Stand by..

I am here, letters and cards have mailed, packages have been mailed.. I am working away behind the scenes..

Having said that.. things have been a bit wow behind the scenes (its not me or Dear Hubby) but its close.. its not my story to tell.. and with that I will hold my words..

Which is part of the issue, every time I go to write, either I am in writer block or find myself writing about the “thing”..

It consumed my mind and heart.. there just has been no room for anything else, and when something like that takes that much of my mind.. my fingers will bring it out on the keyboard..

Those heart felt posts where a way to draw the hurt/worry and so much more out.. so I can’t say that I am unhappy they were written but it did not help with connecting here on the blog..

Hug your loved ones! Remember each day is new but its not a promise!

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | Leave a comment

Duck Breast in Cream Sauce

Duck Breast in Cream Sauce

This is a lovely way to serve Skin-less duck breast and is a true delightful treat for those it would be served to.. Its got its fine ducky flavour, with a built in cream gravy and if served of loaded creamy whipped Potato’s.. YUM and then some!

Duck Breasts in a Cream Sauce

Serves two but easily scaled up for larger portions.

  • 2 Duck breasts (one each for 12 and up or half for younger) I recommend having brined them in salt water in the fridge for at least two days but the key is to bring them to room temp before cooking
  •  1 onion
  •  2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  •  1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
  •  1 cup of mushrooms or 1 cup of colorful peppers sliced
  •  1 cup of light cream
  •  Salt, Pepper
  •  1 Tbsp Montreal Steak

There are a few things that need to be done to make this recipe come together in a way that takes it from being good to being .. WOW!

The first is aging/brining the meat for tenderness and making sure you rest the meat before slicing it.

The second is all about heat..  We will talk about that in a bit of detail

The 3rd is the pan Deglaze.. This recipe will not be the same without that deglaze, its what adds that color/depth of flavour to the sauce.

Ok, so we want a good heavy pan, ideally a cast iron but if possible, you want it to be able to go into the oven.. it can be done on the stove but better if It can do both!

Put a touch of oil in the pan at lower med heat and place your room temp brined steaks in and let it heat up.. do not touch that meat! let is sear, let it crisp.. if the skin is on the breast, make sure its skin down.. In the rest of the pan you can add your onion, garlic, ginger. If you want you can use shallots instead of white or yellow onions.  6 to 8 minutes approx. (depending on pan it could be ten min)

If’s finally time to flip the meat, then place your pan into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for another 4 to 6 min..

Take out of the oven, place the meat on a plate and cover it with tinfoil or another plate (if you are being green, cover it with another plate.. allow the meat to rest 4 to 6 min before slicing it.

Quick now, as soon as the meat is out and resting, get the rest of the veggies into the now hot pan and give it a whirl, you want the onion, garlic and such to be browned and melted but you want the peppers and mushrooms or combo of them to be just cooked and fresh to the dish..

Add your cream and use a whisk to scrape all the bits of duck goodness and onion/garlic into the sauce.. taste it and see if you need more salt, or more steak spice blend to it..

Simmer as it thickens naturally, it will be a thinner sauce but it will simmer down a touch..

Add your slices back into the pan and pour over the sauce on the duck.

Serve in a bowl with a bottom layer of whipped mashed potato’s with this served over top with a fresh bread or bun on the side..

Or serve on a plate with a green side salad

 

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Ask.. so Simple.. So hard to do

Some times one of the hardest things to do in our world is to see what and where we need to ask.

Ask for information

Ask for help

Ask for support

Ask for ourselves

Ask for others

Sometimes we look forward and we see where we are and then we see the huge distance between where at and where we want to go..  (in the photo above that was taken with me on a hill looking down the valley/river I had hiked and way across on the ridge you can just see the housing..  Loved the landscape up in Nunavut Canada.. It was barren but beautiful..

 

Sometimes in life, we feel we are looking across that void of where we are compared to where we need to go and it can certainly have its challenges..   Up, down, Around, weaving back and forth, sometimes losing sight of where you need to end up.. when you are down in the valley, you can’t even see the end goal at times..

needing to forge across that river, that o so cold, chill you to the bone river..  That water will stop you breathless if you fall in and its moving fast, pushing and pulling.. but there is a way across, you just need to find the right spot to cross.. you need to use that is given to you.. find the rocks and balance carefully and choose to jump when you need to..

Some times you get given a break, a gift of a space to breath.. to rest and recover..  a moment where life looks back at you, looks you in the eye and everything just holds..

The more you hold on to that moment, the faster it will slip away from you.. that I promise you.. you need to hold those moments in a gentle way, a soft way, let them flow.. they are not to be held tight.. they must be enjoyed in the moment..

Everything is so much easier if you can ask for help, ask for advice, ask for guidance..

Sometimes that comes from other people, sometimes that comes from the land itself. Sometimes that comes from deep within you!

Breath Deep..

Be open..

Ask..

See where it leads you

 

 

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 6 Comments

Moose Steaks with Chaga Infused Mushroom Gravy

Thank you for the wonderful Guest Post from Adagio Naturals.

If you have ever made a big batch of Chaga Tea, drank what you wanted and let the rest sit overnight. Wow is that strong. Too strong for your taste? Why not put it in an ice cube tray and pop it in the freezer to use later as a base for this delicious gravy.

INGREDIENTS
½ lbs of whole white or cremini (brown) mushrooms
4 tbsp of butter (or margarine)
If you have ever made a big batch of Chaga Tea, drank what you wanted and let the rest sit overnight. Wow is that strong. Too strong for your taste? Why not put it in an ice cube tray and pop it in the freezer to use later as a base for this delicious gravy.

INGREDIENTS
½ lbs of whole white or cremini (brown) mushrooms
4 tbsp of butter (or margarine)
1 tsp of salt (1/2 for the mushrooms and 1/2 for the gravy)
1 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of 35% cream
1 cup of strong plain Chaga tea (or 8 to 10 chaga tea ice cubes)
Moose steak drippings (optional – but so recommended). The moose steak can be substituted with beef or pork steaks if you choose.

DIRECTIONS
Add 1 tbsp of butter to a frying pan at medium high heat. Once the butter foam subsides add your mushrooms and 1/2 tsp of salt and fry for 5 to 10 minutes or until they brown up on one side. Then turn them and repeat. Remove from the frying pan and put aside.

If using a moose steak for the drippings add another tbsp of butter and wait for the foam to subside. Turn the oven to 450. Pat dry your moose steak and liberally sprinkle with salt on both sides. Add you steak to the oven proof frying pan and cook on high heat for 2 minutes per side. They should brown up quite nicely. Add the steaks in the frying pan to the oven and cook uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes on the middle rack. Do not overcook or your steaks will become dry.

Once the steaks are done, remove from the oven and put the steaks on a separate plate to let the juices settle. In the same frying pan on medium low add another tbsp butter and let the foam subside and then add 1 tbsp of cornstarch. With a fork stir the cornstarch into the steak drippings (making a type of roué). Add the Chaga tea ice cubes and let them melt, and then add the cream and the salt stirring often. Do not let it come to a rolling boil. The sauce will thicken up slowly while it simmers. This is necessary not to lose the Chaga benefits. Once thicken add in the previously prepared mushrooms and heat until they are warmed through. Turn off the heat and add in 1 tbsp of butter and stir until melted. Enjoy on steak and whipped potatoes. Oh so good.

1 tsp of salt (1/2 for the mushrooms and 1/2 for the gravy)
1 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of 35% cream
1 cup of strong plain Chaga tea (or 8 to 10 chaga tea ice cubes)
Moose steak drippings (optional – but so recommended). The moose steak can be substituted with beef or pork steaks if you choose.

DIRECTIONS
Add 1 tbsp of butter to a frying pan at medium high heat. Once the butter foam subsides add your mushrooms and 1/2 tsp of salt and fry for 5 to 10 minutes or until they brown up on one side. Then turn them and repeat. Remove from the frying pan and put aside.

If using a moose steak for the drippings add another tbsp of butter and wait for the foam to subside. Turn the oven to 450. Pat dry your moose steak and liberally sprinkle with salt on both sides. Add you steak to the oven proof frying pan and cook on high heat for 2 minutes per side. They should brown up quite nicely. Add the steaks in the frying pan to the oven and cook uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes on the middle rack. Do not overcook or your steaks will become dry.

Once the steaks are done, remove from the oven and put the steaks on a separate plate to let the juices settle. In the same frying pan on medium low add another tbsp butter and let the foam subside and then add 1 tbsp of cornstarch. With a fork stir the cornstarch into the steak drippings (making a type of roué). Add the Chaga tea ice cubes and let them melt, and then add the cream and the salt stirring often. Do not let it come to a rolling boil. The sauce will thicken up slowly while it simmers. This is necessary not to lose the Chaga benefits. Once thicken add in the previously prepared mushrooms and heat until they are warmed through. Turn off the heat and add in 1 tbsp of butter and stir until melted. Enjoy on steak and whipped potatoes. Oh so good.

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Home process vs Sending out for butcher

These little guys are not so little anymore..  Most of them are now big and more then ready to go!

However my regular butcher shop had a fire.. at first it was.. it will be back in no time.. ya.. that didn’t happen at all..  then I called this one, and that one, and that one..  No sorry, we don’t do lambs or sheep

Then I found one that does but its halal.. and I sat on it.. I know its done that way and I am respectful for others cultures but I want my own stock stunned and then bled.. not awake, aware and bleed out..

Yes if its done properly is reasonable fast but its my personal choice to not add any extra stress to them on their “one bad day”

I had found one place that was over 2 hours away that could get me in in late jan.. the hauling costs really add up when you are paying by the mile.  It left me sighing and trying to figure out how to get them there.. while looking at my bottom line going further and further into the bad as the hay is being eaten lock stock and barrel on a already low hay year!

I got on the phone again and finally got a lead heading in a direction that I just never go in.. its up from the farm instead of down or over.. hmmm.. a tiny little town next to the Ottawa river and there was a butcher who answered the phone and didn’t say no when I asked if they do lamb or sheep..

Instead I heard.. well I Can’t get them in this week.. Whoot!!!

I was like, any idea when and he was like.. need to check but first week of dec.. HECK YES!!! Whoot! Double WHOOT!

You got to love small shops, call me tomorrow in the morning and I will have my books in front of me and we will get it all sorted..  you got it sir!

So I talked to hubby and we have decided to send all the lambs to be done including our own.. I know, I will save a lot of money if I did it myself..  but I did a huge sigh of relief at the idea of just getting the hauled and done and picking up those boxes of all pre-cut already wrapped meat..

Its was like a weight just lifted off my back..  I had not been looking forward to doing that many lambs at all! I would much rather stuff their fat little faces for another 3 weeks and just shed a tear when they leave!

Heck I might even get my hoggot down this year as well..  If that is the case.. then I have 7 ducks left to butcher and then we will be done for the year!

Does that not just sound wonderful!

Posted in 100 mile diet | 3 Comments

Homemade French Fries

Sometimes you just need a big old plate of fries..  Having been born in the 70’s and having my teen years set in the 80/90’s the go to was a pop or coffee an a plate of fries..  Sometimes you could get the right place and gravy was included..

But most of the time it cost more to order the side of gravy but the Ketchup was free as was the salt/pepper and most places had vinegar on the side was well..  I can not even begin to say how much I loved those plates of fries on trips or visiting over them with school friends

When I moved to Ontario everyone said, wait till you try our chips..  they love them thick cut with skin on, par cooked and then cooked twice..  to me they are soggy and wet..  So if you love those heavy double cooked chips..  These chips are not them!

What makes a good chip?

  • the type of potato
  • the type and temp of the oil
  •  the length of time spent cooking
  •  the salt or seasoning

So lets break it down.. What kind of potato do you want to make the best chip.. look for your baking style potato.. if its ideal as a mashing spud its going to make a ok chip.. but a nice hard baking spud..  its got a firmer flesh texture and it will give you a better chip..

In all the places I worked in the west where we cut and did our own chips, we always used the russet potato and its easy to get, but if you can get your hands on the German Butterball potato… go for it.. you will not regret it at all..

Now comes the oil..  Lard is good but it foams when the water comes out of the veggies which means you can have issues with this from a safety stand point and so most folks recommend veggie oil..

The best oil for French fries is goose oil but that is really hard to get in N. A. but if you can get your hands on it and make your fries with it.. you are in for a treat and everyone will beg for more.. they will never know your secret.. Goose oil when heated to the temps needed for frying this way take on a number of the same properties as olive oil.

Which is my second choice after many years of trying and the good news.. you can get the heaviest darkest cheapest (within reason) olive oil and it will give you a delightful flavour.

Farm Gal Tip : remember your oil can and will take on flavours from what is cooked in it, that is why a really good kitchen will have the fries basket and then they will have the meat cooking basket..  Now some will cook the onion rings in the fries fryer..  I can always tell if they do when I eat the fries..

The worst for me is when they cook their bacon or sausage or other breakfast meats and I can still taste it in their fries at supper time.. Sigh! Keep your oil for your fries away from your cooking up fish for sure..  Oil keeps between uses.. just let it cool down, strain it and hold in a cool dark place between uses.

The amount of time cooking, that one is up to you.. everyone has their own perfect timing.. make a batch, learn the color you like, lift one out and try it..  this is truly practice makes perfect..

But you are ideally want a hard skin with crispy bits on edges and soft center..

Its not a chip without seasoning..  that can be good salt, that can be vinegar and salt, that can be seasoning salt, that can be herbs, that can be gravy if you want.. dipped in the red sauce.. so many ways to eat them once they hit the plate..

So if you have not made yourself a big old plate of fresh homemade chips in a while.. pick up some good russet, get them peels, sliced and into that hot oil and enjoy!

Posted in Life moves on daily | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Lemon Ginger Chicken Recipe

Sweet and Tangy Lemon Ginger Chicken Recipe

Serves 4

The Chicken

Two Large skinless Chicken breasts, cut into thin stripes

Beat a egg with half a tsp of salt and pepper in a bowl

Put half a cup of corn starch in a second bowl

Preheat a pan with a couple inches of oil or use a deep fryer set at 350 degree heat wise

Put your chicken stripes into the egg wash and mix to get a good coating of egg wash on the meat.

Place the egg coated chicken stripes into the corn starch and coat it, then add them to the basket or carefully lower them into the pre-heated oil..

Cook till golden brown, Drain on paper towel or into a straining bowl that will allow the oil to drip off (if you prefer not to use paper towels).

The Lemon Sauce

Once the meat is cooking and into the oil..

In a small pan, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 or 1/3rd cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it), 1/2 cup of water,  1 tsp of minced or chopped very finely ginger, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of white pepper.

Start all of the above at a med-heat.. once its simmering

In a small bowl add one tbsp. of cornstarch and follow its directions on how much water to add and blend it till its liquid, pouring slowly and whisking it into the heated simmering sauce above..  it will cook in 1 to 2 minutes thickening it and cooking clear.

This sauce WILL be much paler then what you are used to in the Chinese menu’s if you want the bright color.. add one drop of yellow food color (its really not needed but if you want it that bright yellow, you will need to use it) and it will pop that color up.

