What do I do with …..

Spring Yield

I couldn’t be happier to see Spring arrive just for the basics. Not having to bundle up every time you go outside, watching new growths on the ground and the trees, opening the windows, being outside during the long evenings and so the list goes on.

But one of the best things is the Spring diet. Where the potatoes, squash, turnips and carrots fall to the wayside and get replaced with asparagus, garlic scapes, radish, mushrooms and fiddleheads. My MamaEarth box looked the best it has all year.

spring veg

Fiddleheads are the one vegetable that I’m least likely to jump on. They require a lot of cleaning and not being a native Ontarian, I’ve never been a huge fan.

Last year I wrote about their benefits (lots) and a “how to” on preparing them. They are so toxic when raw, that I wonder if we should be eating them at all. This year, I seem to have conquered them and got the hang of it. Now they aren’t hard to prepare and instead of just sautéing them (what I have done in the past), I included them in a Spring quiche. Wow. Even my fussy 5 year old who has sworn off all fruits and vegetables (see previous post), ate it, asked for seconds and then even talked about them the next morning. I’m going to try to find one more batch before their short season is over.

A quiche seems a lot of work but actually once you have the pastry (recipe here), it’s quite simple. Here’s what I did to make a  Fiddlehead and Proscuitto Quiche.

Fiddlehead Quiche

Fiddlehead and Proscuitto Quiche

Flaky Pastry Shell
1 lb fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
6 white mushrooms, finely chopped
3 thin slices proscuitto
2 large eggs
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)

Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Add the fiddleheads and boil for 10 mins. Drain, discarding the water and set aside.

In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes until all vegetables are softened. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk and seasonings.

Assemble the quiche with the onion mixture first, topped with the proscuitto and then the fiddleheads. Pour the egg/milk mixture over top, careful to keep it within the crust.

Bake for 35 minutes at 375ºF or until set and lightly browned on top.

Serve with sautéed bok choy (using same skillet, add a little more oil and sauté washed and roughly chopped bok choy until wilted. Add any remaining fiddleheads that weren’t included in the quiche and season with tamari sauce).

Serves 4.

 

 

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What do I do with …… Greek Yogurt?

My favourite yogurt is – and I’m not making this up – 2% plain organic yogurt. You can’t get simpler. Yet it’s incredibly difficult to find. I hunt through shelves and shelves of flavoured, zero fat, conventional brands before I find what I want. On the other hand, organic and yogurt have both exploded so much in recent years that it is possible, with the customary hunt of course, to find them everywhere, even Walmart.

I embarked on a hunt yesterday and came away proud that I’d found what I wanted in a short time. Remember, I almost always have 2 kids trailing me so time is of the essence. Here’s the product I bought:

Greek Yogurt

Plain? Check
2%? Check
Organic? No. But it definitely perceives itself as organic and caught me out.
Regular? No. It’s Greek. It’s all Greek these days. I never even noticed this point.

I’m not a fan of Greek so this bothers me. I like to mix my yogurt with agave nectar and flax seed and pouring it over chopped fruit. You add flax seed to greek yogurt and you’d need a knife to cut it. Leave it for a few minutes and it would turn into  a brick.

Now I have this container of Greek yogurt in my fridge that I’m wondering what to do with. It’s actually a very healthy food, despite the fact that it isn’t organic. Greek yogurt is much higher in protein while significantly lower in sodium, carbs and sugar. It is higher in fat which explains the enormous selection of low-fat and fat-free varieties. I prefer the versions with some fat since fat helps the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, including calcium which can sometimes be the sole reason that some people eat yogurt.

It is also very frequently dressed up by manufacturers in the Food Industry. So many varieties I see contain artificial flavours, artificial colours, preservatives, GMOs or added sugar. One variety I found in the store contained 26 grams of sugar in one serving. No, that’s not a typo. It’s unbelievable.

So please be careful of what you choose and make sure you read the ingredients and the sugar levels. Once you’ve done that, Greek yogurt, with its thick creamy tang, can be used in many dishes.

— Try it in potato or pasta salad instead of mayonnaise.
— Add garlic, dill and parsley to taste and serve as a dip with crackers or raw vegetable sticks.
— Substitute it for sour cream in taco or burritos.
— Use it as a sandwich spread

With my container, I’m going to use some as a marinade for chicken pieces. The yogurt acts like a tenderizer resulting in great flavour and texture. Simply mix the marinade ingredients together and toss over the chicken pieces for 2 hours or overnight. Then grill or bake up the chicken as normal. Delicious!

Yogurt marinaded chicken1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 grated lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp salt

 

 

Leftovers are the best

Sometimes, a meal made can actually taste better the next day. I made a lentil walnut loaf from my new favourite blog Oh She Glows (thanks Trish!) and it made a ton. I froze some but still got 2 meals from one loaf. First round was met with apprehension. Ok but not great. Next day … huge hit. My 5 year old ate it all and my husband let me know I could make it again. Okaaaay, thanks!

I had sliced the remainder of the loaf and heated it up in a pan. I served it with a salad that used leftovers I had in the fridge, black beans and chickpeas and avocado. I added some green beans, corn, chopped red onion, cilantro and some cumin and then dressed it all with my regular vinaigrette.

IMG_20140309_174843

We also had some smoked mackerel to give us a break from all those beans!

A New Look

The overall new look is complete! I hope you like it. It should be easier to navigate, new and past posts but the big thing is a list of recipes. The separate tab keeps them compiled as categories and links. We are still working on some format changes but it’s enough now that I can resume writing.

The changes were prompted from my friend Jenne, who helped me, not only with suggestions but with execution. I’m not very tech-savvy and she cleaned up the site and organized it to what you see now. Now all I have to do is keep it like that! Truly, a huge thank you Jenne.