layered vegetable torte

If you pay attention to the initials at the end of each blog, you will notice that mine (HAR) have been mostly absent. CJR has been carrying the load and it’s time for me to step up and get inspired to cook again.

I started by actually reading those emails I receive from cooking.nytimes.com! This one for layered vegetable torte caught my eye. It doesn’t look difficult, but slightly time consuming. You do need to grill the vegetables first and then layer them in a springform pan but it seems like a pleasant Saturday afternoon task to ask my husband to grill while I mix drinks.

I’ll let you read the specific directions in the link above but the general idea is to layer grilled eggplant, zucchini and portobello mushrooms with fresh basil and garlic and top it all off with some bread crumbs, plum tomatoes and Parmesan. It bakes for 30 minutes and can be served hot or at room temperature. Here’s what it’s going to look like when I make it on Saturday!

torte-still-superJumbo

HAR

just chop it

While we’re on the topic of more veggies, summer-style eating after a winter of pastries…I say to you – just chop it.

There is a common theme – depending on the season – about what to do with the veggies in your frig. I’ve just started chopping them.

This week, it was chopped English cucumber, yellow pepper, grated carrot – with some feta, olive oil, lemon juice and a handful of pecans tossed in for extra crunch.

It was what I had on hand. It didn’t take much effort. And tasted pretty refreshing, as the temperature hovered around 30C even after dinner.

I think this will be a warm season regular. And with in-season veggies starting to come on strong, there will be no shortage of stuff to chop.

CJR

friday favourite – san fran gin

So, I coulda, shoulda, woulda been in San Francisco this week with friends. But I stayed home and worked. Blah!

In my absence, my friends took up the challenge to visit White Chapel Gin Bar –  which boasts the largest gin selection in North America. So, while I couldn’t be there, they did ask for my recommendations from the website menu.

Oh my. Names like Lamplighter Story, Norman Conquest, Hippie Wallbanger, The Ginger Rogers and Follow That Black Rabbit.

So many gins. So far away.

I quickly sent some of the cocktail concoctions that caught my eye…and share this with you as my Friday favourite.

CJR

faking it til I make the salad

After last week’s “whine” about seasonal transition disorder…I’ve been trying.

It started with a trip to my local farmers’ market on Saturday morning for a bag of fresh lettuce mixture. Made sure I had some veggies around. And have had THREE, yup three, salads this week so far. Washed the lettuce. Cut up cherry tomatoes, an avocado, added a little cooked chicken and some asiago cheese.

It’s happening. I’m making salads and walking and trying to only watch one hour of Netflix at a time!

How are you doing this week?

CJR

 

friday favourite – bananagrams

Three days a week I run a conversation class for English Language Learners at our local community college. The students have already spent three hours in English class and join me for another two hours of conversation and writing practice.

They show up in class, eager to learn, but weary. It’s very tiring to focus and concentrate on another language for several hours. I do my best to make it ‘fun’ and relevant. We’ve played Bingo using world capitals, we’ve written postcards, we have talked about marriage customs and school uniforms and middle names.

But the most enthusiasm I have had so far was when I pulled Bananagrams from my bag. No one had played the game. I dumped out the tiles and explained we needed to turn the tiles over so we couldn’t see the letters. Blanca turned them over, Afsaneh turned them back up so we could see the letters! Once we sorted that out, we played. They made terrific words, really concentrated and kept asking to play one more time!

Bananagrams is my friday favourite!

IMG_7803

HAR

It’s not that kind of STD

My sister and I have both been involved in sex ed of sorts – she got paid to do it as a college lecturer and I volunteered at a birth control centre years ago. In that world, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) were something to avoid. But today I came up with another meaning for the acronym…something that might be shared but not nearly as nasty! We’ve both been struggling with it and maybe you have too.

 Seasonal transition disorder.

You know that in between place. You are shedding layers as the warmer weather lurks nearby. But you find some extra layers that settled in over winter that are harder to drop. You wanna get outside but the winter hibernation exhaustion just won’t wake up. And just as you got ready to pass by the root vegetable based comfort food, you aren’t yet inspired to chop that salad every day.

 Here are some of the seasonal transition decisions we have talked about trying.

  1.  Just eat one vegetable instead of making an entire salad. Cut up an entire red pepper. Chop up a cucumber, add a little feta, olive oil and lemon juice. Eat an avocado au naturel.
  2. Change up your routine. Add in some morning stretches before work to warm up your brain and your limbs.
  3. Try something for just 30 minutes…and you might want to do more – like gardening, biking, walking or cleaning.
  4. Write it down. Frustrated with what you are eating or how to get more active? Keeping track of what you eat and your activities might shed some light on patterns you could tweak.

 Most of all…hang in there. When summer really arrives, the outdoor living will motivate you (us!) to eat more grilled, in season veggies, and walk and move more during the longer daylight hours.

CJR