apple cinnamon coleslaw

Picnic in the fall? Why not, eh? We’re expecting 14 degree weather tomorrow which is a nice break from the frost-bitten days we had earlier in the week. I’m going to take the dogs for a 3-hour trek in the woods tomorrow and plan to pack a lunch for the trip. What could be more perfect than a crisp coleslaw filled with local, seasonal produce to take along?

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

This crunchy coleslaw recipe uses cabbage, apples, carrots, radishes and beets and is tossed in an apple-cinnamon vinaigrette. It’s sweet, it’s spicy and it’s perfectly delicious!

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

For the salad, you’ll need more-or-less equal parts of cabbage, courtland apples, carrots, and beets. Throw in a bit of radish for a little extra zing. Grate each ingredient in your food processor.

Crunchy Fall Coleslaw

1-1/2 cup grated cabbage
1 cup grated carrots (3 medium sized carrots)
1 cup grated apples (2 courtland apples)
1 cup grated beets (2 small beets)
1/2 cup grated radish (1 medium sized winter radish)

(A heads up: you will want to rinse off the beets before you toss them with the other ingredients as the colour bleeds immensely. Also, know that once you add the dressing, the beet juice will spread like wildfire. I expect that by the time I sit down to eat my coleslaw tomorrow, the whole salad will be a bright red! You can always leave the beets out of the recipe if this is a concern for you.)

lovely apple cinnamon coleslaw

Tanya Lea is a vegan-at-home cook who loves working with fresh, seasonal produce.
Her blog is

beet fries

Time to attack the beets, of which I have many.

Tonight for dinner we had oven roasted beet fries, which were very quick, very easy and really tasty. Ate these with some trout and tossed greens. Very satisfying dinner.

The beet fries inspiration came from the LCBO’s Food & Drink. Here is the full recipe, which is actually for a mix of beet and sweet potato fries. I intended to make just that, but went to the pantry for a sweet potato tonight and discovered that, after having gone on a sweet potato bender lately, we have used them all up. So just beets it was.

Here’s the jist: cut your beets into one-cm sticks (this works nicely if you have some massive beets that would take forever to roast whole). Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet covered in parchment. Make sure they’re not touching each other. Cook in 400F oven for 20 minutes. Remove, flip them over, and cook another 20 minutes. And that’s it. Great with some kind of aioli, as the recipe suggests, whether you use store-bought or homemade mayonnaise or some kind of Nayonnaise or Vegenaise — whatever your belly desires.

black spanish radish

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.

beets with goat cheese

This is my favourite way to eat beets. I could eat a bowl of this for dinner and be happy, but it makes a nice side dish to eat with just about anything. You can also spoon the whole thing over greens and make it more like a salad.

Wrap unpeeled beets in foil, pop in the oven at around 350F and leave them until a knife slides through easily, about 45 minutes.

Remove, let cool enough that you can slip the peels off them, then cut into wedges. Throw in a bowl and toss with some type of easy homemade vinaigrette, like this shallot vinaigrette.

Crumble goat cheese on top, and sprinkle some toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans are good) over the whole thing.

The sweetness of the beets, the tartness of the vinaigrette, the creaminess of the cheese, the earthy crunch of the nuts… it all adds up to perfection.

beets with goat cheese

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.

winter borscht

I made a big batch of soup to use my dill this weekend and, in the end, nearly forgot to put the dill in. I had the soup all portioned into containers to freeze and opened the fridge to grab something else and saw the dill looking at me like, “Haven’t you forgotten something?” Oops. Chopped it up and stirred the bits and pieces into my various containers. Better late than never.

This was a great recipe for using up lots of Loft items — a half-cabbage from a couple of weeks ago that was getting a bit brown in spots, a few beets, an onion, some carrots and, yes, the dill.

The soup is called Winter Borscht, and the recipe comes from Simply in Season, the same recipe book I went on about in last week’s post about vegetarian chili. I made some changes to the recipe, which has the whole soup cooking for only 30 minutes, which I found odd. Stewing beef will never get tender in 30 minutes, so I turned this into a whole-day affair and just let it simmer and simmer until everything was tender.

Miraculously, my 14-month-old ate a giant bowl of this not once, but twice. I had to puree it first. It’s terribly ugly that way — it turns into a colour for which there is no name — but what more can a mother ask for than for her kid to eat something as healthy as this?

Winter Borscht

1 lb stewing beef, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
8 cups water
2 cups potatoes, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1 cup beets, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup barley
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh chives (optional)
1 tbsp oil

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown beef on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

2. Add onions, carrots and beets and saute until onion softens.

3. Add cabbage, beef, bay leaves, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer until beef is very tender, which may take a few hours. (A slow cooker is a good option if you have one — follow the same steps, transferring everything to a slow cooker.

4. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the barley and dill.


– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.

baby risotto

So, I call this baby meal “Baby Risotto,” but it isn’t, really. All it really is, is tarted-up rice cereal, but my boy loves it. And it’s a good vehicle for hiding vegetables when I feel he would reject them if presented with them straight-up, which is often. It’s a fast, foolproof little person meal.

To make this recipe, you’ll need some ground up rice. I buy organic brown rice and put it in the blender and grind it until it’s nice and fine. You can do this ahead and keep a jar of the stuff in your fridge. (I actually use a Magic Bullet for grinding, which was a gift to me and has turned out to be one of the greatest little kitchen appliances I’ve ever owned.)

To make, put 1 cup of water in a little pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and stir in 1/4 cup of your ground rice and stir until you’ve got a nice, smooth consistency — just a few mintues. Stir in some grated cheese (or smooth cheese, like goat) to taste.

Here’s where you can get creative adding in whatever veg you’ve got in your fridge. Last night, I used some of this week’s spinach, which I chopped up into thin ribbons, and some tomatoes that I oven roasted, then froze. But you could use anything else, like maybe some of your broccoli, chopped up small, or grated beet, carrot or sweet potato (in which case you’d want to saute them first, until nice and soft, then add the water and the rice). You could roast some of your dumpling squash ahead and stir it in. For something breakfast-y, you could omit the cheese and add cinnamon and grated apple — maybe even a drizzle of maple syrup.

Irv, my 13-month-old, opens his mouth wide like a little bird for this stuff. He likes it so much he forgets to wrestle me for the spoon. I often save this idea for his Friday night supper, when I am fully out of ideas, ambition and want to just get him fed, and fast.

baby risotto

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.


More beets in tonight’s box, so most definitely time to do something with the accumulation of the last two weeks’ worth. I could be wrong, but what I believe I just ate was a combination of golden and chioggia beets. Very pretty.

One of my favourite ways to prepare beets is to oven roast them. Super easy. Wrap in foil, stick in a 450F oven and roast for a good long time — all depends on how big they are. Check them after 45 minutes. You want a knife to slip right through them. I found the beets I cooked tonight took simply forever to get nice and soft. First an hour, then maybe 20 more minutes, and still they were a bit too crunchy. Hence dinner at 8:30.

Once roasted, I turned my beets into a salad with a white wine vinegar vinaigrette, some blue cheese and some toasted pecans. This recipe provided guidance where needed.

beet salad

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.