Into the Inky Blackness We Go

The days are getting longer, and yet it gives us an increasing perspective on the night. When we leave for work in the dark, and arrive home in the dark, it is hard to appreciate that time when the indigo sky highlights the trees and there is a time of beautiful contrast.

On the “official” first day of spring, we had the trifecta of indigo light, wind, and waving trees. In celebration, dinner consisted of an inky squid pasta, combined with the season’s veg…celery, carrot, onion, hothouse pepper, and some Altantic salmon. It was a great combo that fed our tummies and souls.

20140320-212237.jpg

How Can We Use this for Lunch?

January is a time of renewal in our family – and frugality of a multitude of sorts. Most of us who aren’t already abstainers (shout out to the in-laws) give up “the drink”. We also usually get back on the horse (or treadmill, bike, road, pool, or trail) if we have been lax of late. In our house we’ve decided to take a tip from our old East Lynn Danforth friends and try not to spend money on non-essentials as well. We were inspired when the Daughter and Son and their loves showed up with a plethora of handmade and homemade things at Christmas.

It calls to mind an old poem, really words to live by in this consumerist age:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

20140105-092419.jpg

On that note, our lunch quest was, “what have we got in the house to eat that doesn’t require going out for supplies?”

We made this awesomely delicious pasta:

For two:

Cook 1c/250ml multicolour veg pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, dice 2 very ripe tomatoes (ok, ours were VERY ripe) and 1/2 head of broccoli, stems and florets (or either)

Drain a can of salmon.

Chop up a hot pickled pepper languishing alone in its jar (clean and save jar for next year’s canning).

Dig out that 30g/1oz end of herbed goat cheese from the fridge.

Chop a couple of anchovies.

When the pasta is done, strain it. Put the pot back on the stove and dump in the other ingredients except salmon. Stir until the cheese melts in, then add the pasta and the salmon, quickly mixing to coat.

Give thanks for leftovers and good things hiding in the fridge!

Settling in…

20120924-055241.jpg. So it seemed like a good idea…move half way across the country and pay attention to the food blog at the same time. All the while, we were having “farewell” dinners with friends and clients. In reality, we ate a lot of restaurant food, much of which was not that notable. It was not health eating at its finest, either.

After a week on the job, it was time for a good housecleaning, and a big shopping trip. We’ve gone from the big city and tiny shops to a tiny town and a giant supermarket. Quite a change. But we did find a lovely little organic café and grocery to fill in some of the missing bits, last night we made our first batch of marinara for the freezer, and earlier in the day, chicken soup. Things are starting to come together. Soon…beans and bread!

Time to Start Fresh

20120527-124537.jpg

Last summer we canned bushels of tomatoes, which have lasted us through the winter. We also made sauce and salsa. Today we’re eating the last batch of marina from that harvest…which means time to get cooking again. It looks like we have just enough canned tomatoes and salsa to last until the next harvest. Summer in a jar!

With some basil from the garden, whole wheat penne, and some Gran Padano, that marinara’s going to be good!

Fast Fennel Chicken

Healthy food! It’s all around us, but with so many tempting treats beginning to make an appearance, being able to cook up a fast feast of healthy food is essential. Today we made a veggie-packed pasta dish.

20111206-203317.jpg

We started by putting 2 ounces or 60 grams per person of whole wheat pasta on to cook. In the meantime, we diced four skinless, boneless chicken thighs into a sauté pan with some olive oil. As the cooked, we finely diced and added a shallot and a clove of garlic. Next came a carrot, peeled and diced fine, and 1/4 head of fennel, finely diced. While it was cooking over low heat,we ground up about a teaspoon/5 ml of fennel seed, and zested a lemon. we juiced the lemon into a small bowl and got rid of any seeds.

When the pasta was al dente, we drained and tipped into the sauté pan with the lemon juice, zest, fennel seed, a small amount of pasta water if needed, and a couple of tablespoons (10 ml) of light whipped cream cheese. We left it in the pan, covered but off the heat, for about 3 minutes for the flavours to come together, and ate it up. The cooking took less than half an hour, including boiling the water…leaving more time to watch Christmas specials and make some presents.

Mushroom and Marinara Pasta

20111121-194612.jpg

Hurry! It’s nearing the end of the year…too much to be done and not enough time to do it in. This is the perfect dinner for that sort of day.

We cooked some whole wheat pasta. Meanwhile, we sautéed a couple of cups of mushrooms, part of a bell pepper, a stalk of celery, and half an onion. Then we tipped in a cup or so of marinara (ours was made and frozen in the summer, but store-bought works, too)!

Let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooks. Then add the drained pasta to the sauce, toss, and let stand for a few minutes for the flavours to absorb.

Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese, and then hurry along to wherever you need to be.

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.

Albacore Tuna Marinara

A couple of weeks ago we were down at Hooked and they had a delicious-looking slab of sustainably-caught albacore tuna. It was just the thing we were looking for, to be tossed with some homemade marinara and whole-wheat spaghettini. Tasty, fast, and healthy – the perfect Friday night supper.

Goodness Can Come from a Can

We made this tasty dish earlier in the week: Salmon Pasta Pesto Toss. It all started with some basil and walnut pesto, made from basil we grew here on our urban farm. So many good things to make!

We cooked some whole grain pasta from Better Bulk. In the meantime, we tossed some veggies together with a little EVOO and cooked them until they were tender-crisp. In this case, we used celery, broccoli, yellow peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and carrot, all from the East York Farmer’s Market. Then we stirred in a large chopped tomato from Larry’s garden (not for sale – neighbour-ness has its privileges). We put the lid on and let it simmer while the pasta finished cooking.

Then at the end, we stirred in the drained pasta, a heaping tablespoon or two of the pesto, and a can of wild salmon. We popped on the lid and let it sit for 3 or 4 minutes for the flavours to develop. Quick comfort in a bowl. (For cold comfort, you could easily refrigerate this and serve it as a salad!)

%d bloggers like this: