Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 28-30 Bun- Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Chicken Meatballs





July 28     Bun with Chicken Meatballs
July 29     falafel plate in the food court at Scarborough Town Centre. For reals.
July 30     tacos fashioned out of the leftover chicken balls, guacamole




I've been having serious cravings for Vietnamese food and Kate, my vietnamese lunch buddy has been out of town for what feels like forever. I decided to make one of my favourite things at home but I wasn't feeling like doing the bbq pork and wanted something a bit easier. The Kid loves meatballs so a vietnamese flavoured meatball, preferrably out of chicken sounded like a good plan and then it would be like a version of Bun Ga Nuong. I made the meatballs earlier in the day just to make sure they would be tasty and they were , thanks to a recipe I found on the Food and Wine website. I already posted the meatballs on my other blog, The Yum Yum Factor so you will find the recipe over there.


Cold rice vermicelli, some carrot, cucumber, lots of cilantro and mint, chopped dry roasted peanuts and a bit of radish doused with nuoc chom and we were happy little clams.


The next day I sent the leftovers to camp in the Kid's lunch and on Sunday I crumbled them up and cooked them with a bit of tomatillo salsa for tacos. Three meals out of one recipe is always a good thing.




Saturday, July 30, 2011

Easy Peasy Grilled Chicken Sandwich


July 23 - burgers by the Boy up at the cottage
July 24 - late afternoon stop at a chip truck on the way home from the cottage
July 25 - Easy Peasy Grilled Chicken Sandwich
July 26 - dinner out at the Fill Station
July 27 - WURST with the Shack's
July 28 - Chinese take-out
July 29 - a tour of local bars near our house

So I am officially the first of the three of us to miss my regularly scheduled post.  It's embarrassing. But I have to say that the show I'm working on is pretty all-consuming.  Though the sad thing I actually cooked something for Wednesday and had the post basically ready to go, but when the day came around I had no time to futs with the photo for posting.  So following you'll find what I meant to post on Wednesday.  I'm very sorry to drop the ball and I will be working hard for the rest of the year while I'm working to keep the posts coming.

This Wednesday posting has kinda become the bane of my existence what with being back at work at all.  not because I don't like posting, I actually do.  But I tend to get home too late to get a good picture of whatever meal I cobbled together for dinner. Hence this oddly lit sandwich that I ate on Monday.  While it may look a little funny what with being lit by my sunporch light from the front while I try to take advantage of the very little bit of sun that's left, it was a pretty delicious sandwich and quite satisfying and easy at the end of a long day.  What great too is that you could easily make it for 4 people and it wouldn't take any longer than the 15 minutes it took me to cook the chicken and prep the toppings.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cavatappi with Avocado, Tomatoes, Basil and Goat Cheese


Thursday night was originally panning out to be a girls' night since Q was out with the boys playing poker, Austin was babysitting and Corbin was at a friend's cottage... filled with the promise of maybe popcorn or mac n cheese for dinner, followed up a relaxing evening of painting our nails, sharing secrets and enjoying a chick flick. But then Corbin decided (happily for us) that he'd be home for dinner after all and Plan B began to take shape. It had to be something pretty easy since I wasn't planning on going back to the grocery store for more ingredients. So I simply grabbed some fresh basil, summer-ripe tomatoes and goat cheese, as well as an avocado (!?) and found a recipe that assured me that these ingredients would all somehow work together. And they did. A summery, light, welcome-home meal for the prodigal son... who, immediately after eating (and gingerly applying aloe vera to his sunburn), headed back out with friends. Nice to know home is just a culinary pitstop on the road of life. And that's exactly the way it's s'posed to be when you're a teen.


Pasta with Avocado, Tomatoes, Basil and Goat Cheese

serves 4



1 box pasta of your choice

1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp olive oil



Cook pasta according to package. Drain and immediately toss with the goat cheese and olive oil to make a slightly creamy sauce. Add remaining ingredients and toss.



Rest of the week



July 26 Cobbled-together dinner of leftovers for Q; nobody else home for dinner



July 27 Teriyaki stirfry with pork, sliced peppers, onions and broccoli, tossed with vermicelli noodles



July 28 Pasta with avocado, tomatoes, basil and goat cheese with tossed salad

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 125-27 Greek Shrimp Tacos





July 25     Greek shrimp tacos, salad and rice
July 26     Il Fornello for $10 pizza Tuesday
July 27     Dinner out again, WVurst this time - Hey, I had to work yesterday and today!

We are back to a Shack free zone again after having him around for the last 10 days so I have to get down to business with Little Shack and get out of this cooking slump because as frustrating as I have been finding this challenge, he still needs to eat and he needs to eat more than bread and dips.

I made the garides me feta with the plan that the leftovers would make great tacos, furthering my theory that you can eat absolutely anything in a corn tortilla and it will work. I peeled the leftover shrimp and heated them up with the tomato/feta sauce and used tzatziki instead of crema with home made corn tortillas. I was thinking of doing a lemony, dill tomato salsa but there was still a lot of sauce left so more tomato felt redundant. If I were doing these again, and I will, with another protein, I will do the Greek flavoured tomato salsa but for now, just the leftover shrimp and tzatziki were all it needed. The Kid loved them and was sad that there were no more so he cobbled together one last taco out of the lone shrimp that was left on his plate and lots of tzatziki. A bit of rice and a big salad and we had ourselves a pretty lovely little meal. To be honest, I can't decide if I preferred this dish the first night, sopping up the garlicky sauce with yummy bread or the second night, bundled up in a corn tortilla, covered in tons of tzatziki. Either way,  I see a whole lot of taco cross pollination going on in the near future.


Greek Shrimp Tacos

leftover Garides me Feta
soft corn tortillas (store bought or make your own like I did )
tzatziki, store bought or home made

I shelled all the shrimp and left them whole and reheated them for a minute in the microwave with the sauce but I discarded the leftover snap peas. If you make the dish with snap peas and want to leave them in for tacos, that would be great too.

spoon the tzatziki onto a warm corn tortilla
top with some shrimp and tomato/feta sauce
wrap it up
eat it
rub your tummy and say mmmmghhgghmmmmmohmygodthatissogoodmmmphhhgggmmmm

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Five-Spice-Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans

This recipe must be the fastest, simplest, cleanest way to get delicious salmon and veggies on the table on a busy night. Throw together a quick marinade for the fish, line a cooking tray with some tin foil, trim the beans and heat the broiler. Pop everything together on the same tray, broil it all for mere minutes (although don't be like me and try to multi-task by turning away to pay an overdue parking ticket online while it's under the broiler since the cooking is so quick you'll have slightly charred fish 'n' beans if you do) and it's all done. Throw away the sticky tin foil and that's it for cleanup. Austin insisted that blackened fish is the way he prefers it (gotta love the forgiving attitude) and we hid the fact that the green beans were now, in fact, brown by topping them with toasted sesame seeds. It ended up all being good... and even better at room temperature when Q and I ate it later that evening. Light, delicious and totally hit the spot on a beautiful summer night. Nobody was standing at the oven and nobody was standing at the sink either. Doesn't get any better than that.

Five-Spice-Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans
serves 4

1/4 cup honey
4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 large cloves garlic, minced
four 6-oz skin-on salmon fillets (preferably wild), pin bones and scales removed
1 lb slender green beans, trimmed
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk the honey, soy sauce, five-spice powder and garlic. Put the salmon skin side down on a large plate and pour the honey mixture over it. Flip the fillets so they are skin side up. Let the fish marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat to high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.

Place the green beans on one side of the foil and toss lightly with the canola and sesame oils; season with salt and pepper. Place the salmon skin side down on the other end of the baking sheet. Brush the salmon with any remaining marinade from the plate.

Broil the salmon and green beans for 3 minutes. Toss the green beans with tongs and continue to broil until the salmon is just cooked and the beans are crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss the green beans with the sesame seeds and lemon juice and serve.

