Terra et Silva @ 2014 Local Food Fest

For the second year, we celebrated all things local at Taste Real's annual Local Food Fest on the beautiful grounds of Ignatius Jesuit Centre.  It was a great way to kick off the first weekend of the summer!

Back by popular demand, our local food offering included:

brown rice, carrot, tomatoes, mint, parsley, dill & green garlic
served w/

At this time of year, wild grape leaves are young and tender. They're at their peak season for our hand-rolled grape leaves. We serve them with Cucumber-Yogurt Salad, which makes for a cool and refreshing side. To prepare the salad, we strain the yogurt overnight to remove most of the whey and give it a thicker texture. To finish the salad we add an abundance of fresh herbs, and a generous spike of lemon juice. 

This year we decided to add a second item to our menu:

heirloom bean purée, ground walnuts spiked with ancho chill, guacamole, cashew cream, oven roasted cherry tomatoes & pea tendrils.

Building direct relationships with local farms is at the heart of our business. We're so proud to support local food business with our food creations, particularly at this year's festival: Simpler Thyme, Drumlin Farm, Floralane Produce & Pinehedge Yogurt.

Thank you for producing some of the tastiest food & produce in Ontario.

Spring Luncheon


We recently catered a baby shower luncheon.

Inspired by the seasonal produce that's growing on our local farms and "springing" up at the farmers' markets, we created a luncheon menu to highlight the local, seasonal fare.

A tray of crudités, with a roasted parsnip & white bean hummus plus an arugula pesto using toasted sunflower seeds.

Next up, a duo of our farmers' market greens salad with lemon-cured chioggia beets.
Followed by our ever so popular chicken roulade.

Lastly, a vegetarian spring lasagna. So good that we were asked to share our recipe. Although it's not the exact recipe, we shared something flexible with any herbs, greens or produce that are in season.  It's definitely deserving of a spotlight on our spring menu! Ask us about it for your next catered event. 

Appetizers for a Farm Open House

Earlier this month, at Drumlin Farm's spring open house, we served appetizers to farm visitors, using ingredients sourced from the farm. It's a great way to showcase creative ways to use produce from the farm or Drumlin Farm's CSA box.

A bit of wild foraging, harvest from the greenhouse and fresh Chantecler eggs, we were set up  to share a few exciting offerings. We posted a recipe below for our "Not So Stinging" Nettle Soup- we promise it's a winner!

"Not So Stinging" Nettle Soup w/ Edible Kale & Arugula Blossoms
Soft Boiled Chantecler Eggs
Jacob's Cattle Bean Pureé on Sourdough
Topped w/ Fresh Herbs, & Sautéd Ramps

We're inspired by all the chefs and foragers who bring light to the beautiful things that grows naturally all around us. You must give this soup a try. It's slightly adapted from a recipe we found at Forager Chef. (Click on the recipe to open a lightbox of the image.)

Spring Foraging And Braised Dandelion Greens

Curious to try dandelion greens but just not sure how to prepare them? We created a simple braised dandelion recipe that literally takes minutes to prepare (see below.) 

We're also rolling out a new lunch service at the end of May that will feature more recipes just like this one. Sign up here for our monthly newsletter to find out more details!

Not sure where to find dandelion leaves (other than your front lawn!)? Try the Farmers' Markets, possibly in your CSA box or even in the produce section of your grocery store. If you decide to forage them from the wild or from your own yard, just be sure to take great care in how you choose them.  Avoid choosing dandelions that may be subject to roadside contamination.  Similarly, if the dandelions grow in an area subject to run-off from herbicides or fertilizers, it’s wise to avoid them.

We hope you give this recipe a try. Tell us how you like it!

Braised Dandelion Greens
(serves 2)

1 bunch dandelion greens (approx. 1.5 cup loosely packed)
1/4 cup chopped nuts and seeds (we used almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds)
1 small handful of dried fruit (we used dried currants)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
2. Soak, rinse and spin dandelion greens. Set aside.
3. Toast the nuts and seeds in a pan over medium heat until fragrant (a few minutes.) Remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic, stir frequently for about 30 seconds.
7. Add dandelion greens to the pan and continue to stir until you see the greens turning a dark green colour. Squeeze over the lemon juice. Add the toasted nuts, seeds and currants. Stir everything to combine.
Red Quinoa (makes about 2 cups)
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
few pinches of salt

1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and a pinch or two of salt. Once the shallot has softened, add the turmeric and red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.
2. Add 2 cups of water to the pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa and return to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid, turn down heat to the lowest setting and set your timer for 12min.
3. After 12 minutes, turn off the stove and let quinoa rest.

Cumin Roasted Carrots

1 small bunch of carrots
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Wash carrots leaving about 1 inch of the tops. Slice carrots in half, or any uniform size. Place carrots in a bowl with 1.5 Tbsp olive oil.
3. Toast whole cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant (a few minutes.) Place in a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds and add to the carrots + olive oil. Coat the carrots well and place on a sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven until tender and tips are developing a brown colour (about 15-20min.)

Local Food Collaboration - Terra et Silva & Drumlin Farm

It was February 2013 and Terra et Silva was searching for opportunities to collaborate with local farmers. We were on a mission to source local food for our new business endeavours.

It was at the annual Taste Real, Source It Here event where we connected with Gerry from Drumlin Farm, located in Puslinch ON.  We were instantly drawn to their list of organic heirloom vegetables.

We related to their food philosophies and growing practices and were thrilled with their open invitation to visit the farm. It was only natural for our two businesses to collaborate and highlight the unique taste of simple yet delicious ingredients to the communities we service.

Our collaborations ranged from weekly on-farm catered lunches for the Drumlin Farm staff to catering on-farm workshops for CSA members and local farmers. We also partnered during community food events like Taste of Guelph. Did you try our Smoked Chantecler Chicken Tostada?

In each case, the food shared at the events was sourced entirely from Drumlin Farm. At every chance, Terra et Silva helped to harvest the produce then prepared tastings that brought forth the beautiful integrity behind each ingredient.

The great thing about starting our business is connecting with the other businesses and sharing our entrepreneurial stories of struggles and success. It’s these relationships that allow a start-up local business like us to connect and relate, expand our list of prospects and contribute to causes that are harnessed through powerful collaborative efforts.

Twelve months later, and another opportunity to be a part of the Taste Real Source It Here event has arrived. This year Terra et Silva is part of the planning committee, which is awesome! What we’re looking forward to most is meeting new businesses, seeing familiar faces and sharing our story and how we’ve grown, since last year.

What’s On Your Plate?
Taste Real’s 2014 Local Food Networking Event and Tradeshow
February 25th, Loyola House at Ignatius Jesuit Centre