Muse

I’m addicted to you;
Trounced by an enigma.
I’m consumed by my weakness,
Overcome by rampant desires,
Propelled by perplexing contradictions.

You’re my muse;
Magnetized despite impossibilities.
I’m tempted by your furtiveness,
Drawn by your exquisite humanity,
Charmed by perfect imperfections.

I’m provoked to creativity;
Satiated in my deepest cravings.
I’m gripped by your intensity,
Thrown into our penetrating union,
Seized by the intrigue of the infinite.

Advertisements

Local Producer – For Real

Just when I thought I had half-failed on my goal for this month’s CFEP post, I received a phone call from the local producer I had set my sights on writing about this month, literally minutes after I posted my entry. Fortuitously, this month’s partial failure turned into a double treat.

 
Two years ago, I met a wonderful, passionate lady at the Maxville Farmer’s Market, named Anne. She had a large table of gorgeous, colourful and unique produce and it immediately caught my eye. After a lovely conversation with her, learning that many of her vegetables were grown without chemicals, I was even more impressed. Anne’s beautiful spirit and colourful cornucopia drew me in, and taste was the clincher – my son Elijah approved too. I quickly decided Anne would be the local grower I’d be buying the majority of my produce from throughout the summer.

 
Anne Cadotte and her husband Gilles moved to North Glengarry in 1978, where they first began their business of raising game birds and bees. They decided to make a change some time later, and Anne began to focus on growing fresh herbs and vegetables. Her desire was to build a business on the premise of offering unique and high quality produce to her customers. For a number of years, Anne ran a stand in the Byward Market of Ottawa. In order to compete with so many other producers selling their wares, she had to be different. She quickly realized that anything being sold by others that was indeed unique was being imported, so she set out to experiment with growing non-traditional vegetables. Fifteen years ago, Anne was the first to bring zucchini and sweet coloured peppers to the Byward Market – a pioneer in expanding the palates of Ottawa residents! She educated those that visited her stand about the sustainable growing process and about the vegetables she could access.

 
As she grew her loyal clientele, they would look to her for new and exciting products. She even had international clients who, when visiting from abroad, would bring her seeds for her to try out in Canada. This experimentation with new seeds takes great patience and faith, but Anne certainly feels the results are worth her labour.

 
Anne no longer travels to the Byward Market, but instead visits many of the small-town markets closer to home, in and around the areas East of Ottawa.

 

Anne tries to use less and less pesticides and herbicides in her work, seeking non-chemical techniques like transplantation. This often leads to more work going into her crops, which further evidences her commitment to high quality, healthful crops.

 
Amongst her stunning selection, you will find:

 
• Edamame soy beans
• Shishito peppers
• Padron peppers
• D’espelet peppers
• Charentais melon
• Pink garlic
• Cranberry beans (a personal favourite of mine which bring back great memories of shelling in my grandmother’s backyard and her delicious soup)
• Radicchio
• Red and white endive
• Heirloom tomatoes
• Oyster mushroom culture/bags

 

I asked Anne to share a favourite recipe with me. Not surprisingly, she told me that her most favourite meals are simple ones that highlight the natural characteristics of the produce. She enthusiastically described the way she and Gilles enjoy their gorgeous, multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes, accompanied by freshly made herb pesto. She declared that when you have fresh, tasty vegetables picked when they are truly ripe, and gorgeous herbs right out of the garden, the ingredients and their natural flavours speak for themselves.

 
Anne has been successful in meeting her objective of providing unique and superior produce, and her customer-centered focus inspires me to go back to her time and again. But only by meeting her in person, will you have the full experience of her enthusiasm and warm spirit. You can find her at one market or another on most days during the growing season; for example Friday afternoons in Maxville and Saturdays in Alexandria.

 

Anne Cadotte

(photo courtesy of http://www.savourezottawa.ca )

Local Deliciousness

It’s April. I can’t believe it’s already April. I’m glad it’s April, but my goodness, how time flies.

 
I hate to disappoint or to be unable to follow through on something I’ve committed to. In joining the Canadian Food Experience Project, the task was relatively simple from the start. Every month, tackle a previously established challenge involving a food-related theme, write about it and post a recipe. With a month between challenges, such a task should be very achievable. But, as those who know me can attest to, I often take on too much, which sometimes leaves the simplest tasks to be accomplished at the very last minute. And while I’m pretty adept at multi-tasking and accomplishing said tasks at the last minute, throw a nasty virus my way, and my procrastination-based plan is thoroughly foiled.

 
This month’s challenge was to write about a local producer or grower. Again, I found myself a week before the post was due, wondering who I should write about. I immediately came up with an answer and an inspired idea. However, the local grower I wished to interview wasn’t able to honour such a short notice request to visit, and so I had left myself with nothing to write about. And, being quite ill at present, I’m sorry to say I don’t have the energy or creativity to come up with something new and do the leg work involved.

 
I thought about what could inspire me to write and also lead to a fairly low-effort recipe. I considered two of the most important things in my life: my son, and my friends. Both of those ideas also lead me to think about comfort.

 
It seems a lot of my CFEP posts have ended up being sweet, baked recipes, and this month’s is no different. I swear to my readers that I really can cook too, but I suppose in some ways I get a tad more personal enjoyment out of baking and sharing desserts or sweet treats. I’m aware that it’s a bit of a cop-out to use the same key ingredient this month as I did last month, but it fits the bill for both a seasonal, locally produced ingredient and a comfort food: maple syrup. I am also happy to share the local maple producer whose farm we have visited every year since moving to the Ottawa area, and where we have enjoyed many a pancake breakfast and walk amongst the maple trees: http://www.sandroadsugarcamp.com/

 
I have made some wonderful friends since coming to Ottawa. I don’t have a large group of friends, but I have been blessed with a few, very close and trusted friends in my life. I have always believed in quality over quantity, especially as life gets fuller and one can only share time with a finite number of people. One of the key ingredients in a strong and lasting friendship is comfort; the ability to be oneself, authentic, without judgment, and also knowing our friends are truly there for us.

 
This past Saturday, I spent the evening with a wonderful girlfriend, enjoying intimate conversation over beautiful food and wine, and all with great ease. Then, Sunday morning, I was fortunate to spend the morning with another close friend of mine, having breakfast and walking along the Rideau river, watching the spring ice flows. During our walk, I remarked to him just how nice it was to have such a comfortable friendship. Both of these friends left me with a real feeling of contentedness, and I left them with a jar full of the treat described below.

 
The recipe I am sharing this month is one that I would consider comfort food, for a few reasons. First, it is naturally sweet. Second, it is high in good fats. Third it is high in protein and fibre. Fourth, it smells wonderful when baked and fills your home with a hearty, nutty and spicy aroma. Fifth, it can be eaten plain or accompanied by a number of other comfort foods. Sixth, it can be easily shared with friends. And finally, and most importantly, it tastes delicious!

 

This month, I give you my recipe for homemade granola.

 

Notes:
• This recipe is also vegan and gluten-free.
• This recipe can be easily multiplied to make large batches which store well in air-tight containers.
• You can substitute or add other nuts, seeds and dried fruit as desired, but keep the ratio of oats to additional ingredients relatively the same.

 

Maple-Almond-Cranberry Granola

 
2 cups large-flake oats
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8th teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or avocado oil – this worked well in my latest experiment)
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
-Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.
-Mix wet ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
-Spread evenly onto cookie sheet.
-Bake until golden brown, approximately 35 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to prevent burning.
-Remove from oven and allow to cool and harden completely.
-Break up into desired size granola. Store in airtight containers or jars.
-Eat plain by the handful, or with milk, yogourt, ice cream, fruit compote, or any other way your creative mind desires!

granola pic

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Canadian Food Experience Project is Valerie Lugonja’s call to Canadian Foodies and Bloggers alike to unite on the 7th day of each month and creatively discover and share Canada’s unique culinary voice. You can read more about this exciting project <a href=”http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/the-canadian-food-experience-project/the-candian-food-experience-project/”>here</a&gt;.