A Good Home, Cooking, Ontario Root Vegetables, Recipes, Vegetarian dish

Idiot-Proof

“John”, I asked, “Can you send me one of your simplest recipes?”

“Yes, of course,” John replied. “As long as you’re fine with vegetarian. That’s what I cook.”

“I’ll cook anything, as long as it’s idiot-proof.”

I’d forgotten John’s famous attention to detail, evident in the grand home he’s restoring in Prince Edward County.

Blog Photo - Picton House Exterior 2

Painstakingly captured in photos….

Blog Photo - John's living room with sofa

Like this recipe he sent me:

JOHN’S RELIABLE ROOT RECIPE

“First, Locate and gather a selection of your favourite Root Vegetables . . .

Blog Photo - Root Vegetables1

Then Select a Nice Covered Baking Dish . . .

Take the Lid Off . . .

And see What Fits into the Dish . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Root veggies in dish unpeeled

Then Empty the Dish, Rinse it with Water to remove any Dirt . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Dish and Veggies

Begin with the Onions, which are essential . . .

Peel, and Cut . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Onions sliced

Dice . . .

And into the Dish they go . . .

Three Diced Ontario Onions . . .

(From Prince Edward County) . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Onions in dish

Next the Ontario Sweet Potatoes . . .

Cut the Ends off . . .

Peel . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - sweet potatoes sliced

Dice . . .

Add & Mix by Hand . . .

Two Ontario Parsnips are Next . . .

Lop the Ends off & Peel . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Parsnips peeled

Cut into Rings . . .

Add & Mix into the Dish . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Parsnips sliced

Next up are Three Ontario Carrots . . .

Ends Off . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Carrots unpeeled

Peel . . .

Cut into Rings . . .

Add to the Dish . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - carrots sliced

Mix by Hand . . .

Two Wonderful Ontario Yellow Beets . . .

Lop the Ends off . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Yellow Beets sliced and unsliced

Quite Pretty . . .

Even the Ends Look Good . . .

Peel Carefully . . .

Cut into ¼’s and Slice . . .

Add Slices to the Dish . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Yellow beets in dish

Mix Again by Hand . . .

Next up, Two Ontario Potatoes . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Potatoes Unpeeled

Peel . . .

Cut into ¼’s and Slice . . .

Add to the Dish . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - sliced Potato

Note that the Level of the Root Vegetables . . .

Is Level with the Rim of the Pretty Dish . . .

Mix by hand One More time . . .

Add 2 Cups of Cold Water . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Mixed vegetables in dish

Pouring both into the Dish of Course . . .

Then add 1/3 Cup of Sesame Seed Oil . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Oil pouring on veggies

Pouring it all over the top of the Vegetables . . .

Now for the Seasoning . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Salt Hen

From my Salt Hen, 1 teaspoon of Salt . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Black pepper mill

And from my Pepper Mill, 1 teaspoon of Pepper . ..

Now Place the Lid on the Pretty Dish . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Veggies in dish with seasonings

Turn the Oven on Bake & set the Temperature @ 350 Degrees  . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Oven shows temperature

Then Place the Covered Baking dish Into the Oven . . .

Close the Oven Door . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - dish in oven

And Set the Timer for 90 Minutes . . .

Then Start the Timer . . .

Set another timer for 45 minutes . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Phone set for 45

And Start It Too . . .

At the 45 Minute Mark Remove the Dish with Oven Mitts . . .

Look Inside and Things should Look like this . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Dish after 45 minutes

Make sure there is still some water in the dish!!

Then Place the Covered Dish Back into the Oven . . .

Then 40 or so later come back into the Kitchen . . .

Notice the Primary Timer is Nearly Done . . .

When it Sounds Off . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - dish and Gloves 2

Remove the Dish and Place it on a Heat Friendly Surface . . .

Take the Cover Off and it should look like this . . .

The Vegetables should be cooked and just a bit soft . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - root Veggies done

I test them with a sharp knife . . .

Then Place the Lid On . . .

Wait for the Dish to Cool Down . . .

Blog Photo - Recipe - Dish and Gloves3

And Place it into Refrigerator . . .

Then in 24 Hours it’s Ready to Eat . . .

It is Sooooooooooooo  Good . . .”

Thank you, John!  This idiot will report back.

Photos and recipe by John Garside.

Postscript from John: “Heat it up before eating! I forgot that!” 

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Men Who Build Stuff

I promised to follow up with two different men who both work on houses.  

One – John – has been working on a BIG house, restoring it by himself.

The other – Jean – creates tiny houses – for birds. When last we heard from Jean, he was working on his Xtreme Birdhouse.  While I was impatiently waiting for the photos of the finished product, Jean sent me these other ones, made from the corks of wine bottles and said:

“I can assure you that I was totally sober when I worked on those…. lol…..”

Jean Long's Wine cork Birdhouse
Jean Long’s Wine cork Birdhouse

I promised to believe him.  Which doesn’t mean YOU have to.

Jean Long's Creation
Jean Long’s Creation

As for his Xtreme Birdhouse, it’s complete, and it’s even larger than it looks in these photos:

Bird Cathedral by Jean Long
Bird Cathedral by Jean Long

 Which may explain why Jean calls it “The Bird Cathedral”.  Congrats, Jean, on one heck of a birdhouse! Here’s another view:

Jean Long's Bird Cathedral
Jean Long’s Bird Cathedral

So let’s go over now to Prince Edward County and check in with John, our intrepid house-restorer, and his wife Ann. When last we heard, they were about to move into the beautiful old house. Here are some photos, starting with Ann sitting on the step waiting for the truck:

Blog Photo - John's House Waiting for Movers

Blog Photo - John's House Moving Truck

John says: “The Move went as smooth as SILK!!  No surprises, no grief, and very good weather!”

Blog Photo - John's Hosue Ann unrolls carpetThe couple had spent the days prior cleaning the house,  and now it was time to roll out the rugs and put things in their places:

Blog Photo - John unrolls carpet

Blog Photo - John's living room with sofa

Blog Photo - Ann in Dining Room

Within a day or two, the dining room, living room, master bedroom and third floor den were partially set up.

Blog Photo - John's third Floor Partly set up

John’s office, meanwhile,  looks like it’s always been there….

Blog Photo - John at Office desk

Of course, there’s a lot of work left to do. They’re also keeping an eye on the garden, to determine how much work it will require. But one thing you and I know about John: he has a plan for getting it all done perfectly, and on time. 

Ann and John, congratulations.

Top 4 photos by Jean Long, remainder by John Garside.

 

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Drum Roll, Please! John’s House Pt. 6

Ladies and gentlemen!

— Drum roll, please —

The Library is now complete!

The ceiling is done….

Blog Photo - John's Library Ceiling

And the walls are painted.

Blog Photo - John's Library Walls Painted1

Even the floor has been swept.

Blog Photo - John's Library floors

And with that, all of the repairing, re-plastering and repainting of the rooms has been done.  Year One of John Garside’s incredible 3-year mission to restore his large old house, coach house and grounds in Prince Edward County, Ontario, is almost over. And this means that he and his wife Ann can finally move in.

(Gee whiz – I feel like stopping everything right now and having a celebratory drink myself – and it’s not even my house!)
Blog Photo - John's House - Front

But before we get too excited, I have to tell you there’s still a bit more to do.

Like putting in the baseboards (skirting) around the newly installed floors on the third floor.

And removing all the scaffolding and tools from inside the house.

Blog Photo - John's House Scaffolding

And paint cans from the kitchen.

Blog Photo - John's Kitchen

And then the big clean-up.

All that before Move-In Day on May 7.

But even during the push to finish it all, John’s feeling delighted with what he’s accomplished – by himself.