Rest of the week

July 24 Ordered Greek food

July 25 Salmon with green beans and roasted new potatoes

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 21-24 Garides me Feta



Entire weekend away at a fabulous party at the home of generous friends who are also just the most super duper hosts. I did not cook a thing!
July 24     Garides me Feta

We spent the weekend in Cobourg celebrating the 40th birthday of a dear friend and we were wined and dined and treated to an amazing time.
We finally got home on Sunday afternoon and I had no idea what to make for dinner but clearly I had to cook something. I knew that I didn't want to mess with the bbq, I wanted something simple and easy to eat and I wanted something that I could turn into another dinner for The Kid and I tomorrow when Shack was back at work.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creamy Corn, Basil and Pancetta Pasta

Sweet, delicious corn on the cob is in season right now and this past week Austin was eager to help his aunt Karen shuck dozens of cobs and then freeze bags and bags of the sweet kernels to put aside for the coming winter months. Why so motivated to help out? Because he vividly remembers how amazing last summer's corn tasted when she brought it to Christmas dinner. He's a smart boy and knew a wise investment of a few hours of his time in July would eventually reap delicious benefits five months from now (if it lasts that long, that is... he has hungry cousins).

So, continuing on our corn theme, as usual on many Saturday nights, I found myself looking for a pasta recipe (since Q was carb-loading for a triathlon the next day) and came across this simple recipe that included fresh corn kernels and basil, two of our favourite tastes of summer, combined with some bacon and a creamy sauce. We ended up substituting pancetta instead and I lightened up the sauce so he wouldn't go into cardiac arrest mid-race. The original recipe called for combining the cream with the corn in a food processor but I wasn't sure that we really wanted a creamed-corn pasta sauce so I just sauteed the kernels and then made the sauce separately.


serves 4



1 lb spaghetti

4 ounces diced pancetta

2 cups fresh corn kernels

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped basil leaves



Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until almost al dente.



Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it's crispy and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add the corn kernels to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are just tender. Add the cream, cheese and salt and cook until sauce thickens.



Transfer the pasta from the pot to the skillet, add the pancetta and pepper and toss the spaghetti with the corn until evenly coated.



Sprinkle with the basil leaves and serve.



Rest of the week



July 22 Dinner at sister's house



July 23 Corn, basil and pancetta pasta with side salad, pecan tarts to take to jazz festival party later that night

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Boozy Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade


July 20 - cheese burgers with no buns, grilled swiss chard & salad
July 21 - dinner at Cieli Cottage
July 22 - Boozy Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade & take-out Queen Margherita Pizza

And the craziness that is working in the film business has begun.  As you can see from my dinner rundown from the past 3 days, there's been take-out or eating out on two nights.  The night I did cook it wasn't very blog-worthy and I had high hopes of making something delish on Thurs or Fri.

But then life happened and with the insanity of the heatwave we've had here, Thursday night turned into a dinner and a movie night just so we could take advantage of air conditioning.  Friday we both ended up working far later than either of us anticipated and when I got into the car the Boy insisted on his favorite pizza and I knew I wanted some of my super special lemonade.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Avocado and White Bean Wrap

The fact that Carole, Jen and I all posted something sandwich-like and light over the past three days speaks to the fact that with the heat in the high 30s in Toronto this week, but feeling like the high 40s, the last thing any of us wanted to do was to cook or eat something heavy. In fact, a popsicle or ice pop for dinner sounded like a really good idea most nights. Especially since every night this week I've started preparing a meal for an expected four or five family members but by dinnertime the number has been whittled down to one. And that would typically be Q just because he has nowhere else to go. Corbin has been working nights, Austin disappears with "friends and plans," I'm not hungry in this heat, and Maddie runs to the local swimming hole for hours on end. And on Thursday night, with our local jazz festival closing off the surrounding streets, she was begging to skip dinner at home and just sample all the street foods that were being set up along Queen Street. Who can blame her... a nice buttery cob of corn served up alongside some tangy lemonade and quaffed down with some super-sticky caramel corn. Perfect July meal for any 10-year-old and her girlfriend as they get to live dangerously and walk down the streetcar tracks in the middle of the street, not worrying about traffic for once.


So dinner that night ended up being just Austin and me, and since he's my easiest critic and will eat anything, I knew that whatever we made would likely be a hit. He was predictably up for trying this cold summer wrap that I'd discovered a few days earlier on the Eating Well website, combining white beans with ripe avocado to make a rich vegetarian filling, topped with some crunchy slaw. I accidentally went a little heavy on the minced onions so that became the overpowering flavour, but other than that, it was a nice light dinner and probably a perfect lunch too in the coming weeks.


