• Workhorses: Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce

    This post was sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers (OAG). What does that mean? I was paid to develop this recipe for Turnip-Apple Ravioli with Miso-Brown Butter Sauce. The recipe and story I’ve told below are my own, without input or editing by OAG.

    I don’t think I’m being bold by stating turnips don’t have the same cachet as, say, kale.

    Really, when was the last time you made a beeline for the humble root vegetable at the grocery store? If you answered, ‘Just the other day, in fact,’ then you and I need to hang out.

    I love turnip. I don’t buy them nearly enough but I do sing their praises often. They’re lovely to look at, for one, with their two-tone purple and cream complexions. Baby bunch turnips, those pure white orbs against verdant greens, are stunning, too.

    Then there’s that taste, with hints of radish and mustard kept in check by the odd apple note. Oh, and turnips are budget friendly, going for less than a dollar a pound in most places.

    Are you feeling me yet on the turnip?

    They’re also incredibly adaptable. They lend themselves to all kinds of flavour pairings from simple, comforting ones to more exotic. Really, the turnip is like the workhorse of the vegetable world.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Recipes

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Abundance: Creamy Potato and Kohlrabi Soup with Spicy Brown Butter

    I officially marked the start of week seven as a phlegm bot yesterday.

    This isn’t an anniversary I want to mark or even acknowledge with a passing thought, yet I can’t help but wonder where the hell my immune system went with no telling when it will return.

    It’s been the winter of my discontent with illness. It started with pneumonia, morphed into a sinus cold that lasted longer than its predecessor, and later a cough that came on so strong at times, it made me throw up. All of this was followed by a fresh set of symptoms this week. They came on the moment I felt confident I was at the very tip of the tail end of all this sickness.

    It’s been nothing short of demoralizing. I make a point of trying to live well. I get nine hours of sleep a night and clock my seven to 10 fruits and veg every day.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Recipes

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Spreading hope: The Southridge Jam Co.

    This story originally appeared in Edible Toronto magazine, Winter 2017. Other than the main photo, all images were supplied by Southridge Jam Co.

    A sweet scent spills from the kitchen at Southridge Community Church in Vineland, Ontario, and it’s unmistakably that of Concord grapes and sugar joining forces to make jelly.

    For Scott Cronkwright, the aroma is much more than a preserve-in-the-making. It’s a smell that triggers happy memories from days long past and, especially, hope for days – and years – ahead.

    Cronkwright is one of about a dozen people who make up the current cohort of The Southridge Jam Co., a small-batch-preserves operation launched earlier this year to support homelessness programs, including a shelter that is run out of the St. Catharines location of Southridge Community Church.

    As the guy stirring the pot, measuring sugar, or doing whatever job is required of him to turn grapes into peanut butter’s soulmate, Cronkwright relishes the scent wrapping itself around him, sticking to his clothes, his hair, his skin. “The smell completely envelops me,” the 55-year-old says. “It takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. It takes me back to my childhood. Every jam that we produce has this incredible memory generating from it.”

    But it’s what happened between those moments playing kitchen assistant to his grandmother as a boy and January 2016 that ultimately led him to a church kitchen to make jam. Cronkwright is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. He grew up to work a mixed bag of entertainment, writing, and restaurant jobs, got married, and had children. And for nearly half of his adult life, he existed as a “functioning opiate addict.” Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Food Finds

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Meet four Niagara food entrepreneurs who want to feed you

    Small Batch Co. Granola from its early days in 2014.

    This post was sponsored by the Greenbelt Fund. What does that mean? I was paid to write about a topic of my choosing inspired by the most recent story published in The Toronto Star related to Ontario’s Greenbelt. The ideas, interviews, writing and editing are my own. The Greenbelt Fund fact-checked all information, including numbers and statistics, about the Greenbelt in this post before publication.

    There’s more to education than the three R’s.

    At Mohawk College in Hamilton, there are also the three P’s: production, preparation and procurement. They aren’t related to anything learned in a classroom. Instead, they’re all about what’s on students’ plates come lunch, and they offer a lesson about the importance of local food.

    Production teaches students about growing food. Preparation is about cooking what they grow. And procurement is about buying it, particularly food with origins close to home.

    With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Greenbelt Fund, Mohawk is leading a project to create a common model for that third P, local food procurement, for Ontario’s 24 community colleges.

    Public institutions from schools and hospitals to universities and government offices have talked for years about how they crave more local food in their cafeterias. Here at home, Brock University sources regional ingredients when it can for the daily offerings served on campus. The French fries there, which were a real weakness of mine when I worked at the university, are made with potatoes that have local roots.

    This weekend, a story in the Toronto Star talked about some of the  inroads made when it comes to getting local food into schools, and the recognition by students that cooking and eating good food grown nearby matters as much as math class.

    Offering local food doesn’t merely nourish students’ bodies. It feeds their imaginations and plants the seeds for fruitful careers in food. And Niagara, which is on the southwestern periphery of the Greenbelt, is fertile ground for such career ambitions.

    The Greenbelt is two million acres of land protected from urban sprawl.  It’s bigger than all of Prince Edward Island. That makes it one big insurance policy we’ll have some of the best farmland to continue providing us many local meals in the future. It also makes it one giant muse for people pursuing careers in food.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Food Finds, Food Security

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest