Maple Grilled Veggies

The joys of summer are here – long warm nights, lazy weekends and a general sense of contentment. But as are new jobs, reunions with friends and a whole new set of activities. Outside of our year’s daily schedule, it can be difficult to establish a routine – a normal dinner routine – in the summer. You want something that’s light, requires minimal appliances (the less heat the better) and can accommodate however many people happen to be around your table that night. These roasted veggies are quick and versatile: add them to salads, pair with grilled meat or put right in a sandwich. With minimal clean up as well, you’ll have more time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus (15-20 pieces)

1 small eggplant

1/2 red onion

1 red pepper

4 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

Black pepper

  1. Preheat BBQ to high heat or around 450 degrees C.
  2. Wash and chop all veggies into small pieces (roughly the same size so they cook evenly). Place in a large bowl.

DSC001923. Add in the syrup, oils, chill powder, salt and pepperDSC00194 4. Toss well to combineDSC00197 DSC00198 5. Place on a BBQ safe sheet or basket and cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!DSC00203

Caramelized Onion Hummus

Dinner | April 5, 2016 | By

One of my favourite things about coming home over the holidays is having access to a kitchen with appliances again. Opting to spend money on other, seemingly more important things, my kitchen at school has all of a magic bullet and broken immersion blender. This means that making anything requiring a food processor is pretty much out of the question. So I always request soup when I go home and tough it out while at school. But going months without homemade hummus? 

I found that you actually can get a pretty good consistency of hummus without any appliances by using a bit of arm-power and adding some white beans to the recipe, which are softer than chickpeas. Try it out if you’re in an appliance-limited kitchen like me, or dump it all in a food processor for an equally tasty result. 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chickpeas

1/2 cup white kidney beans 

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 cup white onion

2 tablespoons olive oil 

Juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas and white beans into a bowl.Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.37.05 PM
  2. Using a potato masher, pastry cutter or the back of a fork, mash the beans together to form a smooth pasteScreen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.37.27 PM
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a sauté pan. Slice the onion and add it to the pan.Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.38.16 PM
  4. Cook, for about 10 minutes, until onions are browned and softened.Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.38.23 PM
  5. Chop onions and add to the beans, along with the oil, lemon juice and salt. Finely chop the garlic and cilantro and add as well.Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.37.59 PM
  6. Mix well and serve with crackers and veggies. Enjoy!Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.00.12 AM

Strawberry Chia Jam

Breakfast | March 23, 2016 | By

Most days, breakfast is surely my happiest time. It’s when I get to totally focus on food before the rest of the day’s stresses form. And as the only early riser of my 4 roommates, it’s about the only quiet time I get. I  justify spending a long time making breakfast to take advantage of this time (and because my to-do list hasn’t crossed my mind yet). But with early classes, I’m often too rushed on weekday mornings to prepare a feast. I like to make or prep something on weekends that’ll make for a week of happy wake-ups. This jam is definitely an upgrade from the store-bought stuff and can use up any shrivelling fruit you have. Whether you’re having it at 6:00am or 10:00am I’m sure it’ll be a bright point in your day as well. 

Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp chia seeds

1. Cut the strawberries into small pieces and place into a saucepan over medium-high heat.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.35.09 PM2. Cook, mashing with the back of a fork, until the fruit softens and breaks down, about 15 minutes

3. Stir in the lemon juice, honey and chia seeds. Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.38.20 PM4. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, allowing the jam to thicken. Transfer to a jar or airtight container Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.42.33 PM5. Spread on toast, stir it into oatmeal or eat with a spoon. Enjoy!
Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.18.54 PMIf you’d like to see more recipes, check out Spoon University McGill, where I am now a contributing writer!

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