Summer Time, Waffle Cones and Sunny Days

Waffle cone components needed to make recipe in a peanut-free kitchen. I have anaphylaxis Summer does not equal rain in most cities, but here in Vancouver that is how the recent weather has been treating us. But keep your chin up! Everyone is still wearing shorts, visiting their local farmers market and filling their kitchens with summertime produce.  I am sorry for the lack of sunshine my little tomato and basil plants!

Since the weather is not a scorcher outside, I am still able to turn on the oven guilt free. This means that J can enjoy warm strawberry rhubarb cobbler, roasted asparagus and brown rice pilaf all from the joy of the oven. (If it was a scorcher though, all of these could be done on the barbeque!!)

But any weather should involve ice cream. Anyone with a peanut allergy should be able to enjoy ice cream .

Like many, my allergies give me the misfortune to not be able to experience ice cream from a restaurant or local cafe. With flavours like peanut butter or pistachio, never mind the shops that have over a hundred flavours like seaweed and tuna, it is not safe for anyone with a nut allergy to eat safely in a cafe. So my choices are either to make it myself or recently I have been enjoying Avalon Ice cream that I am purchasing from my local green grocer. It is made in a peanut free facility.  If you are eating ice cream or waffle cones that are store bought, please make sure you find a brand that is made in a facility that is made without the contamination of ingredients you are allergic to. Always check the ingredient list! You can also call the 1-800 number of the company and ask them any questions if you have any hesitations.

The weather is perfect outside (right now…) to enjoy ice cream in these waffle cone bowls. They will be filled later with vanilla ice cream and apple rhubarb compote.

Homemade waffle cones for summer made in a peanut-free kitchen Waffle Cones

1 cup flour

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

¼ cup water

1 tbsp melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat with a wire whisk.

Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons into waffle iron until golden brown. Remove and immediately press into any shape you desire.

For a crispier cone, add an additional one or two tablespoons of water into the batter.

Avalon Dairy- http://www.avalondairy.com/products.html

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Berries + Blender = Long Weekend

Local Vancouver strawberries made into daiquiri made my someone with anaphylaxis

Happy Canada Day Weekend!

How should you celebrate the long weekend? By enjoying local strawberries and a blended alcoholic beverage of course!

This quick post will inspire you to grab your blender, score some fresh strawberries from the market and use the ice in your freezer.

 

 

Strawberry Daiquiri –Serves Two

Tip: To hull a strawberry, use a sharp knife and pierce the top underneath the leaves. Circle around the centre of the strawberry making a complete round using the sharp tip of the knife. This should remove both the white centre and the leaves.

Two shots white rum

Juice of one lime

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

Handful of strawberries (approx. eight medium strawberries)

Scoop of ice

Place all ingredients into a blender. Process until smooth and thick, pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Handful of strawberries for strawberry daiquaris

Freezing for the Season

Strawberries in Vancouver garden Currently in Vancouver we have STRAWBERRIES in season. Three weeks late due to a wet spring, local berry buyers are eager to scoop these berries up! I have fond memories of my family going out to pick berries each year at the farms. My brother and I were known to eat more than we put in our bucket, leaving the farm with full bellies and stained faces.

Strawberries are delicate and juicy making these delicious gems very perishable.  Processing should happen the day of picking and purchasing.  Some ways to process strawberries would be in jars (make a pulp to use when pureed strawberries are needed), make jam and storeyour freezer.

My favourite way to save the season is to freeze. This way I have access to beautiful fresh tasting berries after the summer season is over. By doing this work myself I also can ensure that my berries are processed in a safe and allergy-free environment. The opportunities are endless when they are frozen whole, but they can be frozen sliced or in a sugar syrup.  Make sure the berries are firm, unblemished and bright red.

Strawberries from the Garden How to freeze strawberries (or any berry when in season):

  • Remove stem and hull (or slice off tops) strawberries.
  • Rinse gently under cool water to remove excess dirt. Do not soak.
  • Place on paper lined cookie sheets in a single layer and place in freezer.
  • After the berries are frozen completely, you can either store in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container.

One way I love to use frozen berries in our house is to make breakfast smoothies.  We go through quite a bit of berries this way so to make the berries last until the following spring, I label each bag with the month on it. When the berries in the bag are finished, that is it for the month for the strawberries until the next month.  It works our great and everybody wins because I love to hoard and J likes to eat.

Multi photo of strawberries from Vancouver garden Resources:

http://www.bcstrawberries.com/

http://www.eatlocal.org  -Your local FARMERS MARKET

Favourite strawberry farms in the Vancouver area:

http://www.wafarms.ca/ Richmond

http://krauseberryfarms.com/ Langley

Birak Berry Farm –Richmond

Simple and Fresh Salads for the Sumer

Four Salads

From top left to bottom right: Roasted Beets with Lemon and Fresh Herbs, Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Olive Oil, Coleslaw with Rice Wine Vinaigrette, Mango Salad with Orange Zest and Mint

Summer is coming and I am getting excited about all the local produce. Direct from farms to the Vancouver farmers market to my garden, these are all wonderful tools I am grateful to have access to. Waiting for the weather to be a bit hotter and drier, I am being patient and waiting carefully for seasonal fruits and vegetables I love.

When it comes to salads, I have to be a bit fussy with the ingredients because of my allergies and intolerances. Not only do I have to avoid putting seafood on top of greens or a sprinkle of toasted pecans, I have to avoid using many raw fruits and vegetables because of my oral allergies. Oral allergy syndrome is an immune system response to proteins found in one or more foods from the same pollen family. As an adult I developed oral allergy syndrome. It is always great to have more information about symptoms and how to prevent further discomfort when eating certain food groups.  For my case in particular, I have to avoid raw apple and pears, stone fruit such as peaches, pears, apricots and raw veggies like celery and carrots. I can eat them cooked, but I avoid and do not consume these particular types of produce.

This week I took a drive down to South East Marine Drive to visit the farms to see what was locally available. I walked away with a mix of local items such as green onions, baby bok choy and new potatoes.  But before I got started cooking up those inspiring and exciting ingredients, I had to tidy up my fridge! It was time for a fridge cleanup!

I was able to compose four light and fresh salads for dinner with my “fridge-clean up” routine. Keeping it simple, I was in and out of the kitchen in twenty minutes after making all four salads.

Coleslaw with Rice Wine Vinaigrette

¼ head of green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated and blanched in boiling water for one minute

2 green onions, thinly sliced

½ tsp celery seeds

Rice Wine Vinaigrette

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage, grated carrot, green onion and celery seeds in a bowl. In small bowl mix the olive oil, rice vinegar and pinch of sugar. Combine with sliced vegetables and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I found this article to be well researched with a great explanation oral allergies and food intolerances. Read more at: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Allergy+season+What+when+apples+bite/4602829/story.html#ixzz1PqrW45hI

Summer+White Sangria= Delicious

White Wine Sangria
FearlessFoods

It is my first batch of my white sangria of the year. Every time I make sangria it turns out different because I am always adding in new ingredients, tasting, and then mixing in more of this and that.

White Sangria

You can use any type of nectar and fruit in this recipe. I am fond of sesonal fruit like sliced strawberries, thin slices of tropical fruit and lemons. For this batch I used an Alphonse mango that I peeled then cut along each side of the flat pit in the centre of the fruit.  I was able to easily cube the mango into cubes after removing the pit.

One bottle Pinot Gris

3 shots Triple Sec or Grand Marnier

¾ cup apricot nectar

2 limes, sliced thin

1 mango, peeled and cubed

¾ cup club soda

Combine wine, Triple Sec, nectar, mango and limes in a pitcher. To serve, stir well and add club soda.

White Wine SangriaBe sure to check all labels when buying wine for allergens. It was brought to my attention when travelling in New Zealand that there was “May contain traces of fish products” on wine ingredient labels. In some wines there are fish, egg and milk products used as a clarifying agent. Wine also contains sulphates and preservatives that some people have sensitivities or allergies to. It has come to my attention that it is possible that some wine making companies such as a ”u brew” can include less sulphates and preservatives contained in it. For me personally less sulphates and preservatives helps reduce triggering my asthma that I would obtain after drinking just one glass. (This is my personal experience so please consult with a medical expert if you have allergies or a condition is severe).

For more on sulphates myths and truths in wine, please check out, http://www.beyondthegrape.com/marygorman-sulfites

For a brief explanation on fish products in wine, check out the first minute of this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy5Zeyf6oUY

Spring preserves for the win!

Last week I was gifted rhubarb from a friend’s beautiful garden. I opened my front door to find a paper bag full of this delicious vegetable (?). Full of inspiration, I bolted into the kitchen to make my first batch of preserves of the year.  Being in Vancouver, we are a little behind the times right now of local fruits and vegetables this year as it was a wet, dreary spring. So it was a joy to see these scrumptious stalks of goodness.

My friend loves jams and preserves, so I decided to make a batch of Rhubarb Apple Jam and donate the finished product to her. Four years ago I started canning and making preserves and I seem to be quite addicted. When choosing fruit for preserving, make sure it is unblemished and firm. Slim and red rhubarb stalks are full of flavour, while larger thicker stalks can possibly be stringy or tough. Once harvested, it should be used within the first few days and stored well wrapped and unwashed in the refrigerator. Motivated from my latest cookbook purchase, Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber, I made her Rhubarb Apple and Gweurztraminer Jam.

Rhubarb is so versatile; it was hard to choose what to make with it! It had a sweet and crunchy end result and the recipe couldn’t have been easier. I am so happy with the results and am glad I tried something new.

Rhubarb Apple and Gewurztraminer Jam

I pound rhubarb

I pound tart green apples

7oz Gewurztraminer (or a pinot gris)

800g granulated sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 3” cinnamon stick (I added this to the recipe)

Rinse the rhubarb under cold water. Cut the rhubarb lengthwise then into  small dice. Peel and core the apples and cut them into small dice. In a ceramic bowl, combine the fruit, sugar, wine, cinnamon and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover with parchment paper on the surface and let it macerated in the refrigerator overnight.

Next day, strain the mixture through a sieve. Pour the leftover into a wide mouth pot and bring the syrup to a boil and cook to 221° F on a candy thermometer. Add the macerated fruit and bring to a boil again and skim any impurities. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Check the set. Pour the jam into sterilize jars, seal with lids on and let it cool. Makes 3 250ml jars.