Tour a lentil farm + Bacon, Lentil & Tomato (BLT) Salad

The wide variety of food produced in this vast country has enchanted me ever since I was little. As a wee one alongside my older brother, I slung a fishing line over the side of a canoe for lake trout, and on my own I foraged for wild strawberries and morels to bring back to my mother’s kitchen.

From watching wild salmon spawn in on the West Coast to digging for clams on the far East, my culinary education continues to expand, year after year. This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to the middle of our country: a family-owned lentil farm in the heart of Saskatchewan.

Expansive fields dotted with farms were completely new territory for me. Although I knew that Canada was the world’s largest lentil producer and that Saskatchewan produced 95% of those beauties such as Black Beluga and French Green, I really had no clue how lentils were grown. It was a fantastic learning experience, under the broad blue skies of the great prairies.

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Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad for Canada Day

From coast to coast, Canadians are making plans to celebrate our national holiday on July 1st, be it by watching the Snowbirds fly over Parliament Hill, marching in a parade, or making merry while poolside with friends.

It’s also Danny’s birthday, so we party extra hard, celebrating him and our fair country all at once. We’ve been lucky enough to receive an invitation to a barbecue at Tim and Angela‘s place in Montreal, and I say lucky, because Tim is the master of the Webber.

I’m slotted to bring a salad to this gathering, which is perfect because I’ve been cooking up something very patriotic for Canada Day – a Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad. Inspired by one of our most famous cocktails, it’s light, fresh, and best of all, very simple. Oh, and if you have ice, there’s a cocktail to be enjoyed at the end of the recipe.

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Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus and Walnuts

One warm evening after dinner last week, we found the first wild strawberries ripening in our small patch out by the garden. Clara, barefoot and hatless as usual, parted the thick leaves with her small hands and there they were, as bright as rubies and as sweet as candy.

Earlier that same day, I picked up two baskets of the first locally cultivated strawberries, and henceforth there will be strawberries on our table for as long as the season flourishes. We really only eat them when they can be grown ourselves or bought locally, so the arrival of the red gems is much celebrated.

I’ve promised the children an upcoming dinner devoted entirely to strawberries, as soon as the fruit is at its peak. Today’s scrumptious salad will definitely be on the menu, perhaps alongside strawberry-glazed grilled chicken, with fresh strawberry pie or roasted strawberry sundaes for dessert.

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Eat Seasonal: Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

There’s a sunny spot on my bedroom dresser on the second floor of my house and I’m growing two flats of seedlings in its warmth. If it wasn’t for the perky tomato shoots and the sprouting chives growing there, it would be hard to find a single sign of spring anywhere around for miles.

We woke up to more snow and plummeting temperatures on Easter weekend. I wore fuzzy leg warmers under my flowered-print dress and the children ran their easter egg hunt in full snowsuits. There wasn’t a crocus to be seen all holiday long, although the cold didn’t stop us from having a string of lovely gatherings.

During this confused weather, my cooking has featured a melding of the seasons: the requisite hearty cold weather comfort foods enhanced by a few spring delicacies. Today’s Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups are a good example of such a marriage. A sturdy black bean and quinoa salad topped off with a crunchy mix of cucumber, mango, jalepeno, radish and avocado; good enough to forget all about the snow – for a few minutes.

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Citrus Salad with Honey-Cinnamon Syrup

These days, the emails are flying thick and fast between my friends and family as we attempt to straighten out our plans for Easter.

Although it looks more like Christmas outside on the homestead, we are indeed planning to celebrate a spring holiday soon. Today I was reminiscing over an Easter past where we brunched al fresco on the patio and the ramps were already pushing up through the forest floor….but those signs of spring still seem like a long way off. It’s still too cold for our sap to run! But enough complaining…

So, Easter. We’re spending Friday with friends, Sunday is the traditional ham dinner with one side of the family, and on Saturday I will set a simple Spring-like table and host the other side of Danny’s extensive family for lunch. Or perhaps brunch, I haven’t decided. And Monday? Relaxing.

Here’s a peek at my menu plans and a quick citrus salad recipe that could swing for either brunch or lunch.

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