supper was running late…

they were delicious… so go for it if you so choose… just don’t expect it to go as quickly as the video you saw on Facebook!

salted pretzel cheesecake cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted (3/4 cup)
  • 4 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup pretzels, slightly crushed

Directions:

  • mix the crushed pretzels, sugar and butter
  • press into 24 foil lined muffin trays, around 1 1/2 tbsp per muffin cup
  • bake at 350 for 5 minutes
  • beat cream cheese and sugar until combined
  • add flour and combine
  • add eggs, one at a time, until combined
  • add heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla
  • pour mixture into the muffin cups, filling them to the top
  • there will be left over cheese cake mixture – I greased a pan and poured the mixture into it and baked it separately
  • bake at 350 for 22 minutes
  • chill in fridge for 2 hours
  • to make the caramel sauce, put sugar and water into a pan
  • do not mix with a spoon or whisk, but give the pan a shake occasionally
  • boil until the mixture turns an amber colour
  • using a pastry brush and water, brush down the sides of the pot so the sugar does not crystallize on the sides
  • take off the heat and pour in heavy cream, while standing back as it will react
  • whisk this together and add the butter
  • pour the caramel sauce on the cooled cream cheese cupcakes
  • add some crushed pretzels and serve

seeding meal #1

I listen to a lot of podcasts…  it used to be audiobooks and then I’d tell people I read the book…  but now I’ve moved on to podcasts…  and let me tell you, it is taking an afternoon in the kitchen to a whole new level…

at times it is a level of missed ingredients, forgetting something is in the oven or too much knowledge going into my head and not enough retention…

but it does make it so I get all excited to get my house chores done, go get the mail and do some banking, hit up the store to pick up a few items, go for the run my calendar tells me I have to go for that day and finish up some yard work… all the while I am thinking that I am going to reward myself with hours in the kitchen listening to podcasts…  while I cook for farmers…

and I think to myself… dream job…  seriously, I have never been more happy…

there is a range of podcasts that I like to listen to… and sometimes it takes around 15 minutes for me to decide on which one to go for…

krista tippett, timothy keller, the longest shortest time, bill simmons, nomad, serial, rob bell…  I held back the urge to listen to ‘game of thrones the podcast’…

the only issue is when I go to take pictures of the food I’m half concentrating on cooking, it pauses my podcasts… and I’m not going to lie…  it has forced me to take fewer photos of food… possibly is forcing me to learn how to use a camera… just so the podcasts go uninterrupted…

beef pot roast with peppercorn gravy

  • Servings: 10 +2 dogs
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, broken up
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 500 mL dry red wine
  • 250 mL beef broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast (trimmed and tied snuggly with kitchen string)
  • kosher salt
  • lemon pepper
  • rosemary

– 1 pkg bacon, cooked

Directions:

  • in a medium pot, add the first ingredients and bring to boil
  • reduce heat and simmer while getting roast ready
  • in a dutch oven, heat olive oil
  • pat dry the roast and then season with salt, pepper and rosemary
  • sear on all sides
  • pour the vegetable and wine mixture over the roast
  • place in oven at 300 degrees for 3 1/2 hours
  • lift out roast and put on cutting board
  • cover with foil
  • strain liquid and pour the remaining liquid into a medium pot
  • add 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 all purpose flour
  • whisk until the gravy thickens
  • add seasoning as needed to gravy
  • serve with potatoes and a slice of bacon!


garlic roasted white potatoes

Ingredients:

  • around 4 lbs medium white potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 head garlic, minced

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a large bowl, add cut potatoes
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • let sit for a bit and then place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake for 25-30 minutes until done and slightly crispy

whole wheat biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Robin Hood ‘Tastes Like White’ flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for brushing)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt
  • add butter and with a pastry blender cut the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal
  • pour in buttermilk and gently pull together with a spatula
  • dump out onto floured counter top and gently roll out till it is 3/4 inch thick
  • dip a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits
  • do not twist, as this prevents the biscuits from rising evenly, but just press down
  • place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter
  • bake for 10 minutes
  • best served warm

Brandon, my 14 year old who lost all brain function about 3 months ago, actually suggested the sour cream on the side to go along with the roast, potatoes and burnt bacon… (but I learnt a lot of life lessons from the podcast I was engrossed in while the bacon was burning…  so in the end I think a good thing)…  I was proud of him… prouder than I have been in ages…  months actually… I almost included him in the picture that was interrupting my podcast…

first meal during seeding…  I thought I’d include bacon twice…  just in case nothing else tasted good…

mixed greens with orange balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed (removed before serving)
  • mixed greens
  • bacon (cooked and cut up)
  • cashews (roasted and unsalted)
  • mandarin orange slices (canned… drained)

Directions:

  • in a salad shaker, combine ingredients except for the garlic and shake until well mixed
  • add the garlic and store in refrigerator for a few hours
  • make individuals salads
  • take out garlic, shake dressing again and pour over the salads

lemon bundt cake

  • Servings: 1 bundt cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest (around 3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons)
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all  purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • using Crisco or butter, butter a bundt pan and flour it
  • place in the fridge to cool
  • in a mixer, combine sugar and butter until well mixed
  • add eggs, one at a time
  • add lemon zest and lemon juice
  • combine flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl and add to mixer
  • add yogurt to mixer
  • pour into the bundt pan
  • bake for 1 hour 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
  • cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for one hour
  • turn cake out and cool for another hour
  • mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over room temperature cake

this is what happens to a cake when you put it in the oven and then forget you did and go for a run… and then are rushed for time so you put the glaze on before it is cool…

the farmer told me it was shockingly moist and good… so apparently you cannot wreck this cake…

I spent the weekend in Calgary with a little girl that is dear to my heart…  she is a miniature Brene Brown or Oprah… everything that comes out of her mouth is a ‘life lesson’ or ‘a-ha’ moment…  and I feel close to her as I listen to podcast after podcast and wonder when I am going to be able to handle my kids coming home from school and not screaming at them to put their lunch kits in the proper spot…