Thursday 19 July 2012

20120718 A Market Dinner Menu

On Wednesdays during the summer a farmer's market is set up at Nathan Phillips Square and since I couldn't play lunch-time soccer today, I went over with two of my coworkers, Stella and Grace, with the intention of picking up strawberries.

We get there and after doing a round, checking the produce and pricing, I was definitely walking away with more than I had planned on getting. With so much to choose from I flit from one stand to another picking out some very lovely items, giving some zucchini blossoms and new types of mushrooms a try. There were great picks from the market and I wound up picking up:
  • Mini-zucchinis with blossoms attached
  • Goat Parma
  • Two varieties of mushrooms (earthy types)
  • Okra
  • Marrow
  • Rainbow chillies
  • Strawberries (Lucious, lip-smacking, and juicy red ones)
After some humming thought, here's the dinner menu that I came up with tonight for my significant other and I to savour. There's some delicacies that I haven't tried making before but as usual I like to wing it when it comes to drumming up food ideas. After some serious thought, and trying to find a meal that's enjoyable in this heat wave, I figured that a nice salad would be a great start. Then I realized that I picked up a lot of veggies that needed some cooking - I don't want to wait until another day to cook them because they never taste as fresh or they just don't get cooked at all because our schedules literally turn upside down, the significant other does shift-work. Craving something lemony but also warm, my eureka moment spit out lemon spaghetti, something that I haven't had in a long time. Still needing to cook the rest, I figured sautéing everything would make it easy - hey, I'm already making pasta and the heat can put a damper on any attempt at an enthusiastically complex meal.

The menu:
  1. Salad of Zucchini Blossoms, Zucchini, Shaved Goat Parma, Spicy Genoa Salami, Shaved Radish, Arugula Salad topped with olive oil, lemon and basil.
  2. Butter Sauteed Varietal Mushrooms with sage and chives
  3. Spicy Sauteed Okra and Marrow with Sesame Oil and chillies
  4. Lemon spaghetti with shaved parmesan
At first the salad was going to be all veggie but the SO is missing the meat from my cooking and can't have pork, otherwise I would have thrown in some prosciutto, but after some quick googling prosciutto substitute no pork it gave me bresaola, air dried beef, perfect! The list of ingredients aren't complete as I still need to run out to Kensington market and also because I just ran out of sesame oil, fragrant sesame oil is one of my favourites.

Kensington buys:
  • Arugula
  • Bresaola - Not available, got this instead: Spicy Genoa Salami
  • Beef Salami
  • Chives
  • Parmesan
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Lemons
  • Bunch Radish
  • Organic Sesame Oil
The recipes that I found that helped me put this menu together are recipes from Giada de Laurentis and a NY Times article by Melissa Clark:

I didn't wind up making the okra recipe but here's how everything else turned out:
Lemon Spaghetti topped with Parmesan
Lemon Spaghetti topped with Parmesan
Lemon Spaghetti with Basil and Lemon Zest
Lemon Spaghetti with Basil and Lemon Zest
Sautéed Mushrooms Plated
Sautéed Mushrooms Plated
Sautéed Mushrooms Cooking
Sautéed Mushrooms Cooking
Earthy Mushroom
Earthy Mushroom
Earthy Mushroom 2
Earthy Mushroom 2
Zucchini Blossom Salad with Genoa Salami
Zucchini Blossom Salad with Genoa Salami
Zucchini Blossom Salad with Beef Salami
Zucchini Blossom Salad with Beef Salami
 Zucchini Blossom Salad in Mixing Bowl
 Zucchini Blossom Salad in Mixing Bowl
I hope you enjoy giving any of these a try and making them as you like it because they were delicious! The salad was the best!

Bon Appétit!

Saturday 7 July 2012

Smoothie: Strawberries, Cucumber, and Beet

This summer I've been looking at ways to cool down my body, introducing more Cooling/Yin/Alkaline foods into my diet. With the hot weather hovering around the 30'C this smoothie will cool you down and give you the energy you need to keep going even when the heat is trying to slow you down. Here's the mix:

3-4 Medium Frozen Strawberries
1 Mini Seedless Cucumber
10 Cubes of Beet (1/2 inch chunks)
1 tblsp of Chia Seeds
1/2 cup of Coconut Milk
1/4 cup of Almond Milk
1 Kiwi - slices for topping

This recipe makes 2 small servings but you can have it all to yourself if you wanted. Top with the kiwi slices.

The best way to make this recipe is with a Magic Bullet blender. In the cup, toss the strawberries in first, then the cucumbers, beets and chia seeds. Fill the cup with coconut milk until it reaches half-way, then top up to 3/4 of the cup with the almond milk. When you go to blend the mix, the milks will blend with the cucumber and beets before working on the strawberries, otherwise the strawberries will become a firm slush making it harder to blend everything else.

Enjoy the smoothie!