Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus and Walnuts

One warm evening after dinner last week, we found the first wild strawberries ripening in our small patch out by the garden. Clara, barefoot and hatless as usual, parted the thick leaves with her small hands and there they were, as bright as rubies and as sweet as candy.

Earlier that same day, I picked up two baskets of the first locally cultivated strawberries, and henceforth there will be strawberries on our table for as long as the season flourishes. We really only eat them when they can be grown ourselves or bought locally, so the arrival of the red gems is much celebrated.

I’ve promised the children an upcoming dinner devoted entirely to strawberries, as soon as the fruit is at its peak. Today’s scrumptious salad will definitely be on the menu, perhaps alongside strawberry-glazed grilled chicken, with fresh strawberry pie or roasted strawberry sundaes for dessert.

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Eat Seasonal: Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

There’s a sunny spot on my bedroom dresser on the second floor of my house and I’m growing two flats of seedlings in its warmth. If it wasn’t for the perky tomato shoots and the sprouting chives growing there, it would be hard to find a single sign of spring anywhere around for miles.

We woke up to more snow and plummeting temperatures on Easter weekend. I wore fuzzy leg warmers under my flowered-print dress and the children ran their easter egg hunt in full snowsuits. There wasn’t a crocus to be seen all holiday long, although the cold didn’t stop us from having a string of lovely gatherings.

During this confused weather, my cooking has featured a melding of the seasons: the requisite hearty cold weather comfort foods enhanced by a few spring delicacies. Today’s Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups are a good example of such a marriage. A sturdy black bean and quinoa salad topped off with a crunchy mix of cucumber, mango, jalepeno, radish and avocado; good enough to forget all about the snow – for a few minutes.

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Secrets to the best mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are premium comfort food, that is a given, but they don’t always get the right treatment to ensure they are fluffy and well seasoned. This post can help.

Back when I put myself through culinary school, money was tight. I frequently relied on samples from class to get me through a day; which was easily feasible. We had opportunity to eat most everything we prepared and you know how I dislike waste! I must have been particularly hungry the morning we were learning how to make the best mashed potatoes (yes, that was actually a topic covered in a class) because I can remember every little detail of the process.

It seemed a torturous wait before we could serve ourselves from the enormous pan of steaming spuds, but the wait was well worth it. Creamy potatoes, skillfully seasoned, without a lump to be seen. It was the dead of winter. I had been up since 5 am in order to make it to class on time. Yet the memory of spooning up mashed potatoes while perched on an overturned milk crate remains one of my happiest ones from culinary school.

Today I’ll share my teacher’s secret to fluffy mashed potatoes.

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Tomato Nasturtium Salad with Dates and Pistachios

Another salad. I know. But after being on the road, it’s all I want to eat when I come home.

Yesterday Clara and I headed out to the garden first thing to get inspired for lunch. The fridge was literally empty, save for a few dates, the usual condiment collection and other odd bits. After collecting the morning eggs, Clara busied herself with picking and eating peas; we’re getting a small second crop and she nabs every single pod.

Nasturtiums, basil and tomatoes are going crazy in our raised beds right now; an obvious trio to harvest for my lunch and for this recipe. The #EatSeasonal bloggers and I are celebrating August produce today, so read on to discover our creations and my colourful salad.

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Weekend links and photos #EatSeasonal July edition

We’re busy rounding up bathing suits, walking shoes, colouring books and airplane snacks as we leave tomorrow for a quick trip to Prince Edward Island.

We’re excited for red beaches, lobster, lighthouses and of course, the home of our beloved Anne-girl. Follow along with our Gentle Island adventures on Instagram! Reception may be in and out, as we intend to explore the rural areas as well as the popular spots, but I’ll be posting photos when I can.

Here’s the #EatSeasonal recipe round-up for July:

And here are a few of my  favourite photos from recent happenings and eats.

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