Posts in Fall
Happy 3 years & where do we go from here?
Edmonton Farmer's Market - The nomadic wife - sara jewell photography

Photography by Sara Jewell


 

a bit on what I had set out to do

HAPPY THREE YEARS. Holy shit. How did it go by so fast?

When I set out on this journey with The Nomadic Wife, I was in a very different space then I am today. I used to travel for months at a time, exploring the cultures of the world through the food its people make. It seemed like a revolutionary idea to me at the time to re-explore these dishes using local-to-me ingredients back home in Canada.

I wanted to give context to my past (and future) travels through the food I ate and somehow do that in a very accessible way.

Now, I jokingly say that The Nomadic Wife is neither nomadic nor married. I haven’t traveled since I set up the blog in 2015. We also didn’t get hitched yet… but we are a family. I feel like a fraud because I have only scratched the surface of the cultures I explored and therefore I feel like I am in no position to truly honor them or their food.

So maybe it’s time for a change.

 
edmonton 104 street farmer's market - The nomadic wife - sara jewell photography
 

digging into my roots

Through this journey of cultural exploration through food, I found myself yearning more and more to explore my own roots. Who am I? Who are my people? What is my food culture?

My last name is of French descent yet I call myself Canadian-mud. I have absolutely no context for what it means to be French, or a Scot (on my mother’s side). I do, however, had an idea of what it means to be Canadian.

In many ways, we are a youthful immigrant nation with an amalgam of culinary influences & ingredients brought here by the people who migrated to this land. We also have a deeply rooted history of taking over land that in no way belonged to us and using the ingredients of its people. Somewhere in the middle there, is what I believe to be Canadian traditions, ingredients & cuisine.

So, maybe it’s all circular. Maybe I was already on the right track in a way… yet I find myself wanting to honor Canadian food more deeply. To explore the ingredients we produce & their history. What do we eat? Why do we eat it? I would love to meet more of the farmers who produce our food, at a small to medium scale and the people who forage our wild country to find a myriad of edible delights.


I crave the moment when you put a bite of food in your mouth and you experience the land it came from.

 
pizza at rosy farms - the nomadic wife - sara jewell photography
 

How does it all come together?

The photo above is pizza which I made for a long table dinner last summer which highlighted an amazing crop, the haskap. In fact, the entire menu was haskap laden. It was quite a challenge to feature this berry in so many forms and there’s nothing like a good challenge to get me going.

I decided to use as many Canadian ingredients as possible in the menu, thinking that there was no better way to showcase the berry than through the optics of “if it grows together it goes together”.

The crust is made from Albertan wheat with haskap powder mixed in. It’s topped with pesto made from a foraged “volunteer crop” (read weeds, in this case stinging nettle). There’s also some arugula from my garden in there and some Albertan garlic. It’s topped with some grilled mushrooms, greenhouse peppers & mozzarella. I finished these with some flaky Canadian fleur de sel from the BC coast.

While pizza is most definitely Italian, does the use of exclusively Canadian ingredients make it Canadian food? Will the people accept it as such? Can a deeper conversation be had around local food when presented with such a dish?

In part, that is what I am setting out to discover.

want to know more about the producers involved in this recipe? head here.

 
Rice & Lentil Stuffed Carnival Squash
MEL × RIVERBEND: Rice & Lentil Stuffed Carnival Squash - the nomadic wife

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Carnival squash

If, like me, you’ve been living under a rock for some time and have yet to experience Carnival Squash let me introduce you to this beauty of a vegetable. You can recognize their quintessential look by their half way orange halfway green stripes on an off-white base (not sure what I mean, take a peek at this recipe for photos of this beauty). They’re an acorn squash cross and just like it’s forest green & yellow fleshed cousin, it’s a little sweet and makes a perfect bowl for stuffing.

I had never experienced carnival squash before starting my stint with Riverbend Gardens. So if you fall in love hard with carnival squash like I do, send them a love note!

 
 
MEL × RIVERBEND: Rice & Lentil Stuffed Carnival Squash
 
 

Time to celebrate fall flavors

This week’s recipe celebrates some of fall’s favorite flavors. Namely: squash, apple & cinnamon. In the mix, you’ll also find beautifully earthy lentil and the gorgeous chew of wild rice which balances out the sweet flavors perfectly.

It’s not a sweet dish, per se, it’s something I would definitely have for lunch or dinner alongside a beautifully spicy arugula salad.

Pro tip: using a Macintosh apple (if you can’t find them, ask your fruit farmer what the closest thing would be) really makes this recipe shine. The fruity acidity found in this apple really brightens the dish a ton.

If you can’t find some (or a similarly tart apple) add a bit more lime to balance out the sweetness!


