Tag Archives: local

No Beeting around the Basil Roasted Beets

One of my favorite vegetables are roasted beets.  However, if you grew up in a house like mine, you thought beets come in a can – pre-cooked and peeled. Add lots of butter and salt and Bob’s (or Beet’s) your uncle as they say…. It wasn’t until I was an adult and cooking on my own (and frankly only in the last few years)   have I started buying whole beets and roasting them myself.  Surprisingly – not difficult!  These beets are from Willowtree Farms in Port Perry ( @WillowtreeCSA) as is the basil and the garlic scapes.  So good!  Try it!  Note – I roasted these in the oven however you can roast them the same way on the top rack on a BBQ as well.  If you haven’t cooked with garlic scapes before try them – so good! Make garlic scape pesto!

Roasted Beets


  • ImageBunch of Beets
  • Bunch of Basil
  • 2 garlic scapes – chopped
  • 1-2 TB EVOO
  • pepper to taste (optional)


  • tinfoil
  • knife


Wash excess dirt from beets, slice the top off.  Chop up the garlic scapes.  Chop or tear up the basil. Make a tinfoil packet – add the beets with the exposed end facing up.  Pour the EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) over and sprinkle with pepper (if using).  Top with garlic scapes and basil.  Seal the packet tightly and roast in 425 degree oven for 1 hr (maybe a bit longer dependent on size of beets).  Open packet, use a knife to gently remove the skin (will come off very easily)  – slice and serve! YUM! enJOY!

Time Saver Tip:  After roasting you can freeze cooked beets to reheat for an easy weeknight side dish!

It’s Olive about the Grill

(Yup, you read that right – Olives on the grill… )

With this heat wave hitting us and everyone trying to stay cool I’ve been taking the cooking outside lately.  Here is a family favorite – get ready for grilling!

Shrimp, Olives & Tomato Skewers

Our entire family loves fish but the kids, love Love LOVE shrimp..and olives…and tomatoes.  I buy frozen easy peel raw shrimp and use the shells to make fish/shrimp stock to freeze for later.  If its in season, try picking up your tomatoes at your local farmers market – they are so much sweeter  – don’t forget your garlic too! There are endless possibilities of veggies to add to your skewers (mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, asparagus, etc, try picking up some fresh basil and add a handful, chopped up in with tomato & EVOO mixture!)

(adjust quantities to suit)

  • garlic stuffed jumbo olives *
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  •  raw med shrimp
  • minced garlic
  • lemon or lime juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Oil of choice try SafflowerEquipment: A grill (duh!), a flipper or tongs,  skewers (we have reusable metal ones, but you can use disposable wooden ones  tip:  if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 min before using to stop them burning. 


  1. Preheat grill (if things tend to stick, prior to turning on the grill, wipe grill with a paper towel saturated in a bit of oil. Then turn on grill).
  2. While grill is preheating, pour lemon/lime juice over shrimp, toss with garlic to taste (add chili flakes if you wish!).  Toss tomatoes in a touch of oil.  Place shrimp, tomatoes and olives alternately on skewers.
  3. Place on (400 degree) grill lid up for 1-2 mins, turn, shrimp will be cooked quickly, the olives & tomatoes will take longer, if you don’t want the shrimp to cook that much, omit shrimp from those skewers and put them on there own (zucchini or onion is nice with them or just on there own to cook).  The skin on the tomatoes will split when the tomatoes are cooked, and you will see the salt on the outside of the olives.
  4. Serve by themselves or with a side like rice or quinoa or make it a lighter for one of those really stinky hot days and serve skewers over a  spinach salad drizzled in an aged balsamic vinegar.
  5. enJOY.  Hope you love it like we do!

Love to hear your comments! Want to hear more of something? Let me know!

