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Kootenay Bliss



I live in the...or one of the most beautiful places on earth. But alas, I am a nomad at heart. These are my adventures.



Updated: 2018-03-18T00:41:44.616-07:00

 



Kootenay Environmental Video Contest

2012-03-29T22:00:50.342-07:00

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Great opportunity! Hope to see lots of entries.



Backyard Booty

2010-12-13T19:40:12.903-08:00

I had such great plans of devoting a bit more time to my blog, but alas, it's not to happen just yet. However, to sate you all, those of you who are still around, here's a sweet nugget from home. There really is no place like home, is there?

src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/17746258?color=3a859c" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0">

Backyard Booty Segment: Natural Progressions from Ryan Flett on Vimeo.




Mango Chicken

2011-02-19T11:35:54.080-08:00

Hard to believe, but I am writing...sporadically. Just not anything that's ready for posting. I know, lame excuse, but that's life at the moment. To make up for it, I'll give you the recipe for a dish that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you begging for more. Now aren't those the best sorts of recipes? Let's hear it for mango chicken, the perfect accompaniment for jasmine rice.

(image) Mango Chicken

1 C chopped onion.
1 C chopped orange or red peppers (or green, what the heck)
2 tsp of coconut oil
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken cut into strips
1 1/2 Tbsp of curry powder
2 tsp fresh ginger root
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 C chopped peeled mango
3/4 C coconut milk
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 small can of bamboo shoots
chopped cilantro for garnish
steamed rice

In large frying pan, saute onions and peppers in oil until crisp but tender. Add chicken and spices (curry, ginger, garlic, salt and cayenne). Cook and stir for five minutes. Stir in mango, coconut mild and tomato paste. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add drained bamboo shoots. Serve over fresh steamed rice and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy.



Pumpkin Soup

2011-02-19T11:35:12.673-08:00

The haunting hour has passed. She looked at my pumpkins (there were four) and asked what I was going to do with them.

"Oh, I don't know," I replied. "Perhaps I'll make soup, or cook one up to make muffins, or if I feel really ambitious, ravioli."

"Pumpkin soup?" she questioned incredulously. She simply couldn't get beyond the pumpkin soup.

(image) When she asked later about the pumpkin soup, I knew I had to make it. For those of you who have visited here often, you know full well that my cooking is more of an art than a science. Sure, if I bake, for the most part, I try to stick to the measurements, but cooking, it's all by feel. But the soup was so incredibly delicious, I'll try to remember what it was that I did.

Take 1/2 a sugar pumpkin, seeded and its innards cleaned and put it face down in a pan with just a little water. (Sugar pumpkins have the best flavour, so I wouldn't recommend making this with another type of pumpkin, but I am sure it would work equally well with an acorn or butternut squash.)

Bake at 400 degrees until its flesh is soft and mushy.

In the meantime, finely chop about 2 1/2 onions and saute on low heat with some butter.

Peal and core two apples (I used Spartans, but only because it was what I had in my house). Chop into chunks and add to onions.

When the pumpkin has finished baking, scoop the flesh away from the peel and put into the blender. Add chicken broth (or a full bodied vegetable broth if you prefer), the sauteed onion / apple mixture, 3/4 tsp of curry powder, salt and pepper to taste and blend. Transfer to a soup pan and add more chicken broth until the soup is at your preferred consistency. Heat until warmed through.

Garnish with grated Romano (or blue cheese if you'd like something with a little more flavour), chopped cilantro or parsley and some toasted pecans. Enjoy.



Here's the Deal

2011-02-19T11:36:19.201-08:00

(image) If you quit lying about me,
I will quit telling the truth about you.



Breeze

2011-02-19T11:36:36.502-08:00

(image)
Your silence is as vast as my country.
Your breath, a gentle zephyr upon my beating heart.



Moving Forward

2011-02-19T11:37:06.382-08:00

(image)
They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
~ Andy Warhol



Whitewater Winter Stoke

2011-03-02T08:49:38.573-08:00

As we quickly tumble away from summer into cooler weather here in the Kootenays, our thoughts move away from all the summer joys of beaches, bonfires, swimming in the lake and the like and we start to dream of the winter fun that lies just beyond the horizon. For many of us, that means Whitewater ski resort. Here, we love big, fluffy flakes the flutter fearlessly thick and carpet the mountains and tree tops. We love how the snow crusts over and sparkles like diamonds. We dream of deep powder that goes flying as we glide through it. Through those dark winter months, this is what keeps our hearts beating. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the Kootenays in the middle of winter, tap into the pulse that keeps us going. Check out the magic of Whitewater.

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In a Pickle

2011-03-02T08:49:54.684-08:00

When was the last time you checked how far your pickles have traveled? I'm not sure about where you live, but around here, it seems that most pickles come from India. Surprisingly, the pickles from India are considerably cheaper than those from closer countries including Canada and the US. Sure, labour is cheaper in India, but do I really want to buy a jar of pickles that has a larger carbon footprint than I do? Not only that, but many developing nations still use certain agrochemicals that have long since been banned in these parts. The risk just doesn't seem worth it, and with many of us trying to eat locally where possible, the supermarket pickle just doesn't factor into the 100 mile diet. So imagine my thrill when I happened to luck upon some pickling cukes a couple weeks ago.

I've always wanted to give gherkins a go, but was never certain whether or not I should risk it. I've tasted some great homemade pickles and then there were the others. But 7 lbs of free cukes had to be a sign that the planets were properly aligned for success in this endeavor.

(image) Around these parts, there are many who make their pickles in the washing machine. Yes, you heard me right, the WASHING MACHINE! Not only was I intrigued, I had to try it. I admit, I felt a little odd throwing 7 lbs of pickling cukes into my washing machine and starting the gentle cycle. The feeling that this had the potential to go very wrong loomed heavy in the air. I twiddled my thumbs nervously while listening to the clunking of something akin to washing running shoes in the machine. Finally, the machine stopped. I held my breath as I opened the door. And there they were, 7 lbs of very clean, firm cukes. At this point, I knew that all would turn out well.

If you dare, this is approximately what I did:

  1. Put cucumbers in the washing machine and run through the gentle cycle.
  2. Put cucumbers in kitchen sink, cover with cold water and soak overnight.
  3. In the morning, drain the water.
  4. Sterilize mason jars (the amount you need will depend on how many cukes you have).
  5. Boil the required number of lids for a min. of 8-10 minutes to soften the rubber ring.
  6. Make brine: Approximately 4 cups of pickling vinegar, 12 cups of water, 3/4 cup of pickling salt, sugar to taste if you want a little bit of a sweeter pickle.
  7. Bring brine to a good boil.
  8. Fill jars one at a time. I stuff dill, mustard seed and chopped onion in the bottom of mine and then pack in the cucumbers. Pack the cucumbers tight. It's amazing how many can fit in one jar.
  9. Cover with simmering brine.
  10. Clean the rim of the jars to ensure there isn't any salt or other residue to prevent the jars from sealing. Put on lids and tighten rings.
  11. Process jars. If any don't seal, keep them in your fridge where they will keep for quite some time.
Wait at least a couple days before trying them to ensure the flavours have time to meld. When making the pickles, make sure you find the brine palatable as it determines, in large part, the flavour of the pickles.



Success

2011-03-02T08:50:09.685-08:00

(image) What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Jammin'

2011-03-02T08:50:23.658-08:00

It's that time of year again when the trees start to be laden with fruit and preserving hangs heavy in the air. As luck would have it, I was gifted a box of jamming cots. I hardly eat jam myself as I prefer to stay away from anything with too much sugar in it, however, it's always nice to have around the house for when company arrives. And truth be told, I can't resist how pretty the jars look sitting on my shelf. There are also the odd times when I come across a recipe that calls for apricot jam and it would be a pity to not have a jar or two around considering how easy it is to make and how plentiful the fruit is this time of year.

(image) I did save some of the fruit for smoothies as I am crazy about smoothies and have been freezing up fruit where possible to get me through the winter.

(image) As you can see, I also made some spicy red pepper jelly. Now this is a treat that I will indulge in every now and again. It's a real hit around the holidays if you pair it with crackers and cream cheese. If you'd like the recipe, you can find it here.




Today's Mantra

2011-03-02T08:50:35.437-08:00

(image) I pledge to see all challenges, joys and sorrows as the ground from which I grow. All things are interdependent, temporary, and empty of inherent existence. When it comes time to part, I will try to look back with joy. One cannot hold onto anything forever.



Looking Up

2011-03-02T08:50:57.122-08:00

(image) The clouds
(image) look no nearer
(image) than when
(image) I was lying in the street.



Still Waters

2011-03-02T08:51:14.858-08:00

(image)
The journey has been long and I am weary. Let me rest here but a little while before the wind once more whips at my back spurring me on.



Another Favorite

2011-03-02T08:51:30.358-08:00

I seem to be on a roll with recipes these days, so why stop when there's momentum? The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year make salad a no brainer and often in summer, that's all I will eat for days on end. Well...that and ice cream. In any case, I've always loved Greek salad, but to eat just that for a meal always left me a little less than satisfied. Then a few years ago, I put together this:

(image) It's my version of a beefed up Greek salad minus the beef, and yes, completely satisfying. Now I'll try to give you the recipe, but if I'm not totally precise, forgive me, I usually cook by feel and taste.

Lentil Salad

1 C French Lentils (if you can't find French lentils, I am sure that regular green lentils will work, but these are my absolute favorite and the hold their shape well.
3 C Water
1 or 2 Tomatoes
1 Long English cucumber
1 Pepper (green or red...whatever you have on hand)
1/4 Red Onion
Feta Cheese
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Boil the lentils in the 3 cups of water for about 45 minutes or until they are tender but still hold their shape. Drain any excess water. Chop up the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and onion into medium chunks. Toss with the lentils. Make a dressing with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and juice of the lemon. Pour over top and toss. Crumble the feta cheese on top. Give it one last toss. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Enjoy.

I'll probably be making this again in a day or two will try to be a little more precise on those dressing measurements. Of course if you have your favorite dressing that you make with Greek salad, you could easily substitute it. I am sure that it will taste just as good.



Marvelous

2011-03-02T08:51:46.098-08:00

If you thought chocolate mousse was a good deal, you're in for an even better one. Light airy meringues topped with cream and fruit has become my new summer favorite. Seriously, I could eat one a day. And even better, they are so easy and way less finicky than the mousse to make. Let's hear it for MMMMmmmmm marvelous, mellow, meringues. Today was brought to you by the letter M.

(image)

4 egg whites (room temperature)
pinch of salt
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

1 1/2 C whipping cream
1/4 c sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh fruit of your choice: strawberries and kiwi; strawberries and blueberries, raspberries and peaches; whatever you have on hand and whatever you enjoy.

1. Preheat oven to 225
2. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.
3. Whip the egg whites and salt until frothy.
4. Add the sugar a little at a time and keep beating until egg whites form stiff peaks. Fold in cornstarch and lemon juice.
5. Spread the meringue onto the cookie sheets, shaping them like little nests using the back of a spoon.
6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Check them after 20-25 minutes and turn the oven down if they are turning brown. They would be dry and crisp when done.
7. Remove from wax paper and cool on a rack.
8. Whip cream and when thick, add in the sour cream sugar and vanilla.
9. Pile the cream and then fruit on top of the meringues.



Solitude is Blessed

2011-03-02T08:52:00.529-08:00

This video was shared via Facebook. I've watched it a few times now, and each time am equally enthralled. Today seems the appropriate day to share it as I've spent the day puttering around the house...alone. I am, luckily, a person, who for the most part, does not mind being alone. Oh sure, I like interacting with others, but I also chose to embrace and cherish the time when I can keep myself company and be my own entertainment. I have no idea how unusual that is as each of us experiences the same differently. So if you find yourself by yourself, play this little video and think about how lucky you are.

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Chocolate Moose

2011-03-02T08:52:19.720-08:00

Morris stood there swaying on his gangly legs, munching on whatever tasty morsels he could find. Occasionally he would cock his ears and toss a completely uninterested glance in my direction, mostly at my pathetic whistles. Typical male, eh? Well, serves him right to serve him up with chocolate. There ain't no better way to eat moose. Let's be quite frank here, most things do taste better with chocolate. Melt it and then drizzle it lightly or thickly, add cream, because most things taste better with cream too...and yes, of course, it has to be real. Someone really was dreaming when they dreamt up Dream Whip and thought they could pass it off for the real thing. Well everybody, let's hear it for Morris! Mmmmm Mmmmorris.

(image) *Thanks for being such a good sport, fella. You're pretty yummy. Don't worry...if they don't catch on, we'll post the real pictures later.*

Chocolate Mousse

1C Sour Cream
1C Whipping Cream
1 1/2 tsp unflavoured Gelatin
2 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp Milk
1/4 C Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
1/8 tsp Salt
6 oz of Chocolate Morsels (of course you can estimate...I personally like using a rich dark chocolate)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Egg Whites

  • In large bowl, combine sour cream and whipping cream. Refrigerate.
  • Soften gelatin in water by heating.
  • Heat milk with half the brown sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add chocolate morsels and continue heating until melted (be careful to not overheat...you may want to melt your chocolate first and then add to your milk/sugar mixture).
  • Beat egg whites. Gradually add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff.
  • Stir 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture until blended.
  • Fold in remaining egg whites.
  • Whip cream mixture until stiff.
  • Add chocolate mixture and fold until well blended.
  • Spoon into dishes and chill until set.



Riding the Wave

2010-07-27T21:44:27.277-07:00

(image) I see you looking into my eyes and I wonder what you are searching for as you find yourself lost in a sea of blue.



You Talking to Me?

2010-07-20T20:06:50.548-07:00

(image) Well at least I'm not that rotting albatross hanging around your neck.



Strength

2010-07-07T14:11:27.465-07:00

(image) Then very suddenly, she silenced the loud voices who were trying to tell her who she was and what she could be.



Coffee, Tea, or ....

2010-07-05T00:01:02.946-07:00

(image) There are at least three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.



Colonization in Reverse

2010-06-30T10:24:33.906-07:00

Or English girl eats her first mango...

(a kind of love poem by John Agard)

(image)
If I did tell she
hold this gold
of sundizzy
tonguelicking juicy
mouthwater flow
ripe with love
from the tropics

she woulda tell me
trust you to be
melodramatic

so I just say
taste this mango

and I watch she hold
the smooth cheeks
of the mango
blushing yellow
and a glow
rush to she own cheeks

and she ask me
what do I know
just bite into it?

and I was tempted
to tell she
why not be a devil
and eat the skin
of the original sin

but she woulda tell me
trust you to be
mysterious

so I would just say
it's up to you
if you want to peel it

and I watch she feels it
as something precious

then she smile and say
looks delicious

and I tell she
don't waste sweet words
when sweetness
in your hand
just bite it man
peel it with the teeth
that God gave you

or better yet
do like me mother
used to do
and squeeze
till the flesh
turns syrup
nibble a hole
then suck the gold
like bubby
in child mouth
squeeze and tease out
every drop of spice

sounds nice
me friend tell me

and I remind she that ain't
apple core
so don't forget
the seed
suck that too
the sweetest part
the juice does run
down to you heart

man if you see
the English rose
she face was bliss
down to the pink
of she toes

and when she finish
she smile
and turn to me

lend me your hanky
my fingers are all sticky
with mango juice

and I had to tell she
what hanky
you talking about
you don't know
when you eat mango
you hanky
is you tongue

man just lick
your finger
you call that
culture
lick your finger
you call that
culture

unless you prefer
to call it
colonization
in reverse




Mango Salsa

2010-06-28T17:51:33.818-07:00

Every time I make this, it's a little bit different depending on what I have around. The only constant is mangoes and delicious. The other day I made it minus the cucumber, plus avocado, some fresh pineapple and both red and green peppers. It pairs especially well with fish. I like it with fish tacos, but served it yesterday with salmon. One word ... yummy.

(image) Mango Salsa:

1 ripe mango pitted, peeled and diced (if you're unfamiliar on the best way to attack a mango, you might want to check out the following link: How to Cut a Mango)
3 or 4 green onions chopped (or sweet Spanish onion would be good if in season)
2/3 C of cucumber peeled and diced
1/2 C red pepper diced
a little lime zest
3 Tbsp of fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp or 2 of Gin or Tequila (optional)
2 or 3 Tbsp of fresh cilantro leaves chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Spice with either 1 minced Jalapeno pepper, Louisiana hot sauce, or a bit of Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, and a bit of chilli powder and salt & pepper to taste.



Alone

2010-06-03T11:59:54.775-07:00

(image) How deep is a grave?
A six-foot shaft in the soundless earth.
A bleeding turf.
A fill.
Then soon, just a deep seamed scar
On a lone green hill.