zucchini lemon loaf and chicken thigh mushroom ravioli casserole

September is for zucchini recipes… there are a billion of them floating around out there and they basically are all the same… until now… this one – I am telling you – is my all-time favourite…

I do not lie… this one is so yummy – I’m not pretending it is healthy – but it is delicious and I found it pairs well with morning coffee, morning tea, afternoon coffee, afternoon tea… (yes, I doubled the recipe and made three loaves and ended up having basically an entire loaf for myself)

zucchini lemon loaf

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, dried on paper towel
1 1/4 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
preheat oven to 325 degrees
grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non stick cooking spray
in a mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest
add canola oil and eggs and beat
add buttermilk and lemon juice
in another bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt
add the flour mixture and zucchini to the mixing bowl in stages
don’t overmix
pour into the loaf pan
bake for 50-55 minutes
using a toothpick see if it is cooked through
let sit and then take out of the pan and cool on a rack
mix up the glaze and pour over when the loaf is cooled down

this week I was in need of some simple recipes as I am training my dogs with their new and improved GPS collars to keep them in my yard… I needed to simplify the meals that were going to the field so I had time to monitor how my dogs were doing with these collars and go for walks with them around the boundary…

and let’s be honest – after a month or whatever of harvest – I would be looking for simple meals anyways…

hello Costco – I grab a few of their pre-made salads and I think to myself, if I add one fresh ingredient to them (cauliflower, tomatoes etc) then it is basically my homemade salad!

this main course I did is my daughter’s and son’s favourite… I used boneless chicken thighs, mushroom ravioli, mushrooms and then made an easy cream sauce

it can be tricky cooking with these little foil containers… they do tend to burn on the bottom and you need to grease them up so everything doesn’t just stick…

easiest thing is to have everything pre-cooked… so I bbq’d the chicken thighs (I used my favourite chicken bbq spice but just use whatever you love) and chopped them up…

then for the mushrooms, sliced them and sauted them to get the moisture out and seasoned them as well…

this left the noodles and sauce… I made up the sauce (your basic butter with flour and then add milk, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese or whatever cheese you like in a white sauce) and poured it into a large measuring cup so I could easily pour it over each dish…

having all of this ready, you then can boil the noodles, they don’t take long, and I just use a strainer and put directly on top of the first layer of chicken… I used 6 raviolis per container…

the order I assembled in was chicken, raviolis, mushrooms, chicken and then sauce…

we did put some parmesan cheese on top and cover and into a 350 degree oven for roughly 20-25 minutes until bubbling and warmed through… if you are using cold ingredients or they have had to sit for awhile, you might need to lengthen the cooking time…

at this point in harvest I am employing not only a 12 year old girl but a 7 year old cat… I make the cat count forks to make sure we aren’t missing any… this cat runs a pretty tight ship and doesn’t miss a thing…

fresh corn mexican salad, enchiladas, mexican rice and carrot cake cupcakes

city people vs farmers… I can talk about both of these varieties of humans because I was a city girl and now I’m a farmer… so I am well versed in both worlds (according to myself)

city people think they are smarter than farmers… farmers think city people have no common sense… city people like to tell farmers how to farm… farmers like to tell city people how to vote… city people have unions… farmers have no union… city people get to go to restaurants and theatres… farmers get to hide from the wind in their homes…

my farmer was recently talking to a ‘policy maker’ who is in charge of telling high school kids when they are allowed to resume playing sports… particularly football… I know the conversation took 30 minutes, while the farmer was driving a combine, and I know the farmer didn’t get the answers he was looking for…

here is the ‘Coles Notes’ of the conversation… legal disclaimer: this is the farmer’s rendition of said events… not entirely accurate… possibly made up portions of it for effect

to start things off, the farmer told her that he wasn’t ‘one of those farmers that has a low opinion of teachers’... I think that’s a real great ice-breaker to ease into a conversation… he went on to say ‘I married into a family of teachers and I can see things from both sides’...

there you go dear… start with an insult and then compliment yourself

fresh corn mexican salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
zest if you like
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp finely chopped white onion
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Salad:
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 large avocados, diced
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions:
I used a Vitamix to make the dressing so it go nicely blended – you can shake it in a container as well
for the salad, chop everything and add it to a bowl except the avocado and tomato
I set the tomatoes to the side on paper towel to get the moisture out
for the corn, you can use cobs from the garden and boil for a few minutes and then plunge in cold water in the sink and dry
cut off the cob and use in the salad (or use frozen)
add the dressing and let sit in the fridge for a few hours
when you go to serve, add the tomatoes and avocado and serve

then the conversation started to get into the ‘nitty-gritty’... the ‘meat of it’ as you would say…

farmer: “it says here that the start of football is delayed because these teenagers have done nothing for 5-6 months are not in good enough shape ‘mentally or physically’ to come back to sports and competition… I would argue that delaying the start of football and waiting until the weather gets worse would cause more injuries”

policy maker lady: “we are very concerned that these kids are behind in their studies and want them to concentrate solely on schoolwork right now… sports can come later”

farmer: “we practice football at 7 am… and not a single boy on my team would be doing homework at 7 am… also, I have two boys and I can tell you they are not spending 5-6 hours a day doing homework”

farmer: “SHSAA says we can start practicing in September and have a ‘mini-league’ in October… now you are saying you don’t think that’s a good idea… care to elaborate?”

