Little Bit of This; Summer Meal Salad


Something wonderful about summer and forgetting about dinner.
An abundance of fresh food everywhere, leftovers from the weekend BBQ and a handful of herbs can create a quick, satisfying and remarkable dinner.

After grilling corn and attempting a sweet chili lime glaze recipe to serve up, I had one cob left over and a recipe that still needs a bit of tweaking for my tastes. I trimmed the cob of the kernels and, since it was already a little seasoned, I had a salad in mind. Dinner also left over a roasted red pepper, which was easy enough to dice, toss in a little handful of the bolting cilantro and I had a flavour direction for something.

For our next days lunch, I still needed a bit of protein and a bit of everything in between, so I grabbed for the quinoa. It’s quick cooking, so it gave me just the right amount of time I needed to toss together a dressing. Tossed together with a couple of handfuls of my favourite baby spinach and this salad was ultra quick, summery and so tasty.

SUMMER CORN & QUINOA SALAD

1 Cob of Corn, preferably grilled, shucked
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper, roasted with the skin removed
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, packed, finely chopped
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Handfuls Baby Spinach Leaves, about 2 cups

DRESSING

Juice of One Lime
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/8 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Whisper of Cayenne Pepper (less than a pinch)

Rinse the quinoa well and leave it to soak in a mesh colander for about 3 minutes.
Combine the drained quinoa with 2 cups of boiling water in a medium saucepan.
Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 7 minutes.
Lift the lid and check in on the quinoa. The water should be mostly absorbed and appear fluffy. If not, cover again and continue to cook for a couple of minutes more.
Once the water has been absorbed, fluff with a fork and leave it to cool while you prepare the remainder of the salad.
Skin, seed and dice the red pepper, added it to the shucked corn, in a large bowl.
Rinse, dry and finely chop the cilantro, adding it to the corn and peppers.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, and oil. Add the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix well.
Measure out 2 cups of the cooked quinoa and add it along with the baby spinach to the corn mixture, stirring to combine.
Pour over the dressing. Toss to coat, but be gentle not to overly bruise the spinach leaves.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.*
Turn out to a platter to serve.

*If going vegetarian, about 1/3 cup of crumbled feta will make the salad sing.

Marina Di Chioggia Gnocchi


Upon returning from vacation I couldn’t help but notice one of my pumpkins from my collection. The skin of my Marina Di Chioggia had turned much darker than its original green and although I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about pumpkins and their various shades green, I do know that my prized Marina Di Chioggia is one of the most delectable of all the gourd breeds.

From the coasts near Venice, love is in the air for the pumpkin aptly nicknamed “Deliziosa”. The hard, green shell of this heirloom pumpkin may be a pain to peel, or even get into for that matter, but it’s sweet, subtle flavour and silky flesh certainly make it worth it. To claim victory over the tough to surrender peel, just make one cut around to get in and clean out the seeds, then simply roast the pumpkin in a short depth of water for about 90 minutes at 350ºF.

Of all the heirlooms gathered from the patch this season, the glorious Marina Di Chioggia is perfect for just about any recipe. It’s sweet yet delicate and can hold it’s own beautifully in pies, pasta and of course, gnocchi.

Perpetually intimidated by making gnocchi, with or without eggs, I found that this pumpkin is a great addition to the delightful dumplings. Typically worried about them being gummy and dense or at worst, falling apart in the cooking water, I found nothing of the sort. The dough was quite soft, so depending on the extent of draining you do, climate you live in and any other moisture factors, you may have to adjust the amount of flour to create a workable dough.

…And with a terrific yield, everyone can look forward to a few great pumpkin recipes to add to autumn and holiday collection.


Continue reading Marina Di Chioggia Gnocchi

Pumpkin Mushroom & Leek Risotto


With autumn here it’s not to tough to find the cooler weather ingredients. As the farmer’s markets begin the preparation of shutting down for the winter, the fall finds and harvest colours are still filling the tables.

Since Jack-o-Lanterns aren’t very good for eating, I used the Jarrahdale pumpkin left from my day at the patch. Although I didn’t have to worry about the abundance of carving pumpkins flooding the market, I figure a butternut squash may also do in a pinch.

With winds blustering and my grocery bag full, I was set for anything including a challenge.
Upon making my dinner, I was quite excited to read of A Slice of Cherry Pie’s call for my same three ingredients. It seems that shopping locally and celebrating of seasonal food isn’t all that uncommon, so if you too found these great ingredients at your local market, you can check out her round up for this and other great recipes using these wonderful autumn finds.


Continue reading Pumpkin Mushroom & Leek Risotto