June 27, 2014

Green Summer Goodness

Farmers markets are operating at full speed all across the city almost in every neighbourhood. As a local newspaper pointed recently "Summer is time for Torontonians to remember they're surrounded by incredible greenery to the north, south, east and west - and not just on weekend road trips." I honestly feel blessed to be able to buy local, eat local and support local farmers and food artisans. Close to where we live, there is a charming farmer's market that can be found in the parking lot of the historic Montgomery's Inn every Wednesday. I love visiting there; not only is it a small uncrowded place, but also it welcomes farmers from around the province who come there to sell their sustainably grown products. After your third visit, you know all of them and they are happy to chat with you about their veggies and fruits, what is in season, when the cherries are coming, the exact time the strawberries you are about to buy are being picked... and other passions of the farmer's heart. On top of that, probably the most interesting offerings at the market, are the fresh baked breads, which are made in the Inn wood-fired oven. 
This past Wednesday, the market was GREEN. From baby kale to lettuce, sorrel, arugula, and all kinds of fresh herbs, Ontario's growing season was starting to release its bounty. I bought my kale and garlic scapes from the young farmer who looked as if he had just popped up from the pages of Anne of Green Gables. I have always wanted to take his photo, but he seems so humble, shy, vain-less, in love with what he is doing, that I always feel as this is going to be the most inappropriate and uncomfortable thing I would have done in such a moment. Perhaps, next time I will feel more confident to ask (Nith Valley Organics sells at the market every Wednesday). I didn't have any idea in mind what I am going to do with my greens. My men, especially my teenage son, are not big fans of kale, despite the evidence of it being the "superfood". So, I thought of making something more versatile that can be added to other foods. Pesto! Easy, tasty, healthy, a wonderful way to enjoy fresh greens; can be put on pizza, pasta, soups, salads, topped on chicken and vegetables.
I mixed kale, garlic scapes, basil, pecans, and before even pouring the pesto into jars had a slice of crusty red wine walnut bread from the marker's bakery spread with this fresh green summer goodness.

Ah, Summer! 

"When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is."  (Alice Waters)                                                                           

Homemade Pesto with Kale & Garlic Scape


1 1/2 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes
2/3 cup ground pecans 
(walnuts or pine nuts would be great also)
1/3 basil leaves 
1 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup olive oil 
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese


In a food processor, pulse together kale, garlic scapes, pecans, basil leaves, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper until coarsely ground. 
While processor is running, add olive oil. Process until just combined. Add grated parmesan cheese until smooth.
Store in glass jars and refrigerate for up to one week.
Makes 2 jars of 250ml. 

Have a wonderful Canada Day weekend and Happy Fourth of July! 

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  1. Sylvia! Hello my dear...how I miss everyone so much. Do I sound as if I need to get a life? I have always been as busy as anyone else, and now that I am on summer vacation, I do have more time on my hands, and I am occupying myself with reading. But I it is refreshing to find YOU, you are here and with such beauty.

    You have given me an idea of what I can do with some kale and lemon that I have in the refrigerator! I am growing basil, though our frequent downpours have ruined my beautiful plant!

    I hope you are well! Enjoying all the green? We are too. Sending hugs to you this evening! Anita

  2. I wish I could give tou some of our organic garden kale. We have so much of it right now. Its beautiful in our potager. My favorite green super food will always be spinach. But it only grows in winter here.

  3. Thanks for the recipe. It looks amazing. Deb

  4. As always, I want to step though your photos right into your kitchen! Thank you for the delicious looking recipe.

  5. Sylvia my friend! I am so happy to see your blog comment this morning! You can always count on me to run over here the minute I see one of your new posts pop up! And I am thrilled to hear of your photography class that you have completed, with HONORS! You know me, I have always admired fine photography, and I am having a BLAST this summer. Here is what is on my goal list:

    1. Read voraciously, all genres (poetry, memoirs, poetry handbooks, history, French novels) and I am accomplishing my goals!
    2. Write well (this takes a lot of time, and more than even INSPIRATION is HABIT - making it a habit even if the results are not great)
    3. TAKE MORE PHOTOS (this is exciting because just like with writing, I will take photos until I get it RIGHT!)
    4. Learn more about Photoshop (I am doing it and getting the results I desire)
    5. Study, and I mean really study as I do poetry, the elements of photography that I love and follow suit.

    I wish you a relaxing and much inspired summer my dear friend! Much love, Anita

  6. thank you for sharing your recipe Sylvia ~ I will definitely make some. my husband bakes a wonderful walnut bread too - but in the autumn/winter. too hot for making bread now. I love your bread board & gorgeous kitchen vignette scenes.
    Have a wonderful Canada Day weekend ♥

  7. What a wonderful, wonderful feast for my eyes Sylvia! The pesto and it's makings looks so delicious! Your photos are always amazing my dear!

  8. I love every visit I have when I come here...your pictures just make me want to get in my kitchen and get cooking! I love this recipe Sylvia!

  9. The local markets are one of the best things about summer. I never get there enough, but love it when I do. Pesto is one of my favorite things in the world! Your photos are just so wonderful and professional! I feel like I have just perused one of my favorite cookbooks. I'm not much of a cook, but nothing stops me from buying a beautiful cookbook for the photography!

  10. I personally love the farmer’s market at Evergreen Brick Works. Additionally to all the organic food they serve, there are regular tastings and fun activities offered. Foodie feast and paradise you can never get enough of! Thanks for the recipes, by the way, the one with dandelions from your previous posts is particularly inspiring!


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