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.




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!

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!

them apples

14 01 2009

One of the challenges of eating locally, is having enough space to store food for the winter. Apples for example. Apples store quite well into the winter if you keep them in a cool place, like a refrigerator. But unless you have a fridge the size of a MONSTER TRUCK, it’s kinda hard to squeeze enough apples in there to last you through the winter. A cold storage room would be even better but not everyone is so lucky.

All this to say that my apple supply has been dwindling lately. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear about Hall’s Apple Market which takes orders online and will DELIVER their local apples to four different locations in and around Ottawa. I placed my first order last week!

Apple crisp, we’re back in business.

Mother Hubbard

5 01 2009

It’s January and I am in HIBERNATION mode. This happens to me every January but this year it has hit me times TEN. Apparently that is what housing another being inside yours does to a person. (That and an almost obsessive urge to organize, clean, organize, clean, etc. But I digress…)

Hibernating for me means comfort food. Warm, solid, substantial comfort food. Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling a little tired in the kitchen lately. But I’ve discovered that not all comfort foods are labourious – like this winter squash recipe which I plan to make again and again.

Mashed Winter Squash with Roasted Garlic

  • 1 Winter Squash – like the beautiful Golden Hubbard above
  • 1 Whole Garlic Bulb – with outer layers peeled but skins left intact
  • Butter
  • Cream or whole milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Slice the tip of the garlic bulb, so that each clove has a tiny opening at the top. Place the bulb and the winter squash on a pan. Bake at 375F until the squash can be pierced easily. Don’t worry about the garlic. By the time the squash is ready, it will be too. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and peel.

Mash or purée the squash pulp. Add a little bit of butter (1-2 Tbsp, depending on size of the squash), a dollop of cream or milk and then squeeze the roasted garlic paste into the pulp. Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste and voilà – a dish that makes hibernation feel easy and delicious!

holiday celebrations

10 12 2008

I’ve been walking around with a silly little grin on my face since Friday when I handed in my last paper of the semester. I feel so freeeeeeeeeee! Nights and weekends are mine once again. And just in time for all the wonderful holiday preparations… like baking!

My holiday baking plans include lots of cranberries, which always evoke a festive mood for me. And how lucky are we, in the Ottawa area, to have a cranberry grower right in our backyard?!? There are so many good cranberry recipes, but my favourite is this simple recipe from Nigella Lawson

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake taken from How to Be a Domestic Goddess (one of my favourites!)

  • 50g + 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g + 125g sugar
  • 175g cranberries
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • approx 1-2 Tbsp full-fat milk

Using a cast-iron frying pan or a tarte-tatin dish, melt 50g of butter over the stove-top. Add 150g of the sugar, stir, then empty the cranberries into the pan and coat them in the syrupy liquid. Turn the element off and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put flour salt, cinnamon, 125 g of sugar, 125 g of butter and the eggs in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined. Add enough milk, pulsing briefly until the batter is a soft, dropping consistency (if this sounds sketchy to you, don’t worry, it will likely work no matter how you interpret this). Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture and transfer the pan to the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and place a plate on top of the pan. CAREFULLY turn the pan and plate upside down and then lift the pan off. You’ll find a scrumptiously good dessert underneath.


last lesson… how does your garden grow?

20 11 2008

Wow. It’s a good thing I dug my carrots out this past weekend, because the upcoming one looks downright FRIGID. A low of -16˚C is coming in for Sunday. Even for Ottawa, that’s unusually chilly this time of year.

I think that means I won’t get another harvest out of my Swiss chard patch. I had harvested some ten days ago and I thought maybe, just maybe I might get some more. But unless it turns out to be superhero Swiss chard, I think it will succumb to the low temperature.

Superhero or not, I’ve been amazed by my Swiss chard this year. I knew I LIKED Swiss chard, but I didn’t know I LOVED it. Lightly sautéed with a bit of garlic and butter… OH so yummy. I plan to grow Swiss chard again and again and again in the years to come. I love it and it loves me. Which brings me to this week’s last lesson… grow what works in your garden. I gave up on plants like cabbage and broccoli, with leaves that turned to lace almost overnight (who knew earwigs liked to make lace?!?). But it sure didn’t take me long to learn what grows well in my garden. Hmm, maybe I should rethink my lesson on beets