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Archive for July, 2010

Homegrown okra!

This year I picked up okra plants at Fiesta Farms on a whim, with no idea what would happen.

Here’s what happened:

We picked three okras – okra fingers? – pieces of okra – what is the singular of okra?

Steamed them up:

And plated, ready to serve with butter and salt:

Delicious!

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Figs and peaches

Yesterday, thanks to suggestions on Twitter, I made this appetizer/snack: fresh California figs with Ontario goat cheese, drizzed with local honey:

Then the peaches – so early this year! I chopped up a couple of pounds:

And then made this:

Peach Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Drop Biscuits. I love this recipe because cobbler usually entails getting the counter messy by rolling out dough, and you skip that part here.

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A simple dinner

A typical grocery shop includes Fiesta Farms and sometimes Karma, both of which carry a ton of local produce. This weekend, we found these fresh local shelled peas:

And these yummy bean sprouts:

For last night’s (poorly focused) dinner, the peas joined new potatoes tossed in butter and salt and mixed greens in a maple balsamic vinaigrette, both from Plan B, plus some pasta tossed with olive oil and parmesan:

Simple summer meals – just the way I like it.

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I’ve never understood why buttermilk is sold in litre cartons instead, of, say, 500 mL or even 250 mL. Most recipes call for maybe a cup of it and you’re left with most of a carton sitting in the fridge until it goes bad or you finally find something to make with it.

We’ve had leftover buttermilk quite frequently these days and I’ve dug up a few recipes for using it up:

Buttermilk granita
This is the most recent and it’s easy and fabulous. It’s a good counterpoint to sitting at your computer for several hours – getting up every 30 minutes to stir is a nice break. It’s also flexible, so you can make it relative to however much buttermilk you have. I made it plain, without the strawberries (although they look good), and served it with a chocolate balsamic sauce on top. I also used raw sugar because I was out of white and it was just as good – and I reduced to two tablespoons for 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.

Corn muffins
These are always a hit when I make them, and they’re equally good served with savoury (huevos rancheros?) or sweet (raspberry jam) ingredients. You can get away with 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour.

Blue cheese dressing
This is where the leftover buttermilk keeps coming from, and it’s a very good dressing. We’ve been tossing it over a mix of baby spinach, pepitas/pumpkinseeds and hardboiled eggs.

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I really enjoy Ani Phyo’s cookbooks – so much so that I just bought her most recent one, Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. While I haven’t tried any recipes from that one yet, I wanted to share the slaw that I’m addicted to, from her earlier book, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. I can’t say yet which book is my favourite, but if you’re at all interested in raw food, you should definitely pick up one of them.

The recipe calls for red cabbage, but I recently made it with green (that’s what comes in my box) and it was just as good. Garden-fresh kale is a lot more tender, but any will do. I’ve made the dressing with macadamia nuts instead of Brazil and it worked that way, too. You could probably also use cashews.

Don’t skip the wakame, it adds delicious crunch and flavour. But if you don’t like soggy seaweed, and plan to keep this in the fridge for a few days like I often do, don’t add the wakame until serving. I don’t often keep hemp oil in the house so I usually use olive oil.

Hempseeds at the store are expensive. I buy mine online.

Ani Phyo’s Wakame Hemp Power Slaw

1/2 head of green or red kale, ribs removed, and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 head red or green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dry wakame
1/2 cup hempseeds

Dressing:
3/4 cup Brazil nuts
2 cloves garlic (I find this very garlicky, so if you’d prefer a milder taste, cut down to one)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (I use extra and just toss peeled chunks in the food processor)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup hemp or olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup water

Mix kale, cabbage, green onions and wakame in a bowl. In a food processor, process nuts, garlic, ginger and salt until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. Toss with slaw.

Top with hempseeds to serve, or you can just mix them in with everything else.

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