Monday, July 30, 2012

If I had my little way I'd eat peaches every day.

One day I told my friend that peaches were my favourite fruit. Her reaction was unsettling and far from what I expected. She passionately disagreed. Her argument: bananas are much more versatile. Well, yes. The versatility of banana will not be argued. Bananas certainly have their role - they scream winter, warm the soul and satisfy hunger. However, I find something so boring about how they are just so available. Twelve months of the year, a beautiful green/yellow/brown (whatever you fancy) banana is right there. 

I wait 10 months of the year for peach season. Anxiously and with anticipation. I day dream of their refreshing, juicy taste and their invigorating aroma. A peach energizes me with thoughts of summer, sunshine, and blissfully frolicking through an unkempt meadow (which by the way, never actually happens).  This charming video from Roost sings ode to the peach and quite elegantly captures the pureness and happiness of this precious little fruit (as in, I bruise like a peach, kind of precious).

video from:

Please do take a visit over to Roost to enjoy the stunning photography, charming videos and delicious recipes. Your eyes will be forever grateful. 

And just to prove that peaches can rival bananas in terms of versatility, here are some recipes that may please your palate:

PB&J Makeover
Peach Tart
Peach Mango Popsicles 
Spinach Salad with Grilled Peaches and Gorgonzola
Grilled Pork Chops with Ginger Peach Chutney
Peach and Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt 
Peach and Pecan Oat Crumble Bars 
Frozen Peach Bellini 
Peach Crisp 

Wishing you fragrant, juicy peaches and happy days,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Too hot to cook

Growing up my grandmother's famous excuse for not cooking was that it was simply "too hot to cook." Now, I didn't grow up on a tropical island, houses didn't normally have air conditioning, and some years it seemed like it never topped 25 degrees celcius. However, it was a great excuse to avoid the stove and simply have tea and toast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (because apparently it is never too hot for tea and toast). When I'm feeling a little lazy, I dance to my dear nanny's words that it is simply too hot to cook.

However, in all honesty, this month I may as well be living on a tropical island because Toronto has been HOT. Real hot. Too hot to cook hot.  Which fits in perfectly with the Recipe ReDux Challenge this month: Beat the Summer Heat with No Cook Meals. 

Cashew Lemon Creamy Salad Dressing

Makes: about 1 cup of dressing

3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
2 basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh cilantro 
1 tsp coconut (optional)
1/2 tbsp Maple Syrup (you can also use honey or agave)

1. Throw cashews and juice from half a lemon (I actually added some more in after, so maybe a little more than half a lemon, depending on how much you like lemon) in a food processor. Process until cashews become smooth. To help the process add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep processing. It took about 10 minutes and 1/2 cup of water (8 Tbsp) for my dressing to get the desired consistency. 
2. Add garlic, herbs, coconut, and syrup and process until well blended. 
3. Take a taste test - is it sweet enough? sour enough? garlic-y enough? Take the time to play with the recipe a little bit and add more of whatever it needs. 
4. Once your dressing tastes delicious and is the desired consistency add it to your favourite salad. 

My salad had arugula, corn, match stick carrots, and raisins. I topped it off with smashed cashew pieces.

Before you leave be sure to check out some of the amazing recipes posted by other Recipe ReDuxers.

Wishing you tasty meals and happy days,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Brilliant Ideas

Last night I was chatting with friends about the phone book and how ridiculous it will be in another twenty ten years when we tell kids that we used to have a book with EVERYONE'S phone number in it. I can hear myself now, "when I was a young girl, they used to print a very thick book, every year, that had everyone's phone  number and address in it. The book was delivered to your house, free of charge. Some houses would even get two". The problem is, this doesn't really teach anyone a lesson, ya know what I mean? At least when my parents tell me "when I was a kid we had to walk to school in snowstorms with plastic bags over our shoes....up hill both ways" I know they are actually telling me to stop complaining because I don't know how easy I have it. But to be honest, I really don't think there is a lesson to be learned about having to use a phone book instead of the internet...well maybe patience. Yes, let's go with patience. 

Anyway, that story has little to do with the point of this post. The point is that I love the internet. Some people have such great ideas and I am so happy that people post their brilliance on the internet so that I can reap the benefits of their creative minds. 

Here are some awesome things that I found on the internet this week: 

When it comes to fresh herbs, I'm down. These are so beautifully grown and stored.
Well done, Country Living, well done.

Pineapple flowers. Pure genius. Click here and here

I need a tree in my kitchen asap. Click here if you agree. 

True commitment to a tropical themed party. Click here 

Clearly I am obsessed with home-made pizza. Check out the recipe for Garden Hummus Pizza, yum!

Wishing you tasty meals, happy days, and fantastic internet finds, 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Salads

Oh summer days, I love ya, I really do. 

But I've been doing a horrible, horrible job making meals this month. Like, really bad. I've had many nights where supper consisted of hummus, carrots, crackers and a glass of wine. I just can't get myself to spend time in the kitchen. I mean, there has been heat waves (which as a Newfoundlander I am totally unprepared for), extended hours of sunlight, patios screaming my name, sunny parks, and week night outings. 

But really, it's time to add a little pizzaz to my meals. A girl can't do this forever. 

Due to my aversion to the kitchen these days I have been frequenting a cafe near my work for lunch. They have a fabulous sweet potato lentil salad. As I was chowing down the other day I thought "what's wrong with me?! I can make this!". And so I did (with a change or two). It was wonderful and more importantly, quick!

Arugula, roasted sweet potato, lentils, avocado, red onion, and goat cheese - seriously people, this salad is good. 

It's raining right now, so it's the perfect time to spend 20 minutes cooking sweet potato and lentils. I'll pop them in the fridge and use them for a no-cook salad throughout the week. 

It's a salad - use as much or as little as you like. You are the boss. 
Roasted Sweet Potato 
Cooked green lentils 
Goat cheese
Red Onion 

Additions that I am for sure going to try: 
Sunflower seeds
Granola (the original has this, yum!) 
Herbs - Basil, Dill, Cilantro 

The dressing:
I keep it simple - juice from a fresh lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

1. Cut the sweet potato into half moon slices. Toss  in olive oil. Bake at 450 F for 15 - 20 minutes. 
2. Rinse a cup of green lentils in cold water. Bring to a boil with three cups of water in a large pot for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are no longer hard. 
3. Chop all other ingredients and toss together together. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil. 

Wishing you happy days, tasty meals and lots of sunshine!