Summer Weekends Meal Ideas
Sunny days are back and so is my watering routine. My plants are growing at an overwhelmingly fast pace, and it is hard to capture everything unfolding in the garden, kitchen and on the table. Literally, we have too many vegetables to cook up, consume (never mind digesting) and store.
Stalks of broad beans were drooping with their swelling weight (need to be harvested), carrots became the perfect size to be eaten as a finger food (need to be eaten), Swiss chard plants are wilting under the persistent sunbeams (need water)… then I got stung by a wasp as I was dead-heading marigolds (needed nothing but to keep moving to overcome the prickly sensation). When I tried to rest in the fragrant area of dahlia and sweet peas, my eyes became fixed on the weeds among the onions. Before I knew it, I was crouching down to pluck them and continue working … this is indeed a gardener’s life. Therefore, we try to take time to slow down a bit on weekends by enjoying hearty meals. Here’s what we’ve been enjoying…
Breakfast with Fried Eggs, Chorizo and Glazed Carrots
In this recipe, young thin carrots work best. If you are skipping chorizo, add salt to balance the flavour of the carrots.
2 tablespoons olive oil
A bunch of carrots, cut in half lengthwise if thick
½ cup water
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons grain mustard
4 eggs, cooked to your preference
1 medium sized spicy chorizo, sliced
Freshly ground pepper
Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat with the olive oil. Sautee the carrots until lightly browned. Add the water, honey, and mustard and turn the heat down. Stir well to cover the carrots evenly and cook until carrots are softened and the liquid bubbles.
Rinse the pan quickly with hot water and heat over medium high heat. Fry the chorizo, then add eggs and cook until eggs are done. Adjust with the pepper and serve immediately with the carrots.
More recipes for carrots here.
Broad Bean and Fresh Lime Juice Quinoa Salad
There is no need to be precise in this recipe. Simply add any amount of vegetables and cheese you like, and adjust the flavour with the lime juice to your taste. This is one of the easiest and quickest meals in my kitchen, full of nutritious goodness.
½ cup red quinoa
½ cup white quinoa
2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
Broad beans, shell removed
Carrot, thinly sliced
Red onion, chopped finely
Feta cheese, cut into ½ inch pieces
A handful of raw cashews
Salt and pepper
¼ cup or more extra virgin olive oil
Fresh juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove the saponin, and drain well. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. If you are using water instead of the stock, add some salt to the boiling water. Add the quinoa. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Remove the lid and let cool.
In a small pan, boil water and cook the broad beans for about 3 minutes. Discard the cooking water, dunk the beans in cold water and remove the thin skin from each bean.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, broad beans, carrot, onion and cheese. Stir in the quinoa and adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve on a platter or in individual bowls, and scatter with the cashews and fennel leaves. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.
More recipes for quinoa here.
Limoncello and Lime Drink
A little bit of Limoncello
A slice of lime
A dash of fresh lime juice
Combine all the ingredients in a chilled glass. Sit back, tootsies up and enjoy the moment.
Shiso Udon Noodle Salad
Broad beans, shell removed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 each of yellow and small green zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup purslane, washed, pat dried and cut into small pieces
A few shiso leaves, cut into thin strips with cooking scissors
2 bundles dry udon noodles, one bundle size of a dollar
2 tablespoons soba sauce (recipe here)
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil or flax oil
Place water in a large pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, in a small pan, boil water and cook the broad beans for about 3 minutes. Discard the cooking water, dunk the beans in cold water and remove the thin skin from each bean.
Cook the udon noodles according to the instructions on the packaging. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables.
Using a colander, drain the noodles well. Rinse with cold water and drain completely. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the broad beans, scallions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, purslane, soba sauce and the oil. Transfer the noodles to a large platter and sprinkle with shiso leaves over top. Serve immediately.
Cherry and Chocolate Almond Tart
Makes one 13 1/2” x 4” rectangular tart pan
60g butter, room temperature
½ egg, lightly beaten
110g white flour
20g cocoa powder
Extra butter and flour for the pan
Almond chocolate cream
1½ eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
100g ground almond
100g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
250g cherries, pitted and halved
A handful of sliced almonds
Caster sugar for dusting
Butter the pan and dust with some flour, then remove excess flour. Keep it refrigerated.
Make the tart dough. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder then set aside. Place the butter in a food processor and pulse until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the sugar and continue to pulse until fluffy. Add the egg and pulse to blend. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together into a ball. Gently press the ball into a disk, wrap with a piece of plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Flour the working surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin to a size large enough to cover the pan. It could be as thin as 1/8 to 1/16 and that is okay. If it is difficult to manage, roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. Transfer the dough by rolling it around the pin and unrolling onto the pan. Gently fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Run the pin across the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. If there are tears or a part is too thin, just patch with the excess dough. Keep refrigerated.
Melt the chocolate in a medium sized bowl placed over a small pan with simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
Preheat the oven to 350F (320F with the convection). Make the almond chocolate cream. In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy, then add the sugar. Continue until fluffy, then add the eggs and combine well. Add the vanilla, ground almond and chocolate, and stir well.
Pour the almond chocolate cream in the tart evenly. Place the cherries evenly across the tart. Bake for about 40 minutes or until done.
Let cool on a rack. Scatter with the sliced almonds over top and dust with the caster sugar.
More tart recipes here.