Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Simple Cottage Pizza with Arugula on the BBQ

Disclaimer: This is more of a method of combining a bunch of store-bought items than it is a recipe.
One of my favourtie things about living on the prairies (at least where we are) is the proximity to beautiful Canadian Shield lakes and boreal forrest. This May Long weekend I was lucky enough to make this pizza twice - once for my bestest gal friends at Liz's cabin on Lake of the Woods, and a second time for my family at our cabin on Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park.
I love "recipes" like this one for the lake. Generally - we are either starving after arriving on Friday night, or we are more then a few beers deep after a beautiful day on the water. The last thing you want to do at the cottage is spend hours in the kitchen or to have to turn  on your oven. The key to this one is to purchase delicious, high quaility ingredients (preferably from a great Italian Store like Delucca's). With an evening like we had on Saturday (see picture below), I was so thankful to have something so quick and easy to throw together. I sometimes make my own pizza dough and sauce - but who wants to miss out on dock time to go start the rising process - not this sun worshipper!

Fried Halloumi on Kale and Brussels with Tahini-Soy Dressing

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I tried to come up with the most trendy salad possible, and this is what resulted. Kidding, kind of. Kale, brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds, Tahini. I have never been a veggie lover, and certainly not a salad lover, but with the right dressing and some cheese, I can be convinced. If you've never tried a dressing made with tahini, you must.
Finding Tahini (a sesame paste) can be a bit difficult. On my most recent trip to Superstore I found it in two places: the health food/organic food isle with the other nut butters, and also in the international food sections, with other middle eastern foods. Halloumi is easy to find now, it's with all the fancier cheeses. 
This salad can be a little too intense in the greens department for a main dish - but that's how we ate it on a Monday after a bit of weekend excess. So if you feel like being super healthy, have it as a main, otherwise it would be a good side dish with something that doesn't require so much chewing.

If you want it to be a really quick salad - use any cheese and just crumble it into the salad instead of the Halloumi. You could use any nut in place of the pumpkin seeds and not worry about roasting them.

The Best Borscht

Well it's May 13th, so it's technically been "spring" for almost two months now, but it's going below freezing tonight, with a risk of snow flurries. Solution: Borscht of course! It's warm and comforting but with the colour, flavour and freshness of spring. I generally cringe at the thought of cabbage soup (perhaps from many attempts at the horrible diet of the same name that I used to suffer through before I saw the light). However, this version of borscht for some reason doesn't produce that cabbage stench - and for that reason alone you should try it.
I have made many different borscht recipes over the years, some very simple and some more complex, and this one is the winner. I was largely inspired by a favourite blogger Coffee & Quinoa in her post here. She caught my attention when she noted her Grandma Jane's similar search for the perfect borscht recipe. Her recipe was adapted from Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook. My only substantial change to her recipe is the addition of Paprika - a flavour I fell in love with honeymooning in Austria and Germany, filling my face with goulash (romantic). I bought some delicious Hungarian Paprika as soon as we came home because I think it's a great secret ingredient for adding savoury depth to a dish. It goes so nicely with the caraway seeds.
There are a lot of ingredients and a few extra steps in this recipe than most soups, but all the ingredients are cheap and easy to find. There is a fair bit of chopping, which I find therapeutic. The extra bit of time and steps are worth it. There is a real richness to this soup that is shocking when you consider there's only one tablespoon of butter.