* we get our olives in a the large jars from Costco – I’m not sure where else carries them

My Top 5 Gifts under $20 -Local! & Holiday Recipe

Well that Christmas season is upon us, and as much as the season is not supposed  to be about the gifts – we all know that for one (or two) people on our lists – it is about the gift.  So what do you give that person you see once or twice a year but that expects a gift?  My kids would say “A lump of coal!” but as an adult you can’t just unload a hunk of coal on someone and be done with it …. so besides the ho-hum bottle of wine or box of chocolates – the token gifts we like to give are close to my heart – local & thoughtful.  As many of you already know I am a huge supporter of the local economy, so for me to direct you to Wal-Mart or another box store for the $20 – gonna-be-a-garage-sale item candle holder would be sacrilege.    Instead I direct you to my Top 5 list of gifts under $20.

Joy’s Top 5

One – Apple Cider

Local Apple Cider

Geissberger Farmhouse Cider

With the number of people these days, dieting, not drinking (alcohol) and the danger of Drinking & Driving – I present you with local apple cider – There is nothing better than a locally made fresh apple cider.  Serve it ice cold or hot mulled with spices and a cinnamon stick you can’t go wrong!

Two – Canned Yummies

Joy In Your Kitchen canned sauces, http://mealsfromjoyskitchen.com

Pictured here are a couple of my sauces that I sell – a Tasty BBQ Dipping Sauce and a Pasta sauce, but that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to natural preserves! Whether it be jams, jellies, sauces or pickles, pick up a few from your local vendors (you can find them at craft sales!) and make up a basket of yummy.

Three – Local Artisans

Hair Clips from the Tattooed Tutu shown

Not that hair clips are the thing for everyone, I am using this as a simple example of local talent that you can find in your home town.  Don’t know where to start?  Check out Facebook or a listing of local vendors & artisans like The Hot Pink Apron.

Loads of stuff out there from flower arrangements to hand turned bowls and pens and everything in between.

Four – Homemade Something Scrumptious 

Holiday Dip (Recipe Below)

Ok, so I realize I may (or may not) have one up on some of you in that I cook and enjoy it – however there are loads of easy-as-1-2-3 recipes for yummy appy’s that you can bring.  It doesn’t have to be a dip – a homemade loaf of holiday bread, muffins, cookies or Caramel Corn (from Crazy Corn) in a tin makes a lovely gift!

Five – A Gadget (or something thoughtful)

A thoughtful Gadget can mean a lot!

This last category may have you thinking I’m sending you running to your local box store – but stop! Wait is there a local independent out there looking for your business?  Something that your hosts don¸t have but could (and would) use?  These kitchen misters (are used with EVOO or your choice of oil) and air to coat your pans when cooking sticky items without subjecting your self (or your family) to all the chemicals that I can’t pronounce on those aerosol cooking sprays) can be found at my local gourmet butcher shop – Lots of times these guys are the ones you will find the best “OMG thats so cool!” items at!

That’s it – that’s my top 5 list!

One other item that I didn’t mention but is equally as valuable is the gift of helping others.  Make a donation in your host’s name to your favorite (or theirs) charity many of these organizations will give you a card of thanks to present to the person you were donating on behalf of.

So that’s it – o wait – you all wanted the recipe for my easy-peasy hot dip above …. riiiigghhht.

OK here it goes!

Holiday Dip

In a blender or food processor or mixer – mix – 1 300g container of creamy ricotta (whey) cheese, 1 egg (beaten), 6 dashes hot sauce, some minced garlic (maybe a 1/2 tsp or a clove), and 1/4 c mozzarella cheese.  Blend until  smooth.

Pour into an oven safe dish. Top with my Joy of BBQ dipping sauce (or if you don’t have any on hand – your favorite sweet with heat heavy-on-the-molasses sauce)  and bake for about 60 min.  Remove from oven and serve with flatbread and a glass of wine :).   YUM-O

stay tuned next post will be a tasty holiday (or in my house a whenever Mommy will make them appetizer sure to please!)

From my kitchen to yours – happy & healthy eating!