Farm Blog

Keeping Local eating Fresh in the Winter

Over the years we’ve figured outs some tricks to help make northern eating fresh, fun and delicious.

There are a few staples we buy from away, like bananas, lemons, tahini, olive oil, lentils, and rice…but for the most part we try to eat what we or our friends and family have grown. I try to base my meals on what we have and buy only the things that will enhance and brighten our meals.

I’ve put together some tips on how to make the most of the food we grow here. Included is a sample menu of the meals we have on rotation in our house. Now, it’s a bit long, but I don’t want to just feed you recipes, because sometimes certain ingredients aren’t available and you have to adapt. Learning a few tricks in the kitchen will enable you to make delicious meals from what you have. There ARE recipe links below.

Freezing 
We freeze a lot of tomatoes and peppers and berries. If it weren’t for these staples our two year old would starve. She lives on bolognese and smoothies. It’s a bit too late to start this if you haven’t done it already but something to keep in mind for 2019!

Protein
We eat a lot of Canadian lentils. Green, black, red..they all have a different texture and therefore a different purpose. I sneak red lentils into everything becasue when cooked they have a mild taste and dissolve into nothing. It’s a great addition to pastas and soups. You can also make a red lentil dip (like hoummous) 

Lentil salad made with green or beluga (these lentils hold their shape) lentils is also a favourite. Combined with some local MilkHouse feta, sliced onion, sundried tomatoes it’s a fresh, satisfying meal. If we have spinach I’ll slice that up and toss it in too. See recipe links below

We don’t eat much meat but when we do it’s from Jess’ dad’s grass-fed cattle or Robin’s mom’s pasture raised birds. These meat based meals always get extended into two or three meals — leftovers or soups.

Feeling Fresh

In the winter, we in the North tend to go on and on about how we miss greens. Over the years I’ve learnt to let go of green things and be happy with cabbage and roots. with a bit of dijon, cider vinegar and good olive oil and the right slicing you can make your storage vegetables sing and zing in the same way a fresh summer salad does


Our favourite salad is grated root salad. two carrots and a beet with a thinly sliced small onion and a mustard, cider vinaigrette, sea salt and a couple glugs of good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is a delicious, sweet, crunchy side dish that even our toddler devours. I find grated roots satisfy my “fresh” craving more than store bought, imported greens. 

Dressings
In my opinion the best way to make the most of your veggies (in all seasons) to experiment with the dressings. Seriously, dressings, sauces (whatever you want to call them) make everything better.  In the summer, when cilantro is available, I make a wicked tahini cilantro dressing that we drizzle on bbqed veg, rice, fresh greens..whatever.. and it really adds a wow factor. These days I try to avoid imported cilantro just because of the carbon foot print (and it’s always slimy) so I make a homemade “mayo” once a week. 
This mayo is incredible with roasted potatoes (or any roasted veg) and can be used to make a wicked coleslaw (sliced cabbage, grated carrots etc).

Change up the Cuts

Making variations in how you cut or slice your veggies extends the way you can enjoy these veggies. For example we got a spiralizer a couple years ago and love to make veggie “noodles” we add these to pasta, pho or make salads. Spiralized celeriac or any spiralized root salad is amazing!

The way you slice a vegetable is critical in how it will taste. Grated carrots and beets, for instance, are juicy, sweet and palatable raw. Chunks of huge cabbage or onion are just ugly tasting. Cabbage should be sliced and enjoyed as delicate ribbons covered in delicious dressing. An added bonus is that the thinner you cut cabbage, or any veg, the easier it is to eat and digest. It also has more “broken” cells to absorb your delicious dressings!

Take a radish, as another example. Cut thickly it will burn and take too much work to eat..but if you cut a radish into almost translucent slices you will find the taste delicate and sweet with only a hint of heat. Marinated in a little cider vinegar, these slices become absolutely gorgeous (great on tacos)

The key to consistent, thin knife work is..well ,the knife. Invest in a decent knife and keep it sharpened!

If you take anything away from this: raw vegetables should be cut uniformly and as thinly as possible. And use a sharp knife!

