Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘arugula’

Super Snack

Well, while the others are all chowin down on chicken wings and nachos today during the big game, why don’t you try THIS one on for size!

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What is it they say?  Necessity is the mother of invention?  Or something like that?

I found myself home alone and completely unsupervised so I didn’t really have much motivation to cook myself anything proper.

So I dug around the kitchen and quite accidentally came up with this and what a fine invention it turned out to be!!

Turn your oven on to broil.

Get a baking sheet.

Slap on a piece of pita bread.

Put it under the broiler for a little, just long enough that it toasts a little.

Take out that try.  Turn over pita.

Toss done a handful of baby or chopped arugula for nice peppery taste.

Cover with a few slices of horseradish cheese  ( I suppose a strong cheddar would do but this horseradish stuff just kills!!).

Sprinkle with a few pine nuts or chopped walnut.

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Put back under the broiler until cheese melts and nuts are toasted.

Bam!

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Super super snack!

You could make  a bunch of them and cut them up and serve as party snacks, or do like I did and have it for dinner with a side salad.

So easy!

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To the new garden

I’ll admit that I haven’t been to the blog too much lately.

But I have a very good reason. ( Other than the fact that my WordPress was broken!!)

The Chef and I have moved to a new place and it has been one thing after another stopping us from getting on with it.

So I haven’t been doing much cooking and I haven’t been doing much gardening and I certainly haven’t been doing much blogging!

But I am looking forward to this being a full weekend of no outside responsibilities, so I can concentrate on getting things in order, so we can start “living our life”!

There!

But have a LOOK at the new kitchen! Coarse this is before we moved all our stuff into it!! I will update you when it is settled!

The New Kitchen

And this is the new patio, again, before we moved in!

But how are the plants in my garden doing you ask?

Chick HERE if you want to catch up on the trials and tribulations of my balcony garden!

Well, when we got back from the Oregon trip, the birds had really had their way with things!

They apparently got a taste for beet greens and so they didn’t make it.

beaten beets

And then they went for the cabbage!

Tormented cabbage

But since we’ve moved, the new deck is pest free so any of those who made the move are faring quite well.

The crazy arugula just keeps on growing! We cut it and eat it and it just grows back! Marvelous!

Active arugula

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Do you remember my ONE tomato? Well this is him!! All grown up and red. I must eat him soon!

Original tomato

And look, now he has all kinds of friends! Didn’t I predict that? That come October I’d have all kinds of tomato!!

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And these are the cabbage now, since being bird free and able to grow in peace. They still don’t seem to be turning into a nice cabbage ball that I am accustom to at the market, but they are at least decorative!!

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And last but not least, the most pleasant surprise!

BEANS!

It took forever for them to even sprout! And now the little plants are growing all kinds of beans!!

Fantastic!

But it is October now and even though it has been sometimes warmer than in the dead of summer lately, I think it might be time to wind things down for this season.

Growing stuff – August 3rd

It’s pathetic really.

I don’t know where I went wrong with these tomato plants.

Grew them from seed on the window sill then nurtured them all winter in the living room where they grew to be strong, confident, healthy tomato plants!

They sprung all sorts of little flowers and seemed so healthy.

So why is it now August and this is ALL I have to show for my effort??

One lousy tomato

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But on a good note, we have been enjoying eating “local” ( as in from the balcony) when it comes to the greens.  The arugula has been a spectacular success and the mixed lettuce leaves delicious!  We’ve even been adding some of the young chard to the salads and it tastes great!

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But now the birds seem to have decided that they like beet greens and have been having a go at them!

I decided to pull up one of the beets, you know, just to see how everybody is getting on.  It was just a tiny thing so I shoved it back in.  Hopefully it will continue to grow!

And then I pulled on one of the stray potato plant branches and found this little nugget!

One potato

Well, I guess it’s still a bit early for the underground things!

Arugula Salad as nature intended

Finally I have harvested something to eat from The Balcony Garden!

I wish you had “taste – O – vision” because this truly was just divine!

I gently trimmed the supple leaves from their base, gave them a quick wash just to remove any “bug spit” then on to the plate!

I whipped up the perfect little dressing that consisted of:

  • 1 clove of fresh garlic finely minced
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • olive oil x twice the juice
  • salt & pepper

Whisk that up and lovingly spoon and drizzle over the precious arugula.

Then add a few shavings of some good quality parmesan cheese.

Heavenly I tell you!  Just heavenly!

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he young fresh arugulas are almost sweet, not even a hint of what can usually be a bit of a bitter  bite!  Say THAT three times quickly!

Growing stuff – July 20

Well the summer is progressing along and things on the balcony garden are still growing.

But the weather this year has been so weird that I’m not sure how things will turn out.

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The potato plant is still growing like gang busters.  I’m not sure when I am supposed to harvest that.   I had trouble last year and so they never got to fruition.

Potato plant

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The arugula is looking fantastic and we hope to eat some of that this weekend!

Arugula

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Bit of trouble with the cabbage.  Seems that some sort of florescent green little worms have been eating their fill of it.  I caught them in the act munching little holes all over, so I “removed” them.   I will have to keep an eye on them.

red cabbage

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The beets are doing great, but again, don’t know when they will be “ready” to pick?

