Farm Daze


This must be the most satisfying time of year for a cook … despite the punishing heat, despite the merciless flood of retreatants, despite taunting stories of canoeing weekends, week-long hikes and other holiday behaviour from friends-and-relations… the waves of fresh produce make it all worthwhile!  We have been getting wonderful purple onions, rainbow chard, bountiful beets, spinach, parsley, basil and other delights (including the above-pictured palette of tomatoes) all of them less than a day out of the ground (or off the vine).  The aromas, flavours and textures are so intense! It actually requires very little artistry to make a wonderful dish with such raw ingredients. 

Our Community Supported Agriculture just celebrated their “Open Farm Days” last week – when the regular weekly pick-up turns into a party that includes wagon rides, face painting, organic ice cream and of course, Loyola House handing out iced coffee and nibblies.  I had many requests for the recipe for the dip that I served ….

Black Bean Dip

Pick over (for stones), rinse, then cover generously with water and soak overnight …

2 c black turtle beans

Drain, rinse well, cover with clean water and boil until soft.  Allow to cool.  Reserve half the beans for texture.  To the other half, add…

1/4 c lime juice

2 large tomatoes, washed, cored and chopped coarsely

1 T each of ground cumin and ground coriander

1/2 t  each of salt and pepper

1 T garlic or 2 T roasted garlic

3 T olive oil

1/4 c sliced green onions

1/4 c cilantro – washed and dried, then chopped coarsely

(Optional – 1 diced green pepper and/or 1 t chipotle pepper

Pulse in a food processor until smooth.  Mash the remaining beans with a potato masher (or smush them with your hands for that personal touch!) and stir them into the dip.  This keeps well in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Black beans are one of the most nutritious of all beans and one of the tastiest.  I used to be all about the bite of raw garlic – but this recipe is nicer with the mellower, subtler taste of roasted garlic.  I grab 2 handfuls of peeled garlic cloves and toss them into a loaf pan, cover generously with olive oil, then with tinfoil and bake for about an hour.  When it is cool, you can puree it or not as you like.  This keeps very well in a jar in the fridge (although the olive oil will go semi-solid). Keep it at the front of your fridge … it goes well in almost everything savoury!


Enjoy the tag ends of summer!  Thanks to Maria for her ferocious  garlic braiding skillz!