Roasted Asparagus

Springtime is asparagus season, so I’ve been on a big kick lately! There’s nothing like fresh asparagus — I especially love the thin, crunchy kind you can get at farmer’s market. They definitely beat the big, meaty, mass-produced stuff any time!

This is one of my absolute favourite ways to prepare asparagus. Generally speaking, roasting any vegetable tends to make its natural flavour even richer and deeper, and requires minimal effort. I find that this technique works especially well for asparagus, as it gives it a wonderful texture as well as enhancing its flavour. I also like that it is super quick and easy, so I can enjoy these on short notice or when I’m in a hurry.

In other news, I’ve signed up for a CSA share again this summer, this time with a friend, and I am so excited to start getting fresh local produce delivered to my home! If you’re not familiar with how Community Supported Agriculture works, read up on it here.

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Oven Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a quintessentially French comfort food: roasted veggies and tomato sauce come together in this zesty, comforting dish. Somehow, the French can even make comfort food sophisticated, don’t you think?!

I have loved ratatouille for as long as I can remember. The soft vegetables have loads of flavour and the tomato sauce that brings them all together is sweet and tangy. Ratatouille can be prepared on the stove top or in the oven, but I find the latter method gives the vegetables  a nicer texture and richer flavour.

I dare you to look at this and not want to gobble it all up!

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Simple Bruschetta

Bruschetta is such a wonderfully fresh dish. It’s a wonderful appetizer, or works well as a light lunch when paired with a bowl of soup or a filling salad. Juicy tomatoes, basil, olive oil, crusty bread, and garlic — I mean really, what more could you want?

Granted, January isn’t the ideal season for fresh tomatoes, especially if you’re under a few feet of snow. But what better way to relive the glorious summer days than to put this on the table? It may just tide you over until June.

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Moroccan Chickpeas with Mint

One of my absolute favourite restaurants in Kingston is a café-bakery called Pan Chancho. Everything they serve is impossibly fresh and absolutely bursting with flavour. Whenever my parents come for a visit, we try to make a stop there, and last time they were down, they bought the Pan Chancho cookbook. This recipe is adapted from their own Moroccan chickpea salad.

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Couscous Salad

Couscous is the greatest word to type.

It is also a delicious grain and I love it mixed up with lots of yummy vegetables and beans for a nice, light salad. It’s great both hot and cold and is a fantastic option when you’re pressed for time.

This salad was inspired by the random vegetables in my fridge. I have to say I’m happy with the way it turned out. It definitely has Fall written all over it: hearty, chunky, darkly coloured vegetables stud the couscous and the flavours are earthy and comforting. Yum!

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Grilled Zucchini

When I’m not baking with zucchini, I like to grill or roast it. I find that stir frying them makes them watery and mushy, but grilling zucchini makes it sweet and chewy. Yummm!

I mentioned these grilled zucchini briefly in my dijon grilled tomatoes post a few days back, and thought I may as well share this recipe too! It is just as simple and tasty as the tomatoes, and makes for a lovely side vegetable.

Beautiful roasted yellow zucchini.

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Pumpkin Spice Scones

Looking for a delicious Thanksgiving treat to bake? Look no further!

Scones are simply wonderful concoctions. They have a beautiful consistency that, to me, defines elegance. And yet, they are still hearty and heavy enough to feel homey and comforting.

Fall and Winter are the perfect time for scones — piping hot with tea, they’ll warm you to the core on a cool day. And what better way to give scones a real Fall flair than to add pumpkin to the mix? (It is a great way to get rid of any extra pumpkin you have lying around post-pumpkin pie baking, anyway!)

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Dijon Grilled Tomatoes

Back in early September, my friend Annemarie turned 22. To celebrate, I had her over for lunch and made her this chicken with grilled zucchini, lemon mint couscous, and these delicious grilled tomatoes. There’s something about roasting or grilling tomatoes that brings out their tangy sweet flavour, and I thought it would go well with the rest of the hot meal.

For some reason, I was set on “stuffing” the tomatoes in some way, but I didn’t want to take away from their natural taste or their nutritional value. I ended up mixing the chopped up tomato pulp with a bit of grainy dijon mustard, some olive oil, and dried sage, then refilled the tomatoes with the mixture. It was a winning combination — Annemarie and I both used the mustard-tomato juice as an extra sauce for the couscous, and I finished the meal wishing I’d made more! I particularly liked how the dijon didn’t overpower the tomatoes’ flavour, and I am seriously dreaming of making these again.

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