Thursday, December 30, 2010

winter blues

I spent tonight curled up in an armchair, sipping peppermint tea and catching up on some cookbook reading. It had me dreaming about summer: homemade peach bellinis, berry tarts with a toasted nut crust, tangy marinated vegetables and sweet corn and heirloom tomato pizzas.

Will winter never end? Is it too late to start planning next year's garden? Time to start perusing the seed catalogues...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

apples at the farm

Pictures from Hart House Farm in October, on the Niagra Escarpment. It happened a while ago, but I finally had some free time on my hands to look through my photos. It's nice to think about the farm while in the middle of this cold, cloudy weather (without any snow to brighten things up... *sigh*).

butternut squash... again

I never knew butternuts last so long, but two of these ones, seen here in September, are still happily hanging out under my kitchen table waiting for this kind of delicious winter recipe:

Squash and Pear Soup

1 butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
4 or 5 sage leaves
3 pears, peeled, cored and diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup soy milk/milk/cream

Preheat oven to 375. Rub squash flesh with olive oil, and put facedown on a cookie sheet. Cook squash for 45 min to 1 hour, until tender. Meanwhile, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add herbs and pear and saute for another minute. Add vegetable stock and squash, and simmer for 10- 15 minutes, until pear is tender. Process the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add the milk or cream and gently simmer until hot again. Serve!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

orange tempeh and kale

Well, it's been a while since I wrote anything, but one of my classes today made me reflect on the importance of finding just a few moment to write for yourself every once in a while. So, while I may not have time to write out a new recipe, here's one I've been making a lot from the beautiful 101 Cookbooks blog - Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh. Every time I make it, I modify it a bit, perhaps throwing in whatever vegetables I have around. Today it was a wintery mix of cabbage, kale and swiss chard. Seriously, there's still kale and swiss chard growing in my garden! It will be a christmas miracle if it's still there in four weeks. I've made some makeshift cold frames with old windows.

And since I have nothing else new, have a look at some of the excellent blogs in my list to the right!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making Apple Cider

Cooking from the garden

Chickpea, green bean and tomato salad with lemon-rosemary dressing

1 cup green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumbers
1 cup cooked chickpeas

Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 or 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper

Steam green beans for 3 to 4 minutes, until beans are bright green. Rinse beans in cold water to stop them from over cooking. Combine beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and chick peas in a bowl. To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients and pour over salad. It'll be even more delicious after it's marinated for a few hours in the fridge.

Crustless Quiche with Swiss Chard and Potato

1 large bunch of swiss chard, leaves and stems separated
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
fresh herbs
salt and pepper
olive oil

4 eggs
1 cup milk, full fat yogurt or buttermilk
1 cup bread crumbs
olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Strip leaves from stems. Chop stems, and saute in a large pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic, onion and fresh herbs, and saute for 2 more minutes. Add potatoes, a few tbsps of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add swiss chard leaves, cover, and cook 2 more minutes, until wilted. Remove from heat.

Whisk together eggs and milk. Grease a round quiche pan or a 9x13 square pan with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the pan with bread crumbs. Cover bread crumbs with vegetable mixture. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Crumble goat cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

food and plants of the summer, in photos

For me, summer memories are marked by food; fresh produce, cooking dinner parties with friends, long summer nights of campfires and delicious desserts. Now that the nights are getting cold, I'm thinking back on my favorite moments of this summer!

Wild strawberry snack on a hike in the niagara escarpment.

At the beginning of summer, every room in the house was filled with peonies from my backyard.

Mmmm, rhubarb curd, which was made into some delicious rhubarb squares.

I finally got a microplane grater, a present from my lovely boyfriend! It makes lemon zesting and parmesan grating a breeze.

Lots and lots of beautiful plants. More to come!

butternut squash

I cut four hulking, creamy-coloured butternut squashes off their vines yesterday! Here's a delicious risotto for the end of the summer.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp dried sage

6 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 white wine

olive oil, green onions and roasted squash seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 375. Toss squash, olive oil, sage and thyme together in a baking dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender.

Meanwhile, in a pot, bring stock to a boil, then reduce to low heat, just enough to keep it hot.

In the largest skillet or pan you have, heat olive oil. Saute onions and garlic for a minute. Add rice, and cook for another minute, stirring constantly, until rice is coated in oil and looking toasty. Add wine, and stir until wine is absorbed.

Adding 1/2 stock at a time, continue stirring rice. Wait to add the next 1/2 cup until the stock has almost all been absorbed. Keep stirring and adding stock until you've used it all. It'll probably take around 30 minutes. Stir in butternut squash cubes, and serve! Garnish with green onions, a splash of olive oil and some roasted squash seeds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

hot, hot heat

Updates from the jungle that is my garden:
Some garlic 'bulbi.' This isn't the part you eat (that's under the ground), but you can plant these in the fall for garlic in the spring!
The garlic bulbis a week later, after loosing the protective covering.
From right to left: upside-down cherry tomatoes (in the red bucket), a sunflower with no flower (yet), butternut squash vines, and scarlet runner beans.
Baby pepper that will one day be red!
Sigh, they grow up so fast.
It hitched a ride inside on some swiss chard. I saved it from a death by drowning.
Prolific rainbow chard, the first tomatoes and hard-necked garlic.
Lime basil. It tastes like lime!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Basil and Tomatoes

Spring pizza: here's a dough made from red fife flour, always an excellent shortcut for a fast dinner. This dough is from the farmer's market around the corner from my house, but you can find some premade at lots of bakeries (there's a place in Kenzington that sells pizza dough for $1.50!).

Ok, it's canned pizza sauce, but I was in a rush,

Sliced tomatoes, basil and minced garlic scapes,

Montforte feta and mozzarella...

And no final picture. We ate it too fast. A big pizza needs about 15 minutes at 375.

Rhubarb Squares

Finally a day off, to sit down and watch reruns with my cats, catch up on some much needed laundry, and catch up on some much needed blog posts!

Spring is here. And so is rhubarb, fresh herbs, garlic scapes, and wild strawberries. Mmm, and edible flowers and radishes for delicious salads.

(Grilled cheese with caramelized onions and far too much butter, which is why it was so good, and salad from the garden)

Here's a recipe I've been making a bunch of this spring.

Rhubarb Squares
This recipe has three parts - a fruit puree, a crust and a curd. But totally worth all the work.
Preheat oven to 350.

5-8 rhubarb stalks, in 1 in. pieces
1/8 c. sugar

Combine rhubarb and sugar, let sit for 10 minutes. Add 1/8 c. water and heat over medium heat, until rhubarb has broken down and fruit has thickened. Set aside to cool.

4 oz room temperature butter
1 c. flour (also works well with all purpose gluten free flour + xanthan gum)
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
Prepare a 9x5 baking pan, and line with parchment paper. Combine in a food processor, pulse until dough forms. Press dough into pan, then let sit for 15 minutes.

3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp butter

In a double boiler whisk together eggs, sugar and salt until warm. Add rhubarb and zest, stirring constantly, until warm. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Bake crust for 20 minutes. Spread curd on top of crust, and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate for easier cutting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back from winter, ready for spring

Oh vey, it's been a long time. I don't seem to have much inspiration in the winter. It's not that I haven't been cooking, but it's been a transitional time of gluten-full to gluten-free. It also seems that the less busy I am with other projects, the less inclined I am to write about cooking. Stupid? Yes.

Well, it's gardening time, and I couldn't be more excited. I built - well, assembled is more like it- a grow light. (Although I totally built the shelf underneath, with some power tool help from my bf). The garlic I planted last fall is peeking out, and it's warm enough to dig around! I created a makeshift cold frame to start some greens... more on that experiment later.

I went out and bought a heating pad for my peppers. Please germinate! Here's looking forward to a dry and hot summer, unlike the last one. Maybe my pepper plants will actually produce fruit this year.

And yet again, I have way too many veggies to fit in my yard.