There are certain dates and anniversaries that seem to split the year into different and distinct parts. Everyone has their own. It might be the first day of school, new years eve, a wedding anniversary, a religious holiday or a season. For me, it’s fall. Not only is it the season of my birthday, a (scary) time of reflection, but it is followed shortly after by the Thanksgiving weekend, a time of thanks.
Zucchini, it is kind of an odd vegetable. Okay, maybe not that odd, but kind of odd.
Think about it. It often looks like a cucumber but is in actual fact a member of the squash family. It can be eaten cooked or raw and while it is most definitely a summer vegetable it is just as comfortable on a winter table. I don’t quite get it. I mean seriously? You can even eat the flowers. Now, it’s not as if the zucchini is some sort of “out there” esoteric vegetable. Quite the opposite. It is actually pretty common. It’s just that other than zucchini bread, for years it didn’t figure that high on my radar. And even then only if someone else made it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always eaten it and known it was good for me. It’s high in potassium, vitamin A and antioxidants. I have never disliked it, I have never quite understood how to use it so it’s not just one of those boring, good-for-you kind of vegetables.
Until last summer.
That was when thanks to the magic of a summer holiday, a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks and a friend more well versed in the subtleties of squash than I, it happened. I fell in love with this humble little vegetable.
I can’t believe it. One year.
A year ago today over a plate of, obviously, noodles I wrote my first blog post. It’s a blogaversary!
That calls for champagne.
I debated a long time before starting mostlynoodles. I was waiting for all of my ideas to be brilliant, my design to be fabulous, and my recipes to be perfect. I’m still waiting for those things, but here we are a year later. I realized that blogging is a lot like life. It never is perfect and I’m not sure I would want it to be. Continue reading
November seemed to be a slow month in the kitchen at my house. I must confess, the cook (those) books recipe challenge I set for myself hasn’t been going exceptionally well. I tried a few new meals last month, but not many, and very few exactly as written. Which, of course, was the challenge.
I promise that December will be all about cooking. There will be several new recipes that are challenge approved to start out the new year. In the meantime, here are a few of the November meals I tried that passed muster. Continue reading
This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. I’m still a little freaked by how early it was this year, but I think I’m kind of glad. With the days getting shorter, the garden slowly going to sleep for the season and the Vancouver rains beginning I was starting to get a little cranky. Cranky isn’t a good thing. For me, cranky turns into eating too many wasted carbs, bad sleeps, a lack of any sort of activity and a proclivity to trashy “chick novels”. Not exactly the healthiest, most productive way to go about things.
Thanksgiving this year came at the perfect time. It was about so much more than overeating and slipping into a turkey coma. It was about life, about laughing,
about a wedding between two beautiful people….
… a surprise fun breakfast made for me
…. harvesting sprouts from the garden
… creating a new variation on pumpkin soup (recipe coming soon!)
…. a quiet nights dinner with some homemade pasta.
All a reminder of how lucky I am. Thank you.
There are days the sun is shining and you bound out of bed ready to scale mountains (or whatever your equivalent). There are other days when it is cold and gloomy out and it seems as if those mountains keep growing with every step you take. On those sort of days most people have their go-to comfort food. I am no exception. Not so surprisingly, mine includes noodles (with french fries being a very close second).
As a trainer and nutrition coach I shouldn’t admit this, but my absolute down in the depths meal is spaghetti noodles, with butter and sea salt (or truffle salt if I feel like splurging). I blame a high school friend with a ridiculously fast metabolism for introducing me to that. As an adult who knows a bit better I still go to pasta, but try to clean it up a bit.
I’ll be honest, the last few weeks the so called mountains have felt quite large. The butter and truffle salt are calling, but instead, this is what I had today. Buckwheat soba noodles with oven roasted onion, tomatoes and anchovies.
Sauce (for 2 people)
- 1 small sweet onion (vidalia), finely chopped
- a handful of small sweet cherry tomatoes cut in half
- a few glugs of olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano or a few fresh sprigs
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 can oil packed anchovies, well drained and chopped (optional, but so tasty!)
- 2-3 tbsp white wine
- enough noodles (your choice) for 2
- shaved parmesan cheese and freshly torn basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350degrees.
- Spread onions onto a rimmed baking sheet.
- Spread tomatoes in a layer on top of onions.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and oregano.
- Place baking tray in oven for approximately 45minutes until tomatoes and onions are soft but not browned.
- While tomato and onion mixture is baking, place drained anchovies in a large bowl and add a glug of wine and some fresh cracked pepper.
- When tomato mixture is cooked, turn off and let rest in the oven. Meanwhile boil some well salted water and cook pasta as per package instructions.
- When noodles are cooked, drain and add noodles, tomatoes and onions to anchovy mixture.
- Toss well.
- Serve with fresh parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and torn basil. (a glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either)
Summer is still debating wether of not to show up for real in Vancouver. Grrrrr! (or in this case, brrrrr!). The good thing is the garden is still growing.
The fact that I’m gardening in a sweater most days is a rant for another day.
As I’ve been huddled in the house under blankets I came across this great blog post on 101 Cookbooks about macaroni salad. Mmmmmm. Now that feels like summer. Memories of picnics as a kid came flooding back to me. My mom made a great macaroni salad. White noodles, onions, mayo, salt and pepper and if memory serves chopped red pepper. That was it. I ate gallons of it. As a broke theatre student I remember taking that recipe (minus the red pepper – they were too expensive) adding some chopped dill pickles and calling it a meal.
Years ago I found a great recipe in Cooking Light magazine for a warm pasta . It quickly became a fast weeknight standby in my repetoire. I soon realized that it, and variations of it, made a tasty lunch leftover. So wether you like your noodles warm or cold, here’s a great noodle salad (completely!) based on that original recipe.
- 4c. kamut rotini noodles
- 1 can organic chick peas, well rinsed
- 2c. chopped spinach, arugula or kale (or all 3!)
- 1 clove garlic, fincely minced
- 1/4c. toasted pumpkin seeds or walnuts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- olive oil, enough to moisten pasta
- 1/2c. feta cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Optional: chopped sundried tomato, fresh pesto, ricotta rather than feta.
Bring pot of well salted water to a boil. Add noodles.
While noodles are cooking rinse chick peas and leave in strainer.
In large mixing bowl place greens and chopped garlic.
When noodles are cooked drain over the chick peas (this will warm them through a bit). Add both to bowl. Mix.
Add lemon juice, olive oil feta cheese and nuts or seeds. Salt and pepper to taste.
Awhile ago I took a cooking class at The Dirty Apron Cooking School . It was the second class I’d taken there and aside from having nightmares about sauces (not kidding… it was bad…. the nightmare that is, not the sauce!) it was amazing. My brain was positively exploding from all the information. To be honest I kind of felt like I had never been in a kitchen before in my life. Until we hit pasta. Then, not surprisingly, I found my happy place.
I made tortellini. They were quite tasty.