Tag: salad

Summer Time Salad

end-of-summer-salad1 (1)

Aren’t summer evenings beautiful? I was clicking through the archives looking for a good recipe to re-post and I came across this one. Not only is it delicious, but the picture grabbed my attention. I love, love, love the long shadows and warmth of the light on a summer evening. This is a fresh, easy salad and goes particularly well with grilled chicken. The concord grapes give it some sweet tang and the sundried tomatoes add textural interest. A sprinkling of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or toasted almonds would not be unwelcome either.

Summer Time Salad

makes enough for 4-6 people

2 medium zucchini (courgettes), juliened

2 C fresh corn kernels

1 C concord grapes 

2 C cherry tomatoes, halved

6 sundried/ovendried tomatoes, rehydrated in some warm water and juliened

a large handful of mixed fresh basil and parsley, torn or chopped.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add coarse salt and pepper to taste.

Getting out of Town & A Summer Recipe Roundup

In a few hours the car will be packed with coolers and beach chairs, the bocce set, a frisbee and the biggest watermelon I have ever brought home from the market. We will drive north, ride a ferry, and then drive north again. It will be after dark when we turn off the highway and cruise through a dozey little town, turning off the main drag and ascending up just off the water’s edge into the trees before we stop the car and un-pack at the once RV, now extended permanent structure – a freak of architectural and design standards, it can only be described as part trailer, part cabin. It is known in our family as The Trabin.

There will be a cool beer as we unpack groceries and bedding, making up beds and getting settled. Perhaps a game of cards, or a board game before bed. No cell phones, no TV, no worries. The Trabin is not a place for checking your work email. It is not the place for stress or strife. It’s the place for long lazy breakfasts, afternoon naps in dappled sunlight beneath a tree, long walks by the water, or strolls through the salt marsh to see the family of local beavers. It’s a place where sloth is encouraged and vices are forgiven, where you can wear just your bathing suit and sleep until 11. Stay up late and drink whiskey, playing solitaire ’til dawn. Make pancakes for a crowd and not do the dishes until later when you’re sun-baked and deliriously happy from a day at the beach. Anything goes. This is summer living. The Trabin is a treat. It’s really only comfortable from April to October so you have to squeeze in weekends and some more extended stays when you can. It’s rustic and fabulous – a true oasis where nothing need be difficult, and everything should be fun.

Since there are still some hours in the work week, not to mention packing and preparing for our little weekend away, I’m leaving you not with a new, original recipe but with a round up of some of my favourite summer recipes from the archives. I’ve chosen a favourite drink so you can cool down with this refreshing take on classic lemonade, an easy salsa – just add your favourite tortilla chips , a bright, crunchy salad and a satisfying main and, a decadent no bake dessert that I can’t believe I almost forgot about.

Enjoy the weekend, enjoy the recipes, take care of each other and I’ll be back soon!

Crunchy Sesame Slaw

Here’s a quick post for your Sunday afternoon, maybe it will even help you decide what to do for dinner!

It’s been a busy week. Work is hectic, our niece Lizzy had her rugby provincial championship, we re-jigged our patio, the garden is starting to come in and the summer weather has arrived. Also, this humble little blog made it into Saveur Magazine’s ‘Sites We Love’ which was really, incredibly cool. I am beyond honored to be featured along so many of the blogs that inspired me to become a food blogger and start my book. You can see the interview here. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on and that means that meals need to be fresher and quicker than ever. This little slaw is the answer!

I love summer cooking and I love how much of summer food can be cooked and enjoyed outside. But as much as I love the BBQ with all its smoky, sweet, and rich sauces and meats, I need some cool refreshment with my summer meals and this quick slaw delivers. It’s Asian-inspired in its flavors, but pairs really well with almost anything you’d be grilling up because its bright flavors are the perfect foil for the smoke, char and caramelized sauces. Have it with grilled salmon, ribs, chicken, or top a hot dog with it. Enjoy!

Crunchy Sesame Slaw

Toast the following in a hot, dry pan until browned and fragrant:

¼ C peanuts

¼ C pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

¼ C pine nuts

2 Tbsp black sesame seeds

Once toasted, set aside and allow to cool.

In the bottom of your serving bowl, combine the following:

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tsp honey

½ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp each grated garlic and grated fresh ginger

½ tsp hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)

¼ C chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp olive oil

pinch of each salt and pepper

Prepare the following vegetables and add them to the dressing:

12 radishes, trimmed and quartered

1 of each: red pepper, orange pepper and English (hothouse) cucumber, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks.

Add the toasted nuts and seeds, toss and serve immediately with extra lime wedges.

Simple Pearl Cous cous Salad

I usually wait for the hotter months to break out the pasta salads but there’s something about the cool freshness of cous cous with veggies and a simple, tart dressing that is good anytime of the year, no matter the weather. Besides, it’s the kind of dish you can make with your eyes closed once you’ve done it once.

Truth be told, I feel like I have been in a bit of a cooking rut. Not baking, mind you, that has been fairly prolific, but cooking, actual get-dinner-on-the-table cooking … it feels like a stretch these days. Sometimes all you need is a shift in focus. I have had my head down on so many projects lately that I feel like when I look up and see the clock and it’s time to make dinner, I either go through the motions and produce something less than spectacular that we have had a million times before or I go a little nuts and decide that it’s time to try something really new and ‘out there’, only to have it come off half-assed. These are not days of glorious inspiration, nor flawless execution. It’s trial and error, and trial again. It’s as if I’m just learning how to cook.

And perhaps I am. As I endeavour to write a cook book (even the submission for publishers) I find myself unlearning bad habits, correcting short cuts and questioning every recipe, every iteration of a dish until it’s just what I want it to be — not to mention the photographs. It’s time to step back and re-evaluate when something you love begins to feel like a chore.

Art is a process, right? And anything worth doing is worth doing well. Sometimes that means that dinner is nothing more than eggs on toast, sometimes you need to revert to what you know, to something that won’t be taxing so you can store your (creative) energy and use it for the more important things.  This little salad is a step up from eggs on toast, but still, not anything to get anxious about. It’s simple, easy and always good. Come to think of it, it would be great with a poached egg …

 

Simple Pearl Cous cous Salad

makes enough for 2 as a meal or 4 as a side

½ C pearl cous cous (sometimes called Israeli cous cous)

¾ C hot chicken stock (just below boiling temp.)

1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped

1 English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped

¼ of a small red onion, minced

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

juice of ½ a lemon

½ C pine nuts

½ C finely chopped parsley

sea salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

In a pot with a tight fitting lid, stir together the cous cous and the just about boiling chicken stock. Cover and leave 10 minutes or until the cous cous has absorbed all the stock.

Prepare the vegetables and season with the olive oil, lemon, parsley and in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Once the cous cous is plumped and ready (try one — it should be tender with no hard spots in the center) toss the cous cous with the vegetables. Allow to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Kale, Yellow Beet and Hazelnut Salad

What a week it’s been! Nothing in particular has happened, it has just been one of those weeks where everything seems a bit more challenging than usual and nothing quite clicks into place. The kind of time that requires more thought than it should, and certainly more quiet time than usual to re-set and re-charge your batteries.

The days have been short and grey, very typical of the season with a few bursts of sunshine and a threatening dusting of dry snow. I don’t mind the thin light and short days so much; for me they are perfect for reading and writing and they can provide excellent light for photos, all of which are my favourite things to occupy my time with. I have been writing a lot, so much so that a few nights this week I simply came home and lay on the couch, my mind was so spent between work and writing at home. All hobbies and passions require down time. We cannot spend our whole selves at 100% all the time without suffering. But isn’t there a certain satisfaction in working really hard for something you love even if it leaves you ragged at the end of the day?

I’ll leave you with 2 things: a delicious, restorative, and easy recipe for the days and nights when your energy and attention is lacking and a poem to go along with it. Enjoy.

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950)

 

Kale, Yellow Beet and Hazelnut Salad

¾ C toasted, chopped hazelnuts

1 medium sized golden beet, washed and grated (about 1 cup)

6 cups (loosely packed) chopped kale, washed, coarse stems removed

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white wine vinegar

sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, toast and brown your hazelnuts until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove hazelnuts from pan and allow to cool. Return the pan to the heat, adding the olive oil. Heat until the oil is shimmering. Toss in the kale, stirring quickly to wilt it slightly. Remove from heat when the kale is softened and bright green, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the hazelnuts (chopping roughly if using whole nuts) and grate in the golden beet. Drizzle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. This salad is good warm or cooled. This makes enough for 4 as a side or 2 as a main. Excellent with a poached egg on top!