Avocado and White Bean Wrap
serves 2


1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup shredded carrots and cabbage
half a 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp minced red onion
2 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat wraps or tortillas


Whisk vinegar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Add carrots and cabbage; toss to combine.

Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.

To assemble, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap and top with about half of the carrot-cabbage slaw.



Rest of the week


July 19 Corbin's Italian twist on croque madame sandwiches. Major yum.


July 20 Grilled panini with turkey, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and cheese


July 21 Avocado and white bean wraps

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 18-20 Chicken Tacos



July 18     Movie popcorn and then snacked on leftover ribs
July 19     Dinner out at Gio Ranna's
July 20     Chicken tacos


Can I tell you  how hot it has been in Toronto this week? Honestly, it's getting to the point where even I, the sun worshipper, is passing out from heat exhaustion and hiding out in my room, laying under my ceiling fan in the dark just to maintain some sanity.
That said, none of us have huge appetites this week so dinner has not been much of an event although I did really want to try out my new tortilla press and tacos are always good to eat, even when it's a bazillion degrees outside. These were very simple little tacos, no bells and whistles, no fancy sauces or anything. Just really flavourful and quick and easy to throw together and perfect for a stinking hot, summer night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fancy Egg Sammie


July 17 - Scallop Ceviche, Fava Beans with Creme Fraiche & Mint and salad
July 18 - Fancy Egg Sammie
July 19 - quick bite at Lion on the Beach with the shack's joining us for a drink

Well I'm back to work this week until the end of the year, which is going to make keeping up with my noreEATS is going to be really tough! Not that I'll be cooking alot of the same stuff, just that I'll barely be cooking at all.  So I'm going to apologize in advance if the recipes I share moving forward aren't of the caliber of what I have been sharing up until now but I'll be keeping it real about what we eat in our house when I'm working 10-12 hour days AND when I'm dealing with a shooting schedule.  When we shoot nights you may be privy to a slew of breakfast recipes.  I hope you're ready, because I am not!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

My sister had been raving about the newest Martha Stewart Everyday Food special issue, apparently full of great summer recipes and ideas, and when I saw it in the magazine aisle with what looked like Carole's famous fruity summery ice pops on the cover, I knew I was destined to get it. Spent the rest of the day flipping through the pages, getting inspiration for the coming week of dinners. The photo of a beautiful tray of vibrant, slow-roasted, caramelized tomatoes reminded me of exactly the smell I needed coming from my oven on that hot summer's afternoon in Toronto so I ran out and grabbed the freshest plum tomatoes I could find in my local supermarket, cut them in halves, sprinkled lightly with some sugar and threw them on baking trays at low heat for the next couple of hours. Result: deep, sweet intense flavour that worked well here for a really simple meal tossed with some pasta and fresh basil and parmigiano, but will also provide inspiration for other meals later in the week.



Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Basil

from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

serves 6


1 pound pasta of your choice

10 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tsp lemon juice

2 oz parmesan, grated (1/2 cup), plus more for serving

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and arrange them, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sugar. Bake until softened, between 1 and 2 hours. Let cool.


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, oil, lemon zest and juice, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and transfer to bowl. Add basil and toss to combine. To serve, sprinkle with more parmesan.


Rest of the week


July 15 Pizza night


July 16 Q's brother and family came for dinner.... Kobe burgers with gourmet toppings--caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, crispy bacon, roasted garlic, grated cheese, broccoli pesto orzo with lemon and avocado, tomato, feta and basil salad, turtle ice cream pie


July 17 Grilled pork and chicken with rotini and sundried tomato and mixed herbs


July 18 Pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes and basil and side salad



Monday, July 18, 2011

July 14-17 Smoky Hoisin Ribs

 




July 14     Super Duper  PETs - Egg Salad Sandwiches with crispy pancetta and tomato
July 15     Dinner out at Vivetha
July 16     Lobster rolls, scallops with The Neighbours and The Sisters
July 17     Smoky Hoisin Ribs with Cavatappi and Pesto


We had a good eating week this week. On Thursday I made THE best egg salad salad sandwiches ever, according to The Kid. This was only possible because Shack was out of town and egg salad is verboten when he is home - sensitive sense of smell on the poor, delicate thing. 


