Oh, summer. What better time to start a monthly feature about cooking the in Kootenays? This is when gardens burst forth with all things edible, and neighbours swap spinach for snap peas over the garden fence. When the Nelson Public Library and the Kootenay Country Store Co-op joined forces to create the literary cookbook Seasonings: a year of local flavour in words and recipes, it was with these days in mind — and the days after that, and the days after that. Because there’s always something good in the garden or the pantry ready to make its way to your table.
Recipes in Seasonings come from local lovers of good food. Today’s comes from the Kootenay Co-op Kitchen archives — “hundreds and hundreds of recipes available in print and on our website,” explains Jocelyn Carver of the Co-op. “They come from customers, staff, and our cooking class instructors.” The co-op regularly offers cooking classes, and registration is now open for classes with Maggie Jones.
The Co-op recipe archives have been growing for two decades, ever since its first customer service person, Abra Brynne, decided that delicious ideas were worth keeping. Abra is also a literary contributor to Seasonings with An Ode to Farmers, an essay that nicely bookends the collection (see sidebar on page 15).
July’s recipe, arugula and white bean salad, was chosen because “it honours the flavor of the Co-op in that it’s a mixture of high quality ingredients people know and love as well as some great local organic ingredients sure to become household favourites after trying this recipe,” says Jocelyn.
An Ode to Farmers, by Abra Brynne
Willie Nelson may sing of all the girls he has loved, but my song is about some of the farmers I love and who inspire me. The first farmers on whom I imprinted were my parents. From them I learned the important lessons of group effort: each one according to his or her ability. Together, our clan of 12 picked rocks, corralled steers, planted seeds, tended young fruit trees, weeded, picked, harvested, preserved, and feasted on the fruits of our labour. We were sustained year round from the land, the water, the sun, and the work of our own bodies. I also learned that being the runt of the family doesn’t always mean one is drowned. And my taste buds were forever branded with the joy and wonder of food eaten at its height of perfection, plucked from the tree, bush, or out of the ground.
Arugula and White Bean Salad
This is a wonderful multipurpose summer salad. It keeps well in the fridge and actually tastes better the day after it is made. It can be a complete meal or a side dish for a BBQ or picnic.
Serves 4 as a meal, 8 as a side dish
2 cups cooked White Northern beans
2 – 3 cloves garlic
3 tsp fresh rosemary or 1½ tsp dried
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
5 Tbsp sherry vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
2 cups arugula, chopped fine
3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped fine
½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped fine
1 cup crumbled feta (optional)
In a blender or food processor, mix the garlic, rosemary, vinegars, salt and pepper.
Continue to blend while slowly adding the olive oil.
Mix the beans, arugula, tomatoes and olives in a large salad bowl.
Pour desired amount of the dressing over the salad, mix and combine.
Serve at room temperature.
Note: to cook your beans, begin the night before. Soak beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain and cook beans in simmering water until tender (about 40 minutes). Beans have better flavor if you add ½ tsp each of salt, garlic powder and a sprig of marjoram in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Just before draining, mix in a spoonful of miso paste.