Category Archives: Recipes

Thanksgiving Recipes with Local Produce

I’m not sure about your house, but at mine, it seems like fall is moving very quickly this year! I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend!  This year we’ll be attending two dinners, one of which will be at our house.  Fortunately, both are collaborative affairs, which mean that I personally won’t have to worry about cooking a turkey, or inventing a complete menu.  One of my favourite things about this style dinner is that it provides some freedom to try new recipes!  Fortunately, there is still lots of local produce available that can make these recipes that much more delicious!

I have a standard Butternut Squash soup recipe that I can make in my sleep, but the addition of the apples and herbs in this one, makes me think that I might need to expand my repertoire a little!

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash; peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
2 carrots, cut in thick slices
1 med onion, cubed
2 gala apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp of dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 cup light cream
32 oz vegetable stock, pre-made or from scratch

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss squash, carrots, onion, apples, and garlic in large bowl with olive oil and the dried herbs. Spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tin foil. Roast in oven for about 40 minutes, or until squash is tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and place the vegetable mixture into a large soup pot over medium heat.

Add vegetable stock.  Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat. Working in 2-3 batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. You can add more vegetable stock if the soup is too thick. Stir in cream until thoroughly mixed and serve!


I found this recipe in a magazine this summer and LOVED it, and even better, so have guests, AND kids!  As an added bonus, the potatoes can be boiled ahead of time, and the roasting done just before supper, which makes them a bit of a time saver!  I also have added paprika (smoked paprika would make it even tastier I’m sure!) with the salt and pepper, for an added kick.

Baby Red Potatoes (about a dozen or so, depending on size)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in pan in one layer. Add enough water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are cooked through and can be pierced easily with a fork.Drain potatoes well and pat dry if necessary.

Preheat oven to 450F. Place on baking sheet and gently press each on with your palm to flatten. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from oven; flip each potato over, drizzling with more olive oil if any looks dry and seasoning with more salt, if necessary. Roast for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are sizzling and crispy.

Serve immediately.



Dill Pickle Recipe

It is definitely produce-season at Lacoste; we’re continually receiving all sorts of local veggies and fruits, and some not-so-local fruits too (maybe one day there will be orchards of oranges and peaches here ;) ). All this produce means one thing to many people; myself included.  It is time to can all this summer-goodness so we can enjoy it long into the winter.

So far this year I’ve made both strawberry and raspberry jam, and have a bunch of peaches waiting in the fridge for me to tackle this week.  Salsa is on the horizon too, and likely some spicy beans. BUT the most important of all the canning I do is the dill pickles.  It is both the most important and the most work intensive.  Between washing and prepping the jars, the lids, and the cucumbers, peeling the garlic, and trimming the dill, making pickles it is definitely a two-person job.  Come to think of it, it is a three-person job, as these days someone needs to be on baby-sitting duty, to keep the little monsters away from the boiling, salty brine!

I wish I could share my recipe with you, as it is delicious, but it isn’t so much a formula as a general guideline.  It was given to me by a woman who worked in the nursery, and everyone loves her pickles, so my goal is to just make sure that they are as tasty as hers! Some years, depending on the freshness of the garlic and dill they may be more dill-y or more garlic-y, but they usually all are eaten by the time the next batch is ready!

Debbie’s Dill Pickles


7 ½ cups water

7 ½ cups vinegar

½ cup salt

Fill the jar with as many cucumbers as you can, mixed with 2 dill flower heads, and 4 cloves of garlic.  Pour the brine to fill the jar, and seal up in whatever manner works for you!


  • I make sure to use not only local cucumbers and dill (because they’re both plentiful this time of year, and so delicious!) but also local garlic.  I find its spicier, and more flavourful
  • To determine how many pounds of cucumbers to use, I usually assume that it’s a little less than the number of jars I make. i.e.:

30 lbs cucumbers = 26 Jars of pickles

(I used 12 bunches of dill and 16 bulbs of garlic)

  • I’m not sure if my method of sealing jars is safe from food-code violations, but the jars seal, and I don’t sell them.  I usually wash the jars in the dishwasher, and keep them in a 250° oven.  The lids I keep in a boiling pot of water.  After I pour the brine into the jar, I place the lid on, and while they cool, the button pops to seal them up.  I know there’s lots of ways to seal jars when you search google, but this works for me!

The occasional year when I’ve not made pickles, or run out early has convinced me that the effort is worth it, as I’ve yet to find a store-bought pickle that satisfies what I’m looking for in a pickle.  Hopefully this will be the year you try it out too!!  It’s fun and delicious, and make great Christmas gifts for neighbours, friends and co-workers!!


Recipe: Vanilla Strawberry Jam

Yesterday afternoon the first baskets of strawberries arrived at the store.  I’m not sure about you, but strawberries are possibly my favourite fruit of the summer! Every year the kids and I go strawberry picking, and we usually end up bringing home more than one basket from the here too! For years, I usually froze most of them to use in smoothies through the winter.  I still freeze a bunch, but have also added a few more ways to enjoy them as well.

(this picture is an actual picture of the pie made by a friend; mine didn’t look nearly this perfect :))

My favourite of last winter was this recipe for jam.  I found it was too liquid-y for use on toast or sandwiches, but as a syrup on yogurt or ice cream, it was HEAVENLY!


1 vanilla bean pod
4 pints strawberries, hulled; larger fruits halved
3 scant cups sugar
Juice of 3 small lemons

1.  Split the vanilla bean lengthwise into four pieces and place in a bowl with the strawberries, tucking the bean pieces in amongst the fruit.  Cover with the sugar, and leave for 12 hours or overnight.

2.  Pour the fruit, vanilla bean, and juice into a preserving pan and add the lemon juice.  Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring only now and then so that the fruit stays intact.  Turn up the heat and boil rapidly to reach setting point.  Skim if necessary.

3.  Remove the vanilla bean pieces, scrape the seeds from them, and add the seeds to the jam. Stir through the jam.

4.  Pour the jam into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Of course it is fun to dream about all the strawberry recipes to make, but the best way to enjoy the freshest strawberries: just eat them!!