Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

I could basically survive off of bread and cheese ( or some other form of wheat and dairy combination ) but we all know that’s rather unsustainable and can quickly become quite boring. Well, that is, if you’re only exploring the basics. Thankfully this recipe is quite a few steps beyond good old cheddar on crackers, but it remains in the same realm of quick, satisfying and delightful.

You can have this herbed yogourt + crackers on its own, but also keep it in your arsenal for the next time you have friends over. This recipe would make a great addition to a charcuterie board or as part of a tapas spread. Also, given that they have a similar acidity to plain yogourt, you could easily experiment with goat cheese or labneh for the base of this recipe if you’re craving something a little bit more spreadable.

 
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

A little bit about fennel

Fennel is one of those vegetables that people seem to either love or hate. The bulb has a slight anise-like flavor which I personally find quite refreshing when it’s eaten shaved and raw. It becomes milder as it cooks, so if you’re on the fence about trying fennel, I’d say start with a recipe where it’s cooked like this one or this one.

The fronds on the other hand can be quite stringy and tough, like a celery stick but denser, so I prefer cutting it against the grain whenever possible. The wispy fronds also hold a bit of licorice-like flavor, but in a somewhat subdued form which is perfect for today’s recipe.

 
 
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

THE RECIPE


MAKES 2 CUPs

1 C fennel fronds, minced
6-8 large basil leaves
10-12 mint leaves
Small bunch of parsley
½-¾ C plain yogourt
Salt

30 ROAST + 10 min PREP

  1. Cut all your herbs, place them in a bowl

  2. Mix in yogourt + a good pinch of salt

  3. Cover and let sit in the fridge at least 15 minutes.

  4. Taste and adjust salt before serving with your favorite crackers or as part of a charcuterie board


more fennel recipes

Kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE Sponsored by riverbend Gardens


 

Bowls are quite fashionable right now. If you look at any foodie’s Instagram feed long enough (mine included) you will begin to see little pops of bowls everywhere. Breakfast bowls. Lunch bowls. Dinner bowls. Poke bowls. Bowls bowls bowls.

So, why am I trying to get you on the bus with me on this one? So we can be fashionable friends together? While that seems like an alluring proposition, and I’m all for fashionable friends, there’s more to it than that. Bowls to me are an easy way to get a variety of foods onto the table with very little effort. Laziness, my friend, is at the root of this one. You can call it strategic or even cleaver, but between you and I, I don’t have a million hours a week to put food on the table (and neither do you I assume). I’m also not willing to compromise on a simple principle. I want fresh food fast, not fast food.

 
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

How to build a bowl

My approach to bowls is a simple one. Start with what’s available right now. Sure we can get whatever we want from big box stores (or small local grocers) these days, but I like to start at the farmer’s market and look around to what’s available. Right now, there’s a myriad of produce available, because it’s the end of july, so you can easily pick a handful of produce that inspires you.

I try to aim for at least one green thing and then I add as many colors as I can.

From there I make sure there is a good source of protein & some fat so that I’m not hungry 5 minutes after I’m done eating. That could mean cheese, eggs, beans or leftovers from last night’s rotisserie chicken. Easy enough right?

It’s all in the dressing

One of the key ways to make a bowl taste divine, is to make sure that you have a tasty dressing. I suggest keeping on hand a couple of dressings (perhaps one oil-and-vinegar and one creamy style) that you really enjoy to make bowl making a breeze.

For this particular bowl I went with an Asian-inspired dressing made from sesame oil, tamari, and rice vinegar. it's one of the combinations that you find often in my cuisine (it’s the base for my ginger beef and sunomono salad) and it has all of the flavors that I enjoy. It's slightly salty, perfectly acidic and a good amount of umami.

