Brew Your Own!

 

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Meow

 

Cold Brew Coffee has been all the rage for a while now, and there are several places around town where you can get an ice-cold jolt of joe. But with summer almost here, why not get in the habit of brewing your own? It’s super simple, and totally delicious, and a vat of the stuff will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks at least, ready to be served as is, or with ice and cream and sugar, or even heated up as your morning hit. Continue »



Worry-Free Planters: Mixed Succulents

Mixed succulents in a clay planter.

Mixed succulents in a clay planter. Echeveria, (rosette form), and two kinds of crassula among others. 

Why do I love succulent planters? Because, not only are they beautiful, but they are tough and worry-free: they’re the ultimate drought-resistant container planting. Succulents can thrive in the tough growing conditions that a clay planter provides, and are the only plants I grow in an unglazed terra cotta planter.

Why is a terra cotta planter so hard on plants? Because they are porous. Beware, because beautiful, decorative clay planters often seduce us at the garden centre or in photographs, but keep in mind that garden picture books may have photos taken in other climates, with different growing conditions. In rainy, old England, for example, or any Maritime climate with tons of rain and mist, you can get away with planting mixed annuals—like petunias, begonias, browallia— in clay, but I would never do it in the Toronto climate. Sunny, hot summer days dry out a clay planter in a couple of hours. All planters dry out from the top, but porous terra cotta dries out from the sides as well. It can spell certain death to most flowering annuals, they don’t stand a chance.

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Frisée

 

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Frisée, sometimes called Curly Endive, as it is a member of the edive/chicory family, is one of our favourite greens in the summer. It can be grilled, wilted, sautéed, and torn into pieces to add volume and depth of flavour to fresh salads. Its lightly bitter notes balance well with a number of other flavour profiles making it a great counterpoint to the sourness and acid of citrus, sweet fruits like strawberry, pear, peaches and pomegranate, and it holds its own next to salty anchovies, hard boiled eggs and pungent cheeses. Frisée’s curly leaf is also attractive to look at; bright green at its tips, where it is most tender and its bitter notes are the strongest, it fades in colour and intensity to a creamy yellow and white base, that is milder and almost sweet in flavour with a little added crunch. Continue »



Thank You Very Matcha

 

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Have you tried matcha yet? Health enthusiasts everywhere are extolling the virtues of this fine powder tea, adding it to smoothies, making desserts and ice cream from it, and it even makes an appearance in Green Tea lattes at your favourite coffee joint.You can brew it thick or thin, and drink it hot or cold, mixed with milk and sugar, or add it to tempura batter. Matcha, it seems, as a drink or dessert or supplement is here to stay.Matcha is made from shade-grown green tea leaves; about 3 weeks before harvesting the buds, the plant is protected from the sun to stimulate the production of chlorophyll and amino acids. The dark green buds are laid out in the shade to dry, and the veins of the leaves and stems are removed. When totally dried, the buds are stone-ground into a bright, fine green powder. Continue »



Sunflowers

 

Sunflowers in Prince Edward County

Sunflowers in Prince Edward County

 

The storied sunflower is a truly incredible plant; tall and majestic, a few sunflowers make any garden a must –see. The centerpiece of any self respecting still-life it is prized and heavily cultivated for its seeds and oil and pastoral images of acres of sunflowers all with their heads held high toward the sun is an iconic image of late summer in many places throughout Ontario. Continue »