Family, Food and Thanks

Cap-pele beach

Hello. Hi. I’ve been a little, er, absent from here lately. Ok, a lot absent. It wasn’t intentional… a combination of life getting in the way, and a feeling that my inspiration to cook new things and to talk about food was waning. The realization that many people don’t know (or care) where their food comes from, but can converse ad nauseam about the latest episode of The Bachelor or Real Housewives of New Jersey (how is that even a show?). Or which Kardashian is pregnant (seriously?!). I also recently learned that some new ovens come with a chicken nugget setting (I wish I was kidding).

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Quinoa Bowl with Beet Greens and Fava Beans

Quinoa bowl with beet greens and fava beansOur CSA from Waratah Downs started mid June, and I think we’re still catching up with how much fresh produce we have.  The fridge is constantly stocked, usually with many green things.  Several types of lettuce (at one point I think we had four different varieties), kale, beets (and greens), zucchini, dill, spring onions, garlic scapes, fava beans, radishes, kohlrabi.  Sometimes, if it’s been a particularly busy week or we went out of town over the weekend, I find the fridge still quite full when the next Thursday rolls around and it’s time to pick up our next batch.  This recipe was born of the necessity to make space in my fridge and use up the vegetables I had remaining. Continue reading

Strawberry Balsamic Compote with Basil Scones

Strawberry balsamic shortcake with basil honey scones and honey whipped cream

I sampled this delicious strawberry-balsamic compote at the farmer’s market a few weeks back and I knew I had to make it.  And because I like to bite off more than I can chew and over complicate things, I added it to strawberry shortcake.   I made scones for the shortcake part, which usually works out wonderfully.  The idea of using honey and basil in the scones got into my head this time and I couldn’t get it out, but I forgot the golden rule of substitutions in baking: keep the proportions of wet and dry ingredients the same.  Continue reading

Garden Update

Garen bed with squash, peas, beans and peppersThere is a reason I haven’t posted a garden update in a while.  That reason is that I take a series of pictures, get busy for a day or two before posting them, then look at the garden again and realize the pictures are out of date because everything has grown so much more!  Ok, I didn’t say it was a good reason. Continue reading

Strawberries Have Arrived in Eastern Ontario! Along with Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry rhubarb pie with Red Fife crust and lattice top, straight from the ovenFinally! After hearing folks in Southern Ontario and elsewhere mentioning strawberries for a few weeks now, local strawberries arrived at local farmer’s markets this past weekend. In my mind, summer is not really here until local strawberries arrive. The market in Westboro even had tastings of a few different strawberry-filled concoctions – the Strawberry-Balsamic Compote with goat cheese on crostini was my favourite. They all tasted like summer. I recreated it last night, made into a quasi strawberry shortcake with basil and Red Fife scones and honey whipped cream. A post on that coming soon! Continue reading

Slowcooker Pulled Pork and Coleslaw

Finished pulled pork on Ace Bakery chiabattas with coleslawI’ve been having a cooking dry spell lately.  I’ve been busy.  I went to Lake Placid and ran a half marathon.  I’m taking a course on Food Policy which is more studying than I’ve done in eons and also requires writing, so it’s sapping much of my creative inspiration.  We’re between CSAs – the summer one we’ve signed up with doesn’t start for another week or so, and the farmer’s markets are still fairly barren of local vegetables and fruit.  All those things are true.  But really, those are just excuses and I’ve been feeling entirely uninspired in both the kitchen and writing departments. Continue reading

Garden Update

Purple chive flowersWe’re a little late getting the garden started.  In Eastern Ontario, the long weekend in May is traditionally considered the safe garden planting time.  With the warming climate, some say the average last frost date in our region is actually around May 6th, although it certainly wouldn’t have paid off to plant delicate plants that early this year.  While I do wish we would have had the plants in the ground earlier, we did A LOT of work on the garden so far this year.  Continue reading

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Caramel Sauce

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and caramel sauce

Carrot cake was the grand finale for the Mother’s Day feast we hosted.  This is my favourite carrot cake – the recipe I use is actually called “Just Carrots Carrot Cake” which is exactly why I love it.  You can add bells and whistles if you like – I prefer to layer them on the top.  But no raisins.  Definitely, absolutely, no raisins.  Who wants to eat humiliated grapes? (Love that movie!)  Oh, and this time, I had the genius idea to add caramel sauce.  Wow.  Genius.  Note to self: find more recipes that use caramel sauce.  That is, if there is any left after I spoonful by spoonful eat all the leftover caramel sauce straight from the fridge (I wish I was kidding). Continue reading

Crispy Baked Fries Take Two: Now With “Regular” Potatoes!

Closeup of crispy baked fries with Greek yogurt and cilantro dipping sauceThe Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries recipe I posted last week was so amazing, I made it again last night.  But I didn’t have any sweet potatoes.  I did have “regular” white potatoes.  I would tell you what kind of potatoes I used, but I have no idea.  It didn’t even say on the bag.  Is that weird?  Or am I just so used to buying local and from farmers where everything about the type and origin of the produce is celebrated that I’ve forgotten that “regular” vegetables in the grocery store don’t list this information? Continue reading