Category Archives: Vegetables

Green and Yellow Beans with Salami Vinaigrette

beans on oval plattergreen and yellow beansI like to think of green beans as the little black dress (LBD) of the vegetable world. Just as versatile as a LBD, green beans can get get dressed in so many different ways. Accessorized with dill, celery and an apple cider vinaigrette, green beans are casual and ready for a backyard BBQ. Adorn them up with blood oranges, hazelnuts and a sherry vinaigrette, and they are perfect for a formal dinner (pearls optional). Tart them up with spicy chiles, almonds and a soy- honey dressing and they are all set for a hot date.

When the baskets at the market are spilling over with green and yellow beans I get very excited. That satisfying sharp snapping sound they make when you break off the ends tells me that these beans are fresh from the field.

Traditionally in North America, veggies have been portrayed as a minor character on the plate, letting meat take center stage. However, chefs around the world are beginning to inspire us to flip that view around. Let vegetables shine on the plate , but use meat sparingly, to add some acidity, richness and fat. This recipe was created by Chef Josh Keeler from Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, SC.ready to eat 625 sqAs I perused Chef Josh’s recipe, I did a double take reading the instructions. Put the salami in the blender. Really??? Remember that episode of The Chew when host Carla Hall wonders “Can you blend it?” and then proceeds to puree leftover chicken pot pie? Well, blended salami vinaigrette is way better than that. Surprisingly delicious. It adds richness and an unctuous quality to the beans. Let's get started 2The pureed dressing is a rather vibrant orange colour, thanks to the paprika, but don’t let it scare you. Press on!alarming dressing 2

tossing beansI decided to add a touch more salami , crisping up little cubes to use as a sort of meat crouton.crisping up salamiThe first time I made this we added chick peas to the dish to up the protein content. As my sister Bonnie says, “Chick peas make everything better.” For this photo shoot, I left them out.

Click here to print recipe for Green and Yellow Beans with Salami Vinaigrette.

Have some beans

 

Grilled Zucchini Halloumi Chickpea Salad

plated 3 FWe’re not big on celebrating the “Hallmark Card Holidays” in our house. Valentines Day is just an excuse for me to bake, blog about and then gorge on photo shoot leftovers of gorgeous heart shaped cookies like these, or these or especially these!! Not that I really need a holiday excuse to bake cookies.

Mother’s and Father’s Day are customarily observed with the perfunctory card and a big hug. So imagine my surprise this year when each of my 3 children, totally independant of each other, presented me with gifts. Two days before, my youngest son gave me a delicate sterling silver chain bracelet. On Mother’s Day my oldest son handed me an impeccably wrapped and ribboned box that contained an elegant hand blown glass pitcher with a flavour infuser in the center. And then, 6 weeks after Mother’s Day, my middle child, (my daughter), left a fitbit on my desk.

My first thought was that my husband told the kids he was leaving me for a younger faster version and hadn’t gotten around to telling me yet. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I was dying and no one had the guts to break the news to me. But no, the husband vowed he was in it for the long haul and I felt perfectly healthy. Turns out, they just wanted to show me how much they love and appreciate me. Awww. Sweet!!

Guzzling mint-strawberry-cucumber flavoured water and wearing the fitbit make me believe I am healthier already. I decided to go with the flow and assembled this healthy, insanely delicious salad I discovered in the June 2014 issue of Chatelaine magazine.

Already armed with some gorgeous local zucchini, I was prepared. zucchiniI sliced the fatter zucchini on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick planks. The little ones I just sliced in half, lengthwise. slicing green zucchini on diagonalA package of Halloumi cheese gets sliced into 1/2 inch planks as well. slicing halloumiI whisked together a dressing with white wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.lemon juice FEverything gets treated to a generous glug of good olive oil, some Kosher salt and pepper (no salt for the cheese!, it’s salty enough already.) The zucchini get grilled until deeply golden brown. I pan fried the halloumi since it can stick to the grill. A can of chickpeas and some fresh mint and parsley and lunch is ready. plated 4FI think that eating raw zucchini is about as pleasant and flavourful as chewing a sponge. But bathe it in olive oil, salt and pepper and let it get grill kissed and something magical happens to the taste and texture. It becomes silky in texture and almost meaty in substance. And if you have never had fried halloumi cheese before, well, let’s just say you are in for a real treat. It is salty, slightly rubbery and squidgey. While that may not sound like the most appetizing description, trust me, it is delicious. It sort of squeaks between your teeth when you chew it and it is very addictive. plated 2F 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Zucchini Halloumi Chickpea Salad.

