These little berries are definitely getting more and more traction lately and I am loving it. So, what exactly are they? The tart little guys – comparable in taste to a gooseberry – are defined as a ‘superfruit’ being high in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants making an orange seem, well, kind of lame. What’s that orange? Vitamin C is all you’ve got?
The trees these berries grow on can strive in cold weather and poor soil conditions, so you’ll find them all over the Canadian Prairies. The roots of this particular type of tree are also very strong, which made them ideal for creating shelterbelts on farmland across Saskatchewan. Growing up in Saskatoon, I would often see these trees and had I known back then how interesting the berries were, I might have fallen in love with them a little sooner.
I’ve decided to take part in a monthly series with an array of food bloggers across Canada called The Canadian Food Experience Project, led by the lovely Valerie Lugonja of A Canadian Foodie. The whole idea behind this monthly series is to highlight the fantastic things that make our country’s culinary scene what it is. Something to be proud of.
I travel a lot, but I’ve never away from home for over five weeks before. Traveling is always a fantastic experience, but after awhile, I think most of us start to miss home. The unpacking, repacking and moving around can get a little tiresome. Sometimes, I just want to be able to wear my sweatpants and whip up something in my kitchen.
Luckily, this past week, we spent the last few days of our adventure down under were in Rotorua, an inland town in New Zealand that’s fairly low key. Here, we were lucky enough to stay with a friend and although it was not my house, we did treat her kitchen like it was mine! Ha, ha, ha.
Amoung the different dishes we cooked up, one of them was this tasty riff on a tabouli salad. Since spring is almost here, this salad with grilled vegetables and the tangy chimichurri sauce (which you could also use to put on any grilled meat, so awesome!) is bright and light. Totally appropriate for a warm, sunny day.
I have gained a few pounds while eating traveling too, so this may just become a staple in my diet for the next couple months! Anyway…
Even on the coldest days, a salad can be perfectly satisfying. I’m in California now, set to head off to Australia this Sunday and I have not quite obtained that amazing beach body I was looking to arrive down under with. Oh well, such is life! In a last ditch effort to get slim and trim for the warm weather, I’m sticking with salads for the rest of the week. Well…maybe not ALL week, but I shall try my best. Hm…maybe this is why my beach body never materialized…
As I mentioned last week, I figured it was time to make some salads this season that skip the greens. I decided to look no further than the always under utilized and arguably unloved parsnip. The carrot’s paler, sadder looking cousin rarely gets any love on my stove and has never found its way into one of my salads before. Time for a change.
When the parsnips are thinly sliced, their earthy flavour is quite mild. If you don’t have a mandolin at home to thinly slice the vegetables in this recipe, you can always use a good quality vegetable peeler to get paper thin slices on parsnip and zucchini. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my tip of the month!
2 nectarines (halved, stoned and 1″ sliced)
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
4 cups baby kale
1 cup cucumber (thinly sliced)
1 cup radishes (quartered)
1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/3 cup greek yogurt (I used the brand new iogo greko yogurt)
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Yup, I’m still on the salad train apparently! Not that it’s a bad train to be on, I just wish I would have embraced tasty, nutrient-filled salads prior to the summertime to obtain that beach body I ‘strive’ for every year. There’s always next year, right? Perhaps, I’ll book a sunny vacation for December and aim for then. We shall see!
If you’re looking for a nice, light lunch while enjoying some sun on your deck, then this will do the trick. In lieu of roasting the nectarines, you can leave them halved and toss them on the barbecue to get some nice grill marks on them.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the nectarine slices with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place them into a small baking dish and pop them into the oven until they’ve softened and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
While those are roasting away, place the next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest to the bowl as well. Instead of grating the lemon or using a microplane to get the zest off, for this salad I like to use a vegetable peeler to get nice, big pieces of the peel. Once I’ve peeled all of the zest off, I thinly slice it, then add it to the salad. This way, it packs an awesomely bright punch to each bite of the salad; kind of like sunshine on your plate and then in your mouth? Trust me!
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey and vinegar. Add some fresh ground pepper and a few pinches of salt then pour over the salad mix. Toss gently with tongs until well-dressed. Remove the nectarine slices from the oven and serve warm over top a generous portion of the kale salad.
Total prep time…25 min
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup yellow string beans (trimmed, 1″ chopped and blanched)
2/3 cup cow’s feta (loosely chopped or crumbled)
1/2 cup cucumber (halved, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup zucchini squash (halved, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup blackberries (halved)
1/2 cup fresh basil (loosely chopped or torn)
1/3 cup green onions (finely chopped)
4 artichoke hearts (quartered)
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP honey
2 TSP soy sauce
salt and pepper
Continuing with my newfound (and we’ll assume fleeting) love of healthy salads, I present to you what is, quite possibly, the healthiest dish I have put on this site so far this summer. Healthy or not, this is summer in a bowl. For sure.
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