policy maker lady: “we don’t want kids from your town playing football against kids from a different town”

farmer: “you do know that they are playing hockey together and going to parties together… but you would rather them occupy their time by unsupervised parties as opposed to supervised football games?”

policy maker lady: “oh and we aren’t going to allow community coaches”

farmer: “you do know my daughter goes to school? and every teacher is a community member? and every bus driver and custodian lives in this community?”

policy maker lady: “we aren’t allowing volunteers to read to grade 2 students so obviously the next step is to not allow farmers to coach football… I’m sure that some teacher at your school will be able to step in and do it… on top of her teaching duties…. we are looking for more ways to make teachers have panic attacks”


policy maker lady: “instead of allowing a mini-league, we have renamed this time to ‘skill development’

farmer: “no one is concerned with skill development … they come to 7 am practices in the cold and dark so they can win the game on the Thursday night… this school division has put maybe 1-2 boys into football programs beyond high school… the overwhelming majority play football just for high school and this is the grade 12 boy’s only chance to play in their senior year”

policy maker lady: “yes but now that we took away the games and the coaches, I’m sure they will love developing their skills”

policy maker lady: “for every call I get from a person like you that wants these high school students to have their sports back, I get a call from someone who is afraid we are moving too fast”

farmer: “I don’t believe that… I haven’t spoken to or seen one person that wouldn’t want their kids playing sports again” (in her defence, he hasn’t been off the farm since the start of August)

*** side note: I used salsa instead of enchilada sauce because I was lazy… go ahead and be lazy too

so there is the ‘farmers notes’ on how the conversation went… slightly biased to his side to be sure… and he also commented that he would not want her job right now… but he would make different decisions if he had her job…

we are very grateful for all of the brave teachers heading back to work and having to completely change how they are teaching and handle all the emotions that come from 6 months of ‘flattening the curve’… it is so much we are asking of them… I love teachers… I don’t have any skills to homeschool… heck, when schools shut down in March I made my retired teacher parents homeschool Sienna…

which makes me wonder why the powers that be would think they should heap sports on top of teachers as well? small towns have always used parents or community members to coach teams… it is what makes it all work…

I know you are limiting the amount of people in the schools, and rightly so… the days of me wandering the school hallways and spying on my kids are sadly over… it was good while it lasted… but you are not supporting your teachers by saying no community coaches… you are handicapping your teachers…

keeping ‘helicopter moms’ out of the hallways is one thing… keeping the football coaches off of the football field is another…

mexican rice

Ingredients:
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1 cup uncooked white long-grain rice
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with liquid

Directions:
in a large saucepan heat up oil
add onion and garlic
add the salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, paprika and cumin
add the rice, paste and chicken broth
add the diced tomatoes (I ground up the tomatoes in a Vitamix)
bring to a boil, reduce and cook for roughly 25 minutes until the rice is done

side note: had to show a picture of the rice bag that I am almost done… the farmer bought 6 of these at the beginning of quarantine… pretty sure that we were going to have to survive on rice like they do on Survivor… I’m finally on the last bag…

second side note: due to a suggestion from super farm lady Laura – I found these condiment containers at the Dollar Store… sweet

enchiladas

Ingredients:
Enchilada Sauce:
2 tbsp butter or ghee
2 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
Enchiladas:
1 tbsp avocado oil (or olive oil)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chilies
1 cup finely diced white onion
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
options: corn, black beans, fried zucchini
8 (8”) tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp kosher salt
Toppings:
lime wedges
avocado
sour cream
chopped cilantro

Directions:
for the sauce, in a saucepan melt the butter
add the arrowroot and whisk
add chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper
whisk for two minutes
add tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of the broth
whisk until the sauce thickens
remove from heat and add the remaining broth and salt
set aside
for the enchiladas, brown the beef in the oil (strain if the beef is too fatty)
add the chilies, onions and pepper and fry
to assemble the enchiladas, heat the shells up in the microwave in a wet dish cloth
to assemble, place some sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
dip the tortilla in shallow bowl that has some sauce in it (both sides) and then place ingredients into the shell
roll up and set into the baking dish
repeat until all 8 are done and pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas
spread some cheese over top
bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 325 degrees
serve with whatever toppings you choose

I will give city people this on farmers… no farmer is going to come up with a vaccine… we need a city person to do that… so, farm and city people, let’s agree to listen to each other, take suggestions and look for the common sense in each other’s way of thinking, and push forwards to a better future for our teenagers, our communities, our schools and ultimately so we can all go back to Hawaii at some point…

to all the teachers right now – who are being so brave – we support you and we will follow all the rules so you feel comfortable teaching our kids… because heaven knows I’m not gonna do it!!!

carrot cake cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 1/2 cups crisco oil
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated carrots
2 tsp vanilla
Frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
4 oz cream cheese, room temp (I use a bit more)
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Topping:
pecans

