Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Green Being Pt. 2

      It's been three years since I stumbled upon Green Being Farm. I was searching for a farm to host my internship where I would have lived and worked for 8 months, but when circumstances wouldn't allow, it I decided to volunteer for a few days instead. That visit was the beginning of what I hope to be a life-long relationship between the owners Tarrah, Nathan and I, and their live-in interns Zak and Franny, as it's become a part of my routine to work there at least twice a year. 

These photos and recipes are from my first visit this year. I opted to sleep in the trailer and cook some meals in it using only a gas powered hot plate and ingredients procured mostly from the farm. However my favourite meals were the ones we made and ate together, because I believe abundance is meaningless unless you can share it! 

The temperature was so hot that week we had to spray down the pigs every hour! These are the kuny kuny's. Green Being is one of the only farms in Canada that has imported the breed from New Zealand.

Zak and Franny's garden where they grow flowers, vegetables and greens for their CSA "Loving Greens".

Dinner is fresh picked!

My bedroom in the trailer.

My little trailer kitchen. There's no water or working appliances, just electricity!

Dinner in the trailer Day 1:
Garlic sausage hot cakes with sautéed greens and soy cherry sauce
2 garlic pork sausages, removed from casing
Half of an onion, diced
Half a head of garlic, diced
3 sprigs of rosemary, minced
1 egg
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Sauteed greens:
3 leaves of kale, stems removed & chopped
2 leaves swiss chard, chopped
1 garlic clove
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Soy cherry sauce:
1 handful of sweet red cherries, pitted
Soy sauce

One of the neighbouring farms has a pond where frequent dips are taken to cool down. Here is Zak and Franny after a long, hot day.

We also picked fava beans at the neighbour's farm.

Dinner in the trailer Day 2:
Cider braised lamb shank with pickled scapes
1 grass-fed lamb shank
Half a tall can of dry cider
1 onion, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
2 potatoes, chopped
Half a head of garlic, sliced
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
1 stick of lemon grass, chopped
4 pickled garlic scapes, chopped
Fresh peas for garnish
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Seeded greens and herbs to be planted.

The most challenging task was bailing three truck loads of hay into the barn, where we hand stacked them on the left. 

Dinner at the house Day 3:
Homemade Labneh with mint and local bread
500ml yogurt, salted and strained overnight
Simply syrup
Lemon juice
Olive oil, cracked black pepper and mint for garnish

Greens & fennel salad
1 head of kale
1 head of romaine
1 fennel bulb, shaved
4 stocks of spring onion, thin sliced
Tarrah's sundried tomato vinaigrette
Fennel fronds for garnish

Mediterranean chicken bake
1 organic chicken, broken down into parts
2 onions, medium dice
5 tomatoes, medium dice
2 small green zucchini, chopped
1 head of garlic, crushed
Half a cup of green olives
Juice from half a lemon
Olive oil
Sugar, salt & pepper
Fresh oregano for garnish

Grilled feta fries with lemon vinaigrette
6-7 potatoes, thin sliced into rounds and blanched
1 bunch of mint, chiffonade
4 stalks of spring onion, sliced
150ml feta, crumbled
Salt & pepper

Lemon vinaigrette
Juice of two lemons
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

The fruit order arrived!

Piripiri Ceasars
Piripiri seasoning
Franks red hot sauce
Extra spicy Motts Clamato caesar mix
Worcestershire sauce
Lemon juice
Pickle juice
Pickle and garlic scape for garnish
Flower stems if you don't have skewers!

Dinner at the house Day 4:
Lamb sliders on Franny's biscuits with fresh tomato & feta sauce
Half pound ground lamb
Half an onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Fresh mint
Salt & pepper

Feta sauce
Feta, crumbled
Sour cream
Cracked black pepper

Franny and Zak's drying herbs.

China Town Cabbage Rolls

  I've only made cabbage rolls once before, but a Polish in-law served some at Easter dinner, and I forgot how lovingly filling they are. So I decided to serve them up to some friends for our weekly home-cooked meal, but with a little twist - think Chinese dumplings crossed with the classic roll. I added celery, scallions, bacon, thai basil and sesame to the usual pork and rice filling, forming pouches rather than traditional cylinders. However, some rituals must remain, as I'm sure my Polish relatives would agree, because it just ain't a cabbage roll without some red sauce and sour cream.

 Korean cabbage cooked whole
 Closer to the core the leaves aren't as pliable.

Simple tomato sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes (800ml total)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 spanish onion, small dice
salt, pepper & sugar to taste

The rolls:
1 korean cabbage
2.5 cups short grain brown rice, cooked
2 cups chicken stock
1.5 lb. ground pork
4 celery stalks, fine dice
1 bunch scallion
4 bacon strips, diced
3 stems of thai basil, picked
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted & crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp + 3 tsp salt
 10 turns on a black pepper grinder
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil + more for drizzle
Torn thai basil and sour cream for garnish

 I love thai basil, it tastes like cilantro and tarragon
 You can also use a spice grinder to crush the sesame seeds.
 First get the tomato sauce cooking. The longer is simmers the yummier it will taste. Sweat off the onions and garlic, when translucent add the tomatoes, stir, cover and let cook on low heat for as much time as you've got! When your time is nearly up add salt, pepper and sugar to taste and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Set aside.

As the sauce is gaining flavour, start cooking the rice. I cooked off two cups of rice and had a tonne leftover. Add 1 cup of rice, the stock and 3 tsp of salt to a pot, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover until all water has dissolved. Set aside and cool.

Next prepare the cabbage leaves. I used korean green cabbage because of its flatter surface and therefore larger leaves. Remove and discard the core while keeping the rest of this giant vegetable intact - be careful! Place it in a large pot and cover with water and a sprinkling of salt. Let it simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until you notice the leaves loosening. Strain the liquid and let it cool slightly, but it will be easiest to pull back the leaves while warm. Lay them out flat to dry.
 You will have a lot of filling left over! Freeze and save for later or make cabbage roll burgers.

 In the meantime prepare the rest of the fillings ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients into a bowl except for the sour cream and torn basil leaves. Make sure the rice has cooled before adding. Scoop and roll the filling into balls approximately a heaping quarter cup in size. Refrigerate until you're ready to make the rolls.

To prepare the cabbage for the infamous rolls, I completely discarded the stiff stems from the centre of each leaf, then sliced them in half. One full leaf of cabbage will make one roll. Place one filling on a cabbage leaf halve. Take the other halve and tightly wrap it the opposing way to cover the open end of your first roll. Place on a tray seam side down. Repeat with each roll. 

 Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree celsius. Spoon a good amount of tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish with a cover. Place as many rolls as you can on top, drizzle with sesame oil, and lightly smear some more sauce on top. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes, depending on how pink you like your pork.

To serve, spoon some tomato sauce on a plate, top with a cabbage roll and some more sauce with sour cream on the side. Sprinkle a generous amount of thai basil on top.

I couldn't decide where to place the sour cream!

Another Friday In the Kitchen

Fridays have become somewhat of a ritual in the kitchen for me. My roommates are out, the sun is bright, and I'm usually hungover, which gives me the perfect excuse to cook in my silk robe all day. This Friday, a fraction of my day was used to make this Chinese/Italian inspired pasta dish that requires lots of shrimp! All of the unconventional ingredients can be found in chinatown, if you can find them!

 Luckily I had some leftover pasta from my last post! See the recipe here
 Slightly different flavour profile from traditional tomato sauce: shallots, garlic, brined ginger, thai basil.
 Picked up this brined ginger at the supermarket. It's slightly more acidic and salty than fresh ginger. Reminds me of the stuff used in congee.
 I sliced the shrimp in half lengthwise and sauteed them in coconut oil until just cooked through.
 These dried/cured shrimp are flavourful but very chewy. I blanched them in water for two minutes to rehydrate them. Reserve the water for cooking the pasta.
 The sauce:
Oil for sweating (I used coconut oil but any bland oil will work)
1 large can of whole tomatoes
Half of a shallot, chopped
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
1/8 cup brined ginger
Leaves of 1 large thai basil stem
2 large spoonfuls of shrimp paste
Sriracha to taste
S&P to taste

Sweat the shallots, garlic, ginger and thai basil on low heat in a pot until translucent, then add the canned tomatoes . When it begins to simmer add the shrimp paste and let it cook on medium to low heat for about 3 hours. Let it cool slightly before pureeing in a food processor. Add the salt, pepper and Sriracha to taste as your pureeing, until everything tastes good and is smooth. Return to the pot and keep on low heat until ready to use.
 Thin, fresh pasta like this only needs to be cooked for about 2 minutes. Cook it in the leftover water from blanching the shrimp, strain then throw in the fresh shrimp, sauce and some extra thai basil into the bowl. TOSS.

 I sprinkled the dried shrimp, sliced scallion and bonito flakes on top.