Beets

 

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No tomatoes on the plant

The tomatoes continue to disappoint.  I can’t believe after growing them from seed starting in like January….and coddling them in the living room window all winter and giving them painstaking care…..that there is still as yet not even ONE tomato growing anywhere on the plants!   Sad, very sad.

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And then the Chard is FINALLY doing very well after a challenging start!

 

Swiss Chard

 

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And last but not least, I have a very pleasing batch of lettuce going.   But as usual, I had to move it inside because the BIRDS love lettuce and will keep eating it until they fall over!  Maybe that’s the answer!

Lettuce

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Happy Gardening!

 

Growing things and veggie storage tips

What with it officially summer now and the growing of produce in full swing, I thought I would share this veggie storage chart with you to help maximize the life of your produce!

veggie-storage

Meanwhile, life on the balcony garden is doing as well as can be expected.

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The cabbages are growing like gang busters!  But cabbage is a hearty plant so I suppose we can count on them.

But I don’t know, in the close up I’m not really seeing what will be a head of cabbage some day.  I don’t think that these big leaves suddenly curl up in a ball??

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The beans are still pushing away.  But doubt anything will come of them with their late start in the season!

Beans

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The tomato plants have lots of flowers now but no little tomatoes yet.   The wind lately has just been relentless and so I think it has tired them out.

Tomatoes

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And the potato plant is so big and strong and flowering.  I only hope that the potatoes growing underneath are half as hardy!   And I really have to resist the urge to “look at them”!  Last year I couldn’t help myself and pulled them up way too soon.   But luckily I shoved them back in the dirt and they kept growing until that “unfortunate incident” that occurred last year!  ( click here to see that )

Potatoes going strong

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I have had an unfortunate development with the patty-pan squash plant.  Heart breaking really, for no apparent reason he seems to have given up the will to live.

It was neither over watered, nor under-watered, nor do I see any evidence of foul play when it comes to squirrels or other critters.  The only variable to report is the incessant wind of late.  Maybe he just got exhausted.  He started off so strong and healthy.   Sad development.

Poor poor patty pan

I did however add some arugula seeds to the rest of his box and they are sprouting beautifully!

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The beets are in fine shape, but I guess like the potatoes, I will have to be patient and not yank them out to see “how they are doing”!

Beets

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And last but not least, I am very pleased to say that the Swiss Chard has made a fine come back.  It was touch and go there for awhile.

Although, I must admit, I have not yet let them stay outside.  They continue to be in the living room away from those nasty birds!

Swiss Chard

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Happy Gardening!

Click here if  you would like to catch up on my adventures in the balcony garden.

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Anniversary Dinner

Now don’t get me wrong, I like going out to restaurants as much as the next person, but when you have a live in Chef sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to go out!!

The Chef and I were celebrating our anniversary this weekend so he was nice enough to “whip me up” a little something for my dinner!!

We started with an appetizer of beet and goat cheese pin wheel terrine with basil infused oil.

Beet and goat cheese pin wheels

Colourful and light.

Then a lovely salad of arugula  with a beautiful refreshing oil and lemon dressing and shaves of Parmesan cheese.

Arugula salad with lemon, oil and shaved Parmesan cheese

For the main course we had beef and asparagus rouladen topped with gorgonzola cheese, accompanied by pured roasted celeriac topped with Boursin cheese and roasted root vegetables with topped with Blue cheese.

Beef and asparagus rouladen with roasted celeriac, root vegetables and three cheeses

Scurmp-delly-ishes!!!

Needless to say, with all the flavours and textures going on there, it only seemed appropriate to have a nice simple dessert.

Strawberries macerated in sugar and balsamic vinegar with Greek yogurt, with a sprig of mint and a shard of dark chocolate!

macerated strawberries with Greek yogurt and mint

Good time had by all!

Tuesday night type pasta

Are you ever on your way home from work or whatever and just can’t bear to stop at the store because you are tired or don’t want to deal with all the people in way?

You come home and are determined to “make do” with whatever you can find in the pantry?

Well here is a suggestion.

I took out the large skillet, chopped up an onion and tossed it in.  I realize I really do cook with a lot of onions, but there is nothing wrong with that, they are very good for the blood!

What next?

I dug in the fridge for a bit…….

Okay, I got it.  Here we go:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper ( seeded and sliced in slightly larger than usual bits)

Stir those up till they are well acquainted then add:

  • 1 or more tbsp poultry spice ( or just plain dried sage)
  • 1 can rinsed white kidney or pinto beans

Stir those in well.

Then I added some of my  “Pulled Chicken”  left over from taco night.    But if you didn’t just happen to have that, you could add a can of tuna or just leave it completely vegetarian / vegan.

Meanwhile, boil up a pot of your favorite pasta.  Tonight I used linguini……cause that’swhat I had.

Once the pasta is done, toss it in with the veg and beans.  Make sure you save a bit of the pasta water and add that too, just to help make it a little saucy.

