Bread & Roses Forum

Smorgasbord => Chef's Corner => Topic started by: lagatta on June 16, 2008, 06:12:04 PM

Title: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on June 16, 2008, 06:12:04 PM
I've made a salsa with tomato, mild onion, a bit of chilli (it isn't very hot) finely chopped rocket (roquette/aragula) and added an overripe nectarine, finely chopped. The bit of sweetness is nice. I'll eat that with some blue corn tortilla chips, some fresh Portuguese goat cheese (a WONDERFUL summer food - it is made in Toronto) and that's about it.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 21, 2008, 07:07:43 AM
Made a ragoût de gourganes with fresh broad beans (gourganes) from the market, along with some olive oil, onion, fresh local garlic, diced overripe tomatoes and a dash of white wine. Not putting this in vegetarian cookery as I added a bit of minced bacon, but of course you can omit the bacon. You could also use the juice of a lime or lemon in lieu of the wine.

The vegetable stew is simple, but broad beans are quite a bit of work as you not only have to pod them but also shell them (remove the outer skin). They are very tasty and nutritious though.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: steffie on July 29, 2008, 07:16:02 PM
I have recently discovered those fresh pizza crusts with the sauce packets, 2 pizzas for roughly 3 dollars!!  Here's what I put on it tonight:

pesto, and a white romano and ranch sauce, topped with:

red onion
mushrooms
grilled green/red peppers
grilled chicken breast
mozzarella cheese
(was planning to add sliced tomato but forgot, then realized that it would have made it too moist)

delish!!

Funny thing:  I had a strange stomach ache(?) pain right after eating a slice, thought nothing of it, then when reading up on pesto discovered that

Quote
composition of basil is affected not only by the chemotypes present in its many different varieties, but even by influences such as the time of day of harvest, which may explain contradictory and inconsistent reports that a too-generous helping of pesto may cause a temporary but distressing intestinal reaction in some people. (emphasis mine) - Wiki

Pizza is cooked directly on the middle rack for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees, then broiler for about 3 minutes.  I found more time needed for more toppings.

MORE TOPPINGS!!!!!!   :drool
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 11, 2008, 05:26:10 PM
Steffie, interesting about the basil/pesto. Basil is a powerful herb, often used medically, and anything like that might have negative effects on some people. Pesto, an emulsion of basil, garlic and sometimes cheese and/or different nuts (most typically pine nuts, but walnuts - much cheaper and also very tasty - are often substituted) is about the most powerful basil delivery system one could imagine, like basil crack. I have no trouble with that, but do with many other things...

I made succotash, based on a Native Amerindian dish - corn and beans, eh? with lovely fresh YELLOW corn and more gourganes (a variety of broad bean that is a speciality here). Added oregano, parsely (finely minced), onion, garlic, a slightly-hot pepper and a chopped mild red pepper, the latter more for colour than anything else (and I had some, in a jar). Hey, it's vegan. I have a hard time digesting dried beans but not these young ones...

Delicious. Of course making anything like that means far too much for one person, so I'm packing up gifts for friends, including one who is just back from a trip. Good karma, that.

Green things are growing beautifully, but such sad tomatoes. :(
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on August 13, 2008, 05:23:30 PM
Mint (http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html), often used in soothing herbal teas can also be a stimulant.

Mmmm.  Mojitos (http://www.canadianliving.com/food/mojitos.php).
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: 'lance on August 13, 2008, 05:31:08 PM
I've been learning to make those. I think they work better if you make sugar syrup first, though. Granulated sugar doesn't dissolve very well in cold lime juice.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on August 13, 2008, 05:39:35 PM
The best recipes call for cane syrup, which is available at Caribbean grocery stores.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: 'lance on August 13, 2008, 06:04:32 PM
Thanks for the tip, though it looks like there's a shortage of those in these parts. I can locate only one listing on-line, and it's in New Westminster. Well, for the difference between a good and a great mojito...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on August 13, 2008, 09:58:33 PM
Asian grocery stores might carry cane syrup too, now that I think about it.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: 'lance on August 13, 2008, 10:39:18 PM
I'll start there, then.

In other rum-related news: I'm just done adding the fifth layer (peaches) to my first-ever rumtopf (http://www.germandeli.com/rumtopfrecipe.html). All fresh, local stuff (previous layers being strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries). Two more, or maybe three -- plums, then pears and/or apples, depending on how much room is left. And then...

Mwahaha!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: arborman on August 14, 2008, 02:02:09 AM
Quote from: 'lance
Thanks for the tip, though it looks like there's a shortage of those in these parts. I can locate only one listing on-line, and it's in New Westminster. Well, for the difference between a good and a great mojito...

I think there's a place somewhere around 25th and Victoria, for some reason.  Or possibly up Fraser amidst the South Asian stores around 45th.  Failing that check the gourmet warehouse at Clarke and Hastings, they carry lots of obscure goodies - for a price.  Cheaper than a trip to New West though.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: alisea on August 24, 2008, 05:58:22 PM
*waves at timebandit*

Over on Babble you mentioned a recipe for one-jar-at-a-time pickles ...

If I asked you very very nicely would you share it?

*bats eyelashes coyly in a nauseating fashion*

 :drool
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 25, 2009, 01:16:46 PM
I may be contributing the only greenery to an Argentine friend's birthday get-together. Salad w/lots of mixed greens (including lovely so-called "wild" roquette - it isn't really wild, but smaller and stronger-flavoured than the usual kind), but also a Spanish-type rice with safran and lots of freshly-shelled peas. I'm not putting in any ham as the recipes call for - there will be too much meat anyway, and I know at least one vegetarian friend might show up so that will mak another thing he can eat So much work though, shelling the damned things! :stirthepot:

Should be fun though :party3
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on July 25, 2009, 01:24:29 PM
To shell peas: Get two large bowls, one full of raw unshelled peas, the other empty. Take them outside to the garden, and sit down. Do tops and tails. Toss the tops and tails over your shoulder into the garden. Open pea with fingernail and scoot those peas into empty bowl. Toss shell over shoulder.

All done.  :D
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Toedancer on July 25, 2009, 04:25:42 PM
:drool  shelled fresh peas. I don't know why but when I read that I made two celeries with cheez wiz, ha! I read today Monsanto and Canada have agreed to quietly (shh, it's a secret)approved a new genetically engineered corn with eight different insect- and weed-fighting traits, but farmer and environmental groups in Canada say the approval was rushed and environmental risks ignored. (http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Feds+okay+genetically+modified+corn/1827108/story.html) Sad day for corn lovers. Organic corn is not easy to come by.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 25, 2009, 04:30:48 PM
I doubt my downstairs neighbours would approve of that method for shelling peas.

The peas, rice and onion and saffron dish is very good indeed. Have now finished washing several types of greens, dried them in the spinner, and have them all in a bag. Took out cheese so I don't forget it (forgetting the wine is unfathomable)  ;)

I've replaced almost all my plastic food storage vessels with glass, though I have kept some real Tupperware for the express purchase of taking food to parties.

Toe, that is bad news indeed. Miss real (yellow, and not supersweet) corn. The new stuff tastes far too sweet for my palate. This frankencorn - very scary stuff.

Not much organic (fresh) corn, and when there is, it is very, very pricy.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on July 25, 2009, 06:16:42 PM
I do not see what is wrong with my shelling method. The tops and tails and shells will rot healthily, and even before that happens, squirrels or raccoons will eat them, so where is teh problem?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Holly Stick on July 25, 2009, 06:26:43 PM
When I was growing up on the farm we would cover the kitchen table with newspaper, pile the freshly picked pods in the middle and sit around it shelling peas and talking or listening to the radio or both.  We used cereal bowls and dumped them into the large mixing bowl my mother was using.  For garbage bags we had the paper grocery bags from Co-op which were thick and stood up well.  

