All posts tagged: spring

asparagus nettle shiitake pizza

asparagus, nettle, and shiitake pizza

Real talk: this was a spur of the moment post, which is not usually how I roll. I have a few ideas sketched out for this month, but as this week was rolling along I wasn’t feeling motivated to work on any of them. But it just sort of happened organically, one of those situations where what I have in the fridge also happens to be seasonal and also jives with a bookmarked recipe I’ve been meaning to try out. We’ve been picking up asparagus the past few weeks at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market because I really can’t get enough of it, plus it’s such a short season that we might as well eat it while it’s at its peak. The last time we were there, I noticed that the first stall we passed on our way was selling nettles. I’ve seen and heard of them before, but had never used them. I struck up a conversation with the woman running the stall, who gave me very clear instructions on how to safely handle and prepare …

vegan raspberry rhubarb buckle cake

raspberry rhubarb buckle

Normally this is the time of year when I’m so ready to bust out of my winter cocoon and flip on the extroverted switch. Usually I’m feeling so prepared to go out and socialize after months of hibernating, to host a BBQ, and plan some fun summery adventures. But I haven’t hit that mode yet. For the past while I’ve been more focused on looking inward rather than outward, trying to figure out how to feel healthier and happier. Part of that has materialized in a lot of cleaning and organizing around the house (I guess that’s why they call it spring cleaning?). I can’t feel relaxed if our house seems cluttered or messy, which maybe is a reflection of how my brain feels most of the time; it makes sense that there would be a connection between our physical surroundings and mental/emotional state. So before I can address my cluttered/busy brain, I address what’s in front of me, because making a to-do list of chores is infinitely easier than resolving the stresses in one’s …

vegan bagel fattoush with fava beans

everything bagel fattoush with fava beans

As a result of our continued eagerness to spend time outside, we grilled our dinner on the deck one night last week, each wrapped in a blanket huddled next to the BBQ. The weather here hasn’t been terribly chilly, but after spending so much time soaking up the sun on vacation I became accustomed to walking around in birks and shorts, no sweaters in sight. I can’t wait to sit on the deck with a cold radler, eat dinner straight off the grill, and relax while the warm sun fades to dusk and my new twinkly patio lights blend in with the starry night. This recipe came about as an attempt to use up a few things that have been lingering in the fridge a little bit too long. Even though I had used them for a few recipes, I still had leftover turnip, radishes, and half a pomegranate counting down the days til their demise. Rounded out by the sourdough bagels I had stashed in the freezer and the ever abundant mint and lemon balm …

vegan artichoke penne with leeks and ricotta

artichoke and leek penne with ricotta

Seems the April showers are a bit delayed this year, but I really don’t mind. I love the gloomy grey skies, getting to wear big boots and my bright yellow rain jacket, and how fresh all the rain makes the air feel. Plus it definitely helped our garden along: I came back from a week-long family vacation in the Dominican Republic only to discover some giant rhubarb, loads of mint and lemon balm, and some asparagus and garlic sprouting out of the earth! There still isn’t much in the way of local produce yet, but the few ingredients for this meal feel fresh and bright like a spring meal should. The bright pops of colour from asparagus and arugula mimic our surroundings, the greenery slowly emerging from its winter hibernation. We are definitely looking forward to more abundant farmers’ markets and the (small) bounty that awaits us in our very own backyard. Happy spring time friends! artichoke and leek penne with ricotta (vegetarian, vegan) serves 2 380 g whole grain penne salt 6 asparagus stalks, trimmed …

spring-y filo quiche

Well, it seems that spring is finally upon us. The days are slowly getting warmer and longer, and more people are spending time outside. Downtown has been filled with people the past couple weekends, and I’ve noticed a number of people in my neighbourhood outside getting their yards and gardens ready to plant once more. People are so eager to reacquaint themselves with the outdoors, buzzing with the sight of flowers at the market, the promise of BBQ season on the horizon, and to see friends they may have seen infrequently due to extreme hibernation (that would be me). As we start to spend more time outdoors, it generally means wanting to spend a wee bit less time indoors standing over the stove. This quiche is perfect if you’re feeling too lazy to fuss around with pastry (or forgot to make it the day before). It comes together quickly and makes an attractive centrepiece for a brunch with family and friends. Even though it’s still early and there isn’t much in the way of fresh local produce …

