Celebrate Summer!

In theory, the Summer Solstice is my least favourite day of the year since from then on, the days only get shorter!  But it’s hard to resist the puffy clouds against the bright blue, the burgeoning green of the fields, the gentle breezes drying the sweat from your brow … and the promise of produce!! green-onions-1.jpgFrom our organic farm, we’ve had green garlic, the above onions, microgreens, head lettuce and are waiting (only drooling a little) for strawberries next week.  One of the first fruits of the new season, though, is rhubarb – a wonderful way to shock your taste buds out of the winter tedium.  There’s quite a large patch on the property and for weeks, Father Greg has been faithfully bringing the kitchen some stalks on his way in to work.  We stew it, freeze it, make it into crisps, pies, cakes AND these wonderful bars.

RHUBARB OAT BARS

Yield: One 9 inch x 9 inch pan gives 16 pieces

Mix together in a saucepan…

2 c rhubarb, sliced finely

½ c sugar

2 T cornstarch

¼ c apple cider (or water)

1 T each of lemon juice and vanilla

zest of one orange

2 T diced candied ginger

Bring to a simmer, then let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together

1 c flour

1 ½ t baking powder

1 c brown sugar

1 ½ c oats

1 t each of nutmeg, ginger, ground coriander or to taste

½ t salt

Add and work in with hands until just crumbly (do not overwork) …

1 cup soft butter

Pat half the oat mixture into greased 9” square pan. Pour the rhubarb mixture over this and sprinkle the remaining oat mix over all.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden.  Cool completely before cutting.

rhubarb oat bars

It’s a tasty treat and will give you strength for more weeding!

Take care of yourselves, and each other ❤

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Just Barely June.

apricots

Now that Spring seems to be firmly established, it’s time to start anticipating Summer.  There is no taste that says “summer” to me more than apricots.  Alas, apricots – fresh, fragrant and juicy – are months away but dried apricots are better than no apricots at all.  This is especially true of the organic, sour apricots pictured above and even more so when they are baked into this intense, cheesecake-like pie!

SOUR CREAM APRICOT PIE

(for one 10 inch pie – serves 8 or 10)

Thaw and flute the edges of a 10 inch pie shell (or make your own crust if you are a keener).

Mix together …

2 cups of sour cream

one orange and one lemon – finely grated zest and juice

1 T really good vanilla extract

1/2 c organic cane sugar (regular sugar works as well 🙂 )

Beat well and strain into the mix …

3 eggs

Slice and add …

2 cups dried apricots  (sour are nice, organic won’t be processed with sulfites)

Stir well and pour into the uncooked crust.  Bake at 177 degrees Celsius (or 350 F) for about 45 minutes – until the crust is cooked and the filling is just barely set and just puffing around the edges.  You don’t want the filling to start to colour, this is a sign that the eggs will be starting to toughen.  Let it cool completely before slicing. 

sour cream apricot pie

Enjoy in moderation and dream of mid-summer.

Thanks to all who helped to make last week’s Taste of Diversity dinner so much fun, especially Christine, Maria, Cathy and Jean … and as always, Greg.  It will seem like a long time until the next one in November.  Next year’s dates will be March 25, June 3 and November 18 … avoid disappointment and book now!

This Sunday at 10 am will be the annual Land Blessing, a wonderful opportunity to renew connections to the land, the IJC community and to gratitude.  Come join us!  Gather at St. Brigid’s Villa. There will be a potluck lunch at 12:45, bring your water bottle, coffee mug, plate & utensils.

Until next month, take great care and love one another!

heart cookie 2

Aaaand – there goes April!

2019 Easter 6

Happy belated Easter!  It surely was a happy one around Loyola House – we had over 200 of our closest friends come to Brunch.  We had pastries, muffins, local Bella Roma turkey sausage, smoked salmon scrambled eggs, Thatcher Farms lamb kebab-ed with Cremini mushrooms … oooh, so many things!  Topped off, of course, with plenty of chocolate.  Thanks to the mighty kitchen staff, some stalwart Jesuit volunteers (and my beloved sisters who dropped by to help with the transformation from First Seating to Second Seating) it was a fast-paced but fun occasion.  Now we start planning how to top it for next year …

This blog is coming up on 7 years old!  Sometimes I worry about running out of recipes.  I shouldn’t worry – the inventive and enquiring minds in the kitchen are always coming up with something new.  This month – thanks to Emily – we have a

THAI INSPIRED CUCUMBER SLAW

For the dressing, whisk together…

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or plain old tamari)

1/3 cup  unsweetened rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup dark sesame oil

2/3 cup peanut butter 

Assemble in a large bowl … 

½ cup chopped cilantro

1 bunch green onions, chopped

3 English cucumbers, sliced

1/2 c Edamame – out of the shell!

1 large head of cabbage, sliced (we like Savoy cabbage)

1 cup  roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped

¼ cup sesame seeds -black or toasted white (or both)

Add the dressing and toss well.  This salad will benefit from having an hour to assimilate the dressing.  Stir it occasionally, then transplant to your favourite serving bowl and astonish your guests with a new taste treat.  For those who don’t like cilantro, basil works very well in this salad – if you can get the beautiful, spicy purple basil, so much the better!

asian slaw 2

asian slaw 1

Thanks, Emily! And thanks to Natasha for the Brunch picture.  I now have camera envy.

Don’t forget that the next Taste of Diversity dinner is barely three weeks away, on May 22.  This will be our annual voyage back to Italy – ably guided by our dear friends from the Holy Rosary Parrish.  There may be a couple of tickets left … but not for long.

Until next time – take care of each other and keep the sunscreen handy (hope, hope).  ❤

 

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! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. ❤

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!  ❤