All posts by Barbara99

A Visit to the Barnyard Organics Farm in Freetown, PEI

I recently paid a visit to the Bernard family at Barnyard Organics in Freetown, PEI. Sally and Mark Bernard operate one of the largest (if not the biggest) organic farms on the Island and Sally and her daughter, Lucy, were my tour guides.

Sally and Lucy Bernard from Barnyard Organics
Sally and Lucy Bernard from Barnyard Organics

Sally (who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick) and Mark (from an Island farming family) met at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in Truro, Nova Scotia. Sally has an English degree from Mount Alison as well as a Plant Science Diploma from NSAC while Mark holds an Agricultural Business Diploma with a minor in Plant Science. In 2003, while still in college, Mark knew he wanted to pursue organic farming. His father had recently retired from farming so Mark began the groundwork for preparing the first 50 acres on his family’s farm to be taken out of conventional farming practices. The Bernards officially became certified organic farmers in 2006 and, since 2010, they have 550 organic acres on their farm and also rent additional acreage near Kensington.

Barnyard Organics, the name of the farm, is certified under Atlantic Certified Organics (ACO), a certification body which is accredited with the Canadian federal government. This body enforces the national organic standards such as buffer zone requirements from surrounding farms using conventional farming methods and it provides a list of approved substances that can be used in organic farming. As such, the farm is required to keep records of any products or substances used. In order to remain certified organic, the Bernards are subject to yearly inspections from ACO.

The main focus of the farm is on growing grains that include soybean, barley, wheat, oats, field peas, buckwheat, and clover. More than half of the grains are sold to small-scale organic producers in the Maritimes as a complete mixed animal feed. The remaining half goes to Speerville Flour Mill in New Brunswick and to brokers in Quebec and Ontario. Of note, 35-40 acres of the farm are dedicated to growing wheat specifically for bread. In fact, a nearby neighbour, Coral Wood, uses wheat from Barnyard Organics in her Whole Grain Bakery.

The Whole Grain Bakery Bread made with Grain Grown on Barnyard Organics Farm
The Whole Grain Bakery Bread made with Wheat Grown on Barnyard Organics Farm in Freetown, PEI

In addition, the Bernards also have both meat birds and about 150 laying hens.

The meat birds are raised on a portable pasture system which means the shelters they live in are moved each day so the birds always have fresh grass to nibble on.

The laying hens are completely free range so they have unfettered roaming privileges in a field nearest the farm buildings. They then take up winter residence inside a barn.

These are their summer condos!

This is where the flock hangs out when they are not out roaming about the field.

 

And, this is what is found on the other side of the “condos”.

Baby chicks on the farm!

Both meat and laying birds are raised on organic grains grown on the farm so the Bernards know exactly what their fowl are fed and customers can be assured the chickens and eggs are organic and of the highest quality.

About 90% of their meat birds and eggs are direct marketed to customers through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. This is a program whereby consumers (sometimes referred to as shareholders) invest in their food system by paying, the producer, upfront, for a season of fresh farm products. In exchange, the producer agrees to employ good farming practices to ensure a food supply and commits to sharing the resulting farm produce with those shareholders. This method of farming gives the farmer operating capital to buy supplies and run the farm and, in turn, CSA customers get quality fresh produce – in this case, fresh organic chickens and eggs from the Bernards.

Barnyard Organics currently has 100 CSA members and delivers to customers every two weeks in both Charlottetown and Summerside, alternating week about. Sally packages her fresh chickens and eggs, loads up her trolley fitted with refrigeration, and heads off with her deliveries.

Through the CSA market method, Sally gets to know her customers directly and they get to meet with the producer of their food and have the opportunity to put money directly into the producer’s hands with no middle parties. In addition, this customer-producer interaction provides the opportunity for customers to know where their food comes from and learn how it is produced. For the producer, this method allows for face-to-face feedback on products.

The remaining 10% of the farm’s products are sold to customers who regularly drop by the farm to pick up their farm-fresh eggs and chickens from the large cooler the family installed on the farm.

Barnyard Organics also has a small provincially-inspected processing plant where they process approximately 60 chickens a week, ready for distribution to their customers.

Farming organically is not without its challenges. For example, the Bernards don’t use chemical treatments that conventional farmers do so they can’t buy just any kind of fertilizer for their fields. Instead, they use mussel shell waste as well as manure from a nearby dairy farm; however, the manure needs to first be composted before being spread on the fields because it is not organic.

The farm also has its own grain dryer and soybean roaster which are needed because the Bernards can’t take their product to any local commercial dryers or roasters because of potential cross-contamination with non-organic grains.

Sally says their greatest satisfaction comes from knowing they have healthy soil on their farm to produce healthy food. The Bernards practice healthy crop rotation and focus on feeding the soil, not taking from it and depleting its goodness.

Lucy Bernard
Lucy Bernard

In particular, Sally derives great satisfaction from seeing their children interact with farm life. Because she home schools the children, they are exposed each and every day to experiential learning on the farm. Even 7-year old Lucy is already involved with organic farming. She takes the livers and hearts of the processed chickens, dehydrates them, and sells them for organic dog food. Lucy is also helping with the chicken business on the farm, too, and happily moves about the field of hens.

Sally jokes that Lucy could give the tour of the farm as well as she can and says their children are so acclimatized to farm life that they don’t even know that not everyone knows what life on a farm is like.

This summer Sally started a “Rent-A-Chicken” project that was so popular, she ended up with a waiting list. Essentially, the initiative allowed people to have a couple of chickens in their own backyards from June until October, enjoy the eggs, and then return the chickens to the Bernards in the fall without having to worry about what to do with the birds in the winter. The Bernards delivered, to renters, a small, portable chicken coop, two laying hens, feed and grit, food and water dishes, and a guide for raising hens.

Sally Showing one of the Portable Chicken Coops that are part of her "Rent-A-Chicken" Package
Sally showing one of the portable chicken coops that are part of her “Rent-A-Chicken” Package

Ideally, each hen could be expected to lay six eggs a week so renters have a dozen fresh organic eggs every week.

In the fall, the Bernards will pick up the birds and take them back to the farm. Cost for the package for the 2015 season was around $300. Feedback has been very positive and, in fact, some folks have already asked that the birds be banded so they can have the same ones back next year!

To find out, from a renter’s perspective, what the chicken rental experience was like, I met with Shirley Gallant who had two birds rented from the Bernards this summer.

As soon as she heard of the opportunity, Shirley knew it was for her as she had had a few hens in her backyard some years ago but wintering them was a problem for her. Because the Bernards will collect the two hens in the fall, Shirley has been able to have the hens for the summer and enjoy their eggs with no worries about what to do with the hens over the winter. The two hens happily roam around Shirley’s yard during the day and then retire to their coop for the night.  For Shirley, the experience has been very positive and she says she would do it again because “the hens are fun to have around” and she has fresh eggs for her organic diet.

Shirley Gallant with one of her rented chickens from Barnyard Organics
Shirley Gallant with one of her rented chickens from Barnyard Organics

Barnyard Organics farm does offer tours but the Bernards appreciate advance reservations as this is a busy working farm and family. For more information on Barnyard Organics, visit their website.

As is my standard practice when I visit a local food producer, I like to create a recipe using and featuring one of their products. I have chosen to use the brown eggs to make devilled eggs.  These eggs have gorgeous vibrant yellow yolks so they make colorful devilled eggs.

Devilled Egg
Devilled Egg
The Bistro’s Devilled Eggs

Ingredients:

5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sour cream
½ tsp prepared mustard
1½ tsp onion, minced
¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Pinch garlic powder
½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste

Paprika
Fresh parsley, chopped
Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)
Method:

Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.

Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.

Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg each)

Devilled Eggs
Devilled Eggs
Devilled Eggs
Devilled Eggs

 

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Devilled Eggs
Devilled Eggs

 

Devilled Eggs

Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg per serving)

Ingredients

  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sour cream
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  • 1½ tsp onion, minced
  • ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
  • ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.
  2. Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.
  4. Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.
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A Visit to Barnyard Organics, Freetown, PEI
A Visit to Barnyard Organics, Freetown, PEI

Late Summer Charcuterie Picnic

Summer is reluctant to leave Prince Edward Island this year and I’m perfectly fine with that.  Today (September 19, 2015), the temperature soared to almost the 30C mark! We’re not accustomed to these kinds of temperatures in mid-September here on the Island ….but we’ll take them!

Just as summer may not be in a hurry to leave us, I’m equally reluctant to put away my picnic basket.  When temperatures are still delightfully summer-like, I want to continue with my picnics.

A Charcuterie board is a wonderful and easy way to prepare a light meal, whether indoors or in the great outdoors.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. I’ve opted to prepare a fairly substantial board for our meal this evening because I’m not cooking a dinner this evening (it’s simply too warm – how great is it to be able to say that!). So, here’s our early evening charcuterie-plus board fare.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s on the board. Quiches are great additions to picnic fare since they can be eaten cold or served slightly warm and they can be prepared ahead of time.  This is my asparagus quiche and you can get my recipe here.

Asparagus Quiche
Asparagus Quiche

I’ve included devilled eggs on the menu since they are classic picnic fare. Besides their wonderful flavor, they also add color and texture to the board. Those are three elements I like to keep in mind when preparing a charcuterie board.

Add any cold cuts you like to the board. I’ve included salami and Tuscan ham on my board today.

I’ve only included one cheese on the board – a good quality Gouda. If I hadn’t included the quiche, I would have added more cheese and meat varieties. Adding some garden-fresh cherry or grape tomatoes adds a bright pop of color to the board. These are fresh from our garden. We have a bountiful supply of fresh herbs in the garden and they make great “fillers” to close in space on charcuterie boards.

Slices from a long baguette are suitable bases for the cold cuts and cheese.

My rhubarb relish is a tasty condiment to this type of meal.

Green grapes and blueberries round out the fruit component. The blueberries are fresh picked from the Tryon Blueberries U-pick. We are lucky to have them not far away as they have late season varieties of blueberries so we have fresh local berries through September.

My staple of oatcakes can be used as either a savory or sweet aspect to the meal. Spread an oatcake with a bit of rhubarb relish and add some meat and/or cheese, and you have a savory bite. Or, eat them plain as cookies.  They’re good either way.

My wine pairing today is Rossignol Little Sands White Wine produced in eastern PEI.

And, there you have all the components of my colorful and tasty late summer charcuterie picnic!

Perfect for easy, relaxed casual dining anytime, anyplace.

I’m just not going to pack away that picnic basket just yet!

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Charcuterie Picnic
Charcuterie Picnic

 

 

Mustard Beans

We have had an abundance of yellow wax string beans this year.  They were late producing but they sure made up for their tardiness.

DSCN1015-001

We can only eat so many fresh beans so one way of preserving them is to make mustard beans.  This is similar to mustard pickles which are made with cucumbers.

Mustard beans are actually quite easy and quick to make.  The beans are par-cooked in boiling water, drained, then added to a mustard sauce . The trick is to cook the beans just until they are barely fork tender as, otherwise, they will become soggy and tough. The beans should still hold their shape but not be extremely hard when you bite into them.

Mustard beans are a great addition to many meals; we use them just like we would mustard pickles.  They are simply a different texture and I make the mustard sauce a wee bit differently.

Mustard Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb yellow wax beans, cut into 1½” lengths (apx. 4 cups)
1½ – 2 cups boiling water
½ tsp table salt

1½ cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp dry mustard
½ tsp celery seed
1½ tsp tumeric
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp table salt

Method:

In medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat, bring beans to a boil in salted boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook beans just until they are barely fork tender. Drain.

