April Fool-ery

springWow!  Almost overnight we have gone to full-blown Spring.  Sunshine and rapidly dwindling snow piles have put a bounce in everyone’s step.  Of course, there are always those pessimists who mutter grimly about “one more blast of snow” but we’ll just ignore them, shall we?  Instead, let’s look forward longingly to asparagus and the first baby greens.

BABY SPINACH SALAD

Spread on a baking sheet and toast gently in a 350° oven for 5 minutes or until they just start turning colour …

¼ c sliced or slivered almonds

Allow to cool while you make the dressing.

Mix …

1 orange – finely grated zest and juice

3 T cider vinegar

1 T basil

1 t minced garlic

1 T honey

1 t ground black pepper

Whisk in …

½ c olive oil

In a large bowl, mix ..

½ c dried cranberries

½ c crumbled feta

toasted almonds (from above)

6 cups baby spinach – washed and dried well

Pour the dressing over and toss well. Serve immediately.  This should satisfy 4 – 6 people.               

spin salad 2

Enjoy on the back deck … soaking up the new sunshine.

Remember – Easter Brunch is coming up quickly … there may still be a couple of tickets left.  Email Pam at officecoordinator@ignatiusguelph.ca .

Take care of yourselves and start thinking about the new nourishment ready to sprout! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Whilin’ away the Winter …

winterWinter in Ontario is just not giving an inch to incipient Spring!  After a windstorm/blizzard on the weekend which closed highways, we were left with drifts which o’er-topped the snow fences meant to corral them.  All thanks and admiration to our intrepid Land Staff, Nick and Jaye, who keep the arteries of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre open!

This is perfect weather to huddle around a hot pot of tea and a bit of sweetness.  Thanks to our Emily, we have the perfect cookie to nibble or to dunk.

Emily’s Sesame cookies

In a 350° F oven, toast until golden brown (6 – 8 minutes) …

1 cup raw sesame seeds

Combine …

1 c flour

½ t salt

½ t baking powder

Cream together and beat until light …

½ c unsalted butter

2/3 c brown sugar

Add to butter/sugar mixture and stir until smooth …

1 egg

1 ½ t vanilla extract

Stir the wet ingredients into the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Then gently stir in the cooled sesame seeds.

Roll the dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet (here parchment paper is your friend). Flatten the cookies slightly and bake until golden – about 10 minutes.  Let them cool slightly before you move them from the baking tray.

sesame cookiesRemember that seeds are full of protein, healthy fats and minerals … and have a second one!

As hard as it is to believe it, spring will eventually nudge aside this winter and we will be preparing for Easter Brunch.  Don’t forget to book your tickets now – it’s a popular (and fun) occasion.  Contact Pam at officecoordinator@ignatiusguelph.ca or at 519 842 1250 ext. 241.  You’ll be glad you did.

Take care to stay warm … so you can take care of each other and our Mother Earth.  ❤

 

 

Spread the Love with Artichoke Hearts.

Happy New Year!  It’s a marvel to me that the year is 1/12th over.  While I intend to savour every moment – I am also looking forward to the year 2020.  It sounds so science-fiction-y!

Southern Ontario has had a mild winter until last week; now it has finally gotten serious.  The cold is bitter and we have to start planning exactly where to pile the next snowfall.  This season has many glories but to a cook it can be challenging. We love our roots but after a couple of months we miss the stimulation of summer’s progression of fresh produce. So we look elsewhere for inspiration.  Canned artichoke hearts form the basis of this winter salad.

artichoke salad

This is another salad for which I like to quick-pickle the onions.  After a couple of hours of being tossed in vinegar, the colour softens and takes on a lovely blur.  The taste loses some of its sharpness as well, a boon for those who aren’t raw onion fanatics.