Directions:
beat oil and egg together very well
stir in dry ingredients
fold in carrots and vanilla
pour into a greased 9×13 or until greased muffin cups (should make close to 24)
bake for 45-55 minutes for the cake and 24 minutes for the cupcakes, or until done in the middle
for the frosting, whip up and frost when the cake has completely cooled
top with pecans

greek salad, chicken prosciutto roll-ups and peach seed cobbler

back to school today and harvest is chugging along… although it froze to minus 4 last night and probably ended most of my garden that I’ve worked so hard on all year… it’s 2020 – that’s not going to make me cry… (hoping the farmer covered my tomatoes like I reminded him to about 7 times)

this greek salad dressing is my absolute favourite and I’ve shared it I believe around 6 times but I just love it… this year we let the tomatoes sit on paper towel (replacing it a few times) so they wouldn’t water down the salad and then put them on top so we could have it sit in the fridge all afternoon without getting watery…

greek salad

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

I’ve been excited to try this out for the farmers and it is a little finicky to get them all made up (notably if your farmer tells you supper for 14), but again you can do these up a few hours early if need be and let them sit in the fridge…

for these rollups, it worked out perfectly to use 1 package of Costco chicken thighs, one package of Costco prosciutto and one bag of Costco asparagus… (this is not a paid sponsorship from Costco… but I am open to offers)

the mix of all these good flavours with the dijon mustard is fabulous

I did these on my bbq – but you have an option to fry them as well… if you are bbq’ing them, keep an eye out so you don’t burn the asparagus ends

I think that the sage would taste better fried so if you are just doing this for your family, I might try that option… our sage this year was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to use it for this

chicken thigh prosciutto rollups

Ingredients:
Rollups:
1 pkg boneless chicken thighs from Costco
1 pkg prosciutto from Costco
Dijon mustard
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 bag asparagus from Costco
22 sage leaves (or however many you need for the rollups)
Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine (or more chicken broth)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
if doing on the bbq, preheat the bbq
if frying and then putting in oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees
have the ingredients out so you can assemble
place chicken thigh out and season lightly with salt and pepper
using a spoon, put a dollop of dijon on the chicken and then with another spoon spread over the thigh
place 2-3 asparagus on the chicken and then roll up around the asparagus
roll once slice of proscuitto around the chicken and place a sage leaf on it
secure with a toothpick
set aside in a dish and continue until you have rolled all of the chicken thighs
place, covered, in fridge until you are ready to cook
if on the bbq, place on grill and flip once… check to see if they are cooked through
for the sauce, in saucepan roast the garlic cloves, add the broth and wine and cook down
add the lemon juice at the end and serve over the chicken rollups after they are bbq’d
if you are frying and then putting in oven, place chicken in frying pan with the olive oil (don’t overcrowd) and fry on both sides, placing in a dish when done
after frying all of them up, add garlic cloves, broth and wine to the pan and cook down
add the sauce to the pan and place in oven until cooked through
add the lemon juice at the end before serving
remove the toothpicks if you are a nice person before serving – or serve like I did and have your son stab himself twice with the hidden toothpicks

I like to use chicken thighs for this as opposed to chicken breasts because the flavour is just so much ‘more better’… I think I need to go back to school as well…

this recipe was inspired by the classic goose recipe everyone uses… and I recently used on the boys geese breasts they brought home… it’s the goose breast with flavoured cream cheese if you have it and jalapeño slices wrapped in bacon… I now add dijon mustard to these as well because I am obsessed with that flavour…

my family is now going to think the only way to eat anything is to wrap it in proscuitto or bacon…

I served the chicken rollups with some mashed potatoes I had made up earlier and these garden carrots my daughter did up…

which leads me to thinking she should only go to school in the mornings and help me cook in the afternoons… she’d love that idea

for dessert – I used some of the peaches my mom had just brought out for me, but fresh peaches is also great for cobbler… I actually didn’t have a recipe for this and just “winged it”… so I have no recipe to show you…

I know I made a bit of a sauce with the peach juice from the cans, adding some tapioca starch to it… and I used oats, almond flour and whatever else was in my freezer along with butter to make the cobbler topping…

my daughter thought it was awful that would couldn’t send out ice cream with the cobbler… it is essential to have with a cobbler but the farmers had to go without…

happy happy back to school everyone and happy freezing cold harvest!!!

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…

carrot and ginger salad, fried chicken with lemon and capers, cherry cheesecake sheet pan dessert

garden carrots – is there anything better? in my opinion only tomatoes… this salad is all about the dressing… and it is a strange dressing so I was nervous to send it out but I wanted to try it myself… this dressing is so delicious… not exactly sure what the farmers thought but I could put this dressing on just about anything…

carrot ginger salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 large carrots, roughly chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 (1 1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soya sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salad:
arugula
spinach
grated carrot
roasted beet, cooled and sliced
pumpkin seeds, toasted (from Costco)

Directions:
in a Vitamix or any high-powered blender, combine the carrots, onion and ginger and process until very finely blended
add the olive oil, soya sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, salt and pepper
blend until very smooth
mix up salad and pour dressing over right before serving

as you can see, it is a thick dressing and I was wishing I had little condiment containers to put it in so the farmers could just add it to their salads when they were ready to eat… I need to buy some of those…

I am not alone in the farm cooking world… I get a lot of inspiration from some very young (now that I am old) farm ladies out there and this is one of them… she had posted about using her Instant Pot for potatoes and it sure saved me dishes and time and headache…

