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Indian Green Beans
Indian Green Beans
Handful of green beans - TheMessyBaker.com I don't know if there are the Fortex pole beans or the Maxibel French filet beans. I suspect they are a mix. I can't tell because the vines are so thick the leaves obscure the labels. Plus, I was too busy picking beans to bother looking. Regardless of their official name, these are the first crop of beans from my section of  The Family Plot. Back in May, I planted them with one recipe in mind. Today I got to make it. A few months ago, Monica Bhide made me a variation of her Green Beans Subzi, a spicy vegetable dish with lots of flavour and crunch. She strayed from the version in her cookbook Modern Spice, and added coconut chips for extra crunch because she knows I like texture.  Since that meal, I have searched for coconut chips and come up empty handed. Unable to locate this ingredient, I substituted extra large coconut flakes. They aren't exactly the same, but I'm not about to complain.
Peach tomato salad with bocconcini - TheMessyBaker.com
Peach, Tomato Salad with Bocconcini
  Peach tomato salad with bocconcini - TheMessyBaker.com When a spring frost destroyed much of the tender fruit crops in Ontario, I was afraid I wouldn't see a local peach this year, let alone one that delivered a true peachy taste. Fortunately, I was wrong. While the size of the crop may not be large, the peaches are beginning to roll in, and they are sweet, flavourful and juicy. After the intense heat of the past few weeks, I couldn't bring myself to turn on the oven. Too impatient for ice cream (and with a cracked filling that made me temporarily sensitive to hot and cold food), I decided to make something very simple with my first batch of peaches. Something that would also let me experiment with the new basils I have in the garden. Alongside the opal, leaf, and Thai basils, I planted lime basil and -- get this -- lavender basil. While the lime basil had a bright, citrusy taste, the lavender version was surprisingly mild and had a floral scent that screamed out for peaches. So I obliged.
Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb with Yogurt
Strawberry-Rhubarb En Papillote
[caption id="attachment_7789" align="alignnone" width="500"]The strawberry-rhubarb en papillote is in the bag, heading for the oven -- The Messy Baker En Papillote (French for "in parchment") makes for tender rhubarb in no time.[/caption] As if Friday isn't reason enough to celebrate. Today is the first anniversary of Lynn Ogryzlo's The Ontario Table, and I'm one of her virtual guests. I'm pretty chuffed to be asked to take part. Not only do I enjoy a party, I like hanging out with Lynn, even if it is online. First of all, she spells my  name right. Granted, with a surname like Ogryzlo, you're probably sensitive to such things, but it still earns her bonus points. Secondly, she loves my  doughnuts, and last but certainly not least, she takes one of the most sensible approaches to eating local I've ever seen. Instead of giving you the stink eye if everything on your shopping list doesn't comply with the 100-mile diet, she simply issues a $10 challenge. The concept is easy. Each week, spend $10 of your grocery money on local food. That's it. Small (locally grown) potatoes, right?
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My Mother’s Hands | Lemon Curd Recipe
My Mother - TheMessyBaker.com These hands turn 80 this summer. These hands have picked strawberries, made jam, kneaded bread, rolled pastry. They have decorated birthday cakes, anniversary cakes and wedding cakes. They have changed diapers, washed clothes, sewn dresses, mended seams, darned socks, stitched buttons, ironed pleats. They have tied shoelaces, braided hair and wrapped presents. They have stroked sweaty hair from fevered foreheads, wiped away tears, plucked thorns from fingers, applied bandages, massaged aching muscles and held the hands of the dying. Despite arthritis, they carry on.
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Healthy Seed Bread

One of the items on my culinary bucket list was granary bread. I wanted to create my own version of a seed-loaded hearth bread I used to get from a local bakery. Their bread was dense without being heavy -- something you could sink your...

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Recipe: Pear and Ginger Conserve
Someone, who looks suspicious like my husband, informs me that I missed the whole appreciation concept when I moaned about Thanksgiving in Saturday's post. Apparently, it's all about gratitude and love, not weather preferences. He's right. As usual. While I might not be ready to offer you pumpkin recipes, I was and am very grateful. For many things. Like this view of the garden. And my sister's help with the planting when the 200 daffodil and tulips bulbs I bought somehow expanded into 1200+ .
Tonka bean crisp
Apple and Tonka Bean Crisp
No peaking. Just answer the question. What are tonka beans? Are they: a) a line of kids' toys b) an ancient Polynesian percussion instrument c) urban slang for "I don't care"
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Recipe: Basil Cheddar Scones
Last week I was in Banff, Alberta, surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. It was unseasonably warm and the cloudless sky was the shade of cerulean blue you find only in a paint box. It was mid-afternoon and I'd had nothing but airplane coffee and a packet of the biscuits you can only get at 35,000 feet. A local suggested my friend and I grab a bite at a nearby café. Being obedient tourists, we did as we were told. Hungry, but not wanting to spoil dinner, I went for soup. I expected to be taken by the homemade tomato and acho pepper soup and ordered the basil and cheddar scone merely to fill my stomach. I usually find bakery scones disappointing. They've sat on the counter too long. They're too dry, too bland, too expensive. I'm not bragging, but no bakery scone stands a chance against my fresh-from-the-oven ones. The ones I'm making in the photo on my about page. The ones I make every Christmas morning. The ones I want served at my wake.
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Recipe: Watermelon & Raspberry Soup

When I signed up for the watermelon carving challenge I figured inspiration would arrive by the time I received my personal-sized watermelon and its accompanying dual-ended melon baller. It didn't. So, I scoured The National Watermelon Promotion Board's website to see if anything sparked an idea. One look at the fun and fanciful watermelon rabbits, sharks and hedgehogs and my brain seized. I got the sculpting equivalent of writer's block. I went blank. Totally and completely blank. To kickstart my creativity, I looked through books, surfed the net and flipped through magazines. I meditated on the issue. I rolled the watermelon about the kitchen floor. I even went to bed envisioning the word "watermelon" in bright pink letters in hopes the answer might come to me in a dream. It didn't. After days of lackluster watermelon inspiration I resigned myself to failure. While I sulked on the back steps and contemplated leaving the adorable little watermelon in the refrigerator until it dissolved into something unrecognizable, a Japanese anemone caught the breeze and bobbed about in the garden. This soft pink flower is one of my favourites. Its simple and elegant petals are a final splash of light summer pink before deep autumn tones take over. Gently curved anemones speak to me more than over-stuffed double roses, ruffled hybrid lilies or busy asters. And then it hit me. I was making things too hard. The answer to my watermelon dilemma was waving at me. So, here is my watermelon carving challenge entry:
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Three Farmers Camelina Oil and a Give Away
Update: Since The Three Farmers won their bid on Dragon's Den, I have been getting a lot of questions about this oil. If you are interested in buying some, there is a list of retail outlets on the Three Farmers' site. Click here to see the list.
Is bright yellow the new olive green? These tiny mustard-coloured seeds are from the Camelina plant. Although popular in Europe since the 1940s, Camelina oil has been commercially available in Canada only since December 2010. I'm no trend spotter, but if I'm right, Camelina might be Canada's answer to imported extra virgin olive oil. 

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