We would dump the shells out in the caragana bushes.  We didn't have raccoons or squirrels to eat them, and the gophers were more interested in digging tunnels into our potato hills.

ETA: oops, quoted myself instead of editing myself. :whis:
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 26, 2009, 11:00:12 AM
skdadl, only problem a slightly fussbudget (but nice) downstairs neighbour. But I certainly wish I could compost the pods - seems such a shame to toss them in the rubbish. I believe one can put them in soup stock.

Party went well - far too much food as usual so my pea and rice dish was not finished, so I brought some home. Friend C is a diehard carnivore and wouldn't eat it though the week (too many peas, I guess). She does eat salad, so I'm glad I at least got some greens into her, and she'll have a very nice salad (boston lettuce, rocket, radicchio, minced parsley etc) for a few days.

My dish was more pea than rice - just one cup of uncooked basmati, and a medium-sized pyrex bowlful of peas.

Another friend, M, doing some kind of research sabbatical here this year, is from Barcelona and she is a vegetarian - she made a lovely tortilla - the Spanish egg, potato and onion thick omelette that has the same name as flat cornbread in Mexico and Central America.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Audrey on July 26, 2009, 11:34:11 PM
I cut up and breaded and fried a fennel bulb yesterday ! They taste like licorice.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Mandos on July 27, 2009, 01:31:29 AM
I have never managed to acquire the knack for breading and frying, or I'd do it all the time.

Sans potato, I love tortilla.  Of both continental provenances.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 06:32:49 AM
This was a typical Spanish potato frittata, with onion and perhaps garlic.

Mandos, you don't like potatoes?

Audrey, fennel is in the same family as liquorice, and anise (the flavouring in all those Mediterranean drinks like ouzo, raki, sambuca, pastis etc. For those who don't drink any alcohol, there is also anise syrup to put in water for the same kind of drink). That is one of the flavour families people usually love or hate, like fresh coriander leaves (cilantro). I love cilantro, but detractors think it tastes like soap.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on July 27, 2009, 08:25:08 AM
Ricard is also anise-flavoured, yes? That is the only such flavoured drink I've ever liked, but it is very refreshing on a hot summer's day -- actually, dangerously refreshing.   ;)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 08:47:45 AM
Ricard is a pastis, skdadl. According to the "pastis" entry in French Wikipedia, seems Pernod is not a "true" pastis.

Yes, it is one of those evocative drinks, but no chaleur du Midi de la France this year to make it so alluring.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Mandos on July 27, 2009, 11:05:59 AM
Lagatta: Potatoes in crispy forms, yes, I like.  Potatoes in stewed or boiled forms, generally not, unless it's something like pierogi filling.  I think in omelettes they wouldn't be the crispy kind, would they?  I've become a little more tolerant over the years about this childhood dislike of mushy potatoes (which causes my parents some consternation considering the number of dishes in which âlû is prominent in South Asian cooking, as well as other root vegetables I don't like), but I don't go out of my way to eat them.

I've also never been a big fan of lentils/dâl, if you can wrap your head around that one.

But it's the mushy foods that I dislike most.  Never liked melon.  Don't generally favour boiled forms of squash.  Can only eat eggplant in grilled form.  And so on...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 11:34:33 AM
Actually, a properly made Spanish potato tortilla IS rather crispy. No, it is not "low-fat" - the potatoes are fried in olive oil, and then eggs, potatoes and onion are ALL refried in olive oil. The one we had on Saturday was crispy.

I do understand an aversion for mush - in South Asian food I'm more inclined to the drier dishes. I LOATHE poutine - why do that to good frites?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Mandos on July 27, 2009, 11:52:08 AM
Oh, I love poutine, actually.  If served *very* fresh, with the gravy and cheese *just* poured on.  So that the potatoes are still crispy.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Caissa on July 27, 2009, 01:50:39 PM
You trying to have your first heart attack before I have mine Mandos?

I love poutine as well.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pookie on July 27, 2009, 02:37:35 PM
Am trying for a reservation at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal this weekend.  If so, will try the foie gras poutine.

ETA: Re cooking, had a hankering for succotash this weekend, but couldn't find corn to my liking. :(
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: kuri on July 27, 2009, 03:21:30 PM
(Trying again to post this).

This past weekend and the coming week is HOT in Edmonton so I made up a big batch of watermelon gazpacho to keep handy in the fridge, and got a little goat cheese to put on top of it. Also, made sure I have fixings for Pimm's Cup and a big pitcher of iced tea made up. That, along with lettuce/nasturium/raspberry salads from the garden should get me through a while. Also considering pizza with chard or kale from the garden but I don't think I want to turn on the oven for even a short while when it's this warm. Can I BBQ pizza with a regular dough crust or should I just get some flatbread pre-made for this?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pookie on July 27, 2009, 03:36:15 PM
Quote from: kuri
Can I BBQ pizza with a regular dough crust or should I just get some flatbread pre-made for this?

Either will work.  Nigella Lawson has a recipe for grilled flatbreads, she tops with things like halloumi and red chilli.  She puts down foil first.  Fresh pizza dough is supposed to go straight on the grill.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/part ... index.html (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/party-starters/grilled-flatbread-recipe/index.html)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 03:40:59 PM
Hi Kuri!!! Kuri and pookie - a double treat!

Yes, you can definitely do pizza from scratch on the bbq - just google it. Actually, much closer to authentic pizza. No, you don't want to heat up your kitchen oven for pizza - highest setting - in a heatwave. Italians go OUT for pizza in summer evenings and eat it outdoors. Suspect nowadays the people slaving over a hot oven are from the south of the Mediterranean... More than suspect, actually.

See pookie already has a great link!

Pookie, hope you are able to get a spot at APDC. I've never eaten there, as it is expensive and while very good, rather too heavy food for my tastes, but it is certainly something memorable and local. In the summertime, they also feature wonderful fresh fish from the Gaspé, should anyone be interested but find their bill of fare too heavy.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pookie on July 27, 2009, 04:22:35 PM
Hi lagatta!

Yes, I queried whether au pied might be a bit heavy right now, but given the weather it may not be too bad.  Been wanting to go there for ages.  (I mean, my alternative was L'Express for their bone marrow ... :twisted: )

I've recently discovered the foodie board btw (won't identify further), and happened upon your posts there! Haven't signed up myself just yet.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 04:46:22 PM
I pretty much always use the same web handle, unless it is already taken, so I'm easy to find.

Want to amuse people with a persona interested in leftwing politics, travel, food, cookery, history and cats. And even fashion, or rather style, and history and sociology of dress.

"Rootless Cosmo" would make another web handle.  :cool: Provided one understands the rather sombre implications of "rootless cosmopolitan".
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Mandos on July 27, 2009, 04:52:26 PM
I couldn't possibly get a heart attack from poutine because THERE IS NO POUTINE WHERE I LIVE AUGH.  You'd think that Merkins would instantly appreciate the awesomeness of it, considering what else crap delicious food I can get around here, but apparently cheese curds and gravy don't go with fries in the USian psyche.  Weird.

I have poutine 1-2 times a year when I am in Ottawa in the winter.  I put black pepper on it (apparently unorthodox, but works really well).  It is a special treat.

In other news, Ottawa no longer has its independent Loeb grocery chain, I noticed.  They are all now Metros.  Even Couche-Tard preserved the Mac's brand.  Another local institution bites the dust.  Now everyone will wonder why Carleton has a Loeb building (I'm assuming it was the same Loebs).
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: kuri on July 27, 2009, 05:18:03 PM
OK. I am *already* tasting olive oil, sea salt and rosemary on grilled flatbread. Can't wait to get home.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 27, 2009, 07:13:28 PM
Mandos, dBo is very pleased with Metro near her house. I think there is poutine in New England and possibly NYC (as a curiosity) but not farther south.

Kuri, I assume there is another person or persons at your house. Not prying. But you aren't making pizza for the pussycats - they'd prefer meat.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Mandos on July 27, 2009, 07:44:11 PM
I believe in New England they call it "disco fries" and it's not quite the same. Did not see a single poutine stand last year and I trawled a good cross-section of NYC.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Audrey on July 27, 2009, 10:20:47 PM
Mushy potatoes are what is good in a tortilla- that is the way my Tita (Aunt) in Spain and my Dad make it. I've made them crispy before, and it just doesn't taste right to me- the preceding being the reason why probably.

We really love to talk about cooking on this page, don't we ! :D
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pookie on July 27, 2009, 11:48:35 PM
Feeling slightly overstuffed - wound up at the new incarnation of Lee's in Toronto (as in celebuchef Susur Lee before he hightailed it to Manhattan).  Had lovely small plates: "matchstick" potatoes so teeny and crisp we were advised to "mash with our fork to make pick-up easier"!  Also a wonderful watermelon salad with feta and mint, which I have made before but had an additional secret ingredient.  Other goodies too.  Far less $$ than would have been the case at the original version.

Sigh.  We are going on a road trip on my way back to NB and will be doing lots of eating.  But now I am hankering for very good tacos in Kensington Market tomorrow.  Friend is visiting from SK so I have ready-made partner in crime (hubby is on slight diet and has actually been v. good about eating at home...)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: kuri on July 28, 2009, 10:21:02 PM
Nope, lagatta, pizza was just for ME!  :D  :D  :D :eat  (Which allows me to use things like sardines that normal people don't like - that sure got the kittehs' noses a'twitching.) One personal size pizza for supper and two halves for lunches at work.  I made them up today (settled on some kale and joi choi from the garden, mushrooms rescued from the depths of the fridge, mere hours from the point of no eating, and then some sardines and mozza from the Italian Centre). Only downside was the heat was a bit high on the BBQ and there was a bit of blackness on the bottom of the crust (not much, though).

Some unexpected rain killed the heat wave, however. I am grateful for this as it makes for much more pleasant bike commuting weather with a bit of cool and damp.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Caissa on July 29, 2009, 09:10:56 AM
Where in NB Pookie?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Catchfire on July 29, 2009, 03:25:49 PM
Omg. I am eating cold beet & feta cheese soup right now with homemade spelt bread and it is glorious.

Since moving back to Canada, and to a more permanent home, I've embarked on all kinds of projects that I've had on my mind these past few years, but without the real estate, inventory or wherewithal to do it. I've started making my own yogurt and sour cream. These past two days I have been picking the wild blackberries that grow underneath the skytrain and by wreck beach and I just started a batch of blackberry wine (I got the equipment off Craigslist for a song) that I hope will turn out okay. I've never really liked fruit wine, and I've never made my own before, but there were so many blackberries around I had to try it. That, and I've basically fallen in love with British Chef/Walden reinactor Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall, who has a recipe in one of his books.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 07, 2009, 07:19:59 PM
So chilly today that I'm actually making a small lasagne; the one silver lining is that one can make that, or a minestrone etc with fresh, and in many cases organic vegetables. This lasagne will contain kale and chard as well as goat's milk ricotta and a garlicky tomato sauce. But sadly, the tomatoes aren't fresh, odd in August. No field tomatoes yet, and certainly no local San Marzanos.

I'm not eating that tonight; I'm just having a stir-fry with basa fish. But it will be all made and ready to pop in the oven.

I also made a variation of this recently (but not the avocado salsa - just regular salsa) This recipe, like the dish, is USian, and I'm not good enough at maths to make it metric:

Sweetcorn Cakes with Avocado Salsa

TIME/SERVINGS
Makes: 12 cakes
Tasty and summery.
INGREDIENTS
For the cakes:
2 2/3 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from 3 large corn cobs
1 small red onion, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the avocado salsa:
2 ripe avocados, stones removed and diced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
Dash Tabasco Sauce, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
For the cakes:
Heat the oven to 250°F.
Place 2 cups of the corn kernels and the onion, eggs, cilantro, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until combined.
Place in a large bowl, add the remaining corn, and stir to combine.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan over a medium to high heat. When the oil is hot, drop 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture per sweetcorn cake into the pan and cook in batches of three for 1 minute each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while you are making the rest of the cakes. Serve with the avocado salsa.

I don't have a non-stick frying pan, but my cast iron Findlay is so well-seasoned that it requires very little oil.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: steffie on August 19, 2009, 08:33:44 AM
Pickles!!!  I made 12 quarts (Litres) of garlic dill pickles.  They are in the jar-box in my basement.  Being the first time I have made pickles from scratch, I was interested enough to "google around" and look at various recipes, techniques, testimonials, etc.  I discovered that while some recipes use the boiled brine technique (and take 8-12 weeks of "fermenting"), others use all cold ingredients and have a much quicker turnaround time (such as "refrigerator" pickles).   Does anyone know why/how the brine matters?   I plan to give some jars away this winter as gifts, if they turn out.  This may be the start of a yearly ritual.

So, what's the b n' r gang's experience with pickles?  Any good tips/cautions/recipes?  I noticed the gherkin recipe(s) I saw had some strange ingredients, like vanilla.....  

 :funky:  Thanks Debra, for helping me get logged back in.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 19, 2009, 09:44:41 AM
I've never made pickles, steffie, although I watched me mum and old friend J and her partner do it late every summer. There was always a lot of boiling and lifting, of the jars and lids as well as the brine.

I don't know what the difference between boiled and cold brining would be. Cold brining certainly works on meat, although it takes a long time. It might be that cold-brined pickles don't keep as long in a cool place, like your basement, but have to be kept in the fridge? The traditional technique keeps things safely sealed for the whole winter, maybe for years, and not necessarily in the fridge.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on August 19, 2009, 10:57:40 AM
Chemistry and physics.  Women who put up preserves were experts.  The exact combination of salt, vinegar or sugar allowed the food harvested to last until fresh provisions were available.  The right amount of heat is necessary to prevent bacterial contamination, sterilize containers and facilitate the vacuum seal on glass jars.

Freezers changed all that.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: steffie on August 19, 2009, 06:50:47 PM
Pickling improves nutritional value of veggies (http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/pickles/history.html)   :)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on August 19, 2009, 09:08:28 PM
:lol: Great info about food preservation.  I'll send the one about the "pits" to my son-in-law.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Toedancer on August 20, 2009, 12:06:09 AM
Waah! Someday I'll be in a commune or co-op way out there, so I can satisfy this time of the year.

Tomatoes/tomatoes!!!! Yay!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 20, 2009, 08:21:00 AM
Caprese salad -- alternate slices of buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomato; sprinkle with some fresh basil; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Poifect  for this time of year.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: jrootham on August 20, 2009, 11:34:54 AM
And if you want to make it look pretty, don't slice the tomato all the way through and stick the cheese slices in to make a fan.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 20, 2009, 03:55:18 PM
Harder to eat it that way, though. If properly made, layered it looks very attractive indeed.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 21, 2009, 12:40:06 AM
Dinner tonight consisted of President's Choice Pumpkin Ravioli (egg noodle triangles) which were surprisingly good. I made an aglio/olio sauce with a ton of chilis. Tossed some Parm on top.

Definitely gonna buy these ravioli again because they freeze and one can make the sauce anytime.