Once your chicken has a min to drain, then pour over the sauce, sprinkle with at least 1 tbsp. of Saseme seeds, (make sure no one is allergic to them or if so, just don’t use them) and if you want extra color. Up to half a cup of finely diced green onion both green and white part.

Serve with a side of fluffy rice and perhaps fast fried veggies.. butter/salted fresh snap pea’s would be a excellent choice.

While it seems like a lot of steps above.. it comes together very quickly and its a delightful treat for a evening supper with the family!

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November No Buy -Week 2 Overview

Hi Folks

Week two of the November No Boy Month and it was a much bigger struggle this week..

The reason’s can be broken down into two reason.

#1 reason is simple, I got to town for the shortest trip ever, I did find in the Canadian tire store, I let hubby go buy the oil for the snow blower and the new wet stone he wanted. While I looked at Christmas stuff and pushed all the buttons on the singing/dancing toys.

Then we went to the grocery store, we needed Cat and Dog Food and I wanted to spend my “allotted” amount on a few fresh things like Banana’s, Mushrooms, Fresh yogurt starter  and they had a sale on flour, the big bag of the good kind on for 8.50 for ten pounds and I had to use money from week one and week two on this trip but worth it for that sale.

 

The URGE to shop, really shop, so many baking things on sale, the urge to put in a few easier meals into the cart, the urge grab a bag of something, anything that was “junk”

I made it out of the store with what we went in for.. but I truly felt limited, I felt a bit sad, a bit.. this sucks.. I let me myself feel it because It was a dang good reminder of it feels like when you are on a very limited budget, its a good reminder that others live and survive on extreme limits when it comes to these things..

It didn’t hurt me to feel those things, it reminded me that most of the time I am very spoiled in my current world.. most of the time I can and do walk in and spend and get what I want.. being reminded that its a blessing and a not a right is never a bad thing.

I was also sad to see that my small trip tired me out to the point of coming home and needing a couple hour sleep afterwards.

Then came the second thing this week.. Fatigue

I know, I know.. that is a strange word to use but it’s the one I am picking and sticking with, you see when I was so sick I could not see straight at times, I was so grateful to open a jar of soup or stew or chili..

Eating was hard enough but cooking really did not happen.. then I had a few good days, while they were not perfect they were good of course I over did it and find myself taking a every third day or so as a total rest day but at least some things are getting done..

fall is butcher season and I am so far behind and each day I do not get things done, the more money it costs us.. we are bleeding out hay at this point..  The fact that our butcher shop caught fire and that I can’t get in to a different shop (which will cost more travel costs, higher butcher costs, higher cut and wrap costs) and the fact that I can’t get in till late in jan..

Adds up to only one thing..

IF the lamb is being eaten by us.. We are home butchering it and I am pushing to get the biggest ones done, I would rather have whole back legs in the freezers waiting for me to pull out and process it, then keep feeding them daily and watch my winter hay being used at a faster rate then I want to see it go..

I still have a few ducks to go but 90 percent of the fowl is done, the pork is done, I brought in beef, so lamb is the last big push.. and I am sighing when I see someone posting.. got a deer and taking this long to process it because each of my big lambs is pretty much going to be the same and trust me when I say, I am going to be doing more then one..

None the less, over the time of not feeling well most of the easier things that I had prepped ahead have gotten eaten.. those premade and in the freezer cookies, gone.. those frozen cake pieces, gone.. those pre-prepped veggies, gone..

I have lots of frozen or canned veggies or fermenting veggies but I am down to beets, carrots, potato’s and onions for fresh.. that and sunchokes.. lots of sunchokes to come in yet.

For fresh fruit.. I have ground cherries, everything else is frozen or canned or dried..

For fresh greens, I have green sprouts, trays of them coming and mung beans coming..

I am not saying we are hard done by, we are not.. we have full pantries, all kinds of meat and dry goods..  Still I am blinking at it..

When I am fresh, I ADORE the challenge of figuring out new meals, new food.. when I am truly sick I am beyond grateful for not needing to think and being able to grab premade food..

