May long on the farm 

May long…

for my neighbours in Saskatoon last night it means midnight fireworks on the golf course… for many farmer’s wives it means taking your boy to spring hockey tournaments…

for farmers it means seeding (the odd year we are done by May long but not lately… and the odd year there are combines out)

it also is the cut-off date for planting a garden… according to everyone’s grandmothers…  you better have it in by May long!  I actually try to get my garden in as early in May as possible so I actually can fully use it during harvest… and so no grandmas say ‘I told you so’…

my attempts to preserve food are not down to a science… so it needs to get used up in the fall…

asparagus is the first thing I harvest from my garden and is one of my favourites…

easy to have in your garden – you just burn the old, dried up remains of last years crop and watch these new little guys stick their heads up through the ashes…

this recipe you can make as large or small as you need it – or dependant on your asparagus harvest!

asparagus blueberry spring salad

  • Servings: you choose
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Ingredients:

Salad:

  • asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • olive oil (I used dill flavoured)
  • arugula
  • blueberries
  • candied hazelnuts
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette

Candied Hazelnuts:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp dijon

Directions:

  • saute the asparagus in olive oil for a few minutes and let cool (do not overcook)
  • assemble the rest of the salad items
  • for the candied hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • melt the butter and add the rest of the ingredients
  • toss with the hazelnuts and pour over a parchment lined baking sheet
  • bake for 15 minutes
  • let cool and break apart
  • for the vinaigrette, in a small mason jar shake the ingredients and pour over the salad

 

this was my mother’s day gift…  just received it from Amazon… an Instant Pot…  I mostly wanted it because now that I am a vegetarian, I don’t have a giant interest anymore in cooking with meat…  🙂

but the farmer is still very much a meat-a-tarian...  so the meat needs to get cooked…

this is the solution… you can throw frozen hunks of meat in this miracle pressure cooker and ‘wa-la’…  cooked hunk of meat is served!

I did not read any instructions and only had time to watch three YouTube videos so please do your own research when dealing with a pressure cooker…

all I know is that you throw frozen meat in with some water and it cooks it…

I drained the roast and threw in the sauce ingredients and put the lid on again to let it work it’s magic…

I’m sure I’m late to the game to realize this amazing kitchen tool that can saute, pressure cook and slow cook is a must have in your kitchen… better late than never – am I right?

by the way – look on Kijiji for a well used crockpot…  only asking what my farmer spent on my Instant Pot (plus shipping)

Instant Pot tear away beef

Ingredients:
– 4 lb roast

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  • take frozen roast and place in Instant Pot with 1 cup of water
  • on manual setting, set timer for 40 minutes
  • when timer is done and you have released the steam, drain the roast and cut it up
  • add the roast and the rest of the ingredients back to the Instant Pot
  • on manual setting set timer for 25 minutes
  • when done, release the steam and serve!

I know I said my coconut lime rice was the best rice ever… I take it back…

green rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch spinach, stemmed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stemmed
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsely, stemmed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, one seeded (the other leave some seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice

Directions:

  • in a Vitamix, blend spinach, cilantro, parsley and jalapeños with 1 cup of the vegetable stock
  • in a saucepan on med/high heat, add olive oil and saute the onions and garlic
  • add the rice and pour in the vegetable stock
  • add the blended mixture from the Vitamix, cover and let simmer on low for 15 minutes
  • turn heat off and let sit for another 10 minutes
  • fluff the rice and serve

this is a ‘light’ version of a berry crisp and is packed with energy boosting ingredients…

and my theory is that farmers need a boost of energy around dinner time… due to the fact that my farmer finishes his lunch by 8 am some days…

berry crumble

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 3 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch or cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • serve with coconut milk ice cream (if you aren’t taking it to farmers!)

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • spray a 8×8 inch baking dish (or larger if you have more berries) with a cooking spray
  • in a large bowl, toss berries with lemon juice and tapioca starch or cornstarch
  • place in baking dish
  • in a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and pour over the berries
  • bake for 25-30 minutes
  • let cool to set
  • serve with coconut milk ice cream that your daughter made that evening in the Vitamix!

