I've been busy with my top-secret superhero missions and life has also tossed me a few squirrely balls to boot. And when I'm not dealing with all that, I'm running away from to feed my soul with a bit of this:
Or else I'm over here feeding my soul:
The 'Snout' at Arrowsmith.
Doing silly things like this:
Despite the summer mayhem and general chaos, along with my mini-escapes to feed my soul, I've still managed to keep on my 100 Mile Diet journey. I'm pretty much relying on cooking up a big batch of meat and veggies and mixing and matching those with salad greens to see me through several days. Having a big tupperware of boiled Vancouver Island new potatoes, a couple of loafs of bread from Flour, Water, Salt bakery and a menagerie of pickled vegetables that I canned from last year helps round off any meal.
Our latest BBQ dinner party involved a couple of gorgeous locally raised steaks from Piper's. The meat was marinated and then thrown onto the BBQ with some of the Asian BBQ sauce (nope, still not tired of that one yet) and I added a bunch of veggies from my weekly organic produce box and the farmer's market.
The steak that fed us for 3 days ;)
I sliced the steak thinly and let everyone do what they wanted with it. Some folks made themselves a big salad with the fresh greens, some roasted veggies and a few slices of meat.
I stacked meat and veggies onto a slice of baguette from Flour, Water, Salt, for jaw stretching open-faced sandwich.
The leftover meat was carried over onto other dishes including a Fast and Dirty Beef and Broccoli:
Talk about easy peasy. Since the meat was already cooked, all I had to do was stirfry up some garlic and broccoli from my produce box and throw in some leftover roasted peppers and the meat. A few glugs of soy sauce and dollop of Asian BBQ sauce and dinner was ready in less than 10 minutes.
For one of my lunches, I took some leftover potatoes, roasted veggies, some pickled beets, beet greens, fava beans and made a nice little meal. A splash of balsamic vinegar was all I used to dress it.
Of course, this is also blueberry season and one of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries is in a fresh blueberry pie. Dudinks Gardens, Blue Harvest farms and other farms have yummy local berries for U-pick or farm gate sales. Please support your local farms! They're having a rough year with the crazy weather and the even crazier government bureaucracy. Here's a list of local farms and farmers markets.
I make a 'deep dish' berry pie because it's all about the berry filling as far as I'm concerned. I use a 9-inch springform pan (the sort you use for cheesecakes) and a filling base that uses nothing more than berries, sugar, a bit of cornstarch and lemon juice. It's worlds better than that powdered crap in the pouch. It's an super no-fuss pie to make and it showcases the fresh goodness of blueberries. If you're not in the mood to make a pie, swing by Grandma's Country Pies on 3018 Ross Road (beside Nanaimo Sausage House).
I don't add any extra sugar to my graham cracker crust since I find that the graham crackers are sweet enough on their own. The cinnamon and ginger help bring out some sweetness too. I also keep the sugar amount pretty low for the filling base since I'd rather enjoy the natural sweetness of the blueberry.
Here's my Fast & Dirty Deep Dish Blueberry Pie:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
Combine ingredients and press firmly and evenly into the base and sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. I press the crumb mixture a good couple inches up the wall of the pan so you have nice deep crust.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are starting the brown.
Let cool on rack while you prepare the filling.
8 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water = slurry
juice of one lemon
Take 1 1/2 cups blueberries, water, sugar and bring to a boil in a large pot, lower the heat and let simmer for a few minutes until the berries are cooked down. You want to use a pot big enough so you can later dump in the rest of the blueberries and have room to mix it. It will save you from dirtying another bowl. I mean, what would you rather do? Eat blueberry pie or do dishes??
Take filling base off the heat and add in the cornstarch slurry. Mix well.
Return the pot to the medium high heat and bring back up to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. You want something as thick as ectoplasmic goo but not so thick that your spoon will stand up in it.
Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Add in the rest of the blueberries and fold the base and berries together until the berries are well coated.
Dump filling into the cooked pie shell. Let it cool on rack for 15 minutes and then into the fridge for at least an hour for the filling to finish setting.
Pace around the house, sneak a few blueberries off the top of the pie. Re-arrange the berries to hide the berries that you stole off the pie. Impatiently pace around the house some more.
One good way to make the time go faster is to wander over to the store and get some vanilla ice cream to go with your pie ;)
I'm off to the Saltspring Island Natural Fibre Fest this weekend with my tribe of weaver, spinner and knitters. Have a great weekend. Go visit and farmer's market or a farm. For those that are thinking about putting together a winter veggie garden, the Community Gardens is holding a winter plant sale at 271 Pine Street on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm.