Monday, January 14, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals- #6 and #7 Whoops!

Sorry about missing a day there!  It just totally skipped my mind that I wanted to post for day #6.  Some relatives were coming over to visit so I figured it was a good a time as any to whip up another batch of turkey stock with the leftover bird waiting patiently in the freezer.  I made a big pot of Turkey-Vegetable Soup and served with some nice bread, brie, smoked mackerel, and olives.  For dessert we enjoyed one of our favourites - Apple Crisp.  Great family, delicious food.

I just have to warn you, I made this without measuring anything, and I was also cooking for 9 people, so allow your intuition to guide you with this one.

1 large organic onion, chopped
1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
4 cloves organic garlic, minced
2 organic carrots, chopped
1/4 organic butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1/2 organic rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2 organic celery, chopped
1 cup cooked organic swiss chard, chopped
2 cups chopped organic string beans
1/2 bottle organic pasta sauce
2 cups cooked organic turkey or chicken pieces
sea salt and pepper
kelp flakes
organic bay leaf
organic turkey or chicken stock

Method:  Saute the onion, carrots, celery, squash, and rutabaga in a large soup pot in the coconut oil over medium heat until soft.  Pour in enough stock to make the soup the consistency you like.  Add the rest of the ingredients and allow it to simmer for about an hour.  Serve seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.


8 organic cortland apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup organic or wild cranberries
juice of 1/2 an organic lemon
5 tsp organic ground cinnamon, divided
2 Tbsp sprouted organic spelt flour
water or organic apple juice
2 2/3 cups organic quick rolled oats
1 cup sprouted organic spelt flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup organic coconut sugar
1 cup organic unsalted butter

Method:  Preheat oven to 375*.  Toss the apples and cranberries with the lemon juice, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 4 Tbsp spelt flour. Place them into a 9"X 13" baking dish, and pour in just enough apple juice or water to cover the bottom of the pan.
     Mix the oats, 1 cup flour, sea salt, sugar, and butter in the now empty bowl.  Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to combine the butter into the dry ingredients, until it forms a coarse meal. Press lightly onto the apples.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until apples are soft.    
Tonight I kept it simple by serving pasta.  One of my favorite methods for making pasta is adding whatever vegetables I have in the fridge right into the pot while the pasta is almost done cooking.  Tonight that included cauliflower, shredded carrot, and frozen green beans (remnants of our summer garden).  Add a can of wild salmon, drizzle with lots of extra virgin olive oil, salty butter, a bit of umeboshi vinegar, and lots of fresh garlic.  Oh, and of course, LOTS of grated fresh romano cheese.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals- #5 Breakfast of Champions

We've been eating a lot more eggs since I've cut back on grains (not that you'd be able to tell that we've cut back since all my posts lately feature them!).  So, for breakfast I like to add a little flair to our plate by making crunchy salads.  I haven't gotten around to sprouting much these days, but luckily a vendor at the farmer's market sells lovely sunflower sprouts which we've really been enjoying lately.  Like this morning for instance, where I tossed them with (store bought) lacto-fermented turnips, carrot and avocado drizzled with a touch of umeboshi vinegar, flax, and olive oil.  Perfect next to a pair of our farm fresh eggs (thank goodness our young hens have begun to lay - it was hard to eat store bought eggs again).

Friday, January 11, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals- #4 Lamb Stew

I feel kind of funny admitting that I made lamb stew using beautiful lamb chops instead of stew meat or shanks.  The kids don't really enjoy chewy meat like steak or chops, so I decided to stew it instead.  Beautifully cold, sunny winter day - nice warm, hearty stew.

