If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I am a great promoter of buying local. However it’s often darkest before the dawn, and at this time of year, when fresh local produce is just barely trickling into our stores, I have been known to give in to a moment of weakness. I had just such a moment yesterday, when I bought kale that had been trucked in, all the way from Texas. This entire smoothie is as un-local as it gets, with the kale, avocado, almond milk, frozen peach-mango-strawberry mix, cinnamon, and turmeric.
Despite all this, and the perhaps unappealing colour, it’s delicious. In fact, it has already transformed my day. I could have been grumpy at the freezing temperature, but instead, I’m starting with a spring in my step and a smile in my tummy.
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…
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.
Holiday weekends always result in us pulling out the old family recipes. But this one, slightly adapted, hardly needs a recipe. It’s easy to make and delicious. If you want some protein, eat it along with a handful of nuts. Great for breakfast, or as a side with lunch, or dessert. Grammy Gladys would never have used the blood oranges, and sometimes added a spoonful of sugar, but truly, you don’t need it.
Use one orange, one grapefruit, and one blood orange per person.
Cut off the peel – use for something else if you like, or compost.
Cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing white pith. You’ll probably need to dump some juice from the cutting board into the bowl during this process. No one said family recipes weren’t messy.
Stir in, at most, a tablespoon (15ml) of sugar or maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your citrus.
We ate ours with some peanuts – a slice of almond butter or peanut butter toast is lovely as well.