Kale Caesar Salad

Kale is the one veggie I can rely on all year round in my garden, and although some of my friends consider it a weed, I love it. Kale chips, steamed kale, shredded into stir-fries, but especially salad.
This is the best Kale Caesar Salad recipe I have ever done, so give it a try while the plants are still tender. YUMMY!

2 big handfuls of kale leaves (about 2 quarts)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 anchovy fillets, minced (about 1 Tbsp anchovy paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 green onion, sliced thinly

Remove the thick stems from the kale. Roll the leaves into little bundles, and slice into 1/4 inch strips. If there are any florets, chop them in as well. Toss in olive oil and let stand to soften the leaves while you make the dressing.
Mix mayonnaise, anchovies, garlic, cheese, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Stir into the kale (you may have to use your hands) and then sprinkle the green onions slices on top.
Some people add croutons, but it's not my choice. 

pudding and cookies

We love eggs! This time of year we are getting eggs from our chickens, ducks and turkeys, so we have lots of eggs. These two recipes I always make at the same time, because it uses up the yolks for the vanilla pudding, and the whites for the meringue cookies. Two of Will's favourite desserts. Enjoy!


Meringue Cookies

3 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Dash salt
2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 250°.
Separate three room temperature eggs. Set aside the yolks for pudding. Put the egg whites in a small bowl with vanilla, cream of tartar & salt. Beat with mixer on medium until they look frothy. Turn the mixer to high and add the sugar slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep on mixing until stiff & glossy.... about five minutes.
With your largest cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper.
Using a pastry bag & large start tip (or like I did the first few times, cut a tiny star in the corner of a food-safe plastic bag) Pipe 1 1/2  inch cookies. I do them pretty close because my cookie sheet isn't very large and I want to do these in one go!
Bake for about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven. Leave the door shut until cooled completely. Usually an hour or two is fine.
Remove from cookie sheet when absolutely cool. Store in air-tight containers. Makes about 5 dozen.


Vanilla Pudding

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups coconut milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Slowly add coconut milk, stirring with a whisk. Heat to a boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute.
Mix egg yolks in small bowl. Slowly add the hot pudding mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. Pour back into the saucepan and reheat over medium. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut oil and vanilla.
Pour into dessert dishes and chill.
Makes 4 servings 4 oz each. 

Venison Sausages

Will got a new (used) crossbow and on his first hunting trip with this bow, with his first arrow, he managed to get a Texada Island black tail deer. These Texada deer are very small, but big enough for him to cube 15 pounds of meat for sausage making.
The next cool thing that happened was that our friend Patches sold us one of his young heritage pigs for roasting, but instead, we cut it up to make two hind quarter roasts, ribs and then cut the front shoulders into 15 pounds of sausage meat as well.
Yesterday I ground and mixed these meats, and made three fabulous kinds of sausages!

Be sure to keep everything very cold while working.
With a medium plate on your grinder, grind the meats together.
Mix the seasonings and spices with the liquid. Pour over the ground meat and mix thoroughly.
Refrigerate 4 hours to set the seasonings.
Remix and either stuff into casings or divide into one pound packages.
Label and freeze.

Smoked Breakfast Sausages
7 1/2 lbs venison
7 1/2 lbs fatty pork
250 ml jar smoked pickled peppers, minced (including the juice)
2 Tbsp pickling salt
2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp ground pepper

Drunken Deer Sausages
2 1/2 lbs venison
2 1/2 lbs fatty pork
1/2 cup brandy
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger

5 lbs venison
5 lbs fatty pork
4 eggs
2/3 cup gluten free panko
1 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Almond Crusted Halibut

We served this tonight with spinach salad and gluten-free pasta with a light mushroom & veggie sauce. So delicious! 

4 serving sized pieces of halibut
1/2 cup almond slices, chopped finely
2 Tbsp millet flour
2 Tbsp corn meal
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
zest of 2 lemons
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
juice from the other lemon reserved for finishing

In a small bowl, mix finely chopped almonds, millet flour, corn meal, tapioca flour, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and melted butter.
Pat the halibut dry with a paper towel and season with salt & pepper.
Preheat the broiler and set the rack a few inches below.
Heat a large oven-safe pan on high. Add a little vegetable oil, then sear the halibut for about a minute or so per side (depending upon thickness) until it is nearly done. 
Top each piece with 1/4 of the almond crust mixture.
Place the skillet in the oven to brown under the broiler. Do NOT walk away. It will go from uncooked, to perfect, to burned before you know it!
Squeeze the other lemon over the fish.
Serve right away.

Venison "Bradwurst"

nope, not a spelling mistake, this spicy sausage was made with venison that our friend Brad gave us, plus some pork fat from our last Wolfson Creek Farm pig.
This is like a bratwurst with a little bit of heat. We used dried hot peppers that did really well last year in the garden, fresh sage and fresh parsley that we managed to fence off from the chickens.

4 lb venison (cubed)
2 lb port fat (cubed)
1 Tbsp salt
4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped sage
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp hot pepper flakes
1 carrot grated
1 potato, cubed
1 cup hard cider

Make a plan to keep all your utensils very clean, your work area sanitary and to keep the meat as cold as possible.
Mix the meat and fat and put it through a grinder using a plate with 1/4" holes, so it's not too fine. Add the rest of the ingredients and let set in the fridge for 1/2 hour or so.
Put this mixture through the grinder again, test for seasonings by frying up little patties.
You can stuff sausage casings or make 12oz packages of sausage meat for future meals. Freeze.

Spaghetti Squash Soup

We have been making creamy soup from our bumper crop of "Small Wonder" spaghetti squash, and loving it!
Small Wonders are orange, with darker flesh than the yellow ones, a little more dense without losing the crisp texture, and higher in beta carotene. We got the seeds from westcoastseeds.com
Super easy to make and very filling.

1 cubic inch ginger chopped finely
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, chopped coarsely
4 cups broth (I used turkey broth)
1/2 small spaghetti squash (cooked)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masalla
1 Tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp basil
shredded spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or sour cream

saute ginger in olive oil in medium saucepan. Don't let it brown. When fragrant add chopped carrots and broth. Simmer until the carrots are tender. Add the cooked spaghetti squash, coconut milk and seasonings.
Blend with an immersive blender.
Gently reheat and serve with optional shredded spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or sour cream

Gluten Free Speculoos

One of my favourite cookies from my youth is the spicy crispy speculoos cookies we would get in the "imported foods" aisle of the grocery store.
After a lot of trial and error, we have perfected a gluten free version. This is NOT a recipe you can complete in an hour. Waiting times are important after mixing and after baking in order to develop the full flavour and texture of this amazing cookie.
"Five stars! Tastes like a traditional speculoos! cinnamon, spicy and crisp," says Will.
Makes 2 trays of small cookies.  

1 1/3 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp light buckwheat flour
2 Tbsp millet flour
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves

100 g butter (scant 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1 Tbsp fancy molasses
1 egg yolk

our first try.... not sliced.
1 egg white (lightly beaten with 1/2 tsp water)
sliced almonds (optional)

Mix dry ingredients: flours & spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter, sugar and molasses thoroughly. Add egg yolk and mix until just mixed.
Add the flour mixture in two parts.
Form into a log, cover and refrigerate over night. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper or silicon sheet.
(Although you can just make small balls of dough and press, we found that slicing the chilled dough works best.) 
Cut the log into thin slices, approximately 3/16" thick. Lay on the lined cookie sheets. Press each cookie (use a little bit of parchment paper to keep the press from sticking). You can use a traditional wooden cookie press, potato masher or like we did, a gnocchi press. Should be about 1/8th inch thick when you are done.
It's important that they are the same thickness so they cook evenly. Timing is critical.
Brush with egg white beaten with 1/2 tsp water. Press almond slices into the top of each cookie if you like.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 350F for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven. As soon as you are able to move them without breaking, transfer each cookie carefully to cooling rack. Let them cool completely to develop the full crisp.
So worth the wait!