Tag Archives: vegetables

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?



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.


finding veggies again

Well, it’s not exactly warm spring weather yet, but seems like it’s time to start to find some vegetables and salads again. I don’t know about you, but winter left a few extra pounds hanging around, so I made my first chopped veggie salad of the season to lighten up.

I found a cool mix of grains and lentils from Floating Leaf food company in Manitoba. I cooked up a cup of them. Roasted some fresh local asparagus. Chopped up grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onion and some salami chunks.

Tossed it all with olive oil and lemon juice, salt/pepper and a mitt full of crumbled feta.


a small serving of spring soup

My sister gave me a great cookbook a few years ago – The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones. Its small size reflects the smaller-serving meals that fill the pages.

I’ve been playing with variations of the basic vegetable soup recipe. I used to try and make soup by just throwing stuff together…and that’s what it often ended up tasting like. This recipe has the basics, and I can build from that and end up with a great, simple soup.

I made one last week, sauteeing the vegetables I could find in the fridge in a little butter. I often buy a small container of cut up veggies because I can get a variety of about six different veggies in a few servings, and these make great additions to the soup.

So I sautéed green onion, celery, carrot, broccoli and cauliflower. Tossed in a few roasted peppers I had baked a few days before. Everything simmers in some chicken stock, and I toss in a few frozen spinach pucks, a little cream and lemon/lime juice or white wine to finish it off.


new food ideas

So it’s Wednesday. And that usually means we have a food blog, an idea for dinner or a new recipe to share. Well, it’s also the middle of winter. Blah.

How are you meant to keep to ideas of balanced eating when it is dark and dingy and cocooning weather?

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to come up with a new food idea – which might just mean planning a meal before it’s 6 pm. It’s been on the night I see my trainer. It’s a good night to plan a healthful meal because I usually am craving chips on the way home from a workout.

This week I bought two pieces of marinated salmon, baked them in the toaster oven. I ate one the first night. And then tossed the second one with sautéed mushrooms, green onion, broccoli and red pepper with orzo, a little marinade sauce and white wine…and topped with a sprinkling of parmesan.

I still want chips, but looking for some new ways to eat a more balanced meal at least a few times a week.

Do you have any ideas for mid winter dishes?



vegetable chicken barley soup

A bowl of this simple soup has everything you need. I felt pretty smug after making it recently – vegetables, whole grain and protein!

A friend brought me the recipe, and I was a little skeptical about not starting a soup with the usual saute of onion, garlic and carrots. But this one doesn’t want for anything…even though everything is simply simmered.

Here’s the recipe:

Put 2 cups of water, 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of beef broth in a large pot. Add 2 raw cubed chicken breasts (skinless, boneless), 1 diced onion, 2 tsp crushed garlic, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn to low and simmer for about one hour.

Add 1 cup chopped zucchini, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets, 1 cup peeled and cubed squash (or sweet potato), and 1 cup barley (well rinsed). Bring back to a boil and simmer on low for another hour or so – until vegetables are desired texture.

It makes a hearty, barley-rich soup, and the chicken is incredibly tender. You could use whatever vegetables you have around (I happened to have mushrooms, zucchini and sweet potato).



honey-roasted carrots

If you are looking for ways to get some tasty vegetables back into the rotation after the holidays…these roasted carrots are really yummy. They are from one of Ottolenghi’s beautiful cookbooks.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 3 thyme springs (I used dried)
  • 12 large carrots – peeled and cut into batons (see picture)
  • 1.5 tbsp cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Put the honey, oil, seeds and thyme in large bowl with 1 tsp salt and some fresh ground pepper. Add the carrots, mix will and spread on large baking sheet. Roast in 425F oven for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice til cooked through and glazed.

Tahini yogurt sauce

This sauce makes a great side. Whisk together 3 tbsp tahini, 2/3 cup greek yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove and a little salt.


clear-the-crisper summer salad

I can’t help myself when I stand in front of the vegetable stand at my local farmers’ market. There are so many delicious things in season that I want to buy one of each. The idea would then be to remember to eat them throughout the week, before the next Saturday comes.

Last week, I cleared out the crisper and made a fresh, colourful chopped salad. It’s an easy way to eat your veggies, use up what’s in the fridge (like our fridge frittata and empty-the-vegetable-drawer soup) and get ready for a new installment of what’s in season.

This version had chopped tomatoes, grated carrot, green onion, orange peppers, cucumber, fresh sweet corn, chopped parsley and feta. I didn’t make my sister’s salad dressing, but used the next best option – a local apple cider Dijon dressing from Fraberts Fresh Food.

There’s still lots of barbeque season left. Chop up whatever you have and dress it up with some feta or chopped olives for a great side salad. Add in some leftover grilled meat to make a second and third meal out of it.



I was a waitress at the Elora Mill Inn all through college. The mill sits on the edge of a gorge in Elora, Ontario at the end of a quaint street filled with shops and restaurants. One of those restaurants was the Desert Rose Cafe. I loved everything about the cafe. Resa Lent, the owner, was the coolest woman I had ever met. She had traveled, she owned a cafe, she played awesome music and her food was delicious. Any time I was in Elora, I tried to have lunch there. I particularly loved her quiche.

Last year, my sister showed up with a copy of her cookbook for me – The Desert Rose Cafe Cookbook – and the quiche recipe was in it! What I like about it is the crust. It is a combination of flour, butter and cheese that you simply press into the pie plate. No kneading or rolling required.

I was responsible for a crudite platter at a bridal shower on Sunday. The platter was beautiful (thanks Maddie!) but no match for all the delicious food at the shower so I came home with a lot of vegetables. Desert Rose Quiche to the rescue!

Here’s the recipe:


1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1 cup grated cheese, 1 cup melted butter (I use less, more like 1/2 cup)

Mix flours and mustard. Add cold grated cheese. Add melted butter and blend well. Press into a 9″ pie plate.


6 eggs, 1-2 cups milk  (depending on how many vegetables I have I need less milk)


Whatever you have in the fridge. (This seems to be a recurring theme!) You need about 2 cups of filling. Saute or steam the vegetables first. Today’s quiche had peppers, asparagus and mushrooms.

Sprinkle some grated cheese over the base of the crust. Add the filling. Pour the egg mixture over the filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until set.






empty-the-vegetable-drawer soup

Similar to our post last week about fridge frittata, this week we bring you empty-the-vegetable-drawer soup. I receive a daily briefing from the NYTimes (which makes me feel important!) and they posted this One Hour Winter Vegetable Soup as a good thing to make during the blizzard that was sweeping up the east coast last weekend.

I cleaned out the vegetable drawer and found some parsnips, carrots and a sweet potato. I chopped them up and let them simmer in water for about 40 minutes. When the vegetables were soft, I pureed them with my hand held immersion blender (which is a game changer when making soups or applesauce!) I added some cream and salt and pepper and had a delicious bowl of hearty soup.