 
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

THE RECIPE


MAKES 2 bowls

2 eggs
2 medium carrots
1 baseball size kholrabi
1 bunch kale
3-4 garlic scapes
(or garlic cloves)
2 t butter
1 t sesame oil
1 t toasted sesame seeds
1 t black sesame seeds
 

Dressing

1/2 C labneh
1 T fresh mint, chopped
1 T fresh dill, chopped
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 t himalayan salt
1 T avocado oil

15 min PREP

  1. Remove greens from kohlrabi and chop them in ribbons along with the kale (stems included)

  2. In a pan over medium heat, add half the butter.

  3. Chop the garlic scapes, add them to the pan. Stir until the scapes becomes fragrant.

  4. Then add the greens & 1 t sesame oil, stir and remove from heat.

  5. Peel and julienne the kohlrabi. Grate the carrots and place both in your bowls.

  6. Give one last stir to the greens and remove them from the pan into the bowls.

  7. Add the remaining butter and fry your egg to your desired doneness (scrambled worked well too).

  8. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork, then drizzle over your bowl.

  9. Top with egg & sesame seeds and enjoy!


more kohlrabi recipes

Roasted Beet + Berry Hummus
beet and haskap hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

The first time I had homemade hummus was in Montreal, standing in a friend’s kitchen as his mother began preparing the evening meal.

It was one of the first times in my life that I had experienced family life in a multi-generational home. There was tension, for sure, as everyone was grown up, had their own opinions and schedules. Yet, among all of these fine lines that needn't be crossed and unspoken rules, there was a sort of balance I had never felt before. A sense of deeply rooted belonging that permeated every word, every action and every dish.

Daily meals were prepared for twice as many people than there were sitting down at the table. It was understood and expected that a friend or family member might pop in, unannounced, to share the meal. There was always more than enough food to go around, and in the very unlikely occasion that food should run out, there was always a full pantry and capable hands ready to make more.

To me, this level of hospitality is heart expanding. It is one of the underlying notions of how I run my own kitchen today. In our home we jokingly say to our friends “It’s simple enough to add another stone to the soup. You are always welcome here”.

So, back to hummus.

Her’s was a traditional recipe, made of chickpeas, lemon, tahini & olive oil. She had been making this recipe long enough that her grandchildren, who were now adults were eating it. I couldn't help but think that part of the reason why her hummus was as bright as sunshine in the early morn', was that her hands were steeped in lemon from years and years of pressing.

 
haskap hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
beet hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

This recipe is something else altogether. While it still contains some of the soul and simplicity of the dip I tasted in my friend’s kitchen, it is vibrant in ways unrelated to the juice of those sun-kissed citruses. It celebrates the coming of summer with the season’s very first roasted beets and the end of the cold season with the last of their pickled companions.

The acidity comes from vinegar in the pickles and the color, oh the color, comes in part from the beets and in part from this little northern berry that ripens on the summer winds. Fresh haskap berries bring a lovely acidity of their own to the mix. Their flavor is akin to raspberry meets tart green apple, and they round out the earthiness of the beets just perfectly.

If you cannot find haskaps, don’t fret, this recipe will be delicious without them. But if you can find them fresh, add them in and you won’t be sorry.

 
 
beet hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

THE RECIPE


MAKES 2.5 CUPS

1 C cooked and drained chickpeas
½ C roasted beets
½ C pickled beets
½ haskap berries
2 T olive oil (more if needed
½ t salt

30 ROAST + 10 min PREP

  1. Remove greens from 4-5 small beets if there are any.

  2. Place on a baking tray at 400 for 30 minutes

  3. Once cooled add everything in a food processor & blend until smooth.


more beet recipes

Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Quick pickling

Quick-pickling is one of those things I discovered out of necessity. I love red onion you see, however for Tom they are indigestible in their raw form. So, I started looking into ways I could incorporate them into our salad without giving him indigestion. After much googling and pinterest-ing, enter quick-pickling.

The first time I attempted it, I did it with white vinegar. I chopped the red onions finely, set them at the bottom of a bowl and tossed them with a splash of vinegar. I let them sit a bit while I prepared the remaining components of our meal. When I returned to them and did a taste test, I thought they turned out a little too far on the tangy side and made the whole experience a little abrasive. However, I knew it was on to something. It just needed some finessing.