 

filling the freezer

the calm before the storm… the week before harvest is in full swing and farm wives everywhere are trying to sober up from the summer (you know who you are) and begin filling their freezers with meals and baking for the coming harvest…

a few friends of mine use this “The Big Cook 2” cookbook to stock their freezer with easy, go to meals when they are in a pinch…  and I decided to cook up a few… mainly because I realized that I will be running with three kids for 6 different sporting teams they are on…  so life might get a touch busy…

this cookbook allows you to apparently prepare 200 meals in 1 day…  I call that false advertising…  I was able to get together 5 yesterday and am hoping for 3 today…  although beginning at 10 am after I roll out of bed might be the reason for my lagging production…

for harvest, I need meals that serve the 12 farmers I am taking meals to plus the 4 of us here at home… (the kids apparently want to get fed)…  so if you are using the recipes I post, adjust accordingly to what your harvest demands are!

which leads me to introduce you to Odell Beckham Jr…  or should I say the remains of OBJ…  my middle son goes to school with a boy that is in 4H… for those of you that are not familiar with 4H, google it because I am not familiar with it either…

all I know, is this boy raised a cow, named him Odell Beckham Jr and now we are eating his cow…

so the recipes I used for this batch of freezer meals were:

– marinated round steak for steak sandwiches

– dijon peppered roast

– bbq beef stew

– swedish meatballs

-carrot and cheese meatloaf

let’s begin!  with the easiest… marinated round (or flank) steak which I plan on using for steak sandwiches or fajitas…

what I failed to show was that I dumped a large portion of the marinade on my foot

marinated round steak

  • Servings: 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 3 (2 lb) round steaks
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups soya sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced

Directions:

  • label three large ziploc bags “marinated round steak”
  • place each round steak in a bag
  • combine the remaining ingredients
  • pour an even amount into each bag
  • remove air, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, bbq on high heat for 5-8 minutes per side
  • boil marinade for 3 minutes or until it thickens in a saucepan
  • slice steak and pour marinade over it
  • serve on crusty break as a steak sandwich or use as a filling for fajitas

 

next, dijon peppered cross rib roasts…  I am not a huge fan of roast but when you have your freezer full of your sons friend’s cow you need to cook roasts!

dijon peppered roast

  • Servings: 2 roasts or 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 2 (4 lb) cross rib beef roasts
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp old style prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup HP steak sauce
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon pepper (or ground black pepper)
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves (or 1 tbsp ground rosemary)

Directions:

  • label 2 large ziploc bags “dijon peppered roast”
  • place each roast into a ziploc bag
  • combine remaining ingredients and divide evenly between the two bags
  • remove air from bag, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, place in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low
  • serve with potatoes, vegetable and crusty buns

 

on to stew…  which we did not get any of Odell Beckham Jr cut up into so I took the rump roasts and cut two of them up into stew meat…  which actually was fine because in the past I have found I have to cut the store bought stew meat into smaller chunks anyways… plus my dogs got the fatty pieces so win/win…

I used kohlrabi instead of celery in this recipe…  two reasons…  first reason – I forgot to buy celery… second reason – I had a lot of kohlrabi in my garden… so it is a bit of an experiment…  I’m thinking it will either taste similar to a turnip or celery… we’ll see…

bbq beef stew with kohlrabi

  • Servings: 3 large bags or 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 12 lbs beef stew meat (I used 2 (3-4lb) rump roasts and cut into stew sized chunks)
  • 12 cups cubed kohlrabi (or diced celery)
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups bbq sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup powdered beef bouillon
  • 1 cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar

Directions:

  • label 3 large ziploc bags “bbq beef stew”
  • distribute evenly the stew meat and kohlrabi into the three bags
  • combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and distribute evenly into the bags
  • remove excess air, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, cook in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low
  • serve over rice or mashed potatoes with steamed broccoli or corn on the cob

Swedish meatballs… the first time I have ever made meatballs with cream of wheat cereal and let me tell you – delicious…  I sampled a few and loved them…  and I’m not even that Swedish… mostly Norwegian which shares many native dishes such as Lutefisk and Pult with Sweden…  so maybe it came naturally to me to make Swedish meatballs?

(that being said… hamburger helper and pizza pops were a common occurrence growing up so perhaps I was raised a touch American… and yes, I am trying to insult American’s and my mother all with the same joke… )

swedish meatballs

  • Servings: 4 large bags or 12 people
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Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs beef (lean, ground, raw)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream of wheat cereal (dry, uncooked)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 cans evaporated milk

Directions:

  • label 4 large ziploc bags “swedish meatballs”
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk
  • add the raw beef, cream of wheat cereal and onions
  • mix very well with hands until well combined
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out and form 1 1/2” balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets
  • bake in oven for 25 minutes
  • place in a bowl with paper towel to cool and collect the excess fat drippings
  • while meatballs are cooking, mix in a large bowl the cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and evaporated milk
  • when meatballs are cool, evenly divide amoung the four large ziploc bags
  • pour the soup mixture into each bag
  • remove any air from the bags and seal
  • place in freezer
  • when ready to use, place in slow cooker at high for 4 hours or low for 5-7 hours
  • serve with steamed rice and a vegetable

lastly, meatloaf…  and let me tell you… by this point of the day I had seen enough of Odell Beckham Jr…

this is a huge recipe and it ended up making 7 loaves for me…  which felt like a tonne of packed meat…  but we had one of the loaves for supper and it was really good the kids said…  I could not eat it…

