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Monthly Archives: May 2011

these shots from our drive back up the west coast a few weeks ago are mostly from t’s camera. i’ll post the rest later when i’m not running late for work!

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ever since my parents gifted me an immersion blender for my birthday last year, i’ve been obsessed with using it. as in, i find a way to make it a part of my life at least once a day. let everyone rejoice in mushy foods! my favorite thing to make when herbs like parsley start appearing in my yard is pesto. being allergic to dairy, making my own pesto is great because i don’t have to add romano like so many store-bought versions contain. also, since pesto is essentially a five ingredient deal, it is pretty hard to justify spending so much on a mediocre pre-made version of it, when i can make something fresh up in less than two minutes. i’ll share other versions of this later (sundried tomato is another favorite).

this dish was inspired by some delicious-smelling leftovers my mum brought home the other night, but which i couldn’t sample because of the dairy component. all the measurements are approximations, as i rarely measure anything.

for pesto

2 to 3 C parsley (basil or cilantro work equally well here)

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

3 T walnuts

1/2 t salt

for orzo

2 C orzo, dry

1 eggplant, diced

1/4 C green olives, chopped

lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste

method

place all ingredients for pesto into a container, and use an immersion blender (or food processor) to combine. pulse until there are no large chunks of walnut or stem in the mix. adjust oil and salt to your liking.

boil orzo for ten minutes and drain. set aside. spread eggplant on baking sheet and cover with olive oil and salt. bake at 350C until it begins to go soft and the colour becomes less opaque.

add pesto to orzo mixture and stir well. mix in eggplant and olives. season generously with lemon juice. adjust salt and pepper to taste.

being the healthy family that we are, we had this with a side of asparagus wrapped in bacon (the “vegetable” component to the meal).

i used to have a troubled relationship with mayonnaise, finding its consistency lacking, and hating how it moistened the slices of bread it inevitably graced in my lunchtime sandwiches like glue. an exchange student from japan who lived with my family one summer changed all that. saari put mayonnaise on literally everything. bread, meat, potatoes, corn, broccoli, salad, you name it. if it was savoury, or had a good chance of accompanying dinner, it was game for mayo. her love for it egged me on (get it? no? okay..) to experiment with adding in different herbs and spices, flavouring the condiment and using it to enhance dishes rather than simply employing it as a way of staving off the dryness of overcooked food.

i’ve been meaning to make mayonnaise from scratch for a while, but it wasn’t until this weekend that i finally got around to it. my dad was making meringues for dessert, and we had a surplus of yolks sitting in the fridge. so i got to work. and i don’t know that i will be able to return to my previous go-to tub of hellman’s after this.

ingredients (adapted from mark bittman’s how to cook everything vegetarian)

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

2 t dijon mustard

1 C neutral oil (i used canola and extra virgin olive)

3 T lemon juice

1 crushed clove garlic

salt and pepper to taste

method

place yolk and mustard in bowl and mix together with hand mixer.  gradually introduce oil, drizzling a slight amount at a time and making sure it emulsifies well with the egg mixture before adding more. continue with this until you have added all the oil. voila! mayo. fold in lemon juice, salt and pepper, and crushed garlic.

the last few weeks in montreal extended into two additional weeks on the west coast of america, before t and i finally got back into vancouver less than a week ago. moving our separate lives across the country/continent, job hunting/interviews, major research paper prepping, mama’s day, general settling back into the rhythm of things here. have more pictures from our mini trip from california to british columbia on t’s camera that i will try to steal upload later.