Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I smell Fall....

It's the end of August already! Well, Friday is, and besides it getting dark shockingly early at around 8pm, for all other intents and purposes, it's still Summer between 10am and 4pm most days. The mornings are cooler, the nights are breezier (thank goodness) but it's still sunglasses and air conditioning on in the car. However, today was the first day where I wore..... a hoodie...when I walked the puppy at 5pm. I probably could have managed without but there was just the slightest chill in the strong breeze. In contrast  though, summer still lingers at times. Last night I ran with my weekly run group and the humidity was intense...In my half marathon training, by far the hardest runs have been the 5-7k on Tuesday nights. Way harder than the 90-120 min early morning weekend runs. I guess mentally and physically I prepare for a long run by hydrating the day before, eating a good clean meal (clean meaning no allergens or foods I don't usually eat), no alcohol (well maybe a glass of wine with dinner) and getting a good nights sleep (except when the puppy wakes up with a nightmare or a pair or racoons is attacking the BBQ). In my head, the Tuesday night run should be a breeze, it's short, I run with other people so it's social and I have a pace to keep up with people so that's motivation. However, every single Tues since Canada day has been accompanied by a brutal humidex of 30-35C.......eeuughhhh! It's so gross, you sweat everywhere (think inner ear, between your fingers and inside your eyelids) and I run sooooo slooowwwly. I ran a long 18km on Sunday morning in 17C with no humidex and my pace per km was 20 seconds faster than a short Tues night run. Ah well, it's all part of the fun of running! I have loved our long hot summer for the most part though and the perfectly timed rain every 7-10 days has been perfect for the lawn and the veggies. The carrots are almost fully grown,  we've enjoyed a fresh head of broccoli every week, Nacho the puppy has developed a taste for snap peas fresh off the vine and I finally have some lettuce!
Cooking wise, it's been exclusively BBQ every night. PB even suggested we sell our stove as we never use it anymore but then what would I hang my tea-towels on?
Have not really tried any new recipes although I did do a roast chicken dinner on the BBQ on Sunday. I knew there would be a lot of fat dripping from the chicken skin so I placed a few layers of foil in the vegetable basket and then put the chicken in there, surrounded by some halved baby potatoes. and that was it. The chicken was lightly oiled, salted and rosemary-ed (with fresh homegrown rosemary) and I cooked the whole thing for about 50 mins. Done and done. We had some peas on the side, I did not BBQ them as they would fall through the grates but maybe one day I'll try!
 Here's a pic of the newest family member, Nacho. He's almost 4 months old, a yellow lab and he's awesome, quite the little character!

My other recent foodie find was as Costco. I usually don't buy pre-made sauces but they had samples of this sauce, Habanero pepper and pineapple made by Rothschild Farms out of the states. I had a steak rub from the same company as a gift and it was hands down the best steak rub ever and now I can't find it anywhere to buy here without ordering it from the US. So this caught my eye. It's spicy and sweet and I basted a pork tenderloin with it on Monday.  Incidentally I'd like to report an easy cooking method for this that I found on a random webpage. It's the 7-6-5 method. Heat the BBQ. Place tenderloin on for 7 minutes. Turn and cook for 6 minutes. Turn off BBQ and leave closed for 5 mins. Done perfectly exactly as promised.
 I'm most excited to try the sauce with some halibut or cod though, I think that will be the dream combo and the plan is to try that on Friday evening, on the BBQ of course. The stove is full of dust so I can't use that!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grill marks with that?

whew, what a scorcher this summer has turned into! My veggie patch is going crazy and I thinned out some baby carrots yesterday to allow the remaining ones to really flourish. We rinsed the small ones and chomped through them on the deck while sipping Budweiser. This is the life!

As you can see, we loved them!
I recently tried a variation on a previous recipe, black bean and avocado salsa, by grilling the avocado instead of just putting it in raw. I also omitted the black beans for a lighter version. The salad certainly looked even more appetizing (and I thought that wasn't possible), grill marks have that effect on everything. Taste wise, the avocado was a little nuttier and softer, but the big thing was the aesthetics...and I got the chance to grill yet another food that is not your average grill fare.

As for the veggie patch, we have eaten 3 heads of broccoli. made a batch of kale chips, eaten a bunch of baby carrots as detailed above, made Warm Sweet Potato and Kale salad with homegrown Kale and munched on numerous snap peas picked freshly about 2 seconds beforehand. The leeks, carrots and parsnips still have a way to go, the Rainbow chard is taking over and finally I have some lettuces appearing. Tomatoes are slow but some fruits are materialising.

I'm loving growing these vegetables, so satisfying to see the daily changes and then to harvest them. Already planning my Winter garden and next Summer's one too. I think my focus will be on kale, broccoli and lettuce next year. And I want to grow some garlic too. And more herbs. And peppers. I think I'm gonna need some more raised beds.