Smashed Summer Potatoes


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Can you tell it was a market day? These days are some of my favourite and I’m still trying to figure out what is the best summer food.
One might guess asparagus, berries, tomatoes or corn… but then there is the humble potato. Nothing screams summer dinner to me more than every including a cob of fresh corn, green beans and early treasures like baby potatoes.

There are about five thousand varieties of potatoes and ALL of them have to start out as babies.
These small, young, thin-skinned delights have just started to be robbed from the ground and sent to market on the same day. They are waiting to be boiled up and melt in your mouth.

Super easy, crazy delicious!

 

SMASHED SUMMER POTATOES

12 – 15 Baby New Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (about)
1 Tablespoon Chives, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Dill, finely chopped
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes until fork tender.
Drain and score the bottom of each potato crosswise. Place knicked side down and smash each potato with your thumb or the back of a spoon to flatten.
Heat olive oil on medium high and sauté each side for about 3 – 5 minutes or until equally golden and crisp.
Remove potatoes to serving plate, reserving the remaining oil in the pan.
Sprinkle with salt, cracked pepper, herbs and lemon zest.

Serves 4

Wilted Greens & Wheat Berry Salad


wiltedgrainsalad

Another quick-ish meal that’ll get you going, keep you full and make you forget about needing meat to complete a meal.  I’m a junky of all things green and grainy, so I’ve been into wheat berries lately. A super grain, and not too carby of a carb, they’re chewy, firm pods of whole food goodness. Plus, if you can boil water, they’re pretty much a cinch to cook.

The wheat berries are easily cooked in advance and stored for up to a week in a sealed container. They can also be subbed for quinoa for a gluten-free option.

WILTED GREENS + WHEAT BERRY SALAD WITH MIXED MUSHROOMS

4 Cups Mixed Mushrooms, sliced – I used Shiitake, and crimini
1 Cup Soft Wheat Berries
Zest + Juice of One Lemon
6 Cups Assorted Field Greens, Spinach & Arugula, or any combination you have and like
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (optional – if you’re one of those people:)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil, divided
Salt + Pepper, to your taste

Soak the wheat berries for 20 -30 minutes. Rinse the wheat berries well and drain.
Boil 3 cups of lightly salted water and add the wheat berries. reduce the heat to medium and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes for doneness and if your water has been absorbed. (If it almost has and the berries aren’t quite tender, reduce the heat to medium-low and finish your cooking time.)
Pick over and wash your greens, spin to dry.
Heat a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden. Remove from heat, then add the parsley and cilantro.
Fluff the wheat berries with a fork, add the lemon juice, mushrooms, remaining oil and toss to combine.
Divide the greens between 4 servings and top with the wheat berries, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini



Where have I been having vanished with the summer?
Sheltering from the rain, I’d replaced my passé front yard with an edible garden.
I tried my luck with a few heirloom seeds and a few more old stand-by vegetables.
Summer may have squeaked by, but not without leaving me with a few baseball bat sized zucchinis.

I took company coming as the perfect opportunity to eat up the biggest one.  Of course there were cakes and something savoury for lunch as well.

We managed to eat half. (That was even with seconds!)

QUINOA STUFFED ZUCCHINI

1 Tablespoon Oil
1 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Red Quinoa
1 Large Zucchini, very large in my case
1 Cup Yellow Pear Tomatoes
A big handful of herbs of your choice. I used mostly basil, some parsley and thyme, finely chopped
salt+pepper

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 stuffing.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots. Once they’ve softened, add the garlic but be careful not to burn it.
Half the zucchini lengthwise and remove the seeds. Trim the ends and remove the bottom of one half just so it will sit without toppling over. Dice the other half until you’ve measured 2 Cups. (If there’s still some left, here’s a recipe for scones.)
Add the chopped zucchini to the shallots and continue to sauté until it’s softened.
Slice the tomatoes and add them to the zucchini.
Remove from the heat and add the prepared quinoa and chopped herbs.
Combine well and add a good amount of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Place the seeded, trimmed zucchini half in a baking dish which has been lightly oiled.
Pack the stuffing into the crevice. Drizzle with olive oil and cover lightly with foil.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or depending on your zucchini’s size and thickness, until it’s tender. (Begin checking at 40 minutes if it’s more of a slender forearm size:)

Not Your Aunt’s Creamy Potato Salad


The bounty cometh, it is summer after all. Not only is it the season for all things grown fresh it’s also BBQ, picnic, firework celebrations and stay up late season.

With company on it’s way, I wanted a classic tasty side to go with all things grilled and what summer meal would be complete without a potato salad? I’ve made a potato salad with a vinaigrette before but this time I was more craving the old fashioned creamy style only lighter.

