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{homemade chow chow}

14 Sep

i had never heard of chow chow until i lived in the south a few years back. y’all know i’m a big fan of sauerkraut… and this has similar ingredients, but with a different taste and process. chow chow is not fermented, although i’m certain you could change the ingredients and i bet a ferment would also taste amazing!

what i enjoy about making stuff like this is you don’t have to be so specific. you can play around with different measurements and/or sizes of veggies, combinations of veggies, etc. being in the kitchen is all about exploring, and i love to “play” with my food… and that is something i will never stop doing! 😀

some recipes that i explored suggested adding green tomatoes and/or spices or hot peppers… but this is what i came up with :

simple ingredients :

  • cabbage
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • red/yellow pepper

simple brine :

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water

start by heating brine ingredients in a sauce pan on low-medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve, then allow to cool to room temperature.

if you find that you have extra brine, you can always save it for something else like pickles or whatever other veggie you may want to use.

meanwhile, finely chop up all of the veggies…

pour {slightly cooled} brine mixture over the ingredients…

take some pictures, if you fancy…

then, add lid and store in the refrigerator for about a week. you can also use this same recipe and then pressure can or water-bath can and store in the pantry.

i made it both ways and both were delicious! i have one more jar left in the pantry, and i have been using the jar in the fridge for all kinds of fun stuff! it is SO GOOD with sausage or on a pork roll/bun… it adds the perfect balance of sweet to the savory. and it’s also good as a little snack or adding it to a charcuterie board or on a cracker, etc.

one thing I do like about the “canning” method is that the texture is a little softer. heat-processing this does break down the veggies a bit more and although i like it both ways, i do prefer the canning method. the nice thing is, canning is always an option even if i start with the fridge method.


do you like and/or make chow chow?! please share your comments and/or recipes below!

 

{candy cane beets – aka chioggia beets}

19 Jul

these are one of my all-time favourite vegetables! i do enjoy beets, but i mostly enjoy these because of the way they look! from the outside, you wouldn’t know that they looked like this inside. but that’s part of what i love about them!

please meet the “candy cane beet” – also known as “chioggia beet” – aren’t they just magnificent?!

my two favourite ways to eat them are :

  • raw, sliced thin, with himalayan pink salt
  • steamed then cooled to room temp, just as is

fun food facts :

also known as “bulls eye beets” – this unique specialty produce item has a sweeter, more robust flavour profile compared to its other beet cousins. they are named after a region in italy, where they predominantly grow. chioggia beets are an excellent source of manganese, folate, vitamin c, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. the leaves of this vegetable are also edible, and serve well sautéed, steamed, or as a chard substitute. 

 

{blue cheese steak salad}

11 Jul

i love to enjoy food leftovers the very next day… and it’s even more fun when i create something different with the leftover item i’m using. for example, after making this meal, i use the steak the next day for a yummy salad with blue cheese. it’s one of my favourite go-to meals these days. light and refreshing, but still flavourful and filling. high in protein, and always a crowd-pleaser.

simple ingredients, as per usual {measuring with the heart and “some” of each :

  • leftover room-temp steak {i typically use grass-fed strip loin}
  • hard-boiled egg{s}
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • chopped crisp romaine lettuce
  • chopped scallions
  • blue cheese dressing
  • croutons {optional}
  • tomatoes {optional}


this is a staple in the food & foto household. it’s also a big hit at parties or gatherings and is packed with nutrients and flavour! it also makes a good lettuce wrap! i opt for grass-fed meats whenever possible… they are higher in nutrition and i believe they taste so much better! 

{inspired by : big salad, little steak}

4 Jul

oops, this email was accidentally sent out last month – my mistake… anyway, happy summer, y’all!

i found this recipe through an instagram account {@katherinewants} and i was inspired to try it.

it’s adorably called – “big salad, little steak.”

i have been eating this at least 1-2 times a week, lately. it satiates me in such a way, and it’s also easy to make {now that i’ve mastered it}. i used to be so intimidated by cooking steak… i would always overcook it and/or ruin the overall taste or quality. so i hadn’t tried making it in years. then i discovered this recipe and method for cooking steak, and i am proud to say i’ve been nailing it every time! i don’t have a grill, so using a cast iron pan is perfect for my apartment lifestyle.

i believe three key factors make the main difference in how this steak is prepared :

  • quality of steack
  • quality of butter
  • basting!!!

the best meals always start with some of the simplest ingredients : 

  • grass-fed strip steak
  • garlic
  • shallots
  • rosemary & thyme
  • grass-fed butter
  • romain lettuce
  • parmigiano reggiano
  • caesar dressing

the best meals also start with some of the simplest techniques :

  • bring steak to room temperature
  • season steak liberally with salt & pepper
  • add steak to a very hot cast iron pan and sear on one side for approximately 2-3 minutes
  • turn steak on its side to render the fat
  • flip steak to other side and add butter, garlic, shallots, and herbs
  • baste, baste, baste – approximately another 2-3 minutes or until internal temp of 110
  • remove from heat and allow to rest

slice steak to your desired thickness. serve with caesar salad {croutons optional} and a glass of prosecco {maybe-not-so-optional ;)}. Continue reading

{eating seasonally : the awesome artichoke}

28 Jun

as many of you probably know, i prefer to eat seasonally… it gives me things to look forward to, and it’s also good for the body. now that we are in the prime of summer, i am switching up my diet to include things that are currently in season. which is exciting because my garden is poppin’ right now and i’ll soon have more seasonal produce to enjoy {and share!}

the flip side of eating seasonal is letting go of some of the foods that stop producing as the months progress. for example – peas, arugula, radishes, asparagus, and in the case of this blog – artichokes.

i just love love love artichokes and i do miss them when they are not in season… but i also do get my fill of them during the spring and early summer months. i like to serve them with an aioli or melted butter… nom nom!

aren’t they just so interesting looking? i love vegetable guts, and i have always been fascinated by the insides of certain veggies like artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, etc.

look at that color! and that devine design! ❤

 

 

{diy dehydrated strawberries}

13 Jun

speaking of strawberries… these are like nature’s candy!

i love to make dehydrated fruit of all kinds! one of my other favourite things to dehydrate is bananas. it’s a great way to preserve in-season foods and enjoy them later. it’s also easy and cost-effective.

strawberries are one of my top favourite fruits to enjoy when they are dehydrated. they are so sweet and so delicious! they curb my craving for gummy bears or gummy snacks, and obviously have way less sugar! the only issue is, they don’t last very long! 😉


{garden fresh strawberries}

10 Jun

aren’t these just the most beautiful strawberries you’ve ever seen?!

and i promise you, they taste better than they look, if you can imagine 😉

by the way, which background do you like better?! comment below…


fun food facts :

strawberries contain more vitamin c than oranges. they are also high in antioxidants and are super easy to grow! they self-seed and make a fun little patch to pick from. they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. some strawberries contain over 200 seeds! they have a short season, so continuous harvesting is necessary for optimum enjoyment. also, to maintain the sweet flavour, strawberries are better served at room temperature.

 

 

{garden update – volume 2}

7 Jun

this update is a little late… so much has been going on at the garden! we had a lot of rain here, and so the plants are growing and thriving so well!

i typically plant seasonally. so i started with my cool season crops like radishes, peas, beets, spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce… most of which i have harvested lately. i also harvested the garlic and onions that i adopted from last year. the peas are starting to produce fruit which is exciting, and the lettuce is still thriving and i planted more this week. i started planting my summer crops – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more lettuce. i also planted flowers this year, which is kind of new for me – nasturtiums, calendula, and coneflower.

here is a progress report on what my overall garden plot looks like. i currently have a lot of seeds in the ground, and i take some pride in having beautiful soil and very little to no weeds. i am so excited to continue to watch the growth and progress! 🙂

do you have a garden? what are you growing?