6 organic lamb chops, cut into pieces
organic coconut oil
1 large organic onion, chopped into large chunks
4 cloves organic garlic, chopped
1/3 cup organic red wine
2 Tbsp organic tomato paste, preferably from a glass jar
2 cups water
sea salt and pepper
1 tsp dried organic thyme
1 organic bay leaf
1 organic rutabaga cut into chunks
4 organic carrots, chopped
2 cups organic squash, peeled and chunked
4 organic potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup organic button mushrooms, whole

Method: Preheat oven to 350*. Heat a large cast iron dutch oven over medium high heat.  Melt some coconut oil and brown the lamb on each side.  Turn off heat, add the wine, onions, garlic, water, herbs, some sea salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and place in the oven and cook for 1 hour.  
     Remove the pot from the oven and add the chopped vegetables.  Cook for one more hour.  Serve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals- #3 Cabbage Roll Casserole

I grew up eating my mother's amazing cabbage rolls.  These days, I get my fix (without all the work) by making this quick and easy casserole.  I love recipes you can make with 1 pound of ground beef.
I know I already warned you about the potential for bad lighting in my photographs for this 30 Day journey, but I am sorry for all the artificial the time dinner is ready, the sun has set and we are in a hurry to eat so I just snap and go!  I love the natural light of summertime when the days last 
F O R E V E R.......


1 pound organic grass fed beef
3 cloves organic garlic, smashed and minced
2 organic onions, chopped
1 cup organic basmati or white rice
26 oz organic tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes (preferably from a glass jar)
2 Tbsp organic tomato paste (from a glass jar)
1/2 cup organic chicken stock or water
6 cups shredded organic cabbage
1tsp organic ground cinnamon
1 tsp organic mint
sea salt and pepper
organic feta or romano cheese

Method:  In a large frying pan, cook the beef, onions, and garlic until there is no pink left in the beef.  Add salt and pepper.
     Add the uncooked rice to the beef mixture and set aside.
     Mix together the tomatoes, paste, stock, cinnamon, and mint. 
     In a large casserole dish (1.5 L), layer half the cabbage.  Cover with half of the beef mixture.  Cover that with half of the sauce.  Repeat. Cover and bake at 350* for one hour.  Serve with feta cheese or grated romano.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals- #2 Sourdough Pizza

Ancient pizza was leavened with soudough, so I figured I'd give it a try tonight.  The BEST pizza crust ever - and I didn't feel all bloated and gross after I ate it.  Day 2- Pizza Night.

7 cups organic flour (I used a combination of Red Fife, unbleached wheat and spelt)
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
Tired of the same old, same old pizza toppings?  Check these out:

Method: Mix together the culture, flour, water, oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl and knead it for 20-30 minutes to develop the gluten.  Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a plate or lid and let it proof for 4 hours at 77*-82*F.  Punch down and divide into 6 balls.  Place the balls on a baking sheet, cover with an overturned roasting pan, and proof for an additional 4 hours at room temperature(70*).
     Press the dough into desired shape on unscented coconut oil greased pizza pans and proof for 1/2 hour while you get your toppings ready.  Sprinkle with toppings and bake in a preheated 425* oven for 7-9 minutes or until the edges brown.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

30 Days of Real Meals - #1

Welcome to Day #1 of Real Meals!  It's winter, the pickings are slim, but we're eating, and eating real.  Good or bad, I am going to share with you what my family of four (2 adults, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old) eats every day for the next 30 days.  In many ways, we are your typical Canadian family, with a few twists.  For one, we never eat out.  We eat only organically. We strive to eat seasonally and as locally as possible.  So within those parameters, my job is to juggle raising two kids, and make three healthy meals, every day.  The pictures may not always be pretty as I reach for the camera regardless of the lighting or perfection of the dish I'm photographing - but hey, over here, we like to keep it real.
Romano Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Steamed Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts with Nori- drizzled with olive oil and umbeshi vinegar
Roasted Haddock with Salsa and Romano Cheese


4 cups organic Yukon Gold potatoes (3/4" on all sides)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt or powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp organic paprika
1 tsp organic ground black pepper
5 Tbsp grated Romano cheese

Method: Preheat oven to 425*.  Place the cubed potatoes into a baking dish or cast iron skillet.  
Transfer dish to the oven and bake 30 mins. 
Remove from the oven and toss - put back in oven for another 15-25 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy.

HADDOCK with Salsa

4 pieces hook and line haddock, rinsed and patted dry
1-2 cups organic tomato salsa
sea salt and pepper
romano cheese

Method:  Preheat the broiler in your oven.  Spread the salsa onto the fish, season with sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Broil for about 10-15 minutes, or until fish is firm.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

SOURDOUGH BREAD that doesn't feel like a brick

I am pretty happy with my latest batch of sourdough culture.  It is a different recipe from the one I shared with you a while back for Pain au Levain, which produces a more rustic, French style bread.  The thing I like about it most is that it produces loaves of bread that are much lighter than some of my previous sourdough experiments - like light enough to make a sandwich with! Yay!  
     I just can't make bread with yeast anymore. After reading so much about how sourdough predigests the gluten and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors (that interfere with digestion) and phytic acid (that blocks mineral absorption), how could I possible feed that to my family with a good conscience?  Well, I couldn't, and now I don't have to
     Perhaps the best thing about this bread is the ritual I've gotten into which involves getting the bread started in the evening when the house is quiet and the children are in bed.  So, no little fingers poking into the dough, or mid kneading diaper changes are involved.  Peaceful, relaxing, unhurried and pleasant.  The dough rests overnight, and then in the morning I let it rise in the pans and bake it by our afternoon naptime.  Perfect.

Ok, first you have to create a really active culture.

organic flour (I used unbleached and whole wheat flour)
warm water

Method:  Mix 2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a 2 litre glass bowl.  Stir the mixture vigorously to allow lots of air to infuse the batter. Place the bowl uncovered on top of your fridge, or another nice warm spot.  Stir the mixture at least twice every 24 hours.  In 2-3 days, some bubbles should appear on the surface.  At this point, feed it a cup of flour and enough water to maintain the previous consistency (like thick pancake batter), and stir it well.  Be sure to still stir it twice a day.  You may need to repeat additional feedings at 12-24 hour intervals for several successive days.  When it forms a 1-2" layer of foam, you will know you have an active yeast in your brew.
     Once you have a good, bubbly culture, use it to make bread, or pour it into some mason jars and refrigerate.  If you do refrigerate, be sure to feed your culture once a month to keep it alive.

Fully Active Culture
     When a refrigerated culture is warmed and fed, the organisms begin to reactivate, but the activity of the wild yeast is often inhibited by the increased acidity of the culture.  To reduce acidity do the following:
- remove jar from fridge and fill the jar with warm water while you stir it vigorously
- leave about 1 cup in the jar and discard the rest
- feed the culture in the jar 2/3 cup flour and enough water to make a thick pancake batter
- proof at 70-75* for about 2-4 hours until it is foamy
- if your culture has been in the fridge for longer than 2 weeks you may have to repeat this process

Culture Proof
   Warming and feeding for 2 hours is usually not enough to prepare a refrigerated culture.  Therefore you must create a culture proof:
- start with a fully active culture
- stir it and put half in another jar 
- to each jar add 2/3 cup flour and water to make a thick pancake batter
- proof 8-12 hours
- now it is ready to use to make bread
(makes one loaf - I usually double it)

1 cup culture
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 cup organic whole spelt flour
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
Method:  Pour the culture into a mixing bowl.  Stir the water and salt into it.  Add the flour  a cup at a time until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand.  Knead it until it is smooth and satiny.
     Proof the dough overnight at 70* F in a greased and covered bowl- it should double in size.  
     In the morning, use a spatula to gently ease the dough out onto a floured board.  Allow the dough to rest for 30 mins.  
     Flatten the dough slightly, then gently form a ball by lifting from the edges and pulling into the centre. Then form into a loaf shape and put into a greased loaf pan.
     Cover with a large overturned bowl and proof for 2-4 hours .  
     Place the pan into a cooled oven, then turn the temperature to 375* and bake for about 45-70 minutes.  Remove from pan and allow to cool.