Tag Archives: spinach

Friday 5 – Gazpacho 5 Ways!

25 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

It has been insanely hot here in the city.  On Monday, my eyelids were actually sweating.

One of my favourite ways to keep cool in the summer heat is to make and consume a ton of gazpacho.  This cold Spanish soup is not cooked and is often a melange of tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables and spices.

Here is a roundup of 5 (or more) pretty spectacular gazpachos to help you beat the heat this weekend:

1. Andalusian Garden Gazpacho from The Los Angeles Times (LA would know something about eating in the heat)

2. Watch and learn the step-by-step process of making Creamy Gazpacho (with beautiful scenery in the background)

3.  A lot of restaurants put a Fruit Gazpacho on their menus at this time of year.  They are incredibly quick and easy to make and very refreshing.  Here’s a fruit & veg version and Pineapple Cucumber to swoon over.

4.  Green Gazpacho is a nice change from the red, tomato-based version that we’ve come to know and love.  To keep the green love going, give Spinach Gazpacho with Shrimp & Cream Cheese a try.

5.  One of the many great finds at farmer’s markets right now are beets.  Surprise and delight your dinner guests tonight with Beet & Ginger Gazpacho or Ginger Lemongrass Beet.  They’ll be so thankful not to have to politely eat yet another beet, goat’s cheese and walnut salad!

p.s.  My secret for making a spectacular gazpacho?  Yellow tomatoes (see picture above)!

The G20 Series: Turkey

24 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Usually when you think of Turkey, you think of  Turkish Coffee.

I think the perception is that it is similar to Greek coffee in that it is strong, as well as thick.

Nope, just thick.  Turks get their caffeine from tea, funnily enough.

Here in Toronto, many Turkey dishes are readily available – Doner Kebap, Koftes, Baklava, Borek (flaky pies filled with meat, cheese or potatoes) – but I am fascinated by one of their breads called Pide. It looks like a cross between a french loaf and pita bread.

Here is a Turkish Pide Bread Recipe from Epicurean.com.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in the flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 30 minutes.

To finish the dough, put the flour in a large bowl, made a well in the center, and put in the sponge, salt, olive oil, and lukewarm water. Gradually work in the flour to make a soft and sticky dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 15 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but as you knead, it will gradually cease to stick to your hands. You should have a damp and very springy dough that will offer no resistance to kneading. Put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 hour, until well swollen.

You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you are ready to use it. To shape the pide, divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape each into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees, and heat the quarry tiles 30 minutes before baking. Flatten one piece of dough slightly. Wet your hands, press and enlarge the dough outward into a circle. Stretch out the circle, pressing hard, particularly with the sides of your hands.

When the dough is stretched to a 10-inch circle, paint it generously with egg. Using the sides of your hands, mark a border 2 inch wide all around the edge. Dip your fingertip in egg; holding your hands above the circle, 4 fingertips pointing down, mark 4 horizontal rows of indentationsparallel to each other with your fingertips, staying within the border. Rotate the circle halfway (180 degrees) and mark 4 rows of indentations parallel to each other and perpendicular to the previous rows. Let your fingertips go down deep, stopping short of piercing the dough. Sprinkle a wooden paddle with some flour. Lift the pide, holding it at both ends, and stretch it into an oval shape while placing it over the paddle.

How it should measure approximately 9 by 15 inches. Make sure it is well brushed with egg and sprinkle it with some nigella seeds or sesame seeds. Slide it gently onto the hot tiles and bake 6 to 8 minutes. As it comes out of the oven, keep it in the folds of a towel. Repeat with the remaining dough. Pide will be at its best fresh from the oven, but can be reheated in foil if necessary.

Makes two large loaves.

Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook has a recipe for Spinach Pide, which is making me drool all over my keyboard.

Here are some places to discover Turkish cuisine in Toronto:

Anatolia Traditional Turkish Cuisine – 5112 Dundas St. W.

Cafe Istanbul -1440 Bathurst St.

Champion Kokorech – 980 Danforth Ave.

Levante’s Gourmet Kebaps -1406 Yonge St.

