Spicy Carrot Dip

IMG_7993We are in the midst of having the exterior of our house painted. A few years ago we painted the barn, checking that we liked the colours we’d chosen. We decided to change the door colour, yet we haven’t gone to the back of the barn to re-do the stall panels. The only time we see them is when we’re doing chores, and when we’re there, we can’t see any of the other outbuildings, so they’re not really a big priority. However, I will re-do them at some point. Last summer all of the other outbuildings were painted in the refigured colours. By doing them ahead of the house, we were able to watch how the colours worked throughout the year, and if they were truly the colours we wanted. On rainy or cloudy days the house in its old worn colour looked so drab, while all the other buildings now had a warm & happy glow.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

Once the final decision on colours was made, a painter was hired. Someone who is willing to deal with all the detail we’d built into the house, as well as a bit of fearlessness to paint our 41’ roof peak.

Although I’m horrible about heights, and have had some anxiety issues while he’s up at the top of 40’ ladders, I am thrilled with how it’s looking.   Of course, all this has been going on while we move through an extremely busy summer. I seem to be in the kitchen for a long spell each day, figuring out recipes, doing test batches and so on. Perhaps I’m being energized by the attitude of the painter. Let’s get it done!

Here’s my take on a Spicy Carrot Dip that we’ll be serving as part of the appetizer menu for this year’s Summer Soiree & Art Auction. It is a beautiful colour (this summer is all about colour!), with a rich, warm spiciness that is lovely with a bit of flat bread. Continue reading

Avocado Bisque

IMG_7930Here’s a little something that I’ve been doing for years. A little bit of yummy-wow to lead into a special dinner. It’s so easy to do, and is delicious, with creamy avocado goodness, all dressed up to impress. There are two versions; one has a decadent cream base, while the other uses coconut milk. Both are wonderful.

Serve in chilled martini glasses, or other cute glasses, with a simple flower garnish. Shown here with dried rose petals. Continue reading

Bombay Chicken Cups

IMG_7241This is a delightful little appetizer that is refreshing, and nutritious. It works well in any season, is easy to prepare, and different enough to interest your guests.

At a recent dinner, we set out a platter of four-dozen of these, and the platter was emptied within 10 minutes. They are truly a little nibble. Light and fresh, just perfect before a meal, or as a refreshing addition to an appetizer buffet.

They can be served in tiny pastry cups, croustades, or as shown here, in tortilla chips. Continue reading

Pea & Edamame Dip

IMG_7272It’s spring! Time to set aside thoughts of roasted roots, and go for the green. We sat outside after a full day of sunshine and working outside. Even though it was early April, the temperature made us so aware of summer days around the corner. I had spent a few hours, getting the porch ready, by washing winter’s dust and grime off of stored deck furniture, with the sounds of ongoing fence repairs as my soundtrack.

When the hammers had been laid down; and the deck was in its summer duds, we gathered for beer and nibbles to toast the season. Serendipitously, the day before I had made a dip I’d been working my head around for the past few weeks. Super green, it made me feel good just looking at it! Pretty much all the ingredients are green, with bright, cheerful flavours.

We ate it with plain crackers, but the next day I was told of leftovers being eaten as a side to scrambled eggs. I’m planning on trying it stirred into some pasta or risotto, as a finish.

Use good quality frozen peas & edamame, not the shrivelled up ones that might be in the bottom of your freezer. Continue reading

Green Pea Cakes with Apple & Fennel Salsa

IMG_6858Today, spring truly feels like it’s on our doorstep.  There are a few days in early spring, when it just feels like spring has really arrived.  Somehow in a matter of days the frogs are louder, and the birds are busier.  The horse pastures are vibrant green, while the crocii have opened up under the bursting forsythia.  The thermometer has moved into the double digits (celsius), and it feels sooo good!  To celebrate spring, and my sister’s birthday, I just felt the need to show it in food.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s, this is a very green dish, with a light, tart salsa in small mounds on top of bright green little pancakes.  I’m sure they should be called something like “Emerald Isles”.   Bonus: they work really well Gluten Free. Continue reading