The Great Pumpkin Recipe

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With Halloween lurking right around the corner like a kid in a goblin costume, we thought it was time to turn our attention to the great pumpkin. A member of the squash family, cucurbita pepo is native to North America and has been cultivated here for thousands of years, with sees found in archaeological digs in Mexico dating as far back as seven thousand years B.C. Nowadays we tend to regulate the pumpkin to the front porch as a decoration, or in pie form around the holidays. Why not change all that and start incorporating pumpkin into your regular recipe repertoire? Starting with something totally delicious and unexpected – popsicles!  Continue »



Behold the Magical Poppyseed

 

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Poppyseeds  (or poppy seeds) may be less than a millimeter in length but they play a large role when it comes to cuisine. Cultivated and harvested by the ancient Egyptian, Minoan and Sumerian civilizations as far back as the third millennium B.C. they have been pressed into ceremonial oils used in religious practices, cultivated for the flowers, and of course the latex from the poppy has been used to make opium for thousands of years, serving as a sleep aid, a pain killer and, infamously, less benign applications. Continue »



Fall Colour: Sumac

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If you can pick a bright, overcast day to walk around in the fall, the changing colours on deciduous trees and shrubs simply glow. Hazy, bright light, with no direct sunshine allows the colours to pop. That’s the kind of day it was when I saw this splendid ‘Tiger Eye’ Sumac. It was like a beacon, summoning me to it! One of the things I like about the colour change is that the change is gradual and progressive, so that multiple colours blend together all at once. That effect is particularly noticeable on this sumach, where the red-orange, orange and bright yellow seamlessly blend into the chartreuse green, mixing and mingling to delightful effect.

This cultivar of sumach only grows to six feet and is less likely to sucker (spread from roots) than the native version. It will grow in full sun, or take some partial shade, and is drought resistant, always a bonus. Its normal colour is a bright chartreuse, a popular colour these days, adding lightness and contrasting well with its dark bark and any surrounding darker leaves. The finely cut leaves also provide an interesting texture addition to your garden.



Host Your Own Oktoberfest

 

The past couple of weeks may have been pretty busy for many of us; Thanksgiving was last weekend, the Run or Walk to Cure Cancer just concluded, and there are a number of food celebrations to keep us occupied this harvest season. And of course, Halloween is right around the corner. So if you happened to miss out on the Oktoberfest celebrations this year, fret not; why not host your own Oktoberfest party, or Oktoberfest themed supper?

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Oktoberfest in Munich is one of the largest fairs in the world, a sixteen-day festival that started in October of 1810 to celebrate the impending nuptuals of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildeburghehausen. Since that time the celebrations have grown to include horse races (later dropped), agricultural exhibitions, amusement park rides, feasting and dancing and of course the drinking of vast quantities of Oktoberfest beer.

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Holding your own mini Oktoberfest can be a simple affair; all you really need is some great music, some good German beer and some traditional fare, like maybe a beer and potato Soup,  maybe some beer bratwurst and auerkraut , Weiner Schnitzel and apple strudel for dessert. And a rowdy group of friends ready to celebrate.

No matter what you cook up, don’t forget the potato salad. Potato salad is a must for an Oktoberfest celebration, and this recipe for German potato salad is a great way to get things rockin’!

If you find yourself in Prince Edward County next Sunday, drop by the Drake Devonshire Inn in Wellington for sausages, sauerkraut & Muskoka beer – all complimentary – as the Drake celebrates its very own Octoberfest.

Prost!

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German Potato Salad

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. grainy mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. caraway seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3-1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3/4 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup onion, small dice
  • 3/4 cup dill pickles, small dice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Make the dressing

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until combined. Whisk in the caraway seeds.

Make the salad

Combine the vinegar and 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl and set aside. Boil the potatoes whole, you’ll skin and cut them once they’re cooked.

Drain the potatoes and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes by scraping off the skin with a paring knife. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the vinegar and stir to coat.

Add the bacon, onions, pickles and parsley into the potatoes. Whisk the vinaigrette and dress the salad, enough to coat, you won’t need all of the dressing). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve while still slightly warm, or at room temperature.



Fun With Tofu

Delicious pumpkin seed crusted tofu with a poached egg.

Delicious pumpkin seed crusted tofu with a poached egg.

 

We could all stand to eat a lot less meat, poultry and fish on a day to day basis. One of the problems with being omnivorous is that meat, poultry and fish make you lazy – they are the stars of the plate, just demanding a few simple sides to round out a meal that will be filling enough that you won’t be staring at the fridge hungrily in a few hours. See, if you don’t cook vegetarian all that often it can be difficult to prepare a filling meal that will stick with you, it is just so much easier to fry up a steak.

Enter tofu, the bland block of coagulated soy milk you have never learned to love. Today we’re going to change all that. Here we present a collection of the most delicious tofu recipes on the web. You’ll never have to worry about Meatless Monday menu planning again. Continue »