Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Candy, More Crackers

I hear there was a storm.

Things got burly here on the Rusty Coast on Thursday. Big fluffs of snow started falling in the afternoon. That was eventually replaced with driving rain and strong winds by the evening. I braved the epic weather to attend the Nanaimo-Cedar Farmer’s association meeting that night to make a presentation on the 100 mile diet. You know the saying ‘preaching to the choir’? Well, I felt I was preaching to the apostles. Regardless, the local farmers sat and listened politely as a rambled and ranted on about the benefits of a locally-grown diet. Thanks for having me guys!

That night, the big storm rolled and I rolled over and slept like a baby. The next morning there was tree carnage all over the evening news. Folks are without power all other Pacific Northwest. There’s footage of monster waves crashing over the Victoria seawall. The radio is spewing a litany of traffic warnings due to impotent traffic lights.

I hope everyone is managing to stay warm and dry. I don’t want to rub anyone’s nose into it but yesterday was a delightful day and there was almost no sign of a monster winter storm here on the Rusty Coast.

Here’s some pics from my afternoon wandering through my neighbourhood:

From the top of the hill, looking out into Horseshoe Bay and Newcastle Island on the right.

The marina and seawall.

I loved how the stark bones of the trees look a little like veins.

Later on, I popped over to Nanoose Edibles organic farm to grab some goodies. Along with a collard greens, shallots, broccoli and apples, I managed to score some Jerusalem artichokes:

They have nothing to do with Jerusalem and little to do with artichokes. They’re also known as sunchokes or sunroots, as the First Nations called them. These knobby veggies have inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch. There is indication that this form of carbohydrate helps moderate blood sugar levels. They’ve been recommended for people with Type 2 diabetes. They’re also high in iron.

They have as crispy, sweet taste like a water chestnut when eaten raw. They also roast up beautifully, great in stir fry or steamed and make a lovely creamy vegetable soup base. If stored properly in the fridge, they can keep for months.

Nanoose Edibles is opened Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the winter. Give them a call 250-4682-2332 to for their hours and selection.

Back at home, I was geared up for some holiday baking and candy making. With the humidity holding relatively low, I figured I’d do a few more batches of brittle. I made up a batch of molasses brittle and a feisty batch of spicy peanut brittle (the top two in the photo below). This time I added ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a 2 pound batch of clear peanut brittle. It was just enough kick! The molasses brittle is a favorite of mine. It uses molasses instead of corn syrup. It results in a dark, rich brittle. I used a mix of organic peanuts, cashews, almonds and local hazelnuts.

I also whipped up a couple of crackers. I did a repeat of the Gomashio (black sesame) cracker, this time adding some cracked black pepper. I also did a lemon black pepper cornmeal cracker topped with some of Hilary’s St. Denis cheese. I used locally milled whole wheat flours and kamut flour from True Grain bakery for the crackers.

Then I realized it was past 8pm. Where does the time go? With a few chops and some quick sautéing, I managed to pull together a chicken pasta pesto with a half a local chicken breast, frozen pesto from this summer's basil bounty, some of the organic broccoli from Nanoose Edibles and local onion, peppers. Topped with a grating of a mix of Hilary’s St. Denis cheese and Little Qualicum’s Raclette cheese, it was a rusty and hearty end to a whirlwind day!

Have a great 100 Mile Weekend!



Anonymous said...

Can you please share your brittle recipes please. Pretty, pretty please with a locally grown cherry on top.


Gina said...

You are on a Brittle baking roll! I love it -- so inspiring.