putting the garden to rest

20 10 2009

It’s the time of year to put our garden beds to rest. And, for me, it’s also time to give HPD a rest – or perhaps that would be better stated as: it’s time to give me a rest from HPD. I’ve really enjoyed this blog – documenting my journey, making new friends, and pushing myself to explore the connection between good food and good politics. While I will continue this exploration on my own, it’s time for me to focus my energy on family, school, and (soon-to-return) work. Who knows, I might come back to the site. But, rest assured, you can always find me eating local food or working in my garden.




local food 411 please!

16 09 2009

Recently I’ve been trying to figure out where I can find local sumac. You’re probably asking, “Is she crazy?” Now I KNOW we’ve got sumac growing everywhere in the Ottawa area, but I’m not sure if it’s the type of sumac I’m looking for. I’m looking for sumac, the spice. I tried some with thyme on a toasted pita a little while ago and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. So I’ve been googling to see if this spice comes from the same trees that grow around here. So far I haven’t found anything conclusive. Anyone got any ideas???

100-mile long weekend

31 08 2009

If you haven’t hosted a 100-Mile get-together yet, then THIS is the season to try one out. And with the long weekend coming up, I know a LOT of you are planning some serious get-togethers. If you’re hosting this weekend, when your guests ask you what they can bring try suggesting some farmstand fare or a local wine or brew. And if you’re guesting this weekend, try surprising your hosts with some local treats that they might not know about. I guarantee it will make for some delicious fare and likely some sparkling conversation about what can be found in our neck of the woods!

chicken madness

14 08 2009

I’m always wondering about how to do more at home. I want to make my own yogurt, try making cheese, and maybe even get some chickens for the backyard! I know my beloved is going to roll his eyes over that last one which means I had better be sure I know what I’m doing before I start. So I plan to watch the new documentary Mad City Chickens and find out if you really do have to be MAD for such a thing.

It just so happens that tonight is the perfect night to watch it because it is playing outdoors in Dundonald Park in Ottawa, starting at 9pm. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. As if that weren’t enough, the Ottawa Locavore Club is hosting a potluck picnic before the screening, starting at 6:30pm. Bring your favourite dish of finger foods (made from at LEAST one local ingredient) or a jug of locally made beverage. And don’t forget your reusable mug!

attack of the zucchinis

3 08 2009

The zucchinis are coming! The zucchinis are coming! In case you haven’t noticed… the zucchinis are most definitely coming. Have you got your battle plan ready? My plan included this awesomely delicious soup which I adapted from Epicurious. It is easy to make from entirely local ingredients (just omit the salt) or you can substitute the butter with oil for a vegan version if you prefer.

Zucchini Basil Soup

  • 2 lbs zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of water (See notes)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of fresh basil
  • butter for frying
  • pinch of salt

Chop onions and garlic and cook in a large saucepan until softened. Add roughly chopped zucchini to pan and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add water – I used water that was leftover from boiling potatoes which gave the soup a much richer taste than tap water) and add salt. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Add basil and then puree the soup (be CAREFUL if you’re putting hot liquid in a blender – I prefer an immersion blender). And voila – a surprisingly creamy soup!

Something had to give…

31 07 2009

We’re all too busy these days. I don’t just mean me and my beloved. I mean EVERYONE. Society, all of us… too busy all of the time. Everytime I catch up with a friend or run into someone, it’s always the same story at both ends: “Oh I’ve been wanting to get together but I’ve just been so busy…” Et cetera. Same story… all too often. So I am no different when I tell you that I’ve had a busy couple of months – I know you are just as busy as I am, if not busier – but I want to point out that everyone I know seems guilty of this.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy and tempting to resort to convenience foods, or so challenging to find the time to garden, or to store food for the winter. I don’t feel like I should tell you that you should make time for fresh and local food. I just know that for me it keeps my sanity in check (… and you can STOP LAUGHING GEORGE). I love looking at my packed freezer and knowing how much we will enjoy it this winter. I feel such pride in all my canned goods. And the garden! …I love watching it grow in the same way I love watching my little bean grow.

Cheers to that.

hello FLAVOUR!

17 06 2009

Well for all you Googlers who have been finding me with your rhubarb searches, I have yet another treat for you. If you like flavours with a tangy zing to them, then you will LOVE this recipe.

Gingered Rhubarb Jam

  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb (slice it thin but not superthin)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Be sure not to let the bottom of the pan burn. When the jam has thickened pour it into sterilized jars. Next, process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Then…  YUM, enjoy for breakfast and snacks!

free food! free food!

13 05 2009

Have you noticed how GREEN everything is these days? You may be anxious for your garden to start sprouting green goodness as well, but who needs a garden to eat local? Spring foraging is upon us!

Wild leeks (or wild garlic, depending on where you’re from) can be found in wooded areas around this time of year. Use it like a leek and savour its garlicky zing on your tongue.

Fiddleheads OH how I love you fried up in butter. So green and yummy. I’m sure you’re one of the reasons my doctor tells me I’m as fit as a fiddle.

Morels! Unlike a lot of the edible mushrooms, the prized morel is found in the springtime. We like to saute them and add them to a bed of lettuce with some shaved parmesan. Drizzle with warm oil and you’re in heaven.

(And I’m sorry, I am COMPELLED to add this note: it doesn’t matter how many times I post about mushroom foraging, I have to reiterate the same warning: Do NOT forage for mushrooms unless you’re DARN SURE you know what you’re doing. There. Now you can enjoy your mushrooms.)

peas in earth

1 05 2009

The peas are coming! The peas are coming! This is SO exciting because last year they didn’t grow at all. Last year, I planted them too late when the soil was already warm. They were stubborn and refused to come out. But this year, I planted them EARLY – hmm, maybe three weeks ago, but I’ve had trouble keeping track of time since this happened – and whaddya know? This year they GREW!

spring growth

18 04 2009


Everything is pushing it’s way UP out of the soil and into the world! We’ve got lots of seedlings started at HPD… hot peppers, eggplants, THREE types of tomatoes, tobacco (for my brother, who doesn’t smoke…!?! Don’t ask…), spring onions and leeks. Peas and carrots have been planted outside – and yes, I plan to be a little smarter with my carrots this year.

So hip hip HOORAY for spring!!!