Beauty Break

I’ve been taking a little summer break from blogging, but I’ll be back next week with a recipe of my own and another edition of Cook the Book Fridays.

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite photos of this year’s crop of dahlias. There are two more varieties that have yet to reveal themselves, so I may share a few more photos later on.
Tiger-striped dahlia

Spiral blooms

Lavender and gold dahlia

Hot Pink Dahlia

Fuschia dahlias

Cream spiked dahlia

Cottage Cooking Club – September 2014

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When I was in elementary school, we went to Salt Spring Island for a week called Outdoor School, where we stayed in cabins, ate in a mess hall, and did experiments in streams, on beaches, and in the woods. By then, I was the shortest and shyest of all the kids in my class and with a little bad luck, I was assigned to the cabin farthest away from the big hall where we ate our meals. Inevitably, I was late for almost everything. It didn’t help that I’d brought a precariously high stack of books along with me for the week. At the end of camp, the teachers held a just-for-fun awards night and I came away with a key chain that said, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

As you can see, this still suits me to a T – here I am, a week late with my Cottage Cooking Club post. And it’s not for lack of interest. This month’s selections were a huge success for us.

Pinto bean chili

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One of the best indicators for me that I’m going to be going back to a recipe over and over again is how many notes I’ve written in the margins and white space on the page. It means that it’s versatile and customizable and that the base recipe is solid. This chili is exactly that. We’re given two variations, one for winter and one for summer, but you can get creative with what’s in season and what’s on hand. I chose the summer recipe, as the last of my zucchini was just ready and the markets were full of peppers of all varieties. I swapped out the bell pepper for pimento pepper (as you can see in the photo at the top of this post) and used one fresh cayenne pepper in place of the green chiles and cayenne powder. I served it vegan for Kevin, but grated a bit of Parmesan on mine. I needn’t have – it was flavourful enough on its own.

Puy lentil and spinach soup

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Vancouver is famous for its cold, wet weather, as Seattle is, too. We Cascadians keep recipes for warm, comforting soups close to hand and this soup fits the bill. French green lentils are a staple for us and this soup, thick and almost stew-like, showcases them perfectly. I suspect we’ll be eating this regularly all winter.

Oven-roasted roots frittata

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I was on my own for this one, but that was fine with me. I love frittata and this root vegetable variation, baked in the oven, was easy and delicious. It’s just the sort of thing I want to have waiting for me when I’m working flat out on a project and need lunch to be easy. Easy, delicious, and nutritious, that is.

Runner beans with tarragon and lemon

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I skipped the butter in this dish and used Earth Balance instead. I’m still not convinced that it’s anything more than a pricey margarine, but using it meant that this dish was vegan. Margarine or no, the beans were delicious, and included some of the last of this year’s bean crop from my garden, along with some of the tarragon I’m digging up and trying to overwinter indoors this year. The combination of flavours was lovely.

Now, save for a summery French Fridays catch up or two I’ve got to find time to post, we’re well into the flavours of autumn. I suspect I’m going to love our October Cottage Cooking selections as much as I did September’s – I promise you’ll see the results a little sooner next month.

Here are the links to the rest of the group’s posts for this month. I encourage you to check them out – you’ll meet some wonderful bloggers and get some great inspiration for vegetarian eating.