Vibrantly green stinging nettles are a perfect match for golden yellow butter! Now that the snow is a distant memory and the growing season is well underway, I am now continuously provided with a lovely assortment of ingredients to add to my repertoire. Nettles, which are proudly my favorite leafy green, is taking on many shapes and forms in my kitchen. From gnocchi to falafels, these stinging greens make their way onto my dinner table every few days.
We're big fans of these versatile potato cakes. Crisp them up for Sunday brunch, top with smoked salmon for your next dinner party, or serve along side roasted vegetables. These crisp, gluten free cakes are incredibly easy to make and can be made with a variety of ingredients. Not a fan of potatoes, use sweet potato or butternut squash instead.
To make it through most days with ease, quick cooking, but nutritious dishes are a must. This is one of those recipes that takes just minutes to prepare and really satisfies the palate. Paired with lots of garlic, and fresh greens, this is a quick cooking recipe that can stand up on its own, or paired with a variety of different proteins. For those folks who enjoy eating meat, try cooking some bacon first, then completing the recipe in the bacon fat, yum!
Having spent the better half of November in Los Angeles, my body acclimated to the tolerable heat of the west and for a moment, I had forgotten that Maine was just starting to settle into winter. My first morning back east, I was greeted by a blanket of soft, fluffy snow that would continue on and off for the next day or so.
I've been loving my morning routine that has been consistent for the past few weeks. After watering and feeding the animals, I stroll over to our Honey Crisp apple tree, give it a gentle shake and wait for an apple to fall. I collect 1 or 2 two then walk towards the sun while enjoying the crisp, tart apple. Well, today that all came to an end. A deep frost the last few nights turned the apples frozen solid.
The first frost of season greeted us here last night. Thankfully I paid attention and didn't repeat what I did last year, which ended up a few pipes burst in the greenhouse. As summer starts to wind down, I really begin to enjoy my favorite season of the year. The shift into fall brings changes in the kitchen as well. Simple, light salads are beginning to phase out as long, low slow cooking phases in.
A few years ago, I received a stand up smoker for my birthday. Although it is not a piece of equipment I use often, when it is fired up, I am stoked! In culinary school, I learned a lot about hot + cold smoking foods. There we got pretty crafty and converted old, broken fridges into smokers. They worked great, and were super handy because of their size. We smoked everything from ham to chicken and even assorted vegetables.
Homemade mayo, or aioli is in a league of it's own when compared to traditional jarred mayo. Unfortunately, most mayo's on the market are made with refined, often GMO sourced oils that are less then excellent. By making your own, you can assure you are using the finest ingredients as well as having a fresh tasting, delicious condiment for anything from sandwiches, to grilled meats.
When any of the 4 seasons provide a bounty of food, I make a solid effort to put some up for the remainder of the year. The practice of canning has allowed me to enjoy a variety of foods beyond their "season" and into the warmer, or colder months of the year. Learning how to preserve food through canning methods has quickly become one my most reliable techniques for long term storage and food security.