Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Favorite Room + Basic Polenta

 

You've probably guessed. It's my kitchen. It's where I spend most of my time puttering around, whipping something up, cleaning lots of dirty dishes and spills, cooking, baking. It's where I automatically go when I arrive home or come downstairs, even if I don't actually need anything. I just end up there. I get euphoric about recipes that turn out well and comforted by old favorites. Justin bikes home from work and heads straight for the pantry to pull out the peanut butter, raisins, or a handful of granola for a snack. Evelyn helps unload the dishwasher, pulls things out of cupboards, and tries to climb the refrigerator shelves whenever she gets a chance. We do a lot in this kitchen. 

So allow me to share some photos with you. Take you on a tour. And then maybe a little recipe at the end. Come along, friends, my kitchen welcomes you.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Your Guide to Spectacular Salads

Greens with summer tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, and tuna

I'm back after a bit of a holiday break. And, no surprise, in need of a break from sweets and over-snacking. Christmas was filled with truly good food: lots of veggies, grass fed beef, whole grains. But it was also filled with a lot of extras, such as snacks here and there, coffee and croissant out with my mum and aunt, Christmas cookies...everywhere. My favorites are the tea time tassies ("triple T's" as my brother calls them) with a cream cheese crust and a nut filling. Oh, but we were talking about salad, weren't we?

Yes, salad. It's so good. Switch your mind away from sweet for a bit and think about crunchy vegetables, savory vinaigrettes, protein-filled toppings, and dried fruit. And some nice bread on the side.

How to build a spectacular salad:

- Choose greens that you like. Branch out and try new greens. Think beyond romaine and iceberg, and try arugula, radicchio, kale, butter lettuce, spinach and swiss chard. My favorite flavor of greens is arugula. Kale gives really nice crunch and bulk, and benefits from sitting in a dressing for at least 30 minutes. Romaine and iceberg lettuce are usually cheaper, so you can use them as a base and mix them with pricier greens.

Herb vinaigrette

- Make your vinaigrette. In my opinion, making your own salad dressing is easy and tastes better than bottled. You also control what goes into it. Instead of a low quality oil in a bottled dressing, you can use all extra virgin olive oil. The basics are a 1:3 ratio of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, apple cider, or white wine vinegar are great options) to oil (I always use extra virgin olive oil). Add some salt and pepper, and there you go. Extras include minced garlic or shallot, herbs, and dijon mustard. I put everything in small jar, screw a lid on top, and shake it to emulsify it. Here's a great beginner vinaigrette.