Category Archives: food

simple summer entertaining

Every week I visit the local farmers’ market and come home with armloads of goodness from the vendors. I wish I could eat more of what they grow.

Last week, I made a list and tried to stick to it. It was all the local veggies I needed for a salad nicoise – a simple summer salad recommended by my blogging sidekick sis.

 

If you like make ahead entertaining meals, this is a great one to try. Here’s how I constructed my version.

  1. hard boil 3-4 eggs, peel and slice in quarters
  2. briefly steam a big mittful of fresh green beans – trim one end
  3. simmer new potatoes until just done – cut in halves or quarters depending on the size
  4. prepare the salmon – I marinated fresh atlantic salmon in equal parts maple syrup and soy sauce for about an hour (skin side up) – then with skin side down, and a generous layer of sesame seeds sprinkled on top, I baked them for about 15 minutes at 425F
  5. then the assembly – bib lettuce on the bottom, piles of potatoes, eggs, beans, and Kalamata olives – toss capers over the whole thing and rest the salmon in the primo spot
  6. drizzle the entire presentation with dressing – I used this dressing, you could also try HAR’s everyday go-to homemade dressing.

A side of fresh bread, great friends and life is good.

CJR

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grilled eggplant salad

This eggplant salad was easy and a big hit on Sunday for our family backyard gathering.IMG_3626It’s a Melissa Clark recipe from the NYTimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (I used 2)
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (I forgot to add this)
  • black pepper
  • capers, for garnish, optional

Heat grill to medium high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, put it on the grill and close the cover, cook, turning occasionally, until the eggplant is very soft and skin is blistered, about 15 minutes.

When cool enough, scoop out the insides of the eggplant and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, vinegar, salt and garlic. Stir in oil and parsley, season with pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with capers. Serve with warm pita bread.

HAR

 

return of the chopped summer salad

It’s hard to want to spend much time at all in the kitchen with the extended heat wave that seems to be just about everywhere.

Then I remembered how easy it is to just chop up all the local veggies that are showing up at my local farmers’ market. Last week’s haul included shelling peas, green beans, green onion, cherry tomatoes and multi-coloured carrots.

So I chopped, shredded and tossed, added in some cooked quinoa, local apple cider Dijon dressing and feta…and voila.

What are you cooking in this heat?

CJR

 

startups

When somebody puts themselves out there  – taking a risk, seeing an opportunity to start a little business…I love supporting them. I admit that when I go to my local farmers’ market I feel a little tinge of guilt because I can’t buy something from everyone. I don’t need that much food in a week and really am working at curbing food waste to do my little part.

I’m lucky that my town seems to be a magnet for opportunities to buy from little local startups. And I love to hear the backstories. When I don’t know them, I sometimes just imagine what aligned the business plan, prototypes and marketing ideas to bring something to market.

I don’t have to drive or walk for more than 15 minutes to get clothes, shoes, local food groceries, amazing sourdough bread, locally-grown flowers, beeswax candles, rustic signs on barnboard and now…pizza.

I’ve been in marketing and advertising for decades, and I love watching these startups use simple, smart and free social media tools to spread the word to attract consumers that will hopefully take them to success – however they measure it.

Completely by accident (not really if you are Instagram) I heard about @piebynightguelph. They describe themselves as four young cooks making great pizza in the heart of Guelph. They are using the local bakery’s space on a Sunday to whip together amazing pizza pies.

I hope Sunday night’s pizza pies get this startup where they want to be. It’s deliciousness and hard work that I’m happy to pay for.

CJR

 

 

when canning season starts

There’s a heat warning outside but that’s not stopping me from steaming up the kitchen with my third batch of gingered rhubarb jam with honey. It’s canning season.

I couldn’t wait to get started. And rhubarb is the first harvest of the season that was calling my name. I love that the rhubarb and honey are both local. This recipe has a lemon and a tart apple to give it a little hint of a marmalade-style jam.

 

The recipe is from my one and only canning book that seems to have it all – The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving

Here’s the full recipe from an earlier blog.

And to top off the new canning season, cool new dissolvable jar labels. Have you ever stood in front of the sink with a scratch pad, hot water and old canning jars trying to get the old label gum off? Me too! I’m hoping my new find will live up to its name.

CJR

 

 

 

 

spicy shrimp tacos

I have been in a cooking slump. I can’t think of anything to make for dinner. I asked a friend of mine what she had made for dinner last week and boom, I had two new ideas! I’m only going to share one of them today…you’ll have to wait another week or two for the second idea!

Last night I made spicy shrimp tacos from the Food Network website. Don’t let the word spicy in the title scare you, it has some sriracha sauce in the dressing but you can decide how much to put in. The marinade for the shrimp is the same thing you dress the coleslaw with so it’s really easy.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro (I used parsley)
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise
  • 1 14-ounce package coleslaw mix
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • IMG_2732Mix the mayo, Sriracha, lime juice, sugar, 1/4 cup chopped parlsey and 1 tablespoon water until smooth.  Place the shrimp in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing; set aside. Roughly chop the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro. Toss with the coleslaw mix, mango, red onion and the remaining dressing. Season with salt. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque, about 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. Warm the taco shells as the label directs. Fill the shells with the shrimp and some slaw.  Enjoy!

HAR

 

bowls

After a week of vacation, I always come home with (albeit brief) renewed energy and new ideas. I was looking for some salad inspiration after returning from a great week of birdwatching and kayaking in Florida. The weather at home is still not really even close to spring like…but I need some roughage and colour in my daily diet.

I tried to remember what I had seen in recipes for bowls – all the parts nicely partitioned in a bowl – waiting to be mixed up into a great salad.

I started with a pile of brown rice, added sweet corn I had frozen last season, a grated carrot and a chopped English cucumber. I felt healthy just looking at it! I added in some feta and dressing and it made a great kickstart to getting more of my 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.

CJR