Harrison Happenings: Backyard gardens make the best meals

Sharing ideas and menus with friends make growing fun, says Altendorf

More and more of my friends have taken to growing their own vegetables and I am very happy about it since often I am one of the beneficiaries of this activity.

There is Trudy, who has done it for years and has become a real “pro”. There was too much rain, you say, or we had a drought. Never fear, Trudy’s veggies are here and they are perfect!

Then there is my neighbour, Liz, a first timer, but you should see her garden! Not to forget Carol, Ernst and Ken. I am sure that I could add a few more. Now my daughter, Yvonne, after reading Agnes Toews-Andrews’ cookbook, “The Incredible Potato” toys with the idea of starting a “potatoes only” garden and being an “almost vegetarian,” the more the better, I would say.

Just recently, B.C. Day was surely the hottest day this year so far and coming home from the beach, nobody felt like eating. But when Yvonne put together a “dinner for a hot day”, everybody dug in happily!  Check out the menu because it was delicious!


Canadian Dinner for a Hot Day

1.  Cold mixed vegetable soup with croutons

Veggies for the soup were supplied by Liz

2.  Tomato salad with Basil dressing.

3.  Green leaf salad with hard boiled eggs.

Supplied by Trudy

4.  Buttered corn

5.  Canadian Brie and Heirloom radishes.

6.  Slices of water melon

All other veggies were bought in Agassiz


On another hot day I made a “Vegetable Bouquet” that I call “Bensberger Vegetable Platter” because I tasted it first during a visit to this charming town in the year 1971.

One of my nephews did not want to come along to a restaurant because of severe allergies. After we convinced him to give it a try, he changed his mind and was pleasantly surprised when the chef suggested a “Bensberger Gumuse Plate” (vegetable platter). I liked it too, but I will give you the recipe so you can try it yourself.


Bensberger Vegetable Platter


You need:

1 cauliflower

2 bundles broccoli

2 bunches carrots

1 bunch snow peas

(Or any other combination of veggies in season)

Edible flowers such as marigolds

A generous piece of butter – about 1/4 stick

About 1 cup bread crumbs


You do:

In a large pot of salted water steam the vegetables: start with the ones needing the longest time – in this case the cauliflower (5 min.), carrots and broccoli (4 min.) and snow peas (2 min.). You can change the steaming time according to how crunchy or soft you like your veggies to be.

Take each vegetable out of the steamer after the allotted time and arrange them on a platter.

In a small pot or pan melt the butter, add the bread crumbs and let it brown and pour it over the veggies.  Add some edible flowers as a finishing touch and enjoy!

Now a word about herbs.  There are many of them and, I am sure, we all have likes and dislikes. Parsley is my favourite herb and I use it  all the time. Chives and Basil I use in salads and cottage cheese. Lavage I use in soups and stews. Mint adds a nice touch to tea and other drinks. Don’t be timid, try it!

Now in closing, I would like to pass on advise given by Harvest Community Foods in Vancouver:

Food:  buy it with thought, cook it with care, buy local foods, know your farmers, serve just enough, use what is left, share with friends!


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