Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Roots

Underground Eating

Dig deep and you will find that from beets and burdock to turnips, turmeric and yams, plant roots are some of the most humble and unassuming – and at the same time underrated – foods we can eat. Economical, healthy, and tasty, roots have been important to humans since the dawn of time.

Now cooks and chefs are rediscovering what early peoples and herbalists of all eras have always known: underground roots, tubers and bulbs of many plants are not only nutritious and satisfying as a food, but they often carry concentrated healing components.

By their very nature as producers and storehouses of energy for the entire plant, roots are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, proteins and other tremendously important nutrients. Potatoes, for example, provide "per land unit, more energy and more protein for the human body in a shorter time than any other crop (five times more than soybeans, corn or wheat)." (From The Essential Root Vegetable Cookbook, Sally and Martin Stone; Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., NY, 1991.)

Read the rest of the article as it appeared in Vitality magazine here, and download Root Slaw and other root recipes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Candied Citrus Peel

Candied Citrus Peel

Simmering citrus peel in a simple syrup made from granulated sugar and water is one of the oldest forms of preserving the unique fragrance and taste of citrons, oranges and lemons. This method may be used for any thick-rind citrus fruit or for fresh ginger but oranges are the best for eating as a candy or dipping in chocolate.

Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)

2 Navel oranges

1-1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups (300 mL) water

about ¼ cup (50 mL) extra granulated sugar for coating

1. Wash oranges by scrubbing them with warm, soapy water. Rinse well and trim away the ends of the oranges.

Cut the oranges into quarters and remove the inner flesh sections, leaving the rind and pith intact. Set the inner flesh aside

Cut the peel into strips that are roughly 1/4-inch by 2-inches .

2. In a saucepan, combine peel strips with 2 cups (500 mL) of cold water (the strips should be generously covered). Add ½ tsp (2 mL) salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil gently for 2 minutes. Strain, discarding the water. Repeat this step 2 more times. Rinse well with cold water.

3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add drained peel strips, reduce heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. Stir the strips once to distribute them evenly in the sugar water but after that, leave them to simmer without stirring. Check on the pan occasionally to make sure that the syrup is simmering gently and not scorching. A heavy bottomed pan is essential. After 1 hour, check on the pan every few moments. The water should be almost evaporated and the strips should be translucent and soft but not mushy.

4. Meanwhile, prepare parchment or waxed paper by sprinkling it with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) granulated sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and using tongs, transfer the candied strips from the syrup to the sugared paper. Toss well to coat the strips and sprinkle with more sugar if needed to evenly coat them. Use a fork to separate the strips. Let cool and dry overnight on the paper over a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for 1 week or pack into freezer containers, seal, label and store for up to 9 months.

Use: Dip the candied peel in chocolate and use as a sweet confection; use to decorate cakes, muffins or chop and add to the batter of baked goods. I have used them as swizzle sticks for cocktails and they are especially nice with rich chocolate mousse or brownies.

Winter Preserving

Winter Preserving

While Thursday December 22 is the actual date of winter solstice this year, where I live in Bruce County Ontario, we have snow on the ground. The Santa Clause parade comes to town today and I have a new ice scraper for the car windshield–all signs that winter has arrived.

Helen Hatton asks, "What's more perfect than a homemade holiday gift, especially when it's absolutely, delightfully edible and delicious? When it comes to holiday food gifts, just can it!"

Read the entire article or download it and the recipes in PDF format HERE.

Happy Holiday Preserving!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BookSigning Event in Toronto

Join Pat and Nettie at All the Best Fine Foods, 1101 Yonge Street, Toronto on
Friday, December 9, 2011. We will be signing Everyday Flexitarian books.
See you there!


All photographs and recipes are original and copyrighted to Pat Crocker. Pat invites you to use her recipes and share with family and friends. Please contact Pat Crocker for express permission for commercial, internet, or other use of her photographs and recipes.