Sunday, December 26, 2010


     Wow, am I ever full.  There has been lots of feasting and celebrating going on around here, and I've only now taken a break from stuffing my face to write this post.  It all started with Tourtiere or French-Canadian meat pie on Christmas Eve.  This has been a tradition in my family forever, and I am so happy to have started making this for my family the past couple of years.  I even had enough to make an extra pie to freeze, which will be perfect when I go into labour and need to bring food with us to the birth house.
     While I was busy in the kitchen, my husband Scott had the sombre task of saying goodbye to two of our turkeys so we could feast on Christmas Day.  We were a little worried that wild turkeys would be drier and harder to cook than conventional turkeys.  A night of brining and careful basting did just the trick, and we had the most delicious meal ever.  I've got to admit, Scott and I were pretty proud of ourselves that all the diligence and care of the turkeys paid off.  What a rewarding experience for sure.
I had lots of extra pastry left over after making the tourtiere so on Christmas morning I made some Maple Butter Tarts.  I don't have a picture to share, but I do have the recipe.  They taste so good, especially when they're frozen.

Makes 2 thick pies

2 pounds organic pasture raised pork, ground
2 pounds grass fed beef, ground
3 organic onions, chopped
2 organic potatoes, shredded
2 organic carrots, shredded
3-4 tsp sea salt
3/4-1 tsp organic clove, ground
couple of pinches organic allspice, ground
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
a few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
2 organic bay leaves
pastry for 3 pies
1 organic egg yolk, beaten
1 Tbsp organic olive oil
3 cups water or organic beef stock

Method:  In a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat cook the meat for 5-10 minutes or until no longer pink.  Place the meat in a sieve to drain off fat.  Return the meat to the pan and stir in the onions, stock, potato, carrpt, spices, bay leave, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium low and partially cover, simmering and stirring occasionally for 1 hour until the liquid has evaporated.  Remove the bay leaves and let cool and then refrigerate.  Divide pastry into 4 rounds and roll out 2 of the rounds and fit into the bottom of 2 - 9" pie plates.  Spread the meat mixture in pie shells.  Roll out remaining dough and arrange over the meat filling.  Trim and crimp edges to seal; cut steam vents in top of pastry.  Lightly beat the egg yolk and olive oil together and brush onto the top of the pies.  Bake at 425* for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 350* and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  Cover the pies with foil if they start to get too brown.


Prepare enough pastry to line 2 dozen medium sized tart pans or muffin cups.

1/2 cup local maple syrup
1/2 cup organic brown rice syrup (or more maple syrup)
2 organic eggs
1/2 cup maple or organic coconut sugar

Method:  Preheat oven to 400*.  Stir the syrups together to combine.  Whisk in the egg and then stir in the sugar.  Pour syrup mixture into tart shells, filling them 2/3 full.  Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It's been awhile since my last post on gingerbread.  Since then we've completed making and decorating the gingerbread houses.  And yes, I did manage to lay out bowls upon bowls of bright colourful candy around my toddler without him eating any of it.  (Well actually he ate one chocolate snowman because he has developed a fondness for chocolate.) That is the beauty of children, they imitate whatever adults do, so seeing as I don't eat candy, it was pretty easy to show him that the candy was just for gluing onto the gingerbread.


4 cups organic icing sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3 organic egg whites
Method:  Sift together the icing sugar and cream of tartar.  Using an electric mixer beat in the egg whites and whisk for 7 minutes or until the icing is thick enough to hold its shape.  Can be kept refrigerated in a covered dish for 3 days.

 Holiday preparations are in full swing over here, and today we visited a local tree farm to cut down an evergreen for our Solstice/Christmas celebrations.  Growing up, this annual tradition always included coming home to chow down on hearty chili and sausage on a bun.  So, my sister came over and that is just what we did.  I make my chili differently from mom, and I make cornbread to go with it even though she never did (ah the beauty of evolution in tradition).  The addition of delicious toppings like shredded cheese, avocado, olives and cilantro are a nice touch too.


5 cups organic cooked kidney, pinto and black beans
2 Tbsp e.v olive oil
1 pound organic/grass fed ground beef
2 organic green peppers, chopped
2 organic onions, chopped
3 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 Tbsp organic ginger, grated
2 tsp organic mustard seeds
1 tsp organic coriander powder
1/4 tsp organic nutmeg, grated
3 Tbsp organic chili powder
2-4 tsp sea salt
organic black pepper, ground
3/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp local honey
2 can organic chopped tomatoes
2 cups water

Toppings:  chopped avocado, green onions, shredded cheese, cilantro, green olives, sour cream

Method:  In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Saute beef, onion and green pepper for 3-4 minutes.  Add in garlic, ginger and spices, stirring for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, beans, honey, salt, pepper, vinegar, and water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low, cooking for about 30-40 minutes or until mixture is nice and thick.  Serve with toppings.


1 cup organic cornmeal, finely ground
1 cup organic whole wheat or spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp local honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup organic whole milk
2 organic eggs
3 Tbsp organic butter, melted

Method:  Preheat oven to 375*.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl.  Add wet to dry, stir.  Pout into a 9" X 9" buttered pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Friday, December 3, 2010


It began last night.  After a long and full week, I wondered what my son and I were going to do all day today.  Another rainy, overcast day.  Me, a baby full belly and little desire to be mobile.  The only solution was to go for a walk to get the mail, rainy day or no rainy day.  Am I ever glad I did go for a walk.  Five minutes into being outside, my mood immediately changed and I found myself marveling at the beauty of nature.  As my son threw rocks into the ocean, I noticed how lovely and magical the perfect circles that formed on the surface of the water were each time a rock went in.  
     When we got back home, I decided to visit the supermarket to load up on some bulk decorating candy so we could make gingerbread houses!  I purposely chose the supermarket over Bulk Barn, because as you know,  Bulk Barn won't allow me to bring in paper bags to package my goods, but Superstore does.  So yay!  Superstore, you get my business!  I am really hoping I succeed in convincing my son that the candy is solely for decorating, and not food meant for human consumption (what? it isn't!).  I'll let you know how it goes.  I have hopefully enlisted the (willing) assistance of my talented husband to construct the gingerbread houses.  He is a builder after all, so I think he will do an excellent job.  It will be fun to make them altogether as a family anyway.  Until then, Faegan and I spent the morning baking gingerbread men, which taste divine warm from the oven.

(if I had a gingerbread woman cookie cutter I would have made them too)
I multiplied this recipe by four to make enough men and the house.

1/4 cup organic butter, room temperature
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar (or organic brown sugar which can be as simple as 1/2 cup organic sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp organic molasses)
1/2 cup organic molasses
1 organic egg
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp organic ground cloves
1 tsp organic ground cardamom
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1 tsp organic ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt

Method:  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  (If your butter is cold, simply beat it in the mixer bowl while you blow a hot hair dryer on it for a few seconds, it will be warm in no time.)  Add the molasses and egg and combine.  
     In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients.  Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.  Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.  Roll dough out on a floured countertop to desired thickness.  Use cookie cutters to make shapes.  Transfer to greased or parchment lined sheets and bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.