Spicy Carrot Dip

IMG_7993We are in the midst of having the exterior of our house painted. A few years ago we painted the barn, checking that we liked the colours we’d chosen. We decided to change the door colour, yet we haven’t gone to the back of the barn to re-do the stall panels. The only time we see them is when we’re doing chores, and when we’re there, we can’t see any of the other outbuildings, so they’re not really a big priority. However, I will re-do them at some point. Last summer all of the other outbuildings were painted in the refigured colours. By doing them ahead of the house, we were able to watch how the colours worked throughout the year, and if they were truly the colours we wanted. On rainy or cloudy days the house in its old worn colour looked so drab, while all the other buildings now had a warm & happy glow.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

Once the final decision on colours was made, a painter was hired. Someone who is willing to deal with all the detail we’d built into the house, as well as a bit of fearlessness to paint our 41’ roof peak.

Although I’m horrible about heights, and have had some anxiety issues while he’s up at the top of 40’ ladders, I am thrilled with how it’s looking.   Of course, all this has been going on while we move through an extremely busy summer. I seem to be in the kitchen for a long spell each day, figuring out recipes, doing test batches and so on. Perhaps I’m being energized by the attitude of the painter. Let’s get it done!

Here’s my take on a Spicy Carrot Dip that we’ll be serving as part of the appetizer menu for this year’s Summer Soiree & Art Auction. It is a beautiful colour (this summer is all about colour!), with a rich, warm spiciness that is lovely with a bit of flat bread. Continue reading

Pea & Edamame Dip

IMG_7272It’s spring! Time to set aside thoughts of roasted roots, and go for the green. We sat outside after a full day of sunshine and working outside. Even though it was early April, the temperature made us so aware of summer days around the corner. I had spent a few hours, getting the porch ready, by washing winter’s dust and grime off of stored deck furniture, with the sounds of ongoing fence repairs as my soundtrack.

When the hammers had been laid down; and the deck was in its summer duds, we gathered for beer and nibbles to toast the season. Serendipitously, the day before I had made a dip I’d been working my head around for the past few weeks. Super green, it made me feel good just looking at it! Pretty much all the ingredients are green, with bright, cheerful flavours.

We ate it with plain crackers, but the next day I was told of leftovers being eaten as a side to scrambled eggs. I’m planning on trying it stirred into some pasta or risotto, as a finish.

Use good quality frozen peas & edamame, not the shrivelled up ones that might be in the bottom of your freezer. Continue reading

Tomato Jam

IMG_3868Hot dogs and hamburgers seem to be a part of summer that never changes.  They may have tofu wieners and veggie patties, but they’re still what they are.  A bun cut in half, with a sizzling hot centerpiece smothered in the trimmings of one’s desire.

These trimmings usually define the dog or burger.  The better they are, the yummier the creation.  Our house usually does the ketchup, zesty relish, mustard & mayonnaise thing.  Switching it up with chipotle mayo, salsa & guacamole.  Pickles and caramelized onions are essential, along with crispy lettuce and slices of tomato.  I do not like ketchup.  That being said, I am very open to tomato chutneys, salsas etc.

So, with the summer abundance of tomatoes around the corner, try this very simple tomato jam.  If you want a smooth consistency, process it once it’s cooled a bit, remembering to remove the cinnamon! Continue reading

Pea Spread with Meyer Lemon

IMG_3890My sister and I were walking the other day.  Several times a week we take our dogs, Lainie & Bonnie for a hike up over Burchell Hill and around back through the woods.  It takes about 1¼ hrs and gives us lots of time for conversation, when we’re not huffing and puffing!

We were discussing the foods we eat.  Most of the foods found in both our homes are whole foods.  Basically we start from scratch when making any meal.  Then we talked about how many processed foods we have in our homes.  We both have more than we would have guessed.  Our processed items are very similar: condiments, dairy products, crackers, granola bars, tortilla chips, peanut butter, jams, chocolate, alcoholic beverages, soft beverages, canned tomatoes & sauce, boxed cereals & Dr. Oetker pizzas (we both had at least one in our freezer).

That got me to thinking about what I had in my freezers.   I have two chest freezers, a top freezer on our extra fridge, and an upright small freezer in the kitchen.  One of our chest freezers is used solely for customers’ beef.  It gets turned on a few days before a delivery and is shut down when empty. The chest freezer in the house holds our own beef, any other meats I have purchased from other farms, and fish.  One side is filled with assorted berries, all measured before packaging & ready to use easily, and stocks.  The small top freezer holds any extra baked goods. My kitchen freezer is filled with at least one of each type of fruit I have on hand, a huge assortment of nuts & seeds, specialty flours, grains, coffee, a small selection of meats and frozen peas.  I routinely sort through the freezers, rotating stock, using up things I may have forgotten I had, and basically keeping them organized.  If they’re not tidy, food gets wasted.

Funny how the only vegetables I have in the pantry or the freezer are tomatoes and peas.  Tomatoes are such a go to vegetable for most of us for sauces, pasta etc.  The peas are one of the very few vegetables that can handle being frozen and still give you a good, fresh tasting product when cooked.  I use them in risotto, as a quick side dish when the crispers are getting low, tossed in a salad, and for this very fresh tasting spread.  A thin sliver of rustic bread with a smear of these peas is an amazing snack.  So, don’t be proud, keep a small bag of good quality frozen peas at hand and use them to their fullest potential! Continue reading