Sunday, March 21, 2010

Seedy Saturday

It's ridiculously nice out right now--perfect weather for working in the garden, which I've been doing all morning. Yesterday I went to the local seed sale and exchange run by Rosemarie Bradley of Helping Nature Heal, "just to look". Here's (part) of what I came home with:

I was tickled pink to meet Owen Bridge of Annapolis Seeds there--he's a new seed seller here in Nova Scotia and a great asset to the local food scene. The newest gardener from Windhorse Farm was right next to him with a huge display of tantalizing offerings. I picked up a free compost poster for my office, too.

Spring has sprung! Have a wonderful growing season, everyone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Tale of Ginger Cardamom, aka the Best Ice Cream of my Life

...and I made it without an ice cream maker. Colossal win.

One caveat: Start it at least 24 hours before you want to eat it. (Or rather, 24 hours before you plan to eat it; you'll want to eat it after you lick the first beater.)

Green Betty's Ginger Cardamom Ice Cream

1 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 square inches of peeled fresh ginger (can be any dimensions, but roughly equivalent to this)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1/3 cup minced candied ginger (Quality is important here--there's a lot of variation among candied gingers! Look for a tender interior with a powerful ginger taste and aroma. I get an excellent one, mildly suprisingly, from Bulk Barn here in Nova Scotia.)

The evening before, put the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk and the beaters in the refrigerator. Slice the fresh ginger thinly, place in a mixing bowl, and cover with the heavy cream. Add the ground cardamom, stir gently, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the sweetened condensed milk, beaters, and mixing bowl from the refrigerator. Using a slotted spoon, strain the ginger slices out of the cream. Whip the cream until it begins to thicken, then add vanilla. Continue to whip until soft peaks form, then slowly add the sweetened condensed mik while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in minced candied ginger until just combined. Transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for at least six hours before giving in.

Blueberries with Whipped Creme Fraiche and Honey

So here's the recipe for the dessert we enjoyed at our potluck (adults, anyway; the kids enjoyed the monkey cookies!) Next time I might try adding just a touch of Grand Marnier.

Blueberries with Whipped Creme Fraiche and Honey

2 cups creme fraiche (see instructions below)
honey to taste
3 cups blueberries (lots of other fruits work well here; I can't wait to try it with grated apple and cinnamon!)

Beat the creme fraiche to soft peaks, then whip in honey for two minutes more. Softly fold in blueberries just as much as needed to combine thoroughly. Serve with a spring of mint if you've got it, or a smile if you don't.

To Make Creme Fraiche

Mix four tablespoons of buttermilk into two cups of heavy cream in a glass or pryex container and stir until thoroughly blended. (It is best to make creme fraiche in the morning, and wise to do so the day before you'll need it.) Cover and leave sitting in a warm spot in your kitchen for 4-12 hours. Stir every two hour or when you think of it. When you notice that the mixture has started to thicken, transfer it to the refrigerator, where it will thicken further.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Yesterday we got together with a group of friends for a local foods potluck. We brought blueberries that I picked last fall at the Lunenburg County Winery--really just down the road from us--served with whipped creme fraiche and honey (recipe in the next post!) Here are a few highlights of the day:

Charlie learning from his favorite person in the world.

Playing pass the baby

Our gracious hosts!

Mama, poet, and culinary genius Alice Burdick.

(Most of) The Gang

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monkey Cookies Redux, Fair Trade Coffee, and all that Jazz

Hey folks,

I've been working on a Big Important Post explaining why I stopped being a minister and started writing about food. It'll be up soon. In the meantime, however, amuse yourself with this eye candy:

These are the same monkey cookies we made last year, this time photographed pre-baking. (You can see that one smart monkey has figured out that they're heading for the oven.) The licorice defied me as usual--so while most of 'em were smiling going in, at least half looked fairly disconcerted coming out.

I've been doing some social media work for Laughing Whale Coffee, one of my many wonderful clients. Here's a shot I took in their roasting facility at last week's farmer's market (in addition to producing a fabulous suite of fair trade, organic, ultra-low emissions roasted coffees, they also host the winter market here in Lunenburg!)

Last but not least, here's my sous-chef mugging for the camera. I know. I'm lucky.