Do you know what that first picture is? It is a picture of the zucchini plant that is currently taking over my front flower bed. And this is a picture of the climbing cherry tomato plant that is scaling the side of my house.
My children stand in front of it plucking off tomatoes like it is a giant green vending machine. I would show you a picture of the strawberry plants, but they have been decimated by my two voracious locusts…nothing left!
I also planted rhubarb and blueberries and every herb I could get my hand on. This is just the kind of experience I remember from my childhood...fresh food right in my own backyard. The desire to have my children experience the pleasure of growing and eating their own fruits and vegetables is what prompted me to plant this garden…and create this website. Both came from a desire to connect with others through food.
I have been thinking about food and all of the ramifications of the choices we make when we eat. I am convinced that the childhood memories I treasure are the key to how I want to connect, and how I want my children to connect, with food. But then I found that it went even further.
It’s funny how small personal decisions can lead to much bigger things. Ultimately my personal household decision led me to organize The Toronto FRESH Event.
I came across the trailer for FRESH while surfing the internet. I thought it spoke very eloquently to the values that I have attempted to live and write about over these last few months. It seemed the perfect focal point for my efforts to advocate for local and sustainable food. So I embarked upon this journey (with the help of my very good friend and neighbour) to create an event that would highlight some of the local and sustainable resources we have available to us right here in Toronto.
The good news is we have a wealth of resources and the even better news is that we have a wealth of people dedicated to producing, growing, creating and choosing these resources. My hope is that the Toronto FRESH Event will help to spread awareness and possibly inspire others to discover their own connection with local and sustainable food.
The Event runs for the last two weeks of August and includes a series of dinners, tastings and workshops and will culminate in a screening of FRESH the movie on August 26th. If you are in the Toronto area I encourage you to come and experience FRESH in Toronto.
And if you cannot make it, here is a recipe for a Zucchini, Feta and Mint Tart. Perfect for a light summer meal. Fresh, green and delicious it may inspire you to plant a garden, share with friends or just take a moment to consider all of the wonderful food we could have available right outside our door...
Zucchini, Feta and Mint Tart
adapted from the Summer 2008 issue of Food and Drink Magazine
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 medium onions, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
¾ cup half and half cream
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Single Crust Pastry Recipe
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
4-5 tablespoons ice cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make the pastry first. In a small bowl mix the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a fork or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cold water and stir just until the dough starts to pull together.
Turn out onto a well floured surface. Quickly shape into a ball and roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Line a 9 inch tart pan with the pastry. Trim off the excess and prick the surface all over with a fork.
Bake for 20 minutes or just until it starts to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add zucchini, onions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to cook for 1 minute or until zucchini is just cooked through and juices have evaporated. Remove pan from heat, stir in mint, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
In a small bowl beat eggs and cream. Sprinkle feta cheese over prepared tart shell. Add the zucchini mixture and carefully pour the egg and cream mixture over top .
Place tart on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set and lightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.