Whee! We made it!

veggies-dec-2016Happy 2017!  It sounds like a science fiction story … aren’t we supposed to all have flying cars and inter-planetary holidays by now?  I’ve just gotten back from a holiday in BC where it is mild and rainy so while I am delighted to be back at work … actually getting to work through all this wind and cold and white stuff is a bit of a shock.

Naturally, my mind turns to thoughts of something warm and comforting to enjoy as a reward for yet more shoveling and I was surprised to notice that we have not yet featured one of our staple entrees …

RATATOUILLE

Sautee briefly

1 large red onion, sliced

1 bulb fennel, sliced

2 T minced garlic

¼ c olive oil

 Take off the heat and add …

6 cups canned whole tomatoes

Wash, cut into large, attractive chunks…

4 c zucchini

Toss with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and 1 t oregano and roast in a 350° oven for 10 minutes

Do the same with …

4 c multi-coloured peppers – but roast for 15 minutes, stirring once

Do the same with…

up to 4 c eggplant – but roast for 30 minutes, stirring several times

Add all of the vegetables to the tomato pot along with

2 T puree of fresh basil (or 2 T dried)

2 T lemon juice or red wine vinegar

2 T sugar or honey

Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste

Bring to a simmer and let simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over pasta or rice or with a good, crusty bread.

 

This will bring back memories of mid-summer and the vegetable bounty of those fleeting months.  Even mid-winter, our farmers have ways of making us happy though … look at the wonderful radishes they grew this year and passed on to us in December!

purple-radish

Don’t you now wish you had bought a CSA winter share?

Enjoy the nascent year … 2017 is going to be a great one!  Let’s be careful out there and take care of each other!  ❤

 

September’s “Taste of Italy” Celebration.

T o I sept

On Wednesday night, Loyola House hosted 2015’s third and final “Taste of Italy” fundraising dinners.  It was a warm and heart-warming time, like having 85 of your closest friends over for supper.  In this case, we had 27 new friends as well, the Anglican Church of Canada was here for a “Stronger Together” retreat … so they joined in the festivities!

Thanks to everyone who came … and ate … and hugged and sang!  Thank you, Moses, for the ever-popular music.

I would like to make a very passionate, grateful “thank you” to our amazing volunteers … Vicki and the indefatigable Olga – who did most of the cooking, Jerome (who did most of the dishes!), Dan and my baby sisters, Chris and Julie, who showed up to help out and did all that was necessary … including some of my thinking for me!

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of a truly astonishing staff … Michele, Ryan, Theresa and Autumn!  We fit together like cogs in a machine … complementing each other’s talents, helping each other keep spinning.  Thank you.

These dinners have gone so well and have been so much fun that we’ll probably do something similar next year, so be warned … book your tickets early!!

 

TOMATO FENNEL SOUP (one of our favourites!)

Sauté until soft but uncoloured….

1 c sliced onion

1 bulbs fennel – sliced thinly and attractively

1 T toasted fennel seed

2 T minced garlic

1 c sliced celery

Add….

1 large (100 oz) can of whole (organic, Canadian)  tomatoes – break them up with your hands, take out bits of skin and stem scars then strain away as many seeds as you can and add up to a can more of water

Simmer until fennel is soft. 

Adjust seasoning with

2 T rice wine vinegar or lime juice (my favourite!)

2 T maple syrup

2 T dried Tarragon

Salt, pepper, hot sauce as desired

As with most soups … this is better on the second (and third) day.

 

Take care of each other … ❤

T o I dessert

(just as a side note – and to exasperate my mother – in two years, both of my baby sisters will be eligible for “senior” prices in some places!   How time does run away with us!!)

July is evaporating!

Image

This Watermelon-Cucumber Salad will keep you cool in the fierce heat we have been experiencing!  I notice that a year (less a day) ago we posted another photo of this salad by a different cook and a different photographer.  I find it interesting to see how different the interpretations of the same recipe can be!  Of course, this year the kitchen herb garden is a year more established (and has had the loving attentions of our amazing gardening volunteers) and has produced the lovely lavender flowers apparent above.  We are also producing our own chives, sage, thyme, lovage, rose petals, bay leaves, mint…. a cornucopia of herbs! 

Here is another excellent way to beat the heat … tastefully.

 

Chilly Dilly Tomato Soup

 Puree until smooth …

4 c canned tomatoes

2 T roasted garlic

Add …

2 c water or vegetable stock

1 c dill pickle brine

¼ c chopped dill

2/3 c thinly sliced green onion

1 c finely diced celery (inner ribs are best)

1 c finely diced cucumber

1 c finely grated summer squash (zucchini)

1 t hot sauce

1 T honey

3 T lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Let the soup sit covered in the fridge overnight and adjust seasoning.

Other vegetables you have in abundance can be chopped finely and added to this soup.  Best enjoyed on a patio with a good view ….