Home for a Holiday – A Dispatch from Jonathan Duffy Davis in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

 A Muskoka SupperJonathan Duffy Davis here. I am home for a bit of a holiday and a visit with my family. Though I grew up in Toronto, Muskoka is where my family and I spend our time when I come back for a visit. Muskoka isn’t exactly the Great White North but it is rural (two deer just ran across the driveway when I began to type this paragraph– scout’s honour) and parts of it are quite untamed. A quick drive lands us in Algonquin Provincial Park, a 3,000 square-mile preserve of wilderness where the hardwood forests of the south yield to the conifers that dominate the near and far north. Muskoka is a place that I love: a place where the canoe is an icon and a true conveyance, where there are more lakes and rivers than a person could visit or know, a place where the air is crisp on August evenings and definitely smells like home. Continue reading “Home for a Holiday – A Dispatch from Jonathan Duffy Davis in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada”

Fig Jam with Balsamic Vinegar, Made from Backyard Figs: A Recipe & Gallery

Figs have, without a doubt, been an overriding force for OurLocaltopia this season.  These tender gems have somehow made their way onto our plates and into our kitchens with alarming regularity lately, and none of us…. none of us can ever seem to turn them down. Continue reading “Fig Jam with Balsamic Vinegar, Made from Backyard Figs: A Recipe & Gallery”

Melon & Tequila Cocktail – Recipe and Gallery

 Tequila & Melon, together at last!

We have had quite the melon-filled August here at OurLocaltopia. And it ain’t over yet! Yes, of course we have a recipe for a melon cocktail. This delightful drink can be altered to suit your tastes, and has a beautiful color that shows well in a pre-chilled glass. Thirsty yet? Click through for our full recipe and photo galley guide… Continue reading “Melon & Tequila Cocktail – Recipe and Gallery”

Burnt Eggplant with Tahini – A Report, A Recipe and A Photo Gallery

Fresh from the garden
Fresh from the garden

Fair warning, folks, this is an Evelyn post. Evelyn… you know, the non-cooking, non-farming third of OurLocaltopia. I coordinate a bit, and work the computer machines. As some of you know, my interest in local food has always been present, but I fall definitively into the eater category. That is, I’m a patron, a customer, an observer, a consumer… but never a maker, never a cook. Because, frankly, I am a cooking failure. Continue reading “Burnt Eggplant with Tahini – A Report, A Recipe and A Photo Gallery”

In Praise of Gin and the Elderflower Greyhound – Recommendations & A Recipe

An OLT favorite.
An OLT favorite.

There are certain truths in life. The sky is blue; you are bound to pay your taxes, and after taxes (or life or work) things are better with a little nip from the bottle. At OurLocaltopia we believe in many things; one of which is an abiding respect of and praise for the nectar known as gin. While we have explored drinks with different gins (sloe gin, sweet gin, infused gin), there has been one constant gin from the very beginning: Hendricks. We adore this exceptional gin, which is floral, deep, and outright spectacular. It’s worth seeking out if you haven’t tried it, and it’s now readily available in most markets. This will work with any gin, just remember that the quality of your booze is important. At least for the first drink! In the early days of our blog we would gather at a table planning classes or events around this iconic dark bottle, with no accompaniments but soda and limes. While that still passes, now and then we like to ante-up a bit. So here is a recipe for a pretty little drink, as refreshing as it is colorful, and one that is enjoyed under a blue sky, after taxes, in the midst of life, after work, or – any time you please. Enjoy it as we have, with friends, coworkers, and great company.

Gin Greyhound with Elderflower Liqueur
Into an ice filled low-ball or high-ball glass (depending on how heavy you want your drink to be, choose the glass that fits your needs!), fill with the following ingredients…
3 measures dry gin
½ measure elderflower liqueur
Top with strained fresh grapefruit juice
Optional: add a splash of seltzer
Garnish with fresh citrus. Remember, garnishes are important! A good cocktail garnish is like a Christmas present that has been expertly wrapped with care and detail. It’s like receiving two presents in one. You’ve spent money on the gin and the elderflower liqueur… why stop there? Make it beautiful!
Drink and repeat until life gets better!

Good drinking!

~Jonathan Dye

Celebrating the Charentais Melon: Two Recipes!

As the summer steadily flows towards Fall, new crops are coming into season and reaching their full potential underneath the hot August sun.   This week, that same sun was shining down upon OurLocaltopia contributor Jonathan Duffy Davis’ garden.  Jonathan is a very talented biologist and farmer, and he invited me to take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly as his garden was growing.  Amidst the plants that had grown leggy, interspersed amongst yellowing leaves and in between the fertile tomato vines laid a hay-covered, hard-core melon patch.  It was beautiful.  The selection of melons was so spectacular and abundant… I couldn’t help but get excited.  These were serious melons!  Continue reading “Celebrating the Charentais Melon: Two Recipes!”