How many boxes of waxy chocolate covered almonds and flimsy wrapping paper have you bought over the years…to support somebody’s school? Finally…a school fundraiser that’s tasty, healthy and supports local farmers.
This is the second year I’ve bought Fresh from the Farm – the yummiest way to support the whole community. There is a box of apples, and bags of sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes and carrots. And perfect timing for some hearty winter stew. A definite Friday favourite.
Food tastes better when it’s shared – making it and eating it. And when it’s something like tourtiere, it spreads out the workload. I spent a great couple of hours with my friend Jo recently – filling our freezers with tourtiere for two. She made the delicious pork filling for the traditional Christmas meat pie. And I provided the butter pastry. Of course we had to sacrifice one of the 10 mini meat pies for a taste test. And I am savouring the little round disks of deliciousness waiting in the freezer for a snowy night.
It’s not for everyone…but I love grocery shopping. Probably helps that I just have one to cook for, and I always agrees with my choices! So when a friend got me a one week trial for a meal kit with three dinners, delivered to my door, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be for me.
And then I unwrapped the delivered to my door goodness from Good Food and started to cook. The food is expertly packaged with step by step recipes, and is as fresh as anything I would buy at my local independent food market. They are based in Montreal and say they try to source local food sources whenever possible, and they contribute to a nutritious meal for a child in need at school for every Good Food box delivered.
I’ve had butter chicken, pork skewers and a steak dinner. I might be hooked. You can choose from 3-6 original meals each week – or skip a week or two or three.
Here’s a little of what last week looked like!
I love sharing food. And I am also trying to do my bit to reduce the ridiculous levels of food that gets wasted. Sometimes it’s as simple as making enough food to pass around to a few others. I read somewhere recently that 40% of food waste happens at home. That’s a staggering number, but I can believe it.
A friend of mine shared some of her roast chicken and vegetables with me recently. Another friend brought over lentil soup. The chicken and veggies merged with the lentil soup for a meal for me, and there’s enough to make mini chicken pot pies for another friend.
Here’s how I made the pot pies:
Make a simple cream sauce with 2 Tbsp flour and 1 cup milk – simmered gently til thickened. I added chopped cooked chicken, frozen veggies, a little seasoning (salt, pepper, herbs de provence), white wine, sherry and a little parmesan. Spoon the mixture into little tart shells and top with mashed potatoes.
Simple and elegant. Apples neatly tucked into each other on a bed of shortbread.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3/4 cup softened butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
Blend well and add:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
Press the dough into a springform pan.
Peel 4 apples and slice then thinly. Arrange them on the dough.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and slivered almonds.
Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
A couple weeks after HAR had discovered Quebec City on foot – and had a selfie with Bill and Hilary — I arrived for a two-day conference on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, at the battle site of the Plains of Abraham.
The first day took us across the bridge, just north of the city, to the amazing microclimate world of Ile d’Orleans. The mostly agricultural island sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and captures a unique growing environment. Salt water flows in this fresh water river until about Quebec City.
It reminded me of other islands we love, that create a world within a world – Prince Edward Island and Nevis.
I would love to go back as soon as I finish the amazing samples I brought back — the ultimate artisanal Le Paillasson cheese from Les fromages de l’isle d’Orleans that was gently grilled and served warm, and a fortified black currant wine from Cassis Monna & Filles that tastes like port.
Thank you to the farmers of Ile d’Orleans – keep creating!
Summer is hanging on, but my internal clock says it’s time to start roasting pans of various veggies in the oven, slathered in olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a little herbes de provence. Seasonal veggies are the best, and I just did Brussels sprouts, chunks of carrots and some meaty cremini mushrooms – roasted at 375F for about 35 minutes, until tender.
And when I couldn’t imagine making any more tomato sauce – but still had part of a half bushel of market fresh romas staring me down…I remembered a Michael Smith recipe from years ago for roasting tomatoes. I cut the last 24 tomatoes in half, sliced up two onions in half rings, added a couple garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, and slow roasted for about 75 minutes until everything started to caramelize (well, kinda burned on the edges but I guess that’s just an extra dark caramel). I froze them to add to a hearty something in the deep of winter…when I’ll remember how warm and humid September really was.