Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

The Most Ambitious Project Yet

Garden 2010

After much deliberation (and a healthy dose of procrastination), I’ve finally selected and plotted my intentions for the 2010 garden.

It might seem awfully early to some, but seeds must be ordered, delivered and started before a springtime sowing in late May can be accomplished.

This year will be interesting for a number of reasons.

Primarily because I’m going to be trying to grow a couple crowns of asparagus for the first time, but I’m also attempting rare French strawberries from seed, as well as leeks, garlic and chard.

As you can see from my crude 10,000 foot drawing, there are lots of different veggies being installed, as well as a small bee garden that I hope will attract a healthy amount of polinators to our rooftop sanctuary.  We had a bit of a problem with the lack of bees last year, though I’m not sure if it was due to colony collapse or the overall shitty weather, but it can’t hurt to encourage them with a pretty flower garden.

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Seriously. What The Fuck?

Why?

When I was a teenager, my mom and stepdad owned a small bistro in a little town in Ontario cottage country called Dorset.

Dorset, for those of you who aren’t aware, is in the general area of Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, etc.

One of the things it is most famously known for is an old general store called Robinson’s.  These days, that general area (though Huntsville specifically) is also known as the hometown of the fabulously glam-rockesque Hawksley Workman, not that we’re keeping track or anything…

Now, during the summer that I was working at the bistro with my parents, I spent a great deal of time handing out advertising (menus and such) in front of Robinson’s.  And back then (nigh on 13 years ago), Robinson’s was an old fashioned general store with bits and bobs and handicrafts.  I’m not sure when during the last 13 years it merged with a Foodland store to provide a greater selection of groceries to the cottaging masses, but I’m sure you can sense how that in and of itself offended my sensibilities.  It seems that over the years, the little things that made Robinson’s unique have been slowly falling away.

So, I’m hoping you will also be able to understand how I found myself standing in the produce aisle at this Robinson’s/Foodland blend last week, full of moral indignation.

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In Excess

This Week's Haul

Yesterday afternoon after my sojourn to the farmer’s market, I had to make a stop at my favourite spice emporium, The Spice Trader to procure some of their delicious wares.

Despite the fact that I always go to the store with a very precise list, I invariably end up leaving with 3-4 times more product than I had anticipated.

Of course, yesterday’s visit was no different, and even though I only intended to buy 3 or 4 things, $100 later I arrived home with 13 items.

Most of what I purchased were refills for my already overflowing spice drawer, but a few new items called out from the shelves for experimentation.  Choice among those were the roasted paprika, which I was advised is quite different and more complex than pimenton, and is an ashy brownish black.  There were also crushed olive leaves, and though I’m not much of a fan of olives beyond their oil, something told me I wouldn’t be disappointed if I purchased these leaves, so I did.  The other item earmarked for messing around with was the rose petals, which off the top of my head might make an interesting addition to my pink pepper fleur de sel cocoa shortbread.

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The Foodie 13 – Quintessential, But On The Fringe Herbs And Spices

Spice

Seasoning.  Flavour.  Herbs.  Spice.

Food is generally palatable (unless you really don’t know how to cook) but can usually be improved by the addition of that little something extra.

This instalment of The Foodie 13 takes a look at the herbs, spices and seasonings that you might not have previously considered or cooked with, but are actually rather essential to having a well-rounded spice pantry.

So, without further adieu…

1 – LavenderI’ll admit that it’s gentle hue, which is both a colour, flavour and fragrance, was something that has grown on me slowly over the years.  Once relegated to old ladies’ soap dishes, lavender is now coming out into the spotlight to shine in more mainstream preparations.  It’s faintly floral, herbal notes are a perfect compliment to a myriad of dishes, from roasted meats a la Provence, to sweeter endeavours, like the chocolate chip lavender fookie (big fuckin’ cookie) I made several months ago.  Plus, one whiff of it’s heady aroma can make you feel like you’ve been summering in the south of France.  Not bad for a handful of powdery blossoms, eh?

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