06/23/15

Hello Ocean

Mr. and I went on an anniversary adventure a couple of weeks ago.

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We went to Prince Edward Island for a few days before hopping on a ferry over to Nova Scotia to finish the trip.

It was magical.

I spent a good portion of my childhood dreaming of the ocean: of living on a rocky shore, or being a pirate, or, because of the movie Pete’s Dragon, being a lighthouse keeper. I’m not sure if this is a pattern, children growing up on the prairies dreaming of the ocean, but it’s what I did. Where do children from the coast dream about living? I don’t know if it would be the prairies.

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On the way there, amidst all of my excitement, I was a little bit worried. (But then, when am I not at least a little worried? Ha ha ha). A person spends all of this time fantasizing, mythologising about a place, putting it up on a pedastal, what if it doesn’t live up to how you imagined it?

But I was worrying for nothing. It was amazing. It was as amazing as I imagined it could be. I would go back in a second.

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Many lighthouses were hugged. There was much excitement.

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Mr., who didn’t grow up dreaming of lighthouses or the ocean, hugged some lighthouses too. He was happy we were having such a fun time.

If you find yourself in Charlottetown and need a bite to eat, here are our suggested stops: the Water Prince Corner Shop (chowder so good we came back the next day to have it again!), and Dave’s Lobster (for lobster rolls that were Mr.’s favourite meal the whole trip. The ‘Some Fancy’ is so good it’ll give you goosebumps.).

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In Halifax we got to spend some time with our friend Dave, who we don’t get to see often enough at all. We went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, walked the boardwalk, and took a tour of his ship. We got treated to oysters at the Waterfront Warehouse, a first for both Mr. and myself!

For our anniversary, Mr. and I decided to continue the tradition of having a picnic. We went to Point Prim lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island, with our treats and our picnic blanket and had a marvellous time.

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I can’t wait to go back. And I’m sure that we will!

To go along with today’s picnic theme I have a recipe for a crunchy, bright slaw that would be perfect to pack in a picnic basket.

Granny Smith and Celery Slaw

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1 Granny Smith apple

5 stalks of celery

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

  • Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core before slicing thinly.
  • Slice the celery into crescents of similar thickness to the apple.

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  • In a medium to small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard to make the dressing.
  • Add the sliced apple and celery to the bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Serve!
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Crunch!

I think it might be fun next time to cut everything into juliennes, to have it look more traditionally slaw-like. I know some people would rather go to the dentist than cut into juliennes, but I’ve always kind of had fun with it.

 

04/23/15

The Mighty, Mighty Mandarin

Mighty Mandarin Salad

1/4 Cup vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp chopped parsley

1/2 tsp salt

pinch black pepper

1/2 Cup sunflower seeds

1/4 Cup sugar

a head of lettuce of your choice (I used a spring mix), rinsed, dried and torn

1 Cup chopped celery, sliced thin

2 – 11 oz cans of mandarin orange segments, drained

Directions

  • For the vinaigrette, find a container with a tight sealing lid, a jar is perfect, and combine in it the vegetable oil, cider vinegar, mustard, first measure of sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper.

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  • Affix the lid to your container, and then shake, shake, shake until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Place a small frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Tip the sunflower seeds into the pan, and toast, stirring leisurely as the seeds take on a little colour and become fragrant. Then, sprinkle over the second measure of sugar, stirring as it melts until the seeds are coated. Remove the pan from heat, pour the candied seeds onto a plate or into a bowl to cool.
  • Put the lettuce, celery, and mandarin orange segments into a salad bowl, tossing gently so that the segments of orange don’t get broken up into mush.
  • With cooling, the sugar on the candied sunflower seeds will have recrystallized. Break the mass apart with your hands and sprinkle over the veg.
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving.

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When serving salad, I like to employ the practice of dressing lightly and then serving the remainder alongside. This way, people who enjoy their salad lightly dressed can, and those who like to have theirs swimming in vinaigrette can too!

This salad is normally done with sliced almonds, candied up in the same way as I do the sunflower seeds. It’s definitely really nice that way but because Mr is allergic to nuts the almonds get substituted out these days. Use what you like, but I really would suggest to give the sunflower seeds a try. Whichever you elect to use, they bring an extra delightful crunch to each forkful.

As an additional option, if I remember correctly, my aunties who make this salad do so with some green onion chopped in. It would certainly be easy to add, but I’m not very partial to green onion and it’s my version of the recipe, so I don’t put them in!

I have a soft spot in my heart for mandarin, so I quite enjoy this salad. Crunchy, delightful, and sweet, it’s sure to please!

This time last year: Quintessential Quinoa Cakes

2 years ago: Pomegranate Jelly

3 years ago: Blackberry Lemonade Popsicles

4 years ago: Good Lemon Hummus

5 years ago: Raspberry Eskimo Pie

01/5/13

Starting the Year Off

For Christmas, Mr got me a low profile mortar and pestle (he certainly knows how to make me swoon), it’s so awesome! With the pestle being a full opposite of the mortar, the whole bowl is a grinding surface. Needless to say we’ve been grinding spices like nobody’s business at our house.

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Along with the gorgeous mortar and pestle came Bite Me Too, Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat’s follow up to their first cookbook, Bite Me. They put together a cookbook that is really fun to read: a little bit sassy, with playful pictures, and lots of fun and funky recipes. The Stacked Sushi Bowls I made?   They were very loosely based on the stacked sushi recipe from their first book. I made some supremely tasty, retro fun caramel monkey bread to bring to a holiday potluck (I need to finish writing up the post for that too!). Anything I’ve pulled from their books has turned out marvelously, and when you’re talking about a cookbook, that is a beautiful thing.

Another thing that joined our house over the holidays was the game Cards Against Humanity. Mr had been looking to track it down since the fall and the copy I ordered him came in just in time for Christmas. He was so happy! It’s pretty much played like Apples to Apples (another very fun game), each round a player puts out one of the black cards, and all of the other players respond to the hypothetical question or statement with one of their white cards. The person who played the black card gets to pick which one wins and that person gets a point. It’s very sarcastic, irreverent, and has some black humor to it. Like the box cheekily says, it’s a party game for horrible people. I’ve been a little bit surprised at some of the content on the cards, I will admit that, but you can’t help but laugh at: “My plans for world domination begin with _____” answered with  “Chainsaws for hands.”

In the end, the holiday season treated my mister and I well.  We got to spend time with our nearest and dearest, and I think that is what that time of year is all about. But after all of the celebrations, libations and feasting that come with the the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, sometimes a person needs a recovery period. So, from my shiny new cookbook, here is Julie and Lisa’s delicious twist on a Greek Salad. Fill up on veggies!

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Greek Salad with Sugar Snaps

(recipe adapted from Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat’s Bite Me Too)

2 Cups sugar snap peas

1 long English cucumber

2 Cups cherry tomatoes

1 large red bell pepper

1 Cup feta cheese

1 Cup Kalamata olives

1/4 Cup olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  • Trim the ends off of the sugar snap peas and then cut them into bite size pieces (mine mostly went into thirds or halves).
  • Cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds. Dice into pieces bite size pieces.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes.
  • Dice the red pepper to a size similar to the cucumber pieces.
  • Cube the feta cheese, once again maintaining a relatively similar size of cube.
  • Remove the pits from the olives and cut them in half.
  • Combine everything in a large bowl.
  • To make the vinaigrette, put all of the remaining ingredients into a jar or other resealable container and shake to emulsify,
  • Dress the salad and give it a toss to mix it up.
  • Munch away!

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Three awesome things about this salad: (1) snap peas in salads are fantastic! (2) no offense to greens, but lately I’m loving a salad that does away with them, this salad is a great example (3) normally, I find Greek salads really oily tasting. The vinaigrette they use is bright and citrus-y but it doesn’t coat your whole mouth with oil so that you can’t taste anything else. Fantastic.

What Mr thinks this salad is “awesome! But best as a midnight snack!”

This time last year: Petite Poutine

And the year before that: Chocolate Truffle Trio