Inspiration

Happy Blogiversary to me. This is my 300th post! When I look back at my first post, It seems hard for me to believe I have been at this for over 6 years. This journey has been one of self discovery as well as one heck of a huge learning curve. With each post I learn something new and develop skills I never knew I had the capacity for. The most joyous thing about blogging is the readers. Connecting with strangers out there in the blogosphere is really incredible. (Also, it’s a great way to hear from your family!) Thanks so much you guys, for continuing to subscribe, read and leave me comments! Bloggers live for the comments. It means we are not just spewing off to an empty vacuum. Someone is out there listening.

For my 300th post I though I would talk about inspiration. People always ask me how do I think of subjects to blog about. Where does my inspiration come from?

Sometimes it comes from obvious sources, like travel to FloridaThe Amalfi Coast or South Africa. At times the nucleus of an idea forms as I am just going about my daily routine, perhaps at spin class or even something as mundane as sitting in the bathroom.

Life’s little challenges along the way can often provide inspiration as well. My son’s gluten intolerance spawned this post, and empty nest syndrome inspired this one. Once in a while sheer greed gives rise to a post, such as this one about a Chip Stand Crawl. Often the spark is my excitement to share an awesome new recipe I’ve discovered and can’t believe I have ever lived without before, like Double Coconut Granola. And then, once in a blue moon, lightning strikes, literally!

A visit to Parkdale Market yesterday left me feeling very inspired. Stay tuned for posts about all these gorgeous vegetables.

zucchini

green and yellow beansstrawberriespurple cauliflowerwhite cauliflower

 

Warm Broccoli Salad

three broccoli headsthree small and one large black plateWhile broccoli might not be the first vegetable you think of for a summer salad, let me be the one to convince you otherwise. With the addition of a warm garlic vinaigrette and a garnish of grated hard boiled eggs and crunchy salty rye bread croutons, it’s the perfect warm weather side dish.

Start with hard boiling the eggs. I am a hard boiled egg pro. No green or grey rim around the yolk ever! It was my responsibility to hard boil a gross (don’t see that word used very much anymore! ) of eggs every morning at my very first restaurant job. Here’s how to make perfect ones every time. Place eggs in a pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Put lid on pot and remove pot from the heat. Let sit, covered for 12 minutes. Drain, rinse eggs under cold water and peel as needed. hard boiled eggsNext, dissect the broccoli. three preparationsPeel the stems and cut into diagonal coins. peeling stemsslicing stems on diagonalCut the head of the broccoli into thick 1/2 inch planks. These broccoli planks remind me of the storybook character Flat Stanley. If you have never heard of him, check out this link. I have always wanted to possess this super power of making myself totally flat so that I could slide under locked doors and snoop where I shouldn’t! What super hero power do you wish you had?slicing planksAs you slice the planks, little bits of florets will fall off. Set them aside for boiling or steaming. They are too tiny and tender for roasting. 

A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil, a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and the sliced stems and flat planks ready for roasting.ready for roastingToast some rye bread croutons while the broccoli is roasting. croutonsWhisk together a warm garlic-mustard vinaigrette.garlic vinaigretteArrange the roasted and steamed broccoli on a platter. Drizzle with the tangy dressing and garnish with the egg and croutons. Each bite is a perfect combination of textures and flavours. The roasted broccoli brings a charred, smoky bite. The verdant steamed broccoli adds a bit of freshness. Hard boiled eggs add creaminess and the rye croutons add salt and crunch, always welcome at any party. The tangy Dijon garlic vinaigrette wakes up your taste buds. round black platter

Click here to print recipe for Warm Broccoli Salad.

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Shaved Spring Salad

on green plate 625 sqIn my little corner of the world, there is still one stubborn patch of ice in the north-east corner of my yard that refuses to melt. The chives, god bless their hardy little souls, have managed to poke through the ice and have given me hope that spring will arrive.

We are still weeks away from local asparagus here in Ottawa but that has not curbed my craving for something raw and crunchy! Imported rainbow carrots and asparagus will have to do for now.fresh beautiful sprng coloursShave the carrots and asparagus with a vegetable peeler. I love my Y shaped peeler! At the risk of being accused of “skinny shaming”, fat spears are what you want here. Thos skinny ass spears of asparagus are useless (and tasteless too, IMHO).carrotsasparagusToasted hazelnuts, chives and some shavings of gouda or gruyere cheese are mixed in to provide some crunch and funk. Tossed with a simple hazelnut oil vinaigrette, this shaved salad tastes like springtime in a bowl. Most supermarkets now carry hazelnut oil now. Just remember to store it in the fridge. Feel free to use olive oil instead if you can’t find hazelnut oil. It will still be delicious.

Click here to print recipe for Shaved Spring Salad.

white plate 625 sq