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!

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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

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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!  ❤

 

Kitchen Advent-ures.

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Our Emily is an accomplished gardener.  This year she grew an astonishing variety of peppers and gifted me with some.  I fermented them with garlic and pink Himalayan salt and now I will have hot sauce all winter -thanks,  Em! I though I’d share a little colour (and heat) on this grey day…. especially since the recipe that I have been asked to post is for yet a another monochromatic delight.  Good for eating … but not so much for photographing.

pepper-ferment-for-blog-3

Trying to find a dessert when you don’t eat gluten OR dairy can be quite challenging!  We have come up with a few really good ones (and we’re always looking for more… hint, hint).  To the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and Chocolate Black Bean Cake (see previous entries) we now add …

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Melt together …

3/4 cup coconut oil

4 oz good, dark baking chocolate

Stir in and whisk together until smooth …

1 c mashed banana

¾ c maple syrup

1 t vanilla

1 c cocoa powder

Stir in …

5 c unsweetened, shredded coconut

¼ c chia seeds

¼ c coconut flour

Form into balls, “haystacks” , nests or your preferred  shape then refrigerate until solid. (These are best not served in the heat of summer as the coconut oil will melt and make the consistency too soft and your fingers all gooey).

These are very popular AND they pack quite a nutritional punch!  They contain protein (chia), potassium (banana), antioxidants (cocoa), lots of good fats and lots of fibre.   But still …. brown, they’re just brown ….. so here is another unrelated yet more visually satisfying photo of our Quinoa Tabbouleh with calendula petals from our kitchen herb garden.

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As we begin this holiday season, please remember the Jesuit Community of Guelph is having their annual Open House at Loyola House on Sunday, December 4, 2016 from 2 pm until 4 pm.  We’d love to see you out here!

Take good care of yourself so you can take good care of others and the world.

In Praise of Volunteers

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Here at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre,  we are blessed with many blessings … there is the land, the history, our delicious well water but most especially our people.  Our clients are the most interesting people in the world – and from all over the world.  Our staff is varied, dedicated and congenial.  Very far from the least is our cadre of volunteers who help out in every facet of the centre.  We have a wonderful soul who comes in to help our housekeeper change bedding!  We have people who do regular volunteer reception shifts.  The Farm, Buildings and the Land departments each have an assorted crew with a very wide assortment of skills. We had a Guelph company volunteer an entire environmental assessment prior to the Plant an Old Growth Forest project!  There is an amazing woman – a audit expert – who drives in regularly from down Toronto way just to volunteer her financial acumen!

Most dear to my heart of course are our kitchen volunteers who help us out peeling carrots, making salads, with dishes, with everything!  Cheery, flexible and hardworking, these folks lift our hearts and lighten our burdens.  Here’s to Virginia and Dan from the kitchen and all the rest of our volunteers.  Thank you and bless you!

One of our most-requested recipes is the following stew.  It is healthful, we can serve it to vegans but everyone likes it.  I especially like the whole coriander seeds .. you occasionally get one between your teeth and poof! an instant explosion of taste … like a present for your tongue!  It also freezes well and you can add more water (or apple cider) and puree it – roughly or finely, as you like – for a wonderful soup.  This makes quite a large batch – to serve almost 30!  You might want to cut it in half … or maybe not!

African-Inspired Groundnut Stew.

2 T vegetable oil

2 c coarsely chopped onion

1 c chunked celery

2 T whole coriander seeds

2 T chopped garlic

2 T chopped ginger

Sauté until the onion just starts to colour.  Add…

8 c sweet potato – peeled and chunked

3 c canned tomatoes with juice – broken up with hands

2 c apple juice or cider

1/2 c roasted, unsalted peanuts

Bring to a boil stirring constantly, reduce heat, lid and simmer 5 minutes.  Add…

2 c chunked squash (or potato)

2 c chunked cabbage (or cauliflower)

2 c chick peas – ready to eat

2 T ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional – hot sauce or chilies to taste, chopped okra if available, red pepper for colour)

Simmer a further 15 minutes or so until all vegetables are soft.  Just before service, stir in 1 c peanut butter.  This will thicken it quite a bit!  Add more apple juice if it is too thick.

(Optional…. ½ c chopped cilantro)

Enjoy the spring!