Where to Find Me…

This Week on The Counter | February 17, 2016 | By

I’d just like to make a quick post letting everyone know that I have recently started writing for a student foodie website, “Spoon University”. More than 100 campuses across the US and Canada are involved and I am a member of the McGill chapter. I will be posting bi-monthly food related articles so if you’re interested in reading them or any others, here are the links!

Spoon University: https://spoonuniversity.com

Spoon University McGill: mcgill.spoonuniversity.com

My first article was published yesterday and is a recipe for sesame citrus salmon and a caramelized orange salad.

As always, thank you for all the support and encouragement along the way! I am looking forward to posting on the countertop again soon as summer (slowly) approaches.

Nathalie

Thank You

After a month of being unable to log into the blog, I’m finally back in again. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed, supported, commented on and cooked from my blog this summer. I’m so grateful for all the encouragement and positive feedback. It was such a fun a rewarding project for me and something I definitely intend to continue in the future. And while I had anticipated being able to continue posting in the school year, work and kitchen logistics (4 roommates and about 2 cm of counter space aren’t the ideal conditions for experimenting with recipes) seemed to get in the way. But this blog has really solidified and spurred on my love of cooking and I look forward to being able to continue on with it in the future! All the best,

Nathalie

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Grilled Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Dinner, Starters | August 16, 2015 | By

When she was born, my sister was known as the “cocktail food baby” – some of the only food she would eat consisted of marinated artichoke hearts, blue cheese and olives. Looking back on it now, I think that was a pretty clever tactic on her part: avoiding baby food and going straight for the quality stuff. Although I was an easier eater as a baby, I love that kind of food now and could make a whole meal out of hors d’oeuvres. I made this salsa to go with a cheese plate on Friday night; juicy and fresh, it was the perfect addition. A fun recipe to start the weekend, I’d pick it over baby food any day.

Ingredients:

3 peaches
1 cup of pineapple
3 plum tomatoes
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
Cayenne
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/3 cup of pistachios
Bread or crackers of your choosing

1. Preheat your BBQ to medium-high heat

2. Slice peaches and cut pineapple into large chunks. Drizzle with a bit of honeyDSC_04453. Place on grill for 5-7 minutes per side or until charred and softenedDSC_04474. Roughly chop up the fruit into small pieces and place in a medium bowl

5. Chop the tomatoes in a small dice and add to the bowl as wellDSC_04506. Finely chop the basil and add to the bowl as well, along with the honey, salt, a dash of cayenne and lime juice.

7. Roughly chop the pistachios and place in a small bowl. Place some salsa on top of crackers or bread and top with pistachios (or eat it however you want). It is also good with cheese. Enjoy!
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Lemon Sesame Spaghetti with Spiralized Carrot and Zucchini

Dinner, Salads | August 12, 2015 | By

We have been on the hunt for a spiralizer for months; ever since the zucchini noodle craze started, I’ve wanted one. After scouring multiple kitchen stores looking for one that wasn’t $300 and didn’t weigh 50 pounds, I didn’t expect to find the perfect fit in a Walmart checkout aisle. But I guess that store really does have everything. And the spiralizer is great; turning vegetables into pasta? Sounds pretty good to me. But even if you don’t have one, another peeler will do just fine. A perfect summer dinner, it’s healthy and fresh but still feels like comfort food.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

454g of spaghetti (a standard box)
2 zucchini
2 carrots
1/2 red onion
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup edamame or peas
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (shelled)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain and pour into a large bowlDSC_04522. Using a spiralizer (you can also use a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler if you don’t have a spiralizer) spiralize your zucchinis and carrots. Add to the pasta bowl 
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3. Thinly slice your onion and add to the mix as well. Pour in the sesame oil and olive oil and toss together
DSC_0454DSC_0456DSC_04584. Add the edamame, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and salt. Mix well and serve. Enjoy!DSC_0463

Spicy Basil Roasted Corn

Dinner | August 9, 2015 | By

To me, corn is pretty bittersweet. When it’s ripe, it’s really amazing and I’d have it with every meal. But corn peaks in August and with that comes the reminder that summer is starting to wind down. I remember anticipating the arrival of fresh corn in about May this year; a staple of summer meals, I was excited to start cooking and eating it again. Now that corn is making it’s way onto our dinner plates, I’m reminded by how quickly the summer always goes by. Either way, this recipe will help you take full advantage of fresh corn and the summer. And while this sunny month may fly by and the season for corn will come to a close, there’s always next year’s harvest to look forward to.

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn (or as many ears as you’d like to make and adjust the other ingredients accordingly)
Tin foil
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp basil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foilDSC_0427DSC_04302. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, paprika and cayenne. Spread evenly on cornDSC_04323. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes or until slightly browned and kernels are tender. Turn the corn every 10 minutes or soDSC_04364. In the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, roughly chop basil, sprinkle over corn and continue cooking. Enjoy!DSC_0440DSC_0441

Seared Spicy Sesame Tofu

Dinner | August 5, 2015 | By

This post is for everyone who refuses to eat tofu because of it’s texture. When I first stopped eating meat, I turned to tofu as it seemed like the obvious source of protein. This didn’t last long; with no idea how it cook it, I ended up with mushy chunks that you basically had to force down your throat. Needless to say, I was turned off tofu for a long time until I decided to give it a chance again recently. With the firmest tofu I could find at the store in hand, I was determined to make it taste good, or even edible. With this recipe, I actually enjoy tofu and no longer feel like an outcast vegetarian for shying away from it. 

Ingredients:
Tofu (I used a 350g package of extra firm tofu)
2 green onions
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp garlic power
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
Cayenne
2 tbsp sesame oil

1. Thinly slice your tofu width-wise and spread evenly into a dish. Blot any excess water on the tofu with a paper towel. DSC_0427 2. Mince the garlic and green onions and sprinkle over tofu, along with garlic powder, hoisin, soy sauce and a few dashes of cayenneDSC_0430 DSC_04323. Using your hands or tongs, make sure that each piece of tofu is evenly coated in the mixtureDSC_0436 4. In a large frying pan, heat the sesame oil. Add the tofu in one layer and cook for about 12 minutes, flipping every couple of minutes, until dry and browned. Enjoy!DSC_0437

Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds

Dinner, Salads | August 3, 2015 | By

To me, the perfect summer dinner consists of a bunch of different salads. And not just green salads, interesting ones with different components and textures that you can happily fill your plate with. We’re always looking for new ones to add to the mix, grains, beans, greens, potato, whatever goes. On hot lazy days I’m always content with a smorgasbord of salads for any meal; I’m the kind of person who loves to have a million things on my plate so I have a lot of different tastes. And because it’s summer, no one cares about the dishes or what time it is (or that the cucumber I was supposed to use for the recipe somehow disappeared from our cottage fridge). No, summer dinners are for second helpings, loud conversation and the sense of the evening stretching out ahead of you, with no definite schedule. Oh, and a heaping plate of salads.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber
1/4 red onion
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
2 cups of fresh snow peas
1/4 cup feta
1 avocado
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. De-seed your cucumber by scooping them out with a spoon, then thinly slice it and place in a large bowlDSC_04282. Thinly slice onion and mince garlic and add to the bowl along with vinegar and salt. Let sit for about 15 minutesDSC_04303. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Throw the snow peas in and blanch them by letting them cook for about 2-3 minutes before taking off the heat and drainingDSC_04334. Roughly chop the snow peas and add to the cucumber mixture, once 15 minutes is up.DSC_04375. Crumble the feta and slice the avocado and place both on top of the salad, along with the pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt if needed. Enjoy!DSC_0442DSC_0440

