First local foods of the season!

knotweed spears and peelings

Ontario produce is finally starting to show up again, in the market and in the garden! Last week I foraged some japanese knotweed in my neighbourhood; its attractive summer flowers and foliage mean it is often planted in decorative gardens, but since it is highly invasive it is easy to find! It tastes juicy and tart, quite a lot like rhubarb, and can be cooked either as a vegetable (sauteed with butter and garlic, say) or a fruit (stewed with sugar or in muffins, pies, etc.). The early shoots looks almost like asparagus, but as it grows it starts to look a bit like bamboo, tall hollow segmented spears. I almost missed the season actually, many of the spears I picked were already too tall and woody to eat even after peeling. It still made a tasty fruit crisp, mixed with a couple apples and topped with buttery-oaty goodness. (and yes I realize the visual irony of that photo, local fruit in the foreground and decidedly non-local mangoes in the background.)

fresh local asparagus & radishes with tahini yogurt dressing

Oh, here are some more familiar local veggies! The first local asparagus and radishes, crisp and succulent. The asparagus was so fresh and sweet and tender, i ate several spears raw on the way home from the market. Best asparagus of my life!

For lunch is quickly blanched then iced the asparagus (not even 30 seconds in boiling water, just to bring out the bright green colour) and whipped up this tasty dressing to dip my bounty in:

Easy Tahini & Yogurt dressing

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup plain yogurt

3 tbsps red miso

the juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)

1 scant tsp dark sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together, adding a little water to thin to dressing consistency if neccessary. Makes a nice simple dip for tasty crudites or dressing for a green salad, particularily at this time of year when the veggies have so much flavour of their own.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe with some local produce from your own neighbourhood!




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