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Ah The Good Ole Days!

Remember the original and somewhat tame warnings on cigarette packages declaring adverse effects on health? Just the warning. No pictures. Ah the good ole days!

Well, Kraft Macaroni Cheese imported into the UK must now bear a label declaring adverse health effects on activity and attention to children. One can only presume different effects on adults… I digress. This is because Kraft Macaroni Cheese contains GMO Wheat.

Kraft Mac'nCheese
Kraft Mac’nCheese

In future one wonders what adverse health pictures are to appear on our food labels. Perhaps the Monsanto Rat that was fed GMO Corn.

Monsanto Rat
Monsanto Rat

First however we must get our government to adopt GMO labeling codes. But there is time for all that.

Smoke break.

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Mostly on Again Love Affair

I have an on-again off-again love affair with food. As a child of the sixties I grew up around the dining room table. Who am I kidding? I grew up around an aluminium and arborite table obtrusively set in a kitchen designed by and for a muppet.

1960's Kitchen Designers
1960’s Kitchen Designers

It was the best we could do at the time. My father had just taken an early discharge from the RCN to partner with a long time friend and open their very own sporting goods business. Around our table the cash flow went out the other direction for quite some time.

Regardless, that was a time when most menu ingredients, outside of staples, were seasonal and very dear. One had better be thankful for what was put in front of one because there were children starving in Biafra. Translation: If you want the yummy dessert placed just out of reach of your pudgy little fingers you had better clean up that plate young man and show some respect for those less fortunate. “Nothing left if you please.”

No wonder as a kid I was fat. It wasn’t because we were fed a diet of fast prepared, trans-fatted goo dolloped out of a jar onto something resembling pasta or pizza or bread or whatever… Do not get me started: Crackers, meat and cheese cryovaced in self serving snack packs disguised as a healthy choice for school lunch? “Clear!”

Self Serving Snack Packer
Self Serving Snack Packer

No. I was destined to be outfitted by ‘Husky’ brand clothing because as a kid I was force fed. Although my mother insisted I was merely big boned. Any wonder I get all tingly at the sight of foie gras.

I had two older siblings. Had. One passed away at age 39 from complications with obesity and the other recently passed at age 59 from complications with diabetes.

Nine years ago I was pushing 280 pounds of huskiness. Diagnosed with type two onset diabetes I was testing my blood several times a day and inhaling medication to ‘control’ everything from blood sugar to high blood pressure. This at a time with one brother dead, the other not doing too well and a father dead from a coronary. “Next!”

Control? Yes. Heed the warnings. Do the right thing for your loved ones as well as for yourself. Choose wisely and consume in moderation. Thanks Doc.

Today my 6’1″ frame supports something around 190 pounds. Maybe more. Not bad. Off all medication and routinely pressure test 115 over 65. Resting pulse around 55, sugar and cholesterol levels on the low side. Controlled by a diet based upon moderation not limitation.

Cream in the coffee? Yes. Bacon with my free range eggs? Occasionally. Foie gras glazed across home made bread? Make it so mon capitan and top up the malbec while you’re at it!

Love Affair in a Jar
Love Affair in a Jar

I refuse a diet absent of all things fat and tasty but instead practice safe consumption. I enjoy my mostly on again love affair with good, rich, healthy food. Viva la vita!


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On Funnel Farming and Hearty Stock

Fast food isn’t about food. Fast food is about funneling food en masse to folks who believe they are too preoccupied or too incompetent to cook for themselves. A person who identifies either as a reason for not utilizing their kitchen has their priorities or brain out of balance. Why else would one entertain fast food. Convenience? Lazy git.

Lazy Git
Lazy Git

Forgive me: In our society it should be mandatory for every student to study Home Economics. We have a responsibility to every young person in this country to ensure they all have an opportunity to exit high school with a clear and basic understanding of meal preparation, land stewardship and conservancy, personal health care and hygiene, personal income tax preparation and respect for their elders.

Where were we? McFake fast food. Today, Big Agra has become so proficient as funnelers of food that the fast food industry exists more for stock holders desirous of dividends than anything resembling stewardship. Funnel farming operates with little regard for the health and well being of the farmer or the land.

There is a solution. Get to now your kitchen. We can think of no better way to begin in the kitchen than the ability to prepare yourself a wonderful stock. Something as simple as boiling down roasted chicken bones to yield a nutrient packed stock for soup, gravy or sauce will make your life better. Its true. Life is just better when a hearty stock in is in the picture.

Hearty Chicken Stock
Hearty Chicken Stock

Your homemade stock is the beginning of slowing down the Food Funnel effect which is a good thing.

We favour chicken stock that incorporates an Asian flair. Here is how its done in farmersdotter’s kitchen:

Basic Hearty Chicken Soup Stock:

Yield: 6-8 litres

What you’ll need:

8-10 litres water

3-4 pound organic free-range chicken with the nasty bits

2 large onion peeled and cut in half

4-6 carrots pealed and roughly chopped

8-10 celery stalk roughly chopped

7 large cloves of garlic

salt & pepper to taste

For an Occasion Make It Asian and Add: 

3 ounces sliced fresh ginger

2 whole star anise

6-8 cloves

1 ounce cinnamon stick

3 ounces light brown sugar

2 tablespoons fish or oyster sauce

1 bunch of cilantro

What you’ll want to do:

1: If you have cooked your chicken remove meat from the chicken bones, and set aside for later use in soup. If not, you can place your chicken pieces into the pot and remove the poached meat later. Regardless, place the bones, basic ingredients, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for up to 12-18 hours. Check the water level and periodically add water to ensure bones are covered in liquid.

