18 posts tagged with “local”

  • 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.

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  • Peach Tree
  • St. Catharines dining scene mushrooms with Bolete

    Andrew McLeod of Bolete.

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    My husband and I have a deal that he golfs and I forage.

    It’s worked out well for our marriage. So a few years ago when the opportunity arose to go mushroom hunting, I happily donned my Wellies and he his spikes.

    I returned with a haul of wild oyster mushrooms and the most beautiful ash bolete. I felt like the most clichéd kid in a candy store, or food geek in a forest.

    I also felt myself waver as I dumped my mushrooms onto my kitchen counter to make quiche.

    “What if my guide was having a bad day?” I worried as I brushed the dirt off that bolete. “Nah, surely he got this right,” I convinced myself as I pushed aside all thoughts of winning a Darwin Award — an honour no human wants.

    Still, I chopped slowly. Every twinge I felt in my gut for days after eating that mushroom pie prompted a mental edit of my final wishes.

    A few years later, Niagara chef Andrew McLeod found himself in a forest with a friend and their children, hours away from anything resembling civilization. His friend noticed something peeking from the ground under a tree.

    It was a bolete. At least he thought it was. A thorough scouring of their field guide and many questions asked of the Google gods left them fairly certain this was no evil, poisonous twin. They cooked it up and ate it, not sharing with their kids, just in case.

    So how did these stories end? McLeod went on to open a long-awaited restaurant in downtown St. Catharines named after that mushroom, and I lived to write a story about it. Lucky for you, especially because of Bolete, the restaurant.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Bakery a gluten-free haven in St. Catharines

    Jennifer Kuzyk of Edible Options, a gluten-free bakery in St. Catharines.

    Strip Mall Gems is a series of Eating Niagara, my column that runs in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune. This instalment is about Edible Options in St. Catharines.

    Jennifer Kuzyk’s eyes glistened as she put the final flourishes on a chocolate cake.

    It was stunning in its decadence — a beautiful mess of Toblerone, Turtles, popcorn, Kisses, 24 carat gold leaf and a Curly Wurly that took it from mere baked good to art.

    But that’s not what made the owner of Edible Options emotional.

    It was the trio of women at a nearby table in Kuzyk’s St. Catharines bakery that overwhelmed her. They were gabbing over coffee, sharing stories and treats in the shop that Kuzyk built.

    “I pinch myself when I think about what’s happening behind me. People are in my space, enjoying my baking. It’s like a dream,” Kuzyk said as she looked skyward in an effort to dam the tears. “They chose to come here instead of Starbucks. That’s pretty cool.”

    As a writer, I get it — the soul-baring and soul-bearing work of creating something for others to enjoy. And when they do enjoy it, it’s a relief that tricks you into wanting to do it again.

    Still, Kuzyk’s unfiltered emotion caught me off guard. If anyone could convince people to buck mass-produced treats from one of the world’s most popular coffee chains, it’s Kuzyk.

    The woman is formidable, not just for her cake decorating prowess but because of her tenacity in building a successful certified gluten-free bakery that, unless you asked, you’d never know eschewed that most reviled wheat protein.

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  • Peach Tree
  • Mixing things up: Apple-delicata squash shakshuka

    This post was sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers (OAG). What does that mean? I was paid to develop this recipe for apple-delicata squash shakshuka. The recipe and story I’ve told below are my own, without input or editing by OAG.

    I tend to follow Micheal Pollan’s rule of never eating where I fuel up my car.

    I take that one step further and avoid eating where my husband buys coffee cream late on a Sunday night when he’s in a bind, or anywhere I have to flick the dust of a grocery item. Ditto for places where sandwiches come shrink wrapped and stamped with distant expiry dates.

    In other words, I don’t usually eat at my neighbourhood convenience store.

    But what happens when you walk into that neighbourhood convenience store to pick up your Niagara Local Food Co-op order and find shelves lined with half-pecks full of the most beautiful Mutsu apples you’ve ever seen?

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