Pizza Pide Restaurant -949 Gerard St. E.

Turkish Delights Istanbul -444 Yonge St.

Friday 5 – What to do with spring vegetables

29 May

By Chris Garbutt

It’s been a while, but I thought it was time for another Friday 5. Vegetables are finally fresh again! So let’s look at five links on what to do with them:

1. Radishes. Radish, Boursin & Chive Tartines.

2. Spinach. Italian Sausage & Spinach Pasta.

3. Asparagus. Well, you can make Chicken, Feta and Asparagus Salad for yourself. Or maybe an Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta. Of course, you can eat it on its own, but can you eat it with your fingers? Forget all that, just grill it already!

4. Scallions. Make pancakes! Yummy!

5. If you can find some really really fresh peas (I might be pushing this one in Toronto right now), try this one.

Oh, all right…

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of rhubarb. But it is a classic spring vegetable, so enjoy. Just don’t ask me over:

Rhubarb Soup

Orange-Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Cobbler – I think this would be amazing with any fruit, by the way. If you substitute, please ask me over.

Monday Review: Dinner at Your Door

3 Nov

Dinner at Your Door: Tips and recipes for Starting a Neighbourhood Cooking Co-Op by Alex Davis, Diana Ellis and Andy Remeis. Gibbs-Smith

By Stephanie Dickison

In these tight economic times, I think that preparing meals at home and sharing meals with friends, family and neighbours will become a part of our routine, just as more people will take transit, stay in to watch movies and generally cut back where they can.

But that doesn’t mean that it has to feel like a sacrifice.  In fact, I think that this getting back to sharing meals and stories around the table is a good thing!

So when I received Dinner at Your Door, I thought – this is absolutely the perfect time for this!

The premise of the book is this:

“We love to cook. But every night? No way! On the other hand, we don’t want to eat out or have frozen pizza. On the nights we don’t cook, we want something delicious-a balanced meal with quality ingredients. Come to think of it, what we really want are home-cooked meals made by somebody else and delivered!
Welcome to co-op cooking, possibly the best idea since Pyrex with a lid. With the plan set up by Dinner at the Door, you cook one fabulous dinner a week and have two or three equally sensational meals delivered to your door, hot and ready to eat. If you love to cook but the pressure of doing it every night gets you down, a dinner co-op is for you. Instead of slamming together three or four 30-minute dinners a week, you can take your time crafting one superb weeknight meal and enjoy receiving the other meals automatically.”

So basically, you and a group of friends, family members and neighbours – anyone who lives in a close proximity – sets up a dinner co-op where you all cook and share the food that you make.  And it’s pretty easy when you think about how much effort it is to cook for two – think about how little extra it is to cook for say 6!

And the benefits of setting up a co-op are plentiful – you get to try new foods, dishes and ingredients, you get exposed to new ideas and presentations and you get a couple of nights off to spend with the kids or read that book for your book club or whatever it is that you want to do, but can never find the time for.

This book goes through everything you need to know – questions to ask yourselves and others before becoming involved, what to do when someone leaves the group, options on delivering the food and forms and worksheets to use.  It really is the bible of setting up a neighbourhood cooking co-op!

But what I like most about the book is how approachable everything is.  Normally, I would have never considered doing such a thing, but the damn book makes it seem like you’d be crazy not to – after all, these are the few steps you need to take! I really think that this book could not only change the way we eat and cook, but our lives.

And the recipes – oh my God, the recipes!  Not only do I want to make these dishes, but I can’t wait to share them with friends and neighbours!  Check out the first recipe – Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Chile Maple Pecans.  I am making that this weekend for sure!  And there’s:

Spinach & Edamame Soup with a Touch of Cream

Salmon with Fresh Strawberry Relish

Hunter Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

Cobb Sandwich on Fresh Bakery Bread

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Chipotle Glaze

The photos are tremendous and the book is laid out so really all you need to do, is follow their guidelines.

I’m off to write cards to friends and neighbours to kick off my own neighbourhood co-op.  Thanks to this amazing book, I actually feel like I can do this!

I’m so excited!