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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.