Monday, March 18, 2013

Sweet Potato & Beef Bacon Hash with Eggs


This was super easy to make and was absolutely delicious!  If you have a small group for a breakfast or brunch this would be a perfect dish to serve.  The eggs tend to look underdone when cooked like this, so be careful not to overcook them.

Ingredients


1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
6-8 sliced of beef bacon, sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 eggs
3 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Directions


Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the diced sweet potato in a large bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and one sprig of rosemary (off the stem) and toss to coat.  Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking coat a cast iron pan lightly with oil.  Allow the pan to heat up and then fry the bacon and the onion.

When the potatoes are lightly browned add them to the cast iron pan with the bacon and onion.

Crack eggs on top of the sweet potato mixture.  Place 2 sprigs of rosemary on top of the dish and place in the oven to bake for 5-10 minutes, or until eggs are done to the desired doneness.

Top with fresh parsley and serve.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Turkey & Chicken Chili with Pearl Onions


Comfort food on the lighter side!  This is a wonderful hearty meal, but uses ground chicken and turkey instead of beef.  Lots of flavour and spice!


Ingredients


1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground turkey
12-15 pearl onions
2 cups hydrated kidney beans (or 1 can)
2 cups hydrated black beans (or 1 can)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt & pepper to taste


Directions


In a large pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat.  When it starts to smoke add onions and garlic.  Saute until lightly browned.

Add chicken, turkey, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper to the pot.  Continue to saute until meat is browned.

Add tomatoes and beans.  Allow to cook for 45-60 minutes.



Banana Oatmeal with Wild Blueberry Coulis


I've been making oatmeal lately.  It's an easy breakfast option, but needs a little something sweet and moist to taste just right.  Instead of the typical milk and brown sugar I've gone with natural sugar through fruit for the sweet and the moist.

Ingredients


2/3 cup whole oats
1 1/3 cup water, plus 1/3 cup water
1 banana, mashed
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries

Directions


In a sauce pan bring water to a boil.  Add oats and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.

Stir occasionally for 3-5 minutes until oatmeal is cooked.

While oatmeal is cooking in a separate saucepan over high heat cook 1/3 cup water and blueberries.  Cook on high until a syrup forms in the water and the blueberries are warm. (2-3 minutes)

Add mashed banana, chia and flax to the oatmeal.

Place oatmeal in bowls and top with blueberry coulis. (serves 2)




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Local Organic Farming - A Tour of Willo' Wind Farm



A few years ago I read an article in the local paper about a young organic farmer in Uxbridge, Adrian Stocking of Willo' Wind Farm.  It talked to the decreasing interest of young people in becoming farmers and why Adrian chose that route.  The article got my attention and as a result I decided to make my first trip to the Uxbridge Farmer's Market to see this young farmer for myself.  Immediately my husband and I were impressed with the organic farming practices that Adrian spoke of, on top of the impeccable quality of the produce and meat. From that day forward we became regular customers of Willo' Wind Farm.

As part of my culinary and food education I feel it is important to understand where the food that I am eating comes from and how it is handled.  So, I contacted Adrian and asked if we could come for a visit to the farm, he happily agreed.

My husband, daughter and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Willo' Wind Farm this past weekend. The farm is a 50 acre family farm dedicated to organic produce and livestock.  They are dedicated to preserving the land naturally and regenerating it in a sustainable manner.  When we arrived Adrian and his family were welcoming and hospitable.   Adrian, accompanied by his three year old daughter, gave us a tour of the farm.  He willingly shared information with us regarding their farming practices in comparison to conventional farming.  It was clear he had nothing to hide and that he is proud of his family farm. I have seen enough documentaries to be skeptical of marketing versus actual farming practices, but I have to stay that Willo' Wind Farm is exactly how you would expect a family farm to be.

The first thing we discussed was how the season starts.  We were shown the two greenhouses where the crops are started before the snow has even melted.  Preparations were already underway for planting this season, by April they will begin to put the crops into the ground.


As we walked through the property Adrian explained that the livestock on the farm is kept primarily for compost, although some is sold for food.  He also emphasized the importance of conserving the soil  through the use of compost and rotation.  These organic practices allow them to keep the soil nutrient rich and to continue to produce top quality produce.  We walked through the barn that houses the sheep and goats, which is spacious and clean.  Adrian even brought a lamb over for us to see!



The chicken coup was of great interest to me, since I eat a lot of chicken.  The chickens were given free range of the coup and fenced in area, there were a few stragglers throughout the property, which made it more authentic in my opinion.  It didn't seem over crowded, it was clean and it was quite obvious that not only was the coup well taken care of, so were the birds.


The farm had a number of heritage breed Large English Black Pigs on site, which will be heading to the abattoir in the next few weeks.  Something I didn't realize was that most pigs will be large enough to slaughter by six months of age, if left much longer the meat will become too fatty.  My husband and I are considering purchasing half of one of these pigs.  I am excited about having the opportunity to use the whole animal, rather than just the favourable cuts.  




We were then given the opportunity to meet Maggie, the farm's Draft horse.  Although power operated tractors are used Maggie is used to plow, cultivate and to spread compost whenever possible.


Adrian explained to us that they have an irrigation pond and a well on the farm that they use as a water source, making the farm more self sustained.  They also reuse the water from the produce wash station for irrigation rather than simply discarding it.

After a wonderful tour of the property we stopped by the Stocking family home.  The house was made by Adrian himself and was built using straw bail walls.  This clearly reflects the family's dedication to sustainability.  Not only do they lead by example in the farming community, but in their own home as well.

Now as the busy season approaches Willo' Wind Farm will add an additional four people to their team from April through October.  They will accept four apprentices through Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario (C.R.A.F.T. Ontario).  I imagine this would be a wonderful experience if you are interested in getting into farming.   http://www.craftontario.ca/

The produce and meat that we have purchased from Willo' Wind Farm  over the past few years has never faltered in quality.  It lasts longer than anything we have ever purchased in the grocery store, tastes better and I am confident that it is more nutritious.  The food from Willo' Wind Farm is something you can feel good about eating and feel confident in feeding your family, I know I am.

Check out their website for information on CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares or just for more information.  http://willowind.ca/Welcome_to_WilloWind_Farm.html

Come out and visit the Uxbridge Farmers' Market this season and visit the Willo' Wind booth.  http://www.uxbridgefarmersmarket.ca/

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Suped-up Coleslaw


My brother in law made a cabbage and kale salad over the holidays.  He is a chef by trade, so of course it was amazing! This is my version of that salad.

Ingredients



1/4 of a cabbage, thinly sliced
3-4 stalks of kale, thinly sliced
1 Red Pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh groud pepper to taste
coarse sea salt to taste

Directions


In a small bowl mix vinegar, lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley.  Set aside

In a large bowl mix all remaining ingredients.  Toss with dressing.

Allow to sit covered in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to enhance the flavour.


Earthy Banana Loaf


I love to make banana bread.  It makes the house smell really nice and it's wonderful to have a slice for breakfast!  The recipe I typically use is made with processed white sugar, white flour and milk chocolate.  I came up with this recipe, so I didn't have to feel guilty indulging in baked goods for breakfast.

Ingredients


2 over ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 organic 85% chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped


Directions


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl combine, bananas, apple sauce, yogurt, eggs, honey and vanilla.

In a separate mixing bowl combine flour, chia, flax, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet slowly, just until combined.

Stir in chocolate and pistachios.

Pour mixture into a greased 9X5 loaf pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until fork comes out clean.