Tag Archives: local food

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

 

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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

 

 

friday favourite – a tasty school fundraiser

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.

CJR

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

 

can’t. stop. canning.

Tis the season for a lot of fresh local produce…and I just keep looking for more things to preserve. It’s so satisfying – in a whole different way than cooking a meal – to make something that I can eat or share all year long.

Maybe I should have been born before refrigeration.

This week it’s been more raspberry jam. Bread and butter pickles. And zucchini relish – which I don’t even like but am so happy to make it on request for someone else. I’m waiting for some fresh apricots to ripen a little more to make them into jam.

I’m slowly getting the tools I should have had all along to avoid hot water bath burns and the inevitable cursing when I try and remove a mason jar with simple tongs.

CJR

 

the second meal

Sometimes the best meal is the one that comes as the leftover, second meal.

Could be the lasagna or chili that has had an extra day or two for the flavours and juices to merge more deliciously. The roast chicken that turns into enchiladas.

Or the roast seasonal vegetables -potaoes, carrots, onions and brussel sprouts –  that were sauteed in a little butter with grape tomatoes and feta for a perfect second meal lunch.

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What is your go-to leftover favourite?

CJR

back to the stove

My internal cooking clock has kicked in. Must have been right about when the night temperatures headed back to single digits (Celcius, that is) and the humidity disappeared.

I woke up last weekend and couldn’t wait to get to the farmers’ market. Absolutely everything is in season! I can’t help myself when I see all the local produce sold directly by the farmers in my community. The bag of harvested goodness was so heavy that the handles of the cloth shopping bag cut off the circulation in my hand.

I dumped out my haul – ginger gold apples, new potatoes, carrots, green onion, beefsteak tomatoes, zucchini, wild blueberries, snack sweet peppers, broccoli and more.

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By noon I had made roasted vegetable soup and broccoli soup. The freezer is full of lunch-sized servings to keep me going for a week or two.

roasted vegetable soup – my own concoction

Chop up whatever veggies you have on hand. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de provence.

  • Roast at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour.
  • After you have snacked on some. Simmer the cooled veggies in chicken or vegetable stock – I tossed in a few grape tomatoes – for about 30 minutes until everything is very soft.
  • Puree with hand blender. Add a little cream, white wine, lemon juice and season to taste.

creamy broccoli soup Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast

1 T olive oil, 1 onion (halved and slice), 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 4 cups chicken stock, 1/3 cup rolled oats, head of broccoli (cut into small pieces), salt and pepper

  • In large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the nutmeg and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, oats and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  • Puree.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of soup I’m making or eating, I usually add in some kind of cheese – chevre, feta or parmesan.

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Fall soups. Yum.

CJR