I like potato salad when it’s still barely warm, but this can easily be cooled and packed perfectly for a picnic.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD WITH AVOCADO

1 1/2 Lbs New Potatoes, scrubbed
1 Large Ripe Avocado
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Mixed Chopped Herbs, Try dill&chives, cilantro&scapes or parsley&tarragon – or mix and match them all together.

Steam the potatoes until they are just fork tender but al dente.
Cool until the potatoes can be handled, then quarter.
Peel and dice the avocado and combine with the potatoes and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Stir in the herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss well to coat everything and to break down some of the softened avocado.

Serves 4-6

Don’t Toss those Radish Greens.


It’s now June, the sun is warm and the garden is in. I thought I had the itch last year, ripping out spaces in the yard to add more life, but it must have been the tomatoes that inspired this year’s dig.

I live on your typical, smallish urban yard with a street out front and a patch of grass for sinking my toes into and a bit of Joneses decor. The house is west facing so I wake with the sun and enjoy the cool shade the houseprint leaves in the backyard during the afternoons. The only thing was the tomatoes weren’t loving the dark, temperate breezes. For those of you who have had the luck to enjoy a warm summer tomato, you will understand my next move.

As a late birthday gift to myself this spring, I shocked the next door neighbour and ordered a few loads of soil. With it’s blazing sunshine and ample room for my tomatoes, the front yard just had to go. As I poked and turned the earth, I found a new plot for my tomatoes and I was left with the cool spaces in the back garden. Room now for things I hadn’t grown before. Direct from Monticello, are the heirloom peas, a few rows red carrots, spinach, rocket and White Hailstone Radishes.

I’m not infatuated with radishes, especially the spicy, red and mealy grocery store variety I grew up on, but when they’re fresh, topping buttered bread with a little salt? Yum. With this little space and reading that radishes can grow from seed to harvest in about three weeks, I couldn’t resist to try. After a few days of rain, the row billowed and I could see the hail sized spheres pushing from the ground. I didn’t think I’d be able to eat that many tea sandwiches in one sitting, so after a nibble I snipped the tops and pickled the bottoms in a drowning of rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. But, don’t any of you dare think that I’m going get my hands dirty, poke seeds into the ground, water and baby these tiny vegetables just to toss the tops. No, no.

I’d once read that, although most greens are discarded, they are mostly all edible. Radishes are no exception. Blessed with the spiciness of their in-ground counterparts, I figured they would be tasty in a quick sauté or a soup.

Unbelievably simple, this soup was amazingly tempting.

RADISH GREENS SOUP

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Shallot, finely chopped
2 Cups Radish Greens, roughly chopped, packed
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Fresh Chives for serving

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add finely diced shallots.
Sauté, stirring often, until shallots are soft and translucent.
Add the radish greens and wilt, then add the stock.
Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in blender, in batches.
Top with with freshly chopped chives just prior to serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Gingered Peach Shortbread Bars


You think I would have learned after my adventure with a basket of peaches last year. Yet, here I go again with another overflow of peaches and posts.

I like peaches, I really do. Sweet and juicy, the fuzz is a bit much for me after a bit, but fragrant and so completely summer, none the less.

With the smell of my last basket of peaches wafting throughout the dining room, I knew that this last layer had ripened to perfection. With simplicity and inspiration… and a need for sweetness during 3 o’clock coffee, this peachy goodness found it’s way to our plates.

& With a few left in the basket on this eve of back to school, perhaps a new trend will develop?
Fuzzy, juicy and local peach for the teacher? Or will it be the jam?

PEACH SHORTBREAD BARS

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1/3 Cup Confectioners Sugar
3/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening, frozen or very cold, broken into pieces
Pinch Cinnamon

5 Peaches, about 2 cups chopped
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Freshly Grated Ginger

Crumb Topping
1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Earth Balance (Butter)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flour, corn starch, confectioners sugar, shortening and cinnamon together in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse crumb which can be molded when pinched.
Press the dough into an 8″x8″ square baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
Remove and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, halve the peaches to remove the stone then quarter before adding to a sauce pan.
Cover the peaches with the sugar and cook over a medium heat to release their juices and loosen the skins.
Remove the skins and discard if able and desired.
Mash the peaches with a potato masher, fork or hand held blender to roughly purée.
Add the grated ginger and sprinkle over the additional 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, stirring well.
Return to a rolling simmer, continuing to cook until thickened.
Cool while you combine the crumb topping.
In a small bowl mix together the 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup Earth Balance with a fork until everything is evenly combined, moist and crumbly.
Pour the peaches over the prepared shortbread and sprinkle over topping.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.