My idea of how to eat well

My idea of how to eat well……Is to decide that food creation can be exciting.

As a professional designer, I transfer my passion for experiencing what I see and touch to the technical and creative assembly of something beautiful, functional and tasty in the kitchen.

For everyday cooking, I shop in local grocery stores and at specialized farms. Once home, I spread everything out on the counter and admire the fresh colour, texture and pattern of what nature creates. Fresh vegetables, meats and fish are time sensitive. They shift and change fast and at varying rates demanding quick action.

At this time of year, I invent meals with vegetables and fruits too numerous to list here. It’s feasting time. A fresh local turkey is on deck no matter what.

For the most part, I decide what to do with my food stash in a creative flow. The pantry is stocked with different oils and kinds of vinegar, condiments, flours, spices and salt. Although, definitely too much butter, cream and cheese at the moment.

I love the process of planning what I feel like creating for my family. For example, one son came home yesterday and asked if we have any salad? What he was really asking is if I have a salad already made. Yes, there was a Buckwheat Salad ready. I love using buckwheat groats, noodles and flour.

The absolutely essential for great taste and even greater results is having the highest quality and freshest ingredients. My grandmothers’ handwritten recipe collection, Mom and Amma never said, but implied this requirement for good cooking and baking.

My commitment to the highest quality food for my children never let up, even when I was exhausted at the end of a long workday. Eventually, this led me to create meals joyfully.

I decided that whenever I entered my kitchen it would be my zone of calm confidence, creative thinking, and reflection. It became all about being present and filled with love. And so it is.

Thankfully my children effortlessly ate everything, even the weird and experimental creations, and all the eccentric Icelandic historic cured, dried and smoked ones too. They rated them either ‘restaurant worthy’, or totally missing something. And then I would write down what I made and tweak it the next time.

My idea of how to eat well is to prioritize simple and fresh, and nothing purchased if made with more than a few pure ingredients. I’m always reading flyers and shopping sales and stocking up when I can. Meals are quite often decided based on what is on sale, in-season or looking really great. I choose first local, Ontario or Canadian and only trusted high-quality high-value imports.

For meat, I prefer wild game and freshly caught fish. I buy domestic custom cut part or whole lamb, beef or pork and chickens once or twice a year directly from farmers I trust. I value the ones who have accountable farming practices, no use of hormones or antibiotics and 100% grass or natural feed for the cleanest sourced products possible. Not only is it less expensive to buy this way, but the quality is also superb. The great bonus is that I have lots of variety to choose from every week.

Family is the most important thing to me. My children are strong, resilient, happy, loving and healthy. How can it get any better than that?

I don’t buy many shoes. I do, however, continue to seek and create healthy, positive connections, collaborations and success in all things. My love for a full three-dimensional life expressed through food, culture, design, and Vinarterta continues.

Thank you for being with me on this journey. Let me know your thoughts!

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Sending lots of love,

Arden Jackson

What I’m making a lot of lately:

Buckwheat Salad:

Buckwheat Sarrasin Groats. Cook 1 cup with 2 cups of water for 10-15 minutes, cool and add 1 of each diced cucumber, carrot, red pepper, celery stick, zucchini, radish, banana pepper, green onion, chopped fresh basil, parsley, and chervil. Dress with apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Steam 3-4 leaves of rainbow chard for a few minutes, chill in a bowl with ice water. Drain and dice the stems, slice the leaves into thin shreds, drizzle with cider vinegar, and sea salt. Arrange chard in a bowl. Top with a big scoop of Buckwheat Salad.

Thanksgiving Side Dish For My Vegetarian Friends:

Kale Salad with Roasted Veg, Baked Crunchy Chickpeas and Dried Cranberries

Roasted Veg: Mix slices of (¼” rounds) 1 Zucchini, 1 sweet potato with 1 cup of shredded Red Cabbage, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of Nordur Sea Salt, ½ tsp of Curry Powder. Spread on a sheet of parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes until tender, slightly brown.

Roasted Chick Peas: Drain 1 can of chickpeas. Dry on paper towel. In a bowl sprinkle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp Nordur Sea Salt and ½ tsp curry powder. Spread on a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Put in the oven with the Roasted veg. Roast at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes until crunchy. Keep leftovers at room temp, not the frig or they will become soggy.

Dressing: In a food processor add 1/3 cup sunflower butter (almond or sesame works well too), 2 large cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce, ½ tsp of Nordur Garum Fish Sauce (optional), ¼ cup of water, 1 tsp lemon or lime juice. Blend and add more water if needed, test, and add a pinch of Nordur Sea Salt if needed.

Salad: 6 cups of mixed greens (kale, spinach, mixed greens), 4 thinly sliced radishes, 3 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 sliced ripe avocado mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional), shave a carrot with a potato peeler into long thin ribbons for garnish.

Assemble the salad on a large platter for a show-stopper presentation. Lay a few Kale leaves around the edge of the platter. Pile the Salad on the platter followed by the roasted veg, drizzle with salad dressing, garnish with roasted chickpeas, carrot ribbons, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Serve with extra dressing and chickpeas on the side.

Veggies on deck this week: (And turkey, of course.)

Kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach, cucumbers, beets, carrots, sweet potato, kohlrabi, squash, pumpkins, green, red and savoy cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, onions, tomatoes, and many varieties of fresh apples, pears, melon, and cranberries.