Savour the flavour…

Yesterday was an absolutely stunning day here in Toronto; we took a nice long walk (about 5.7km) through the city, taking in the sights and eventually making our way to St. Lawrence Market for produce. We stopped in along the way to take in the awesome Gothic Revival Cathedral Church of St. James, with memorial plaques commemorating many of Toronto’s noted citizens. We were intrigued by the very contemporary Stations of the Cross.

To the south, we swung by Berczy Park’s new dog fountain enroute to the market. Kids and pets alike were enjoying the spraying water. We had fun finding the one cat statue amongst the dogs, and to discover just what she was looking at. (We won’t tell just now – you should check out the mystery yourself!)

The sun was blazing and hot, so by the time we arrived home, we were in the mood for something quick and cool, that wouldn’t overheat the kitchen. We put some potatoes on to cook while we enjoyed a cool beverage on our balcony and took in the sights of the neighbourhood. When they were cooked, we let them cool in the fridge while we prepared the rest of this tasty curried salad. For two, as a main course:

For the dressing, whisk in a large bowl:

3 tablespoons (45ml) mayonnaise

1/4 cup (60ml) cider vinegar

2 tablespoons (30ml) curry powder – more or less, to your taste

3 boiled potatoes, cooled and peeled, and cut into chunks

1 red pepper, diced in bite-size pieces

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can)

1 cup frozen green beans

1/4 cup (60ml) chopped unsalted peanuts

3 leaves basil, sliced finely

Mix all the vegetables into the salad, including the chickpeas. Divide between the plates and sprinkle with peanuts and basil. You can easily scale up this recipe to serve more people, and it keeps well in the fridge, gaining flavour as it sits. Enjoy!

Good Friday Grill


We spent part of Good Friday in our usual way, praying and contemplating with friends, the darkest point of the Easter story. After driving home from Mass along the seaside, watching the sun glinting off the ocean, we spent most of the afternoon doing yard work. It truly feels like Easter – small signs of life are revealing themselves all over the garden. After an incredibly fierce winter, this rebirth will really be welcome.

Most Fridays we feature fish on the menu, as much out of habit as custom, but on Good Friday we do make a special effort. The combination of sun and fresh outdoor air begged for the grill, and we had just the fish for it – halibut. We served it perfectly cooked alongside a medley of potato, carrot, and some baby leeks we found hiding under a cover of leaves in the garden.

We're in a Hot Soup!

What do you make on a hot day? Soup! (Well, at least when your garden is producing more Swiss Chard than you’ve ever seen!)

We started with onions and chard from our organic garden, some white beans cooked earlier in the season and frozen, potatoes from the local market, and a chorizo from Ratinaudhfx on Gottingen (merci beaucoup!)


The chorizo was poached in some veg broth, then set to cool. Meanwhile we sautéed the white parts of the onion, the garlic, and the potato in a little olive oil. Next, the broth.


After about 5 minutes simmering, the beans, until heated through.


Next, we sliced the chorizo thin and chopped the green parts of the onion and the chard. Into the pot!



The smell was marvelously overwhelming at this point:


5 more minutes to simmer, and it was ready to serve. Isn’t it good that the weather has started to cool down?


Cool as a Cucumber

Last week I tweeted about the cucumber watermelon salad we were making – some folks wanted a recipe. It’s not much of a recipe, really, but here it is:

Peel some English cucumber and cut into thick chunks. Cube some watermelon about the same size, and remove the seeds. Place these in a bowl.

In a small prep bowl, whisk together 15ml (1T) olive oil and 30ml (2T) cider vinegar. Drizzle this over and give it a toss. Grind on a few good grinds of pepper. Then julienne some basil leaves and sprinkle over the top. We’re lucky enough to have lots of fresh basil growing on the urban farm, but it’s plentiful in stores right now, or in farmer’s markets.

Put the whole thing in the fridge until it’s well-chilled. It’s a sure-fire solution to cool you off on a sultry summer day.

Ultimate Summer Coleslaw

No time for food styling, it’s coleslaw time! This is an ultimate summer dish because it’s cool, crunchy, and fast to make on a hot day. Given that we’ve been having record high temperatures for weeks on end, that’s vital!

Moreover, the great thing about coleslaw is that it only takes a few ingredients, usually easily available. In our case we went to Kelly’s Fruit Market and Plank Road Market for a cabbage and some carrots. We could have hand-grated, but in this case we used a food processor to shred them together. Then we mixed in a generous dollop of mayonnaise. (Disclaimer alert: the mayo wasn’t walkable, exactly. We walked to a store in France and we walked it home in our suitcase. It’s from Maille, the famous mustard people. And it’s full of egg-y goodness, just like mayonnaise you’d make yourself, if you had time. We also gave a good splash of white wine vinegar, and a liberal shake (probably a teaspoon, for a bowl this size) of celery seed. That’s it. Stir it all together, let it stand for a few minutes in the fridge (or longer if you’d like) for the flavours to develop. We served it with the amazing halibut in yesterday’s blog, and it was a big hit.

There's a Reason to Freeze your Beans!

Remember back in the spring, when we were baking and freezing batches and batches of beans? This was one of them – white beans with rosemary. Fast-forward to a blisteringly hot day, and those frozen beans came in handy. We put them on the counter to thaw in the morning, and stuck them back in the fridge when they were slightly icy, around lunchtime.

About half an hour before dinner, we mixed up a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a tablespoon of creamy Dijon, and some olive oil. We blanched some green beans, peas, and asparagus, then chilled them quickly in an ice-water bath.

We chopped in a litte oregano from the garden, and a green onion. Then we diced a couple of farmer’s market tomatoes. We grated in some cheddar from Montforte. Then we tossed it all together in a big bowl with some salt-cured olives from Plank Road Market.

Pair it with a light, bright, summer wine, and the heat will suddenly seem more bearable.

A Mustard Collection

So the other day we were at Belanger Brothers in the farmer’s market (see our blogroll!) and we picked up this awesome rack of lamb. One delicious thing to do with lamb is to make a mustard coating – some olive oil, Dijon mustard, and chopped herbs. In our case we used rosemary and Greek oregano from the garden.

Then we thought, why not make a mustard theme. So we proceeded to modify a recipe from Rob and Gwen in Bicester. They make an awesom mustard roast potato. To adapt for the grill, we parboiled some peeled Yukon Gold potatoes. We tossed the hot potatoes with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of dry mustard. Then we put them on the grill to finish with the lamb.

Each dish had a little mustard, but none of the mustards tasted the same. On some, it was the feature. Others, it was the under-note. In every one of them, it was delicious!

Lastly, we made our usual salad dressing like the one we used in the Salad Huroncoise…also featuring delicious Dijon. Here’s what the finished plate looked like. Now I’m going to head inside and beat the mosquitoes!

Summertime, and the Grillin' is Easy…

As farmer’s market begins and more seasonal products are available, the menu plan needs to be flexible. What looked good today? What was a great deal? What was fresh?

This week we had some chicken thighs in the freezer. But asparagus is really the star, and it’s everywhere. So we made our usual chicken marinade of olive oil, lemon, pepper and garlic, and let the thighs rest a bit. We put similar flavours on the asparagus. Everything went on the grill, and the meal was rounded out with some delicious short grain brown rice from Better Bulk, which had been pre-cooked and frozen. A quick heating in the microwave (or steaming on the stovetop) and we were ready to eat.  Relaxing and easy, without over-heating the house as the spring temperatures ramp up for summer.