Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crab

What are your favourite crab recipes? I guess living far from the ocean I don’t have many in my repertoire. I think I’ve only made crab cakes and that seems to be mostly what comes up when I search the internet. I’ve heard some critics say crab cakes are an awful waste of good crab, but I don’t know though, there is something that really appeals to me about them and I often order them off a menu as a starter when eating out.

I have some frozen crab meat thawing in the fridge right now and I’ve been trying to decide what I should do with it for dinner tonight, and since it’s a weeknight I want something quick and easy. I saw this recipe, or maybe I'll just make a crab sandwich.... which is sort of like a crab cake on a bun though. 

 



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gardening is rewarding

This here is my very first vegetable from our garden.  I planted millions of radishes and I'm not even a big fan.  I guess it's because I heard they're easy to grow and I liked hearing that since this is my first garden.
I feel like I could start liking radishes more.  It was just one of those things I didn't like as a kid and forgot to try again as an adult, until now.  They're not all that bad.  Does anybody have any interesting recipes that use radishes?  I put this one in a salad Phil and I had for lunch.  I cannot wait until we can have a salad completely made from vegetables grown in our garden! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mercatto

Another one of my favourite places to eat close to work. Becuase it's always packed, it’s key to go after the lunch rush or make a reservation. Although I have tried making reservations a day before and still had no luck.  I don't usually plan where I'm eating much more before that. 


See how they put the prosciutto and arugula on top of the pizza after it's cooked?  Love it.

Friday I left early to meet Keri who was visiting from NYC and her sister Shannon for a late lunch. It was so great to catch up with her before we left to the cottage. I was pleasantly surprised to find a spot on the patio since it was such a perfect day out.  You know, it was probably because of World Cup.  I think Bri mentioned that later when we were at a pub, again on a patio. 

Similar to Terroni, but without the attitude and rules, this place offers good quality authentic Italian dishes. If you’ve been to Terroni you’ll know about them not cutting their pizzas because ‘that’s the way they do it in Italy’ I’ve also had a friend tell me they refused giving her balsamic vinegar to go with her olive oil and bread. Anyway, this is supposed to be about Mercatto. Big fan of the food and atmosphere here.

Keri and her sister shared a few dishes from mushrooms with red onion and vinaigrette to thinly sliced beef, arugula and capers.  I had the thin crust pizza with olives, artichokes, prosciutto… and they cut the pizza into slices! You know how awkward it is to eat a pizza whole?  Didn't quite capture the food here, but you get the idea.

Mercatto’s flagship location is on Toronto Street where I think I tried it for the first time. It began primarily as a market with home-cooked meals for take-out or at one of their long harvest style tables. Because of the popularity it wasn’t long before they grew into a full-service restaurant. Now you must go at once !

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Salsa

Today’s the first official day of the summer!  And 26 days until our wedding!  Last weekend I went up north to a cottage for my stagette with 10 of the coolest girls I know.  I laughed so much my cheeks and stomach hurt.  A huge thank you to Meg for organizing it all!  


This here is a delicious salsa Beth made.  I’ve tried it once before on a different cottage trip and I was secretly hoping she would make it again, and my wish came true!  It’s such a nice fresh tasting snack when you’re out in the sun all day, and so simple to make. 

For the salsa:

1 Mango, cubed
1/2 of papaya, cubed
1 Jalapeno, chopped
1/4 of a red onion
1/2 can of black beans
Juice from 1 lime
Cayenne and salt to taste
1 Tbs of cilantro (optional)

Just mix it all together and enjoy with your favourite nachos. 

We also had some amazing muffins baked by Meg that I still have to get the recipe for.  If I remember correctly they were banana, chocolate with espresso and the other was blueberry, orange and almond.  That was our breakfast the first morning with fresh fruit.  Doesn’t that sound scrumptious?  I have to say we ate pretty well.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peonies


These peonies are from my garden! Don’t they look lovely? I’ve been feeling envious of my neighbour’s that bloomed what felt like ages ago, but now hers are done and I’m enjoying mine.

Fiddlehead Primavera


I have to say I don’t have much experience with fiddleheads. I think I’ve made them at home one other time besides this time. The first time I steamed them and dressed them with a little olive oil and lemon.

Fiddleheads are the curled shoots of an ostrich fern. The taste reminds me of asparagus but a little earthier. Other types of ferns can be toxic, as well you get sick from eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads. So don’t go running out and eating the first curled shoots you see growing in your garden! I stick to buying them from the market or the grocery store.

