Yesterday we hopped in the wagon, Supertramp's Greatest Hits blasting (we have two CDs in our car so Supertramp is in heavy rotation), and hit the open road. We were headed for the Foodtruck Eats event at Peller Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and enroute we stopped at Tree and Twig's Tomato Days to buy our tomato plants for the garden.
Asparagus is my favourite vegetable so today was my lucky day. I arrived at work to a note from one of my fantastic staff, she'd been visiting her inlaws and had come home with a big box of asparagus fresh from their farm and there was a bunch with my name on it. I'm easily swayed by farm fresh veggies! Now when I first met the Hubs he didn't like asparagus which was just silly. Luckily I eventually brought him around (there might have been an incident with some prosciutto and wrapping each spear) and now he calls it one of his favourites too.
It's Victoria Day weekend here in Canada - the first long weekend of the season and what I've always thought of as the kick off to summer. Across the land cottages will be opened, beers will be drank and grills are heating up!
When I was a kid my dad would take us foraging for wild leeks. It really was like a treasure hunt. Nowadays this city kid has to rely on farmers markets and if we are lucky our organics delivery box will have them for a couple of weeks. Ramps or wild leeks are a wild-growing onion with a wonderful roasted garlic aroma which grow in woodland forests all up eastern North America from South Carolina into Ontario and Quebec. Wild leeks are high in Vitamins C and A, and full of beneficial minerals. To add to this wild leeks have also been known to have a similar cholesterol-reducing capacity as to that of garlic and other members of the allium family.
I've written before about how much I have been enjoying the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. I've now made six or seven recipes from it and all have been delicious. In making these recipes I've had to add a lot of new ingredients to my kitchen: spices like Za'atar, baharat, sumac and fenugreek, tahini paste (okay that I had but other than for making hummus I didn't use it for much else), thick and creamy labneh and preserved lemons.
It's the final day of the Easter long weekend and I'm sitting at the dining room table with my coffee cup surrounded by seeds and books and planning my garden for the 2013 season. I'm ignoring the smattering of white flakes and the gusting winds outside which are obviously some sort of ultimate April Fools joke.
I know I talk a lot about supporting local producers and farmers. I think I've mentioned Stratford's Monforte Dairy and their cheese on this blog about 100 times. However it wasn't until I moved to Toronto's Corso Italia neighbourhood that I realized there was a whole world of local cheese practically on my doorstep. Sure these cheeses aren't sold by earnest hippies at the local farmers market but they are made right here in our community using Ontario milk.
If there is anything better than a roast chicken dinner I don't want to know about it. I roast a chicken almost every Sunday. I try and always buy free range chickens that were treated right, sure it's more expensive but roast one side by side with a conventional chicken and then have a taste off. You'll never go back to mass market supermarket chicken I promise. In addition the carcasses of the naturally raised birds make the most amazing stock for soups and risottos so it's really like getting an extra meal for your dollar.
Since it snowed in Toronto it finally seems like winter and now we have the added joy of shovelling out a car. The used station wagon we got for weekend getaways and trips to the dog beach has been affectionately christened "The Beagle Mobile". After the most recent storm we had the pleasure of shovelling it out not once but twice. Just after Hubs finished shovelling the first time our neighbours cleared their driveway and sidewalk and kindly piled all the snow in front of our car - I know right?! So we had to do it again. I thought Hubs was going to lose his mind. Anyway we've been craving hearty comfort food lately and we certainly earned it.