vegan sourdough crumb cake

sourdough rhubarb crumb cake

My interest in bread baking continues to grow, which means I always have a hungry starter sitting on our kitchen counter. Most often I throw out the excess, but lately I’ve been daydreaming of other ways to use it: cinnamon buns, pancakes, muffins, banana bread, etc. A quickbread/cake seemed like an easy place to start, so when I saw this simple recipe for coffee cake it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand my sourdough baking horizons beyond bread! I initially had a REAL hard time playing around with this recipe. Even though the original is a great starting off point, I kept making changes because I am slowly trying to gravitate towards baking in a more wholesome way. Don’t get me wrong, I could never give up doughnuts or pies or the amazing focaccia at Pasta G; but since I like to have treats fairly often, I want them to be slightly better for me so I can have them more often. What that means for me is less sugar, trying to use more natural sweeteners, …

vegetarian socca

socca with scallions, honeycomb and pine nuts

Much like everyone else in the world, I am hooked on the American presidential campaign. I have this page bookmarked and check it pretty much every day to see what’s happening with our neighbours to the south. Most of my recommended videos on Youtube right now consist of election-related stuff (…and bread baking). This speech by Seth Meyers (side note: man, I miss him on the Weekend Update) at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner back in 2011 gave me a few good laughs! It seems making fun of Donald Trump is a tradition that will span the ages. On a more grim note, the reality of him clinching the Republican nomination seems almost inevitable at this point, with twice as many delegates as Ted Cruz and John Kasich combined. Speaking of delegates, if the American voting process baffles you slightly (I took an entire seminar on it and still find it confusing at times), this article breaks it down to the basics. While catching up on the latest primary results, I came across this article from the Washington Post back in September, …

spring-y egg drop soup

spring-y egg drop soup

Hopefully this will be the last soup recipe for a while! It appears that it might ACTUALLY stay warm now (no more snow storms, please and thanks), so we can start gravitating towards lighter meals and forget about the potatoes and cabbage and squash for a little while. Despite being an obviously warming recipe, this soup is all about spring. We have been craving green vegetables and wanted something to reassure us that those blustery days of winter were behind us. It’s not a conventional egg drop soup in terms of aromatics, but if there’s a way to add an egg to my meal, 9 times out of 10 I’m gonna go for it. This soup also felt appropriately timed because eggs are a sign of spring! Since eggs are available year round in the grocery store it seems strange to think of them as a seasonal food like fruits and vegetables. Normally hens produce little to no eggs during the winter since all their energy goes to keeping their bodies warm. Commercial producers of eggs maintain the …

maple braised fennel

maple braised fennel + maple madness

March is all about maple, at least in Canada and the northern United States, since it is the season to start tapping the maple trees! We went to the sugar bush a couple weeks ago for Maple Madness; we lucked out with really nice weather to witness the old and new ways of transforming sap into the beautiful golden syrup we know and love. I wanted to make a savoury recipe featuring maple syrup since I feel like I’ve drifted toward a lot of dessert/snack recipes. Not that I don’t love those things, but I lately I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate and candy (thanks Easter bunny)! With spring on our doorstep, I want to get into a savoury recipe mindset since we’ll soon be surrounded by lots of local fresh produce 🙂   This has all the requirements of a great side dish: it’s fast, easy, and has few ingredients. maple braised fennel (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free) serves 2-3 1 large fennel bulb, large stalks removed (leave base in tact) 2 tablespoons olive oil freshly ground black pepper …

honey buttermilk pie

honey buttermilk pie

I have been on a pie rampage lately when it comes to library books. In fact, I have 5 pie/baking related books out right now, and they are all open and scattered throughout the house. I have been looking for inspiration for new flavours, especially in this time of year when there isn’t a whole lot available for pies besides citrus. A custard pie seems appropriate considering there are no fresh berries available for a while still, and the light floral notes of honey seem spring-y to me! I got the idea from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds salty honey pie, which seems to be super popular with their customers. I opted for buttermilk since I thought the acidity would cut through some of the sweetness, and followed their suggestion to sprinkle some Maldon on top once it came out of the oven for the same reason. The women behind this pie shop have some amazing skills, and I definitely recommend their book for technique, flavours and great pictures. I think we are quite lucky around Kingston …