As for tomato salad, I found this the other day.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/dining/22mlist.html

Quote
1. Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both, O.K.?). You can also add bacon or feta, but there goes the vegan-ness.

2. Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing.

I tried #1 with feta and watermelon. Has to be icy cold. Fantastico!
Gonna try #2 this weekend.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 21, 2009, 10:10:36 AM
I'll definitely try the peaches, as it is peach season and I have a hard time convincing myself to eat any fruit other than tomatoes right now. Must also buy some tiny wild blueberries, as they are one of the healthiest foods on earth.

I'm not very fond of watermelon, though I could see it in that recipe. There are many other melons I prefer, but don't know if they'd go with tomatoes.

I've made the pumpkin ravioli (the President's Choice ones aren't bad, though I find them too sweet) and squash gnocchi, which is fantastic. Think there is a recipe in the old "Vegetarian Epicure" The gnocchi themselves are vegan, if I recall, but in the early Vegetarian Epicure days Anna Thomas put a tonne of butter and cheese on everything. (Her later books are much lower fat).
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 21, 2009, 10:16:54 AM
Another magic combination, and not just for summer, is oranges and red onions. You might not think so, but they work really well together, maybe with some black olives as well, maybe chives on top. There are lots of interesting recipes online for different ways to slice and section them and for dressings that cut the sweetness of the oranges a bit.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 21, 2009, 12:42:28 PM
Indeed. Oranges, onions and olives is a popular combination in the Maghreb and Sicily (perhaps southern Spain as well?)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 21, 2009, 05:25:35 PM
Yeah, especially BLOOD oranges. Yum.

You know, I completely forgot about the Veg Epicure, which is in a box with my other cookbooks. I have two volumes and they date back to the 70s.

But I am way too lazy to make my own pasta.

Used to be a wonderful young woman with a tiny and unassuming un-trendy pasta and cheese shop -- she was from Calabria -- about a 10 minute walk away. Best focaccia in the world. She's make the most delicate ravioli and gnocchi. But she died young, of ovarian cancer.  :cry:
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 03, 2010, 09:47:07 AM
What a sad story, Antonia.

I'm posting a reasonably accurate recipe for a dish popular nowadays in Italy, farro salad. Farro is a kind of spelt (épeautre) but I believe the kind used for salads and such in Italy is more tender than the spelt we usually get here, which takes forever to cook. The Italian farro is available in Italian grocery shops here:

http://porcinichronicles.blogspot.com/2007/06/mediterranean-farro-salad.html

Antonia (or anyone else), I also have a question on how to cook vlita - I bought a big bunch of it. It looks very nutritious - I think it takes a bit more cooking than spinach, and shouldn't really be eaten uncooked. I'm sure the cooking involves a bit of water, a bit of olive oil, and a shot of lemon...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Herr Magoo on August 03, 2010, 10:44:43 AM
The Vegetarian Epicure was the first cookbook I ever bought, at age 21.  I had a vegetarian girlfriend to impress!
 
I made perogies from scratch from it.  Go me!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 03, 2010, 10:53:12 AM
I still have The Joy of Cooking that I brought in 1975, and The Yoga Way Cookbook (vegetarian) that I brought in 1979.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Herr Magoo on August 03, 2010, 11:38:47 AM
Not only is the Joy a comprehensive resource for EVERYTHING, it's also deliciously dry.
 
My favourite was the preamble to the section on gingerbread houses, along the lines of "No matter how small the project or how inappropriate the materials, the urge to build persists".
 
I could read it all day.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 03, 2010, 12:10:20 PM
In 1968 I went to work for a publisher who also owned a bookstore, most fun I've ever had (of the work sort), working in that little office above the store. Regularly boss would say to me, "What do you mean, you've never heard of ... ?" And then I'd be ordered to buy a copy. (I may have got a few free.)  Joy of Cooking was one of the first; it's true, you can learn almost anything from it, although for some reason I keep needing new inspirations with more particular tilts.

I've never had Julia Child's original book, although a friend copied mass quantities of pages out for me. Craig Claiborne's NYT cookbooks became my default in the days I was coming home from trendy restos and wondering how you do that -- Craig always knows. He is surprisingly good on ME cookery.

ETA: The peanut-butter cookies in Joy are the Best Peanut Butter Cookies evah! if you use good peanut butter, chunky, and put a peanut on top of each one.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 03, 2010, 04:38:02 PM
I have my Mom's Joy of Cooking. I have never even opened it.  :crying
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 03, 2010, 05:54:14 PM
Well, I've cooked the vlita. Seems fine.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 03, 2010, 05:59:23 PM
I have my Mom's Joy of Cooking. I have never even opened it.  :crying

Mine is full of coffee, tea, food, and wine stains.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 03, 2010, 06:14:06 PM
Mine too probably. I would also guess grease, and bits of flour and salt.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 03, 2010, 06:55:35 PM
Flour in teh cookbooks! Tell me abouddit! Any cookbook you use a lot will end up with befloured pages -- it's part of their charm.

There's a great recipe for apple stuffing for large birds in the Joy -- I realize that this is not seasonally correct of me, but we're talking about the Joy. My sister and I (the younger of my two younger sisters -- I never know how to say that -- I mean, she is my younger sister, but then so is the other one -- anyway, the youngest of the three, if my younger) made that for the turkey in '03, me tossing in a bunch of cayenne because we were missing something else strategic. OMFG but that was good, plus of course it flavoured the drippings from which Poim made the gravy, which was celestial. I think that is the best stuffing and gravy I have ever et.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 03, 2010, 09:05:07 PM
Funny, I was talking about my Mom's cooking on Sunday with a girlfriend whose Italian mother recently died. She was a brilliant cook, as is her daughter. (We sat getting drunk on her deck eating HOMEMADE nacho chips, with homemade guac, tomatillo goop, and pico di galo. She also made awesome jerk chicken for dinner.

Anyway, she had many regrets about not getting her mother to write down all her recipes. (Her mother died of a brain aneurysm rupture and bleed, rather young.  :o )

I have all my mother's recipes except one. her macaronada, a kind of baked pasta in a tomato-y and chicken dripping sauce. My favourite. I am gonna have to recreate it one day. But it is not the same. She would always make it for me when I came home to Montreal.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: arborman on August 03, 2010, 09:11:43 PM
I have all my mother's recipes except one. her macaronada, a kind of baked pasta in a tomato-y and chicken dripping sauce. My favourite. I am gonna have to recreate it one day. But it is not the same. She would always make it for me when I came home to Montreal.


My grandmother's Trifle recipe died with her, and it is a great loss. 
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 03, 2010, 11:05:03 PM
Sometimes I think that, even if we had the recipes, they aren't made by our dear departed and never can be the same ever ever.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 03, 2010, 11:37:29 PM
I have no idea what happened to me mudder's recipes - I suspect she never had them written down, just cooked everything from what was in her head. I didn't see her use printed recipes often, if at all.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 04, 2010, 08:09:50 AM
Many of the oldest recipes I have are on file cards I copied out from my mother's standards and kept in a little red plastic box -- which I haven't seen since 2004, the penultimate move. *cranky smiley* That box and a few other cookbooks were overspill from the main box for recipes, so I fitted them in with some other books, and there are a number of book boxes I've just never got to in all these years -- they're in there somewhere.

Maybe I should stop trying to unpack things in order and just try the strict "one box a day no matter what it is" regimen.

Me mum had several of the old cookbooks that flour companies -- Purity Flour -- remember them? -- used to publish, from the 30s and 40s. I wish I had those, but the organizer of the dispersal deemed them trash and just sent them away. It seems churlish to complain when you haven't done the work, but I felt the dispersal was a little too rigorous maybe. People are different, eh?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 04, 2010, 02:41:42 PM
Oh those giveaways! We had tons. They always had quaint covers, like with red and white gingham and B&W photos. I guess they got trashed too.

