Thursday, August 14, 2014

Roots and Shoots Farm - 7th Week of CSA Food 2014

This latest CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm went cottaging in the Muskokas!

Well not all of it. But most of it.  The beans, potatoes, onion, cabbage and some of the zucchinis.

I used the cucumber and some of the onion for a Food Day Canada Greek Salad.

The carrots and most of the fennel were roasted and eaten like sweet candy.

The garlic just tucked in here and there throughout the past two weeks.

I am about to pick up my next CSA basket in minutes.  I bet it will be just as luscious and good.

Take a tour through my CSA garden and you can also see some of the dishes we made in the past two weeks.  I am loving summer. What are you cooking up?

Yellow, purple and green beans.

One pound of potatoes.

White and Purple Onions.

Music garlic.



Zucchini and Summer Squash.



Dinosaur Kale.

Greek Salad using the cucumbers and spring onion from the CSA basket.  I also bought Roots and Shoots Farm's tomatoes at the Ottawa Farmers' Market Westboro. The beautiful fresh feta is from Milkhouse Farm and Dairy.  They have wonderful artisan sheep cheeses.  And they are local.

I made up the cabbage into coleslaw but didn't dress it until we were ready to eat. It was used in a number of meals at the cottage.  I make my own dressing, taking inspiration from Bobby Flay's Creamy Coleslaw recipe.  Some of the beans were lightly steamed and some we ate raw.

More coleslaw!  A cabbage head goes a long way.  The zucchinis I didn't use for a special summer squash salad went into a zucchini dish with also included tomatoes and garlic.  Zippy.  More great cottage flavours.

Of course the quintessential cottage food is hash browns.  The sizzle is just about to come up in this pan as the potatoes and spring onion hit the stove with a big slop of butter and steak spices.  The final result had many tasty brown bits.

They look old and wrinkled but these roasted carrots were all sweetness and candy.  I ate them right off the stem.  A little olive oil, salt and pepper and then they spent time in the oven at 375F.  Watch them after 30 - 40 minutes to see how much wrinkle you like.  Trust your nose too.

What fennel I didn't use for a slaw dish served with trout went into the oven to be roasted with an onion and some shallots.  I thought I would use them in a pasta dish but they didn't get that far.  I nibbled. Then nibbled some more.  Roasted vegetables are pretty irresistible. Roughchop Ottawa said this looked Noma'esque. I am going to take it as a compliment.

My summer squash salad was inspired by Supply and Demand.  I have had their rendition a few times now and love, love, love it.  They also use sunflower seeds and microgreens to garnish it.  Their dressing is olive oil, champagne vinegar and juice from their pickled ramps.  I substituted dill pickle juice. Thank you Supply and Demand for keeping me playing with my vegetables.

I forgot I had my dinosaur kale in the downstairs fridge.  It was the last item to use up. Finding inspiration on an Instagram post from @thefeedfeed, I decided to add it to a quiche.  I let it wilt with the onions in the frying pan to help reduce its wetness. I treat it similar to spinach in that way.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whetting Your Appetite - Love Ottawa

This morning I received a pocket call on the home phone at 6:01 am.  Thank you to caller 'Anonymous' for that.  There was heavy breathing and a cough, but not in the way you might think.  If you think THAT way.

Based on the lead-in picture, it could suggest that this post is going to be about the newly opened Holland's Cake and Shake, but it's not. Actually, it is a bit. But it's not the main event. Though possibly the prettiest, and for sure sweetest.

I was up before the dogs barking and the hammers dropping symphonically on the many renovation projects surrounding my turret. On the plus side, it did get me out of the house. And the reason I bolted to an early start was because a Euro Capp in a blue cup was waiting for me at Café qui pense on Main Street.

When I went to bed last night, I didn't know I was going to get up early.

I didn't know I was going to start the day with an Equator Coffee Roasters' Ethiopian Single Origin bean.

I didn't know I was going to Holland's Cake and Shake.

I knew nothing of what would happen in between.

Like meeting the brains and photographer behind The Love Ottawa Project, Dwayne Brown.

Buying a baguette at True Loaf Bread Company.

Scouting some Société Orignal Goat's Milk Jam at The Red Apron.

But settling for less calories and a more practical solution for lunch with a savory galette smothered in roasted kale, cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions and feta.

Finding out that when everyone is looking up, looking WAY up at Beyond The Pale Brewery, they are checking on the vertical hop garden - part of the Community Grow Hop!

Discovering the location of SuzyQ's new quarters. Her doughnuts have textures. So why not the place.

Meeting Elvis. The truffle.

And his Maker.

Getting a $50 parking ticket from the remarkably efficient City of Ottawa. (12 minutes less talking could have saved me a bundle.)

None of this would have been part of my day if I didn't get that pocket call and then see a tweet minutes later that went something like this.

To which I replied...

And so began the conversation.

As I set my table for tea and cake tonight, the details of the very full morning came flooding back over me. A few nuggets stand out.

Embrace living in the moment. Living in the now.

Listen. Listen for possibilities.

Today I learned that how you frame a story isn't just in what you include in the picture but sometimes it's what you don't.

Cakes and treats from Holland's Cake and Shake on Armstrong across from the Parkdale Market. Bottom left: Pineapple Coconut Cream Cheese Caramel Cake $4. Middle: Orange Crush Meringue Tart $4. Top: Raspberry Shortcake $4. Bottom right: Elvis Truffle - Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon, covered in White Chocolate $2.50.

The Wedge Salad Makes A Comeback

The prognosticators for food trends keep telling us that the Iceberg Wedge Salad is back. In fact they have been telling us for the past 10 years that this popularized mid-century modern first course celeb has been making its comeback!

Of late, perhaps many would give credit for its resurgence to the Mad Men craze. This American television period drama series is also acclaimed for the cocktail rebirth. But I digress.

I love blue cheese and so for me the Wedge Salad becomes another delivery mechanism for the pungent bite-y cheese.

The Wedge Salad probably fell out of favour like most things do when they become overdone, predictable and are no longer prepared with care. The fickle are then easily wooed to the next new salad sensation.

The formula for the Wedge Salad is pretty consistent - iceberg lettuce quartered, lots of bacon, tomatoes and chives for colour.  

As Shawna Wagman points out in her Trends article in Ottawa Magazine's Eating & Drinking 2014, variations in eateries around town include pickled spicy eggs, fried pig's ears, cucumber petals, crushed pink peppercorns, and even pickled carrots. 

Any reincarnation that satiated me in this century has still been quite familiar.

My latest CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm included a head of iceberg lettuce. Wedge was the first thing that came to mind.  

This particular head was a beautiful green with tender flawless, though quite loosely packed leaves. The iceberg lettuce I bought for my last Wedge Salad in March looked utterly anemic in comparison.

Whether you follow food trends or like food 'just because', get yourself a crisp Berg and start piling on the Blue.

Inspired by many. Bon Appétit Magazine, Fine Cooking Magazine, Aaron McCargo Jr., Martha Stewart, David Lebovitz to name a few.

This blue cheese dressing handily covers 4 servings.  It makes a great dip for carrots, celery and suicide wings.

100 - 125 gr. blue cheese, depending on your taste
4 tablespoons sour cream
3 - 4 tablespoons buttermilk, depending on your preferred consistency
2 - 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
a dash of sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the crumbled blue cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.  Mash the blue cheese as you stir but make sure it still has some chunks throughout.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  Add the buttermilk until you have the desired consistency.  Add a dash of sriracha and season with salt and pepper to taste.

The dressing will stiffen when fully chilled.  Have it sit out while you are preparing the plates to soften it.

Serve over a quartered iceberg lettuce, core removed.  Garnish with bacon chunks/crumble and wedges of small tomatoes.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.  Include small chunks of blue cheese if you have some leftover.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Roots and Shoots Farm - 5th Week of CSA Food 2014

Garlic Scapes

The word is spreading about Roots and Shoots Farm.  

We had friends in for an impromptu dinner party Saturday night to share in our latest CSA basket, only to find out they have jumped on board too.  It is their first year and they are so pleased that they are augmenting their half share with more Roots and Shoots produce from the Ottawa Farmers' Market Westboro.

Want to know why they are so excited? Here is what we both brought home from our Thursday pickup.


Dinosaur Kale

Golden Beets

Hakurei Turnips

Iceberg Lettuce

Spring Onions

Summer Squash



Building Good Sandwiches The Organic Way - Avocado and Egg on Rye

I took the long way to lunch today. The really long way. What could I possibly eat? The fridge wasn't brimming, nor was it empty. But it gave off that vibe like "There's nothing to eat."

The crisp, fresh, sweet carrots first beckoned my munch. Then a large, succulent cucumber.  The scant leftover blue cheese dressing was almost too obvious.

I figure they deserved some civility, so instead of crunching down on them mindlessly, they were cleaned and cut and presented for sharing.

In my fridge foraging I found a nicely ripe avocado, a partly cut red onion, a small wedge of Jarlsberg cheese and a few herbs - cilantro, basil and chives. Oh some kind of sandwich I guess. Still pretty un-enthused.

The bread is kept in the freezer, pre-sliced at purchase or at home just before hitting the chiller.

Avocado said rye bread. I agreed. Lucky me, one slice left.

And so on with the building and piling. It was now seeming more hopeful.

I find building my open-faced sandwiches is much like art. You stand back and stare at the canvas and size up the look - and in this case the taste - then figure out where to put more colour, more texture, more flavour.

You know me well enough by now to know that my cheap trick is the egg - more often than not, soft-boiled. Partly it is my canned answer to 'What next?' when my lame response is apt to be 'I don't know'. I like that it is colour and it is protein too. Maybe that makes this cheap trick okay then.  I blame my Danish roots. We do love the egg.

So it was that my lunch organically unfolded. The carrots, the cucumber, the smørrebrød sandwich. And in the very last seconds, a quick splash of sriracha for the WOW and the POW.

* Happy to say that my carrots, cucumber and cilantro came in my latest CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm. The to-die-for sriracha is a new creation from michaelsdolce which I bought at the Ottawa Farmers' Market, Brewer Park.

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