Cooking During Isolation

One thing I have observed about this difficult time, is that those who are staying at home are turning to activities that we can’t normally find time to do, like cleaning, gardening, and cooking. My guess is that you will see many more people planting vegetable gardens this year and if you have tried to buy flour or other basic ingredients in the grocery stores, you will notice that the shelves are bare.

Bread baking is becoming a national sport with people making their own sourdough breads and starters. You can order starters online from places like Almanac Grains, or try your hand at making one yourself.

If you looking for something a little more adventurous you can try your hand at making cheese. Glengarry Cheesemaking is a great source for recipes, equipment, tools and cultures. I suggest you start with something simple like yogurt, or ricotta, neither of which require any special tools or equipment. Once you have mastered those, you can progress to something a little more challenging like mozzarella!

My personal passion of late has been making fresh pasta. I’ve been experimenting with different grains from Almanac Grains which can be ordered for pick up curbside at Dominion City Brewery.

My recent effort utilized a new tool called a cavatelli board, that yielded this beautiful looking pasta, made using a combination of 00 Durham and Emmer wheats.

If you are looking for inspiration, we carry a number of beautiful books in our store which can be added to your delivery order. The most recent addition is Chef Lynn Crawford’s Farm to Chef. This beautiful book follows the seasons providing recipe ideas using local and in-season ingredients. Lynn owner the popular Toronto eatery called Ruby Watchco, where her format features a fixed price daily four course menu, focused on seasonal and local ingredients. Her approach to cooking and eating is very similar to ours which is why we are big fans of her business and her cookbooks.

Since we are serving up Fried Chicken this week, I’m sharing a link to Lynn’s recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken. To go with that delicious chicken, let’s celebrate one of the first vegetables of our local season. Below is Lynn’s Recipe for a Raw Asparagus Salad.

Serves 4

Lemon Herb Yogurt

½ cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons (30 mL) lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon (5 mL) thyme leaves
2 tablespoons (30 mL) flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped chives
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Raw Asparagus Salad

1 pound (450 g) asparagus, trimmed
4 cups (1 L) frisée leaves
2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

To Serve

¼ cup (60 mL) shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons (30 mL) toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely chopped chives

Make the Lemon Herb Yogurt

1. Place yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, parsley and chives in a blender and process until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Raw Asparagus Salad

2. Using a vegetable peeler, slice asparagus spears lengthwise into thin ribbons. Place in a large bowl and add frisée, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon Lemon Herb Yogurt onto a chilled serving dish. Top with asparagus- frisée mixture, then with Parmesan, pine nuts and chives.