Saturday, June 28, 2008

a farmer's market snack

That, my friends, was a perfect little shared lunch that we had at the farmer's market. It was a smoked Italian sausage in a crusty, chewy bun. The topping was a marinated eggplant pickle. It was delicious!

There is nothing better then walking around the market, snacking on tasty little things, and picking up produce for dinner that night. If you haven't been to your local market yet this summer, please go support your local farmers and enjoy a tasty snack or two.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to take this opportunity to post a follow up to last week's mango topic. I found this post that captured the mango's (and mango merchants) of India and I wanted to share it with all of you. His photo's are beautiful and I hope you'll take a moment to check them out.

the heat is on

So I’m in a rut.
Have you ever had one of those days where you really don’t feel like cooking? Well, my day actually turned into a whole month. I don’t know if it was the extremely humid weather or just lack of ambition, but June was such a blah month for us. Our dinners have been
quick burgers, simple salads, and on particularly good days maybe some homemade hummus. I’m not sure why the inspiration has gone or why food has become so unimportant but I want that to change.

Last night, on a whim, we decided to spice things up with some tandoori shrimp with a side of spicy mango salsa. All through dinner, all I heard from Mony was a muffled ‘this is so good!’.
Now normally, I am not a huge mango fan. I think this comes from growing up in an Indian household where every night with dinner we had a small plate of sliced mango as our dessert. To this day, from May-September, my parents will still buy boxes of mango. Yes, you read that right. Not one or two mangoes, but boxes of them. I guess it's a nostalgic thing for them that goes back to when they were growing up in India. I’m sure Mony's not complaining since he always gets a few to take home with us when we go see them. This salsa was actually made with one of the mango’s that they gave us last week. It was an Alfonso mango – and as they say ‘unless you’ve had an Alfonso mango you’ve never had a mango’. It was super sweet and tender, a perfect platform for the tart lime juice and earthy black beans. A tiny Thai red chili also helped harmonize the flavors. The balance of sweet, sour, and spicy was a huge hit.

Black Bean Mango Salsa
  • 1 cup drained canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 ripe medium mango, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
In a bowl, combine the black beans, mango, red bell pepper, chili pepper and green onion. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, salt and cayenne. Fold the mixture into the beans.
Stir in the cilantro and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Were going to the farmer's market this weekend so hopefully there will be more to write about. Plus this summer CSAs are starting next week! w00t!

What are you guys making to beat the heat?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

chevre island

If there was the option to go on vacation on a pristine island made of goat cheese, surrounded by a vast sea of spicy marinara sauce, I'd be the first one there. Until that day, however, I will gladly consume this entree any day of the week. Imagine a generous slice of chevre with a slightly broiled surface and warm tangy underbelly paired with the bright flavours of homemade tomato sauce. Forget imagining. Go to your local market and buy a fresh disk of goat cheese, a can of plum tomatoes, onions, garlic and chili flakes and get to work!

chevre island (goat cheese on marinara sauce)

1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 can of plum tomatoes
3 basil leaves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt, pepper & chili flakes to taste

one goat cheese round (140g)

Cook garlic and onions in olive oil in large oven-safe sautee pan until they are translucent and begin to lightly brown. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add to pan, along with their juices. Add basil, salt, pepper & chili flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Slice goat cheese into two 1/2 inch disks and place atop marinara sauce. Place in oven under broiler for a few minutes until the cheese begins to bubble and becomes golden brown.

Remove from oven. Spoon some sauce onto individual plates and transfer goat cheese disk from pan onto middle of plate using a spatula that has been oiled with cooking spray. Serve immediately with warm baguette.

Whip this dish up to impress or to enjoy as a simple appetizer or entree on the patio. A warm piece of bread is a must to sop up the sauce. The taste and texture of the goat cheese is almost indescribable and akin to creme brulee (with a crispy top and velvety filling). This is a simple and delectable meal in minutes, with the wow factor.