I chose not to freeze these with the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard topping…  when I go to cook them I’ll put the glaze on then…

carrot and cheese meatloaf

  • Servings: 7-8 loaves
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Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 6 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cups grated carrot (or more)
  • 6 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 9 lbs beef (lean, ground, raw)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup prepared mustard

Directions:

  • in a very large bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper and bread crumbs until well mixed
  • add onion, carrot, cheese and beef
  • mix with hands until very well combined
  • pack an even amount of mixture into the 7-8 loaf pans
  • cover each pan with tin foil and label
  • place into freezer
  • when ready to cook, defrost overnight and all day
  • combine brown sugar, ketchup and mustard and spread on top of each meatloaf
  • bake at 350 for 1 hour
  • let stand for 10 mintues before serving
  • serve with baked potato, corn on the cob and a tossed salad

and there you have it…  freezer getting stocked… and on to day two now…  the baking will come later… as I have some giant zucchini’s just waiting to get grated and made into loaves, muffins and cakes…

it also is moments when I write stuff like that where I realize what I have become and never thought I would…  a person that talks about zucchini… non-stop… it has become one of my favourite google searches and topics…

not exactly sure what that says about me… actually I do know what it says about me… I’ve accepted it…

 

meal to the field #9

in the past fifty days or so we have only combined around seventeen of them… this means there has been more days not combining than combining which doesn’t make for happy farmers… in fact my farmer  has lost weight just from the stress of not combining…  I told him fad diets like that never work but he did it anyways…

so this meal I did on Friday and then it promptly rained again so we couldn’t finish up…  we have a lot of canola still out there waiting to get combined… Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming weekend and it looks like it will be turkey to the field… I have done this only one other year in my 15 years of cooking for farmers…

and this is why farmers talk about the weather… a lot…

  

cucumber dill salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 large cucumbers, sliced with a mandolin
  • 6 green onions, chopped

Directions:

  • in a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt
  • mix with a whisk
  • cut cucumbers with a mandolin into thin slices and place in bowl
  • add green onions, mix and dish into containers
  • chill in fridge for at least one hour

  

pot roast in beer and onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 1kg cross rib pot roasts
  • salt and pepper on roasts (season well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 white onions, chopped
  • 14 crushed garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bottles of beer
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence

Directions:

  • turn crockpot on high
  • heat oil in a large dutch oven on medium/high heat
  • season the roasts and one at a time sear each roast (all sides) for 2 minutes per side
  • place into the crockpot
  • in dutch oven, place onions and garlic
  • season the onions and garlic with thyme and herbes de provence
  • add beer and broth
  • pour over the roasts in the crockpot
  • cook on high in crockpot for 4 hours or longer
  • take meat out and slice and put back in crockpot and serve


roasted carrot sticks with dijon dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • cut carrots into sticks and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • roast for 15-20 minutes until tender
  • mix up olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme and rosemary
  • pour over the carrots and serve


basically if you are eating a roast or any sort of beef dish that has a gravy, you need to make yorkshire pudding…  the farmer’s family called them ‘pop-overs’ but I grew up knowing and loving them as ‘yorkshire pudding’…  my love for them has never faltered… I love them fresh out of the oven with nothing on them…. or with the meal with some butter and gravy in the centre of them… or later that evening, cold from the refrigerator…  oh I love them so… that’s why you need to make 36 of them even if you are not feeding a whole crew of farmers…

“auntie

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 2/3 cup homo milk
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Directions:

  • using three muffin tins, place dollops of butter in each well and place in 400 degree oven
  • whisk up eggs and add salt and milk
  • add flour to mixture
  • take out smoking hot muffin tins and pour batter into them, filling each well half way up
  • bake for 20 minutes
  • serve warm, with gravy and butter


  

these brownies are so easy to make and moist and delish… the reason I sprinkled them with icing sugar is because I forgot to put parchment paper in the baking pan and half the cake stuck in the bottom of the pan and it was a bit of a disaster…  so icing sugar covers all wrongs…

zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • in a standing mixer, beat sugar and oil
  • mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl
  • add flour mixture to sugar and oil
  • beat and add zucchini
  • fold in chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan
  • make sure the baking pan is well greased and has parchment paper lining the bottom of it so cake does not stick
  • bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until centre of cake is done
  • let cook in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes and then take out of pan and let cool
  • cut into 12 brownies and serve