Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stewed Rhubarb with Ginger and Honey (Slow Cooker)

This lovely stewed rhubarb is my new best friend! It stewed perfectly in my slow cooker over the course of the day while I was at work. It is a wonderful starter recipe with a multitude of uses. Eat it "as is" or spooned over yogurt or ice cream. It can be added to punch with sparkling water and juices..... the possibilities go on and on.

The amount of honey is kept to a minimum to allow the tart rhubarb flavour to come through. I'm not a "sweet girl" but you can add more at the end of cooking. Or just leave it and let people sweeten it as they desire. Basically I wanted it tart so I can use if for a variety of purposes.

The recipe made 2 x 750 ml yogurt size tubs which I froze until I can make it again!

6 - 8 cups rhubarb, sliced - 1.5- 2 liters
1/4 cup ginger, fresh, minced - 60 ml
1/2 cup water - 125 ml
1/2 cup local honey - 125 ml

1. Remove the stem ends and wash rhubarb under cold water. Slice into 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces. Add to the slow cooker.

2.  Prepare the ginger.  Cut a knob approximately 1/4 cup size.  Remove skin.  Dice finely.  Add to crock of slow cooker.

3.  Add water and honey to crock.  I'm using a local wildflower honey.  Stir well.   Cover and cook on low setting for 6-8 hours or until rhubarb is falling apart.

NUTRITION FACTS (110 grams - about half a cup): 70 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 1 g fibre, 15 g sugar and 1 g protein. %Daily Values are 2% vitamin A and iron, 10% vitamin C and 6% calcium.

FREEZING: pack into freezer bags or recycled yogurt containers for later use. Make sure you label them so you know what you have later. I will use this as a starter sauce for winter concoctions. Can't wait!

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Stinging Nettle & Wild Leek Frittata

I used a mix of garden and wild greens available this time of year around the farm: wild leek, stinging nettle, shallot tops, sorrel and garlic chives.  Dandelion greens would be good too.  The greens are all best eaten tender and young.

basket of greens for the frittata

Makes 4 x 300 g servings

olive oil
8 eggs, medium
1/2 cup (125 ml) yogurt
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) red pepper chile flakes
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup (250 ml) Romano or Pecorino sheep cheese, shredded
1 cup (250 ml) old white cheddar, shredded
1 cup (250 ml) peppers, orange, sweet, chopped
4 mushrooms, sliced
2 wild leeks, white and green, sliced
1 cup (250 ml) young stinging nettle, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) sorrel, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chives, sliced


1.  Preheat oven to 325'F ('C).  Coat the bottom of a 12-inch (30 cm) baking dish or ramekins with olive oil.

2.  Beat the eggs.  Stir in yogurt and whisk until well combined.  Season with red hot chile pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper.  I didn't use salt as the cheese is salty.  Set aside.

3.  Shred cheeses and set aside.

4.  Chop peppers and slice mushrooms. Add to the bottom of the baking dish(es).

5.  Slice leeks and chives.  Chop nettle and sorrel.  Don't worry about the stinging aspect of the nettle at this point as the baking kills it off.  If you are sensitive to the nettles you may have to use gloves. Make sure you soak the greens in a good amount of water to get off the grit.  Place over peppers and mushrooms.  Here you can see I am making them in a variety of bake proof dishes.

6.  Pour the egg mixture over the greens and vegetables. Bake frittata in a hot oven on centre rack for 30 minutes or until the eggs are set and lightly browned.  A knife inserted into centre should come out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool a bit and serve.  Enjoy!

Pack any extras into containers for weekday breakfast or lunches.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 300 g serving): 420 calories, 28 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 610 mg sodium, 385 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 5 g sugar, 30 g protein. %Daily Values: 70% vitamin A, 110% vitamin C, 70% calcium, 15% iron.

my garden stinging
wild leeks transplanted years ago on my property


garlic chives
Spring on the South River

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) - a year of food by the season

I have a lot of broad leaf sorrel (Rumex acetosa) growing in my garden. Sorrel is an early spring perennial and I have been eating from the same patch of plants that I seeded from a single packet 8 years ago. I simply sowed a package of seeds that I bought through mail order from Richter's.  I remember being impressed that they came up the next year and early in the season when you are looking for garden foods to add to your salad and soups.  It is quite prolific and at various points I have dug up sections and given them to friends and neighbours that enjoy spring greens to start their own patch.

The leaves are best eaten when young and tender. If you trim the plants back they will keep producing all summer and into the fall - otherwise it goes to seed. The photo below shows the garden sorrel mid-June of last year and it is in need of being cut back. As the season progresses it grows as high as a meter.

All sorrels are acidic and sour-tasting. I describe the flavour as lemony and tangy. The name is derived from the French word sur (sour).

 The acidity is due to the vitamin C, oxalic acid and oxalate content. The latter substances are responsible for the occasional cases of sorrel poisoning in humans and animals. Most of these have been in Europe where garden sorrel grows wild. Regardless, it is usually recommended that you use sorrel in small amounts. The high oxalic acid content is reduced by cooking. If you have gout, rheumatism or kidney problems you should avoid sorrel.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 250 ml serving): %Daily Values are 15% each of Vitamins A and C and 2% iron. It has 5 calories 0 grams of fat! There will be other nutritional benefits of sorrel but they are not included in my nutrient data base in the software I use.

CULINARY USE: The raw leaves are used in salads. It can also be cooked like spinach. I use sorrel mixed with other greens in soups, omelets, sauces,vinaigrettes etc. I also use it in the recipe for Green Ricotta Pie found at this link.

MEDICINAL USE: according to folk medicine sorrel was infused as a tea to treat kidney and liver ailments. The fresh leaf and rhizome are diuretic, laxative and antiseptic.

FREEZING: you can dry sorrel but it may not have a lot of flavour.  It does freeze well.  All I do is give a good rinse under cold water and put in a plastic bag, seal and freeze.  It can also be frozen in a broth or cooked dishes. You could also make an herb oil puree with olive oil and sorrel alone, or with other greens, and freeze it for later use.

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Leftover Mashed Potato & Chive Patties

Here's one of my favourite uses for leftover mashed potatoes and they are always a hit. Growing up my mom would make these with onions and just S and P.  I have jazzed up the seasoning a little. The measures are approximate. I served them above with a green salsa verde made with tomatillos and fresh garden chives. Sour cream or thick Greek yogurt is also great.  They are also very good with chutney or even humble ketchup. Lots of options with this easy and versatile recipe.

Makes approximately 8 1/2 cup - 125 ml patties
3 cups (750 ml) mashed potatoes, leftover
1/3 cup (175 ml) plain yogurt
1 egg, medium, beaten
1/4 cup (60 ml) each minced parsley and sliced chives
2 Tbsp (30 ml) flour - I like chickpea or brown rice flour but if you don't need a GF version any flour will do
Optional: salt, pepper, curry powder, paprika etc.
Vegetable oil for frying


1. If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes then cut potatoes in about 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Smaller pieces cook faster.  I leave the peel on for extra fibre and nutrients.  Wash in cold water. Add to medium pot.  Cover with cold water and lid and bring to boil over medium high heat. Uncover, reduce heat and cook on low boil until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes.  Mash with the yogurt in a large bowl.

2. Top potatoes with the beaten egg, minced parsley and chives. Mix well. Sprinkle with flour and mix again. I like to use my "clean" hands.

3. Divide mixture into eight using a scant 1/4 cup (60 ml) measure for each patty. Use your hands to shape into patties about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Set aside on plate.  In the picture below I used 1/2 cup measure (125 ml) as I wanted them bigger for less frying and less oil as we were working in the garden.

4. Add oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. You can use more than one skillet if you wish to cook them all at one time. I use 2 Tbsp (30 ml) to start and add more as needed. You could use non-stick pan but I prefer the cast iron pan.  Arrange patties in pan. Fry until golden brown about 5-7 minutes per side. Add more oil along the way if needed.

5. Serve patties topped with your choice of garnishes and condiments.

Tomatillos growing in my Nipissing garden.

NUTRITION FACTS (per patty or 1/8th of recipe):  110 calories, 6 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 25 mg sodium, 125 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrate, 1 g fibre, 1 g sugar, 3 g protein.  %Daily Values: 6% vitamin A, 25% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 4% iron.

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sriracha Marmalade Salsa Grilled Chicken

Sriracha, salsa and orange marmalade as a marinade.  Does that sound like a weird combo? It was a simple, fast marinade and basting sauce I came up with when I was in a rush and really did not feel like cooking but was intent on eating.  Only 3 bottles that you may already have open and in your fridge. Substitute any "no sugar" jam - peach or apricot would work well.  Any type of salsa; homemade would be even better.  Mango lime is a favourite but I don't have any right now.  No Sriracha?  Try sambal olek or a Buffalo hot sauce will work.  This is a flexible recipe.

Although I often read that you aren't supposed to put sweeter ingredients on the chicken before grilling as it'll cause flare ups I find the no sugar added marmalade does fine but I have a tip for that in the method section.

4 large chicken breasts - local or organic (this'll work with tofu, pork etc.)
1 cup (250 ml) salsa - your choice
1/2 cup (125 ml) orange marmalade, no sugar added
1/4 cup (60 ml) Sriracha to taste - or hot sauce of your choice


1.  Put the chicken breasts in a pan.  I have four that were quite large and I ended up dividing them in two when almost cooked through.

2.  Stir the three marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl.

3.  Pour marinade over chicken.  Use a fork to coat tops of breasts.  Marinade in the refrigerator for one hour and preferably over night.

4.  Brush the left side of the grill with vegetable oil to help prevent sticking while cooking.  Heat the right side with lid closed to medium-high.  Set chicken on cool side of grill, bone side down, and close lid.  Grill chicken for approximately 15 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads 165'F (74'C).

While the chicken is cooking prepare the salad.  I served the chicken with cooked brown rice and a fresh green salad with sorrel, garlic chives and mint out of the spring garden.

Sorrel (rumex acetosa)
Garlic chives

NUTRITION FACTS (per patty or 1/8th of recipe):  440 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1150 mg sodium, 155 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrate, 0 g fibre, 20 g sugar, 61 g protein.  %Daily Values: 15% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 6% iron.

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Cucumber Salads - Thai Basil and Hungarian Sour Cream

Nothing beats a garden cucumber. I prowl around the garden looking for them like they are gold! They are good at hiding. I find them so much sweeter than the ones we get at the store. A lot of nutrients are situated in and under the skin so eat the peel if you can.


The recipe is intentionally simple. Optional additions include a bit of soy sauce, hot chile pepper flakes or grated fresh ginger.

Makes 4 x 125 ml servings
1 large cucumber (or 3 smaller garden cucumbers), sliced finely across .. on an angle looks nice
2 Tbsp fresh Thai basil, chopped (or dill or other basil) - 30 ml
3 Tbsp rice vinegar (sugar and sodium free/natural) - 30 ml

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Serve immediately, or make ahead (up to a couple of hours) and chill.

NUTRITION FACTS (per half cup/125 ml serving - 80 g): 10 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein.  %Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet are 2% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C and 2% each calcium and iron.

This is a family recipe originally from Mary Szabo, an adopted aunt. My only revision has been to reduce the salt as the original recipe called for a teaspoon and most of us need to hold the salt.

Makes 8 servings x 125 ml each
1 cucumber, medium size, with skin, sliced very thin
1/4 tsp sea salt - 1.25 ml
1 cup each of white wine vinegar and water - 250 ml
1 cup sour cream, 14% MF/full fat - 250 ml
1 tsp Hungarian paprika, sweet, ground - 5 ml
3 green onions, sliced fine - about 1 cup/250 ml

1. This salad is best made with field cucumbers but the English cucs work too. Slice very thinly and add to medium size bowl.
2. Sprinkle with salt and cover with vinegar and water. Wine vinegar is nice but plain old everyday white vinegar works too. Soak for at least 2 hours at room temperature. Drain and discard brine.
3. Mix in sour cream. Sprinkle generously with paprika and garnish with finely sliced green onions or chives.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 125 ml serving): 50 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fibre, 1 g protein. % Daily Values are 6% each vitamin A and C, 4% calcium 2% iron.

© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Soup of Garden Greens

The original soup recipe called for watercress but mentioned that you could also use spinach or sorrel.  I have a number of patches of perennial sorrel and a lot of other greens in the garden so I decided to use them rather than going shopping at the store.  My mix included arugula, beet greens, kale, lettuce, Asian red mustard, spinach and Swiss chard.

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) has a lemony flavour.

Arugula, also know as roquette, has a peppery flavour.

Asian red mustard tastes a bit like wasabi to me.  

True Siberian Kale is my favourite kale.  It tastes sweet and a bit like young broccoli.  I had one patch that grew for four years and successfully over-wintered in northern Ontario though it eventually petered out.  Let part of it go to seed and save them for a future crop.  It has pretty yellow flowers.

Lovely lovage tastes stronger than celery and is best used in smaller amounts.  It freezes and dries well.

Makes 4-6 servings (about 2 litres - 8 cups in total)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) each butter and good olive oil
2 cups/1 large sweet onion (Vidalia), diced
2 cups (500 ml) potatoes, diced - I didn't peel them
4 celery ribs, chopped (about 2 cups/500 ml) - I used 1/2 cup (125 ml) young garden lovage foliage and stems
4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable broth or water
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoons sea salt - depends on your taste and how salty your broth is
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups (1 liter), greens like watercress or other greens, rinsed and drained.  I used arugula, beet greens, kale, lettuce, red mustard, spinach and Swiss chard
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream - I used Organic Meadow, 14% MF
1/8th tsp (0.6 ml) ground cayenne and nutmeg
Fresh dill, lettuce, lovage and parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Add diced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or until onion is softened.

2. Add diced potato and sliced celery (or lovage), and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. I cleaned up the potatoes but left the skins on for extra fibre and nutrients. The photo below is of garden lovage leaves and stems.

3. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until potato is tender. I used a homemade turkey stock that I had previously frozen for this very occasion.

4. If you are using watercress, stir it in at the end of cooking. This ensures a fresh bright green soup. I added the clean, sliced greens from my garden during the last 5 minutes as I was using kale, sorrel and heartier greens that need a bit of cooking. Make sure they are tender before you take the soup off the heat.

5. Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ground cayenne and nutmeg as well (optional). The soup tastes great without the sour cream if you are avoiding dairy.

6. Leave the soup chunky or puree, all, or part of it. Serve hot, or refrigerate and serve cold. Thin with a bit of stock or milk before serving if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs and baby lettuce. Below I used baby dill, lovage, parsely and red leaf lettuce for the garnish.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1 1/2 cup - 375 ml serving): 210 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 4 g sugar, 8 g protein. % Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet are 60% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C, 10% each calcium and iron.

If you like this post you might also like the sorrel and lovage soup with carrot mint puree:

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc