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!
I was walking the dog last night after work. Summer has returned to Ontario in that perfect way that only happens near the end of the season. Warm, sunny days and almost duvet nights.
As I coaxed the dog along with a steady supply of liver treats, I was thinking about how much I love this time of year. I was making a list in my head and thought I’d share them here.
- the bugs are done
- my brown-eyed susan patch adds more brightness to the shortening days
- butterflies are scurrying around to fill up on energy from the butterfly bush
- the first time you need to put a sweater on as evening falls
- shifting meal ideas to soups and stews and roasts
- dusting off my knitting that sat quietly in the corner all summer
- canning tomatoes and beets, and freezing endless cobs of corn
Enjoy the waning summer days, wherever you are.
We recently had brunch at Dig Inn on Boylston St in Boston. It’s a delicious restaurant (that has numerous locations in NYC), serving grain and salad bowls with regionally-sourced ingredients and a mission to build community through food. Just inside the front door was this sign with Dig-Isms…they are a variation on Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. but with more community spirit. Dig Inn and their dig-isms are my friday favourite! HAR
Most nights, I’m cooking for one but I love to make enough to share. I always make enough for leftovers but there is something entirely more satisfying about making a meal that can be shared and savoured with other people. Even if I’m not at the table.
I’ve been cooking for a friend for a little while. A meal (or two) a week to help get everybody fed quickly in between school and endless evening lessons. It puts a smile on my face every time I do it. I try out new recipes than will hopefully be a hit with younger palates, and keep the ingredients in the general arena of kid-friendly.
Some of the recipe favourites (that you might like too) are farmers sausage baked with BBQ sauce, maple syrup and apple chunks, sweet and sour meatballs (baked not fried), any variation on homemade mac and cheese (sometimes with broccoli, often with bacon), and even tater tot casserole.
It’s getting cold and dark and I know winter is coming. These homemade meals have even more appeal as we get ready for pseudo hibernation.
What’s your favourite meal to share?
For the last dozen or so years, we have a big family pot luck Canadian thanksgiving at a local rented hall. It’s a great time to check in with relatives and celebrate over some great family food.
There are at least 40 of us every year. And we usually salivate over the returning dishes from family – honey-cured ham, roasted vegetables, butter tarts, turkey, scalloped potatoes and more. There are four generations on hand. And there are usually guitars, soccer balls and family trees to add to the conversation.
I love this traditional (almost more than Christmas). It’s simple. It doesn’t take much to organize. And it’s kinda fun to be in a room full of people where you recognize the quirks, sayings and idiosyncrasies as your own.
Hope you had a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.
CJR & HAR
It seems like we have had heat warnings since May and the humidity has all but drained my dinner ideas. So I’ve come up with my go-to dish for when I just want to whine about the weather.
It’s a cold plate of whatever happens to be around.
This week, it was a combo of local English cucumber, grape tomatoes, broccoli that I had steamed yesterday, manchego cheese , leftover grilled sausage and some chewy, sourdough bread. You could throw some dressing over it all. But if that’s just too much effort, go plain.
Dessert just might have been some freezer to table refreshing strawberry balsamic sorbetto.
What do you make for dinner when it’s too hot to even open the fridge to cool off?
It used to be a novelty in our house. No name chocolate powder added to a big glass of milk alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. After blowing bubbles in the glass to the almost spilling point, you’d slurp it down…only to find much of the chocolate powder out of suspension in the bottom of the glass.
Reminds me of the final view in my mug of French press coffee – the good strong sludge that settles at the bottom!
Anyhow, chocolate milk is back on our grocery list and in our fridge. It’s got all the perfect ingredients for a Friday favourite. Refreshing (check). Made with 1% milk (check). Filling appetizer before dinner (check). Great natural source of bone-strengthening calcium (check). Delicious (check).
Cheers to the brown cow!
It was no big deal when my boys showed up with some friends for an impromptu pool party on the 4th. We just needed lots of everything.
We served up four kinds of salads – tabouli, broccoli slaw, pasta with pesto, and a fresh green salad with peach and roasted corn (thanks Maddie).
For the protein course, we had steak tips marinated in Trader Joe’s soyaki sauce, ribs and chicken sausage.
Cold beer, seltzer and taste tasting of three gins – Hendrick’s, Uncle Val’s Botanical and Boodles rounded out the beverage course.
And dessert was a blueberry/strawberry pie and a side of watermelon.
Add in a little basketball and frisbee in the pool, and the day was perfect.
I love supporting local, independent businesses wherever I possibly can. I don’t have anything against large corporations – we need all kinds of enterprises for a healthy economy.
But there’s something about local that gives me the kind of connection I love as part of a community. So when I saw a local Indiegogo campaign for Polestar Hearth bakery, I jumped right in. I love their bread and they do a great job of marketing.
The t-shirt and cloth bread bag I’m going to get with their woodcut logo is definitely going to be a Friday favourite.
Every Thanksgiving, I order a honey baked spiral cut ham for our extended family pot luck dinner. It’s become something of a ritual. And every year, as I begin carving it up in the kitchen of the rented hall, my siblings and relatives hover around to grab bits of the scraps. It is the perfect blend of sweet and salt. And it’s made from local pork. Even better.
I know, it’s not Thanksgiving this weekend, it’s Easter. But the treat that’s better than chocolate is that I’m picking up a honey ham for family dinner.
I’m taking a road trip on Good Friday to McMaster Meats to pick up a honey glazed ham.