Thursday, July 28, 2011

Roots and Shoots Farm - 5th Week of CSA Food 2011

This week I have set out a few objectives for our CSA food basket.

* Have my camera more on the ready to document our delicious dishes. I am constantly inspired when I see pictures of what others are eating and I also want to share in the love.

* Try roasting my beets on a cedar plank on the BBQ. I had heard of a very similar idea from food stylist, Ruth Gangbar, late last year. I have not forgotten about her recipe and it is still gnawing at me to give it a try! (Thank you for the inspiration, Ruth!!) When I picked out my beets, there as only one bunch of the candy cane beets in the box. I took them in a flash. They are going to be so pretty. Danny and Jess promised me that they would be sweet too.

* Make napa cabbage coleslaw. It has been forever since we have made coleslaw. And never with napa cabbage. We have the ingredients we need in this basket to make a winning dish.

* Try a new recipe for kale. I have been waiting too long to make the kale slaw recipe in the Summer issue of the LCBO Food & Drink magazine. It is on my must-try wishlist! I am debating between using my Russian red kale for that dish, but I am also finding the temptation to make kale chips very strong. Who will win out?

* Make recipes from the Roots and Shoots Farm the newsletter this week. They have some great ideas for fennel. We have often used fennel for a slaw type salad. Lets check out what is 'cooking' on the farm!

That is probably enough objectives for this week!

On a closing note, Food Day is this coming Saturday, July 30th. I hope you can have the opportunity to celebrate the day with food. Local food. Why not gather friends and family and salute our great fortune of bountiful food here in Canada. Salute the farmers who brought it to your table. It is truly a humbling experience to have so much.

Do you have any plans/objectives for your food basket? Are you making any special plans for Food Day this Saturday? If you sat down at my CSA dinner table, which plate would you want in front of you?


Beets (candy cane)




Bunched arugula

Napa cabbage



Head lettuce

Russian red kale

If you want to learn more about the farm, the contact information for Roots and Shoots Farm is:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too Hot For The Oven? Try Pizza On The BBQ

When you are feeding a crowd, eating pizza out can get pretty pricy. With 8 adults having a summer 'Za' craving, we decided to make it at home on the BBQ.

Tips for the Grill:
  • Heat the pizza stone when heating the BBQ
  • Prepare your pizza on a round baking sheet to bring to the grill.
  • Be liberal with your corn meal on the baking sheet so it is an easy slide onto the stone.
  • Make sure to turn off the middle element to provide indirect heat. Direct heat will burn the crust.
  • Put the heat down on the other elements and keep the lid closed for the baking duration.

My favourite pizza:

BBQ Chicken, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

Homemade pizza dough
Corn meal for the pan
BBQ sauce

Mozzarella cheese, grated
Grilled chicken covered in BBQ sauce
Caramelized onions
Bacon, partly fried
Ham, cubed
Goat cheese

The other three pizzas had a delicious homemade sauce made with a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, fresh thyme, oregano and basil. Plus salt, pepper and sugar.

The toppings included mozzarella cheese and then a selection of tomatoes, peppers (yellow, orange, red), hot pepperoni pepper, Genoa salami, cubed ham, bacon (partly fried), mushrooms, caramelized onions. Fresh basil for garnish.

Have you ever made pizza on the BBQ? Do you have any special tips? What are your favourite toppings?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roots and Shoots Farm - 3rd Week of CSA Food 2011

Colour! This week has colour! Orange, Purple, Yellow, Red, Pink, Purple, More Purple.

I get a bit enthusiastic the day the CSA share is available for pickup. Maybe just a bit too rambunctious about it. When I pulled into the parking lot at 4:03 pm, Danny's greeting was not surprisingly, "You're late!" Well hello to you too Danny. :)

Doesn't this week's collection just make you crazy? Not just the colour. But the textures. The tastes. Look at the pictures and visualize the tastes. I feel my 'mouth moisture' welling.

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin C

Bok Choy
Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin A and C

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin C

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin B6 and C

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin A, K, B6 and C

Hakurei Turnips
Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin C

Radishes (Crunchy Royale and Pink Beauty!)
Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin C

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin E and K

English Cucumber
Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin A, C and folic acid

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin C

Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin B

Salad Mix
Nutritional Highlights: Vitamin K, A, B, C

If you want to learn more about the farm, the contact information for Roots and Shoots Farm is:

LUNCH: Working the Leftovers

Deep freezer diving uncovered a small portion of pea soup made late April. And no surprise, also a wedge of Art-is-in Boulangerie's Dynamite Cheddar, Chive & Jalapeño Baguette.

Clarmell On The Rideau - Chèvre Goat Cheese is nearing the end.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes are abound.

The homemade pesto still lives on.

Now, time for lunch for me and the mister.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our CSA Basket Continues To Delight - Kale and Egg Open-Faced Sandwiches

I am nearing the end of my first CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm. We are appropriately signed up for a half share as there is just the two of us most days.

The two weeks flew by and here I am, anticipating what will be in the next basket, soon to arrive.

I learned a lot last year about how to care for my produce to maximize shelf life. When I bring the items home, I give them a quick cleanup where necessary. I have a few plastic grocery bags I recycle for just the occasion. Most items are wrapped loosely, but well, in order to keep the moisture in.

A testament to the effort was the fact that tonight we enjoyed the Red Russian Kale.

Maybe it wasn't as perky as pick up day almost two weeks ago but it was still fresh and raring to go.

The first Roots and Shoots newsletter for the season contained recipes to help us get started. In conversation with a few blog readers and fellow Roots and Shoots CSA'ers, it was clear that the Kale and Eggs dish was a hit.

Here is the Roots and Shoots Kale and Eggs recipe direct from the newsletter:

"Red Russian Kale: This can be used the same way as Bok Choy, in a stirfry or raw in a salad, but you should try one of our favorite farm breakfasts – Kale and Eggs. We fry up (quickly) some onions and scapes, throw in the chopped kale, add some soy sauce on top. Add a little water and cover, so the kale will steam a bit. Then crack an egg (or three) on the kale and re-cover. You can add a little water if there’s not much steam left. The egg should steam lightly on top of the kale, and in the time it takes for two sets of toast to almost burn, your breakfast is ready!! "

Our 'toast' was Art-is-in Boulangerie's Dynamite Cheddar, Chive & Jalapeño Baguette. (We keep a stash in the freezer for such occasions.) We did not have any scapes remaining so the chef substituted minced garlic.

I dressed my Kale and Egg open-faced sandwiches with homemade red pepper and peach relish and a few toasted pine nuts.

Thank you Roots and Shoots for great produce. Thank you Ari for 'egging' me on. I finally made this breakfast dish. For dinner!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cottage Life - Tranquility Has Found Me

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Tranquility presents itself in many forms. For some it exists only in a setting of deafening silence. Others need a tactile experience. A sense of pampering - spa-like conditions.

For me, I experienced tranquility on the July long weekend while cottaging on the south shores of a large lake a short drive from Ottawa. We visited for just 7.5 hours, with an action packed agenda.

It started in high gear with a quick tour of the rustic cottage, bunkie, vegetable garden and the beautifully manicured acreage pushing out onto a topographically notable large point.

Then on to the first order of cottage business. With chairs in lakeside formation, we quaffed happy-hour drinks and nibbled salty snacks. For the indecisive, it meant two fisting their 'balanced diet'.

The collection of young people congregated nearby to engage in the cut-throat card game, 'President'. They incorporated well-timed, relaxing intermissions.

Fully refreshed, we scrolled the cottage road to do the land-side tour. The brother and sister of our host also have cottages just doors away. With all siblings propertied on the lake, so close together, it symbolizes a family bond of 'compound' status. We neighboured in, the gathering grew and the visiting continued dockside. More refreshments, salty snacks and good chats.

Dinner beckoned us as we wandered back to the point. The many hands of the hungry pitched in.

The cool breeze gently shouldered us as we dined just feet from the rocky shore with the last warm rays of the afternoon sun buoying downward.

There was a rapid gesture at cleanup.

As dusk settled in, we took the requisite party boat ride around the waters, now touring the neighbourhood lakeside. I was already dreaming of a strategically placed For Sale sign pounded in on the shoreline somewhere nearby.

With the sun tucked away for the evening, we took in a colourfully home-choreographed display of fireworks. Surgically executed, with a strong support team of testosterone. Me, I was safe behind the screened in porch, far from the munching of sparrow-sized mosquitoes.

Some huddled at the cozy pit fire, in the pitch black of the night sky that held a scattering of diamond glittering stars.

The closing of the day was celebrated with Strawberry and Lemon Curd Smartie cake, plus 4-Biter World Famous Butter Tarts. For some, seconds of both.

To the observer it would seem we were going at breakneck speed, considering our short stay. But I just floated on the ebb and flow of activities knitted together like poetry in motion. I found my place in conversation, behind the camera, prepping food, serving, cheering pyrotechnics.

I was somewhere I had never been before. For a brief period my troubles were pulled out onto the waves and hidden in the darkness of the night sky. I was surrounded by that family's cottage life, including their family extensions. It was inviting. It was safe. It was beautiful. And for just a short time, tranquility found me.

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