summer pizza

Okay, this is late. It’s hard to be on the internet because it’s so nice outside and, you know, I’ve only been eating salad and lots of barbecued meat.  But, a few weeks ago Lindsay and I made a pretty delicious pizza.  It was mostly amazing because Lindsay made Jim Lahey’s pizza dough before I got there. I stopped by the Bellwoods farmer’s market and picked up some asparagus and some Monteforte dairy cheese, inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s asparagus pizza. We switched it up a bit, though, and used a base of dijon and balsamic vinegar.

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The whole thing is pretty easy, we just mixed up a bunch of dijon and balsamic vinegar, and spread it on the dough. Then we shaved asparagus (this was for sure the most laborious part… and the wait, I hate waiting for pizza to cook) and tossed it in the dijon/balsamic mixture, and threw it on the pizza. We shaved some cheese over top and baked it. This pizza was awesome.

summer salads

Oh man, summer is seriously here. I say this because I’ve spent a bunch of (amazing) time at cottages, and because we are in the middle of a heatwave, and because it’s just true. Anyway, in the summer, eating gets harder because it’s hot and easy to sit around and eat an avocado and drink a gin and tonic rather than cook delicious things. So, instead of making many exciting meals, I’ve been mostly pouring this carrot and ginger dressing over everything. Tonight, for example, it went over black beans, tomatoes and avocados. Sometimes I dip corn chips in it. Basically, this blog is now boring because I keep eating this salad dressing.

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Anyway, it comes via Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter, which is a super controversial topic and you should probably avoid talking to my roommates about it. But, general consensus: this dressing is great.

  • 2 carrots (regular, kind of puny carrots, or one big one) peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • grapeseed oil (until you hit the consistency you want.  At the risk of sounding like Jamie Oliver, a few glugs or whatever.)

Throw everything in a food processor and add the oil gradually.  Then, dressing!

Now, Goop maintains that this recipe is enough for two salads, but this is crazy.  This makes a tonne of dressing, like maybe 10 salads worth.  Perhaps if Gwyneth Paltrow eased up on the huge salads, she could avoid the juice cleanses she always seems to be on.  Cleanses are for lames!

farmers market

Basically, in the summer, a food blog gets hard. Mostly I either want to eat burritos on a patio with a gin and tonic, or a pseudo salad of avocado and tomato with balsamic vinegar. Neither of these meals make for particularly exciting blog posts, as you can probably guess.

Summer, though, is also the best time for farmer’s markets. I love the weekly markets in the park, they are just the most romantic. But, they also don’t quite inspire recipes, but rather delicious meals that are maybe a little bit too easy.

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Most of this breakfast came from the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market. Grilled ramps, poached egg, delicious bread and seriously, for real, the most amazing ashen goat cheese from Monforte Dairy. This cheese! So incredible! But, you know, so good that any sort of recipe is totally unnecessary.

asparagus soup

Lauren posted that they were making asparagus soup over at Good Egg last weekend, and it totally inspired me. I think I was feeling a little too inspired, because I really skipped some key steps from the recipe, but it still turned out wonderfully. I had originally skipped over this soup, from Jamie at Home, because Jamie Oliver calls it a “creamy asparagus soup with a poached egg on top,” which is exactly what it is but also exactly what I don’t love. First, milk- or cream-based soups aren’t usually my thing. Second, I am picky about eggs. But, this recipe works so well because all the creaminess comes from the egg. I initially thought I would prefer the soup without egg but now that seems crazy. This soup is good, Jamie Oliver is right!

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  • 4 bunches asparagus, broken to discard the ends, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • poached eggs (poached in un-vinegared water)
  • toast

Fry up the onions, celery, and leeks in olive oil.  When they are nicely cooked, add the stock and the asparagus.  Jamie Oliver suggests keeping the tips out until the end but I missed this step and it turned out okay.  Simmer the stock for 20 minutes, and then purée the veggies.   Season carefully with salt and pepper.  At this point, put the asparagus tips in, if you haven’t already.  Heat everything up.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and toast up some bread.  Olivia Go’s awesome class taught me to use a really tall, thin pot to poach eggs, but I don’t have one. Once the water has boiled, give it a stir and crack an egg in. After 3 minutes or so, fish out the egg (or two) with a slotted spoon and top each bowl with the egg and bread. Split the yolk and stir. Seriously tasty and creamy in a good way!

pickles

I love pickles.  Making pickles has been on my to-do list forever, but higher on the list is “not die of botulism” so I kept not making pickles.  But, then!  I found a lovely book on quick pickles at Good Egg, and the main selling point was not speed and ease, but the lack of botulism potential. Basically, because these pickles are not canned, you have to eat them within two weeks, which is a fair price to pay for life. I know that the likelihood of getting botulism is low, but I am unwavering in my fear, so this book is the best.

Okay, enough about botulism. I made pickles! This book is also pretty exciting because it gave me lots of exciting pickle possibilities. This first round, I made smoky pickled corn. The book is a bit overwhelming because the recipes call for a lot of ingredients, but then you look at it closely and see that 8 of them are spices, so it’s okay.

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  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 yellow peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, cut in rings
  • 4 tomatillos, quartered (take off the paper skins!)
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 4 cups white vinegar (this was supposed to be white wine vinegar, but I misread it)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 4 dried fresh chilis, sliced
  • 4 ears of corn, cut into chunks

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic, peppers, onions and tomatillos until everything is softened.  Don’t brown them!  Set them aside, then bring all the other ingredients except the corn to a boil in a really big pot.  Boiling vinegar smells crazy, you might cry.  Add the corn once everything is boiling, and then let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat off and let everything cool.  Keep these in the fridge and eat them for 2 weeks, no more!

I had many fake ploughman’s lunches with these pickles, and was pretty into it.  Eat the corn rounds like corn on the cob, they are pretty spicy but pretty delish, I think.

delicious salad!

Spring is here and I’m pretending it’s summer. Basically, this means bare legs even though it’s too cold, subbing gin and tonics for whiskey, and eating salads so happily. Last week I made this delicious chick pea salad, and then I made it again, and then Annie made it for our cookbook club, and it just keeps getting better. The recipe is from Falling Cloudberries, which is beautiful but, as we decided, very liquidy. Annie and I both judiciously decided to substitute a tablespoon or two of oil instead of using a cup of oil. It works, for real.

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  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 red onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 hot chili peppers
  • 3 scallions
  • handful coriander
  • handful parsley
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls of feta
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Salads are salads and I don’t really believe in serious measurements when it comes to salad.  Add more of anything you love, and you will probably love it more.  Fry the diced onions, garlic and peppers, season them and let them cool as much as you can.  Add in the chick peas (the author recommends peeling the skins off but that feels like a lot of work for a meal that would otherwise take ten minutes), the chopped greens, the feta and the lemon juice.  I think feta is kind of a lame cheese, so I subbed in oka once, and do not recommend it.  Stick with the feta!  This is a good salad!

a homemade life

A really awesome development in my life has been a new, totally fun cookbook book club.  The main regret of my last two months was forgetting my camera for our first amazing dinner talking about, and eating from, the River Cottage Meat Book.  Basically, it was the best.

But, this past month (week, still, as I am trying to blog better, you know?) we had a delicious brunch eating from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. I’ll spare you my many thoughts about the blog-to-book transition, instead saying that many many amazing breakfasts (and lunches, and dinners) can come out of this book, or they could just be merged into a super brunch like last weekend. The biggest downfall of the day was that apparently we all have a serious sweet tooth, so we ate coffee toffee, french toast, cupcakes, scones, fruit preserves, and bacon. Of course everything came together with maple syrup, best best best.

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I made this semi-crazy corn bread. It was good, but really needed fruit or (better) maple syrup to tie it all together. I am not totally sure about how I feel about it, but I think other people sort of liked it (unless they are trying to not hurt my feelings, but it’s okay guys!). Anyway, here is cornbread with a caveat: it is sweet, desserty, and kind of has a texture that gave me pause. But, if you are looking for something sweet and desserty, pour some maple syrup on this, because it is okay! (big sell, here, guys.)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350, and butter a pan (square, 8 inches, ish) and put it in the oven to heat up.  I don’t know why this step happens, but I did it…  Melt the butter in a microwave, let it cool a bit.  Stir the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda together.  Add the eggs to the butter and whisk.  Add the sugar, salt, milk, and vinegar to the butter and eggs and stir together.  Add the flour mixture and stir until there are no lumps.  Pour the batter in the pan and pour the cream into the middle of the batter.  Don’t stir.  Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

The cornbread is sweet, and the cream turns into a custard, somehow, so be warned!

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I think we generally agreed that the best tip from the book was using canola oil (lots) to fry french toast.  Seriously, it is noticeably better!