          
Continue reading

{homemade infused butter}

29 Apr

i’m calling this “infused” – with grass fed butter, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme…


heated on low for 10-15 minutes until melted and then cooled…

apparently this changes the structure of the butter, but i use it for when i cook steak and it seems to do fine…

i just freeze it after i melt/infuse it and it use it to baste in the cast iron!


what do you think of this method? have you ever tried it?

 

{nature hike}

30 Mar

nothing like a stroll in nature to clear the mind, connect with the earth, and welcome the new season!

it’s been a little chilly here lately {boo!} but just recently, i took a little walk with my cousin through a beautiful trail nearby and we both had our cameras in hand.

here are a few of my favourite images from the day.

happy spring, y’all – hope it’s springing where you are!


stumbled onto this along the way!

had a little fun taking pics of it…

these trees kind of remind of me aspens

nothing like sunset over the water…


how’s the weather where you live?

{thirsty thursday – beer journal #2}

3 Mar

ahh, i missed out on posting an autumn beer journal in 2021. oh well… you can see some samples on these blogs – usually my indulgences in the months of fall consist mostly of oktoberfest and brown ales.

and this post is a wee late, considering it’s already march! {yay spring!}

but anyway, here are a few of my favourite winter beers that i tend to enjoy and have explored between the months of december and february… mostly browns, porters, and stouts… many of which are rich in flavour and paired beautifully with notes of peanut butter, chocolate, and sometimes even hints of barrel-aged bourbon.

YES please!



what are some of your favourite winter beers?!

{flashback friday – homegrown cabbage}

25 Feb

i hope y’all well and healthy and finding joy in the little things.

with all the changes happening for so many of us over the last almost 2 years, my green thumb has been turning slightly brown as of late. what i mean by that is, i have not had access to a regular garden setting in two seasons. {*gasp!*} which, as many of you that know me well truly understand, felt like a hole in my soul. nothing brings me more joy than getting my hands in the dirt, growing food, and being in touch with the earth – mind, body, and spirit.

this season, i plan to get back into the swing of things {see previous blog about my new plot!} and i have lots of exciting opportunities sprouting at this time. {see what i did there?!}

flashback to the only time i ever successfully grew cabbage… late fall of 2019. that seems like a lifetime ago. anyway, i’m planning to try to grow it again this year. probably in the fall versus the spring… but since i have so much space, one can never be sure what farmeraudrey will try 😉

{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

{first cleanse of 2022}

7 Jan

happy new year, y’all!

it’s a numerology 6 year, and i feel good about that. i like things in triples and/or threes. 😀 also, the number 6 represents love, unity, creativity, health, consciousness, empathy, and completion. and we totally need more of all of those things in our world, don’t we?!

how’s the weather been where you are? here in the northeast, it’s been up and down and back and forth. we had some 60-degree days in december, and then we just recently had our first snowfall shortly after the holiday. admittedly, snow is still not my favourite, but i’m cool with the “hibernation mode” that winter offers.

at least once or sometimes twice a year, i try to do a little “cleanse” – as in intermittent fasting and eating predominately raw or steamed veggies and fruits, along with plenty of liquids, lots of yummy homemade soups and broths, little-to-no sweets, and zero caffeine or alcohol. i started doing this in 2012, and you can read all about my first experience here.

i have been saying to myself for months that i wanted to do a cleanse, but i simply wasn’t feeling motivated. around the holidays, people are always giving out cookies and candy and drinks and snacks and all the things. perhaps it’s a comfort thing, but it’s hard to deny myself much of anything during the holidays. although at one point {in 2012} i cleansed for like 27 days right in the middle of christmas. i honestly have no idea how i persevered through that – haha! anyway, i knew from experience that a big part of sticking with a cleanse is totally mental. i knew i had to have the right mindset, and i knew at some point i would get there, so i didn’t pressure myself too much. i just kept sort of waiting for the right moment when i just knew i was ready.

that moment arrived in unison with the new year, and i suddenly felt super inspired and motivated… and above all, ready to do it! honouring the new year and new beginnings, etc. seemed like a good collaboration and it just feels appropriate and synchronistic for me.