My preferred quick pickling vinegar

These days, I tend to reach for wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar for quick pickling. They all have a slightly different taste and are somewhat softer and more rounded out in flavor than white vinegar. Since they all have different tastes (and this is also true when you change from brand to brand) this may require some experimentation of your own, but for the sake of this recipe, I used the slightly fruitier Bragg apple cider vinegar.

Moving on from red onions, I figured if this works for them it must work for other things as well (and it does)! I’ve now quick pickled carrots, garlic scapes, cukes, zucchini and most recently kale.

 
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
 

About this recipe:

It’s simple. Much like the rest of my kitchen.

However, it’s the small details and technique which elevate this dish past being another simple salad. The kale gets softened by the vinegar & salt, as do the red onions. The potatoes are quickly boiled then pan seared to create a golden exterior and a fluffy soft middle.

Topped with the nutty roasted pumpkin seeds and the crunchy salt flake finish, it makes for the perfect side dish on a barbecue night or a fantastic base for a weekday bowl.

 
QUICK-PICKLED KALE & NEW POTATO SALAD
DSC_7186.jpg

THE RECIPE


SERVES 2

1 bunch kale
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 golf ball sized red onion
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
Sea salt for finishing

10 min PREP + Cook 20 mins

  1. Rip the kale into bite size chunks, reserving the stems for later use.

  2. In a medium bowl, place kale, thinly sliced red onion, apple cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt.

  3. Mix well by hand making sure all the kale & onion is well coated.

  4. Place potatoes in a pan with enough water to cover half way up the potatoes.

  5. Boil for 10 minutes, turning halfway then drain.

  6. Add butter & remaining olive oil then pan fry over medium for 5 minutes.

  7. Chop the kale stems to the size of a large pea,

  8. Flip the potatoes over, add the pumpkin seeds & kale stems.

  9. Once the potatoes are golden on both sides, remove from the pan, chop them up (careful not to burn yourself) and toss with the kale.

  10. Serve warm or cold, enjoy!


more kale recipes

Zucchini Cornbread
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

The thing about seriously good baking is this. It's more like the horizon "forever receeding" than a goal. Or as Tom would put it "the more you know, the more you know you don't know"

I inevitably become painfully aware of my shortcomings as my skills develop and then it becomes a matter of chasing the dragon so to speak.

I find myself akin to some back alley addict looking for the next high. The exception being that my particular form of high comes in the form of an expertly executed dish.

 
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

Whether that be Appalachian hillbilly chicken and dumplings or a single bite from a molecular pastry chef at the edge of his game makes no difference. If the dish sings to me.. it usually results in a hedonistic memory I can never shake.

My path into baking has been one of dragon chasing. Where I would eat savory and sweet baked goods crafted by other peoples talented hands and be left with a longing to recreate it in the kitchen. I would then return home with high hopes and no real plan, because I knew deep down that I can't bake. Until now.

I've equipped myself with a scale & some delicious flours. I'm starting at the bottom of the hill with the lowly but divinely delicious zucchini cornbread.

I've gone ahead and adjusted it to remove white flour & processed sugar and called it good. Perhaps my inability to follow a strict recipe is to blame for the flop of my more complex baking projects.. but this one is truly difficult to mess up.

So if you're like me, longing for a homemade treat but convinced your hands cannot produce such a thing, don't fret friend. I've got you. You've got this.

 
DSC_7140.jpg

THE RECIPE


INGREDIENTS

MAKES 6-8 PORTIONS

2 T coconut oil
1/4 C red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t pimenton paprika
1 t fresh thyme
1 C grated zuccini
3/4 C cornmeal
1 T whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
2 t honey
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C plain yogourt
1/2 t salt

DIRECTIONS

15 MINS PREP + 30 MINS BAKING

  1. Grease an 8 inch cast iron skillet with coconut oil & place it in the oven while it preheats to 400.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together your cornmeal, flour, salt, thyme, pimenton paprika & baking powder.

  3. Beat the yogurt, honey & egg together, then incorporate it to the cornmeal mixture.

  4. Once there are no more clumps, squeeze the zucchini to remove as much water as possible then add it, the garlic and the red onion to the batter.

  5. Remove the skillet from the oven & pour in the batter.

  6. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.


more zucchini recipes

Maternity Leave
The Nomadic Wife Maternity Leave - Sara Jewell Photography Edmonton

PHOTOS BY SARA JEWELL


 
To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

 

I wasn't really sure I was going to write a blog post about this.. but here we are. I guess I just wanted to let you guys know what's happening here at TNW for the foreseeable future.
 

Focusing on design

I've been putting my limited brain power mostly towards getting ready for Baby Emmett & serving my clients over at Nourished Design. (In case you didn't know, I'm a graphic designer by trade who specialized in Squarespace websites, strategy & branding for food, ag, health & wellness companies).

So if you haven't been seeing a lot of updates on here lately, that's the culprit!
 

Staying in touch

Many of you have reached out to me over Instagram and email recently to send us good vibes and well wishes! Thank you so much for taking the time to do so! It's incredibly sweet!

I'll be hanging out over on Instagram a couple of times a week until Mr. E comes, so if you want to stay in touch, for now, that's probably the best way to go about it.

I may post some short form recipes on there (like this one) so keep an eye out!
 

Recipes New & Old

Though I am not currently planning on photographing new recipes until late April or May 2018, I guess it's a fair point to remind you that this blog is already packed with a whole bunch of easy-does-it goodness. You can use the search bar or hit "healthy recipes" at the top to navigate by ingredient, meal type or season!

 
The nomadic wife maternity leave - Sara Jewell Photography Edmonton
 

What's next for TNW?

Well, if you ask any of my close friends, they will tell you I have a million ideas for where I want TNW to go in the next couple of years but I am also trying to show myself a little grace in this season of change.

So, no official announcements.. just letting you know I'm not going anywhere & that I'm grateful for all the support you've shown me & our family thus far!

Big love from our table to yours,
Mel

 
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography

Article featured in YEG Inspired Magazine | Props by Shop Hearth | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

The only dough you need to master

Pizza dough is the only “bread” I know how to make, but the versatility of what you can make with it is endless. I've made everything from garlic twist buns, bread sticks, flatbread to dinner rolls with this recipe! The only thing that ever changes is the oven temperature and the amount of time it bakes.

These mini buns are crusty on the outside & fluffy in the middle, which make them perfect for mopping up sauce or having with a charcuterie board if that's your thing.

 
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography
The only dough you need to know: Mini Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography
 

Bread dough worth fighting over

Every time I make them, it brings me back to those days when my parents used to order in pizza and it would come with a little dough ball in the middle. It's only purpose was to keep the limpy cardboard box from touching the cheese and tasted exactly the same as the rest of the crust... but we fought over it like banshees. Ah. The good old days.

 

 
Pizza Dough Buns | Emilie Iggiotti Photography

36 mini buns

2C warm water
2t quick yeast
1t salt
1t sugar
1T olive oil
4C flour

10 min prep + 1h rise + 18 mins bake

  1. In a large mixing bowl add the warm water, sugar & salt then mix until they are dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle in yeast and wait until it becomes active, you will see it foam when it's ready.
  3. Add olive oil then the flour and knead with your hands (or a dough knife) until all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Cover tightly with shrink wrap and let the dough rise for an hour.
  5. Preheat your oven at 325.
  6. On a well floured surface, and with slightly oiled hands, dump the batter and begin to tear it into little chunks and rolling them into balls that will fit inside mini-muffin holes.
  7. Once your tray is full bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden.
  8. Serve warm with preserves & butter or as mini dinner rolls.

WANT TO TRY SOME EASY HOLIDAY DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES:

Cherry Shrub : My kind of holiday bubbly
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton

Article featured in YEG Inspired Magazine | Props by Shop Hearth | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

Vinegar based drink

I was introduced to shrub by a local cafe, and I can’t quite remember what fruit was used then, but it was delightful. It’s a not-too-sweet alternative to soda (if you put it in carbonated water) and while I love all things vinegar, this really isn’t as vinegar-y as it sounds.

 
Cherry Shrub : My kind of holiday bubbly
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink recipe by The Nomadic Wife | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton
 

Bubbly without the Booze

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend, Margaret, of The Kitchen Frau blog. I had a kick of a time picking the cherries with her & some other food blogging friend last summer. She has the most beautiful Evans cherries!

For this recipe, I adjusted her original version with apple cider vinegar & you could make it with just about any berry that you like. If you wind up making far more than you need, like I did, it makes for a perfect hand-made gift to bring your favorite hostess over the holidays..

 
Cherry Shrub : Holiday drink | Emilie Iggiotti Photography Edmonton

4L of shrub, which is enough for a year.

Vinegar solution 3 parts vinegar, one part water:
2 parts apple cider vinegar
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
 

12 C fresh cherries, pitted
¼ C sugar for every cup of juice

1 week sitting + 10 min boil

  1. Place cherries in a large bowl and cover with the vinegar solution.
  2. Let sit for a at least seven days on the counter, covered.
  3. Blend and strain all the liquid with the help of a muslin or nut bag.
  4. Place liquid in a large sauce pot, along with sugar and boil for 10 minutes then seal into mason jars.
  5. To drink, place 1-2T in a jar, top up with carbonated water & enjoy.
  6. Add milk and cream into a pot over medium heat, stir constantly until it begins to simmer.

WANT TO TRY SOME EASY HOLIDAY DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES:

Our Nordic Christmas Table: Gather & Feast
Holiday gathering recipes by The Nomadic Wife | Emilie Iggiotti Photography

Article featured in YEG Inspired Magazine | Props by Shop Hearth | PHOTOS BY EMILIE IGGIOTTI


 

I'm at the stage of my life where, with our first baby on the way, I'm considering deeply what it means to have family traditions. I'm trying to be mindful of keeping a thread that links back our roots while developing new traditions that are, dare I say it, better aligned with our lifestyle.

 
Christmas Tablescape | The Nomadic Wife | Photography By Emilie
Christmas Tablescape | The Nomadic Wife | Photography By Emilie
 

Make new traditions.

From my past, I bring forward some quintessential Canadian Christmas dinner traditions. At the center of it all is the act of gathering as many people as I can until our home is bursting at the seams. I adore when people I know & love congregate around a table laden with tourtière, currant sauce, Hasselback potatoes on the side, sugar pie & pouding chômeur. While some things need to be left as they were 50 years ago — such as the perfect roasted turkey — I'll admit to having added my own twist to many of these recipes.

Being the slightly more conscious eater now than my mother was at my age, I've started to include large salads & other veggie-filled sides in our holiday feast. It fills my plant-based heart to the brim to see brightly colored veg mixed into the the more traditional dishes of my past.

Who says you can’t have kale salad or green juice during the holidays?

Friends from far & wide

Christmas has a knack for stirring the pot for many of us. Most of our friends here in the city are transplants just like us and spend Christmas far from those they hold dear & wish to break bread with the most. However, I must admit that I have grown to love the delights of sharing our holiday table with friends, old and new, who've come from near and far to share a meal & bask in the holiday vibes.

There’s something quite wonderful about growing a new family in a different city.

I try to see the beauty in every aspect of the holidays and extend a heart filled with love to those who struggle with the season. I’ve been there, in that place where it seems like the holidays will never be the same. It’s for these people, and our nostalgic friends, that I open our home in an attempt to to keep the magic and whimsy of it alive. So here’s to gathering as many of your loved ones as you can & celebrating the heck out of the holidays, no matter what past years were like.
 

 
Christmas Tablescape | The Nomadic Wife | Photography By Emilie
 

Abundance & Feast

Despite coming from simple roots, the feeling of abundance was always present around the Christmas table, so I've made a point to keep it overflowing.. only with healthier options than its vintage counterpart.

Here are some of my favorite Christmas recipes for you to try & perhaps spark the beginning of a new tradition of your own.

 

WANT TO TRY SOME EASY HOLIDAY DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE EASY RECIPES: