Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Oven @ 350F
6 ¾ tsp active dry yeast
3 cups warm water
4 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
4 ½ Tbsp sugar
4 ½ Tbsp shortening or vegetable oil, at room temperature
3 to 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
Sponge (use paddle attachment): In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve. Add the flour and mix at first speed until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (30 – 45 minutes).
Dough: Stir down the sponge with one or two rotations then add the rest of the ingredients (use only 3 cups of flour to start). **Switch to the dough hook.** Be careful to use LOW speed so the flour doesn’t get tossed out of the bowl. If the dough is too soft or sticky, add flour ¼ cup at a time. Run the mixer at 1st speed until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl – approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off machine and remove dough from the hook. Transfer dough to a clean and oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in volume. Once the dough has doubled, punch down the dough and divide into thirds.
You can make 1 loaf of white bread, 12 cinnamon rolls, and foccacia.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and cinnamon. (you can add chopped up apples or dried fruit at this stage) Roll the dough up towards you and then slice into equal pieces. Place cut side down in a greased baking pan and brush with melted butter. Allow to rise for about 30 minutes and then bake.
To 1 cup of olive oil add a combination of your favourite herbs: garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley. Roll the dough into a rectangle and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Generously brush the olive oil mixture onto the dough. Allow the dough to rise. Just before you put the dough in the oven “dimple” the dough using your fingertips.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
80g walnuts, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 loosely packed cup (80g) brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (280g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 cup (240g) sour cream
raspberries or blueberries
Icing sugar, to dust
Honey, to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease or spray six 4 inch tart pans.
Pulse nuts, spices and brown sugar in a food processor to finely chop.
Lay 1 filo sheet on the bench (keep the remaining filo covered with a damp tea towel as you work). Brush with a little butter and sprinkle with 2 tsp nut mixture. Lay another filo sheet on top, repeat with butter and nut mixture. Fold in half to form a 24cm square, trimming edges if needed. Brush top with butter. Push pastry into a tart pan, then fold edges, crimping and folding to form a 1.5cm-wide rim. Brush with more butter, then cover with a damp tea towel while you repeat with remaining filo, butter and nuts to make 6 tarts. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool in pans.
Turn out tart cases and place on plates. Combine yoghurt and cream, then spoon into the tarts. Top with berries, dust with icing sugar, drizzle with honey and serve.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate soy milk, cold
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan or a tube pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix well with a fork, then stir in oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. When dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened, pour in cold soy milk and stir until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
Monday, June 08, 2009
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp each finely grated lemon zest and lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 min. Place in an 8 cup baking dish. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, remaining 1 tbsp sugar and salt. Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Stir in just enough milk, about 1 cup (250 mL), to make a soft dough.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir vanilla then the sifted flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Gently fold in sour cream. Pour half the batter into a greased and lined 9 or 10 inch round cake tin and then top with rhubarb and orange rind. Cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle mixed brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Bake for 40 minutes until cake is puffy and golden. Let cool 15 minutes before unmolding. Enjoy!!
Monday, May 11, 2009
4g Baking powder
Mix dry ingredients together. Crumble butter until small. Add eggs and knead until it comes together well. Wrap and chill. Roll out thinly and line a tart tin with a removable bottom. Spoon in some seedless raspberry or cherry jam and spread out along the bottom.
125g almond powder (ground almonds)
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, rum, vanilla and almonds. Pipe into tart shell and smooth. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the frangiapane puffs up and is golden. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from tart shell. Drizzle with some flat icing (confectioners sugar and water) and top with berries.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This dessert started with a quick spice cake I made for an after school snack for my children and their friends. The pastry chef in me thought that the cake needed something more so this is where the dessert began to take shape.
I did something similar to this at the restaurant but I refined it a bit to make it easier to do at home. I love layering desserts because I love the clean look and the visual interest the layers provide so I used the spice cake as a base for one of my favourites- cheesecake! I'm not a big fan of cheesecakes with crumb bases because I always find they are too tough or too soggy but the spice cake is a good substitute. (Remind me to tell you the story of the time I mistakenly used breadcrumbs instead of graham crumbs for my cheesecake base!)
The cheesecake is actually a vanilla custard with cream cheese added and set with gelatin. I then sautéed some granny smith apples in butter and brown sugar and added a dash of brandy for flavour. I topped it all off with some homemade oatmeal crumble. I used apples because that is what I had on hand but I think when blueberries are available I would use those. Come to think of it, any fruit would go well with this - cherries, strawberries, peaches or plums. I love that this dessert looks very elegant but it has a down home flavour that makes it very comforting.
113g butter, melted
½ cup white sugar
Peel and slice apples. Heat some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a pan and bring to a bubble. Add apples and cook until softened. Add brandy to taste. Let cool.
1 ¼ cup AP flour
Crumble all ingredients together. Sprinkle on prepared pan and bake at 350F until golden.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I was there the other day and was happy to see a great selection of blood oranges. I grabbed a few and was eager to get home to try them in a dessert. I love the colour and sweet flavour of blood oranges and I thought the best way to show that off would be in a tart.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Most cookbooks from the 19th and early 20th centuries include sections on medicinal remedies. "Cures" for smallpox, typhoid fever, diptheria and cholera are included along with recommendations on how to treat fits and hysteria ("chiefly seen in females, and generally connected with uterine irregularities" according to The Dominion Cook Book-1899). While some remedies seem laughable knowing today's science other remedies still make perfect sense. "Rules for the Preservation of Health" in the latter cook book include instructions to drink water, avoid excess of spirits, exercise regularly and sleep in a well ventilated room.
Some remedies call for tincture of opium and chloroform - I can't imagine you would feel anything after that! Ingredients that I don't think I could find in a grocery store or at a pharmacy are listed: antimonial wine, laudanum, best manna, and tincture of senna are things I have never heard of before.
So while I was wrapped up in a blanket on the couch trying not to feel sorry for myself after developing my fifth cold since December, I decided to consult my old cookbooks for an old fashioned cure. Egg gruel or beef tea didn't sound appealing and I really didn't like the idea of simmering bacon in vinegar and then laying the bacon on my sore throat for a cure. I settled on "A valuable recipe for fever and ague" figuring I at least had the fever. According to Mrs. R.A. Sibley from "The Home Cook Book" of 1877 I should steep 4 ounces of galangal root in a quart of gin left in a warm place; take often. Unfortunately I didn't have any galangal root handy but I substituted some tonic water. Now I feel just fine!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
270ml lemon/lime juice
17g lemon/lime zest
255g egg yolks
Combine sugar, juice, zest and ½ of the butter and bring to a boil. Temper egg yolks and return to the pot and bring to a boil. Add remaining butter, mix, strain and then chill.
Monday, April 13, 2009
After single handedly keeping Cadburys in business this Easter (thanks Easter Creme eggs!!) I decided that for our Easter dinner dessert this year I would avoid chocolate and go for a lighter flavour. I certainly was not doing traditional this year, having applewood barbecued pork loin with smashed potatoes and asparagus for the main meal - chocolate would not be missed at the end.
So when I went into the grocery store on Saturday they had blackberries and lemons on sale. Great! I knew I had some phyllo in the freezer so homemade lemon curd, blackberries and brown sugar Italian meringue with crispy phyllo layers would do the job.
Once at home I set to work. The kids were dying the Easter eggs and I was layering the phyllo and baking it off. I decided to wait until later that evening to make the lemon curd so the kids would be in bed and my full attention would be in the kitchen. Little did I know that my plan would hit a slight snag.
Happily sequestered in my kitchen, I started measuring the ingredients for the lemon curd and this is when Murphy's law set in. I had decided to buy a different brand of eggs and as I was separating them I noticed that the yolks were noticeably smaller than I was used to. When I had used up all my eggs I was stuck. It was late at night, stores were closed until Monday and I needed eggs. All that was left for me were the coloured Easter eggs that my children had lovingly decorated just hours before. I had to pause, the mom side debating the pastry chef side of me, before I reached for the eggs. Dessert trumped decoration in my house! Of course I felt guilty destroying my children's hard work but in the end I convinced them it was worth it - they loved the dessert and asked for seconds!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Which brings me to strawberries. I love strawberries. To me every bite of a sweet, juicy strawberry tastes like sunshine especially when it is a freshly picked, local strawberry. I always have a difficult time when I'm asked to make a dessert that focusses on strawberries because to me a strawberry is perfection as is. No need to embellish, no need to sauté or chop or drizzle. Give me a bowl of strawberries and I am happy to eat them all. Adding chocolate is nice but not necessary and the thought of destroying that fresh flavour of sunshine by adding a little bit of this or a whole lot of that makes me cringe with regret.So please don't ask me to make a strawberry dessert for you. Keeping it simple is sometimes a good thing, especially when it comes to strawberries.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Monday, April 06, 2009
Which brings me to todays recipe. I was indulging in a Twix bar - all chocolate, caramel and biscuit goodness - when I thought about how I could use the elements that make the candy bar into a dessert that I would proudly serve to friends and family. This is what I enjoy about being a pastry chef - taking elements from different recipes and putting them together to create something even better. This uses the shortbread cookie recipe from March, a chewy caramel centre I use when making chocolates and and easy glazing chocolate to top it off. Voila! A sweet treat to have with your tea or coffee that is crispy, chewy and chocolatey all in one. Enjoy!!
Use the shortbread recipe from March. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment and press the dough evenly into the bottom. Prick with a fork and bake approximately 20 minutes at 300F or until the edges are golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
Chewy caramel filling (this makes a little more than you need):
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cups Lyle's golden syrup
1/2 cup water
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
Heat the cream in a small saucepan and set aside. Combine the sugar, syrup, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir to combine then wash down the sides of the pan with a silicone pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and then, using a candy thermometer, bring the syrup up to 300F - this should take about 10 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and let the mixture stop bubbling. Whisk in the hot cream slowly - the mixture will bubble up so be careful! Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth. Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly while bringing the mixture up to 240F. Remove the caramel from the heat and let the mixture stop bubbling. Pour caramel over the shortbread crust and allow to set either at room temperature or in the fridge.
6 oz finely chopped 70% dark chocolate or your favourite bittersweet chocolate
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spread over cooled caramel and allow to set.
When set, cut into desired shape and enjoy!!
Sunday, April 05, 2009
4 cups All purpose or bread flour
1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast [2 envelopes (8 g)]
1 cup milk, warmed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup or real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1 cup nuts or dried fruit - optional
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups nuts or dried fruit - if using
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp (or more) cinnamon
Knead dough on floured board for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled, about 75 minutes.
Starting at long side, roll up tightly, pinching seam to seal. Cut into 12 pieces. Place in pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 12-48 hours.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ cups bread flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, lukewarm
Make sure to remove the pate fermentee from the fridge at least one hour before you are going to use it to take off the chill. To warm it quicker, cut it into small pieces, cover with plastic and let sit for an hour.
Stir together dry ingredients, yeast and pate fermentee. Add the water and stir until everything comes together. Adjust the flour or water if necessary – you want a dough that is not too sticky, almost rubbery. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or with a dough hook for about 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and springy and have an internal temperature of around 80F.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn the dough over to coat lightly in oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
So I am in the process of making a loaf of white bread using a pre-ferment or pâte fermentée. The idea is that the addition of a pre-fermented dough improves a breads flavour characteristics and enhances the overall maturity and taste. The pre-ferment I have started has been sitting on my counter for several hours and then will be in the fridge for 2 days in order to allow the yeast to mature and ferment the dough which will add a nice tanginess to the final loaf. The recipe is really just a basic white bread dough that is allowed to mature. If you make bread on a regular basis this is the same idea as using "old dough" or saving a piece of dough from today's dough to go in tomorrow's batch. This is the recipe I used from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice":
1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups unbleached bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water at room temperature
Stir together dry ingredients and yeast. Add water and stir until everything comes together in a coarse ball. If you are using a Kitchen Aid, use the dough hook to knead, or knead by hand until the dough forms a smooth ball - about 4 - 6 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to sit a room temperature until it more than doubles in size. Punch down the dough to degas and then recover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
This dough will be used as "old dough" in a french bread recipe I am planning on for later this week. I'll keep you posted!
I have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to cakes for my family but I love doing it!! Happy Birthday Emma! Love, Mom xoxoxo
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
· 2 cups milk
· 2 cups half-and-half cream
· 8 oz white chocolate, chopped
· 2 tbsp sugar
· 2 tsp vanilla extract
· 2 oz brandy, optional
· cinnamon sticks, for garnish
White Hot Chocolate
1. Pour milk and cream into a heavy- bottomed pot and heat over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in white chocolate, sugar and vanilla extract until melted.
2. For a grown-up treat, stir in brandy.
Dark Hot Chocolate - serves 4
Friday, March 20, 2009
Step into any bakery in Nova Scotia and you are sure to find an assortment of squares to tempt you. Amidst all of these delights you will notice a humble looking cookie known as an oatcake. Not quite a traditional cookie, it is less sweet and not as chewy as your typical oatmeal cookie. In texture it is closer to shortbread.
I was first introduced to them more than 20 years ago. As a young university student I found myself needing a cup of tea while exploring my newly adopted city and happened upon a waterfront coffee shop with a great display of oatcakes. I chose one dipped in chocolate and was surprised when I bit into it to find that it wasn't the oatmeal cookie I was expecting. It was, however, a perfect accompaniment to my tea.
Since then I've tasted many oatcakes but my favourite is a recipe I found tucked into an old cookbook I inherited from my Aunt. Simply labelled "Gladys' Oatcakes", this is the recipe I use when I'm craving one of these maritime treats.
2 cups oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix dry ingredients together then cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add in hot water and stir until mixture sticks together. Turn out onto floured surface and press mixture together. Roll out to approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares or circles. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden around the edges.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Since then our family has added another daughter and I have made many birthday cakes but the ones I make for my family are always the ones I love to make the most. Baking is a way for me to express my artistic side and also a way I show my love for them. I tend to go a bit overboard, especially when it comes to my daughters’ cakes and I have spent days making the perfect haunted castle, cheerleaders, Disney character, and butterfly cakes for them.
Cakes for my husband are carefully crafted and made to impress. This year’s cake was based on a banana split: banana chocolate chip cake with white chocolate filling covered in dark chocolate ganache and topped with dipped strawberries. Extravagant and over the top but filled with love and made especially for him.
My youngest daughter says homemade things taste better because they are made with love. I believe it.
Banana Layer Cake - adapted from Canadian Living magazine
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
3 eggs1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
3 cups (750 ml) sifted cake-and-pastry flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 m) baking soda
8 oz (125 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use chips and chunks)
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) mashed bananas
White Chocolate Icing:
3 cups (750 ml) whipping cream
10 oz (300 g) white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
4 oz (125 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Cake: In bowl, cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Combine flour, baking soda, and chocolate; add in 3 additions to creamed mixture alternately with 2 additions of bananas, mixing just until flour is incorporated. Spoon into 2 greased and parchment lined 8-9 inch round pans
2. Bake in 325F (180C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
White Chocolate Icing: In saucepan, bring half of the cream to boil; pour over chocolate in bowl, whisking until melted. Add vanilla. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour, whisking often.
3. On medium speed, beat chocolate mixture just until ridges hold shape. Beat remaining cream just until soft peaks form; gently fold into cake mixture. With serrated knife, slice cakes in half horizontally. Place a top layer, cut side up, on plate. Spread top with 3/4 cup (175 mL) icing; cover with single layer of bananas, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Cover with 1 bottom cake layer, cut side down; repeat with icing and bananas.
4. Repeat with remaining top layer, cut side up, and some of the icing and bananas. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.
5. Using palette knife, cover cake smoothly with remaining icing. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-1/2 hours.
Dark Chocolate Ganache: Meanwhile, bring cream to boil; our over chocolate in small bowl, whisking until melted. Let cool for 20 minutes or until room temperature and still pourable.
6. Pour over centre of cake, spreading to edge with clean palette knife, if necessary, and letting some flow down sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes, or up to one day. ** I found using a squeeze bottle to pour the chocolate gave me more control over the drips.**
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
2 1/3 cups AP flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
6 oz bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda together. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and then cool slightly. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Add melted chocolate and combine thoroughly then add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing well after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Roll out dough to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 7 – 10 minutes, until cookies look slightly puffy. Let cool completely before icing.
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk as needed
Beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar and then vanilla. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time until the icing is smooth but still thick. Put the icing into a piping bag and pipe mounds (approximately 1 tsp) onto one cookie and top with another cookie.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I still have that tin baking set but now my girls are the ones who use it. They eagerly help me out when I make pies and cookies, sneaking a bit of cookie dough and rolling out their own jam pies. I’m thrilled that they want to spend time in the kitchen with me because the time spent together is much more important than the product that results from our efforts. Baking is fun for us and we get to be silly, share secrets and sing off key to the music on the radio.
So when I’m asked for advice and recipes for baking with kids I always suggest keeping it simple. Children really don’t mind that much what the end result is – they just want to spend time with you. So whether you are making cookies, muffins or biscuits it doesn’t really matter. The act of being together is what is important.
Here is a quick and easy recipe to make with your children:
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup white cake mix
1 cup butter
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Chop up butter and then add to dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, knife or your hands, break up the butter and mix into the dry ingredients. They butter bits should be the size of peas.
In a greased casserole dish put 1/2 of the crisp mixture and pat down gently. Then mix together:
4 cups berries (I used blueberries and strawberries) fresh or frozen
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 plain yogourt or sour cream
Mix berry mixture well and then pour over crumb base. Top with remaining crisp mixture and pat down gently.
Bake in 325F oven for 30 minutes or until the fruit starts to bubble from the sides. Serve warm with ice cream!!
However, at the end of last summer, after spending more than $1500 to have a perfect lawn and ending up with weeds, I half jokingly said to my husband that we should just dig it up. That’s when the idea of a kitchen garden began to take root. I started visiting websites, ordering seed catalogues and imagining what it would be like to have a kitchen garden in my backyard. I could pick fresh lettuce and tomatoes to go with my dinner, eat beans right off the vine and introduce my children to what real food tastes like.
So here I am, early March, and the freezing rain has cancelled school for the day and the kids are looking for something to do. I have some seed packets and a little plastic greenhouse so I decide, although a bit early, to start our garden. I’ve got a general idea of what I want to grow – lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers – but now I have to put it down on paper and figure out how to make it a reality.