Recipe: Vinegret

Not to be confused with the salad dressing that shares its name, vinegret is a traditional Russian salad that's always found on the table at a dinner party or festive gathering. It's popular both because of its colourful look and the fact that it's made from hardy storage veggies that can be pulled out of the cellar in the depths of winter. Growing up in a household of Russian emigrees meant vinegret was present at every single celebration, although picky kid eater that I was, I usually wanted nothing to do with its vinegary flavour. With a more grown-up appreciation for this vibrant salad, I decided to oven roast the beets and carrots instead of boil them so as to better bring out the earthy sweetness of these delicious root veggies. It takes longer, but the taste is well worth it. If you're interested in other more traditional touches you can try adding some peas and sauerkraut, although if adding the latter I would dial back on the white vinegar and pickle brine.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

- 2.5 cups (375 g) each of beets, carrots, potatoes
- 1-2 dill pickles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp pickle brine liquid
- 2 tbsp diced white onion
- salt and pepper to taste


1) Drizzle unpeeled beets in olive oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil (if beets are large, cut in half or quarters first to save time in the oven).

2) Peel carrots and place in shallow baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. Place foil wrapped beets in same pan and roast at 425 F until tender. The carrots will likely take about 30 minutes, the beets about 60 minutes.

3) Peel potatoes and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.

4) While the veggies are cooking, assemble dressing ingredients and dice pickles. Set aside.

5) Drain potatoes and dice when cool enough to handle. Place in colander and rinse under cold water to wash off the starch and separate the diced cubes.

6) Remove carrots from the oven and dice when cool enough to handle.

7) Remove beets and take foil off. Rub peels under running water to remove. Dice beets when cool enough to handle.

8) Combine ingredients with dressing in a salad bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Recipe: Roasted Salsa

Dry roasting all the ingredients in this salsa gives it a lovely deep and smoky flavor. The hot peppers in this week's box are a medium heat cayenne pepper, so you can add as much or as little as you'd like depending on your preferred level of spiciness. The seeds and ribs of the hot pepper have the most heat so you can leave these out if you would rather make a very mild salsa. Always make sure you wear gloves of some kind when handling hot peppers in the kitchen or you will live to regret it.

- 1 lb tomatoes (preferably paste tomatoes such as Roma or plum)
- 3 large sweet peppers
- 1-3 hot peppers (depending on spiciness preference)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- salt to taste

1) Slice tomatoes in half and destem. Slice sweet peppers in half and clean out seeds. Peel and slice onions in half. Lay tomatoes and sweet peppers skin side up and onions cut side up on a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Don't cut the hot peppers, just place on the pan. Place garlic bulb unpeeled and uncut on pan.

2) Roast veggies under broiler until peppers and tomatoes have blackened, blistered skins.

3) Put sweet and hot peppers in a bowl and cover with a pot lid or plate for at least 10 minutes. Leave onions, garlic and tomatoes on the pan until cool enough to handle.

4) Peel and discard tomato skins. Peel and discard sweet pepper skins. Peel garlic (or you may be able to squeeze softened garlic directly out of peel if well roasted). Separate onion rings and toss into a food processor. Add tomatoes, sweet peppers and garlic to food processor as well. Save the hot peppers for last and WEAR GLOVES while you peel the skins.

5) Pulse food processor until salsa is chunky but well combined.

6) Add 1 tsp of lemon juice and taste. Add another tsp is more acidity is needed. Salt to taste. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Recipe: Smashed Potatoes

These crispy roasted potatoes are sort of a cross between hash browns and baked potatoes. Easy to whip up and very versatile too with lots of options for toppings either before and after they come out of the oven. Try smashing different types of potatoes and enjoy the different, tasty results. The fingerlings I used for this post are waxy potatoes and hold their shape better, ending up thicker and more tender. Russet style potatoes are the classic ones for roasting and will be deliciously crispy without any burnt edges.

- potatoes
- olive oil
- salt
- additional suggested toppings: garlic (minced or dried), oregano, thyme, rosemary, parmesan, zatar, chopped onions, ground pepper, paprika, cumin

1) Chop potatoes into 2-3 inch segments and boil until tender but not quite cooked through. The total time will depend on the type of potato used and thickness of the segments, but typically 10-15 minutes.

2) Strain potatoes into a colander and leave until cool enough to handle. You can also refrigerate for up to two days and then smash and roast later.

3) Line a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan with parchment paper. With the heel of your hand lightly press down on potato segments until resulting smashed potato is about 1/2 inch thick, or the thickness of a fat hash brown.

4) Drizzle with olive oil and rub oil over each potato to ensure an even coating. Sprinkle salt and whatever additional toppings you want (see ingredient list for suggestions).

5) Roast at 425F (ideally on convection setting if your oven has it) until golden on top and brown around the edges, about 20-30 minutes.

6) Serve immediately. Delicious whether eaten plain or with a variety of toppings. Try sour cream, crème fraiche, salsa, avocado, smoked salmon, roast chicken or just a few drops of hot sauce. For a fresh garden topping finely chop the parsley in this week's box and sprinkle it on liberally.

Recipe: Corn Relish

Corn relish is a sweet summer treat that captures the fresh taste of some of August's best offerings like corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes and sweet onions. Use it on anything that comes off the barbeque like burgers, hot dogs, steaks and grilled chicken. You can also toss a spoonful of corn relish into a simple chef's salad to liven it up a bit or mix it with rice and beans for added flavor. It's about as versatile a condiment as it gets. It will last for weeks in the fridge (if you don't devour it first), but you can also preserve it via the hot water canning method and enjoy opening up a jar of summer freshness in the deepest, darkest months of winter.

Ingredients (makes about three 500 mL jars):
- 6 ears of corn
- 1  1/2 cups white or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 sweet bell pepper
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 sweet onion
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 11/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin

1) Bring a pot of water to boil and cook corn for 3 minutes. Drop the corn in large bowl of cold water after removing from heat.

2) When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob. Any small, sharp knife will do the trick, but my favorite tool for this job is a corn zipper.

3) Dice tomatoes and place in a strainer over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle very lightly with salt to pull the water out of the tomatoes and let drain at least 10 minutes.

4) Dice peppers and onions.

5) Add vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard powder and cumin to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add corn, peppers, onions and tomatoes and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

6) Spoon corn relish into jars and make sure the veggies at the top are covered with a thin layer of liquid. There will likely be a bit of leftover liquid in the pot when you're done and you can discard this. Refrigerate relish and serve cold. Will last several weeks in the fridge.

7) For hot water bath canning pack corn relish into hot 250 mL or 500 mL canning jars and process fully submerged in water at a rolling boil for 15 minutes. Remove and allow jars to cool before storing on a shelf at room temperature. Check that the lids have fully sealed once cool. Refrigerate after opening.

Recipe: Summer Pasta

I love cooking with fragrant basil, it is one of my favorite smells. I will use pretty much any excuse to add it to a dish, and I'm rarely disappointed. Along with tomatoes this veggie can elevate anything in such a simple way. For this light summer meal we get rid of the notion of a thick pasta sauce and instead the juice from the tomatoes themselves mixed with butter or oil create the perfect, light coating for the noodles. In-season tomatoes are extra juicy, so this is a perfect use for all that extra tomato water. Great for lunch or a not-too-heavy dinner after a hot summer day.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):
- 300 g pasta
- 2-3 bunches basil (80 g)
- 6 medium tomatoes (600 g)
- 4 tbsp butter or olive oil
- salt

1) Chop tomatoes coarsely and place in colander or strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tsp salt and mix. Leave to drain and don't discard the liquid.

2) Boil water for pasta. Salt lightly or as you typically prefer for cooking pasta.

3) Pull basil off stems and rinse lightly while getting pasta ready. A cute helper with butterfly tattoos makes the interminable task of de-stemming basil go faster.

4) Drain pasta BEFORE tender, when it's still quite al dente. You can use the guide on the box or bag of pasta to direct you and drain when 2/3 of the time is done.

5) Add drained tomato water and heat on low with the pot lid on, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a splash of water (ie, if still too al dente when the liquid has all been absorbed).

6) When pasta is tender and most or all of the tomato water has been absorbed, add butter or olive oil and stir.

7) Mix tomatoes and basil with pasta and serve immediately. Salt if needed.

Recipe: Broccoli with Beets

The colours of this side dish are striking in combination. The bright green of steamed broccoli against the deep ruby red of raw beets is a beautiful sight to behold. Both veggies bring out different aspects of each others' earthy sweetness and this contrasts well with the tart bite of a sesame-lemon dressing. Toss some nuts or sesame seeds over top if you want added crunch.


- 1 large broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), coarsely chopped
- 2 medium beets (1/2 lb)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt or to taste


1) Steam broccoli for 3-4 minutes or until tender. I use a steam basket over an inch of boiling water in a shallow pan but whichever method you prefer is fine.

2) While broccoli is steaming peel beets and then grate with a box grater on the coarsest setting.

3) Toss steamed broccoli with beets and dressing ingredients and mix well. You can serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

Enjoy the colours of summer! Our first CSA boxes went out last week but there's still time for prospective members to apply for Block 2 of the CSA season. Check out our CSA page for more info.