Monday, September 1, 2014

Vietnamese Coriander - Rau Răm

I'm growing Vietnamese Coriander this year.  I stumbled on it at the garden centre one day and decided to give it a go.  The description on the tin, a bit like coriander with a hot ending.  

Other names for this herb - Vietnamese cilantro, Vietnamese mint, false mint, Laksa leaf

A perennial plant and easy to propagate from cuttings.  I plan to over winter mine in the house, under a grow light.

 Health values include settles upset stomachs, reduces swelling, and can reduce fertility.

Vietnamese coriander is used mostly in cold salads and duck dishes.  There is a type of crystal roll it is found in, as well.

I used mine in a braised rib dish.  I started with my asian bbq sauce (linked below) and added a few dashes of fish sauce, 1/4 c. more vinegar, 1/4 c. mirin, a large knob of fresh ginger cut randomly, cloves, star anise, a squirt of agave,  2 drops of seasame oil and 2 dashes of 5 Spice powder.

 I put this to simmer for awhile on a burner, not reducing it. This infuses the flavours!  I also added a few sprigs of the coriander.  Strain and pour over ribs in a flat pan.  The sauce will be a bit thinner than everyday BBQ sauce, and this is how it should be.  Drain off any remaining sauce for dipping.

My ribs were seared off, then braised in the oven for 6 hours
BBQ, or finish off in the oven at a higher temp.  I did mine at 400 deg. F, but the ribs were close to the top element and watched carefully.  Baste the sauce over the ribs and get a good, sticky crust built up.  Serve with remaining sauce on the side and ample sprigs of coriander.  You can also mince the coriander and sprinkle over the top.

I didn't find this herb to be hot at all, just a slightly different spicy taste to coriander.  I thought it was quite mild actually.

I served mine with a cucumber salad with guess what in it?  Yes, more coriander!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Porcini Pickles

Some foraged mushrooms came my way this past weekend.  After mushroom risotto and reserving some for requested mushroom ravioli, I found a recipe for preserving them.  Besides drying, here is a batch of mushroom pickles.

Boletus edulis can be called by several names, such as: King Bolete, Porcini, Cepe, King Boleta, Penny Bun, and simply Boleta mushroom.

This mushroom can be found from 7,000 ft. to treeline.  The season runs from June to August.

The best place to look for them is near conifers, such as Spruce.  Boletes subsist by a symbiotic relationship with tree roots.

As you can see in the pictures, they can vary in size.

These mushrooms are a good source of protein, selenium, niacin and potassium. It is great to preserve all of that, as the season is quite short. On to making pickles....

Cut the mushrooms into slices.  Not all the slices are going to be as iconic as the ones below.  That is ok, they taste the same.    


Along with the mushrooms you will need:

White vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar, I think straight up white vinegar is too harsh), white wine, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, rosemary, sage, sea salt, sugar, and olive oil.  The instructions I followed didn't list measured amounts.  I guess it depends on how productive a forage it was for how much you pickle.  There is a video below from Youtube that will explain how to make the pickles.  Some things not mentioned in the video: 1. The mushrooms shrink in size quite a bit, so when you are figuring out which jar to use take that into consideration. 2. Since there aren't measurements involved in the recipe, I would recommend tasting your brind before adding the mushrooms to see if it is balanced.

I would imagine the oil is pretty tasty after all those ingredients meld together.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lemon and Basil Cake - Thank You James Martin

Got basil? Well, try this!

My favourite Saturday Kitchen star:

We have plenty of basil coming out of the garden.  Several different types.  For this recipe it was best to use Genovese/Sweet basil.

I may try to adapt this recipe to muffin form.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Is This The Pits? Something Like Noyaux Liqueur!

I made something similar to Noyaux liqueur.  Noyaux liqueur is made with apricot and cherry pits soaked in brandy.  It is supposed to taste like almonds. For my liqueur I used roasted cherry pits soaked in mead.

I simply pitted a big batch of Colorado cherries that were in season and roasted the pits for 10 minutes, or so, at 400 deg. f.  Cooled, put them in a jar and fill it up with mead.  Almost immediately it started changing to a lovely cherry colour.  I let mine sit overnight.  Drain the pits away and retain the liquid.  Use this to add to cocktails, or wait and I will post some recipe ideas.  I also made a batch of cherry pit syrup with simple syrup and follow the same instructions.

I used my trusty cherry pitter.

I put mine in the refrigerator for safe keeping.

I also soaked some cherry halves in the mead.  You didn't think I would just use only the pits, did you?


Pinterest- I did That!

Use Dr. Bronner's castille  soap and dilute it.  I didn't measure, I just did it.  A couple of squirts and fill the rest of the bottle with water.  Notice I diluted the spelling of Dr. Bronner, as well, not on purpose.

 Spray this on plants to keep the bugs away.

Weed away- 1/4 c. salt, 2 tsp. dish soap and 1 qt. vinegar.

Magnesium for the plants- Epsom salt, buy the kind with no added salt (Epsom salt isn't really salt) and without fragrances, or baking soda added.  If you want to water the plants with the liquid form, the formula is: 2 tbsp. Epsom Salt to a gallon of water.  I like to sprinkle it right on the soil, sort of willy nilly then water. Do this approx.once a month.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mango Lassi With Help From My Noosa

Here is another easy recipe using my favourite yoghurt.  The Noosa flavour this time is mango, and what better to do with mango yoghurt than to make Lassi. I have a few surprise ingredients for my Mango Lassi, look below....With fast food this healthy, why wait?

2 tubs of Mango yoghurt

1 cup Mango Kombucha

Half of a pod of vanilla beans.

Whiz it up in a blender, and Bob's your uncle!

Enjoy for Brekkie, or with a proper Indian (homemade, or take-away).  This recipe is probably enough for 2 people.


Here is a few garden pics for Summer 2014.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Noosa Going To Like This

     Honey Yoghurt Panna Cotta w/ Cookie Crumbs

An easy dessert, served cold and no oven needed, making it great for a summertime treat.



Noosa yoghurt is made in Fort Collins, Colorado using a secret recipe from Noosa, Australia.  A quote from their website:

"We Aussies are famous for embracing other cultures, then adding our own little twist to make them our own. (It’s not “stealing,” it’s “being inspired.” There’s a difference!)
That’s exactly what we did with our Noosa Finest Yoghurt. We took a page from the Greeks (Ta, Greeks!) with their famously rich yoghurt. Ours is made in small batches, set, and infused with honey to give it that delicious sweet-tart tang, and smooth, velvety texture that sets us apart from the throng. We add just the right amount of fruit purees, made from the best the seasonal market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy."

I would like to start acknowledging local products.  Let us start with Noosa Yoghurt.

All the yoghurt cultures and a mild, creamy mouth feel.  They use local milk and honey in their products, which is great, right? It seems to me that this yoghurt is pretty popular here in Fort Collins. This recipe can be adapted using any of the flavours available, the sky is the limit!


For my recipe, and it can't be more simple....You will need 4 tubs of honey yoghurt. You don't need and added sweeteners, the yoghurt has just the right balance of sweetness.  Pour these out in a large bowl.

I grated in some tonka bean, or you can use vanilla/lemon zest.

Bloom then melt 4 small gelatin sheets and add to the yoghurt mixture.  Blend well.

Place in your moulds and set for several hours in the refrigerator.  I needed 6 moulds.

While they set, make some cookie crumbs.

When your dessert is set, turn out on a plate and baste the cookie crumbs over it.  I don't think anyone would mind if you drizzle a bit more honey.