As you’re reading this I am back at school for professional development week sitting through the first of many meetings after flying in from Seattle and IFBC on the redeye (ouch!). Never fear, there will be posts about my weekend coming up soon but for now, since it’s back to reality after a long summer that has seemed short (thanks to trips to Philadelphia, California – more road trip coming up too! – and Seattle), I thought I would share a couple of my “how to make sure we eat decent, homecooked meals despite our busy work schedules” secrets…
First up, another couple of contributions to this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp where the theme we have going on is vegetables.
One of my favourite recipes to make in advance when in a big batch is ratatouille. I was pleased to see Professional Chef has a recipe that gives you the exact order in which to add the veggies which means they stayed “al dente” rather than being mushy like they get when you add everything all at the same time. Ahem.
Ratatouille from The Professional Chef, Chapter 25, p 763 uses the following vegetables (and in this order): onions, garlic, tomato paste, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, parsley and oregano.
I followed the recipe exactly and it made a really flavourful, unmushy ratatouille. Loved this.
Next up, I made a roasted salsa with some of the gorgeous tomatillos I received in our organic delivery box the other week and our one lone red pepper from the garden.
I simply roasted both the tomatillos and the pepper in the oven at 400F until the skins were blistering (about 15 minutes) and then combined the flesh of the tomatillos and the chopped pepper with some lime juice, cilantro, grape tomatoes (also from our garden) with a couple of cloves of garlic in the food processor.
Now whilst made from scratch dishes ARE the best, I sometimes go to high-quality jarred sauces and marinades when I am really pressed for time. Hall’s Kitchen (who I have written about before) recently contacted me asking if I would like some samples of their new sauce range and, as I know I am heading into a busy time where jarred sauces might be my friend in the kitchen, I was happy to try them out.
I chose the Lemon White Wine Cream Sauce – A decadent sauce for fish, seafood, chicken, asparagus, green or yellow beans but also great on any kind of pasta, especially seafood This sauce is literally so good, you’ll just want to eat it cold with a spoon! Locally made with fresh 100% cream from Hewitt’s Dairy in Hagersville, Ontario and white wine from Niagara. With only a handful of ingredients (100% pure cream, pure lemon juice, onions, white wine, corn starch, sunflower oil, sea salt and pepper), it tastes like something you would make yourself. I had it on a simple pasta with sautéed shrimp dish and it was a lovely light dinner that was also start to finish in about 30 minutes!.
The second sauce I tried out was the Maple Soy Ginger Sauce and Marinade – an extremely versatile sauce and marinade for chicken, tofu, pork, ribs, salmon and tuna that combines sweet Ontario maple syrup with tamari and fresh ginger. Again, with only a few ingredients, (vegetable stock (water, carrots, onions, celery, leeks), pure maple syrup, tamari (water, soybeans, alcohol, wheat), cornstarch, ginger, sunflower oil), it tastes homemade.
I marinaded some skirt steak for a few hours and grilled it on kebabs with red peppers and more zucchini.