“For example, the quote I got to repair the plaster ceilings and crown moldings was $5,000 a room.  Instead of going down that path I invested in $50.00 worth of materials (per room) and did it myself.  The results are truly amazing!  Even the local contractors are impressed!”

Blog Photo - John Red Room Finished

He still arrives at the house a little after 7 each morning and works steadily till 4 p.m., stopping only for a light lunch.

“All is on schedule and all deadlines will be met!  Ann will be arriving on Sunday (May 4) to help with the final cleanup of the house just before the movers arrive on Wednesday.  Great happiness!”

When I told you that John was doing all this work by himself, I wasn’t joking.  His wife Ann, a partner in an accounting firm, has been in Toronto, more than two hours away. This is the busiest time of her work-year – tax season – and Ann’s been working flat-out at her job.   She hasn’t been to the house since mid- February, when she made “a flash-visit”.

Blog Photo - Picton Staircase 2

So how does this work for them? How does Ann know she’ll like what John has done?

“Lots of pictures are sent each day to provide Ann with the state of affairs at 27 Centre Street,” John explains.

“Does she trust you THAT much?” I ask John cheekily.

And he replies: “That is why I send the pictures each and every day . . . Feedback is always good!”

Blog Photo - Picton Staircase

On reflection,  I’m really liking the sound of this arrangement:  Husband does all the hard and dirty work, while wife stays away from all the chaos and white dust, returning when the work is done.

Hmm… Ann, you’re a girl after my own heart.

Way to go, Ann!

Ooops! I really meant:  “Way to go, John!”.

 **

 Photos by John Garside

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Almost There – John’s House Pt. 5

Ever get the impression that this blog is my way of living vicariously through others?  That I write stories about people who do things I wish I could do — or used to be able to do?

If so, you’d be partly right.

But what John Garside is doing – almost entirely by himself – blows my mind.   And now, as he nears his self-imposed deadline for moving Ann and himself into their house in Prince Edward County, I find myself holding my breath every time a new email comes from John.

Blog Photo - John Yellow Room and Scaffold

Will this be the email where John finally confesses that he needs a break from all this work, and that – promise or no promise –  the idea of moving in this spring is ridiculously un-do-able?

But it never is.  Not when he has to repair major cracks in the coach house foundation (below).  Not when he undertakes the delicate restoration of original ceiling medallions.  Not even when he is clearing out the basement.

Blog Photo - Johns Coach House

Blog Photo - Johns House Medallion

A lot of the work has been onerous.  As for the basement, John says it “was very crowded — 100 years of clutter — and cut up with old wooden partitions etc.  This was totally removed by me. 6,300 lbs. of stuff!!”

Right now, John’s working on finishing up the library.

Blog Photo - Johns House Library in Progress

The more John restores the house, the closer he feels to it, and the more he learns about its past.   He’s made a few intriguing discoveries.  Like the original signatures of the first owner and his young son, written in concrete.

“William W. Bedell,” explains John, “was the father.  Willet V. Bedell was his only son.  The boy would have been only 7 or 8 years old when he did it.”

Blog Photo - Johns House  Signature in concrete

Sadly, Willet died as a young man.  It was during the First World War, “on a Troop Ship in 1917 en route to France”.

The second family to own the house were the Wards, though John doesn’t yet know who exactly “Envers” was.   There’s still a lot to learn about the home’s history.

Blog Photo - Johns House Name on wood

John’s original move-in date was April 30.  But life follows its own course.

Just a few weeks ago, John’s mother’s health declined suddenly.  She died within days.

This spring is a time of change for John, Ann, and family.

It’s also a time of renewal.

After a rough winter, a flock of tiny blue scilla flowers is blooming in the garden.  It’s one of the first flowers of spring.

Blog Photo - Johns House Blue Scilla

And inside the house, John keeps repairing and restoring.

Another room done, one left to go. Then, after all the cleaning up, comes the big move.

The movers are now booked for May 7.

We’re cheering you on, John!

Photos by John Garside.