Toss those and then add some salt and pepper.

Then I added, which is totally up to you, some lemon zest and the juice of said lemon just to zinger up a little!

Had I had any baby spinach or arugula, I would have totally added a bit of that just before serving too….but I didn’t.

Plate it up and add some parma cheese…….if that’s your thing.

Does the trick for a Tuesday night!

And on a further note, it makes a great lunch for work the next day!  Eat at room temperature with a squirt or two of lemon just before you eat it!

The Perfect Turkey Sandwich

Now I’m not talking the fancy one you get at your get at your local hipster joint, what with the melted brie, arugula and “bistro sauce”.  Of course there is a time and place for that kind of thing, but that is NOT what I am talking about here!

No, I’m talking the post holiday, perfect left over turkey sandwich!

I sometimes think that I prefer this sandwich to the actual turkey dinner itself!  I think that maybe I make turkey dinner JUST for this sandwich!!

I know that I am always touting the “evils of white bread” but this is the one occasion on earth that NO OTHER will do!

Here is what you will need:

 

  • two slices fresh squishy white sandwich bread
  • sliced turkey
  • left over stuffing
  • cranberry jelly ( the kind from a can that keeps the can shape!)
  • mayo
  • S & P  (heavy on the P )

Assemble as you would any sandwich…….

Cut in half…..or not……and there we have it!  The PERFECT turkey sandwich!

In my opinion anyway!

 

Perfect turkey sandwich

 

Balcony Garden update

Not really sure why things are growing like crazy, what with the dismal excuse for a summer we’ve been having, but I guess the will to live prevails!

Click here to check out how things started  and then on our last update  click here to see where we got.

Now things are just out of control

In the centre of my cauliflower plants grew a big old, unsolicited, POTATO plant!!  I kept chopping at it to try and give the cauliflower some access to the sun but it just kept growing.  So the other day I just pulled it right out of the dirt and low and behold, two very cute little potatoes that I roasted up and we ate.  The were super sweet and delicious!

New potatoes

But then I noticed that there were all these tiny weeny potato like things hanging off the roots so I replanted it in my compost bin and we’ll see what we get come end of summer.  But at least it isn’t suffocating the cauliflower anymore.

Potato plant

As for the actual cauliflower, they somehow have managed to grow in the potato shadow and now we have little baby cauliflowers!

baby cauliflowers

Baby cauliflowers

 There is one tomato growing and it is coming along nicely.  Actually I am impressed by the size. Tomatoes never do well, it’s just too cold for them.

One green tomato

But it is the lettuce  and lettuce like things like arugula that is growing like crazy.

Arugula gone to flower

Remember our little lettuce project……..we are still eating it!

Lettuce

We’ve been enjoying the red lettuce very much.

Red lettuce

And then there is this.  They started out as a pot of random greens that we bought at the garden centre.  I wasn’t really sure what kind of greens they were so I let them grow and they got bigger and bigger.

Whacky big green stuff

I like this stuff though because the birds LOVE it and like to swing on the ends so they can eat the seeds off the flowers, which is great because it means they are finally leaving my mint alone that they chewed down to the bone!

Birds swinging in the greens

There’s always a lot of action out there.  Each day brings new surprises and provides endless entertainment.

You should try it.

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Black Mission Fig pizza

Okay.

We’ve been SO good that I think it’s time for a treat.   But this is still a perfectly healthy choice if done the right way.  And is a GREAT summer dinner, snack or entertaining food.  It is particularly impressive when made on the Bar B que.

Let’s start with our old pizza dough recipe from before ( click here to see it ).

But if you don’t have the time or inclination to go to the trouble of making your own dough ( this time) then you could use a good quality whole wheat pita bread or a plain ol wheat tortilla, but would work just fine.

Pizza Dough

So once you have your base of choice, start by schmearing it with some caramelized onion or home made onion jam ( we’ll tackle that project another time).

Caramelized onions are super easy.  Slice up a good size onion into thinly sliced rounds or nice big thin slices.  Pot em in a frying pan with some olive oil and cook until they get sweaty and limp looking.  At this point you can turn down the heat and just keep cooking slowly till they get brown and goopy.  OR you can cheat and give them a shot of soya sauce or Worcestershire sauce or a good shot of brown balsamic vinegar which will give them a nice brown colour and a bit of sweetness.

So after the caramelized onions we’re going to add the beautiful Black Mission Figs  ( click here to read about them)

Black Mission Fig

Slice them into let’s say 8ths, thin enough but not too thin.  Add them to your pizza.  Next we will crumble some good quality blue cheese just to give them that tangy bite against the sweetness of the onions and figs.  Then sprinkle with a few pine nuts or chopped raw walnuts and you are DONE.

Black Mission Fig Pizza

Simple yet elegant.

Pop them in the oven or onto the bar b que and bake them until the crust crisps up and the cheese melts just a little.

For a little added taste and nutrition, just before serving hit them with a little baby arugula.

Black Mission Fig Pizza with carmelized onions and blue cheese

These make a great starter at your party or served with a side salad a nice light summer supper.

Yumm-eee.

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