Sunday, August 18, 2013

Time Out: Raspberry Dark Chocolate Coconut Scones

Life around here has been pretty nutty - what with me working 40+ hours a week at a job that I adore, but is incredibly busy and some days physically exhausting.  Add onto that a new writing gig I'm pretty stoked about and a tangled/overgrown garden/yard that is starting to look like some sort of prairie jungle, and let's just say I've got lots on my plate.  Or as my mom would say, too much.  Throw into the mix that fact that I never took any sort of summer vacation, (perils of starting new job in summer) and the outcome of all this craziness is that something has to give.  And you probably can tell what's coming, and I really hate saying it, but it's this space.  I have to step back for bit and take a breather.  A time out, if you will.  For the past two and a half years I've loved loved loved coming here at least once a week and telling you what the heck I've been up to in my kitchen.  I really have.  But lately it's been the last thing on the list of stuff that needs to get done and I feel badly for that.  Don't fret - I'm not going away for ever.  Never!  I'm only hoping to take about a month off to refresh, re-assess and relax.  Some days I would like to not even turn the computer on (imagine!!!) and park myself on the couch and watch three episodes in a row of Homeland and stuff my face with popcorn.  Plus, these summer days are waning, so fast, and I'd like to suck up their essence before it's too late; see more of my friends and family, go for hikes by the river.  Maybe even contemplate dating again.  I think this is called a social life.  Anyway, you get my drift.  You won't get rid of me that easily though, for I'm sure I'll be popping in briefly with a recipe and a photo or two - because I really do love it here and you know I'm still going to be cooking fabulous food.   Just not sure when I'll be back at full steam - I'm guessing once the garden is put to sleep and I've got a game plan on how to handle all of the blessings in my life, because all of this that is happening is so, so good, and I'm grateful for every second of it.  Thank you so much for understanding. I miss you already. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grilled Turkey & Mushroom Pesto Burgers

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, but you know I wouldn't tell you about 
something unless I thought it was completely and utterly fabulous.

Summer may be winding down (I don't believe it either) but grilling season sure isn't.  I'm so pleased to have partnered up with Mushrooms Canada and Turkey Farmers of Canada on their e-cookbook Get Your Grill On With Turkey & Mushrooms.  Inside are 20 recipes from really great Canadian food bloggers and I'm thrilled to be among them, sharing my Grilled Turkey & Mushroom Pesto Burgers.  You may remember the incredible Thai Turkey Salad Rolls with Enoki Mushrooms and Peanut Sauce I created earlier this summer to help kick off this great campaign.  Happily you can find this burger recipe there too!  It's got great built-in mushroom and pesto flavour and it's been a huge favourite all summer around here.  Grill On! 

For this and other delicious recipes you can download the free e-book from the Tasty Turkey facebook page here or the Mushrooms Canada facebook page here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Swiss Chard & Corn Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

"All in all it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer - one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going - one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world."              
                                                                                   ~ L.M Montgomery

Thanks for letting Lucy Maud cover for me today.  My mind is elsewhere - mainly on the summer produce that needs picking just outside my door.  Beans aren't gonna blanch themselves!  Plus this week has been heavy with deadlines and work, and I'm just tying up a few loose ends before I head out of town for a bit. Finally my mini-vacay is here!  Not venturing far - just jumping in the car and going to see some of my favourite people in the whole world; key players in some of my never-to-be-forgotten-summers.  It feels like eons since I've hit the road; windows down, music loud, with just the horizon to drive into.  Well, let's rephrase that.  I hate hair in my eyes, so the windows are up.  Music is loud, but not that loud (I'm old after all), and I'll be squinting while driving into the sun.  But it's my road trip, dammit, and it's gonna rock.  

And so my going away present to you is this pizza - a great way to use up the ample amounts of chard you may be finding in your CSA or gardens right now.  Cooked with leeks, fresh corn and garlic, it makes a mighty fine topping.  Those cherry tomatoes are sweet like candy and really match perfectly with the fresh basil.  I had bocconcini to use up, but go ahead and use goat cheese or feta as a replacement.  It's pizza, so feel free to play around.  Use caramelized onions instead of leeks or kale instead of chard.  I won't look away if you add bacon either.  Might even give you a high-five.  If you serve it with a little balsamic reduction drizzled on top - well that gets you a fist bump. 

And with that, I'm gone like the wind. 

Swiss Chard & Corn Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

I used the same crust I used here.  It was even frozen for more than a month and still perfect. 
Rolled out to about 9x13 inches, it proved to be a great base.  That being said, feel free to substitute your go-to crust. 

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced leeks, be sure to rinse them well
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili flakes
6 cups Swiss chard
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels.  Leftover corn on the cob would be great too. 
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
100 grams bocconcini cheese, sliced
handful fresh basil leaves, torn

Roll out your crust so it's roughly 9 x13 inches.  Grease a bake sheet with olive oil and sprinkle a little cornmeal on top.  Place the rolled out dough on top of this.  Preheat oven to 450*F. 
Heat butter and oil in a deep skillet.  Saute the leeks until softened and starting to brown, about 10 - 12 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook another minute.  Stir in the chard and corn, cooking until chard is wilted and corn warmed through - about 3 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes - slice your cherry tomatoes and cheese while it is cooling.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top of dough.  Spread the chard filling on top of this.  I had about a cup extra which I saved for sandwiches later in the week.  Arrange the cherry tomatoes and bocconcini on top of the chard filling.  Slide into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and melty.  Scatter fresh basil leaves on it once out of oven.  Slice into wedges.  Serves 3-4. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Mid-Summer Favourite Things

Holy.  I mean holy.  When the heck did it all of a sudden become the mid-point of summer.  Not to freak y'all out, but time is ticking.  So. Let's keep things short and sweet.  It's the long weekend after all, and you're probably miles away from a computer.  My weekend is fine balance of work and play, and the garden is turning into quite the jungle, so it's time I pick the beans!  And the chard!  And the raspberries!  And if I have any gumption left there are always weeds that need to be shown who's the boss.  However, I just discovered I have free Superchannel for 3 months and wouldn't you know that Season 2 of Homeland is there, as is Season 5 of Sons of Anarchy.  I think both you and I know how much weeding will be getting done. 

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