Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Delectable Perennials: Asparagus

asparagus-cropped

 

Asparagus, a delicious symbol of early summer, is a wondrous thing to have fresh from your own garden. A perennial vegetable, it’s one of the components of a permaculture garden, and once planted, you could be harvesting spears for many, many years, a true heirloom vegetable. Of course, one of the main benefits of growing any of your own vegetables is that can ensure that they’re organic. Larry Hodgson in Canadian Gardening writes on asparagus:

Many home gardeners keep theirs going for 40 years or more. That means you have to be especially picky about where you plant it — usually not in the middle of the vegetable patch.  If you’re only growing a few plants — two or three asparagus plants are probably sufficient for a family.

 

Anyone wanting to cultivate asparagus must exercise patience, as asparagus grown from seed will take several years to bear fruit. The reason being is that the first couple years of growth must be left, and not eaten, to allow the plants to mature. If you are the patient type, go for it. After the wait, all the hard work is done, and you never need to replant. That’s the joy of a perennial crop. Plus, you’ll be able to brag forever you grew your asparagus from seed.

However, the quickest way to get asparagus to the point where you can harvest is to start with already grown roots, or ‘crowns’. Many asparagus growers and seed companies sell them. Raised beds are ideal.

Dig individual planting holes or, if planting an asparagus bed, a trench. Plant with the tip of the crown set about 15 centimetres below the ground, then cover with three to five centimetres of soil, gradually filling in the hole or trench as the shoots become taller. Space plants about 30 to 45 centimetres apart, with the same distance between rows.

With no vegetable patch at hand, you could even add a few asparagus plants to the perennial border, the tall, flowery heads are very decorative.



We Are Freeeezing! Warm Up In The Kitchen

 

cold

 

This freezing cold winter is showing no signs of letting up. Even with the heat cranked there’s still a persistent chill that seeps in and I want to crush it. I want total heat through and through and the best way to do this – besides immersing myself in a hot tub – is to get in the kitchen and start baking. First step, turn on the oven, preheat it to 425, then go and grab your computer or smart phone and check out some of these heart and soul warming recipes that will be enjoyed by everyone in your house. Continue »



The Royal Winter Fair Starts Today

Piled squash with labels, just a peek at the food bounty at the Royal.

Piled squash with labels, just a peek at the food bounty at the Royal.

Today is the first day of the Royal Winter Fair, showing off Canada’s agricultural excellence. It’s more than just a horse competition, (although the horses are fantastic) this year the focus is on food, For the Love of Food, especially of the local variety, with lots of activities for kids and adults alike. It’s a perfect family destination for its 10 day run. For kids, there is the petting zoo, a playground (and rest area for parents) called Ag-tivity Central, and a really cool looking interactive exhibit called the aMAZEing Food Journey, showing how food travels from farm to table, with gigantic hanging vegetables at the entrance.

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Muffins Meet Bacon & Cheddar

When it comes to breakfast, there are few things that are as attractive, convenient, and delicious as muffins. They are probably the quintessential morning food because they can be prepared by someone who is half asleep and they still turn out beautifully, in fact, the less you fuss with mixing and folding and stirring, the better your muffin will be; they always rise, they don’t flop once they come out of the oven, they’re ready to eat almost immediately and depending on what you put in them, they can satisfy any craving. Continue »



Oil 101: Flaxseed

When I was growing up we had one, maybe two, kinds of oil in our pantry. Crisco, or some name brand, purchased because it was the oil equivalent to all-purpose flour. You used it in salad dressings, you used it for fried chicken and fish and chips, you used it for deep-frying doughnuts and for whipping up mayonnaise. Oddly, the chief attribute that this oil possessed was, it was devoid of flavour. Flavour bad! Continue »