ARTICHOKE HEART SALAD

2 to 3 hours before serving time, toss together…

1 medium red onion, sliced as thinly and as attractively as possible

1/4 c white wine vinegar

1 T maple syrup

1 t each of salt and black pepper

In a large bowl, assemble the salad ingredients …

3 cans (398 ml or 14 oz) of artichoke hearts – drained well and cut into quarters

2 medium peppers (red, yellow or orange) cut in a large dice

4 stalks celery, sliced thinly

1/2 bunch fresh basil, sliced in long, thin pieces (in a “chiffonade”)

(optional – 3 green onions, sliced thinly on a sharp angle … for those who need more onion in their lives)

When ready to serve, drain the vinegar from the red onion and add …

1 T grainy Dijon mustard

1/2 T minced garlic

Wisk in very slowly, to form an emulsion …

1/2 cup of good olive oil

Use this to dress the salad, tossing very gently to avoid having the artichoke hearts fall apart.  Enjoy!

Incidentally, I was informed by a naturopath that the latest information indicates that to maximise the health benefits of garlic, it should be chopped finely and allowed to sit for 10 minutes before using.  This allows the compound “allicin” to form and it is allicin that carries many of the health benefits.  What really surprised me is that if the allicin is allowed to form in this manner, it will persist even when the garlic is then cooked!  There are always so many things to learn …

Don’t forget that the first Taste of Diversity dinner is coming up fast on March 5.  We will be visiting the Ukraine for this excursion but berths are popular and sell out quickly. Contact Pam at 519 824 1250 x 241 or officecoordinator@ignatiusguelph.ca

 

Thanks to Rose for this recipe (although I have taken some liberties with it) as well as our thanks for so much more.

Take care of yourselves so you can take care of each other. ❤

A New November!

veg tray Nov 2018

Hello, hello again!  After a year’s hiatus, we’re back with more news, recipes and pictures.   Take a moment to admire a selection of the marvelous vegetables from the tireless folk from our organic farm.  The purple radish in the centre is possibly my favourite vegetable in creation … they taste as good as they look!

We have just finished the annual 40 day silent retreat.  I promised one of the stalwart participants the recipe for Chocolate Orange Cake.  This is no hardship … as it is one of my favourite desserts. It is also a handy recipe to have in your repertoire as it contains no eggs or dairy.  In my mind, I call it “Brendan’s Cake” after our friend Brendan McManus, SJ who took his Final Vows in the chapel at Loyola House.   We served this cake at the ceilidh that followed.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Mix thoroughly …

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 cup chocolate chips (a little more would be ok too …)

Mix …

1 1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil

zest of 1 orange (zest of 2 oranges would be ok too …)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir until smooth but do not over mix.  Oil a 9 inch by 13 inch pan and bake at 350 F until done – about 35 minutes.  It is best to line the bottom with parchment paper … all that chocolate has a tendency to sink and stick whilst baking!

Let sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and invert it onto a cooling rack.  When it is cool, you can ice the cake, but it is so moist and rich that it really doesn’t need icing.  If you are in the mood for an extra hit of chocolate (and you think your guests deserve it), topping with ganache is fairly decadent.  Simply melt together 1 cup of good bittersweet baker’s chocolate and 6 oz whipping (35%) cream in a double boiler (or in a metal bowl over simmering water), stirring constantly. When it is perfectly smooth, remove from heat and drizzle over the cake.  Or you can let the ganache cool to a spreadable consistency and apply it with a spatula.  Enjoy!

Last night was the third and last of 2018’s Taste of Diversity dinners.  For this gala, we returned to Italy – many thanks to the wonderful volunteers who planned the menu and did the cooking and decorating for this splendid evening!

TOD Nov 2018

(And thanks to our wonderful Director of Operations, Lisa Calzonetti, for the photo .. I never remember to take pictures.)

Next year, we will be holding three Taste of Diversity dinners. On March 5, we will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday.  November 13 will be “A Return to Italy”.  May 22 – as yet – has no destination!  So if you have a nationality to request and would like to get involved, please let us know.   If you are interested in tickets for any (or all) of these dinners … act fast!  They have been selling out weeks in advance for years.  Contact officecoordinator@ignatiusguelph.ca and our wonderful staff will set you up.

