Farmhouse Coleslaw

IMG_5055Our summer started weeks ago; usually we have a sunny month of May, followed by a very unsettled month of June, weather-wise. But so far this June, we’ve only had sunny skies, and not a drop of rain. As a farmer, I want some rain. The perfect pattern for me is sunny warm days, cool nights, and a good rain every 10 days or so. But I don’t control the weather; no matter how many dances I do, nature comes as nature does.

These last weeks, we’ve been gathering on the front porch for a late supper, overlooking a field with three very happy, pretty horses in it, waiting to see a doe with her twin fawns.

Dinners seem to be directly related to how hard we’ve been working each day. A quick, filling meal for long, tiring days, and more inventive, complex meals when we’ve had more time to consider what’s going to be on the table. Coleslaw is a quick, filling side dish, that’s easy to prepare, and goes well with hamburgers, grilled meats, pulled pork, and other summer favourites. Continue reading

Roasted Carrot & Apple Purée

IMG_8745Textures and colours have always been important to me when it comes to food. I’ve had two memorable meals that were so off the mark that they made hospital food look good. Both were served on plain white china. Just setting the mood.

The first was served in a small home eatery on one of the Gulf Islands. Dinner was sliced chicken breast, mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Sounds great, yes? No added herbs, sauce, gremolata, or anything resembling colour or flavour, bland, bland, and bland. I could not believe that someone was proud to serve this to paying guests. Of course, maybe they weren’t. Maybe they didn’t care.

The second was at a major restaurant chain. We stopped in for a quick supper during a shopping trip. I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo, looking forward to a velvety sauce full of flavour. What I got: soft noodles smothered in a cream sauce. I couldn’t detect any cheese flavour at all. As well, there was nothing else on the plate, no sprinkling of herbs, not even a sprig of parsley. Disappointment prevailed.

When I plan a menu, I love to incorporate lots of colours and textures, as well as great taste. I’m happiest when I hear people exclaiming how beautiful it all looks, and then look forward to the silence as they all tuck in.

When planning a buffet, I like to have a purée of some sort as part of the mix, nothing soft and mushy, but something with deep, interesting flavours that is firm, as well as having a velvety texture. For an upcoming job, I want to have carrot purée tucked in amongst the other vegetable dishes, to compliment them in colour, but also that has enough flavour of its own, that people will go back to it for seconds.

So here’s what I’ve come up with. Continue reading

Swiss Chard with fruit & nuts

We grew up next door to an elderly couple, the Coles.  Mr. Cole had converted most of his very large back yard into a year round producing garden.  I think they realized that although we were a big active family with “always room for one more”, that our parents needed to be very thrifty to keep it all afloat.  We were the oft recipients of armfuls of produce.  1# tomatoes, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, corn, lettuce, squash and chard would all make their way to our table.  He also gave us heaps of kale, which I’m no longer very fond of.  Kale is the new super food.  Just to let you know, it was a super food in the 50’s, too.

Swiss chard was one of my favourite veg to grow, as it is beautiful in a garden.  The multi-coloured stalks with its deep green, glossy leaves make a fabulous backdrop for other plants.  Now I buy it from the farmers market.  In bundles!  This is my version of a basic French recipe.  It will make enough for 2 – 4 servings, depending on how big you want the servings! Continue reading