i usually try to cleanse for about 6 days. sometimes more, sometimes less… again, i try not to put a lot of pressure or stress into it because that will basically negate any other positive benefits. i tend to feel better overall and my head is clearer, etc. my skin looks better, my body trims down, and i tend to have a lot more energy in general when detoxing. one thing that was different for me this time around is that i didn’t have to give up coffee {mostly because i don’t drink it regularly anymore}, and so there has been less of a “detox” feeling {fatigue, headaches, etc.} that i have experienced in the past when doing this type of cleanse.

so, here is a little glimpse into what I’ve been experiencing this week.

thanks for reading 😉

i start each morning with warm lemon water and a green smoothie… usually with tons of fruit and spinach and healthy herbs…

in lei of coffee, i drink this stuff now… it’s super yummy and extra good for your liver and kidneys…

tons of fresh and steamed veggies… Continue reading

{crab and veggie frittata}

7 Nov

oh and speaking of crab recipes… i made this yummy crab and vegetable frittata over the weekend and it was SO yummy! i made two small batches and i reheat them in my air fryer {one of the best investments ever!}

i hadn’t really planned to blog about this, but as i started making it i grabbed my camera and snapped a few fotos to document. as per usual, i try to use what i already have in the kitchen and in this case it was mushrooms, peppers, and onion.

so i chopped them all up and added in my crab meat.

i added a little dried chives, old bay seasoning, salt and pepper, and nutritional yeast, then heated the mixture up in a pan with a pat of butter on low until slightly cooked…

then poured the mixture into these cute little tins, and baked for 15 minutes in a 360 degree oven…

finally, i let the frittata cool for a bit, popped it out of the tin, and put it in the fridge so i could have them for breakfast/brunch in the mornings.

i love a frittata!

{maryland crab cakes – food and foto style}

5 Nov

a little ramble to preface this post…

i just love living in maryland once again! this is my home. i’ve traveled all around this country and lived in several different states, and yet i came back here… so i feel like there’s something to be said about that. one of the things i love most about maryland is the seafood! every time i lived anywhere else, i was always trying to recreate the seafood experience that exists in this region. i remember one time when i was in colorado, i actually paid to have some maryland crabs shipped to me because i was craving them so intensely! at the time, i was working for a specialty market that was able to hook me up, so that was awesome!

i swear i could eat steamed maryland blue crabs every single day… 24/7/365! during the summer months, i splurge a little and treat myself to them once or twice a month. now that the season is ending, i’m feeling a little sad and will miss enjoying them on the regular. that said, i was gifted some crabs last week by some loving and generous people, so i ate some {most!} and picked the rest and saved them for crab cakes. actually, i was going to save the meat and freeze it for making some crab soup over the winter… but i decided to whip up these crab cakes instead. i guess that means i should eat crabs one more time before the weekend so i can save the meat for winter! {do you understand my logic?! ;)}

did you know that late summer / early autumn is actually the best time for enjoying steamed maryland blue crabs? it’s mostly because they have beens swimming around and eating all summer and getting bigger and therefore more full and delicious!

i used to be so intimidated by making crab cakes because it is the ultimate maryland delicacy and i felt like there was no way i could make a good one. and then on a random sunday, i just went for it! i kept the recipe simple, as you know we like to do around here, and they turned out terrific! typically i don’t eat a lot of fried foods, but in this case i prefer the fried crab cake over the broiled or baked. at least when i make them at home… it just seams to taste better that way.

here’s a little foto story about my recent crab cake making journey…

i started with about 2 cups crab meat {that i hand-picked}, one egg, and roughly 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, and then i heavy-handedly sprinkled in some old bay…

i gently mixed the bread crumbs, old bay, and crab meat together… then mixed the egg, mayo, and mustard together…

i gently blended the wet and dry ingredients {don’t want to over-mix, need to keep it lumpy!} then put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes…

finally, i created two patties and fried them in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. i served with a mayo/mustard combo dip and old bay garnish.

may i just say i am SUPER proud of myself for doing this?! these crab cakes turned out so delicious and i am glad i got beyond my fear because now i have one other dish to add to my recipe repertoire and to share with those i love!


do you like crab cakes? or seafood for that matter? comment your favs below!

{autumn is for all things pumpkin!}

31 Oct

particularly on halloween, right?!

as you know, i prefer to eat seasonally so i’m on my squash and pumpkin kick at the moment. the farmers markets are closing this weekend or next, so i want to get out and stock up before they are done for the season.

contrary to popular opinion, i don’t do pumpkin lattes. they are too usually sweet for me. i do, however, tend to eat my weight in pumpkin seeds!

i simply cut a pumpkin open, carefully dig out the seeds, soak them for about an hour, then toss them with some olive oil and S&P and throw them in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. they don’t last long… they are so crispy and delicious! this was the firs time i tried making them in the air fryer. i have always baked them, but i’m so glad i tried it because they turned out amazing and in less time! i am eager to make more.

once i’ve devoured half of my pumpkin seed supply {haha!}… i scoop out the roasted pumpkin guts, add a little water, blend in the vitamix, pour in a large pan with some homemade veggie stock, add some spices, and serve with pepitas and mini toasts… NOM NOM!

i made a huge batch of this soup and so i froze some, canned some, and shared some…

both of these recipes are on par with my motto – KISS – keep it seriously simple. they are also healthy and support the 100-mile diet concept. i hope you enjoy and please comment if you try or have ideas of your own to share!

oh, and here’s the costume i wear every year – my “pumpkin king” onesie!

happy halloween!

{thirsty thursday – homemade komucha on tap}

22 Jul

i totally need to make a detailed post about this very soon.

i have been making my own kombucha for about 3 years now and i love it so much!

my favourite flavour is ginger, which is what is pictured in this batch.

are you curious about kombucha? it’s so easy to make and it is a wonderful health tonic full of minerals, amino acids, and gut-supporting probiotics. i’ve been consuming kombucha for almost 2 decades and a few years ago i finally started making my own.

stay tuned, and i’ll post more about my scoby {lovingly named “scooby”} and all of the other fun things that go into brewing kombucha at home 🙂

{sunday (funday) snacks}

18 Jul

speaking of eating seasonally and such…

on sundays lately, i’ve been curating a platter fully of yummy and healthy snacks to eat in leiu of lunch or dinner. i’ll have it out while i am cooking or relaxing or whatever else and just kind of graze on the snacks… basically all day.

here are a couple of pics of how i spent my last 2 sundays :

chianti-wine aged salami, garlic-herb wafer crackers, fresh avocado, fresh pineapple, locally-grown cherries, blueberries, & peaches, super thin pretzels, roasted mixed nuts, truffle parmesan crisps, dehydrated apples, apricots, dates, various chocolate, and a homemade kombucha spritzer mocktail

homemade tuna salad, organic mini toasts, garlic-herb salami, smoked oysters, mixed nuts, homemade pickles, fermented radishes, locally-grown broccoli & cauliflower, fresh avocado, dates, apricots, locally-grown blackberries & peaches, and a ginger tonic mocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{thirsty thursday – beer journal #1}

15 Jul

i enjoy eating and drinking seasonally…

for example, you’ll hardly catch me eating asparagus in the fall or winter. and on the same side of that coin, you’ll hardly catch me drinking a porter in the spring or summer. i like having foods and beverages to look forward each season. it feels fun and better overall for me and my lifestyle to eat and drink foods that are in season, and drink beverages that blend well with each season.

in the summer – i prefer to drink ales, lagers, and IPAs.

here are some recent beers i’ve tried that go well with the season.

a classic all-time fav

a clean northwest style lager

i’m a fan of this one because i love galaxy hops

love this bright pale ale with hints of ginger

citric pale ale with hints of kaffir lime

easy drinking golden ale perfect for summer

another fav of mine though i tend to drink it more in spring

highly complex flavour profile in this unique APA

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