Hopefully the warm weather is on its way. We’ve had a few tantalizing tastes, and now it has at least warmed up enough for us to fit in some long neighbourhood walks in the morning.
Spring produce is showing up also. Heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers (greenhouse grown), spinach and mushrooms are all I needed to put together this tasty plate.
For the dressing, for two: in a blender jar, combine 1/4c or 60ml vinegar (I used homemade but wine or cider types are lovely), 2T or 15ml extra virgin olive oil, 2t or 10ml Dijon and 2oz or 60g of feta. Blend until smooth and enjoy.
Then maybe another walk to run a few errands…
When we’ve had a long day and don’t have a plethora of things in the fridge, we nearly always have the ingredients for pizza. From start to finish, in just over 30 minutes – a healthier, less expensive version than takeout, and you can keep the tip for yourself.
Preheat your oven to 400F
In a small bowl or measuring cup, put 1/2 c or 125ml lukewarm water. Stir in 1 t or 5ml sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Sprinkle 1 T (15ml) yeast over top. Set a timer for 5 minutes and choose some toppings.
When the timer goes, your yeast should be foamy. A few grains may still float on top, and that’s okay. Stir with a fork and add this to a larger mixing bowl, along with 1T/15ml olive oil. Sprinkle in whole wheat flour, stirring with a fork, until it forms a ball and starts to clean the bowl a little. Knead on the counter half a dozen times with another light sprinkle of floor. (Other flours work also – experiment!) Sometimes we add dried herbs or pepper to the flour. Grease the bowl and pop the dough back in. No need to wash, the bowl should be mostly clean. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 10 minutes.
In this case we started with a base of caramelized onions, but pesto or marinara work great also.
For toppings we added mushrooms and olives, and a bit of Beemster cheese.
18 minutes in the oven and it’s done – we usually let it cool five minutes before cutting as no one loves that pizza cheese mouth burn!
Today’s lunch is on a limited time budget. Lots of client work to do, problems and puzzles to solve! So how to make good food fast? You can never go wrong with a salad.
It helps to have one or two serving batches of frozen cooked legumes on hand, as they are much healthier than canned. But even those are an excellent choice in a pinch.
I layered some prewashed spinach on plates, and then cucumber, celery, mushrooms, and the chickpeas. For the dressing, 1/3 c or 80ml cider vinegar, 1 T/15ml olive oil, and the same amount of Dijon – whisk together for 2 servings.
You could also make one of those handy mason jar salads this way, and take it to the office.
That’s it! Now back to work.
Spring is coming, we believe, although the weather is being uncooperative. Here’s a grest dish for the last of those winter veg.
This is a lovely vegetable gratin. The directions are unspecific…yet easy.
Heat the oven to 400F.
Spray a casserole dish with olive oil spray.
Slice some vegetables thinly, by hand or with a mandolin or food processor. Layer them in the bottom of the casserole. Sprinkle with herbs, pepper, nutmeg, or other tasty bits. Grate or crumble on a scanty bit of cheese (this is not a cheap discount pizza)!
Repeat for 4 to 6 layers. At learn every second layer should be a root veg, to give body to the thing. Ours was purely potato, carrot, beet and parsnip. But kale, tomato, onion or beans are great additions as long as there are sliced veg on the top and bottom.
Press the top layer down. Then, grate on some real grated Parmesan – it adds a richness that no other cheese can match.
Bake for 45 minutes with a cover, the remove the cover and give it 15 minutes more. Let it cool 5 minutes before serving. Also great served cold the next day.
We had a busy day yesterday, cleaning, organizing, walking, shopping and visiting the Gardiner Museum’s amazing porcelain collection. The best way to top off a day like that is to make a delicious but low-effort dinner together.
Here’s what we did:
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a casserole dish, place two pork chops. Ours came from our friend/neighbour/butcher, Mark. Over top, pour 1/2 c (125ml dry sherry). Thinly slice an onion and separate into rings, scattering on top of the chops. Add half a dozen capers and four roughly-chopped olives. Sprinkle with dry mustard and mace (or nutmeg, if you’re stuck). Put the lid on.
Next the potatoes. Slice 4 or 5, thinly. You will have two servings left over for tomorrow. In a glass cake pan or pie plate coated with olive oil cooking spray, arrange half the potato slices. Sprinkle with 2 t or 10ml of flour. Crack on some pepper and grate on a small amount (1 oz/30 g) strong aged cheddar. We used an amazing cave-aged one from Wookey Hole.
Layer the rest of the potato on, pour over 1/2 c or 125ml of 1% milk. Add another cracking of pepper and another ounce or so of cheese. Cover with foil, not letting foil touch the cheese. Full disclosure: another casserole would work well here, only we don’t have one!
Put both dishes in the oven for half an hour. Drink wine and chat.
Then remove the lid or foil and cook for another 15 minutes. Prep the Brussels sprouts or do what we did – use frozen. When the 15 minutes are nearly up, bring the sprouts just to the boil, covered, on top of the stove. Turn off the heat and let stand while you dish up the rest. Sprouts will be crisp-tender.
Have a lovely meal and enjoy each other’s company. Live happily ever after.
Sometimes a sweet treat for breakfast hits the spot. This breakfast pudding, or smoothie bowl, in common parlance, is fast and delicious.
In a blender, combine two ripe bananas, a small avocado, 2 T (30 ml) good-quality cocoa, 1/2 c (125 ml) silken tofu, and 1/4 c (60 ml) unsweetened almond milk. Using ripe bananas gives lots of natural sweetness.
Blend until smooth, and top with chopped walnuts and grated coconut. Pumpkin seeds would look and taste fabulous as well!