Category Archives: local

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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friday favourite – tapping trees

Every spring, it gets me. When the snow starts to melt, and there’s a hint of warmer weather, I stick my noise in the air like the dog because I can smell maple syrup season coming.

We had a great family operation way back when. And the fillings that take up every one of our molars are no surprise given the amount of syrup and maple sugar we would consume during the six or so week season every spring. We had agro-tourism before it was even a thing, selling maple syrup direct from the farm, offering tours of our operation and serving up an impressive menu of pancakes, tea biscuits and johnny cake – as the carrier for some variation of our homemade maple products. Here are a few shots — from the Maplewood archives.

 

And maple, well, you know it goes with everything and with every meal. Maple sugar goes in my coffee every morning. Maple syrup is the only thing that ever tops pancakes or maple syrup in our houses. And maple butter is often just eaten off the spoon, or sometimes it makes it onto toast. I might just have an entire shelf in my frig dedicated to maple.

CJR

 

costa rican coffee

Before boarding our small ship for a week off the coast of Costa Rica, we found a coffee plantation tour that we could just squeeze in during our one free morning.

Britt Coffee has a small plantation at their roasting facility that was about 45 minutes from our hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica. The hotel arranged a taxi for us, we paid for the tour and lunch and we were on our way.

The tour was very entertaining with two hosts who must have a background in theatre! Throughout the plantation there were coffee stations so by the end of the tour we had tasted most of their blends, and had a caffeine buzz!

IMG_1165

 

IMG_1159I wanted to buy some coffee but didn’t really want to carry it with me all week on a boat. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought this way since they made it very easy to ship coffee home. I placed my order, it arrived last night and this morning I ground my Costa Rican beans and drank my coffee watching the snow fall!

 

HAR

 

 

 

burgers

It’s taken me until the middle of August but I finally made homemade burgers this week. It was so worth the wait.

Homegrown beef from my friend Jeanine, tossed with local grated two-year old cheddar, and a heaping spoonful or two of my cousin Pat’s homemade pesto. I rounded out my summer backyard feast with lots of fresh veggies from my local farmers’ market – sautéed cremini mushrooms, diced tomatoes and fresh carrot sticks.

100% Simple. Local. Yum.

CJR

 

braised ribs take 2

It hasn’t exactly been crockpot weather – but I had a nice little package of local beef braising ribs. I cut them up and loaded them in my mini crockpot, added BBQ sauce, a little red wine, chopped onions and quartered cremini mushrooms.

I added new potatoes after about 3.5 hours, and it was all done in 4 hours (on high).

And then – the leftovers turned into this. I chopped everything up, tossed it in a saucepan with a little white wine, freshly shelled peas and a few cherry tomatoes.

 One bowl easy. Included lots of food groups. And was as tasty as it was colourful.

CJR

rhubarb muffins

I love seasonal food that’s only really, truly fresh and local for a few weeks of the year. Probably something to do with the memories of picking and eating fresh-from-the-large-farm-garden we had growing up.

It’s rhubarb’s time. And I just made some whole wheat rhubarb streusel muffins, thanks to a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and added some ground flax seed to the streusel.

My new non-stick muffin tin is something I should have upgraded to years ago…glad I had it today.

I’ve tried streusel muffins before and the topping always falls off. Learned the trick is less batter and pat down the topping to stick onto the muffin as it rises in the oven.

Perfect recipe for a rainy weekend morning with a coffee and the crossword.

CJR

 

 

finding veggies again

Well, it’s not exactly warm spring weather yet, but seems like it’s time to start to find some vegetables and salads again. I don’t know about you, but winter left a few extra pounds hanging around, so I made my first chopped veggie salad of the season to lighten up.

I found a cool mix of grains and lentils from Floating Leaf food company in Manitoba. I cooked up a cup of them. Roasted some fresh local asparagus. Chopped up grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onion and some salami chunks.

Tossed it all with olive oil and lemon juice, salt/pepper and a mitt full of crumbled feta.

CJR