I still think the texture and taste of a boiled potato is preferable to in the Instant Pot but the convenience won the day… I loaded the Instant Pot up (using the trivet as per Laura’s instructions) and added 2 cups of water and set manual for 8 minutes… you strain this and then what I do is put cream cheese, butter, garlic powder, salt and milk in the bottom of my mixer bowl… then add the potatoes and mix… pour these out into a greased baking dish and sprinkle with seasoning salt… when ready to cook, place in the oven covered with tin foil

this could not be easier to get some garden potatoes all creamed up and ready to use for the meal

on to the chicken part of the main dish!

you will see in the picture that I am using Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour… I have enjoyed using this lately instead of cornstarch but you can also use arrowroot powder… for doing big batches I pound the chicken and then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and the tapioca flour… this crisps up nicely in butter and olive oil…

I really need to come up with a better idea for browning meat before putting it in pans because this is so time consuming… easy if you are just doing it up for your family but in big batches this just takes so long… I’m open to ideas!!!!

fried chicken with lemons and capers

Ingredients:


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, made into cutlets and pounded till flat
    1 tsp kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch or cornstarch)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp butter or ghee
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
    1 cup chicken broth
    2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    lemon slices
    1 tbsp fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:
cut chicken breasts so they lay flat and place parchment over them and pound (not too hard) until an even thickness
sprinkle with salt and pepper
sprinkle both sides with starch
in a medium/high heat pan, melt butter and olive oil
place chicken in pan and brown on both sides
transfer to a baking dish
when chicken is all browned, add the garlic, capers and chicken broth to the pan
pour this over the chicken in the baking dish and add the lemon juice and lemon slices
place in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
serve with potatoes or whatever side you would like

finally got all the chicken browned and in the pans and in the oven… I was feeling bad for myself because my trusty 12 year old helper was gone and I had to do all of this on my own… I was one hour late getting suppers to the field… horribly embarrassing rolling in at 7 pm…

if you don’t enjoy capers – just omit from the recipe – it is still a great recipe for lemony fried chicken

the farmer loves himself some cheesecake so I knew it was time to get that out to them (enough chocolate cake with some sort of vegetable in it) I combined these two cookies for the crust… but use whatever you can find in the cookie aisle and blend it into a fine crumb like mixture…

lining the dish with tin foil makes it easy to work with once cooked and chilled… this is the cup I use to stamp down the butter/cookie crust mixture…

I was hoping to get fresh cherries but didn’t have that luck at the grocery store (not sure how I missed that season)... so I resorted to canned cherries… for this I strained them to removed most of the goo…

cheesecake making is simple… get out your ingredients and go do some other jobs that morning while they get to room temperature… once the cream cheese, eggs, sour cream are all at room temperature, they make a creamy (not lumpy) cheesecake mixture for you… I dropped the cherries on and then covered with a streusel topping before baking…

cherry cheescake with cookie crust

Ingredients:
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of kosher salt
Cookie Crust:
3 cups finely processed cookie crumbs
6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
pinch of kosher salt
Cherry Cheesecake Filling:
3 pkgs cream cheese (24 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 (540 mL) Eddie Light and Fruity cherry pie filling, straining (not rinsed, just set in a strainer)

Directions:
Streusel:
combine ingredients and using a pastry blender or your fingers, crumble
place in fridge to keep cold
Crust:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
I use a Vitamix and crush the cookies in batches… if you have a food processor it would work better to do it in there
mix until cookie crumbs are basically powder
add the butter and salt
for the 9×13 dish, line with foil both ways so that you can pull it out when cooled
press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan, using a cup to push it down
bake for 10 minutes
Cheescake Filling:

  • set oven at 325 degrees
    in a electric mixer, whip up the cream cheese… scrape down with a spatula and whip again
    add sugar and whip
    add eggs one at a time, using spatula to scrape down
    add sour cream
    pour into the pan with the the cookie crust
    top with streusel
    bake for 50-60 minutes
    the outside should be set and the middle will jiggle a bit
    place on a wire rack for 30 minutes
    cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a few hours before you cut and serve

I loved cooking this up for the farmers but found myself talking to thin air as my lovely assistant was not with me… I certainly will miss her dearly when school starts!!!

green bean tomato salad, ravioli bake and chocolate zucchini coconut cake

it is 10:15 pm… my daughter just went to bed and I am faced with folding laundry that I put on my bed to sabotage myself before I go to sleep… I’m not expecting the farmer(s) to be home until midnight and the house is quiet… I have ran out of things to watch on Youtube so I open up my Netflix… everything is in Arabic or some language similar to that and my first thought is ‘I’ve been hacked’...

not the logical thought ‘maybe one of my kids is playing a joke on me’... nope – straight to hacking…

to preface my distrust of everything right now – Garmin (the running watch I use) was actually hacked by a Russian hacker last month… none of my run workouts were being uploaded for almost two weeks… so hacking does still happen… (unless the unlikely event that Facebook was wrong about that story)

*** side note: blanched the beans… this means you boil for 2-3 minutes and then straight into ice cold water***

back to the hacking… I quickly dial up a help line for Netflix and proceed to tell the lady my issue… she needs verification that this is my Netflix account… reasonable… she wants to send a code to my email… it is not coming through, so she goes to her next option… texting the code… but the problem is the number on the Netflix account is the farmer’s number and I tell her he doesn’t want to be bothered with my Netflix issues while he is combining…

understandable she says… third option is she is going to ‘patch me through to the finance department and I am going to give my VISA to them’… huh???

green bean, tomato, basil and parmesan salad

Ingredients:
4 cups green beans, blanched and cut (ends trimmed)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup sliced red onion
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
freshly ground salt and pepper

Directions:
blanch the beans
boil water, add the beans for 2-3 minutes and then place in ice cold water in the sink
drain and dry
add the tomatoes, cheese, basil, onion
place all the dressing ingredients in a vitamix and blend
if you don’t have that – shake in a jar
cover the salad with dressing and toss
put in fridge until ready to serve, preferably for a few hours

‘easy there, slow down’ I say… and then I start giggling and I say to her ‘you are in on this aren’t you??? are you all in the same room??? are you just going to pretend to patch me over to finance and then hand your phone to your friend that hacked my account and get my VISA number? how do I know you even work for Netflix?’

it was all becoming crystal clear to me… what a scam… well I informed her that I wasn’t born yesterday and they would have to come up with a better sceme than this to hook me…

*** side note: on these hot days on the farm I’ve been including watermelon or some sort of melon… I think it’s been a hit***

I truly expected her to be shocked I figured it out and perhaps hang up on me… but she quickly backtracked and said she did actually work for Netflix and no longer required my VISA… we could maybe figure it out some other way…

I said ‘now we are talking… how about I tell you how this is going to work… if you truly work there, you can just go ahead and turn my language preference to English, no VISA numbers need to be given and we are set’…

I call this the art of negotiation… I watched three episodes of it on Masterclass and was feeling pretty great about myself…

*** side note: these have to be my two favourite toppings on anything really… mozza and basil… unreal… also this deer sausage is incredibly tasty***

she keeps insisting that she truly does work for Netflix and I keep saying ‘yes and I live next door to Oprah’...

after a solid half hour of this back and forth, I begin to fade… the laundry is done and I certainly don’t want the farmer(s) to get home only to find me fighting with a fake Netflix person on my phone…

ravioli bake with mozzarella and basil

Ingredients:
1 pkg chicken and mozzarella ravioli, barely boiled
1 pkg deer sausasge, bbq’d
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 cups or more marinara sauce of your choice
fresh mozzarella
basil

Directions:
preheat oven to 425 degrees
in a boiling pot of water, drop the ravioli and let boil for 1-2 minutes and scoop out into your baking dish
cover with marinara sauce
bbq your deer sausage
add the peppers and onion to the ravioli and bake for 15 minutes
make sure there is enough sauce to cover everything
cut up the sausage and add if you choose or serve it beside the ravioli
stir the ravioli and pull chunks of mozzarella to place on top
bake for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted
add the basil and let sit
serve with a bbq’d deer sausage if you have not put this in the dish

I decide to compromise… I tell her that I believe her story and she tells me she switched the language back to English… (I never believed her story)

by the time I get off the call, I’m too exhausted to watch a show (which turns out she had switched it back to English) and I’m also to stimulated to fall asleep…

when the farmer(s) get home I immediately have to get up and tell everyone how I didn’t get scammed…

they all are super excited to hear my story at midnight… and then the farmer shows me some emails that Netflix had been sending the last week that I just had ignored and deleted…

here it was emails saying that our Netflix account had been signed into from Bangladesh and if this is not you to deny access… hmmmm… that would have been nice to know earlier…

and then I realize that my ‘spidy-sense’ might be on overdrive right now and I just don’t trust anyone… I phoned my local bank the other day and was just about to ask the teller how she could prove to me she is who she says she is…

the farmer told me I need to stop watching conspiracy movies and perhaps chat with real life people more… I told him that I don’t have that luxury because I was currently trying to figure out if Bill Gates is amazing like his Netflix documentary says he is or if he’s the Anti-Christ like the last Plandemic doc says he is…

chocolate zucchini coconut sheet pan cake

Ingredients:
Cake:
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened coconut, toasted

Directions:
preheat oven to 350 degrees
spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray
grate the zucchini
in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
whisk up eggs, add olive oil and and vanilla
add the flour mix and then the zucchini
spread batter in the greased 9×13
bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
let cool on a rack in the pan to room temp
for the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy
beat in sugar and cocoa powder
add vanilla
frost the cake in the pan when cooled
add the toasted coconut on top
cut and serve

so if you are thinking that absolutely everybody is lying to you right now, you are not alone…

I’m telling you the truth when I say that basil and mozza are the best topping on anything… ever…

taco quinoa salad, greek fried chicken with parsnip puree and new potatoe wedges and beet cake

oh my word, here we go… harvest 2020… some absolutely gorgeous hot weather (the farmer told me that it felt like the hottest day he has ever combined on… not fun to work in but great for drying out crops) has us able to get combining the peas

we truly feel like a ‘family farm’ for the first time this fall as we have all been stuck together for the last 5 months and are still stuck together but at least with some big jobs to do now! I shouldn’t be surprised why the farmer is able to function on at least 4 hours less sleep than me normally and can log big days when I realize now that he was doing this ever since he was 16… which is my youngest sons age who has been suddenly thrown into 16 hours days…

quinoa taco salad

Ingredients:
Salad:
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
iceburg lettuce (1 head)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 (14 oz) can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips (or as much as you like)
for topping: chopped avocado and sour cream
Dressing:
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp ketchup
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
the taco meat and and quinoa can be made ahead
season the taco meat with the cumin, garlic powder and chilli powder
for the salad, mix everything in a big bowl without the tortilla chips
for the dressing – I use a Nutribullet to whisk up the dressing… you can also shake it up
add the tortilla chips and dressing right before serving

you would think not eating out once in a restaurant in 5 months and cooking for my family for that long that I would be less than excited to start taking meals out to a bunch of farmers… you would be wrong… this is far more exciting than cooking for my family… (which I had kind of given up on doing anyways)

part of the excitement was the pleasure of the season right now… some good farmer friends of ours delivered chickens and also parsnips from their pasture and I was able to use these to cook up a meal… I then got to deliver it to the field we were combining which we rent from these farmers… days like this make me truly feel like a farmer living off the land or a hippie in Seattle living in CHAZ… perhaps farmers were ‘autonomous’ before it was cool to be?

really interesting some of the things they have planted in their pastures this year and the parsnips were excellent!

I feel like this chicken looks similar to how I felt this summer in my bathing suit… even the farmer didn’t pretend that I hadn’t put on a few pounds… in college I called it the ‘freshman 20’ (I think it was supposed to be 15)... now I’m calling it the ‘covid 20’... I find weight gain easier to deal with when you name it… kind of how all the Big Brother contestants have to ‘name’ their alliances…

in true autonomous farmer style – no part is wasted and these carcasses ended up in my freezer to later be boiled for broth… (life hack – use the word ‘autonomous’ as much as you want… if someone corrects you just tell them ‘you govern your own vocabulary’) I kept these other ‘do-dads’ I found as well… I’m not even going to guess what they are… I’m just hopeful the one thing is not a human thumb

I was very worried this was not going to be enough chicken for the crew and I’m sure two pieces each perhaps was not enough for some (just my sons maybe), but it cooked up nicely with the yummiest seasoning on it…

what I have left out so far in describing this first meal to the field is that my daughter is now 12 and she actually basically made this meal… I just stand and take photos now… it’s really nice and I pay her ‘her age’ by the hour… so basically she’ll want to live with me till she is 40 and get $40 per hour to do my work for me…

parsnip puree

Ingredients:
4 cups parsnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
in a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the parsnips and chicken broth
bring to a boil and reduce heat
simmer for 15 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender
transfer the parsnips and remaining cooking broth to a blender
add the coconut milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
blend until smooth

she does remind me of my Grandma Reed… loves cooking and not extremely interested in dishes… so I find myself doing a lot of the ‘grunt labour’ in the kitchen… guess who had to wash the potatoes?

garden potatoes are huge by this time of year and slice perfectly for these yummy greek wedges… I don’t know why I do this – but I like to slice them into the wedges, throw the wedges in cold water and then pat dry on a tea towel before putting them on a pan… perhaps I have seen this somewhere before?

Sienna once again got the glamorous job of harvesting the fresh herbs to place on the potatoes and chicken… it is a small miracle everything stayed alive this year! silver lining of Covid? I perhaps will refrain from telling the farmer’s poor Grandma who has been locked in her room for 5 months how well my parsley is doing…

greek chicken thighs with potatoe wedges

Ingredients:
Potatoes:
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Chicken:
2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I just cut up a whole chicken)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Potatoes:
preheat oven to 400 degrees
place potato wedges in a 9×13 baking dish
add the rest of ingredients
mix and spread in an even layer, not touching
bake for around 1 hour and toss every 20 minutes
Chicken:
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
arrange chicken thighs in a single layer, not touching
pat dry the tops and drizzle each thigh with olive oil to coat
mix together the seasoning
sprinkle over the thighs
bake until cooked through and skin is crispy and golden brown, 35-45 minutes (depending on size) at 400 degrees
let cool for 10 minutes

to continue with the root veggie theme of the dinner… we made beet cake… I’ve posted this and made it a few times for previous harvests and it is still one of my absolute favourite cakes… Sienna struggles to see why I must put beets or zucchini in cakes, but even she was a believer after eating a piece… so moist… (also, realizing I hate that word but cannot think of a different way to describe how moist it is)

I roasted up way to many beets but actually love having these for leftovers to cut up and put on a salad or something… (or eat whole like I also did and then pee and quickly google to see if red pee was a Covid symptom) it appears I am fine and that one pees red after consuming large amounts of beets… Dwight Shrute would have been disappointed in me…

cake is easily my favourite thing to make… and then eat…

frosting is easily Sienna’s favourite thing to make… and then eat…

we are no pros at the icing of cakes… but we know you wait till the cake is cool and then you proceed to eat half the frosting while you ice it… this recipe is great because it makes way to much frosting for the cake so eat away while you ice!

root veggies for the win… (oh – cream and sugar as well)

#staysafe… this I mean to all my farmer friends… lots of big machinery and big hours… stay safe out there! happy harvesting!

beet cake

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
– 2 medium beets, cleaned, unpeeled and cut in half
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
– 1 cup packed brown sugar
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs, room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp kosher salt
– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the Frosting: (I only used half this frosting recipe)
– 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
– 4 cups powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp finely grated cooked beets
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tsp milk
– 1/2 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
– wash and cut beets into half… place in tin foil with olive oil, cover with more tin foil and bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 1 hour
– remove from oven and open up tin foil and let cool
– in a mixer, combine butter and sugar… add eggs one at a time and then vanilla
– combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
– alternate flour mixture and buttermilk into the sugar mixture
– finally, add 3/4 to 1 cup grated beets
– put into two 9 inch cake pans that have been greased and parchment paper in the bottom of each
– bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until centre of cake is done
– let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack and cool
– for the frosting, combine all ingredients and whip
– make sure the cake is room temperature and then spread frosting in-between the two cake layers and all around it and on top
– to freeze, slice and put individual pieces in containers to freeze

goose for dinner

goose hunting… the farmer has been up at 5 am a few mornings this week to head out and hide in this little shelter and attempt to shoot the poor geese flying overhead…

a rule we have around here is that you must eat what you shoot… so I used my father-in-law’s recipe for what to do with goose breast… how do you cook goose?

“cut the breasts into little strips…  coat in shake-and-bake (I used almond flour with Italian seasoning)…  wrap bacon around it and toss in the oven…”

 as I delivered suppers out tonight and was so excited for them to partake, I was told then end of the recipe…

“take them out of the oven… throw out the goose and eat the bacon“…  apparently goose meat is not loved by many…  I drove away hoping someone enjoyed it….

begs the question – if it tastes so awful, why do I have American hunters knocking on my door every night to see if they can hunt on our land?

I am now going to ask these hunters why they are shooting the geese in the first place… are they just salivating over eating it or are they worried about the goose population?

 if the goose wrapped in bacon was a no-go they at least would enjoy some fluffy potato mounds…

*** side note: I just love this Tupperware egg yolk separator… I tend to not have many kitchen gadgets but this is one that I use on the regular***

only issue with my potato mounds and bacon wrapped goose breast was oven space…  I’ve jealously seen kitchens with two ovens – always wondering how much those two ovens are put to work…

scooped whipped potatoes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs (around 10 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:
in a large pot, cover potatoes with cold salted water by 2 inches
bring to a boil… reduce to rapid simmer and cook till tender, around 15 minutes
drain
let sit 5 minutes
in the bowl of a standing mixer add the potatoes, butter, 2 egg yolks and heavy cream
whip until combined, adding more cream if needed
preheat oven to 450 degrees
line a baking sheet with parchment paper
scoop potatoes onto the sheet
freeze until firm (around 15 minutes)
whisk together the remaining egg yolk and 2 tsp of heavy cream
brush the potatoes and bake until golden – around 15 minutes

classic layered salad…  it is just one of my favourite ‘throw back’ salads…  according to the farmer’s grandma’s cookbook, there was a time where you had two options for salads… one involved jello and one involved mayonnaise

layered lettuce salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup chickpeas, strained and rinsed
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • layer the first 6 ingredients
  • mix up the dressing ingredients and smooth over the top
  • when ready to serve you can either mix it up or if you are taking it to the field just leave it layered

chickpeas was a new addition to the recipe and I have to say – it was delicious…   I wonder if I can throw some chickpeas in jello and call it a day?

cheesecake…  ahhhh…  a great dessert to include in a meal that you aren’t sure if everyone will enjoy…  because if they didn’t eat the goose, they at least can fill up on cheesecake…

this is a layered cheesecake – with carrot cake on the bottom and cheesecake on the top… it is a great idea to whip this up in the evening – as I did – and then pop in the fridge overnight and put the toppings on the next day to serve…

this cheesecake couldn’t have been easier to assemble…  I set everything out in the afternoon to get it to room temperature and then after taking out suppers I was able to quickly assemble it in the evening… with enough time left to watch some Netflix with my daughter…  what is good for the goose is good for the gander… am I right?  (I was just trying to use that saying because it had goose in it but I really don’t think I used it properly)

in order to get the perfect size for my containers, I came up with this method to cut the cheesecake…

carrot cake cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecake:

  • 24 oz (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 6 tbsp heavy whipping cream, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the Carrot Cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, barely melted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots

For the Topping:

  • 2 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup heaving whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • wrap the exterior of a 9” springform pan in a sheet of foil – lightly grease and set aside
  • in a large bowl of a standing mixer, cream the cream cheese with a paddle attachment
  • add the remaining cheescake ingredients and cream until no lumps
  • scoop into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same standing mixer, combine the carrot cake ingredients
  • in the springform pan, pour the carrot cake batter down first, flatten and then pour the cream cheese mixture – do not combine the two
  • bake for around 1hour
  • if the cake is already dark by 35 minutes, gently cover with tin foil
  • the cheesecake is done when the centre appears to be set
  • let the cake cool completely (I do this overnight in the fridge, covering with plastic wrap)
  • before serving, mix up the topping and smooth over the cheesecake
  • garnish with pecans and serve

oh… and to finish things off just a little photo of my two favourite quarterbacks ever…

daddy’s girl

“This tug-of-war often obscures what’s also happening between us. I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of tribe, a run at happiness. You can’t imagine how seriously I take that – even as I fail you. Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done.
― Kelly Corrigan, Lift

a few sunny days here on the farm and combines are roaring everywhere…  these last few days have felt like harvest…  I come back from a morning run feeling itchy from the dust still clinging in the dewy morning air…

combine lights dance like fire flies out my window at night…

porcupines, skunks, deer, moose and geese are all on the move… cutting the grass I found three dead muskrats that my dogs proudly left for me…

and after two weeks of my boys being gone to boarding school I have whittled down my crying to generally once a day…  3:40 pm …  the moment all three of my children should be getting home and it’s just one small little girl with mounds of strawberry, blonde hair piled high on her head that I see wondering in off the bus…

in my last text to my dad, I asked him how he ever was happy again after I left home… I was curious to know how he was able to get up in the morning and make sense of the day without his little ‘ray of sunshine’ there to make him smile…  he still hasn’t responded (you know how busy retired life can be) but I’m sure his answer will be that he still struggles to this day to find joy when I’m not around…  (by the way, ‘ray of sunshine’ was a name I made up for myself…  he called me Catherine… my given name)

life goes on… and I am still trying to figure out how to mother my boys from a distance…  tending to teenage boys involved a lot of cleaning, folding laundry, picking up towels off the bathroom floor, flushing toilets, odour control of sporting equipment, odour control of them, grocery shopping, feeding them, dishes, feeding them… feeding them…  and now that has been ripped away from me

fortunately there are farmers to feed… it honestly would have been too painful to cut it down to just Sienna and I…  we need to ease into that…

it was with great enthusiasm that I cut kohlrabi and radishes to add to the pasta salad I was taking out…  until I had a Hutterite stop by to try to sell me a turkey and asked what I was making for supper – only to be told that no one likes pasta salad… and when he spotted a zucchini he informed me that those can ruin a cake pretty quickly…

kohlrabi pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium pasta shells
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 small kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
  • 8 radishes, diced
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • few dashes of sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, (or 1/2 tsp dried dill)

Directions:

  • bring a large pot of salted water to boil
  • add pasta and cook according to package
  • drain and rinse under cold water
  • pat dry
  • in a large bowl, combine pasta with bell peppers, kohlrabi and radishes
  • in a medium bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients
  • pour over the salad and mix thoroughly
  • chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving

when I was in grade 3, my life goal was to be a ‘Weather-Woman’…  for a news crew…  I was thinking perhaps CHCA-TV out of Red Deer, Alberta…  so I wrote out pages upon pages of news updates (it was during the Calgary Olympics of ’88, so it was mainly weather and Olympic coverage) 

fortunately enough, my dad was ahead of the game with technology and we had a news crew style RCA video camera…  he got it out of the giant briefcase it was housed in and set it up on the tripod, focused in on me sitting behind the piano bench, ready to give the news highlights for the evening…

this is the thing about being a parent…  you actually love everything about your child… even the weird things… especially the weird things…

I never felt any pressure from my dad to do anything neat to catch his eye…  in fact, I was under the impression that he was just as proud of me for doing the news that evening as he was when he was videoing me running at track and field… or butchering a song at a piano recital…

this is what I have realized over the last two weeks of the boys absence from home… it is what I remember about my dad and still to this day feel around him… it never has been about what I’ve been able to do or accomplish or work for… he has always wanted to sit with me, listen to me, laugh at my jokes, play a game and talk to me…

not only did my dad want to be around me… he wanted to record it all on a giant video camera…

chili with ground beef and italian sausage

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
8 oz smoked sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4 oz) can mild green chile peppers
2-3 tbsp diced jalapeno peppers, seeds removed
2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp montreal steak seasoning or seasoned salt
2-3 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
freshly cracked black pepper
extra salt to taste if necessary

Directions:
brown the meat and drain
in an Instant Pot, saute the onion in some olive oil and then add the pepper and garlic
add the remaining ingredients, including the browned meat, and set on slow cook mode for at least 2 hours but preferably longer!

well, dad finally responded to my text with “yes, it took awhile for us to get over the trauma of seeing you leave home, Catherine and this trauma was only exacerbated by the fact that Princess Diana and Mother Theresa both died at the same time you left.

 the use of the word ‘trauma’ in his text was presumably a bit tongue-and-cheek, although these things can be hard to pick up on in the modern age of texting…  I do believe that he was deeply saddened with the passing of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa however…

cheddar cornbread muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • line muffin tin with paper cups and spray them with cooking spray lightly
  • in a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk
  • add the egg, milk and butter and combine till well mixed
  • scoop into the muffin tin
  • bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown
  • if desired, brush the tops with butter and serve

back to my news broadcast…  my dad made a highlight reel of the countless hours of footage he was able to compile of me and my brothers throughout our childhood… this made the cut and the weather forecast I delivered was “it is getting warmer out, but it is still very cold… it might snow or rain”  pretty much nailed the weather…

the highlight reel had me believing I was a far better basketball player than I actually was… the compliation also reveals that my dad really did video us doing just about anything…  he truly enjoyed us kids for who we were because the footage is far from extraordinary…

as I was sitting with the farmer as he was combining a partially hailed wheat crop, I noticed that the variety of wheat was Brandon (this being my oldest boy’s name sent me into a bit of a cry) … some say distance makes the heart grow fonder but I was truly fond of them when they were close to me… when they were home… distance just breaks the heart…

and as I try to figure out how to be a Mom to my boys who are away, I realize that I once again am turning to the advice of my parents…  as long as they aren’t too busy to respond to a text…

and this gives me hope…  so now on we go with harvest…  well it is now raining this morning…  as a ‘Weather-Woman’ once said, “it might snow or rain”