Honey-Drizzled Raspberry Brie Brûlée

The first time I met our elderly neighbour, Oskar, he was leaning on his shovel on the edge of his sprawling corner plot of land.

I can’t remember who nodded hello first, but we hit it off at once in a discussion about his garden. It was a beautiful, well-maintained plot, surrounded by a low rock wall, which my three children scrambled up in mere moments. He didn’t bat an eye at their antics, as they skipped up and down the ledge, probably because his children used to do the very same thing.

Over the years, and many visits across the rock wall, I came to learn that Oskar was a true homesteader. His wife had passed away shortly after delivering his sixth child, and Oskar raised the family himself. He had an impressive garden – the raspberry patch itself could supply his large family with berries galore. But alas, they had all grown up and moved away, save for one.

[Read more…]

Homemade Head Cheese

Well, after four and a half years of blogging in this space, here we are with a title that may or may not get me into trouble.

It was a short interview with Dan Barber that gave me the gumption to share this charcuterie tutorial of sorts. He was talking about his theory of The Third Plate and the need to support the whole farm with our eating choices. While he is slightly elitist in his approach, I have to agree with his thoughts on food sustainability.

The way I see it is, if you’re eating bacon, why not be open to trying delicious charcuterie made from other parts of the body? In the end, it’s all pork.

How to make head cheese | Simple Bites #charcuterie #diy

We attended a family pig roast a few weekends back and I was offered the head to bring home. Of course I said yes, and also took with me a literal bag of bones for stock, split pea soup and Mexican ranch-syle beans. Then the real fun began.

[Read more…]

How to get kids cracking making Cheese Crackers and Wheat Thins

Homemade edible gifts for my children’s teachers are a sure thing to leave my kitchen come school’s end. I feel like it is the least I can do after the educators have poured their energy into my children all year.

The goodies are our way of expressing our thanks and vary from year to year from chai spiced granola to honey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Now before you read on, please understand that I am playing to my strengths here. I’m not trying to make myself out to be some kind of perfectly pinteresting supermom. Making and assembling edible gifts is easy and fun for me, so I run with it whenever the opportunity arises. I couldn’t be crafty like my friend Amy if I tried and I don’t enjoy shopping, so I head to the kitchen and dream up something delicious.

It’s important to me to have the boys get involved in making the gifts to teach them to give back and to show appreciation in a tangible way. This year I had thought about canning something, perhaps strawberry rhubarb jam or strawberry caramel sauce, but I tend to do most of my canning on my own, without three kids ‘helping’. They are pretty proactive in the kitchen, but that vat of boiling water still makes me nervous.

White Pepper & Parmesan Crackers :: Simple Bites #recipe #snack #crackers

We settled on homemade crackers, a project I expected to be loads of work but well worth the effort. It turns out I was half right. Many hands made light work and we flew through the task, ending up with about 20 dozen absolutely delicious crackers. I even had time to snap a few photos as I knew I had to share both recipes here with you.

If you’re into homemade pantry staples, then read on for two recipes: Everyday Wheat Thins and White Pepper Parmesan Coins. [Read more…]

A quick appetizer: Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

I have a love/hate relationship with appetizers preceding a holiday meal.

Ideally they should tantalize the tongue, awaken the palate, and leave the guest eager for dinner, but we can all probably agree that they are often carb-heavy or cheese-laden. This type of fare can leave us feeling bloated as we gather around the table, with Gougères being the light and fluffy exception to the rule.

That said, I don’t think we should do away with the appetizer. The cocktail hour is a wonderful time to socialize, and I arrive starving, that plate of nibbles can be a lifeline and prevent me from crashing while awaiting the meal. If I’m being absolutely honest!

Instead, let’s serve more pre-dinner snacks that are gluten-free and vegetarian, leaving room for turkey or roast lamb with dinner. Today’s recipe for Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms are kind of what I have in mind.

[Read more…]

My 20 favorite edible gifts (Recipe: Maple Spice Candied Nuts)

Today we interrupt our Home for the Holidays week of giveaways to bring you some personal favorites. We the editors of the six SLM channels are dishing on everything we love about Christmas – songs, books, handmade gifts and more.

It’s probably no surprise that I love to bake, package, and give away edible gifts, and so in this post I’m highlighting a handful of my favorites for your inspiration!

[Read more…]