Eating Local on an Island

I’d love to eat more locally. Unfortunately, in Alberta during the winter, local eating proves to be a challenge.

On a recent trip to Vancouver Island, I learned just how much the local food scene is bustling there. With the mild climate, it’s easy to grow almost anything there.  Here’s a video by farmer Bob Duncan explaining how he has been able to grow lemons and limes on the Island.  He’s also managed to grow figs, olives, and almonds and even sells pomegranate trees at his tree farm, Fruit Trees and More

 

I was astonished to learn there is even a  Black Tea Farm  – growing black tea leaves – a first for Canada.

Imagine how easy it would be to eat local.

Maple-Chili Cranberry Sauce

Just in time for the holiday season, here’s a twist on an old standby. Lower in sugar, but not low in taste.

1 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 T. maple syrup
splash of orange juice
1 T. chili powder or to taste

Combine water, cranberries and maple syrup in a small pan and bring to a boil. More water may be required. Boil until cranberries “pop” and tenderize a bit. Add remainder of ingredients and reduce heat to low, and simmer until desired thickness is achieved.

Rhubarb Custard Pie {and Straw-Barb Tarts}

Yummy Straw-barb Tarts
Yummy Straw-barb Tarts

 

This filling makes enough for two regular-size Tenderflake pre-made pie crusts.  What I decided to do was divide the filling in two and add diced strawberries to one half of the rhubarb filling and make rhubarb-strawberry tarts.

3 eggs

3 T. milk

2 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

dash nutmeg

4 C. diced rhubarb

One prepared pie shell and 12 tart shells

Beat eggs. Add milk, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Mix in rhubarb.

Pour approximately half of this filling into an unbaked pie shell. Add top crust. Bake at 400 for 55 minutes.

To the remaining filling, add in two cups fresh strawberries. Fill 12 tart shells. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

 

 

Nectarine Crisp {Gluten Free}

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4 c. sliced nectarines
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1/4 c. gluten free flour (I used oat flour)
1/4 c. butter or gluten free margarine

Preheat oven to 400.

Place sliced nectarines in 9 x 9 glass pan. Sprinkle with sugar.

Mix oats, sugar, gluten free flour in a small bowl.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender.

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Spread over nectarines. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is browned and the fruit beneath is simmering. A wonderful summer dessert!

Orange Feta Salad

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I had a surplus of fresh oranges.

I Googled around and adapted this recipe http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/orange-olive-oil-cake/recipe.html?dishID=5506 by Anna Olson.  I wasn’t making the cake at the same time but, as I still have oranges left, will likely make it soon.  As my orange salad wasn’t being served with cake, I adapted her recipe to incorporate some salty and spicy tastes to balance the sweet.

I peeled and sectioned quite a few oranges – naval and clementine – probably about 8 in total.  An simpler, pain-free way would be to buy several cans of mandarin oranges and drain them and put in a bowl.  Add about 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 2 T. each olive oil and sugar, and 1 T. curry powder.  Stir.  This is good either served immediately or the next day after the flavors have blended a bit. It was quite a tasty salad and doesn’t get much easier.

Chocolate Strawberry Wraps with Cream Cheese

Chocolate Strawberry Wrap with Cream Cheese
Chocolate Strawberry Wrap with Cream Cheese

Celebrating my 200th post!  Here is a fast and fabulous dessert for Valentine’s Day which is similar to a crepe only easier.

1 large flour tortilla

spreadable cream cheese to cover flour tortilla

4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced

wrap with cream cheese spread and strawberries
wrap with cream cheese spread and strawberries

 

3 squares good quality dark chocolate, melted in the microwave for one minute on high and thinned with a little milk.

Spread / drizzle melted chocolate on top of the strawberries.

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mmmm–drizzled with dark chocolate

 

Roll up and enjoy!  Other fruits that would work well with this include bananas, pineapple, mango or kiwi.

Barbecued Peaches

Take a peach and cut it in half. Remove pits. Place cut side down on the BBQ on medium heat until it begins to carmelise (about 3 – 4 minutes). Turn over and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes.  Remove from BBQ to a plate or bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center and drizzle with Grand Marnier, if desired.

Pears with Yogurt and Honey

Pears are at their peak now. Here’s a simple breakfast [or dessert] recipe incorporating them.
1 pear, chopped
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 T. ground flax seed
1 – 2 T. liquid honey

Combine in a small bowl. Enjoy. Serves one. Optional ingredients include chopped walnuts or other nuts. Serve with a piece of whole grain toast for breakfast.

Grilled Nectarines

I love the summer’s bounty. We have been enjoying this lately.

4 nectarines, sliced
2 T. each brown sugar, honey and grand marnier liqueur

Divide the nectarines between two pieces of tin foil. Add 1 T. each of the sugar, honey and liqueur to each piece of foil. Add a splash of vanilla to each packet. Fold up the foil. Grill on the BBQ on medium for 10 – 15 minutes, until the nectarines are soft. This can also be done in the oven at 375.  Serve in bowls with a scoop of yogurt or vanilla ice cream.  Serves four. *This would also work well with bananas, peaches or other stone fruit.