Avocado Lime Rice

By Corinne

Oh Avocados!

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As the cartoon implies, when you go to buy an avocado, it seems as though they are all either over ripe or hard as rocks. I generally buy them in a bag when the price is right, and of course, they all seem to ripen at exactly the same time, leaving me needing to use up 4-5 avocados in a short amount of time.

This rice is delicious in a wrap, or with Chipotle Pepper Beef.

Time: about 25 min – 5 min prep, 20 minutes cook

Serves: 4 as side

  • 1.5 cups rinsed brown rice
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
  • juice of one lime (if your lime isn’t very juicy, feel free to use two)
  • half a minced jalapeño

Cook rice using your preferred method. I generally use a rice cooker, but just follow your usual method.

While rice is cooking, remove skin and seed from avocado. To do this, run a knife lengthwise along the avocado through the fruit around the seed. Twist halves apart, and use your knife to knock out the seed. I generally cross hatch it with my knife and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, but since you are mashing it you can just take it out in one chunk if you like. Discard skin and seed and place flesh in a bowl. I was going to take photos of this process, but sometimes I don’t feel like re-creating the wheel so to speak. There is a lovely diagram of how to cut an avocado here as well as additional information about them.

Juice lime(s) over avocado. Mince about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and mince or press clove of garlic. Add to avocado. Use a fork to mash together. Season with a pinch of salt.

When rice is cooked, mix together with mashed avocado mixture. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese and Garlic

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By Corinne

I came to spaghetti squash late in life and skeptical of any one who claimed it was ‘just like’ spaghetti. While I quite like it, could possibly even wax poetic about my love of it, I still think it only superficially resembles the pasta it’s named after.

I love this dish as a side for just about anything (pictured here served with veal cutlets), and have also been known to eat it as a vegetarian main served with a nice crusty bread and a salad.

Serves: 4 as a side dish

You will need:

  • 1 medium/large spaghetti squash
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • about 70g or 2.5oz of soft goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut stem ends off of spaghetti squash, scrape out seeds (roast like pumpkin seeds if you wish, they are super yummy!) and cut in half length wise.

Place cut sides down on a cookie sheet and place on middle rack in oven for 45min. At 45 min flip over and check to see if strands separate easily from the skin. If they do not, put back in oven for another 15 min (you can leave cut side up). When squash is tender, remove from oven and use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. You can either use the skin as a bowl or put it all into a separate bowl for serving.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter and mix in the chopped fresh parsley. Mince or press garlic into the butter. Give it a good whisk. When squash is finished cooking and you have scraped it into ‘spaghetti’, drizzle with butter/parsley/garlic mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese for serving.

 

Toasted Orzo

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By Corinne

This is a quick and tasty side dish. If you have some fresh herbs, add them at the end when you mix in the cheese. If you’ve been following the blog, you may notice that I often use fresh asiago instead of fresh parmesan. I find it has a similar delicious nutty flavour, but is generally less expensive.

Time: 25 min-  most of this is hands off time.

Serves:2-3 as a side

You will need:

  • 1 cup orzo*
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie broth  or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use 2 cups of broth if not using wine)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded asiago or parmeasan

Place butter in a pot to melt over medium heat. When butter is bubbly, add orzo. Do NOT add the broth at this point! Stir pasta in butter for about 3-4 minutes until about half of it has turned brown and toasty looking.

At this point, add the wine and broth of your choice, and cover. Cook about 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, until nearly all liquid is absorbed. When liquid is almost all absorbed, remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 min. Stir in shredded cheese and herbs if using and serve.

*if you find this isn’t QUITE enough for you, but doubling would be too much, try 1 1/2 cups of orzo, 3 cups of liquid for a bit more 🙂

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and Mushrooms with Watermelon Salad

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By Corinne

This is a perfect summer supper. While we had this as dinner, the mushrooms and zucchini would also make a wonderful side or appetizer. I personally dislike mushrooms, but my husband loves them. Cremini are his favourite and what I used here, though I imagine this would work just fine with those white button mushrooms.

Serves: 3-4

Time: about 45 min

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and/or Mushrooms

You Will Need:

  • 4 italian sausage removed from casing-I used 2 hot, 2 mild because there were no medium about 1 1/4 pound or .665 kg (from Tim’s Meats)
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, I used Grey Fox Chardonnay
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • some combination of zucchini and mushrooms – I used 2 zucchini and 5 large cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp canola for brushing vegetables

Watermelon Salad

You Will Need:

  • 3 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (I used 3 of those mini kirby cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or small dice red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint if desired
  • freshly ground pepper

For the zucchini/mushrooms

Place sausages (casing removed) and chopped onion in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook on medium until sausage is well browed with lots of little crispy bits! If your sausage was particularly fatty, you should probably drain off some of the fat before deglazing. I use local sausage that tends to be quite lean and don’t need to drain anything.

Use the 3/4 cup of wine to deglaze the pan- add it a bit at the time scraping up all the browned bits of goodness. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest and juice and let reduce until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and mix in about half of the grated asiago- the rest will be used to top your zucchini/mushrooms.

White your filling is cooking, prep the zucchini and mushrooms.

Pull the stems out of mushrooms. Chop up stems and use it in omelettes for tomorrow morning, or for pasta sauce if you’re into that sort of thing, or compost them if you’re not:)

Trim zucchini ends, and slice in half length wise. Cut into approximately 2.5″ pieces, and using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out insides, being sure to leave a ‘cap’ on each end of your section so your filling will stay put! (I ended up with about 12 pieces from my two zucchini) With the leftover inside bits, you can save for another purpose, or compost. If I had just been making zucchini ones, I might have used less sausage and used the zucchini ‘insides’ as part of the filling as well. But I didn’t, and you don’t have to either 🙂

Brush tops and bottoms of zucchini and mushrooms with canola or olive oil. Place them on the grill on high/medium high top side down for only a minute or two until they have some nice grill marks. Remove from grill and fill with sausage, top with cheese.

Return to grill on low for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and zucchini and mushrooms are heated through. If you prefer your zucchini softer/more cooked leave them on a bit longer.

For the salad

Chop watermelon, cucumbers, onion add to bowl, mix gently. Crumble feta over top and juice of one lime and mint if using. Stir gently again to mix. Add fresh pepper to taste and serve.

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TL’s Simple Sautéed Fiddleheads with Lemon

By Corinne

TL is one of my favourite people to cook with. We often bounce ideas off of each other, and some of the things she’s introduced me to have become go to favourites. TL not only introduced me to fiddleheads – which I had long known about, but hadn’t gotten around to trying- but she prepared them as this lovely simple side.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2- 2 cups prepared fiddleheads – see here for instructions on how to safely prepare fiddleheads for cooking
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • zest of one lemon, plus juice from one wedge
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add butter to pan on med-med high. Add fiddleheads and garlic once butter is melted. Sauté for 10 minutes. You will see the fiddleheads release some of their moisture.

When ready to serve, zest lemon and hit with the juice from a wedge of lemon. If you zest/juice too soon, they will discolour.

Tonight I served them with rice and grilled pork chops that had marinated in beer and drizzled with apricot white balsamic vinegar to finish.

Apple and Spinach Salad with Cider Dill Dressing

By: Julie

Serves: 4-6

I get spring fever.  And then I get summer fever.  It’s May, and still chilly, but I desperately needed something delicious and fresh to hold me over until the first of the spring veggies arrives.  This salad was amazingly light, and flavourful, and spoke of warm days to come.  I would serve it with anything burgerish, or sandwichy.  I plan to make it again next weekend with an antipasto plate, some delicious cheese and some honey mead I’ve been hoarding for just the right meal.  This is that meal.

 

You Will Need:

For The Dressing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple juice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

For The Salad

  • 2 cups of cucumber, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of spinach

Combine apples, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl.  Whisk dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over apple mixture.  Allow this to marinate for 20 min or more, then add the spinach and pecans.  The amount of flavor in this is amazing.  Let us know how you liked it!

Buttermilk Scalloped Potatoes with Rosemary and Sweet Potato

By Julie

Serves 4-6

Time: 60-80min.  20 min prep, 40-60 min bake.

Sometimes you change out a few ingredients, randomly, and it turns into something amazing.  That’s what happened tonight with my scalloped potatoes.  I had some buttermilk leftover from a chocolate cake that I made and some fresh rosemary that needed to be used up.  So I decided to make scalloped potatoes to go with our ham dinner.  Good decision right?  Except then after prepping the white sauce I discovered that I only had 4 potatoes, not good when you’re making dinner for 4 and company is coming imminently.  I did have 2 sweet potatoes though, so I though, meh, how bad can it be?  It wasn’t bad.  It was amazing.

You Will Need

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 medium onion – halved and sliced
  • 4 med-large potatoes – very thinly sliced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes – a litrtle thicker than the potatoes

Prepare The White Sauce

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for 1 min, then add salt, pepper, rosemary and flour.  Whisk in buttermilk slowly, incorporating it into the flour and butter mixture.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Prepare The Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350f. Place a layer of potatoes in an 8×8 baking dish.  Top with half of the onion and cover with a layer of sweet potato. Finish with a layer of onion and then a layer of potato.  Pour the white sauce over top and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 40-60 min or until potatoes are tender.  The thicker your potatoes the longer it takes to cook.  Sweet potatoes will cook faster than the regular potatoes so make sure both are tender before serving.