Archive for August, 2012

basil pesto

If you have lots of basil and are not using it to flavor jars of tomato sauce, now is the time to cut all the leaves and make some pesto.

Please keep all the stems. Wash and dry them well before putting them in ziplock bags for freezing. They are perfect for when you make broth or to add extra flavor to tomato sauce.

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ingredients

olive oil (hemp oil)

basil leaves (washed and dried)

few cloves of garlic

walnuts (pine nuts, hemp seeds or pistachio nuts)

salt and pepper to taste

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Mix everything in a food processor

Fill small containers leaving headroom for expansion

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arugula pesto

With temperatures still the high 20’s, the last thing we want to think about is the end of summer. However, when I take a look at my garden that is not as green as a few weeks ago, I feel the end is near.

We can’t preserve the summer heat for later use, but a short visit to your local market will tempt you to preserve just about everything you see. From tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, fruits, and every herb imaginable, you can be preserving the whole month of September. However, if you are not an avid canner or preserver, take baby steps and start small. You will definitely enjoy your hard work later during the year when you are mixing arugula pesto to your penne, gnocchis or spaghetti.

There are hundreds of ways to make pesto. Use your imagination and pick herbs and ingredients you enjoy. In this recipe I used arugula instead of basil. You can also use both, but I wanted the taste and smell of arugula to dominate the dish.

We are so lucky to have fresh baby arugula leaves available all year. But the taste from locally grown plants and of course your garden is something special. The older the arugula plant is the stronger the flavor. I prefer the taste of the young leaves. I find the older leaves are too bitter.

A few cloves of fresh garlic

Hemp is a great alternative to pine nuts or walnuts

Mix everything together in a food processor and fill your containers leaving some headroom for expansion. When I make pesto to use right away, I add parmesan cheese. But if I make a batch for freezing I leave out the cheese and add it fresh when it’s defrosted.

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ingredients

olive oil (hemp oil)

2 cups arugula leaves (washed and dried)

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup hemp seeds (pine nuts, pine nuts or pistachio nuts)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

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Mix everything in a food processor

Fill small containers leaving headroom for expansion

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There is no need to do any cooking this month. The garden is full of goodies waiting to be picked, chopped and shredded into my favorite salad, smoothie or juice.

Cut the zucchini paper thin and the cherry tomatoes in half or quarter, depending on the size. Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste and a handful of chopped parsley. Enjoy!!

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Quick, simple and delicious. No need to add anything else.

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Boil 3-4 beets
Do not peel the beets (or bake them for about 90 min. at 350) until tender
Use rubber gloves or paper towels to rub skins off the beets.
The peel will just slip off
Cool and cut as you like
Add salt, pepper
3-4 tbsp olive oil
wine or balsamic vinegar
mix in some chopped parsley
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instructions coming soon!

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instructions coming soon!

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garden fresh stir fry

Everything in my garden looked good this morning, so I picked a little of everything. A stir fry this colorful can accompany anything you have on hand, meat, rice, noodles, quinoa….etc.. I decided to cook some quinoa and noodles.

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ingredients

2 tbls coconut oil

3 shallots chopped

few garlic bulbs chopped

slice or chop any vegetable  (swiss chard, kale, celery, carrots, peppers)

a few cherry tomatoes cut in half and squeeze out seeds

parsley and basil

salt  /  pepper

parmesan cheese

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Heat pan with coconut oil, add shallots and cook until wilted
Add vegetables and cook for a few minutes until tender
Mix in garlic, parsley and basilAdd salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta in a colander
Mix together the pasta and stir fry and reserved water if needed
Cook quinoa the same way as rice (steamed, boiled…etc..)

Mix together the quinoa and stir fry

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

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Last week the Gazette featured this great recipe from  Laura Calder‘s latest cookbook, Dinner Chez Moi: The Fine Art of Feeding Friends. I sent the link to all my family and friends and we all tried it.
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Serves 6

2 pounds zucchini

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

125 g bacon (about 4 strips), cut in lardons (optional)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

500 g Swiss chard leaves, parboiled, squeezed dry, chopped

60 g finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted

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Shred zucchini coarsely, sprinkle with salt and let drain on rack for 30 minutes.

Rinse in cold water, then squeeze dry in towels and place in large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use a little olive oil to oil an 8-cup baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large, heavy frying pan over medium heat and fry bacon until cooked but not crisp.

Drain on paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to pan and cook onions until soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add mixture to zucchini. Then add Swiss chard and two-thirds of the Parmesan cheese. Stir in egg, crème fraîche, and paprika.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into prepared pan.

Mix remaining Parmesan cheese with bread crumbs and parsley and sprinkle over surface of zucchini mixture.

Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until very hot and the top is crisp and golden.

Serve hot.

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There is nothing more relaxing to me than going to the Jean Talon market very early in the morning while the farmers are still setting up their displays and unloading their fresh produce.

Last Thursday, a young man, probably the son of the farmer was setting up a beautiful display of cauliflowers. He had them in rows of different colors and sizes. I was tempted to buy the biggest one, but I opted for a small traditional white one, only because I knew I would not have the time this week to cook it all. I decided to cut the cauliflower in small florets and make a quick stir fry to go with grilled chicken.

ingredients

1 small cauliflower separated into small florets

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 chopped onion

few cloves of chopped garlic

chopped basil, parsley, celery (or any other herb you like)

parmesan cheese ______________________________________________________

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat

Add the onion and stir fry until slightly golden then start adding the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated

Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom then toss the cauliflower with a spatula

Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden – about six minutes.

In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic

Remove from heat and stir in the parsley,  basil,  and celery

Dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch salt ______________________________________________________

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