When preparing fiddleheads make sure you wash them properly in several changes of fresh cold water and remove as much of the brown papery husk as possible using your fingers. I don’t think I did that the first time I made them. Before eating fiddleheads, make sure you cook them in a generous amount of boiling water for 15 minutes or steam them for 10 to 12 minutes until tender. Discard the water used to for boiling or steaming them.

This was a nice simple weeknight meal. Next time I might add some pancetta because it needed more of a rich salty flavour. Add whatever fresh herbs and vegetables you have coming up in the garden or in the fridge. I used Thyme because I knew it goes nicely with mushrooms I was using.




Ingedients:

2 Cups of fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed
¼ Cup of whipping cream
Salt and pepper
½ of Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbs of butter
1 ½ Cups of mushrooms, sliced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs of fresh thyme, chopped
½ of peas, fresh or frozen
Spaghetti or fettuccini or linguini

For the pasta:
Clean and prepare fiddlehead as explained in directions above.

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta unil al dente.

In a small bowl beat eggs until smooth, stir in cream, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter over low heat. Cook mushrooms, garlic and thyme for about 5 minutes or until mushroom are tender, stirring occasionally. Add fiddlehead and peas and sate for about 3 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to fiddlehead mixture. Remove from heat. Pour egg mixture over top and toss. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Here I am!

Okay so I’ve been pretty bad about updating this thing. It’s just that I want to be outside once I’m finished work every chance I get now that the weather is so nice. I’m sure you feel the same. We’ve just been hanging out in our backyard having BBQ’s and gardening.






We also built a huge vegetable box to hopefully prevent the rabbits and possums (do possums eat vegetables?) getting at them. I’ll post photos of that soon. Every morning before work I check on their progress and again as soon as I’m back. I can’t believe how fast those seeds have grown! We started growing a few plants inside the house from seeds about 3 months ago, but not everything lasted once it was time to introduce them to the outside. Only a few tomato plants have made it so far, but the peppers are thriving! So we bought a few more tomato plants to replace the ones that didn’t make and planted a bunch of seeds for beans, zucchini, beets, radishes and all sorts of herbs. I guess I’ll soon find out if I have a green thumb or not.

Also, now that it’s 44 days until our wedding things are about to get a whole lot busier. I feel like everything is under control (thanks to all our family who have been so helpful), but there is still a lot do and I’m thinking the wedding should take priority now. I wrote up a list yesterday and slowly our evenings are starting to book up with appointments. I don’t want to wish this amazing summer we’re having away but I just want the day to come! Just to see it all come together and all of a sudden being a wife! How long does it take to get used to that? I still want to laugh when I say fiancé. I feel like I have to say it in some kind of posh accent… like when I say luxuuuuurious… Anybody?  Okay I guess it’s just me.

On the weekend we went to visit our good friend Jen in Kingston. It felt like a vacation up at the cottage. We sat outside by the water and enjoyed a lovely fish dish she made called Baja Fish & Rice Bake. The pictures didn’t turn out, but the food sure did! Jen was nice enough to write it down for me before we left.



Baja Fish & Rice Bake

3 Tbs vegetable oil
¾ Cup of onion, chopped
½ Cup celery, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
½ Cup uncooked white rice
2 Large cans of Italian stewed tomatoes
1 Tsp of lemon pepper seasoning
½ Tsp of salt
1/8 Tsp of cayenne pepper
1 ½ pounds of fish fillets (and firm white fish)
2 Pounds of shrimp (optional)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; sauté onion, celery and garlic.

Stir in rice; sauté about 5 minutes or until rice browns slightly. Add undrtained tomatoes, lemon pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.

Place fish fillets in bottom of baking dish. Spoon rice mixture over fish.

Cover with foil; bake in preheated oven at 400F oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Add shrimp (if you’re using) ten minutes before finished. Stir into mixture and re-cover with foil and bake.

Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.



Phil and I took the long way home from Kingston and took a ferry ride across the Bay of Quinte and drove through Prince Edward County.  By the way, I look so awkward in this photo beacuse it was windy and I was trying to keep my dress down.  Prince Edward County's downtown is so sweet with lots of little shops. For those of you who don’t know PEC has quite a few vineyards too. We didn’t stop this time, but maybe in the fall we’ll take a day trip. I also know from my visits with the friendly and knowledgeable folks at the Whole Foods cheese counter that they make some damn good cheese too.