Note: When roasting veg they should also be cut uniformly so they cook evenly. The size doesn’t matter as much, but the smaller you cut the shorter time it takes to cook. 

Herbs

If you are going to buy greens in the winter, I recommend herbs. In Summer and winter, herbs should be used more. Using a whole bunch of cilantro in a salad is common practice in our house. The beautiful thing about herbs is they are full of flavour and very nutrient dense. Lettuce is full of water and does not have much nutritional value, but herbs brighten winter meals and offer a plethora of health benefits.

Sample meal plan for Roots and Shoots Farmers:
Homemade Poutine with Coleslaw
Vegetarian Gravy, local cheese curds, roasted potatoes, homemade mayonnaise with sliced cabbage and grated carrot or beet)

Sample meal plan for Roots and Shoots Farmers:
Homemade Poutine with Coleslaw
Vegetarian Gravy, local cheese curds, roasted potatoes, homemade mayonnaise with sliced cabbage and grated carrot or beet)

Bolognese with noodles (toddler favourite)
grass fed beef (optional), red lentils, pinto beans, onions, garlic, frozen peppers and tomatoes, dehydrated zucchini, mushrooms and parsley served over organic noodles and parmesan cheese. We eat this as chilli but our daughter prefers pasta so we compromise and mix in noodles for her.

Roasted Veg-curry Soup (Super easy)
Roasted squash, roasted onions and garlic pureed with a bit of water a bit of green curry paste and a can of coconut milk and salt to taste. Wham bam thank you m’am

Roasted Pasture raised Chicken (from Robin’s mom)
Roasted Chicken (with lemon juice coconut milk, green curry paste) served with red rice and coleslaw. 

Farm Pho
Chicken broth (made from yesterdays roasted chicken, inch of sliced ginger, 2 carrots sliced, dehydrated onions, a couple star anise: drain all bits when well cooked so its just broth).  Serve hot broth over cooked rice noodles, julienned Carrots, dehydrated onions. Optional: Thinly sliced grass-fed raw sirloin steak (quickly marinated in tamari and sesame oil). Boiling broth will cook meat. You can also use tofu. More tips on making Pho

Roasted Veggies with Spicy carrot Lentil Salad

Lentil salad with soft cheese and sundried tomatoes (our favourite)

Adding greens, mushrooms and grains to multiple shares

It’s been great to see everyone’s orders rolling in, not just for winter shares but for the summer and fall shares too!

Thank you to those of you who pointed out that our ordering system doesn’t seem to allow you to add options (like greens, mushrooms and grains) to your order for more than one season.
Since we’re offering 4% off any order over $800, now is a great time to add your greens, mushrooms and grains options to your summer and fall shares. There is a simple workaround for you to get those orders in – just log onto your account and add options for one season at a time. Here are detailed instructions:

  1. Sign into your account from our website

2. Next to Subscription, click Add 

3. Add a summer or fall share if you haven’t already done so, or hit Next to skip right to the Options page to add those greens, grains or mushrooms.

4. Here is where you can add any the options that you would like, one season at a time. Choose your options for the summer share, and complete the entire process, right through the the payment page.

5. For the fall share, repeat the process from the beginning.

If you qualify for a discount, send us a quick email and we will be sure to apply that to your entire 2019 order and let you know what your account balance is. Here are those discounts again:

  • 4%800 to get 4% off any purchase over $800, including winter and fall shares and options. 
  • 3%650 to get 3% off any purchase over $650, including winter and fall shares and options. 
  • 2%500 to get 2% off any purchase over $500, including winter and fall shares and options. 

Delicata Squash

I absolutely love september because the harvest represents the culmination of all our hard work. We are harvesting ripe tomatoes and peppers as well as delicious squash. Everything is ready in September!!

I’m so excited to be sending delicatas. They are so sweet and delicious and easy to prepare. I don’t peel them and I don’t even deseed them. Just cut them in half and then into 1/2 inch half moons, with seeds in place. toss in olive oil and salt, optional garlic. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, flip and cook for another 5- 10 mins and voila, done. This is great as is, but I love to make a kale salad with a lovely tahini- cilantro dressing. Toss the warm delicata on top and you’ve got a dish to wow the masses.

Delicata Squash
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • Lime juice -1-2 TBSp
  • tahini-1/4 cup
  • olive oil-1/4 cup
  • cilantro - ½ bunch, washed and chopped
  • garlic-2 cloves
  • salt- 1 tsp
  • water (to help blend in processor)
  • Delicata -cut in half lenghtwise and chopped into ½inch half moons
  • kale- de-ribbed, roughly ripped and massage with a ½ teaspoon of salt and tablespoon of olive oil until it changes colour and texture.
Instructions
  1. Roast delicata, tossed lightly in olive oil and salt. Keep an eye on it as it tends to brown quickly on The bottom. Generally takes 30 minutes to cook, flipped halfway through.
  2. Prepare Kale in large bowl.
  3. In blender, blend dressing ingredients. taste and adjust salt and oil (add more) if too tart or not salty enough.
  4. Add a couple to a few tablespooons of dressing to kale and toss thoroughly. lay Kale in a shallow dish and top with cooked delicata. Drizzle with extra dressing. Store leftover dressing in sealed container in fridge. Great with savoury pancakes aswell!

 

Recipes by Tamer

Guest Blogger, Tamer, shares a recipe and gives some nutritional tips and tricks:

 

The CSA share this past week was amazing because I got bunch of parsley, onions and some delicious tomatoes – the perfect ingredients for the delicious Lebanese and superbly healthy Tabouleh salad.  It combines a variety of vitamin, mineral and anti-oxidant rich vegetables and best of all super easy to make.  So get your chopping board out and bring the taste and freshness of the Mediterranean to your kitchen.

Food synergy tip:  The acidity of the lemon helps you better absorb the Vitamin A and K found in the parsley and the mint and the olive oil helps you absorb the lycopene in the tomatoes! 

Ingredients

  • 4 bunches flat leaf parsley 
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur 
  • 2 large or 4 medium sized tomatoes.
  • 1 onion 
  • Half a large cucumber 
  • 1/2 cup extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash the bulgur and soak it in water for 5-7 minute. Drain very well and set set aside.
  2. Finely chop parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber and onion and place them in a bowl. 
  3. Add the bulgur then the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix  evenly.  
  4. Tabouleh is best served cold place in fridge for 30 minutes before serving. 

Tasty Food and Healthy Food Are Not mutually Exclusive

Tamer is a huge supporter of farmers markets, a registered holistic nutritionist, documentary filmmaker and healthy foodie cooking class host.  Check out his website at www.tamersoliman.ca

Baked Carrots and Ginger

Did your Grandma ever tell you that if you ate all the carrots on your plate you’d be able to see in the dark? Well, Grandma wasn’t lying. Cooked carrots have a ton of health benefits that not only support your eyesight, but research also shows that:

  • One carrot a day helps to keep lung cancer at bay, thanks to the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in this root vegetable.
  • Along with vitamin C and Vitamin A, carrots also contain biotin, great for anyone – male or female – looking for a full head of thick, shiny hair.

Cooking tip:  

When cooking carrots, try adding some kind of healthy fat like Extra virgin olive oil, pastured duck fat, grass fed butter or ghee, as these will increase carrots’ cancer fighting Beta Carotene even more.

Consider this Carrot and Ginger recipe: 

  1. Set oven to 375 Farenheit.
  2. Heat a oven safe skillet over medium/high heat, and then melt 2 TBS of grass fed butter or Ghee in the skillet.
  3. Add a TBS of  minced ginger and sauté for 1 minute. 
  4. Add a bunch of whole carrots and toss to coat with butter and ginger to infuse the flavors.
  5. Place skillet in the oven at and bake carrots for 30 minutes.
  6. Halfway through (about 15 minutes), take the skillet out of the oven to flip the carrots and then cook for the remaining time.

Tasty Food and Healthy Food Are Not mutually Exclusive

Tamer is a huge supporter of farmers markets, a registered holistic nutritionist, documentary filmmaker and healthy foodie cooking class host.  Check out his website at www.tamersoliman.ca