As for your unpacking, I am trying to get rid of stuff. Too much freaking stuff. i shudder to think what I will burden my family with if anything were to happen to me.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 04, 2010, 03:30:11 PM
Why does it always have to be our families?

Y'know, much as I love my family, I really think that the complexities of knowledge and feeling make things tougher at tough times. I am starting to wish that I knew someone like Mr Spock to whom I could give my PoA. Someone who would say to family and close friends, "I'm sure that your feelings are deep and genuine, but they are not useful at this time. Please read the handout, and make an appointment."

That's not always the case, obviously, especially between partners (if the partnership persists, which it doesn't always). But among the siblings of and children of, funny things happen. A Mr Spock is needed.

Herr Magoo: Would you be willing to take on my PoA? ;)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Herr Magoo on August 04, 2010, 03:52:45 PM
Just to be clear, am I being asked because I resemble Mr. Spock (highly logical and dispassionate, only has sex every seven years) or Dr. Spock (good with babies, Olympic gold medalist, leftie)?
 
Anyway, sure.  I'm working on being better at saying "No", so that could be good practice.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 04, 2010, 04:26:08 PM
Herr Magoo: Correct. I feel better already.

ETA: Oops, I see that I misread: Correct about the Mr.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Holly Stick on August 04, 2010, 07:20:32 PM
...Me mum had several of the old cookbooks that flour companies -- Purity Flour -- remember them? -- used to publish, from the 30s and 40s. I wish I had those, but the organizer of the dispersal deemed them trash and just sent them away. It seems churlish to complain when you haven't done the work, but I felt the dispersal was a little too rigorous maybe. People are different, eh?
Yes indeed, there are clashing philosophies of dispersal; I'm sorry you've lost those cookbooks, skdadl. 
 
We went through one mass dispersal years ago when my parents sold the farm and moved to a seniors' apartment; then again several months ago when we moved my mother into one room in a senior's residence.  I was the one who wouldn't let the others get rid of various books and pamphlets, so of course I ended up with them stacked up in boxes in my apartment. 
 
We kept the oldest cookbooks and the ones with written notes, and distributed some others to relatives.  I have the rest now, and leisure to go through them and decide what to keep (not that I cook much at all).  There is a library of ranching and agriculture near Calgary which has a number of old recipe books on its shelves and will probably be happy to have some more.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 04, 2010, 08:02:17 PM
Wow, Holly, we're going through same thing. last month, I was in Montreal packing up Mom's apartment.

I took most of the cookbooks when she sold the house, but not those freebies. Just the actual books, including those marked up. A couple of Greek ones and a great Jewish one with recipes for the best blintzes and kreplach. I also have recipes she wrote out for me in a binder, except for that macaronada recipe.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Holly Stick on August 04, 2010, 09:07:45 PM
Yes, well, downsizing from the farm to an apartment was more work, but there was still a lot of tension in downsizing to a largish room.  It was a wrench for Mum to let some stuff go, but we had to make sure there was room for her armchair and two wheelchairs and other essential furniture, etc. And some family members felt more strongly about cutting down on the stuff than others.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 04, 2010, 09:40:04 PM
And so it goes ...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 23, 2010, 09:25:26 PM
God, I love cucumber sandwiches. That is all.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 23, 2010, 09:42:51 PM
I made some peach salsa, which I don't imagine is remotely authentic, but a nice variation on fruit chutneys and such with no tooth-rotting concentrated sugar:

Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 23, 2010, 10:15:22 PM
To me, peach and mango are virtually interchangeable so, if you can make a mango salsa, why not a peach one? Sounds yummy to me!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 23, 2010, 11:16:28 PM
I'm watching "Top Chef"on the Food Network, and the competitors have to cook based on food memories and where they went from there, and that got me thinking about my own experiences with food.

I guess the earliest clear memory I have is about 1959, I'm ten years old, and my mother is making her great pasta sauce to go over spaghetti.

Actually, I can go back to about 1956 at Woodland Camp on the Ottawa River near Quyon in the summer, and having porridge for the first time in my life - I hated it.

But mum's spaghetti stands out over all my food memories.
 
 
ETA: It took me 40+ years to learn to appreciate porridge/hot oatmeal. I now eat it all winter.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 24, 2010, 12:56:10 AM
That's like me and Red River. Hated hated hated it. then, in the mid-late 90s, I was at the Banff Springs Hotel, in their so-called spa restaurant, where they had a vat of it, along with stuff like fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc.

Been eating it almost every morning ever since, with a handful of nuts (walnuts and/or almonds), cinnamon, non-fat yogurt (sounds weird but I like it), and fruit (usually berries.)

Me, I can remember my very first slice of pizza. 1959. Board Walk. Ocean Park, Maine.

Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 24, 2010, 07:36:50 AM
I still hate camp-style porridge. I'll be working this weekend at a conference held at what is usually a camp for disabled children, and as I recall there is always porridge as a breakfast choice, and it is a horrid, thin, gluey gruel.

Steel-cut oatmeal porridge, Red River cereal and those multigrain mixes from natural food shops are all very good cooked in a crockpot, without stirring.

If I know I'll be somewhere with no decent food, I do take a bit of emergency rations. Probably some of that heavy German whole-rye bread. And a bottle of hot sauce, of course.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 24, 2010, 07:51:48 AM
The first food I can remember tasting was a butterscotch sucker, which my brother and I were dipping into our milk as we sat at our mini-table on the porch, while Mum and Dad at the big people's table held the new baby who had just come home from the hospital. I would have been not quite three. Crystal-clear memory, if isolated. The second taste that is imprinted came from the first dill pickle I bit into; that jolted my continuous memory into action.

Calgary got its first pizza joint when I was in maybe grade 10? So 1960.

I've been on and off about oatmeal over the years, as I have been on and off about fat dairy products -- for a long time I'll think that skim tastes best, but then I'll switch back to homo, and so it goes. A great fast breakfast is oatcakes with a bit of butter on them and some real marmalade -- they taste much richer than they are, and great marmalade is a special experience. Orange, lemon -- one of the few times I really like a bit of rind. A dash of whisky is allowed. I even make tomato marmalade.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: skdadl on August 24, 2010, 07:53:49 AM
Oh, and kippers! We used to have kippers for breakfast occasionally when I were a tad, and I adored them, still do. Sooo hard to find decent kippers here. The little tinned ones have an acceptable flavour, but they're pretty watery.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 24, 2010, 09:35:15 AM

Me, I can remember my very first slice of pizza. 1959. Board Walk. Ocean Park, Maine.

My first taste of pizza was a slice at the Ottawa Ex probably in 1962.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 24, 2010, 09:38:07 AM
Oh, and kippers! We used to have kippers for breakfast occasionally when I were a tad, and I adored them, still do. Sooo hard to find decent kippers here. The little tinned ones have an acceptable flavour, but they're pretty watery.

Tinned sardines were a lunch item for us as long as I can remember living with my family of origin - mashed, mixed with a bit of mayo and green relish, and used to make sandwiches. I still make sardine sandwiches this way almost 50 years later.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Croghan27 on August 24, 2010, 01:08:43 PM
It must be a food kinna day at Democracy Now ....The redoubtable Amy Goodman has a couple of stories, here (http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/24/largest_egg_recall_in_us_history) and here (http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/24/david_kirby_on_the_looming_threat), on the food industry in the US.

