This weekend we were treated to above-normal temperatures, and found an abundance of locally-grown greenhouse greens at the market. It put us in a salad sort of mood.
While some ingredients aren’t local, we have tried to strike a balance.
In a large salad bowl, combine:
Zest and juice of one lemon
10ml/2t Dijon mustard
(Did you know Canada was a world-leading producer of mustard seeds?)
1l/4c washed mini greens and herbs (parsley in our case)
1 diced avocado
1 diced zucchini
2 cherry tomatoes
90g/3oz diced goat cheese
Toss lightly and enjoy!
These melts had us grinning like Cheshire cats…probably because of the cheese. We made a tuna salad, substituting Dijon for half the mayo, and dicing in a tomato. All this went on top of toasted flax bread, with a grate of Cheshire cheese to top it off.
Under the broiler, and we were done. Lunch for two in under ten minutes, and delicious, as well!
Those of you who read our last post will realize that this meal actually preceded that one; I just couldn’t find the photo!
It’s hard to imagine why, but we decided to eat a real cold day food on one of the hottest days of the year. When we returned from golf the other day, we coated this lovely rack of Ontario lamb with Dijon and chopped rosemary from our garden. We surrounded it with halved new potatoes, rubbed with oil and decorated with a single sage leaf on each half. We roasted the lot for about 30 minutes (start at 450F then immediately drop the temp to 350F – check doneness with an instant-read thermometer; 125 for rare). On the side, steamed broccoli.
While it was cooking, we enjoyed the cool shade and watched the world go by from our front porch.
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.
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.
What would you eat on Canada Day? At our place, it’s nearly always barbecue. We usually have our friends and family here, but this year Brother Rob is the cook and the host. We don’t know his plan yet, but it’ll be something just as good as these veal-and-lamb burgers from the Belanger Brothers, dressed with some home-made chili sauce from last summer, and Kozlik’s mustard.
Put a fresh salad on the side, follow it up with some strawberry shortcake (made with biscuits, the maritime way).
So on Friday (last Friday) I planned to go to Hooked for some fish. But I was foiled. By being lazy and taking my car, the environmental angels punished me: no parking!
It worked out fine. On Saturday, I got this great pickerel. And some purple carrots. I cooked up the fish in a cornmeal crust and served with a carrot salad.
To make it, steam the carrots. Toss in a mixture of one tablespoon each (15ml each) olive oil, Dijon mustard, wine vinegar, and about a teaspoon (5ml) maple syrup. Sprinkle with some green onions.
(Over on the side is some awesome Lundberg rice. You can get it at Better Bulk, on our blogroll).
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!
I had thought I’d get burgers on the grill or take-out for my Mother’s Day dinner, but Steve surprised me. Walking about in the neighbourhood while I was at French class, he popped into Royal Beef, where they had some awesome lamb roasts.
He cooked this one one the barbecue with a marinade of Dijon mustard, olive oil, 5-spice powder, salt, and pepper. He served it with some new potatoes and spring asparagus.
Consider me spoiled.
So the chops are marinated and the grill is ready. While they’re cooking, a salad is definitely in order. This one has some red and green bell peppers (greenhouse grown, here in Canada), butter lettuce (same) and celery. The purple is a gorgeous shaved artisanal carrot. All of this will be topped with a Dijon vinaigrette.
At the same time, I pre-started some red potatoes in the microwave. This is an easy way to get a consistently cooked potato on the barbecue, without using a lot of fuel to do it. These delicious red-skinned ones are awesome!
Then, pop the potatoes on the grill with the chops and dress the salad. Even though the temperature has dropped and spring feels barely here, we’re getting a real taste of summer with tonight’s dinner.
One of the great things about menu planning is not having to worry about whether you’ll have the ingredients to pull a meal together. It’s also easier on the budget to not make impulse purchases. But we’ve also learned that sometimes we have to be willing to turn great ingredients into something different, or switch up a day’s dinner for another one – which is what we did when the need for a spring-like dinner hit!