Roasted Beet & Tomatillos

Last night my partner and I rode our bicycles over to Gospel Rock, a really nice bluff overlooking some gulf islands and the Pacific expansive. As the days are slowly starting to cool off I feel like I have to get in as much swimming and sunny beach time as possible (although I am one that prefers the rain). After our afternoon of skinny-dipping and beer swilling we parted ways and on my short bike ride home I passed by a table of free produce from a neighbours garden.

From the table I took a very large beet and three tomatillos. Today after work I decided to put these delightful garden gifts to good lunch use.

tomatillos

I chopped the beet into one inch squares and threw them into a baking dish with some olive oil salt & pepper. I added the tomatillos (papery homes removed) whole and placed them in my oven preheated to 350 degrees and left them there for 45 minutes.

 

beets

 

Afterwards I threw this medley on top of some brown rice and added some greens from my garden and a smattering of organic hemp hearts.

 

beet tomatillo salad

I cannot wait to make more warm salads, oh autumn, my love for you is endless.

 

Purchasing Bread.

There are times when I stand in the grocery store bakery staring at the $7 loaves of artisan crafted breads and I wonder if there is an actual bread artisan in the back baking them. Then I read the ingredients and realize that no bread artisan would put the ingredients listed in their bread so as I stand and dream up a sandwich in my mind I decide of course to bake my own bread.

 

bread 01People seem to believe that baking bread is hard, really it’s quite easy. I think the hard part of bread baking is patience. Waiting for the dough to rise as your home fills with the smell of yeast eating sugars, then rising into a mountain of glutinous delight! I love to spend an afternoon milling about my house while I wait, patiently.

Kneeding my hands into the dough, flour flung, I feel like a sculptor.

Yesterday, desiring a sandwich I decided to make a simple loaf of sandwich bread, plain ol’ white bread that I could toast, “butter”, jam, & avocado (not all together obviously) Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup of warm water

1 1/2 tsp sugar (I used maple syrup as I ran out of sugar when making preserves and forgot, it worked perfectly!)

1 1/2 tsp yeast

Some salt, a dash you may say

2 3/4 cups flour

1 Tbs vegan margarine or oil

You’re first going to want to mix the water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl (not a metal bowl, anything else will do) and set aside to bubble & foam for about ten minutes proving that your yeast is alive, well, and happy!

Next stir together the dry ingredients (again, in a non-metallic bowl), you may even add chopped fresh herbs here or dry herbs. This time around I made a pure loaf but I usually like to add some tarragon and sage to my breads, even chopped nasturtium leaves for some peppery flavour.

If you’re using margarine cut it into small pieces and toss into the bowl of dry ingredients, then add the yeast mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula until it starts to slowly form together. If you’re using oil then throw it in with the yeast mixture.

bread 02

Next, turn this almost dough out onto your table and kneed it for about ten minutes.

bread 03

It will look like this while you kneed and slowly turn into this…

bread 04

A smooth ball of dough. Take this and place it back into the bowl you had it in and coat with a bit of olive oil and then cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour in a warm place. In the meantime dream up the sandwich you’re going to be making in a few hours, do some laundry or what not. I took myself on a short bike ride. Distract yourself if you feel you may be impatient because it’s very important for the dough to rise.

After an hour uncover the bowl and press the dough down, it will deflate. Kneed for a few minutes on your table or just in the bowl. Form the dough into a bread pan or in my case a glass baking dish as I was going for a square loaf for some reason.

bread 05

As you can see I formed it into a loaf shape for no reason as you now have to cover the bread once again and let it rise for another hour. I know, I know, you want a sandwich! It will happen.

Before the hour of rising is up preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

bread 06

After that other hour your bread will look like this, a mass of delight to be baked, again square loaf, silly idea but it works great for focaccia! It also worked great for this.

Bake your bread for 35 minutes, remove and let cool completely before slicing… again waiting for that sandwich.

bread 08

Here we are, bread town, population one… and yes, I ate that whole loaf within two days. What can I say? I am a glutton for bread. This is a super easy recipe that you could add almost anything to. Again, herbs, chopped cherry tomatoes, blueberries, cinnamon, experimentation is grand! Try something new! Try your hand and bread baking it will save you money (if you purchase a lot of bread) plus it’s a fun thing to learn!

Pear Ginger Preserves

pear preserves 03

 Preserves are my jam! (see what I did there?)

My friend Kaylee proposed the idea of making her families pear ginger jam recipe with her so the other night we got down to it. She does some landscaping here on the coast and was working at a house with a pear tree and it turned out that the people living in the house were not interested in doing anything with the pears. Kaylee gathered a shopping bag full, brought them by and we started peeling, shredding, and canning.

I always forget how easy canning is. In my mind it seems like a huge ordeal but once you get down to it it’s actually quite simple. After the initial “hard” work of shredding six pounds of pears and a bunch of ginger all you do is boil the mixture, simmer it and of course move into the canning procedure of boiling jars and lids.

 

pear preserves 02

 I wish I could show you photographs of the process but alas, my cameras battery was dead and I could not for the life of me find the charger so instead you can see the finished product. Both Kaylee & I are excited for the dead of winter to sink in where we can open a jar of this and remember the bounty that is late summer. Recipe to come (hopefully) with permission from Kaylee.

Canning is a fantastic activity to do with friends. You get to spend quality time with people you love and then you can all take some jars home. Up next in the canning/fermenting realm will be apple cider vinegar. Hopefully my kitchen will be full of preserves of all kinds this winter.

Growing Edibles

As summer starts its end my garden seems to get better & better. I moved into a house next to the sea a few months ago and started some container gardens initially and am now going to start work on composting the soil for future plantings in the spring. It’s lovely to make myself some comfort food with a plethora of greens that seem to never stop growing no matter how much I pick.

 

nasturtium pasta

This pasta dish contained sage, rosemary, basil, rainbow chard, cherry tomatoes, red and green leaf lettuces, and nasturtiums from my garden. Gardening calms me, when I feel stressed I usually just go look at any sort of plant, if I dig my hands into the earth the calmness sinks further and I seem to forget what I was stressed about to begin with.

Simple Breakfasts

biscuits and jam

 

On my days off I usually spend some time making simple baked goods. This morning I wanted a simple scone with some rose hip jam that my partner and I made together last winter. As summer begins it’s departure & autumn settles in I begin to dream up fall recipes. Tomorrow will be for canning, pear ginger jam & applesauce with friends. Canning is always more fun with friends, then you can all share the bounty. Time to bask in this glorious sunshine and peruse my mind for chard recipes.

Happy September!

Long time coming…

So, over a year ago I moved to the Sunshine Coast and spent the past year in a very tiny cabin that was unsuitable for baking large quantities, even small quantities really. I have now moved into a house right by the water, near the woods, surrounded by utter beauty and edibles abound. I’m soon going to start baking my vegan treats here in Gibsons for sale locally.

More site updates coming soon but for now know that this is starting again…

Hope you’re excited if you’re a coaster.

<3