Saturday, May 19, 2012

Long Weekends and Food Revolutions

It's Food Revolution Day... Thanks Jamie Oliver and Team!

Around our house we are not doing much out of the ordinary to celebrate, good food and cooking is like Valentines Day..we celebrate every day.

Today's menu is long weekend, warm weather inspired. There will be hamburgers on the grill and salads galore. Salads fill our fridge for the summer. They are cool, refreshing, easily made ahead and kept on hand for quick lunches and dinners. Leaving extra time for soaking up the sun.

An easy one for today...
Simple Simple Simple

Tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil
sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil and some course salt

We will also be enjoying a cucumber salad, potato salad and I believe a green papaya lurks in the crisper waiting for a spicy dressing! Follow the 'salad' label for these and other great recipes. All of which are very easily put together by children! Yes, that equates to more deck time for you :)

Enjoy the long weekend, cook something great, visit a farm this weekend, let your kids loose in the kitchen...celebrate! Happy Food Revolution Day!!!

Eat well, laugh often, love much.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let's Get Going Again!...with Some Stinky Pee

When my boss mentioned to me the other day that summer hours were in effect, my heart skipped a beat. Summer hours means a lot of Friday afternoons off. Those hours will now be ear marked for culinary adventure! The timing could not be more perfect, I have been chomping to get Smothered in Butter back into full swing AND the Jewel of spring has sprung...


I used my very first Friday to visit Barries Asparagus and Country Market. 2lbs of bright green mild early season asparagus and 1lb of rhubarb landed in my passenger seat. 1 1/2 lbs of asparagus even made it home.

If you were around last year you followed us as we farm hopped, you enjoyed some laughs and some recipes along the way. (read last years Asparagus Adventure). You can expect much more of the same as we kick off Season 2012. I am  hoping too to persuade some very lovely cooks whom I have encountered over the winter absence to offer up a few of their favorite recipes and adventures as well.

So armed with the very best from my stop at the farm today we are ready to get going...

...and yes I know asparagus makes your pee stink. If that isn't a tidbit to entice a child to eat it I don't know what is!

Eat well, Love much, Laugh Often


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green Papaya Salad

My part time job has become a full time job in the last few months, complete with my very own office. It's all very exciting. Another perk of the 9-5 is that once a week Mike shows up for a lunch date. We arrives right on time and with a bag of some delight or another. We close the door, break open the takeout dishes and catch up on the finer details of life like who has Dr's appointments and which kids will be late home from school. It's a fast paced life. I'm never quite sure what Mike will bring for lunch but one of my very favourite choices comes from the Thai restaurant around the corner from his office. My very favourite Green Papaya Salad!

Asian cooking can be a bit of a pricey affair if it is not routine to your kitchen. Specialty oils, sauces, and sometimes hard to find ingredients can deter even the most determined cook. Personally I think that fish sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, sriracha and so many other ingredients should be as common in a pantry as ketchup and peanut butter.

Here is a fabulous take on Green Papaya Salad that demands just a few ordinary ingredient you can pick up at any grocery store. The only item that might me a bit of a trick to locate is the Green Papaya. most Asian markets will carry it. Many thanks to the fine folks at Martin's Apples for putting me on to New City Market in downtown Kitchener. I found more than I went looking for! A note about green papayas; these are not the beautiful orange variety with the shiny black seeds. Green papaya are green on the outside and white/cream coloured inside. The seeds are perfect tiny white spheres.

Green Papaya Salad

1 large Green Papaya - peeled and seeds removed
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1 glove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup cilantro rough chopped

Shred the papaya into spaghetti thin strips. (a mandolin is the perfect  tool for the job)
in a small bowl whisk together lime, chili sauce, garlic and salt
pour over shredded papaya.
add cashews and cilantro. toss well to coat

This salad is crunchy with a bit of heat balanced with the freshness of the cilantro.

You will find many recipes for Green Papaya Salad - if you have the bottles of fish sauce, dried shrimp and Thai chilies on hand try a few different authentic recipes - find one you love. This recipe is not traditional but is delicious, and super for a busy weeknight dinner. Be careful you might just get the kids hooked on trying something new at the same time. Add some grilled chicken strips and you have a meal.

It's so worth making a double batch just to make sure you have left overs for lunch the next day.

Live well, eat well, laugh often