Eating Local – Oh. My. Goodness. Leftover Roasted Potato, Bacon, Beer and Corn Chowder

Joining the 50% Local Club for September has been a great experience for us!  I have to admit that I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to stick to it – there are so many local options this time of year to pick from and with a  little digging through product, many ingredients can be found that I didn’t even know could be produced locally can be found.  I have even heard the kids lecturing each other about their choices when packing lunches, it is quite cute.

Last weekend, my hubby had a milestone birthday and we planned a big surprise party for him – including 40 cobs of fresh corn and 20 pounds of herb roasted potatoes along with a bazillion other dishes. And beer – a whole lot of Alexander Keith’s (except that we don’t drink beer…what to do with the leftovers?!)  Needless to say, there was a lot of corn, potatoes and beer leftover the next morning.  4 vacuum sealed bags of corn went into the freezer for the winter, and I decided to try to create a chowder of sorts by combining a few different recipes with what we had leftover and what I could find in the fridge or garden.  SUCCESS!!!  Oh. my. goodness.

Everything except the olive oil, salt and pepper in this recipe came from the garden or a local source!

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Here is our recipe (ish)

8 strips of bacon (Martock Glen) – cooked, cut and set aside. I drained most of the drippings but left a little in the pot.

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3 tbsp Tatamagouche butter

1 onion

4 leek scapes

3 cloves garlic

These 3 were sautéed together until the onions were almost soft in the butter and bacon drippings in the pot.

3 cups chopped carrots – added after the onions were almost done with the following herbs…

1 tbsp fresh thyme

½ tsp fresh rosemary

3 fresh sage leaves

3 sprigs of fresh dill

2 bottles Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale – Yup, I poured it right over the veggies and herbs, turned the heat to medium low and let it all simmer until the carrots were almost done – about 15 minutes.

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Then we added:

5 cups Leftover local Oven Roasted Potatoes (Spuds, Olive oil (okay, this wasn’t local…), garlic, thyme, basil, chives, oregano, crushed red chilis, salt and pepper – roasted at 425 degrees for roughly an hour)

5 cups leftover local Corn on the Cob, niblets stripped and separated.

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Once it was all warm and the flavours were nicely blending – about another 15 minutes on medium low, we added:

5 cups of Farmer’s half and half (enough to cover the veggies)

Salt and Pepper

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Once hot, but not boiling, we added:

Fox Hill smoked Gouda, parsley and chives to garnish

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We also made a batch of cheddar rosemary biscuits – and then we gobbled it up until our bellies hurt.  It was even better the next day for lunch!

Eating Local – Rainbow Hodge Podge

I love Hodge Podge, an East Coast traditional vegetable soup/chowder of sorts.  It celebrates simplicity, deliciousness and fresh garden treasures.  There are many ways to make Hodge Podge, but in honour of my wee girl’s delight in planting pink and purple veggies, we made a rainbow version today with what we could pick fresh this morning.  Being a wee bit different with the pink and purple beans and carrots, we thought it would be okay the break the rules a bit further and add a red onion and a few chives. The great part about hodge hodge is that there is no real rules, you throw stuff in the pot as you prep the next step (and if you are really good you can even have a batch of biscuits in and baked by the time the process is done!)  And the best part – it is almost completely sourced from the backyard or a local market this time of year; the slat and pepper are the only renegades!

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Here is our recipe(ish)

From the Garden:

1 Red onion, chopped fine

3 cups Pink Chieftain Potatoes, chopped chunky

2 cups Purple Gem Potatoes, chopped chunky

A handful of chives

3 cups Orange, purple and white carrots, cut chunky

3 cups Pink, purple and green beans, snapped

Snap peas (as many as I could salvage)

From the Store:

1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream, 2 1/2 cups milk – that is what we had in the fridge (or half and half) – Local!

1/4 cup Real Butter –  Local!

Salt and Pepper

From the family – Grandma’s Butter Biscuits 

Sorry, this one is top secret!

How we did it:

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Simmer the onions in butter until clear (ish)

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Add chopped potatoes and chives, add water just to cover. Bring to gentle boil until the carrots are chopped.

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Add the carrots, cook for 5-10 minutes, then add the beans and reduce the heat.

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While the carrots are cooking – prep the biscuits (only knead 20 times – 21 would be against the time honoured rules!!)

Once the beans go in, cook for 10 minutes and put the biscuits in the oven (mine stay in 16 minutes).

Once the beans are just tender, drain off the water.  Add the milk, cream, 1/4 cup of butter and as much salt and pepper as needed to taste.

Heat over medium low heat to hot (the biscuits should be done just on time!).  Do not boil.

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Of course, the biscuits are for dunking…if they last!!

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They don’t last long in our house….

In my “Happy Place” all long weekend long

I was too busy playing outside in my “Happy Place” to post all long weekend long, I came inside only for supper and church. In my Happy Place the birds were singing, the sun shining, the blossoms popping, the girls giggling, even when it was raining. In a word, perfect. image

We decided to finally make a permanent blueberry bed beside the shed. This is the “before” shot.

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Weeded and cleaned up.

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We mixed in extra peat moss to raise the pH and compost for nutrient content. Because I hate weeding (I think I have mentioned that before!), we secured black landscape fabric to 14 foot deck boards, laid it over the garden, cut out planting marks and popped in the blueberries.  We planted 2 “Pink Lemonade”, a “North Blue”, a “Blue Gold” and an “Elliot” to ensure pollination and different harvest times if any berries make it past the wee girl and the birds…

We will mulch after a good watering for looks and moisture retention.

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The patio perennial bed (highlighted by a completely bezerk Goji berry plant) and the Haskap berry hedge around the deck got tidied up and edged. We got a few Haskap berries last year, but are very hopeful as this year the 3 year old plants have gotten significantly bigger and are all blooming.  We have 3 varieties of Haskaps; they need pollinators. I also planted my “Veteran” peach that I picked out for Mother’s Day. I am really hoping and praying that it does well in this spot, the thought fresh peaches is already making me drool!

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A close up of the pretty little yellow flowers.  Haskap berries are the first to ripen in Nova Scotia, hopefully by the end of June.

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Gorgeous Peach blossoms! This variety, Veteran, is supposed to be very hardy and produce in Nova Scotia…time will tell.  For now, the blossoms smell divine and the colour is so pretty.

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In front of the shed we are attempting to grow Magic Hardy kiwi. They are “magic” because male and female vines were planted together to make baby kiwis…explain that one to my wee girl…The vines on the right were planted last year and survived the winter very well so we planted a second one on the other side to match.  We haven’t gotten any of the bite sized fur-less kiwis yet, but there are a few blossoms this year.

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Boyne and Nova Raspberries and Cabot Strawberries – something is nibbling the leaves of the Strawberries and book toy this year, but I not sure what.  It wouldn’t really matter if I did though, I won’t spray my children’s food for the sake of a few holes.  We just call them “hole-y” leaves when we say Grace!

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In the front yard, we have many crabapples and what I think was a cherry.  I forgot to note it my book and the tag blew off.  The pictures are a bit fuzzy because of the wind, but can anyone tell me if this is in fact a cherry?  It could also be a plum…Oooops.

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All the veggie beds are now turned (except for the rogue overwintered Kale. I didn’t have the heart!). I covered and secured all of the rows with weed barrier and laid straw and cardboard between the rows. 3 beds of “Cheiftain” potatoes got planted. I dug holes and covered the seed potato with about 2 inches of dirt.  The extra dirt and mulch straw is all read in bins beside the garden for when the green shoots need to be hilled.  This method worked really well for me last year! Planting will begin in earnest over the next 2 weekends,  We still have to worry about frost until the first full moon in June (according to my Grandma).

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And of course, the hoop tunnels are growing great!  I have yet to see any broccoli poke up though, luckily we have seedings we can transplant if necessary. And then some…Ooops!

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So that was my looking weekend in my Happy Place – how was yours?!

“In my “Happy Place”…will be back never.” – Not sure where I heard this one, but I think it is what my hubby thought about me all weekend!