Arugula pesto…

arugula pesto and salmon

Wild caught salmon topped with arugula pesto along with salad.

Veggie orzo salad with arugula pesto

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Grilled haddock accompanied by arugula pesto and salad and roasted squash

 

The other day we bought a huge container of arugula (known as rocket in the U.K.) and started eating it in salads. In the summer I crave fresh salads, don’t you? We like to vary our greens so as not to become bored with the same old, same old. And at 10 calories per two cups with tons of antioxidants and vitamins, it is really a healthy superfood. Believe it or not, it’s from the same family as broccoli and kale.

But no matter how much arugula we ate, it didn’t seem to be making a dent in the amount we had. I hate to waste food — a quality that I now realize I inherited from my paternal grandfather — so I thought I had best figure out a creative way to use it up before it went all slimy.

So it was that I happened on a recipe for arugula pesto. Since I adore the flavours and texture of basil pesto and I also love to experiment with new recipes, I tried it. It has become a new favourite. It’s spicy, flavourful, healthy and versatile. So what’s not to like?

We’ve been eating a lot of fish lately and this pesto adds a piquancy that works well with many different types. We’ve eaten it with grilled haddock and salmon, as you can see above. Great with both.

I still had some pesto left after those meals so I decided to try adding it to a veggie orzo salad, since I often do that with basil pesto. Another winner. I’ve read that it makes a great sandwich spread when combined with mayo. Must try that soon.

So if you like foods rich in ingredients found in the Mediterranean diet, this might appeal. It’s easy to whip up and even easier to enjoy. Here are two different recipes that I used to make mine if you want to give it a try.

Arugula pesto recipe from Simply Recipes

Arugula pesto recipe from Epicurious

Small town living…

These days I live about half an hour away from the capital of Canada, Ottawa, in a little town of 5,000. Small and picturesque, Almonte has a river running through it, two sets of waterfalls and miles of green space surrounding it.

For 30 years I lived, studied and worked in the centre of Ottawa, which has close to a million inhabitants and serves as the seat of the federal government. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle and all the culture and diversity that Ottawa had to offer — and before that thrived on the tempo of two other big Canadian cities — Toronto and Montreal. So I’ve always considered myself a big city kind of gal.

Today life in Almonte with its slow unhurried pace couldn’t be more of  a contrast. But there is much to appreciate in small town living.

I’m excited by how Almonte continues to develop into a small hub of creativity as artists and craftspeople open up shops and galleries. The beautiful stone buildings on our historic main street preserve our past as a textile mill town and have been converted into restaurants, galleries and unusual apartments.

The old Post Office was designed by the same architect who built the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and now houses a lovely marble floored restaurant and a new outdoor patio. The clock you can see throughout the town is the original one, which is maintained by a local volunteer. The falls on the river that powered the mills now create our electricity in a green manner.

I never tire of showing off my town to friends from the city and from other parts of the country and the world. This super short video (49 seconds) gives a flavour of one such recent visit.  I invite you to have a look. I hope to capture more of Almonte in future videos.

Continually vanishing…

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Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing…

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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The vast ocean…

rocks2Throughout the day, all sorts of thoughts appear, all sorts of sensations, feelings, sounds arise and fall in the vast ocean of consciousness that you are. Everything that appears in what you are, we could call a wave of experience.

And so, this thought is a wave. This sensation is a wave. This sound is a wave. This feeling is a wave. These thought waves, sound waves, feeling waves, sensation waves are all the ocean of consciousness waving, dancing.

 

Jeff Foster

A few days in Prince Edward County…

I’m taking a video course this summer (Make Films with Xanthe Berkeley), so in an effort to improve my skills, I put together a three-minute video. I wanted to capture a recent visit to Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (PEC) for a family getaway in moving pictures as well as stills this time.

I’m a big fan of the County as locals call it, which is really a beautiful island, and I adore islands, as many of you know. In past summers, we’ve sailed around it, using Waupoos Marina as our base.

But PEC is also an up-and-coming Ontario wine region, which is producing award-winning wines and becoming a preferred destination for wine lovers and foodies from the nearby big urban centres of Toronto and Ottawa. However, even with its success and newfound popularity, it hasn’t lost its “realness,” its friendliness or its old-fashioned charm.

You can still find boxes by the side of the road where you can leave your money for produce on the honour system.

In wineries throughout the county, you can still meet with the actual owners/winemakers who are more than pleased to pour their wine for you and share their passion for what they make and how they make it.

Prince Edward County is also home to three of the best beaches in Canada. As youngsters my sister and I spent many a happy day at Sandbanks and we decided to go back for another visit, this time with cameras. It did not disappoint.

On top of that, there’s lots of great restaurants and places for food lovers to satisfy all their desires. We were only there for a couple of days but I still couldn’t cram all the places we went to in this short little video. I may have to do another post…

A few days in wine country — Prince Edward County, Ontario from Sherry Galey on Vimeo.

My new morning friend…

raspberry smoothielr

And now for something completely different…I’ve started making my own kefir at home and I have to say, I’m hooked.

Imagine yogurt in a drinkable form and with even more nutritious goodness. Kefir (pronounced ka-FEER) is made by fermenting milk using bacteria and yeast.

In both yogurt and kefir, bacteria ferments the lactose found in milk into lactic acid, giving these products a tangy flavour.  But kefir has three times the probiotic content — the “healthy” bacteria that block harmful bacteria from living in your gut — that yogurt has, so it is great for digestion. This can also boost the immune system.

Kefir is also a fantastic source of calcium, B vitamins and phosphorous. It’s a low-fat source of protein, too.

It is super easy to make, requiring only milk (or coconut milk or even water) and kefir grains or starter. You don’t have to heat it as you do yogurt. Just let is sit on the counter at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours. Mine was ready in 12. It is milder in flavour than yogurt and makes delicious smoothies.

There is a great deal of research going on these days pointing to the connections between the health of our digestion system and our health in general, and the micro biome is receiving lots of attention. One fascinating area of research is also looking at how the health or our gut affects the health of our brain and our moods.

 

 

The soft ones…

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If you don’t feel the pointed things in life, you’ll soon take the soft ones for granted.

 

John Everson
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