Prickly pears make spooky cocktails

Prickly pears make spooky cocktails

Arizona is bracing for the annual migration of more than 550,000 Canadian snowbirds to their Southwestern state. With the Grand Canyon in the north and Yuma in the south, where 90% of North America’s greens grow between November and March, there’s plenty to see. And if you’ve never stood next to a towering Saguaro cactus with … Continue reading

Garlic goes local

Garlic goes local

  When Ontario-grown garlic sells for $2 a bulb and Chinese garlic sells for five bulbs for $1, you have to wonder why. Growers Mark Wales, president of the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario, and Peter McClusky, organizer of the 4th annual Toronto Garlic Festival at Evergreen Brick Works Sept. 21, were happy to explain. “Ontario garlic … Continue reading

Finger these limes!

Finger these limes!

Megan Shanley Warren is on a mission, to promote the funky little fruit her dad is harvesting on his California ranch. From the outside, the finger lime needs all the help Warren, a marketing grad, can muster. The leathery green or brown cylinder, 1 to 3 inches long, resemble skinny dill pickles. Cut one open and … Continue reading

Eat your weeds!

Eat your weeds!

The weeds are having a field day in my garden. Crowding the kale, tomatoes and green beans are plantain, purslane, lambs-quarters and many other wild edibles, I’m sure. This year I planted amaranth (amaranthus viridis), its oval green leaves splashed with purple, after tasting it at a produce conference dinner. It looked just like sautéed … Continue reading

Shishitos are for sharing

The hottest new chili pepper isn’t hot at all, yet it’s burning up menus all over North America. Trendy TO restaurants like Carbon Bar and Bar Isabel are frying up gnarled green shishito peppers as an appetizer, and Cava chef Chris McDonald says his most popular new dish is shrimp escabeche and pine nut hummus … Continue reading

Mad about Melons

Mad about Melons

  Randy Weinstein comes by his passion for melons naturally. His dad, Seymour, met his mom on a watermelon buying trip to Florida and the family’s 85-year-old “house” at the Ontario Food Terminal is now the country’s largest melon importer. “I sell happiness,” says the third-generation specialist, who took over Canadian Fruit and Produce with his … Continue reading

Hats off to haskaps

Hats off to haskaps

  Oh Canada, we have a new berry. It’s big, it’s blue and it’s easy to grow, from Northern Ontario to downtown T.O. Haskap’s Japanese name, haskapu, translates as “Little present on the end of the branch.” That’s where the long, oval berries congregate, hidden beneath branches of flat green leaves. Haskap tastes like a … Continue reading

Lost in Lisboa

Lost in Lisboa

Greetings from Lisbon, capital of Portugal, famed for its long history, lively neighbourhoods, dazzling light and good food. Though local women in stiletto heels seem to have no problem managing the cobblestoned streets and steep hills, I only lasted half an hour in my sensible sandals before switching to running shoes. Walking is the best … Continue reading

Get passionate with passion fruit

Get passionate with passion fruit

If you need a little more passion in your life this Valentine’s Day, crack open a purple or yellow passion fruit. The purple variety is no beauty, with its dark leathery skin and slippery pulp, like jellied egg yolk dotted with crisp black seeds. But its exotic scent is irresistible and its intense sweet-tart taste, channelling … Continue reading

Live long with long beans

Live long with long beans

As the Lunar New Year approaches, memories of Beijing fill my kitchen. It was the early ’80s, before the Chinese capital exploded into a glittering metropolis scraping the sky. “Have you eaten?” my boss at the radio station would ask, a standard greeting in a country obsessed with food. Back then, long cabbages dried on … Continue reading