 

THE RECIPE


* you can find wild rice in most grocery stores now a days, but you could also easily swap for a brown rice or a rice mix of your choice

MAKES 2 SERVINGS

1 carnival squash
1 C wild rice*
1/2 C french lentil
1 large Macintosh apple
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1 small head of garlic
3 T olive oil
2 T lime juice (1 lime)
2 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t ground cinnamon
Salt + Pepper

Arugula (optional) to be served as a side salad with a drizzle of balsamic & olive oil.

5 MINS PREP + 30 MINS COOK

  1. Heat the oven to 400.

  2. Cook lentil + wild rice according to package instructions (usually takes about 30 minutes) then set aside.

  3. While the legumes + grains cook, half the squash and remove the seeds with a spoon.

  4. Place the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  5. Cut the bottom off the head of garlic and separate the cloves while keeping their skins on.

  6. Place half the cloves in each half of the squash and bake for 30 minutes or until squash is soft when poked with a fork or the tip of a knife.

  7. Dice the Macintosh apple into small cubes and place them in medium mixing bowl along with the lime juice, olive oil & spices.

  8. Remove the garlic from the squash, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and chop them before adding it to the bowl along with the rice and lentils.

  9. Mix well, add salt and pepper then ladle into the squash bowls and serve.

 

more Squash recipes

Warm Potato Bowl With Chili Lime Sauce
Warm Potato Bowl With Chili Lime Sauce - The nomadic wife

Photography by Sara Jewell

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Sleepless nights call for easy nosh

Many of you have noticed the many photos of Little E on Instagram! But I guess I haven’t really talked about what cooking has been like since he was born. I just thought I would sort of carry on with life, with a little dude in tow and life would be grand.

While that is sometimes the truth, most days I get anywhere between two and four two hour naps during the night. Lack of sleep is taking a toll on me this week and cooking my own meals is basically gone out the window.. but let me tell you this.

When I eat takeout (no matter how easy it is to order and how satisfying it is in the moment) I wind up feeling more depleted than before I had the meal.

The excessive salt leaves me dehydrated (breastfeeding hydration is already tough enough to keep up with). Perhaps I don't make the most judicious choices when I order in, but by the time I do I'm usually in panic mode and starving.

 
Warm Potato Bowl With Chili Lime Sauce - The nomadic wife
Warm Potato Bowl With Chili Lime Sauce - The nomadic wife
 

The alternative to takeout

Bowls. Simple one worded answer but the truth none the less. I just can’t say it enough. They’re easy to prepare ahead of time. They keep me sane.

This variation has a warm element ( the baked potatoes but really, you could cook all the produce if you wanted a warm bowl instead of a salad-like feel ) and it makes this particular bowl perfect for this frigid September weather. You want warm the potatoes through in a skillet or eat them cold if you wish.

 
Warm Potato Bowl With Chili Lime Sauce - The nomadic wife

THE RECIPE


MAKES 4 SERVINGS

8 potatoes
1/2 head of cabbage
1 bunch beans, sliced
4 large carrots grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T coconut oil
1 C pumpkin seeds, divided
Black & toasted sesame for serving

FOR SAUCE

1/2 C mayonnaise
2 T grainy mustard
1 t smoked paprika
1 t chili powder
1 t turmeric
2 T lime juice

5 MINS PREP + 30 MINS COOK

  1. Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water & set to boil until tender (15-20 mins)

  2. Once the potatoes are tender, grab a baking sheet and lightly “crush” them onto the sheet with a masher.
    The potatoes should flatten out somewhat but not completely fall apart.

  3. Add a little coconut oil on top of each one, then sprinkle a little salt

  4. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden

  5. Serve warm with other veggies & sauce

 

more potato recipes

Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles
Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles - The nomadic wife

Photography by Sara Jewell

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Pickles from my mother's kitchen

Pickle making is something that I’ve borrowed from my mother’s kitchen. She used to make beet pickles mostly, and she liked them on the tangy side. There always seemed to be rows upon rows of quart sized jars in the basement, but then again, I was young and everything seemed to be so endlessly abundant then.

I would grab a jar, unscrew the metal ring top and pop the sealed lid with the help of a fork. From there, I would spike a fork into the ever so dark juices in hope to capture a jewel-toned piece of sweet and vinegary root. Once I had consumed about half the jar, I would pour out some of the pickling brine to ease my fork-fishing endeavors.

 
Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles - The nomadic wife
Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles - The nomadic wife
 

Pickles in my kitchen

Pickles, now, are something that I serve alongside almost everything. I enjoy having food boards when friends come over and pickles of every kind balance those out ever so well. They're also such a lovely palate cleansing food, which can be used between courses or as a starter to a meal.

If I'm being perfectly honest though, I make pickles for the very selfish reason of eating them by the jar-full. Simply with a fork, or alongside aged cheddar and crackers. On evenings when I can't be bothered to make a meal, and Tom isn't home to eat, pickles and cheese is my guilty pleasure. 

 
Food-70.jpg
 

This time of year, when carrots are getting sweeter and stems are getting more fibrous, all I want to do is make pickles. Sure, you can make pickles out of just about anything, kale stems, beets, carrots, beans, zucchini or cukes. However, there's something quite fantastic about doing a combination or mixed pickle. I love popping open a jar and savoring the different tastes and textures.

This one has three main ingredients: rainbow chard stems, carrots & garlic scapes and it truly is a delight.

 
Food-67.jpg
Carrot + Stem Mixed Pickles - The nomadic wife

THE RECIPE


Makes 2 quarts

2 C carrot sticks
2 C rainbow chard stems*
1 - 2 garlic scapes

2 C filtered water
1 C white vinegar
1 C white wine vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T salt

10 min PREP 

  1. Chop your vegetables into sticks of matching length no longer than the height of the jar (you need to be able to fully submerge them) and pack it into your mason jars.

  2. The tighter you pack it the better your pickles will be and the less likely they are to go bad.

  3. Mix together the water, vinegars, sugar & salt to make your pickling liquid.

  4. Once the salt & sugar have dissolved, pour the liquid over the veg to fill the jars.

  5. Use your finger to pack them in even more and release as much air as possible. Tapping gently on the counter after the lid is on also works well to release air bubbles.

  6. Leave the jars on the counter for at least an hour then store them in the fridge.

 

more carrot recipes

Carrot, Onion & Ginger Soup
Carrot onion and ginger soup - The nomadic wife

Photography by Sara Jewell

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Warming foods for fall

There comes a time every year where my soul aches to settle back down into the earth. The elation of warm summer days passes swiftly as the cooler winds of fall roll into the garden. Once these winds begin to blow in, I feel a deep calling to root myself back down and settle for the long winter to come. For this, I turn to warming spices and steaming bowls of soup.

It seems to me like this year, the fairies who paint the golden tones of autumn have come to us a little earlier than expected. So today, despite it being the middle of August, I'm ready to cozy up to a fresh bowl of savory carrot soup. Are you?

 
Carrot onion and ginger soup - The nomadic wife
Carrot onion and ginger soup - The nomadic wife
 

Carrot soup

Carrot soup is one of my fall favorites. This version is especially delicious as the layers of caramelized onions and carrot pair particularly well with the warming garlic and ginger. The small whisper of coconut from the oil really rounds it out perfectly.

 

THE RECIPE


MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1 doz medium size carrots, washed & chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 in. ginger, peeled & chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled & chopped
2 T coconut oil
2 T apple cider vinegar

10 min PREP 

  1. First, chop everything roughly. No need to get fancy here as this soup goes into the blender.

  2. Next, add 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil to a big soup pot over medium-high heat. 

  3. Once it's melted, add your veggies & cook until caramelized. This is the secret to this soup. Do not skip this step!

  4. After about 15 minutes, add the 2nd spoon of coconut oil & give it a good stir, then add the ginger and garlic.

  5. At the 20 minute mark, your carrots should have caramelized and the pot should smell of ginger, now's the time to deglaze with the apple cider vinegar.

  6. Add enough water to cover everything then bring it back to the boil.

  7. Once everything is hot again, transfer to a blender & blend until smooth. Be careful not to overfill your blender with hot ingredients as it can result in burns!

  8. Top with coriander flowers or sunflower seeds, enjoy!

 

more carrot recipes

Kale & Barbecue Corn Bowl With Chili Lime Dressing
Corn, Kale & Cuke Salad with Chili Lime Sauce - The Nomadic Wife-7652.jpg

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Corn Boils

Back in Quebec, where I grew up, we would have block parties where corn would get bought, husked and boiled al fresco. I distinctively remember an evening in my early teens. I was at my aunt's place. The humidity of summer was at it's peek and a sheen of sweat covered everyone.

We stepped out into her backyard, where friends and neighbors had assembled. There were strings of holiday lights hung up and picnic tables covered with homemade dishes in every color and style. There was also an abundance of sweet treats that the neighborhood conspired to get their sticky fingers into. They would then run off and hide under the tables to relish their stolen delights.

At the center of all of this laughter and companionship was corn. That was what brought us together under the summer moon. Fresh sweet corn is delicious in all its forms. You can eat it raw, boil it or grill it.

Leftovers can be frozen, canned or included in all matter of dishes like this one.

 
Corn, Kale & Cuke Salad with Chili Lime Sauce - The Nomadic Wife-7662.jpg

THE RECIPE


per person

3 stocks curly kale
1 ear of corn
2-3 small cucumbers
1/4 C pumpkin seeds
1/4 C black or white sesame

For sauce

1/2 C mayonnaise
2 T grainy mustard
1 t smoked paprika
1 t chili powder
1 t turmeric
2 T lime juice
1/2 t salt

10 min PREP 

  1. I use leftover grilled corn for this recipe but if you want to make it from raw you can follow the instructions here.

  2. Remove the kernels from the corn using a knife or a fork, then place in a large bowl with cut kale + cucumbers.

  3. Mix the sauce, then top with seeds and serve.

 

more corn recipes

Bounty Bowls With Minty Labneh Sauce
Bounty Bowl with Minty Labneh Sauce - The Nomadic Wife

Bowl RECIPE DEVELOPPED WITH DR. BRIANA LUTZ


 

Labneh Tzatziki Sauce

This sauce recipe was created to become a staple in your kitchen. It can be served alongside cut vegetables as a quick snack, in a cold or warm bowl or as a garnish on top of your favorite soup.

Like I mention in this post, it's all about the dressing when it comes to bowls, so I figured I'd let you in on some of my favorites.

The goal with these (and every recipe created in The Nomadic Wife kitchen) is “do this easy thing & call it good”. Don’t strive for perfection. Use it as a tool. Most of all, show yourself a little grace and allow yourself the space to make it your own.

I also use a similar sauce in this recipe, as a salad dressing with broccoli and carrots or in this recipe as the dressing in yummy chickpea gyros on naan bread.

Bounty Bowls / Veggie Bowls

I can talk about eating bowls until I'm blue in the face (as you may have noticed). Truth is you can really throw in anything you like. Right now there are a lot of veggies available in your CSA bounty, so don't be afraid to mix it up.

Try a version with mostly greens. Try one with all your veggies raw or all your veggies cooked. Go nuts!

 
Bounty Bowl with Minty Labneh Sauce - The Nomadic Wife
Bounty Bowl with Minty Labneh Sauce - The Nomadic Wife

THE RECIPE


Serves 2-4

1 C labneh
2 T fresh mint
2 T fresh dill
1 large clove garlic
2 t Himalayan salt
 

10 min PREP 

  1. Chop your herbs and use a microplane or the small side on the box grater to grate the garlic

  2. Mix in with strained yogurt (labneh) * see pro tip below

  3. Let sit for a few minutes and salt to taste

 

Pro tip:

Don't have labneh? No problem, place 1.5 C plain yogourt in a paper coffee filter and let the water drain out into a bowl. Labneh is basically drained yogourt with a little salt!


more yogourt/labneh recipes

Red Cabbage & Onion Soup
Red Cabbage & Onion Soup | Simple plant based lunch | The nomadic wife
DSC_6008.jpg

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Variation on a tried and true cabbage soup

I spend a lot of time telling people to "make recipes their own" and not to be afraid of swapping out an ingredient on a whim. So for this recipe, I figured I'd put my money where my mouth is and show you what a variation on one of my favorite soups.

Is the result exactly the same as the original? Of course not, the ingredients have shifted, so how could it be. However, it is no less delicious and actually has some slightly more umami undertones I was never able to attain with its predecessor. 

Grab the original recipe (with green cabbage and yellow onion, here)

 

 

4 servings

1 head of red cabbage
1 large red onion
2 T butter
4 C (vegetable or chicken) stock
3 T tamari
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 C sauerkraut
 

 

Directions

15 mins prep + 20 mins cook

  1. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the butter & the minced onions.

  2. Cook them until they begin to caramelize then deglaze with the vinegar.

  3. Thinly slice the cabbage, add it to the pot along with the tamari & stock.

  4. Cook until the cabbage is tender then serve with sauerkraut.

 


WANT TO TRY A FEW MORE CABBAGE DISHES THIS WEEK? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES:

Easy Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes | Photo by Emilie Iggiotti | The Nomadic Wife

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

Holiday traditions are evolving in our home

I love mash as much as the next gal, but we’ve traded in regular mash for sweet potato mash in our house during the holiday season as a means to get more color on the plate. We now make these fun little hasselbacks for those who still want a good ol’ potato side dish with their main. They’re incredibly simple to make and result in crispy outside, fluffy inside goodness.

 
Hasselback Potatoes | Photo by Emilie Iggiotti | The Nomadic Wife

 

Ingredients

Three to four small potatoes per person

Potatoes
Olive oil
Salt

Optional: cheese, fresh herbs like rosemary or flavored salts for an added twist

 

Directions

10 mins prep + bake 40 mins at 425°F

  1. Cut slits into the potatoes every ⅛ inch leaving the bottoms intact.

  2. Brush olive oil on & sprinkle with salt.

  3. Bake for 20 mins, then brush on more olive oil & bake for the remaining 20 mins.

  4. Serve immediately with fresh herbs or plain.

 


WANT TO TRY A FEW MORE Potato DISHES THIS WEEK? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES: