Hail Caesar!

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This morning we were just getting back from our walk when our neighbour, Nick, came around the corner. Nick is a lovely Italian man who likes to garden. His little city plot is a veritable Garden of Eden, and even those of us with urban farms of our own look forward to his gifts throughout the season.

On today’s menu, three or four heads of delicious Romaine. So what else but Caesar salad? For our lighter version we dressed a whole head with this recipe:

Whisk together a tablespoon each of wine vinegar and olive oil, a teaspoon of anchovy paste, and a crushed clove of garlic. On top, a sprinkling of Grana Padano and some oven-baked pumpernickel and multigrain croutons.

Delish!

Salmon Basil Pasta

An easy weeknight supper, when you don’t feel much like cooking: pasta. But spaghetti with meat sauce can get old, really fast. So can red sauce from a jar.

So instead, put some whole-grain vegetable pasta on to cook. Meanwhile, quickly stir-cook some fresh veggies in a large skillet with a lid (we had peppers, broccoli, celery, onions, and mushrooms). Stir in a chopped tomato and turn the heat to low, and cover it.

When the pasta’s cooked, toss it all together (use a little pasta water if it needs moisure; ours didn’t). Then stir in some herbs (we had a little basil), pepper, and pop the lid on again. Let it stand with the heat on very low, about 4 minutes, for the flavours to combine.

No Knead to Fear – It's Batter Bread!

One complaint (dare I say excuse) we often hear about not making homemade bread is that it’s so much work. We disagree of course, since we love breadmaking and it doesn’t feel like work as it can fit in around dinner-making, book-reading, or blog-writing.

However, in an attempt to tempt the non-bread-bakers out there, I decided to try some batter bread this week. Confession: I have never made this kind of bread before. Also, I must admit that I adapted the original recipe before even trying it, as I had some buckwheat flour we wanted to use up. You can find our version here.

Tomatoes, and More Tomatoes…What Next?

September is tomato-canning month. After putting up dozens of jars of diced and ground tomatoes, salsa, and sauce, we still had more tomatoes that needed to be used. We were incorporating them into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Here, some tasty huevos are nestled in a spicy tomato stew – a great way to add some zip at the start (or end) of your day.

Lightly saute a diced onion and a couple of hot peppers (we got these ones from our garden, but the selection is wonderful these days at local farmer’s markets). Then dice 2 or 3 large, juicy tomatoes and add them to the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer until the onions are soft. Crack in a couple of eggs for each serving, cover the pan, and continue to cook until the eggs are just set.

We at ours with a side of homemade multigrain toast.

Soup Season has Arrived

The cold weather is here. Soup season has definitely arrived. After church today we wanted something to warm us up before heading out to rake the leaves (again) that the blustery day has loosed on our yard.

We had some leftover chicken broth, pureed pumpkin, and bacon (yes, leftover bacon). Along with some potatoes, beets, a shallot, and some chili powder, we had the makings of a warm, delicious soup.

Spicy Squash Soup is Hot!

This sumptuous soup started with some spicy roasted squash, adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe. We took a hubbard squash and cut it into wedges, rubbing them with a mixture of olive oil and some delicious spicy peppers (pureed) from the farmer’s market and a bit of ground fennel and coriander. Roasted for about an hour at 400F, or until soft, we used some of them for dinner and chilled the leftovers in the fridge.

The next day, we took some of our homemade veggie broth from the fridge, and blanched half an onion and a carrot. Then we tipped in the remaining squash and let it simmer til the veg were tender, about 10 minutes. A quick blend with an immersion blender (or a potato masher will do, not quite as smoothly, in a pinch) and it was nearly ready. A cup or so of milk (we used 1% – choose your fat according to your preference) lent a creamier colour. Then we drizzled with a little fat-free Greek yogurt, and decorated with some chopped garlic chives from the urban farm. It warmed us through and through.

Chop Chop! (Pork, of Course)

It’s true. Alfresco dining days are disappearing. But while we can, we’ll keep enjoying the backyard dining opportunities.

We grilled a regular grocery store Ontario pork chop (from Valu-Mart, down the street). It would be nice to do butcher shop chops every day, but it’s hard on the budget, so we do that as often as we can. These were dusted with a little bit of ground coriander.

On the side, we served cauliflower from the East York Farmer’s Market, and a grilled tomato topped with ermite cheese from Quebec. The tomato was fresh from our neighbours’ garden – even closer than the farm! The cauli came from the East York Farmers market. Go farmers!

Fingerling Out What to Do with these Potatoes

We found these delicious fingerling potatoes at the market, tiny and golden. But how to cook them?

Since we had plans to put a chicken on to roast, we decided maximizing our use of the oven was a fine idea. After rubbing the little fellows with some olive oil, we put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and ground on a little salt. Then we topped them with sprigs of rosemary we had growing out back. When the chicken was half-done (after 30 minutes at 450F) we put the potatoes in. At the one-hour mark we took the chicken out to rest, and turned off the oven, leaving these tiny morsels to finish cooking.

They were crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside, and good all over.

So Delicious, We Could Spit…

Himself went to Royal Beef one day recently, when the skies were blue and cloudless, and the barbecue was calling his name. What he found was this tremendous-looking pork roast. He dressed it with a little salt and pepper, some dry mustard, and put it on the spit.

Slow, steady cooking was what it needed, and then a rest. Although there were juices on the board, with a little tenting, most were retained, and it was moist and marvelous.

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