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I came back from a week of traveling on the west coast of Canada and I was surprisingly short of words. Could it be spoken? It's completely possible.
First there were two short days at my brother's farm, located under the high mountain peaks of Hudson Bay. During meals, like grilled wild salmon and apple cider grouse, we share our hearts well into the night, making up for lost time.
From there I took two flights and two ferries to meet my retired parents who are settling in Cortez on the Discovery Islands. We toured beaches in the first light of the day and brought out harvested open oysters under our feet at the water's edge. We speak of the past, present and future; we laugh and even argue a little. The family does that.
I ended the week at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. The conversation never ends at those events. It drips from the elevators, down the long hallways, and spills into rooms full of writers across the country.
Through cocktails and muffins, we connect with each other, renewing previous friendships and lighting new ones. On the last day, I spoke from the stage, urging my fellow bloggers to look to one another for inspiration rather than imitation. Choose community over competition.
When I buckled up for the red-eye flight back to Montreal, my throat was hoarse. I was barely able to present a tea order to the stewardess. Ever since I've been home, I've been trying unsuccessfully to focus my thoughts.
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I witnessed so much beauty in the landscape of northern British Columbia, I doubt I can still express it. Similarly, I left the conference speechless; I am still archiving everything: the conversations of encouragement, encouragement and inspiration.
A blanket of leaves fell on the farm while I was gone, camouflaging all but a few cherry tomatoes that continued to ripen despite the colder temperatures. I harvested them all for a salad, a recipe that I've wanted to share with you since it appeared on Jamie Oliver's blog.
Now that it's fall, healthy grains have taken the place of my summer veggies in daily salads. I've gotten into the habit of having a little hand-cooked quinoa or farro in the fridge so my lunches can be combined with minimal effort.
Farro is a versatile old grain with a nutty flavor that pairs well with delicate tomatoes and soft herbs. Its deliciously chewy texture fits well with bold vinaigrettes and the beans don't soak overnight in the fridge.
Find the recipe for Farro Autumn Tomato Salad at JamieOliver.com.
I hope to write more about my trip soon, when my words return and flow coherently. Let me say that your warm response to the reveal of my cookbook cover has also taken into account my lack of words. Thank you for your kind comments and emails.