Friday, June 29, 2012

Veg it up!

I cook a lot of meat on the BBQ and have pretty much mastered most things to perfection. I've also now started making more veggie side dishes on the BBQ too, mainly so I have even less dishes to clean up. PB and I have, for a long time, made a hash of sorts usually with the following:

par boiled halved baby potatoes
bell peppers
button mushrooms

We drizzle with oil, sprinkle on some garlic powder and add a generous amount of salt and then throw it all in the veggie basket for 20-30 mins.  I've recently started adding a steak seasoning rub to it also which works well but the key is the salt. I found a couple of new recipes to try too, the first is a roasted broccoli which is supposed to be roasted in the oven but I put it on the BBQ instead:

BBQ roasted broccoli
Cut up broccoli into even sized small florets. Mix will a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper or seasoning mix. BBQ for about 10 minutes until cooked but still crunchy to the bite.

This is awesome and SOOOO easy. We've been trying to shop less frequently to reduce the grocery bill and so we now have a strategy of going to Costco at the start of the month and stocking up, and then going to the regular grocery store only once a week after that to top up the perishables. Costo has the best deal on broccoli with a huge bag of it (pre-cut too!) for the same prices as 2 heads of broccoli at Superstore. The problem is eating it all while it's still fresh. This method of cooking makes me want to eat lots of broccoli so I don't have to feel bad throwing food out...which I hate and can't remember the last time I did so. I know a lot of people that shop at Costco but when there are only 2 of you in the house, sometimes it's just too much for us to use with the perishable foods, unless you plan ahead like we do, and eat a lot of leftovers. Overall though, it's still a better deal at Costco on most things, as long as you buy what you need and don't get swayed by the deals on stuff that you wouldn't normally buy or eat simply because it's a good price.
The other recipe that is currently top of my list is one I saw on a blog called Tasty Yummies. It's super easy, healthy and delish. The original recipe has another couple of ingredients and seasonings but I kept it even simpler and this is my version:

Warm Sweet Potato and Kale Salad
2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes, cubed
1 bunch kale, leaves torn and stems removed
1-2 tbsp rice wine or wine vinegar
2 cloves crushed garlic
2-3 tbsp EV olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat the BBQ on medium heat. Add cubed sweet potatoes to veggie basket and toss occassionally until just softenened, approx 20 mins. Add kale to veggie basket and cook for another 5 mins or so. Remove from grill and mix in remaining ingredients, adjusting to taste as you wish.
Serve warm or cold the next day.
I served this with Super Fast Roast Chicken and it was a great combo, perfect for a potluck or a casual, elegant, low maintenance entertaining dish.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This might just work

Summer is finally, sort of here, if No Rain = Summer, that is. Well, apparently, the rest of the world (i.e.. the West Coast of Canada and the UK) are having a dismal, soggy June, so I won't complain, but my veggies need to be rained on at least once a week! The weather here is warm-ish, when the sun is out, it's hot but there is a whole lotta cloud out there getting in the way.
I am having overall good success so far with the veggie patch, the seedlings I started a few months ago transplanted well and are thriving in the sunlight, particularly the broccoli, although I have been warned that the pests love them so who knows how long they will last. The broccoli are the big ones you can see in the front bed here:

 Above is the second bed. The row of beans is at the right there and then the leeks are on the far left, very spindly stalks but must sturdier since transplantation day. The seedlings in the front right are kale and chard, doing well as I just scattered the seeds randomly in that patch with no particular skill.
 I also had grown pepper and tomato seedlings. The peppers are looking healthy but seedlings remain small, very small. The tomatoes are, well....just about hanging in. I think of the 24 or so seedlings I grew, 6 are still alive, and I use the term alive very loosely. 2 of them are doing well (pictured), if not a little small, but looking promising. The others could go either way at this point. I've tried to position them where they will get the most sun all day but it's been quite cloudy this week. I want full sun in the day and rain at night. Please.

 My biggest success to date is my windowsill basil. I planted some seeds with all the other seeds and kept them in the trays. Once they had a couple of little leaves, I moved 4 to the kitchen window sill. Their growth since then has been scary, in a good way! These lower pic was taken yesterday, and I had previously removed some leaves several times during the week for salads. The first pic was taken early May so this is basically 5-6 weeks growth...very satisfying, and delicious too.The basil seedlings I put outside at the same time have not grown at all (they are the tiny specks you see at the front of the tomato planter above).