In the Heat of Summer: 2 Kinds of Chicken Salad

Not Far From the Treesummary: chicken salad – one with cherries, one with croutons; eating seasonally; information about Not Far From the Tree; (click on image(s) to see more photos and larger views)

cherries wp-image-2158 Bright reds – scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry – are very cheerful and youthful. There is certainly a red for everyone.
– Christian Dior

Ah mid-summer! It didn’t go below 20C last night and once again today it’s sunny and the high will be in the mid 30s.

Naturally, we’re using the barbecue for just about everything that needs cooking. On the weekend, we had a beautiful butterflied chicken (Djaj Bil-Bahar Il-Asfar, of course!) and grilled vegetables.

Cherry Chicken Salad wp-image-2212 Which means the next night, we get to have chicken salad for dinner. Normally, we add toasted almonds and grapes to this salad. But a couple of weeks ago, we still had some of the beautiful sweet red NFFtT cherries left.

So rather than grapes, we added cherries. Because grapes aren’t in season yet…. (continue reading )

an adventure with blackberries

blackberry pie wp-image-2204 summary: recipe for blackberry pie; visiting Paradise is even better than anticipated; importance of a receptacle when thawing berries; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

blackberries wp-image-2206 A few weeks ago, we took a little day trip to Niagara to visit my cousins and see what it’s like to live in Paradise.

It turns out that Paradise is all that it’s cracked up to be; we had a wonderful time.

Highlights were feasting, visiting the ponies, spotting frogs and dragonflies galore in the little pond, a bike ride on country roads, lounging beside and in the pool, seeing chickadees, a woodpecker, goldfinches and wayward neighbour’s chickens in the front garden, and then feasting some more. And if that wasn’t enough, as we left, we were given a generous freezer-bag of this year’s sour red cherries, already pitted and a humungous freezer-bag of 2013’s blackberries. We wrapped them all in newspaper and reluctantly got back onto the highway to head back to reality. (continue reading )

So you think that cherries are only for dessert….

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cherry chicken dinner wp-image-2188 summary: recipe for cherries and chicken; Peninsula Ridge Shiraz; information about Not Far From the Tree; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
-William Shakespeare

cherries wp-image-2158 We started the day off as usual, by sitting on the front porch to watch the world go by and have morning coffee and toast. We talked about how we should feature dinner with the lovely sweet red NFFtT cherries that I had picked a few days before.

Then we jumped on our bikes (it was a beautiful day – a little overcast and softly warm) and rode the long scenic way through neighbourhoods towards the lake then back up through parks and more neighbourhoods to get free range chicken, and then on to the farmers’ market to get sugarsnap peas for our feast that night. (Total riding distance: 20.43km – I had only 856km to go before crossing 53000 on my odometer….) (continue reading )


Burnt Whisker Forge lame wp-image-2193 summary: scoring with a Burnt Whisker Forge lame; improved lame scoring; well balanced handle; the magic of summer; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

It’s close and muggy right now but there’s a hint of a cool breeze and thunderheads building, giving the promise of a break in the heat. And is it my imagination, or am I hearing thunder in the distance?

chicken dinner wp-image-2189 Still, I continue to be determined not to complain about the heat. Gardens are flourishing and the sounds of children’s happy shrieks and laughter as they play in backyard wading pools gives more incentive to silence any of my complaints before they can even start.

A few magical evenings ago, as I mentioned on Thursday, as we dined (remind me to rave about that dinner!) in the garden , T gave me the most wonderful present! It’s a beautiful lame handle – that’s “lame” to rhyme with “lamb” – for slashing bread! Wow!

Burnt Whisker Forge lame wp-image-2192

Of course, I still love the look of our homemade lame. But I suspect we will be just for looks now.

Made by Lance Ziegler of Burnt Whisker Forge (, the weight and length of the new handle is perfect, encouraging a more correct angle when scoring. (continue reading )

The Power of Persuasion (BBB July 2015)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking wp-image-2180 summary: recipe for Power Bread, based on a recipe in “Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads”; throwing off prejudices; making substitutions; new lame handle; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Power Bread (BBB July 2015) wp-image-2185Bread Baking Babes (BBB) July 2015

Ah summer! Isn’t it wonderful?

Power Bread (BBB July 2015) wp-image-2175 It’s quite warm and humid right now. But after the miserable cold winter and spring, I’m determined not to complain about the heat.

So what can I complain about? Because life just isn’t complete without a little complaining, is it? :-)

This month’s bread was a challenge for me and doubly so. First of all, it’s a complex recipe (or should I say “formula”?) by the inimitable Peter Reinhart. Second of all, it requires a lot of reading and re-reading to get it. And thirdly (oops!! I said “doubly”, didn’t I?), it smacks of being health bread. Not that there’s anything wrong with health bread. I just have a fear of anything that might make me start wearing baggy cotton shirt over an equally baggy (mismatched pattern and colour) skirt and oversize lumberjack socks with sensible sandals…. :lalala:

Still, everyone assures me that the bread is great, so being an obedient BBBabe, I forged ahead. Late, as usual.

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads (wp-image-2181) This bread […] utilizes a raisin puree and various seeds for both flavor and nutrition. When I go on the road to teach bread baking classes around the country, this is the bread that is requested most often. It follows a different method than most of the formulas in this book. The pre-soaker makes it a three-day process […] This bread is high in protein and fiber for sustained energy, yet it also offers a quick carbohydrate burst via the raisin puree with its more readily available sugars. The raisins are soaked overnight so they will puree easily in a blender or food processor, almost, but not quite, disappearing in the bread. Sunflower seeds are just plain delicious, as well as nutritionally rich. They give this bread a wonderful nutty flavor and a long, pleasant finish. Oat bran has many documented benefits and is an especially good source of cholesterol-fighting soluble fiber.
Like several other breads in this book, this one contains flaxseeds, one of the real miracle foods that have recently come into their own, especially in breakfast cereals and as a nutritional supplement. […] Soaking them in water overnight starts the germination process, which activates enzymes that make the seeds easier to digest.

-Peter Reinhart, Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor (ISBN: 160774130X, 9781607741305), Powerbread

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