Friday we were pleasantly surprised with a week night evening with our Shack of the sensitive nose so we went out for a really nice dinner at Vivetha,  a local Beaches restaurant that we have , somehow, never been to yet. Ice cream at Ed's Real Scoop after our dinner and then cruising in the convertible, cranking the Elvis tunes  and doing our best impersonation of old farts made for a perfect Friday night. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Raspberry Jam, it's what's for dinner...


...or not.

Here's the thing.  When I know I get to share my trials and tribulations with our fair readers on a Sunday, meaning the day after my usual Saturday post, I plan ahead.  Basically make sure We stay in on the Saturday night or if we go to someone's house I make something to bring.

But this Sunday just snuck up on me, in point of fact so did this Saturday (note the obnoxiously late post time) and I wasn't prepared.  It didn't help that after an afternoon of picking beans and raspberries we stopped for a cold beer, a ton of wings and baseball (my ideal summer afternoon).  It wasn't until we finished that we realized it was 4pm and we had a trunk of fresh produce, including uber perishable raspberries.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spicy Mango Pineapple Hot Dogs


July 12 - Spicy Mango Pineapple Hot Dogs and my own take on Carole's fancy-pants poutine
July 13 - grilled pork meatballs with roasted garlic, grilled tomatoes & orecchiette
July14 - leftover pasta

We went to a BBQ on Saturday and I had what must have been the most disappointing hot dog ever. What that did for me is make me really want a good hot dog.  A juicy one that's just a bit charred and crispy on the outside.  You may think it's weird me waxing on about a hot dog, but they are one of my favorite BBQ foods. There is something about eating one on a nice soft bun on a hot summer day, be it in the backyard or in the stands at a baseball game, that just always puts a smile on my face.  I'm pretty traditional when it comes to toppings, ketchup, mustard & relish.  Or if I'm in LA and at Pink's, it's chili cheese dog with red onions all the way. In New York at Gray's Papaya it's just red onions, maybe some mustard.

Last year Rachel over at Coconut & Lime posted a Hawaiian-inspired hot dog that just stuck with me.  Based on the fact that is one of her top 10 posts of all-time, it apparently stuck with other folks too. Knowing I wasn't ready to waste my standard go to hot dog just yet in the summer, I figured Wednesday was the best time to get after it.  The one thing I love about this challenge, and I have to say there aren't many things I love, is the fact that I am forced to go back to all of my bookmarked recipes and actually use them.  I'm happy to say that many of them have been winners and will stay bookmarked too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pecan Crust Broccoli Cheese Quiche

I wanted something clean and light for dinner on Thursday night since Q was returning from a week of overeating and overdrinking at the Calgary Stampede, if the pix he'd been emailing me every night from various restaurants were anything to go by. Don't get me wrong... he needs to add some extra lbs right now since he's super-skinny but I also knew he wouldn't want another heavy meal after sitting on a plane all day. I found a couple of quiche recipes and couldn't decide which one to use so I combined the crust from one with the filling from another. And the crust turned out to be the true star of this meal. Toasted pecans ground up in the food processor with flour, butter and eggs made it super-tasty, and a small dollop of Dijon ensured it stayed on the savory, versus sweet, side of pastry. Corbin, who is rarely effervescent about food, proclaimed his love at first bite so we all knew it had to be a winner. Austin then claimed first dibs on it for lunch the next day. It didn't turn out to be the fastest dinner on earth since the pastry had to sit for an hour in the fridge but the steps were easy enough for a quiet afternoon as long as you build in the additional time.

Pecan Crust Broccoli Cheese Quiche
serves 6

Tart crust
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
8 tbsp (one stick) butter, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp water, approximately (add just enough to bring the tart shell together)

Process flour, toasted pecans, and sugar in food processor. Add butter and pulse to cut butter into flour mixture. Add egg yolk and mustard; add water if needed.
Remove dough from food processor; press together in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Press dough into tart pan; line with parchment and fill with weights. Bake at 350 degress for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights; return to oven an dbake 5 to 10 minutes until browned. Set aside to cool.

