Be Your Own Chef
We all lead such busy lives.
Drive the kids to soccer practice, help plan granny's birthday, and be the everyday superhero cleaning the mess the toddler left behind.
Just last week, Ryan and I finally put our house up for sale, which means that staging is a regular task added to our already hectic summer schedule, but it is all worth it because we are buying the farm!!!!!!
(I'd add more exlamation marks, but you get the point).
Over the last little while, meal delivery kits have gained a lot of momentum, quickly becoming a trend in the US and, some suggest it won't be long until Canada follows suit.
Coming in at around $10.95 per person per meal, this isn't a cheap option, and hard to afford for most. But these sorts of services capitalize on the types of lives we are now leading, and I have to wonder, has cooking a regular meal at home fallen out of fashion?
And if you can't fight them, join them, so this week, I am giving you the gift of a delicious and quick recipe that utilizes a number of items in your CSA share. Plus, you get to try out your skills at french-cutting snap beans.
Years ago I was sitting in a café in la Plaça de George Orwell, waiting for a dish ordered in catalan on my behalf.
Upon the suggestion of a friend who was doing a semester in Spain, all five of us had chosen the especial diari.
What I received was cold soup, but not just any cold soup, life-changing cold soup.
There was something about sitting in the mid-day Barcelona heat, sipping Clara, with a stay dog at my feet that must have added to the effect but the result was that I was hooked, and I have been making gazpacho ever since.
If you grew up in a household like mine, veggies were an afterthought during meal planning.
Aside from the spaghetti sauce, which was always my papa's specialty, vegetables weren't often featured.
And I completely understand why.
Little M will be two in the fall, which means that we hear a lot of the word non (which is French for I am exerting my new-found independence) and usually in response to food propositions.
With a garden full of bounty, I am consistently seeking ways to get my toddler to eat more of our own vegetables.
And, much as I hate to admit it, this extra effort in food preparation actually ensures that I eat the proper amount of veggies too.
Perhaps there is a way to enhance said vegetables for the greater enjoyment of the whole family? Apparently so.
While on our way to the White Owl Bistro for our annual Anniversary dinner, we stopped at a kitchen supply store and bought a hand-held spiral slicer. Yes, I caved and bought a gadget. It was Ryan's idea, and in the spirit of entering our 4th year of marriage, I agreed without (too much) protest.
The nice fellow at the cash explained to us that these were selling like hotcakes, and that just the other week an elderly italian man had come in to purchase one, having been sent by his wife who, from now on, is no longer allowed to talk to his doctor.
This man had been eating pasta all his life and was not too enthused about swapping spaghetti for zucchini. The man at the store was not shocked to see him come back the next day, but much to his surprise, the elderly fellow was actually back to buy a second and third spiral slicer for his daughters.
It turns out that he loved the zucchini pasta (but didn't tell his wife about it).
So I say if he can reinvent the wheel so can we. Let's follow suit and make zucchini front and centre by using it in lieu of any noodles, rice included, with or without a spiralizer. Let's place slices of them in our lasagna.
Let's use broccoli, kale, spinach or carrots as the pizza “crust”.
Let's make a vegetable fritter our main course, and the herbed yogourt the side.
Let's place vegetables on the pedestal, where they belong.
Keep It Simple
There comes a time in the summer where one realizes that the summer bucket list is getting sparse and one simply looks forward to having a "weekend off".
Like the multitude of events that keep our calendars full through out the summer break, those elaborate meal ideas also wane, and one is left wanting a simpler approach.
I say, embrace the simplicity.
And what's simpler than a quick homemade dip to pair with 6 out of the 11 items in this weeks' bin? The internet is littered with these types of recipes, some touting 20 minutes or less, others bragging that it only needs two ingredients to come together.
In some cases, you can even use some of the vegetables in the dip, such as this beautifully coloured Beet & Tahini Dip.
There is something magic about dips. It always seems as if their sheer presence suddenly turns my family into raw-vegetable eating machines.
Carrots, beans and cucumbers don't stand a chance and are quickly devoured.
As I start to take the summer days for granted, I am also not above eating a tomato sandwich for supper, or having a simple sauté.
After all, what else were vegetables like the romanesco cauliflower created for than to be featured as a one-ingredient dish?