Until next time, be safe, be warm, and take care of each other!  ❤

 

Falling Gracefully into Winter.

It’s been a lovely fall season here in Southern Ontario.  Warm (mostly) and (mainly) sunny and lo-o-o-ong!  It makes the transition that much easier – and allows ALL the crops to be harvested in a timely manner without too much panic and shrieking.  Now, though, the nights have a real bite and the sunlight has an attenuated quality … winter is not far away …

Time to break out the winter menus; chili and stew and thick soups.  Comfort food, slow-you-down and stick-to-your-ribs food.  Whatever you call it, it definitely includes this salad!cauli salad 1

Lemon-Cumin Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Assemble marinade …

finely grated zest and juice of one lemon

1/3 c lemon juice

1/2 t salt

1 t pepper

2 T ground cumin

1 T chopped garlic

1 T ground coriander

whisk in …

1/3 c olive oil

Cut into bite-sized florets …

1 head cauliflower

Wash well, immersing in cold water several times.

Cut into chunky slices …

2 large carrots and 2 red onion

Parboil the carrot and thoroughly toss all vegetables with the marinade. Let sit for half an hour to get itself together. Just before service, turn out everything (vegetables and marinade) onto a parchment-covered baking sheet.  Roast in a 350 F oven for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring several times.  When stirring, use a flat spatula to pick up the marinade off of the parchment and re-distribute it over the vegetables.  A cut-glass platter makes a nice serving vessel for this salad and a sprinkle of chopped parsley would not go amiss.  Two of my favourite flavours (lemon and cumin) clinging to the meatiness of the cooked cauliflower … that will stick to your ribs!

Pro-tip for the carrots:  start cooking them in just enough cold water to cover.  By the time the water boils, they will be almost par-boiled all the way through.  If you added the cold pieces to boiling water, the outside would be mushy by the time the heat penetrated to the centre of the carrot.  Don’t forget to use the cooking water in your next soup or stew (or as the-mom-who-lives-in-my-head says “Just drink it! It’s full of vitamins!”).

I like to use what I call a “roll-cut” on the carrots.  It has lots of long, cut sides for the heat to penetrate quickly and it looks elegant. Start with a simple diagonal cut off of one end.  This piece will be different from all its siblings … treat it gently.roll cut 1Now turn the carrot one quarter turn towards you roll cut 2and make another cut on the same angle roll cut 5Keep turning and cutting until you run out of carrot. roll cut 6

More extreme versions of our usual thanks go to volunteers and members of the community who have pitched in to help during the 40 day retreat!  Virginia, Jerome, Regan, Zigang, Greg, my sisters Julie and Chris (and my Mom for one memorable afternoon!) – we literally couldn’t have done it without you all!  Thank you x 100,001!

They are taking care of us – you take care of each other and the world!  ❤

 

 

 

Awww … There Goes August!

edamame salad 5I made up a salad!  I am quite excited about this … this is the way things are supposed to work. I had a bunch of ingredients (including WAY too many zucchini – if you can possibly believe such a thing about this time of year) so I said to myself “Self – how can we put these together so they taste better together than they do apart?”  And the “Serendipity Salad” was born and got rave reviews on its first few outings.

Mind you, the name is misleading.  I was able to put this together because we stay prepared.  We always have pickled ginger (gari) on hand.  We always have beautiful red onions, Canadian grown, shelled and frozen edamame, a selection of herbs and of course, the beautiful produce from our organic farm.  Perhaps this salad needs a new name (suggestions welcome).

So here we go …

I love gari or, as you may know it, “sushi ginger”.  I used to go to the Asian market and buy a bunch of  jars of it to cook with.  Then, one day I read the ingredients!  Now we make our own – cheaper, healthier and much more fun.

Slice peeled ginger – young and firm is best – as thinly as possible, making sure you cut across the grain.  A kitchen “mandolin” or V-cutter is useful for getting ginger paper thin.  Be careful with this instrument, though! v cutter 2It is so sharp and you can get going at such a clip that it is easy to miss the transition from ginger to finger and we don’t want that!  Place the ginger slices in a canning (heat resistant) jar.

