Monday, August 14, 2017

Alberta Open Farm Days: Leaman Exchange

 
A replica of the family's gas station, owned by Cecil Sharman
The Sharman family has lived in the Wildwood area for nearly 100 years, on Leaman Road, located just 15 minutes West of Wildwood, Alberta. 8 years ago, Leanne Sharman, Grandaughter of Cecil Sharman, purchased a farm on Leaman Road with her husband David Scott, and together with their family created a hobby farm they named Leaman Exchange. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Alberta Open Farm Days: Farmer's Market Tour

 
One of my favourite aspects of summer is the abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  It's not uncommon for me to take the 3 hour road trip simply to visit some of my favourite markets.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jerk Chicken

 
This summer I volunteered for The Wild Mountain Music Festival.  The weekend was inspiring for a lot of different reasons.  I left with new friends, new experiences, and an intense craving for jerk chicken. 
 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Alberta Open Farm Days: Wild Country Gardens


Paulette Sparks, Owner/Operator of Wild Country Gardens

This year marks 10 years since Paulette Sparks moved to Wildwood.  While her husband Rennie lived on the farm most of his adult life, it wasn't until Sparks moved in with him that their fruit farm began. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Campfire Compote w/ London Fog Whipped Cream



A few weeks back Sarah and I camped out at Wildhorse Lake for a couple of nights.  Being as how we were so close to town and had vehicles to store our coolers in at night, we were able to do a little gourmet camp cooking that weekend.

On Saturday, I went back into town for a friend’s housewarming party, and at Sarah’s request, I grabbed some rhubarb from her yard on the way back.

When I got back to camp, Sarah got to work chopping up the rhubarb, and I grabbed some raspberries from my cooler.  We added some brown sugar and butter she had brought, and stewed it all over the fire.  While Sarah worked on the compote, I grabbed a mason jar, and got to work on the London Fog Whipped Cream, using ingredients I had brought for coffee, and an Earl Grey Tea bag.  The result was one of the best desserts I have had in awhile, let alone camping. 

This compote would work well on top of French toast, pancakes, toast, or as a crustless pie/crumble, which is how we ate it that night.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Edible Cookie Painting


It’s no secret that in addition to cooking, I am also a huge fan of art and creativity. This recipe is the perfect example of when two of my favourite pastimes combine. 

I first started painting when I was a young teen.  I took lessons from a local artist, and painted my first canvas, which is hanging on the wall beside me as I write this.  My brother built me an easel in wood shop, and for a time, my painting gear always came with me wherever I went - especially on family vacations where I would spend hours on the beach painting.  It’s been several years since I’ve really just sat down and painted, until I started experimenting with cookies as the canvas.

Last year for the holidays, Sarah and I set out to master sugar cookies and I quickly realized there was a bit of a learning curve to painting cookies with royal icing.  It turns out it wasn’t nearly as quick and easy as the countless YouTube videos I binge watched indicated it would be (mad props to Sarah though, her cookies were works of art).

Determined to create something beautiful that required less time and supplies, I experimented with a few different methods and settled on this style of cookie painting as my favourite.  It’s quick, easy, and you can freeze sugar cookies in advance for a fun and creative rainy day activity.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mozza Stuffed Meatballs


Meatballs are quite delicious on their own, but add adding a river of cheese to the centre of them really steps them up a notch.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bacon Dog Treats


My first recipe for homemade dog treats appeared on the blog back in 2011.  I took a photo of my dog, Raya, holding a bone shaped cookie cutter in her mouth, and the photo ended up appearing on the popular website “Post Secret”, making my senior pup famous for the week it was on the front page.  After being in our lives for nearly 14 years, Raya sadly passed away last winter.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jiggs Dinner


This upcoming Sunday, I’ll be helping cook a traditional Newfoundland Jigg’s Dinner for the largest crowd I have ever cooked for to date - alongside my friend Allan, Newfoundlander and fellow foodie.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sesame Ginger Japanese Eggplant Skewers


 


I just love it when you wing a recipe and it turns out perfectly on the first first try.  This recipe was exactly that.  Yesterday my husband and I purchased a new fridge, so as a result I ended up cleaning out our old fridge and getting rid some expired/freezer burnt food. The result was a gorgeously clean new fridge - with very little groceries inside.  It inspired me to go grocery shopping, and while at the store I picked up a couple of veggies I hadn't tried before -  Japanese Eggplants being one of them. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans


This recipe appeared as my column in the February 9th edition of The Hinton Voice. 

[I fell in love with Maple Baked Beans on my first trip out east.  I was staying a mere 18 km from the Montreal border and beans were a staple at every single store I walked into.  In fact, even the tiny town I was staying in had their very own bean factory that had line ups well into the afternoon, until they inevitably sold out for the day.  Every local I visited had beans in their fridge, and they came out at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Needless to say, once I was back home in Alberta, the flavour of freshly baked beans were ingrained in my memory, and I knew I had to try to re-create them at home.

As with many recipes, I try to wing it based on flavours alone.  While I ended up having the sauce down to a science, I didn’t soak the beans. If you’ve ever cooked with dry beans before, you know this is a necessary step – something even the package tells you to do (the irony that this happened to someone who now spends the greater part of her career writing out instructions is not lost on me). I ended up with hard little pellets that resembled nothing even close to their delicious counterparts.   I tried again, this time soaking the beans for a full 12 hours – and that’s when magic happened.  The recipe came together exactly how it should, which is the funny thing that happens when you follow the instructions.]

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