Make Mine Asian:

Simply add the Asian Ingredients to the basic process. To further enhance the experience try to put a light char on the vegetables. Either quickly fry or roast vegetables on high heat. Better still, and loads more fun, place cut vegetables on a foil lined cookie tray and scorch the exposed flesh with the open flame from a crème brûlée torch. In addition it is always a good idea to toast spices immediately prior to use. You can accomplish this in a hot, dry, non-stick fry pan but mind you don’t over do this step. Burnt spice is not desirable.

2: After your stock has simmered and developed intense aroma and colour let it cool. Strain your stock into a large container and chill. Fat will rise and congeal on the top. As much as we like all things fat it is important to skim the fat from the top and discard. It has served its purpose and any healthy fats are exhausted. Keep stock refrigerated until use. Simply ladle out your stock and reheat with noodles and chicken or tofu. Top with scallion, crushed chilli and lime. Voila, instant pho ga.

Served with a healthy dish of broccoli sauteed with ginger, garlic and oyster sauce you have a quick wonderful meal made from your hearty stock.

Pho Ga
Pho Ga

farmersdotter loves to visit Marc Matsumoto’s No Recipes for inspiration. His blog will instill confidence and the technique you need to cook well and cook often. Cheers!

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First Christmas

We sincerely hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Holiday. We are. The new snowfall in our yard is truly reminiscent of a winter wonderland.

New Snow
New Snow

Our extended family is scattered hither and yon celebrating the season with friends and other family in various locales.

This is our first Christmas on the farm. We selfishly decided to stay put this year and enjoy a little solitude. Consequently it has been very quiet. The down time affords an opportunity to visit with friends and neighbours after a busy harvest. We get together and discuss pertinent issues. We get together and share food items we are passionate about and specialize in.

That can mean anything from the sweetest root veggies to delicious preserves and fabulous dried produce, organic eggs and poultry. The list goes on. We of course delight in breaking our bread. And wine. One can not swing a cat in the Valley without upsetting a bottle or two of Pinot Gris.

So nice to have vintners as friends. Especially considering the Similkameen Valley was recently named by enRoute Magazine as “one of the world’s 5 best wine regions you’ve never heard of,” garnering a staggering 37 medals at the All Canadian Wine Championships.

This week provided a different bounty in a very special way. A fellow known for supplying seafood will occasionally pit-stop in the Valley while on business. Amazing Shellfish. Simply amazing. That coming from a one who spent 40 years on Vancouver Island. From this bounty farmersdotter prepared a simple and elegant shellfish brunch for two.

Christmas Eve Brunch
Christmas Eve Brunch

Fresh Oysters set out in their own liquor on a bed of the aforementioned fresh snow.  Served simply with lemon and finely chopped local organic shallots this dish screamed Pacific Ocean. I like to add a drop or two of warmed local organic honey plus a drop or seven of hot sauce. Franks Red Hot if you please.

Quickly steamed in their own juice with local organic dried tomato, fresh local organic shallots, organic garlic and pinot gris from Orofino Wines, the mussels were plump and sweetly sublime.

At the last minute we decided upon surf and turf so out came a top sirloin from Tony’s Meats & Deli. If you are a carnivore and if you ever get to Penticton you must stop by Tony’s. Tony knows every one of his suppliers, every cut of meat, and every product he purveys intimately. The dude is old school and very proud of what he does. Tony’s staff are fabulous as well. If Tony isn’t in the store you never have to worry.

Lastly, farmersdotter grilled a selection of Olive & Rosemary, Roasted Garlic & Sun Dried Tomato, and Similkameen Sourdough breads to soak up the broth. Everything was served with an ample supply of lemon, fresh organic shallot and wine. That was Christmas Eve.

Imagine the creamy chowder that is going to come from the left over shellfish.

Cheers and Happy Holidays.

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Shamless Self Promotion

Tomorrow Whole Foods Market – Penticton is having a Taste Of Christmas.  There will be an array of demos and Christmas goodies to try such as gluten-free cookies, coconut ice cream, coffee, teas, dairy free cheese, soups, chips, chocolate, apple cider and more.


(Following opinions are my own. Send all complaints directly to me… farmersdotter2 😉 )

…I think there should be stand alone adjectives for things that are gluten or dairy free. By definition bread has flour. As do Cookies. If its gluten free it is neither bread nor a cookie.

As good as gluten free may be lets just call them something else. Brick and cardboard are taken but I’m sure there are unattached descriptors out there. Send me your suggestions.

Likewise for dairy free cheese. Dairy equals cow. Moo. Cow equals milk. Milk equals cheese. Ergo dairy equals cheese. To say dairy free cheese is to say there is a total absence of cheese in this product. Plastic is taken. So is Margarine. Once again your suggestions are welcome.

Margarine. We need more descriptors like margarine.  That way Gluten Free Bread and Dairy Free Cheese can be identified by one adjective. When you hear margarine you know what you are in for. You know for example it is not butter. You should know it is predominantly hydrogenated oil.

Most margarine contain hydrogenated oil. Not always a good thing. Margarine that does not contain hydrogenated oil are only less not a good thing. Butter in moderation or home made mayonnaise are possibly healthier and definitely better tasting choices than margarine. I am not a nutritionist. I know squat. So don’t listen to me.

Any who, farmersdotter will be sampling her real bread and for the first time her Habanero Brittle at Whole Foods Market – Penticton. And yes, the Habanero Brittle is made with butter. And Pumpkin seeds or pepitas. The taste is fabulous with sweet heat and little risk for nut allergies.

Habanero Brittle Floe
Habanero Brittle Floe
Habanero Brittle
Habanero Brittle