I believe they are a bit superfluous for Canada as I believe we have some of them thar suoooosalist marketing boards that protect us from the extremes of the huge operations in the US. (We have our own problems.)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on September 01, 2010, 08:58:58 PM
Rosh Hashanah (various transliterations) comes in late summer this year, and I thought some recipes from a recent book on French Jewish cooking would be nice, especially as all the Sephardic ones could also be dishes for Eid al Fitr (festival marking the end of Ramadan), coming up about the same time: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/highholydays/nathanfrenchroshhashanah

It depends on lunar sightings, but normally they should overlap this year.
Title: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on September 13, 2010, 05:30:25 PM
On my way home I walked through the Byward Market.  One booth had a wide range of small tomatoes: cherry, mini-plums, tiny yellow and bite-sized black ones.  Black tomatoes are not actually black (http://www.tradewindsfruitstore.com/servlet/the-Tomatoes-cln-Black-Tomatoes/Categories); they're beautifully variegated in shades of burgundy, vermillion and olive, often with splashes of lighter colour. 
 
I slowly devoured a small pint container after I sprayed them with water to wash off the field dirt.  A few were astonishingly sweet, almost like grapes.  Others were naturally salty.  Each one had a taste different from its sibling - a whole range of sweet, salty and tangy.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on September 13, 2010, 10:15:20 PM
On my way home I walked through the Byward Market. 

That was my second home in Ottawa. :applause
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Toedancer on September 13, 2010, 10:33:13 PM
I used all of my green/red peppers and tomatoes and made a ginormous sgetti sauce and have just placed in airtight glass containers in various sizes for freezing. I still have tomatoes so am making a Tomato Pie and Tomato Basil Tarts tomorrow. Just need to go get some sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Gruyere. Perfect weather, wonderfully fresh ingredients, yum.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on September 13, 2010, 10:42:55 PM
I bought all my tomatoes in - not very many, but still nice. I'll leave the hundred or so carrots for another week unless we get heavy frost. I bring in lettuce and chard as I am ready to use them. The lettuce is crispy - better than we get in the stores here.
 
Overall, the garden was a disappointment compared to last year - we just did not get enough warm weather. And this follows our warmest winter on record!!! Go figure.  :confused
Title: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: deBeauxOs on September 13, 2010, 11:10:21 PM
Boom Boom, you just made me think about something.  k'in had some stray tomato plants growing from wild seeds, left by windfall fruit.  One of the bite-sized tomatoes had split skin and I avoid eating those, unless they're plucked from my own plants.
 
I'll retrieve it from the compost pail and save it for the seeds.  I'll put half of them in the ground, after the fall clean-up and I'll start the others inside in late March.  Oh ... a science experiment!  It would be lovely to grow black tomatoes; I believe they're heirloom.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on September 13, 2010, 11:38:52 PM
Boom Boom, you just made me think about something.  k'in had some stray tomato plants growing from wild seeds, left by windfall fruit. 

They're tiny seeds, and take a long time to grow. I order cheap plants from Veseys in May, keep them indoors until mid-June, then plant them outside. I might try the seed route again, though, as I have more room for pots inside thanks to my renovations.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 01, 2011, 01:47:38 PM
I bought some fresh peas in the pod from the Jiminez brothers - their mother from Spain is dead now, sadly, but the brothers and family members still sell their no-pesticide or chemical fertiliser but not organically certified (they don't want to pay for it) produce out of a truck at Jean-Talon Market at weekends. Most of the pods were still very green so I seethed them with an onion and a small amount of water in my crockpot, getting enough stock to cook a rice with the peas, and a sofrito of Spanish onion and lardons. It isn't quite a risotto as I didn't stir it and it isn't so liquid, but there is also a bit of grated romano cheese and quite a bit of finely-minced parsley. This could be eaten hot, cold or lukewarm.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 07, 2011, 10:49:47 AM
Back to the Jiminez brothers at the market early this morning (before the weekend crowds) for fresh gourganes (broad beans/fava beans/fabas) in the pod and a lovely bunch of aragula (rocket, roquette). Then some fresh cilantro for chile I was making from ground bison (on sale), a small tin of Eden organic red beans in spices for chile, a red onion, half a red sweet pepper and various spices and herbs. Pinch of smoked Spanish paprika a biggie - doesn't take much, lovely smoky flavour.

I haven't figured out what to do with the gourganes yet, but I'll thnk of something.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 07, 2011, 05:07:32 PM
Your food posts always intrigue me.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 07, 2011, 06:58:13 PM
Well, then you'll have to tell me how you cook vlita (on special at PA this coming week as is ewe's milk yoghurt)...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on August 07, 2011, 07:24:47 PM
With the veggie garden dead, I broiled a small beef roast and a very small ham for dinner beef submarine sandwiches and breakfast ham 'n eggs. Veggies can be expensive at the local stores, but I'm just cooking for one, so don't need a lot of them. Mostly I shop for lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, but occasionally other stuff like carrots and potatoes - although I rely on frozen veggies as they last much longer and are cheaper. And whatever fresh fruits are in season.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 07, 2011, 10:08:58 PM
Thanks for the tip. I will pick some up tomorrow -- although i was hoping to find a minute to make it to the Atwater market for some fresh berries on my way to Lasalle. As for how to cook vlita, I cook it the same way (more or less) I cook dandelions or even rapini.

Big pot, heavy lid. Little bit of olive oil and garlic. Water on the leaves from having been well washed. Maybe a half-cup or more on the bottom, depending on the pot and the quantity of greens. (It's hard to say really. I go by feel.) Cover and keep on a low heat for about 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it, just in case it needs more water, or flipping/tossing.

Drizzle with lemon (and/or vinegar) and good olive oil.

Some people serve vlita with tzatziki or skorthalia, and bread of course. I sometimes crumble some feta on top. I almost always eat this stuff cold or at room temp.

By the way, there is a cheese here in Quebec I am cuckoo about. Cendrillon (http://www.cnw.ca/fr/releases/archive/October2009/02/c3468.html)!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 08, 2011, 07:07:33 AM
Good. So I was doing it right.

Yes, Cendrillon is a lovely goat's cheese. I'm very fond of it. Easy to find at Jean-Talon and Atwater markets, and also at PA.

The berries (blueberries, raspberries and the late-variety strawberries which we didn't have decades ago) are wonderful this year, though I suppose the farmers are irrigating as it has been so dry. I have blueberries today and will have them for breakfast with a surprisingly good muesli + whole grain flakes cereal from IGA - surprising as it isn't loaded with f-ing sugar as far too many of those supposedly "healthy" cereals are.

I think I'll only buy the vlita later this week as I have far too much salad - the romaine I bought and even the arugula are too big! I hate wasting good food, perhaps a neighbour could use some.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Toedancer on August 28, 2011, 12:07:10 PM
Finally a day cool enuf to have an oven roast with yorkshire pudding and gravy. Perhaps this should be under comfort food.  :drool
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pogge on August 28, 2011, 01:13:33 PM
an oven roast with yorkshire pudding and gravy  :drool
What time should I be there?
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Toedancer on August 28, 2011, 02:39:53 PM
You may attend pogge, if you bring a gaily wrapped birthday present.
This is currently on her list. http://www.hunter-boot.com/2/34/Shop-Online/Original-Gloss/APPLE-GREEN/W23616_AGR.aspx?ReturnQString=%2f2%2fShop-Online%2fProducts.aspx%3fcategoryID%3d53-34-51%26selectedpage%3d0%26pagingenabled%3dTrue (http://www.hunter-boot.com/2/34/Shop-Online/Original-Gloss/APPLE-GREEN/W23616_AGR.aspx?ReturnQString=%2f2%2fShop-Online%2fProducts.aspx%3fcategoryID%3d53-34-51%26selectedpage%3d0%26pagingenabled%3dTrue)


With Welly Socks too, if you please. Do you have daughters pogge?  :popcorn
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: pogge on August 28, 2011, 03:29:24 PM
There are no little pogges of either gender. Nice boots.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 28, 2011, 07:09:04 PM
I wish I'd bought an organic chicken (on sale this week at PA Supermarché) to roast, but I was flustered yesterday and in a meeting all day today, and after the meeting the rain and wind were too strong to go anywhere but directly home. Also, I feared a power outage, and I have plenty of things on hand I can eat without turning on the oven.

Yesterday, I sautéed some mushrooms, sliced not too thin, with a large clove of local organic garlic and a small medium (semi-hot) Portuguese red pepper. Yum!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 28, 2011, 09:45:30 PM
I confess that I have been feeling a little blue lately and, last night, when a girlfriend/Star colleague who lives two blocks away from me and I met for dinner, i said I didn't want to go to the same old places. There are some pricier restos in the hood, and one in particular, I have never gone to unless somebody else (a man) was paying. Since the current BF is a meat and potatoes guy, I have never been with him. So i went with my girlfriend.

OMG. I loved it. We started with roast beet and fennel salad for her and sauteed spinach with bacon and shaved parm for me. We both had mushroom ristotto (for dying) and sides of garlic bok choy and charred asparagus. (We both were craving veg)

It was wayyyyy too much food, especially since they give you excellent bread and wonderful spicy hummous to start, plus they comped us a shrimp martini (i.e. fancy grilled shrimp cocktail with some kind of chili-lime dip). We had terrific mojitos, no wine.

We got doggie bags and I enjoyed my veg and risotto for lunch.

I was surprised and delighted that this came out to $100 even, because it,s clear they have increased their portions and kept their prices down.

I will be going back!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on August 28, 2011, 10:05:38 PM
That is extremely reasonable for such a meal in Toronto, though I'd be unhappy doing a fancy meal without wine. I love wine. Indifferent to mojitos and most mixed drinks. I can enjoy one if a friend is making them, but nothing like the orgasmic joy of a good food/wine pairing.

And I'll attempt those veg dishes. Assume the asparagus is done on a grill?

Though obviously, if impecunious, cat food comes first!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on August 28, 2011, 10:28:18 PM
We were going to order wine but the Mojitos were monstrous. So we ended up drinking them through dinner. And yes, the asparagus were grilled. My warm spinach salad was very good, surprisingly so.

http://lolitaslust.ca/ (http://lolitaslust.ca/)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: sparqui on August 29, 2011, 09:56:22 AM
That meal sounds delicious, Antonia. And a very reasonable price.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on September 01, 2011, 09:28:33 PM
We must rally a bit that these few weeks are the absolute apex of local produce. the delicate Sicilian aubergines/eggplants and the refined white ones have emerged, peaches and blueberries are in abundance, there are fine local potatoes and still lots of greens.

It is an excellent time to make minestrone! (or many other variations, not just the Ligurian one). Here is a take from the Guardian, but there are many others. I pretty much play minestrone by ear.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/sep/01/how-to-cook-perfect-minestrone-soup

Tomorrow I'm poaching/braising a little organic chicken though, with fresh veg and ginger. Ideas welcome.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on September 02, 2011, 05:20:52 PM
I had the chicken (browned a bit) and the chopped vegetables - onion, celery, carrots then long sweet red peppers and mushrooms, along with garlic and ginger and some herbs, simmering in the crockpot but it wasn't working, so I took everything out and did them in another dish. Not a disaster, just some dishes to do, but I really didn't want to waste the somewhat expensive ingredients I had used (organic chicken, a half-bottle of very ordinary white wine) or the lovely seasonal vegetables. One problem was the fact that the alcohol in the wine was not cooking off so the sauce had a very strange smell. I've removed both all chicken and all veg at the end and am cooking down the liquids, to a very rich taste. I'm also adding some lemon juice and a bit of tamari.

People who consume no alcohol whatsoever can make a similar dish based on a mix of poultry stock and lemon.

I'm not eating this tonight - I'm visiting friends. Others are coming over tomorrow, but I'll still have too much left over...
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on September 02, 2011, 06:26:15 PM
I'm going home to one of my own classic Cobb salads, minus the chopped egg. It is stifling outside. I can't imagine eating anything hot, except nachos.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on September 21, 2011, 03:08:54 PM
Today's NY Times. I am gonna do it with dandelions:

September 20, 2011 Stewed Greens with Tomatoes and Mint By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN   This is inspired by a Greek recipe from the island of Corfu, from Diane Kochilas’s book “The Greek Vegetarian.” I love the way the greens and tomatoes are infused with mint. If you want to try more unusual greens from your farmers’ market, like amaranth or purslane, they will work in this dish.       
 2 pounds Swiss chard or kale, stemmed and washed, or a 1-pound bag of stemmed, washed Southern greens       
 Salt       
 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional if desired for drizzling       
 1 large onion, chopped       
 2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced       
 2 teaspoons sweet paprika       
 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne       
 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and grated (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/health/nutrition/23recipehealth.html?ref=tomatoes), or peeled, seeded and chopped, or a 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice       
 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint       
 1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel or dill       
 2 tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water       
 Freshly ground black pepper       
 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the greens. Blanch chard for 1 minute, Southern greens or kale for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice water, then drain and squeeze out water. Coarsely chop and set aside. Alternatively, steam the greens in a large steamer – 2 minutes for chard, 3 to 4 minutes for kale. Rinse and squeeze dry.       
 2. In a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is tender and beginning to color, 5 to 8 minutes, and add the garlic, paprika and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrant, and add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the greens, herbs and diluted tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the greens are very tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, bulgur or just some good, crusty bread.
 Yield: Serves 4 to 6       
 Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead and reheat.       
 Nutritional information per serving (4 servings):  185 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 26 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary fiber; 529 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 8 grams protein       
  Martha Rose Shulman (http://www.martha-rose-shulman.com/) is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health (http://www.nytstore.com/The-Very-Best-Recipes-for-Health-by-Martha-Rose-Shulman_p_5541.html).”        
         
 Nutritional information per serving (6 servings):  123 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 17 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 353 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 5 grams protein
   
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on May 24, 2012, 12:05:26 PM
Working on cold pasta salads now.
 
 
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 08, 2012, 06:51:37 AM
I'm copying the recipe Antonia posted above last year, as those wonderful healthful things are coming into season now, but today I'm cooking some small green beans and potatoes to eat cold in a kind of salade niçoise.

At the other end of the culinary spectrum (The Very Worst of Recipes for Health?), at the Globe and Mail website yesterday, I saw how to "improve" corn on the cob by wrapping it in bacon.

Yes, I know bacon adds flavour, but isn't it becoming rather a culinary cliché, and a way of "being bad"?

Edited to add: Thought I'd add these Second World War vintage tips, including "overeating is overheating"...
http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/07/vintage-summer-tips-from-the-u-s-government-overeating-is-overheating/?utm_source=smithsoniantopic&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20120708-Weekender

This could go in the July thread too, with the record-breaking heatwaves.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on July 08, 2012, 09:10:12 PM
Have perfect my Cobb salad since last summer. Eating one right now.

Mesclun greens plus arugula
Julienned carrot (yes!)

Grape tomatoes

Chicken or turkey

Blue cheese

Whole avocado

Bacon bits (I use fake because I never eat pork anymore)

Garlic powder (not salt), red wine plus balsamic vinegar, olive oil

The first two ingredients are basically prepared, prewashed etc. Just throw them in the bowl. (I buy a big box of mesclun and a small of arugula. I can get 3-4 salads out of that.

Sometimes I buy rotisserie chicken which lasts me and the furkids a few days. Most often I buy vacuum-packed precooked chicken or turkey strips, without preservatives.