At this point, you can add a couple slices of raw, peeled beet – to give it the traditional pink colour, if that is important to you. It won’t affect the taste but it is pretty.  Just don’t add too much beet or it will turn out quite a surprising colour!

Bring to a boil …            

2 c rice wine vinegar

1 T sea salt

½ c sugar or maple syrup or honey

When this liquid is boiling, pour it over the ginger in the jar – making sure to cover well. Allow it all to come to room temperature then lid and refrigerate.  Let it sit in the fridge for 3 days before using.  Make a lot, it’s good for you and your digestion (see my post “Ginger is the New Garlic”) and it lasts almost forever!  Use the juice in salads or sauces.

gari 4

2 hours before starting on the recipe … start the onions pickling!

Place in a steep-sided stainless steel or glass bowl …

2 c red onion – sliced thinly and attractively

Cover with red wine vinegar and add …

1 t salt

1 T black pepper

2 T maple syrup or sugar

Stir well and leave in a warmish place to pickle – stirring occasionally. The red colour will soften to pink and blur slightly and the harsh taste will soften as well.

Mix … 

8 c zucchini – very finely sliced (the mandolin works well here too)

1 c pickled red onion

1 c edamame (without shells)

¼ c sliced green onion

¼ c chopped cilantro

2 T slivered pickled ginger

Whisk together …

1/4 c pickled ginger juice

2 T lime juice

3 T toasted sesame oil

Whisk in slowly – to form an emulsion …

1/4 c vegetable (or other neutral-flavoured oil)

Dress the salad and garnish with black and white sesame seeds.

Enjoy! gari 5Wishing you a most felicitous fall!  I hope this recipe will help you take care of any backlog of summer squash … freeing you up to take care of yourselves, our mother earth and each other!  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simmering in the Summer.

That title sounds good, but today’s recipe takes no simmering at all.  This will be welcome during summers in less comfortable kitchens than the Loyola House Kitchen.  We like to joke that the kitchen is the coolest part of this house in midsummer – thanks to our amazing Director of Operations, Lisa, who upgraded the heating/cooling unit for us to something near miraculous.  That, plus our astonishing view, plus our wonderful co-workers PLUS the inspirational and congenial folks who make their way here from all over the world combine to make our kitchen a happy place indeed!  The recent rush of fresh produce from the farm only intensifies our joy … is there anything more wonderful than a crisp sugar snap pea just hours off the vine? Or burying your beak in a bushel of basil?

After such sweetness … a little balancing tartness.  This is my personal favourite of the dressings that we make.  Blueberries and lemons are a “gestalt” combination … the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  It is great in baking and I love it in this dressing.  I must confess though — part of my affection for this dressing is for the dramatic colour!

blueberry dressing 3

?

 

Blueberry-Lemon Vinaigrette

Slice and remove seeds …

2 whole lemons

Put  in a cuisinart or blender, then add ….

3 T  Dijon mustard

2 c frozen blueberries

½ c white wine vinegar

½ c lemon juice

2 T sugar or honey

1 t pepper

½ t salt

(dash of Tabasco)

With machine running, add in a VERY slow stream…

1 c veg oil

With machine running, add steadily, but in a faster stream…

1 c veg oil

1 c extra virgin olive oil

1/2 c apple cider or juice

If it gets too thick – add a little more apple juice to thin it down. Remember that it will thicken up in the fridge as the olive oil gets cold.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Store in fridge.

You can substitute raspberries for a change of flavor and a different but equally dramatic colour…

We are in the midst of our busy retreat season … back to back to back eight day retreats, usually full, so not much news to report.  If you are planning to attend our third and final Taste of Diversity dinner ( A Return To Italy), I advise getting your ticket NOW.

I leave you with an amazing thing that I found in a perfectly ordinary box of mushrooms this week.  The world is full of wonders … find them and celebrate them!monster raw mushroom

And take care of each other and yourselves…<3