I can still remember the days when the idea of pairing salty and sweet would have seemed like a real tragedy. Why would you ruin a perfectly good dessert by adding salt to it? I recall my utter bafflement at the idea that dessert + coffee were meant to be enjoyed at the same time, wondering why anyone in their right mind would want to showcase and even enhance the bitterness of coffee by pairing it with such an opposing (and vastly superior) flavour. Then again, my idea of the perfect coffee was nothing more than sugar milk with a faint coffee aftertaste.
My palate was, how shall we say it, rather more delicate in those days. I hated anything spicy, or bitter, or briny. There was sweet and there was not-sweet, and everything else was an offence against my tongue.
I’m pretty sure I owe you a winter salad. My last post was all about eating whatever the heck I want (a sprouts salad, because I’m a badass like that), but this one is all about embracing the chilly season. It is also about simplicity. Fennel, oranges, olives, and an easy-as-sin dressing. Just three seemingly disparate ingredients which, when combined together, produce an insanely flavourful and refreshing salad.
Baked beans are the sh*t, am I right? My favourite part of going out for brunch, aside from the feeling of indulgence I get when having someone else make breakfast for me, is getting to order baked beans. I’ve made them on my own before using an oven, but found I could never get them to be as thick, creamy, and velvety as they are when I order them in a restaurant. Baking them also means you have to be present for the whole affair, and who has time to watch beans for two hours?
This recipe was born of two fortuitous life circumstances which happened to coincide. Firstly, my naturopath suggested I try avoiding raw food for two weeks to see if cooked foods prove easier on my digestive system. Secondly, Conor and I received a dinner invitation for a weeknight that was breakfast themed – which is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time! – and I had zero minutes, never mind an hour or two, between work and dinner to actually cook. Enter the slow cooker, a working girl’s best friend. These beans are the easiest thing in the world to make, but taste like they took some serious effort. I just love when that happens.
This savoury little gem of a recipe is the result of several competing forces influencing my culinary enterprises: nostalgic (though slightly horrified) recollections of the Rice-A-Roni my brother and I enjoyed as kids; my desire for comfort food that is still nutritionally justifiable; and Conor’s occasional yet forceful insistence that I cook more carbs.
Do you ever find yourself rediscovering recipes already in your arsenal, but had completely forgotten about? And doesn’t it feel like you’ve reconnected with a long-lost friend, the experience seemingly both fresh and familiar at the same time? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like whenever a recipe falls out of my regular rotation, it’s gone for quite some time. I used to make this salad regularly when Conor and I lived in our last apartment – it’s really easy to pull together, packs neatly for a lunch, and can function as either a side or a meal unto itself.
Coleslaw was a frequent dinner companion when I was growing up, and despite being a really picky eater, it was always a winner in my books. My parents made it simple and light, with an olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, and for a long time that’s how I thought all coleslaw was prepared. Then one day I discovered that thick, goopy, green mess they call coleslaw at fast food joints and chain restaurants. I thought to myself, “What’s the point of a salad if you’re going to drown it in mayonnaise?”. Well, that question has never been satisfactorily answered, but fortunately I have come across much more pleasant variations on the coleslaw theme since then. My favourite for the last year or so has been kale slaw – who knew you could slaw (and verb) anything? Continue reading
I will refrain from a long prelude today, and simply let your eyes feast and your mouth water. This dish is a perfect example of why Mediterranean cuisine wins my heart every time. A few simple, fresh ingredients married together in a way that creates something bigger than the sum of its parts. The creaminess of the eggplant, the vibrancy of the herbs, and the salty tang of the capers work together to create something really special. Continue reading
Is there anything better than a farmer’s market in the summer? The season’s bounty in all shapes and colours, in baskets and in piles, still smelling of the dirt from whence they came, beautiful in their imperfection… it’s a complete sensory experience that leaves me feeling rejuvenated, peaceful, and inspired. I could spend hours in a grocery store given the chance (and adequate funds), but being at a farmer’s market removes one step in the process of bringing food from farm to table, and nothing compares. No worries about buying genetically modified, corporate-sponsored frankenfoods here. My brief ode to vegetables aside, we’re here to talk about fava beans! My Yia Yia used to make this amazing stew for me, and it was always such a treat because it only came around once a year. It’s amazing in its simplicity, and the very minimal effort it requires belies the fact of its savoury, yet rustic, perfection. Cypriot cuisine is peasant food, and few things make my tummy happier. I had always refrained from making this myself because I was intimidated by fresh beans, but getting them out of their pods is so quick and easy, I’m ashamed that I didn’t do it sooner. And the reduced cooking time compared to using dried beans – amazing! Take advantage of everything summer has to offer while you can. The easiest way to get the beans out of the pod is to just grab the tip and pull down. Most of the time it will tear down like a zipper, and then opening the pod is no problem. Sometimes this doesn’t work, so I just squeeze in the middle over a bowl, and out they pop! The whole process shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes – I did it while watching television. Continue reading