The goal is to make this as simple as possible, with a minimum of preparation. I now have it under 10 minutes. I buy enough of everything for 3-4 salads and I love this so much I am happy to eat it that many days in a row.

Plus it's so healthy!
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 08, 2012, 09:30:59 PM
That looks lovely. The Globe and Mail bit about the corn on the cob wrapped in bacon sort of grossed me out. Bacon is appealing, but it is terribly unhealthy. I can buy ethically-reared pork here, but still avoid it. I'll eat it chez des amis, but few friends eat much pork.

Antonia, I have a portable carrot (and other veg) julienne gizmo from Zyliss that is carrot orange. It is going in my bag with the Opinel knife, the corkscrew and a flexible flat cutting board along with other necessities. Not useful for doing julienne veg for a crowd, but for one or two people, good insurance of carotene. I've seen one in Southeast Asian shops that is cheaper (think it is made in Thailand), don't know whether it is as good.

I confess that I dislike grape (or worse, cherry) tomatoes. The ideal would be small ripe ones, perhaps San Marzano (we don't get the kind people in Italy - perhaps Greece? - use in salads, that are a mix of red and green when fully ripe. I'll eat them, but I cut them up as I find them too watery and don't like them "popping" in my mouth.

I've never seen precooked chicken like that here without preservatives and dodgy stuff.  Since I most often work at home, I buy good-quality chicken (at least "poulet de grain", organic if I have the $$) and roast it with no spices in my little countertop convection oven. Furfriend eats at least half. He is a very old baby and I feel the need to indulge him, as he won't always eat his high-quality croquettes.

I roast the chicken ahead of time, usually early in the morning, as I don't like to have to do a lot of 'stuff' at suppertime.Though today I've prepared new green beans and tiny Ratte potatoes (once again in advance) for a semi salade niçoise, though it won't necessarily involve tuna.

I was at the St-Hubert street sale this week, and so much horribly greasy junkfood. No, I didn't eat any. It was really too greasy to appeal. On the other hand, I happily met up with friends, and found a lovely denim jacket.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Antonia on July 08, 2012, 09:44:27 PM
Look for Maple Leaf Prime Naturally Cooked chicken and turkey (http://www.mapleleafprime.ca/en/Products/MapleLeafPrime/Pages/MapleLeafPrimeNaturallyFullyCookedandSlicedTurkeyBreasts400g.aspx).

e.g.

Quote
TURKEY, WATER, VINEGAR, POTATO STARCH, FLAVOUR, SEA SALT, HONEY, CANE SUGAR, SPICE, GARLIC POWDER, ONION POWDER.

ETA: Oh and the reason I use grape tomatoes is to cut down on all work, including chopping tomatoes. The goal is to get it in the bowl asap before I get tempted to eat junk.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on July 08, 2012, 10:14:50 PM
I usually like a couple of shows on The Food Network, but all of them have taken to saying stupid stuff like "bacon makes everything better". No, it doesn't.
 
Case in point: someone on that network demonstrated how to make 'bacon ice cream'. I think the network should have been fined for showing that - North Americans are obese enough without that crap.
 
ETA: OXFAM says:  "The Sahel region of West Africa is once again likely to face a serious food crisis that could, if early and effective action is not taken, prove as costly to lives and livelihoods as the past food crises. Oxfam aims to reach 1.2 million people across the region with aid."
 
I find it incomprehensible that folks are putting bacon in ice cream while millions around the world are hungry. I'm starting to really hate The Food Network.   :annoyed
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 09, 2012, 07:46:33 AM
Most people in Sahelian countries such as Mali, Mauritania (which also straddles the Sahara) and Senegal are Muslim, so sending them bacon would be adding insult to injury. Desertification is continuing apace, and with climate change is affecting the Mediterranean countries north of the Sahara as well. It played a part in sparking off the Tunisian revolution, and a friend sent me photos taken in Greece that show hilly areas (high hills or old, low mountains) that have not recovered from the huge fires there a few years back.

Boom Boom, there is also President's Choice Black Label (the most expensive line) bacon marmelade. (you must also remember marmelade in big tins, in the postwar years, but it didn't contain bacon, just Seville oranges).

Pork production is also highly polluting of waterways, and seems especially cruel. Pigs may be taboo in different religions, but they are also very intelligent animals, and suffer terribly from how they are treated on megafarms.

Some other food media are much more attuned to environmental and social justice problems relating to food. I don't have a television at home (I look at a bloody screen all day, much of it looking up definitions and translations, so don't need that, hence have only seen the Food Network when visiting people. Best thing to do is write to them; it can't hurt.

Margaret Wente wrote one of her usual stupid columns slamming the "locavore" movement as an upper-middle-class indulgence. I am by no means "upper-middle-class" (whatever that means, I assume for someone with as little analysis as her, it would refer to income and consumption) but I strive to buy local produce whenever possible.

Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on July 09, 2012, 09:51:34 AM

Boom Boom, there is also President's Choice Black Label (the most expensive line) bacon marmelade. (you must also remember marmelade in big tins, in the postwar years, but it didn't contain bacon, just Seville oranges).


I remember getting Dundee marmalade also in white earthenware jars, as well as glass later on. I hate President's Choice - it's such a bourgeoise idea. I'm starting to think the only decent show on The Food Network is Chef At Home (Michael Smith - from PEI I think, maybe Nova Scotia). He uses local fresh ingredients whenever possible, meals are always simple, nothing gross or really unappealing like all the other shows on that network.
 
 
I love marmalade, but rely on the homemade stuff from friends here - being in such a tiny community we don't get quality stuff - just Kraft and Smuckers. Both are overloaded with sugar.  :annoyed
 
ETA: If anyone wants to make a few bucks, send me some Dundee - I'll make it worth your while.
 
ETA: I think Dundee is out of business - this is the only company still making marmalade in Dundee, Scotland: Mackays (http://www.mackays.com/products.html)
 
excerpt: The Dundee Orange Marmalade
   In 1797 marmalade as we know it was first produced in Dundee, Scotland.  We are now the last remaining producer of this iconic product, in the Dundee area.
 
(I'm Scotch on me mudder's side - Munro -  me granny was very old fashioned Scottish)
 

 
 
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Sharon on July 09, 2012, 05:28:12 PM
Boom Boom, I'm right with you on the Food Network. There are almost no instructive gentle cooking shows any more. Most of the shows have some element of "Reality TV" competitiveness about them and they're simply formula TV with language warnings! I wrote a little bit about such shows recently:
 
http://www.twrblogtalk.blogspot.ca/2011/02/watch-your-language.html (http://www.twrblogtalk.blogspot.ca/2011/02/watch-your-language.html)
 
You're right about Chef Michael Smith. His show is still enjoyable. He's originally American -- from New York -- but he came to PEI years ago. He spent time here in Nova Scotia -- had a restaurant here -- but he's now back in PEI. (He got married and went back to PEI and they had a baby. I regret to say, the marriage didn't last. I think his little boy would be around 10 now.)
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: Boom Boom on July 09, 2012, 07:09:24 PM
Thanks, Sharon. I'm trying to get The Food Network off my satellite feed.
Title: Re: Summer cooking ... or not
Post by: lagatta on July 10, 2012, 08:23:01 AM
I blanched some Vlita (a type of green amaranth eaten as a leaf vegetable in Greek cooking; similar bitter herbs are eaten throughout the Mediterranean) this morning, precisely because I knew I couldn't be bothered to blanch and prepare it at suppertime.

Yes, the "reality show" and "tough guy" approach to cookery shows is more than a bit obnoxious. However, Boom Boom, if it doesn't save you money, why not keep the channel and only watch the show(s) you like?