simple summer entertaining

Every week I visit the local farmers’ market and come home with armloads of goodness from the vendors. I wish I could eat more of what they grow.

Last week, I made a list and tried to stick to it. It was all the local veggies I needed for a salad nicoise – a simple summer salad recommended by my blogging sidekick sis.

 

If you like make ahead entertaining meals, this is a great one to try. Here’s how I constructed my version.

  1. hard boil 3-4 eggs, peel and slice in quarters
  2. briefly steam a big mittful of fresh green beans – trim one end
  3. simmer new potatoes until just done – cut in halves or quarters depending on the size
  4. prepare the salmon – I marinated fresh atlantic salmon in equal parts maple syrup and soy sauce for about an hour (skin side up) – then with skin side down, and a generous layer of sesame seeds sprinkled on top, I baked them for about 15 minutes at 425F
  5. then the assembly – bib lettuce on the bottom, piles of potatoes, eggs, beans, and Kalamata olives – toss capers over the whole thing and rest the salmon in the primo spot
  6. drizzle the entire presentation with dressing – I used this dressing, you could also try HAR’s everyday go-to homemade dressing.

A side of fresh bread, great friends and life is good.

CJR

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getting back at it

We’ve been on a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus (blogatus?). We didn’t make a conscious decision. It just happened. Neither of us sent our usual “hey check out my draft on slippers” and the other didn’t sent a “what the heck should we write about next week?”

Life was happening all around us. As it does. And that took much of our time, attention and energy.

When we first starting blogging, I brought my marketing/advertising get-shit-done-on-your-to-do-list and of-course-we-can-blog-three-times-a-week approach. It was a good plan and we did pretty well for a year or two.

Then you wonder…are we saying the same stuff as we said last November? And if we are, does anybody remember? Probably not. Hell, if we couldn’t remember and it was our blog…we were pretty sure that our readers didn’t keep mental track.

And then life happened. There were wedding details. There were kayaks to paddle. There were real jobs to get done. There were vacations to plan and take. There were tributes to write for old friends who had left this world. There were brothers to worry about and visit in the hospital. (he’s fine!) And there was stinking hot, humid weather All. The. Time. Sure we grew up in humid southern Ontario…but come on.

But enough about us. We wanna get back to sharing the stuff we love with all of you.

Stuff like…

  • a cupboard full of homemade, local jam
  • baby blankets knit for your first grandchild-to-be

So, we might repeat ourselves every 18 months or so…with a slightly different twist and new picture. Thanks for travelling along with us.

Be well.

CJR & HAR

family weddings

We just wrapped up a great three-day wedding weekend. It’s the kind of stuff we love…

when your son/nephew gets married to a wonderful woman…fullsizeoutput_af87when your family travels five hundred miles squished in a car to attend the wedding…fullsizeoutput_af61when cousins re-connect at the wedding…fullsizeoutput_af34when two families merge at the wedding…fullsizeoutput_ae35and of course, when sister bloggers get some real in-your-face time…fullsizeoutput_af3c

HAR & CJR

friday favourite – grandma’s slippers 2.0

These are so quick and easy, each slipper is the equivalent of one episode of whatever you are bingeing on with Netflix! They are a custom order for a friend of mine. Her adult children were nostalgic for the slippers their grandmother used to make for them. We went to our local yarn store and selected colours for each of her daughters. And then I knit them. It took a week and I binged on Fauda, a drama about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the more intense the drama, the faster I knit!IMG_3167Then I had some fun arranging the slippers for a photo shoot!IMG_3176IMG_3177Creativity comes in many forms!

HAR

grilled eggplant salad

This eggplant salad was easy and a big hit on Sunday for our family backyard gathering.IMG_3626It’s a Melissa Clark recipe from the NYTimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (I used 2)
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (I forgot to add this)
  • black pepper
  • capers, for garnish, optional

Heat grill to medium high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, put it on the grill and close the cover, cook, turning occasionally, until the eggplant is very soft and skin is blistered, about 15 minutes.

When cool enough, scoop out the insides of the eggplant and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, vinegar, salt and garlic. Stir in oil and parsley, season with pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with capers. Serve with warm pita bread.

HAR

 

return of the chopped summer salad

It’s hard to want to spend much time at all in the kitchen with the extended heat wave that seems to be just about everywhere.

Then I remembered how easy it is to just chop up all the local veggies that are showing up at my local farmers’ market. Last week’s haul included shelling peas, green beans, green onion, cherry tomatoes and multi-coloured carrots.

So I chopped, shredded and tossed, added in some cooked quinoa, local apple cider Dijon dressing and feta…and voila.

What are you cooking in this heat?

CJR

 

startups

When somebody puts themselves out there  – taking a risk, seeing an opportunity to start a little business…I love supporting them. I admit that when I go to my local farmers’ market I feel a little tinge of guilt because I can’t buy something from everyone. I don’t need that much food in a week and really am working at curbing food waste to do my little part.

I’m lucky that my town seems to be a magnet for opportunities to buy from little local startups. And I love to hear the backstories. When I don’t know them, I sometimes just imagine what aligned the business plan, prototypes and marketing ideas to bring something to market.

I don’t have to drive or walk for more than 15 minutes to get clothes, shoes, local food groceries, amazing sourdough bread, locally-grown flowers, beeswax candles, rustic signs on barnboard and now…pizza.

I’ve been in marketing and advertising for decades, and I love watching these startups use simple, smart and free social media tools to spread the word to attract consumers that will hopefully take them to success – however they measure it.

Completely by accident (not really if you are Instagram) I heard about @piebynightguelph. They describe themselves as four young cooks making great pizza in the heart of Guelph. They are using the local bakery’s space on a Sunday to whip together amazing pizza pies.

I hope Sunday night’s pizza pies get this startup where they want to be. It’s deliciousness and hard work that I’m happy to pay for.

CJR