Candied Orange Peel

IMG_8849A simple little winter treat, to make use of the wonderful oranges available this time of year. Use to garnish desserts, or to serve alone, as a little something at the end of a special meal. There are a few steps to this, but none of them difficult. The first time I ever made these was after a cousin, wearing a headband and groovy bellbottoms, had come to visit, and had a bag of these yummy morsels in her pack to share. Continue reading

Gingered Carrots

IMG_8681Our first truck was a ’47 Ford 1 Ton. Dark green with gold detailing, and very much a work truck. In the early eighties, with my hair in braids, wearing a down vest, and gum boots, I loved being the one that would go to town to pick up supplies, whether it was feed or fence posts. Even though the truck was 9 years my senior, we were good friends. It could hold so much, and anytime I pulled into a yard the staff was excited to see the truck; consequently I always got speedy service.

There was an inherently farm feel about picking up 50# burlap sacks of potatoes, onions and carrots for us, while 50# sacks of barley and oats were thrown in for the horses and pigs. These sacks of vegetables would sit in the cold room in our barn, and feed us through the winter (this sounds like the olden days, but really it was the eighties). They were the mainstay of our diet, supplemented with our own meat & squash, and winter hardy greens from the farmers market. Some of the carrots where oddly shaped, resembling the human form in many variations. Some would make us blush, while others would have us laughing outright.

Eating the same veg day after day, made us try lots of different recipes. A pan with all three tossed with a bit of oil, and seasoned with salt & pepper, then roasted is still one of my favourites. Glazing some carrots always made those dinners seem fancier. I used to do a brown sugar, butter & ginger glaze, by just draining the carrots and adding the three additions back with the carrots into the pot, to heat for 5 minutes or so before serving. Years went by, and I started to gently sauté the ginger before adding, and then I bought the Silver Palate cookbook. Well. They added in caraway, a whole new flavour to elevate my simple glazed carrots. While their recipe uses ground ginger & golden sugar, I still like to use minced ginger & brown sugar. But it’s all about innovating, so with a bit of this and a bit of that, here’s the Silver Palate enhanced version of my simple Gingered Carrot recipe. Enjoy, while you remember that it really is okay to eat the same thing most days, as long as it’s good for you! Continue reading

Poultry Gravy (do ahead, or for when you just want some)

IMG_8597Sometimes it’s just way easier to do something ahead of time.

Every “gather-round-the-table” celebration is more enjoyable if the tasks are shared between several, and it isn’t all done “just before”. When a turkey is pulled from the oven, and set to rest on its cutting board, there are usually other pots simmering, and people talking & visiting. So here’s a tip.

Make your gravy ahead of time. Any juices from your bird can be set in the fridge for the next day or two, making it easy to remove any fat. Then the juices can be frozen, ready for the next time you want gravy. The only downside to this is that you need to have kept those juices for that time.

Here’s a do-ahead gravy that is started from scratch, using some bits of poultry like wings, neck, or even chopped up legs. You can make as much as you want on a day that you pick.

For this year’s Thanksgiving feast, the turkey, stuffing, and three side dishes will be brought by others, leaving me to do a couple of pies, cranberry sauce, potatoes & gravy. As ours truly is the “home-that-gathers”, I am looking forward to the happy chatter and laughter that I am so very thankful for.IMG_8594

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Cranberry Bars

IMG_6816When cranberries are fresh in the fall, I buy several pounds of them, to store in the freezer.  I use them for all sorts of baking, adding to savoury stuffings, sliced thinly to garnish, or to add as a tart bite to salads.  They’re a great addition to home-made dog food, too (in case you were wondering).

This year I thought I’d be smart and buy 10 pounds of them.  That’s a whole lot of cranberries.  Now as winter dies down (I’m being optimistic), I’ve been making curd with them. As I was figuring that out, I thought about trying them as a topping for a cookie bar, like lemon bars.  After a few tries, I’ve got this one figured out.  They need a little more cooking, and a little more stabilizing from flour than lemon bars.  The red filling is a nice change, and the tartness of the berries with the orange citrus is very yummy.

So here’s hoping that you have 4 cups of cranberries languishing in your freezer, so you can try these out. Continue reading