Tart filling

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Steam broccoli for about 2 to 3 minutes and then drain in strainer.
Combine eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
Line baking tray with foil in case filling overflows during cooking. Place tart on baking tray and then layer cheese along bottom of tart crust and lay broccoli pieces on top. Carefully pour egg/milk mixture over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then serve warm or at room temperature.

Rest of the week

July 13 Assorted quesadillas, made to order

July 14 Corbin made dinner... hmmm... tacos from the infamous yellow box. Can definitely say it'll be easy not to repeat this "recipe" for the rest of the year. But yes, at least he "made" dinner.

July 15 Broccoli cheese quiche with side salad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 11-13 Pesto Chicken Pizza



July 11     dinner out with The Neighbours
July 12     take out bbq  
July 13     pesto chicken pizzas

Summer is rolling along and it is hot as Hades out there so it makes sense that I would want to have to oven on for an hour and make pizza right? I was going to do them on the grill but that seemed like too much work so I sucked it up and did them on the pizza stone in the oven. I had bought some delicious pesto at a farmer's market on the weekend and so it started from there. I had a couple of chicken breasts that I marinated in this salad dressing from my last post. I cooked them on the grill pan the night before and just before assembling the pizzas, I sliced one up for the pizza (I had two but Shack ate the other chicken breast while they were cooling off because he didn't know I had plans for them but I didn't have to kill him because I only really needed one in the end)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grilled Lemony Zucchini Pizza


July 9 - dinner out at Baton Rogue in the 'burbs
July 10 - Pork Kebabs courtesy of the boy
July 11 - Grilled Lemony Zucchini Pizza and Grilled Pizza with sliced tomatoes, red pepper & Cottage Gold
July 12 - Feast of Niagara wines, cheeses & charcuterie

The heat is still insane, making cooking the house the last thing I want to do.  Luckily we have a gas grill which makes my life so much easier, especially since it makes an AMAZING pizza.

On Monday night we watched our nephew while his parents had a grown-up night out.  The boy go home a bit later than expected to watching him was my job for much of the night.  And I was just not comfortable dealing with grilling a pizza until I had some back-up with the toddler.  When he finally got home form a long day at work, I handed the little guy over and got to working on our pizzaz.  Luckily I had the foresight to prep the ingredients before the little bugger arrived making the coking go fast, which was extra lucky since we were starving!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sesame Shrimp Skewers

Q is away in Calgary so it's just me and the kiddies for dinner most of this week. Monday was an unusual evening in that everyone was home to eat--a rare occurrence lately during these busy summer nights. After a brutally hot day, the cook was looking for a light, easy meal and found it with this simple five-ingredient recipe. Basically toss together a tangy oil-and-vinegar marinade, coat the shrimp skewers with sesame seeds and quickly saute or grill them. Voila and it's on the table in minutes. While the shrimp were marinating, I steamed some broccoli and prepped some black quinoa and threw them together as a quick and healthy side dish.



4 tbsp sesame seeds

1 to 2 tbsp dark sesame oil

1 to 2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 to 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

four six-inch bamboo skewers


In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until fragrant. In a shallow dish, combine 2 tbsp of sesame seeds with the sesame oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Thread three shrimp onto each skewer and place in the marinade. Turn to coat and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.


Spread the remaining sesame seeds on a plate. Transfer the skewers to the plate and coat with the seeds. Heat the skillet or grill over medium-high heat and sear the skewered shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side until opaque. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp and cook until the marinade thickens. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Rest of the week


July 11 Grilled salmon with garlic couscous and carrots


July 12 Sesame shrimp skewers with broccoli and black quinoa




Monday, July 11, 2011

July 7-10 arugula salad with pickled spring onions









July 7     bbq at the Watkinson's cottage
July 8     dinner out in Kingston
July 9     delicious food at a party
July 10   bbq with the stunt department -  arugula salad with pickled spring onion and manchego      
            


This was  not a week of cooking opportunities for us since we were not home much at all all week and had dinner out every night. I made a flourless chocolate cake with chambord whipped cream and the first local fresh organic raspberries of the seasons to take along to our bbq on Sunday evening but that isn't a dinner item. Well, in some world's it is but it wouldn't really count here, would it?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Picnic Dinner at the Boat

I had visions of barbecuing on Saturday night, but when the morning rolled around, Austin and Maddie announced that they were biking down to Ontario Place for the day and could we please, pretty-please, all stay overnight on our boat down there too. So, despite the crazy traffic of the Indy that awaited us, we decided to head down to the waterfront and hope for the best. Mad scramble followed, trying to pull together food for dinner, breakfast and lunch on the go. I figured some sandwiches, salads, fruit and snacks would do the trick for dinner so I quickly grilled some peppers and threw them together with fresh basil leaves and herbed goat cheese on some ciabatta buns. Totally delicious and a perfect picnic dinner while out bobbing on the lake on a perfect July evening.

Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
serves 4 to 6

4 large bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp drained capers

For assembling
1 large ciabatta bread, or 4 to 6 buns
1 (11-ounce) garlic-and-herb or plain goat cheese
8 to 10 large basil leaves
3 thin slices red onion

Preheat the grill to high heat. Place the peppers on the barbecue and allow to cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, turning them twice during roasting. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with foil. Set aside for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Remove the stem from each pepper, peel, and cut into quarters. Remove stem and seeds. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture oven and stir in the capers.

To assemble, spread the bottom half of the bun with the goat cheese. Add a layer of peppers and then a layer of basil leaves. Separate the onions into rings and spread on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Rest of the week

July 8 Liquid dinner with friends at Lion on the Beach

July 9 Picnic fare on boat at Ontario Place

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Greek-style Grilled Chicken & Veggies


July 6 - Chicken Enchiladas - a total throw together when I realized the mole sauce I had went bad!
July 7 - Greek-style Grilled Chicken & veggies
July 8 - Cobb Salad with leftover chicken

As I started typing out what I cooked these last few days I realized that it was all about chicken.  That was not intentional or planned and while I often find chicken boring I think all of these dishes were tasty and worked well.  Even the weird verde-ish enchiladas I made out of necessity when my other plan failed.

The winner was by far the Greek Grilled Chicken I made on Thursday.  I't a Boby Flay recipe I decided to try out since I had the ingredients on hand and love the sound of the simple grilled whole chicken with grilled tomatoes & lemons all topped with a dijon vinaigrette.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tale of Two Gazpachos... Red and White


Although cold soups aren't my personal first choice for a dinner option, gazpacho is currently Q's favourite soup and he always orders it whenever he sees it on a menu. And when we were in France last week, one restaurant served it to us as an amuse bouche in the most adorable, tiniest mason jars topped with a few drops of pesto. Very pretty, absolutely deeeelicious and highly inspirational. So this week I decided to give a homemade version a try and nothing could have been easier. No cooking, minimal chopping, a whir of the food processor or blender, and then throw it all in the fridge so the flavours can meld while it chills. Chock full of veggies and summer goodness.
I wasn't sure that everyone (the kiddies) would be thrilled with the tomato version so when I came across a white version, combining bread, almonds and garlic, I figured it would be simple enough to make that one too. Surprisingly, the tomato version was more popular with all of us since the raw garlic in the white one was too overpowering, even though the soup itself was creamy and filling.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4-6 Carbonara with Peas and Chicken






July 4     pizza due to the mansick
July 5     linguine carbonara
July 6     I had pretzels, Jen's mutant cherries and Hank had all that and a slice of pizza

When Shack is sick he wants to eat crap. I know, I don't get the logic here either because when I have the flu, the LAST thing I want to eat, if I eat at all, is gooey, cheesy pizza or a big mac. A bit of pho, a bowl of basmati rice with lots of butter, salt and pepper, maybe a piece of butter toast, sure, but pizza and Mc Donald's? Remember, men are from mars.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cedar-Plank Salmon with Green Bean Potato Pesto Salad


July 3 - Dinner out at Queen Margherita
July 4 - Cedar Plank Salmon with Green Bean Potato & Pesto
July 5 - late -night decision to order delivery

You'd think after 4 night of not having to think about planning or cooking a meal I'd be excited to get back into it.  Unfortunately that's not the case.  It's likely because we've had some crazy hot and humid days.  So hot in fact I've resorted to baking on the grill!  Monday was too hot for me to even think about trekking to the store.  Luckily the Boy was willing to stop on his way home.  Summer always brings cravings for copious amounts of shellfish.  Probably because I grew up in New England where lobsters are easily bought for $3/pound.  That is so not the case here in TO, so I have yet to satisfy the craving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Honey-Glazed Chicken, Sweet Potato and Peach Skewers

When I saw this recipe in a recent issue of Fine Cooking, I knew we'd be barbecuing it soon. Gotta love that it has juicy chunks of protein, carbs, and fruits and veggies all neatly assembled on a stick--an all-in-one meal, sprinkled with some grilled spicy pecans and served with a simple crunchy green salad on the side. Takes a bit of time to prepare the glaze and steam the sweet potato pieces before grilling but easy enough to do while prepping the other ingredients. Mixed reviews from the kids... one purist pointed out that fruit never belongs on a barbecue, while the other took this as permission to immediately scoop up the remaining peach slices from his plate. She, in turn, wasn't so keen on the sweet potato, so he stabbed those chunks with his fork and did a quick transfer to his side of the table. The meal became a trade-switch affair but the end result was still empty plates and full tummies. The two adults enjoyed every bite and didn't make any similar sharing gestures.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 3 Hummuganoush



I had much bigger plans for dinner Sunday night but they slowly fell apart, they way they tend to do when life calls the shots. Little Shack called late in the afternoon to ask if he could sleep over at his friend's house and Shack seems to either be on his way to being deathly ill or he is gunning to win the Mancademy Award for best mansick of 2011. Either way, I am on my own for dinner and to be perfectly honest, if I didn't have to post back to back, I would have taken myself out for some nice butter chicken but that was not a viable option.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 1-2 Caprese Burgers and Fingerling Poutine



June 1     Caprese Burgers and fingerling poutine
June 2     Lailey Winery for a barrel burning and bbq and Lolita's Lust for supper

June 1 was Canada Day and it was also Shack's first day off in forever and despite having big plans for all of the exiting things we were going to do that day, he was absolutely exhausted. After a fun morning spin to Kensington market for breakfast pork tacos he spent the remainder of the day relaxing and catching up on some well needed rest. Luckily, Little Shack and I both knew he was going to be knackered so we had already planned dinner, ignoring all of his talk of driving here and there and lakes and beaches and road trips.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Garlic Scape Fettuccine Carbonara


June 29 - Garlic Scape Fettuccine Carbonara
June 30 - Sausages, potatoes & coleslaw up at the cottage - cooked by the in-laws
July 1 - Canada Day Feast of beer can chicken, roast potatoes, yams, broccoli & green salad - cooked by the Boy and in-laws

It's a good thin I made dinner on Wednesday night or I'd have nothing to post!  The last two night's Iw as fortunate enough to have the Boy and his fam feeding me.  I have to say I'm pretty happy about it.  We'ra at the halfway point pf this challenge and I have to admit I'm pretty weary.  The constant thinking of what I'm going to make for dinner, making sure it's different from something I've already made and then also being on top of posting, it can be exhausting.  I almost missed both of my posts last weekend because I just lost track of time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Returning Home for Some Comfort Food--Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

I don't care if you've been to paradise (and we did spend one night there last week), nothing compares to coming home to your own bed, kitchen and laundry room after a fun but tiring holiday. We had a truly great few days in Nice, with outstanding scenery and amazing food, but I was relieved to get home, see the kiddies and get back to normal. House was still standing and kids seem to have survived, although Maddie was obviously craving some home-cooked comfort food since there's no telling what her brothers had been feeding her over the past few days. Her fave is macaroni and cheese, so that's what it had to be when given the choice, although I knew I'd have to find a new version. With the exception of KD (pre-challenge, that is), I never make stovetop mac-and-cheese, but always a baked version, with crispy toppings and all. When I found this stovetop recipe, however, I realized it would meet my need of being incredibly fast and simple, since I was feeling pretty jetlagged, while still meeting her criteria of being smooth and super-cheesy. Based on results, I think I'm now a stovetop convert; instead of the pasta swallowing up the sauce and somewhat drying up while it baked in the oven, we all had bowls of pasta swimming in the creamy sauce. And if I want something toasty on top in future, I'm just going to throw it quickly under the broiler to toast up quickly instead of baking it through.


 
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