I’ve been trying to be more conscious of eating locally lately. I’ve been frequenting my local, organic market more and more recently. Not only does the produce taste better but I like knowing where it comes from and supporting more small-scale producers. Even though I was always aware of the produce available (and not available) according to the different seasons, it becomes so much more obvious when the large majority of the food isn’t being imported from elsewhere. It is such a shift from summer into more truly wintery produce. Needless to say, there is a lot of squash, parsnips, and potatoes around. It always takes my brain some time to re-adjust and think about the things I normally make with these ever present winter vegetables that I largely ignore over the summer months. One of the biggest problems I have, especially with squash, is that they are so big. Just one squash is way more than we ever need for any meal and unless I want endless leftovers, I have to think of multiple dishes to make with the same ingredient. While my go-to is usually soup, a couple of weeks ago, I used some acorn squash to make a delicious quinoa salad. So, when I saw a half of a squash being sold at my local market, I wasn’t only thrilled that I wouldn’t have to eat an entire squash by myself but I also knew what I was going to do with it right away. I could picture what a beautiful side dish, or even meal, a quinoa stuffed acorn squash would make, especially at this time of year.
I never learn when it comes to beets. I always buy them, come home, stare at them, and have no idea what to do with them. I don’t love beets in juice and never really eat more than a couple of bites of roasted beet salad. Don’t ask me why: they are gorgeously sweet and earthy and have a lovely, firm texture but beets just aren’t my thing. So, last week when I went to the store and bought a bag of beets, I came home not knowing what to do with them, again. That is, until I remembered borscht. I love borscht and it has been on my list of things to make for this blog for a very long time. I have no idea why I haven’t gotten around to making it, but I’m so glad that I finally did. I realize that for someone who said they don’t particularly like beets, borscht is a strange thing to like. But I’m ok with being a little bit strange. And I can proudly say that this soup is great and I won’t mind eating bowl after bowl of it in the coming days (this recipe makes a lot of soup!).
A couple of weeks ago I went back to Montreal to attend a conference. Of course, on top of all of the work, I was busy seeing my friends and family. It’s always a whirlwind when I go back. Part of me feels like Montreal is still home but at the same time, I don’t feel connected to the city. I don’t have places that I always go visit or restaurants that I love. I never really feel like I know what’s going on, the landscape of the city changes so much, so quickly. So, when I go out with my friends, I rely on them to choose where we will eat, drink and relax. One night, my friend pulled together some suggestions for dinner, I chose one that sounded good, and we headed off to have a nice meal. We had both never been to this particular restaurant before. The food looked great but when we sat down and saw the prices we walked straight out. After a couple more interesting choices, which involved hastily drinking a margherita and walking out of a second restaurant, we finally landed on a winner.
I have been on quite the breakfast food journey over the past couple of years. Until about three years ago, I never ate anything but cold, sugary cereal for breakfast. Everything changed when I tried this oatmeal for the first time and the joy of eating something warm and a little more wholesome and filling in the morning was introduced to me. Even though I still love oatmeal, trying my first acai bowl in Hawaii last March put me on a whole new path. This past summer, eating a cold, refreshing smoothie bowl was almost all that I wanted to eat every morning. Recently though, when I wake up, our apartment is pretty cold and I am craving warm food again. One of the things I love about smoothie bowls is the contrast between super smooth blended fruit and the various crunchy things I sprinkle generously over the top. I am always mixing various seeds, nuts and other bits that I have in my cupboard over the bowl (I also do this with my oatmeal, but the contrast in texture isn’t so obvious). While I find myself firmly back in the oatmeal wagon, I thought that having a smoothie-esque wintery breakfast bowl would also be great to have in my arsenal: this warm applesauce breakfast bowl is it.