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Dinner | July 28, 2015 | By

Tacos are definitely making their comeback. What used to mean heaps of ground meat, sour cream and lots of cheese is now a popular, cool and tasty menu item. Smaller portions and more interesting ingredients are the new idea and are popping up at tons of restaurants. The best thing is that they’re so versatile; I’ve eaten amazing tacos in a restaurant that has picnic benches instead of tables as well as in trendy, expensive places. You can also fill them with anything so vegetarians and meat lovers alike can enjoy them. Tacos are the best communal meal in my opinion, just lay out a bunch of fresh toppings and you’re set for a delicious and healthy dinner, no Taco Bell required.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato
Olive oil
Cumin
Paprika

1 19 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 white onion
2 tbsp oil
1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Tabasco

1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Chili flakes
8 tortillas 
Salsa
Pickled onions (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees 

2. Cut the potato into small chunks. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, cumin and paprika. Bake for about 15 minutes or until soft and brownedDSC_04283. Turn the oven off when potatoes are done, then wrap tortillas in tin foil and place them inside. This will help them warm them up slightly while you finish cooking

4. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Chop the onion into small pieces and add to the pan, letting them soften for a few minutes. Add the beans and continue cooking for about 5 minutes moreDSC_04295. Meanwhile, mash avocado in a bowl and add juice of 1/2 a lemon, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.DSC_04316. Add sweet potato and spinach to the black bean mixture and allow spinach to wilt for a few minutes. Add juice of 1/2 a lemon, a few dashes of tabasco, salt and pepper to taste and more oil if needed. DSC_04347. Take tortillas out of the oven and assemble tacos by topping them with the bean mixture, guacamole and salsa and pickled onions if desired. Enjoy!DSC_0438

Dark Chocolate Bark with Cranberries, Pistachios and Sea Salt

Desert | July 26, 2015 | By

We always have a bar of good dark chocolate lying around the house. It’s something that’s cracked out with tea before bed, or as soon as you get in the door after a long day. A bar of dark chocolate was always included in my exam-studying-care-packages from home this year as well. Honestly, during exam season, my favourite part of the day was closing my books for the night and having a few squares of chocolate with a book or tv show. A reminder of home and a comforting treat, I consider it health food and will gladly eat some everyday! This recipe couldn’t be easier: 4 ingredients and no oven required, you’ll be eating your worries away in no time.

Ingredients:

9 inch square pan (or really any pan or flat dish for that matter)
Parchment paper
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate (in any form: chocolate chips, bar or block)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp shelled pistachios
Kosher salt

1. Line your pan with parchment paper to easily lift out the bark once it’s set.
DSC_04282. Measure out the chocolate and place into a microwavable bowl or double boiler. Melt, stirring often, until smoothDSC_04313. Spread in an even layer into the panDSC_04364. Immediately sprinkle with cranberries, nuts and salt so that they stick to the chocolate
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DSC_04376. Let set in the fridge for about an hour, then cut into small pieces. Store in the fridge and enjoy!DSC_0439

Grilled Potato and Eggplant with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Dinner, Salads | July 22, 2015 | By

No matter what form they come in, potatoes can never be a bad thing. The bland-ness makes them so comforting, but they can also be dressed up and seasoned in any number of ways. Mashed, they too closely resemble a winter meal and fried they seem too unhealthy for a weeknight dinner; but in a salad they’re perfect for a summer night. And while potato salad may evoke expectations of pounds of mayonnaise, this lighter version just uses some yogurt. And potatoes are vegetables, right?

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb small white potatoes
1 medium eggplant
2 cloves garlic
Oil to coat vegetables, about 6 tbsp
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp salt

1. Turn on your BBQ to high heat

2. Wash and cut potatoes and eggplant into medium chunks. Place into a large bowl
DSC_0428 3. Mince garlic and add to the bowl, along with the oil, cumin, coriander and a sprinkle of salt. Mix wellDSC_04304. Place on the BBQ in a metal tray, pan or wrapped in foil. Cook, covered for about 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and browned. 
DSC_04345. While vegetables are cooking, whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, water, salt and 3/4 of the basil.DSC_04316. Place vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the sauce. Top with the rest of the basil Enjoy!DSC_0438