Posts in Soup + Stew
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.

 
MEL × RIVERBEND: 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. 

 
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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

MEL × RIVERBEND: 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