May 31, 2011

Spring Lettuce

With spring here (and summer-like temperatures today) I’ve been picking up some great fresh lettuce from the market. It is wonderful when the sun is out warming up the air and my garden.

The great thing about salads is that you can do anything with them. The salad I posted last time had greens, tomatoes, black olives, and tuna. Throughout the week they sometimes had dried cranberries and sliced almonds, or sundried tomatoes, or a pile of sliced peppers.

In an issue of Style at Home there was a beet, lentil andgoat cheese salad that looked perfect for spring. It was light for the nice warm air making its way through but had enough substance and weight to fill you up.

In the same issue was balsamic beef (sorry no link could be found). Now that BBQ season is upon us this is the perfect recipe.

The Donna Hay recipes are fabulous and I’m disappointed she’s no longer their food editor. If only I had room on my shelf for her cookbooks….

Here’s to a summer of great salads.

Beet, Lentil & Goat Cheese Salad (from Style at Home Oct 2010)
Drain and rinse 1 can (19oz) lentils and place in a bowl with crumbled goat cheese, halved canned baby beets and lettuce. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and olive oil to serve.

Balsamic Beef (from Style at Home Oct 2010)
Combine a couple of tbs olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper. Pour over a fast-fry steak and marinate for 15 mins. Put on the grill and cook until your liking. Serve with salad, gf bread and mustard.

May 17, 2011

Spring is Here

Although we’ve been bombarded with rain as of late, spring, or so it seems, is here. The daffs and tulips are up in full bloom, the magnolia trees are a beautiful pale pink, and my neighbours’ lilacs are budding. I cannot wait for their scent to fill the air. While the visual cues are here, lilacs and their floral aroma definitely tell you spring is here.

Parkdale and Lansdowne markets are officially open and my favourite vendor, Rochon gardens, has had a few goodies out. I’ve been picking up a nice blend of light lettuce and cucumbers and making delicious salads for lunch.

Now I know what spring tastes like!

After a winter of eating lettuce imported from afar, whether with a band or in a plastic box or bag, there is nothing like the first food of spring. My salad is light and crisp. It tastes so fresh. I couldn’t stop smiling over my first spring salad. It was the slowest I’d eaten in a long time as I wanted to savour every bite.

Trust me, it isn’t just a salad. It seems as though this past winter was a little rougher than usual for many. I know I couldn’t wait for spring to arrive and all the rain in April didn’t help. Yes, the rain does a lot of good, but when one wants to get outside it shouldn’t rain every day all day. To top it off, much of the produce this past winter wasn’t that wonderful. Even on sale the peppers were bland (when you could find them) and the broccoli was as tough as cardboard. After returning to frozen vegetables believing they would have more nutritional value, my heart is aflutter with my spring salads.

I wait in anticipation for the next market arrival.

May 13, 2011

Victoria Yeh in Ottawa

Here is the quickest post ever!

Victoria Yeh will be speaking at Singing Pebbles Books (on Main St, next to the Green Door Restaurant) on Sunday May 15th at 6:30pm. Victoria is well known for her website/blog Gluten Free Living . While in the Ottawa area for the Celiac Conference she’ll be on Rogers Daytime on Monday (check out your local listings for show times).

P.S. the conference is going well so far!

May 1, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Like many, I too was glued to the television Friday morning for the Royal Wedding. I love the Royal Family and the history behind it. I’m not obsessed, nor do I buy all the tabloids (or believe all the trash talk), but I did take the day off. The Honey thought I was crazy, but was he surprised? No, not really.

I invited some friends over for a little party. No fancy dresses or glamour; it was 5am after all. Comfy clothes and yoga pants were the dress code. The Metro daily had an article on all the cocktails you should serve (being symbolic) for your Royal Wedding Party, and I thought ‘Like I want cocktails that early!!’. I know it’s twelve o’clock somewhere, but seriously. Instead, we had scones with cream and jam and a small lemon coconut loaf.

While we waited for the balcony kiss we had baked eggs with toast, homefries, and back bacon. Being as early as it was there was plenty of coffee and tea, but also sparkling wine on its own or as a mimosa. (As a side note: If you make scones with fruit, bake them right away, otherwise they turn a funky colour – they taste fine regardless).

While my friends arrived at 5:30 (they just couldn’t get up earlier and who could blame them) I got up at 3:30 – I didn’t want to miss a thing. Plus it gave me time to set out my Union Jack Jelly Bellies.

It was a beautiful wedding and event. For many it’s a dream come true; marrying a Prince. I have mine so hopefully you have yours.

It was also wonderful to spend time with friends. Ooooing and ahhhing over fashion, love, and getting a giggle just isn’t the same when you’re by yourself. Company is needed and it was great company.

As the morning came to a close friends went home hoping to have a nap. Unfortunately, we were too wired on coffee for that to happen (I had the shakes by mid-afternoon!).

Tired, yet happy, my guests left with a feeling of happiness for the newlyweds and some souvenirs to enjoy – some jelly bellies, chocolate buttons, and some lemon coconut cupcakes (the same as the loaf but with orange buttercream icing).

The cupcakes were actually muffins made from a Glutino muffin mix that was part of my Homesense stash.

I had some leftover icing and so decided to make them into cupcakes. I added some shredded coconut, vanilla and lemon extract. They had nice flavour, but I found them quite dry. If I made these again I’d add some extra canola oil or margarine to the recipe. They’re really easy to make and I like the idea that the batter is plain so you can add your own spin to it (I had trouble deciding between chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed or lemon coconut). Rather than buying it again, I’ll try some recipes from scratch. But if you feel like trying it out, it’s not a bad product.