In large pot, heat 1 cup of the vinegar to the boiling point.

Combine sugars, flour, mustard, spices, and salt in bowl. Mix well. Add remaining 1/2 cup of vinegar to make a paste. Add and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the hot vinegar to the mixture to temper it and then pour all the sauce ingredients into the hot vinegar in the large pot.

Add drained beans. Stir gently to coat beans with sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat, continuing to stir mixture so it does not scorch. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove pot from heat and fill hot sterilized jars with the beans, leaving ¼“ headroom in each bottle. Seal. Store in refrigerator or cold storage room.

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

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Mustard Beans

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

Ingredients

  • 1 lb yellow wax beans, cut into 1½” lengths (apx. 4 cups)
  • 1½ - 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tbsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1½ tsp tumeric
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp table salt

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized pot and over medium-high heat, bring beans to a boil in salted boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook beans just until they are barely fork tender. Drain.
  2. In large pot, heat 1 cup of the vinegar to the boiling point.
  3. Combine sugars, flour, mustard, spices, and salt in bowl. Mix well. Add remaining ½ cup of vinegar to make a paste. Add and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the hot vinegar to the mixture to temper it and then pour all the sauce ingredients into the hot vinegar in the large pot.
  4. Add drained beans. Stir gently to coat beans with sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat, continuing to stir mixture so it does not scorch. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove pot from heat and fill hot sterilized jars with the beans, leaving ¼“ headroom in each bottle. Seal. Store in refrigerator or cold storage room.
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Mustard Beans
Mustard Beans

Gooseberry Jam

My grandmother had two small fruit-bearing bushes at the edge of her garden – a black current and a gooseberry.  Both were good producers despite their relatively small size and age.  I remember helping her to stem and tip the berries before they were made into jam. Every year, she would make a small amount of black current jam and the same of gooseberry, both of which would be very judiciously produced throughout the year as these were considered very special jams.  One did not eat these jams at the same rate as the more common strawberry and raspberry jams were consumed! I loved her black current and gooseberry jams!

Gooseberries are not altogether commonly found on PEI. However, Belangers U-pick near Hunter River has a small number of gooseberry bushes and I was fortunate enough this year to get enough to make a batch of gooseberry jam and the beautiful blush-colored gooseberries yielded me a stunning deep red-colored jam that has an almost translucent texture.

Gooseberries

Gooseberries

The only deterrent to gooseberries is that they have to be “tailed and stemmed” meaning both tips and stems have to be removed before doing anything with them. While this is a bit of a tedious and time-consuming task, it’s a small price to pay for a berry that yields such a tasty jam! Because of their small size, it takes a lot of berries to yield any amount of jam so that’s why jams such as black current and gooseberry are more rare and are thus often referred to as specialty jams.

Typically, in a berry jam, it is cup-for-cup,  sugar to berries.  However, with gooseberries, I find that the resulting jam is quite sweet so I reduce the sugar by a third of a cup.  This small reduction is not enough to make a difference to the jamming ability of the berries but it does reduce the sweetness just a bit. While my grandmother would never have put a splash of liqueur of any kind in her jam, I do add a couple of tablespoons of orange-flavoured liqueur in mine to deepen the flavour.  This is an optional ingredient but, nonetheless, good. The idea, of course, is moderation so only a couple of tablespoons will do and it’s not so much that you can taste the orange liqueur in the jam as it is the complexity and depth of flavour the liqueur subtly contributes to the jam.

Gooseberry jam is a thick jam and it is very easy to overcook it and end up with a jam that is so thick, it is hard to remove it from the jar.  Therefore, take care when cooking not to over cook it.

To test for jam “setting”, I recommend using the “chill-and-wrinkle” test.  Place 2-3 saucers in the freezer and, as the jam is nearing the end of its expected cooking time as indicated in the recipe, remove a saucer from the freezer and place 1 – 2  teaspoons of the jam on it.

Let the jam sit, untouched, for about a minute then gently push the jam with your finger to make a line through the center of the jam.  If the jam wrinkles slightly and stays in place (i.e., does not run back together after the finger has been removed), the jam is set and ready to bottle. This test may need to be done 2-3 times during the cooking process. Just remember to remove the pot of jam from the heat while conducting the test. If the first “chill-and-wrinkle” test is negative, return the jam pot to the heat, continuing cooking, and test again in about 3 minutes time or so.  Continue doing this until the jam passes the “chill-and-wrinkle” test.

I love this jam on toast, biscuits, scones, and croissants.  A dob of the jam on warm custard also makes a great dessert. Gooseberry jam also works well as a filler in thumbprint cookies or in anything where a sweet, showy red jam is desired.

I think my grandmother would be plum-delighted to know that I am continuing on with her tradition of making the cherished gooseberry jam…..even if I do add a splash of liqueur to the recipe!

Gooseberry Jam

2 lbs gooseberries (apx. 4 cups)
3 ⅔  cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp Cointreau

Wash gooseberries and remove tips and stems from the berries.

Place two or three saucers in freezer for use later in “chill-and-wrinkle” testing to determine if jam is set.

Place sugar and water in large pot. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then, add the gooseberries and Cointreau. Return mixture to a boil and cook rapidly, uncovered, and stirring occasionally for about 25* minutes or until mixture reaches the setting point.

To determine if jam is set, remove jam pot from heat and place 1 – 2 teaspoons of jam on cold saucer and swirl saucer around. Let jam sit, untouched, for about a minute, then gently push your finger through the jam. If the jam ‘wrinkles’ slightly and holds its shape (i.e., does not run back together after the finger has been removed), it is set and ready to bottle. If not, continue to cook mixture, repeating the “chill-and-wrinkle” test about every 3 minutes or so (always removing the pot from the heat while conducting the chill test) until the jam passes the “chill-and-wrinkle” test. Do not overcook as it will result in a very thick jam. Remove from heat and skim off any foam that may still remain. Pour jam into sterilized jars, leaving about ¼” headroom in each jar. Seal.

Store jam in refrigerator or cold room. For greater longevity, process in a hot water bath, following canner manufacturer’s directions.

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

*Note that the 25-minute point is the stage at which the “chill-and-wrinkle” test should commence. It does not necessarily mean that the jam will be done in that timeframe. With jams, it is difficult to give a precise cooking time since various factors, including the pectin level of the fruit and heat level of stove, can vary significantly and may affect cooking and jam-setting times. This is why the “chill-and-wrinkle” test is the recommended method for determining jam setting.

Gooseberry Jam

Yield: Apx. 4 half pints

A deliciously rich deep red-colored jam. Serve on toast, scones, biscuits or croissants, in custard, or as a filler in thumbprint cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs gooseberries (apx. 4 cups)
  • 3 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau

Instructions

  1. Wash gooseberries and remove tips and stems from the berries.
  2. Place two or three saucers in freezer for use later in chill testing to determine if jam is set.
  3. Place sugar and water in large pot. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then, add gooseberries and Cointreau. Return mixture to a boil and cook rapidly, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, for about 25* minutes, or until mixture reaches the setting point.
  4. To determine if jam is set, remove jam pot from heat and place 1 - 2 teaspoons of jam on cold saucer and swirl saucer around. Let jam sit, untouched, for about a minute, then gently push your finger through the jam. If the jam ‘wrinkles’ slightly and holds its shape (i.e., does not run back together after the finger has been removed), it is set and ready to bottle. If not, continue to cook mixture, repeating the chill-and-wrinkle test about every 3 minutes or so (always removing the pot from the heat while conducting the chill test) until the jam passes the “chill-and-wrinkle” test. Do not overcook as it will result in a very thick jam. Remove from heat and skim off any foam that may still remain. Pour jam into sterilized jars, leaving about ¼” headroom in each jar. Seal.
  5. Store jam in refrigerator or cold room. For greater longevity, process in a hot water bath, following canner manufacturer’s directions.
  6. *Note that the 25-minute point is the stage at which the "chill-and-wrinkle" test should commence. It does not necessarily mean that the jam will be done in that timeframe. With jams, it is difficult to give a precise cooking time since various factors, including the pectin level of the fruit and heat level of stove, can vary significantly and may affect cooking and jam-setting times. This is why the "chill-and-wrinkle" test is the recommended method for determining jam setting.
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Gooseberry Jam
Gooseberry Jam

On The Sandwich Board: Tuna Salad Sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I write this post, schools on PEI are about to start for another year. It, therefore, seems fitting that I would start my new series, “On the Sandwich Board” at the start of a new school year when sandwiches will be prepped in many households where there are children of school age.

School Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich, Apple, Blueberries, and an Oatcake
School Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich, Apple, Blueberries, and an Oatcake

Over the next while, I will periodically be presenting recipes for sandwiches, wraps, rolls, etc. Hopefully, they will be of use, or inspiration, for those who either find themselves preparing school or work lunches or simply enjoy sandwich-style meals at any time.

Tuna Salad Sandwich
Tuna Salad Sandwich

The kick-off sandwich is Tuna Salad.  A tuna sandwich was commonly found in my lunchbox when I was in school, although the sandwich contained little more than the tuna and mayonnaise and perhaps a little celery.  It’s a healthy and filling sandwich but does need to be kept cold.  Therefore, be sure to enclose a re-usable lunchbag-sized ice pack (similar to the ones in the photo below), with the sandwich if it is to be transported for consumption some hours later. These ice packs come in various sizes and shapes.

As much as I like the old-fashioned tin lunchbox like the one in my photo above, I recommend using an insulated lunch bag (like the sample in the photo below) for foods, like tuna sandwiches, that need to be kept cold. It’s also a good idea to freeze a bottle of water overnight and put it in the lunchbox or bag, too, to help keep the sandwich cold and to provide a cold drink at lunchtime.

Insulated Lunch Bag
Insulated Lunch Bag

I like tuna but find it needs a bit of “spark” to give it flavor.  There are a number of ingredients in this sandwich recipe but each one contributes to the flavor complexity.  I have used the smallest can of tuna on the market in my area but this recipe is easily doubled should you choose to use a larger can.  The 85g size of can makes one big, thick sandwich or two more moderately-sized sandwiches.  I hope you enjoy it.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

85g can tuna, drained (apx. 3 oz)
1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange juice
½ tsp grated orange rind
½ tbsp sweet pickle relish
½ tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Pinch cayenne
¼ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1½ – 2 tbsp mayonnaise
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Method:

In small bowl, combine all ingredients, except the egg. Mix well. Gently fold in chopped egg. Spread mixture on buttered bread slice.

Top with leafy lettuce, then second slice of buttered bread.

Yield: 1 – 2 sandwiches

Tuna Salad Sandwich
Tuna Salad Sandwich

 

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On The Sandwich Board: Tuna Salad Sandwich

Yield: 1 - 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 85g can tuna, drained (apx. 3 oz)
  • 1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • ½ tsp grated orange rind
  • ½ tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  • 2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch cayenne
  • ¼ tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Instructions

  1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients, except the egg. Mix well. Gently fold in chopped egg. Spread on buttered bread slice, top with leafy lettuce, then second slice of bread.
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Tuna Salad Sandwich
Tuna Salad Sandwich

Sliders and Salad Sunday Picnic

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I so love a good picnic!  My color theme for today’s picnic is lime green, one of my favorite summertime colors.

The dishes, cutlery, and napkins are all simply dollar store specials! If you are a regular follower to my blog, you will have heard me say before that you don’t need expensive dishes for lovely outdoor dining. Check out your local dollar stores but do so early in the season as these do tend to be items that get snatched up quickly. Unbreakable, these are great picnic basket staples and they are so much more sturdy (and classy) than paper plates.

Even though this table is set for two, it is very easy to prepare this setup for multiple settings.

Glasses are simply Mason jars into which I have placed the napkins and plastic cutlery – a good idea if you are setting the table and it’s a bit breezy – this keeps everything in its place.

I found this lime-green colored beverage and knew it would fit in with one of my summertime picnics! Sometimes I draw my color theme inspiration for a picnic from just one simple item like this drink.

I grow a lot of herbs every summer and, this year, grew several in pots.  This terracotta trio is another dollar store find.  I think they look very Tuscan with their tinge of moss green color that has appeared over the summer as they’ve ‘aged’ out in the weather.  This was all that was needed for a table centerpiece for an impromptu picnic.

I had made a batch of pan rolls and shaped them suitably so they could be used for slider buns for the grilled hamburgers.

I used my new blueberry barbeque sauce on the slider burgers.

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers

These are as tasty as they are colorful!

The menu for today’s picnic was simple and tasty.  Slider cheeseburgers, homemade potato salad, and a green salad. 

I most often mash the potatoes for my potato salad because the salad is easy to scoop and it plates well as the salad stays in perfect mounds on the plate.  However, for casual picnic fare, I often like a slightly more rustic, jagged look to my salad so have cubed the potatoes and eggs. The salad mounds actually stayed in place quite well when plated.

I love slider burgers! Today’s burgers have a lime green lettuce leaf, ADL Cheddar Cheese, fresh Island tomato, a red onion ring, and the usual burger condiments. When adding tomatoes to slider burgers, try to find smaller sized tomatoes so the slices don’t have to be cut or don’t overpower the burger. For sliders, everything should be proportionately balanced.  To dress up the burgers, I’ve topped each burger with a cherry tomato half along with a sprig of oregano from our garden. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a lot to take a burger from plain to dressy!

One of my favorite summertime green salads starts with a mix of salad greens topped with cubed watermelon, fresh PEI high bush blueberries, and red onion rings drizzled with a blueberry vinaigrette.

A colorful and tasty summertime picnic!

Are picnics part of your summer?

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Fresh Greens and Herbs Tablesetting

Late summer is a great time for alfresco dining.  I have pulled this tablesetting together very easily by using a pot of lettuce I had growing and some tiny pots of herbs.

A simple plain pale yellow tablecloth makes a great summery canvas for this tablesetting.  You can never go wrong with basic white dinnerware and white napkins. This is my square set of dishes and the bowls make ideal holders for the little terracotta pots of herbs that I placed at each setting. The herbs add a bright touch of green and tie in with the lettuce centerpiece. Plus, the herbs can be clipped and added to the salad!

Thyme
Thyme

If you are so inclined, you can give each guest a pot of herbs to take home after your dinner party.

Basil
Basil

Floral centerpieces are not always necessary for tablesettings. In this setting, I am using a pot of lettuce and allowing each guest to cut his or her own lettuce and make individual salads. This always makes a great conversation piece and adds some fun to the event. I grow a number of these pots of lettuce over the summer and, if I am short on time or don’t have flowers for a centerpiece, I can always use the makings of the salad course as my table centerpiece!

Lettuce Centerpiece
Lettuce Centerpiece

Don’t forget to include the scissors in the centerpiece so guests can “harvest” the greens for their salads!

A simple and casual summer placesetting.

With casual alfresco dining, it’s easy to mix and match crystal pieces.

And, here’s an overhead view of the table; clean, simple lines with splashes of green for color.

I hope you have enjoyed my fresh greens and herbs tablesetting.  Is alfresco dining a part of your summer?

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Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting , please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

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