Right now.. I am in the middle zone.. I want new food, new meals.. and yet I lag in it.. I want fresh food to add to my meals but I am holding tight to my no buy feb rules and I am feeling it. I need my creative mojo to kick in.. and that is where the fatigue kicks in..

Because I look like one of those teens standing in front of a full fridge and going.. there is nothing to eat.. lol

I am standing in front of a full pantry and blinking hard trying to figure out.. what should I make for this meal, for the next meal, for the meal after that..

Its the one thing that does not change.. meals and feeding your family must happen.. hubby needs things for work..  I know its because I am worn thin that I feel this way..

None the less its been a hard week in the challenge.. on a emotional level..

Here is hoping that week 3 goes more smoothly for me and my household.. On a good note, my blood pressure has gone back to normal.. it appears to be have tied to my illness so that is one less thing to worry about..  I am back to being in the normal zone again on multi checks.. A very good thing indeed.

So for those of my ladies that are joining me in my no buy Nov? how did your last week go, I hope you got though it better then I did..

 

 

Posted in No Buy November | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

How do you use Sunchokes?

I have two main styles of sunchokes, these little fingerlings and they have great flavour and they produce a crazy amount of them but they are tiny and scrubbing them is hard enough, there is no peeling them, so I tend to just roast or deep fry them as a nice side dish, I have at times also thinly sliced them as a mock water chestnut.

The second kind is big, knobby and has a slightly different flavour, more sharp, a little courser in texture, where the small ones are VERY creamy..

These are average the size of a med or small potato.. they are big enough to peel.

This means they work well to be diced and cooked in soups or stews but I love using the small round ones as chips to be used in the pickling.

I am totally open and interested in new idea’s, recipes, or your thoughts on ways to use this root veggie! I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Food Storage, frugal, Garden harvest | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Pressure Canning Chicken

pressure canning chicken

The best thing about canning your own food is that you know what went into that jar!  You know that the meat was fresh and clean, you know that the jar and lid/ring was properly looked after, you know it was properly pressure canned.

There is a joy to canning your own food..

Once its been canned up, its shelf stable.. no freezer required and if you can your meats like I do, you will have the max amount of choice in how to use it once it comes out of the jar.

So Lets get to it..

  • Raw Chicken Breasts (deskin them, and if needed, debone them)
  • Water

Take your Chicken Breasts and cut them into cubes, they do not have to be perfectly matched, just within the same size on average.

Place a your wide mouthed canning funnel onto your pint canning jar and pack your raw chicken cubes into it, pushing down if needed to make sure you don’t have any major blank spaces. Fill till its full leaving a one inch head space.

Cover the chicken in the jar with room temp water to the one inch head space.

Repeat for a full load in the pressure canner, that for me is 18 pints

Wipe each rim of the jars with fresh water, making sure there is nothing on the rim, place a new lid on the jar and then your ring and tighten to finger tip tight, do not over tighten your ring on the jars.

Place into your pressure canner, add your tap hot water to the correct height per your canners booklet.. Follow all directions on your pressure canner.

In my area, its 55 minutes at 10 pounds weight.

Hmmm, Its been pointed out that the newest rules per center for canning food safety say 75 minutes for pints..  I will include this here..  Having been canning now for over 30 years, they sure have changed the rules and keep changing them.. sigh!  I have no doubt that they will change again..

Once its out of the canner and sat in the same place for 24 hours, take off the rings, wipe the jar and seal gently (I have minerals in my water that leaves a film on the jars) and then move them to a cool dark pantry for long term storage.

The meat will be clumped together in the jar but will break apart into the cubes very easily when you are taking it out.. save the chicken water for use in soup or stew. The canned meat will be very tender and can be used cold to create a outstanding sandwich or it can be chopped  up and used in fried rice  or it can be threaded out and used soup.

Because I can it plain, it can be used in any way I want once it comes out of the jar..

Posted in Canning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments