Reflections on the past year (2017)

As usual, it was an interesting food year for us in our allergy friendly world. There were a few new changes and challenges that we’ve had to overcome. And more production of new (to us) foods at home in order to reduce our reliance on manufactured foods.

Back in February we got tested again (skin) and ended up adding a few more allergens to the list. It wasn’t an issue since we hadn’t yet tested those foods ourselves and they weren’t regularly in our diet. I did end up cooking and eating the frozen shrimp that was in our freezer all by myself, since that was one of the new allergens – shellfish.

We tried to make it out to the local farms this summer to pick berries and other fruit but the most we managed to do was go apple picking, which ended up in a bunch of apple sauce and apple chips. We also made strawberry and peach jam with fruit purchased at the farmer’s market.

In trying to figure out how to preserve our yearly garlic harvest I decided to make garlic powder. I minced them in the blender and then dehydrated the paste on a layer of parchment paper. After that, I put the dried sheets of garlic back into the blender. It’s the most potent garlic powder, both in flavour and smell, I’ve ever had and would recommend that anyone with a dehydrator try it out. The downside in making it was that the house was filled with garlic fumes for one night (so much so that it caused our eyes to water), and the house smelled like garlic for a week. Maybe better done outside next time.

After the garlic powder, I made onion powder. Also great and better tasting than store bought onion powder. Peel and slice the onions, lay on the tray, and dehydrate. Pulse in the blender after. One caveat is that the blender jar smells like garlic and onion still to this day. (it’s a Vitamix Tritan blender jar). But it doesn’t seem to have an impact on making other foods we blend smell or taste like garlic/onion.

Hot pot. We used to love doing hot pot dinners but lately have not sure to the sharing did aspect, potential contamination of the cooking water, and lack of sauces available. Not to mention that some of the foods we typically get are manufactured. We did try it finally and ended up going simple, with veggies, mushrooms, and sliced meats. I did make fish balls (which were pretty easy in a food processor) out of tilapia, tapioca starch and a few seasonings.

With our CSA meat share, we have trouble eating some of the larger roasts, but I’ve found that I can hand slice the meat and trim the fat off to make pretty good beef jerky in the dehydrator. The marinade I’ve come up with is a mix of sugar, homemade faux soy sauce, black pepper, garlic and onion powder. Pretty simple. I want to try pork jerky but I think that’s a bit more tricky. I’ll have to research that a bit more.

I didn’t get to use the grill outside much this year to do smoking or whatnot. We haven’t been eating much of our bacon that I made really early in the year. Oh well. I have my eyes on a piece of pork in the freezer that would be good to turn into a smoked and cured ham but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to work on that.

I have a few thoughts on what to make this year but that’ll be another post…