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Caesar Salad

At Kootenay Spice we like to infuse anything and everything we can with garlic. Naturally, our Caesar salad is no different!

We start with making a double batch of our garlic aioli. If you are short on time (or energy), real mayonnaise with a clove or two of minced garlic mixed in will work in a pinch. Trust us though, if you have the time it is well worth it to use garlic aioli as a base for your Caesar salad dressing.

We also make our own bread crumbs for our Caesar salad. We like to make a small loaf of bread out of Italian seasoned pizza dough and chop it into bite-size pieces. We then broil them in the oven for 10-20 minutes and let them continue to dry on the counter for an hour or two.

If you missed it above, here is a link to our garlic aioli recipe.

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For Kootenay Spice Caesar Salad (serves 3-4) you will need the following:

for the dressing:

DSC030062 teaspoons fish sauce
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon hot mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 cup homemade aioli
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
pinch of salt

 

In a non-metallic bowl, blend the dressing ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

for the salad:

prepared, chilled dressing
1 head romaine lettuce (or 2 bunches romaine hearts)
1 cup seasoned croutons
pinch of pepper
1/2 fresh lemon, thinly sliced

Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Add the croutons and mix well.

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Cover the lettuce & croutons with dollops of the dressing, gently tossing every now and again until the lettuce is evenly coated.

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Portion the dressed salad into salad bowls, sprinkle with pepper and serve with sliced lemons. In these photos, we have added strips of marinated chicken breast. Shrimp, scallops and beef also make great toppings!

Enjoy!

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Dill Pickles

Our last post, Summer Cucumbers, shared the beginning of our Kootenay Spice cucumber harvest. Although we are not growing traditional ‘pickling’ cukes, we still wanted to do up a few batches of pickles! We made a batch of bread & butter pickles last week (recipe post to come later this season) and this August long weekend, we decided to can some garlic dills to add to the collection!

One of our favourite details about this post is that all of the fresh ingredients, the cucumbers, dill and garlic, came right from our own gardens!

We had 4 medium-large cucumbers and ended up with 10 jars of pickles. Remember to clean & prep your canning jars & lids before filling them! Here’s what we used for this recipe:

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4 med-large cucumbers
1/2 dill plant, large stems removed chopped into fine pieces
2 bulbs garlic, coarsely chopped

for the brine:
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup pickling or rock salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon pickle crisp

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and salt and heat on medium. Let it come just to a boil and remove from heat. Set aside.

Cut the cucumbers into chunks about an inch shorter than the jars you will be canning in.

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Slice the cucumber sections, lengthwise, into about 8 pieces each.

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Fill the bottom half inch of your canning jars with dill and garlic.

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Tightly fill the jar with cucumber slices and top with a sprinkling of dill.

Stir the turmeric and pickle crisp into the brine mixture and pour it into the jars, filling them to half an inch from the top.

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Place the lids on the jars and cook in a water bath. For detailed info on water bath canning for home use, check out this link: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/clay53.html

These pickles only need 5 minutes processing time, no more.

Remove from the water and place on clean dish towels. Let cool until the lids have indented and the jars are cool to touch.

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Once cooled, store the jars in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening and Enjoy!

bacon wrapped garlic scapes

bacon wrapped garlic scapes

At Kootenay Spice, we love bacon nearly as much as we love garlic (but not quite). Naturally, combining the two only seemed to make sense, which brought us to thoroughly enjoy trying out these bacon wrapped garlic scapes!

Although we had made most of ours into garlic scape pesto, we are very happy that we decided to freeze a few full scapes, knowing we would eventually crave that fresh, green garlicky taste that you can only harvest at one time of the year. Of course, frozen is not nearly as good as fresh, but it’s the least we could do to savour that flavour at least a little longer than a couple of months!

garlic scapes

Unfortunately, garlic scapes are not particularly easy to come by, especially when they are not in season. Don’t fret, fresh asparagus also works very well for this recipe, as do long green bean or celery stalks.

This recipe will feed 2 people as a side and you will need:

6 8-10 inch garlic scapes
6 pieces of bacon
1 tablespoon Kootenay Spice lemon garlic pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat.

Tightly wrap each piece of garlic (or asparagus, what have you) in a piece of bacon.

pre cooked bacon wrapped garlic scapes

Sprinkle the bacon wrapped scapes with Kootenay Spice Lemon Garlic Pepper.

Cook the bacon wrapped scapes until the bacon is crisp and the garlic scape is soft, about 15 minutes, flipping 3-4 times.

bacon wrapped garlic scapes

Remove from the pan onto paper towel to absorb some of the moisture. Serve & enjoy!

Garlic Scape

garlic scape pesto

It is garlic scape season in the West Kootenay and at Kootenay Spice we couldn’t be happier! Not only is it the sole time of year to get the fresh & tasty treat, but it also means that the garlic bulbs will be ready for harvest in just a few more weeks!

Garlic Scape

Garlic scapes are the flower stalks that grow up the centre of the plant. They are a sweet and spicy garlic delicacy! Once they have curled or corkscrewed into a full circle, it is time to cut them off. Cut the scapes just above the last set of leaves of the plant.

cutting garlic scapes

We are lucky to have about 50 garlic plants growing in our gardens & clipped the scapes last week. We were also very excited to find large bundles of scapes from Grand Forks Farms at last week’s Trail Market for only $3/bag! Naturally, we couldn’t resist buying a couple of bags, resulting in a total of about 3 pounds of scapes (including our own)!

garlic scapes

Our absolute favourite thing to do with the garlic scapes is make pesto. We like to whip up as much as we can and freeze it in ice cube trays for easy use. This year we have also set a handful of scapes aside to try a few new recipes like stir-fry and wrapping them in bacon. We are very excited to try the new dishes and will be sure to share the recipes with you!

If you grow your own garlic or can find scapes at your local vendor’s market, you will definitely want to try this super-simple recipe! Don’t forget to pick up (or pick your own) fresh basil too!

(sorry, we forgot the pepper and basil in the pic)

(sorry, we forgot the pepper and basil in the pic)

For one batch of pesto (approx. 3 cups), you will need the following:

1 lb garlic scapes, cut into 2 – 4 inch pieces
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (approx. ½ fresh lemon, squeezed)
Smoked rock salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste

(optional) 1 cup cashews

Roughly chop the garlic scapes into chunks. Put them in a food processor with the oil, parmesan, basil, lemon juice and (optional) cashews. Chop until they form a paste and add the salt and pepper. A single recipe should take about 8 – 10 minutes of processing.

pureed pesto

Once the pesto is processed, transfer the paste to a sealed bag.

garlic scape pesto in bag

Carefully clip a small piece of the corner of the bag and squeeze evenly into ice cube trays.

garlic scape pest into trays

Freeze for a couple of days and transfer the cubes to a sealed bag for better storage.

pesto in ice cube trays

Now you have delicious garlic scape pesto at the ready! Take cubes out of the freezer as you need them. Some of our favourite treats include pesto chicken, pasta or simply spread on crackers or melba toast! Enjoy!

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garlic aioli

I’m sure we’ve mentioned before that at Kootenay Spice, we absolutely love garlic! This garlic aioli recipe is a long-time favourite of ours, known to many of our friends as ‘that awesome garlic sauce’.

We use this sauce with so many meals! Dipping crab, steaks, lobster, pork, any meat really! It also makes a fabulous base for Caesar salad dressing. If you love garlic, this is a must-try recipe!

You will need:

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1 room temperature egg yolk (let egg sit at room temperature for about an hour before separating)
½ cup vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic
Pinch rock salt
Splash of lemon  juice

First, we need to create somewhat of a paste with the garlic. Start off by carefully squishing it with the base of the blade of a large knife and chopping it into small pieces. Add a pinch of rock salt (we use Kootenay Spice Smoked Rock Salt).  DSC05044

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Continue chopping and squishing until it starts to form a paste.

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Put the egg yolk and garlic paste in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. An electric hand mixer is ideal if you have one. Shannon also has a Tupperware® chopper/mixer that works quite well.

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While whisking, add the oil very slowly, a few drips at a time to start. Too much oil at the beginning will result in the aioli not thickening. The whisking process should take at least ten minutes, up to 20.

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Continue drizzling the oil into the bowl while whisking. You can add up to a teaspoon at a time once you are about half way through your oil and the sauce is beginning to thicken. Once the oil is used up, add a few drops of lemon juice and whisk it into the mix.

The end result should have a consistency like soft butter, or a little thicker than mayo.

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There you have it, Kootenay Spice’s garlic aioli, a.k.a. ‘awesome garlic sauce’. Enjoy!

sage oregano

spring gardening

It has been a very warm spring in the West Kootenay this year and we are thrilled for the extension of our Kootenay Spice gardening season! In the past week we’ve transplanted many of the plants we started indoors and have sowed seeds into most of our gardens.

Our lilacs are in full bloom.

dark purple lilacs

Our garlic should be ready to harvest in early-mid July.

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We’ve planted potatoes in burlap bags. Roll the sides down at first and make the bag taller as the potatoes need mounding.

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We’ve planted dozens of basil plants this year. We also have very healthy oregano and sage plants that are already well established.

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sage oregano

Our tomato plants are doing well and our pepper plants seem very healthy. The pepper seedlings require the most work, they don’t seem to like temperatures below 20˚C, so we are still bringing them in for the nighttime.

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pepper seedlings

Scattered through our Kootenay Spice gardens are ‘guest rocks’ from our wedding last summer. Instead of a traditional guest book that would get tucked away, we opted for guests to sign rocks that we can enjoy every day in our gardens. And you know what? This rock is absolutely right, life sure is good together!

life is good rock

Happy gardening!