BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On this harvest moon

Thanksgiving is definitely a "new world" holiday. In terms of history, most people think of the starving Pilgrims in Massachusetts being fed by the aboriginal peoples.  But really, harvest festivals arose spontaneously all over the continent and are likely derivatives of European traditions.

In modern times, Canadian Thanksgiving occurs a whole month and a half earlier then that in the USA.  And there is good reason for it!  Thanksgiving is often the first weekend of snow (for much of Canada), and signals the end of the harvest period. 

This year, Thanksgiving crept up on us, we've had so much warmth and sunshine that it was a surprise to discover that October had arrived!  In fact, Thanksgiving weekend was so warm that we were outside in bare feet and short sleeves while preparing our winter garden.  Regardless, the weekend seems to have signaled the end of summer, with an abrupt change into cold weather and foggy days.  Luckily we did manage to finish all of our garden chores.  We're fully planted in winter veg (parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, kale, spinach, onions, garlic, sunchokes) and cover crops (broad beans, corn salad).  Our cloche is erected and providing a home for our tender herbs and salad greens. 

 With Brad's extra day off we took a trip to the pumpkin patch for some extra holiday cheer. (For carving pumpkins, we used the pumpkin from Nikolai's garden for the pie). To finish off our personal harvest festival, our landlords showed up today for a tour of the garden.  We got permission to trim the fruit trees for firewood (who knew that cherry wood actually smells like maraschino cherries). Next spring we'll be able to build a temporary "greenhouse" on the south side of the house. (James bay has too much ocean breeze for our tomatoes to ripen, but some gardener's plastic should keep things warm.)  Little do they know that my secret plan is to build a hen house at the back of the property!

(As for the picture, we seem to always be traveling with a pirate these days).
Now for a favorite recipe.

Any Kind of Muffin

This truly is a muffin recipe that works for any flavour and any special diet.  I've made it gluten free, vegan and now sucrose free!

First mix your wet ingredients:
-2 eggs (or egg replacer)
-1/3 cup of oil
-1/2 cup of brown sugar (or 1/3 cup of honey)

Then add your dry ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups of flour (I've used a GF mix and rye, but I'm sure it would work with wheat)
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda (bread soda)

Then mix in a cup of something wet. This can include: juice, yogurt, chopped fruit, etc.  If I use chopped fruit I add 2 tbsp of another liquid because otherwise it tends to be too dry.

Scoop into a muffin tin and bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes (until a skewer comes out clean). Whenever I make something gluten free (muffins included) I always freeze them right away to prevent them from going stale. Otherwise these should remain fresh for as long as you can manage to keep from eating them!

You can flavour this muffin batter in any number of ways. My favorites are:
-Lemon zest with poppy seeds
-Apple with cinnamon and ginger
-Pear with ground almond (in place of 1/4 cup of flour)
-Banana and walnut
-Berries and yogurt
-Chocolate chip with coffee (OK, I haven't tried it. But it does sound good!)

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