Sunrise on lake Couchiching
We have been on vacation, so have not had any formal Monday Night Dining moments. But we have been asked, what we do on other nights of the week. I will admit that Friday is take out night, and we usually get food from one of our favorite places. Tuesday is a big cooking night, to make lunches for the week. Wed and Thurs are rehearsal nights, so mostly we grab a lunch from the fridge, but on weekends and holidays, we try shit out. We test recipes, that may or may not show up on this blog. So this post is just going to be a sampling of a few things we are working on.
When planning meals, sometimes we have a theme ingredient, sometimes a region in mind, or sometimes there is a recipe that we have been wanting to try. This week many of these things combined. I have had M’Hanncha on the brain lately (stop laughing). The other weekend we were at the Farmer’s market in Orillia and wandered across the street to Bank’s Antiques. They had a beautiful Moroccan Tagine, with a beautiful patina, but they didn’t have it for long…. This was starting to sound like a theme, if only we could get a Moroccan Octopus to cook. Oh yeah, there is one in the freezer. So the theme this week is Moroccan. We have not cooked Moroccan for at least 10 years and the cookbooks were getting dusty. We left the guest list to Steph, who recently had to take a little day trip and met up with friends up north. As many conversations do, at Weber’s Burgers, the conversation turned to Ukuleles. It turns out that everyone seems to own one these days. This was starting to sound like a jam session for sure, so the guest list included our trio, Julia, Anne, Tom, and a last-minute addition, the stranded NMJ.
After a wonderful time in Worcester, we are back to reality and having our regular Monday Night Dining nights. Tonight gave us a chance to deprogram and reminisce about our time away, as well as connect with old friends. The garden is yielding up some wonderful produce, so this week we wanted to use that bounty. This week we have our trio, Mary and Bruce, as guests. For a starter, we had fresh made Grissini wrapped in Prosciutto, with cheese, grapes and crisps.
Grissini wrapped in Prosciutto
For the main course, we had chicken skewered on fresh rosemary skewers, potatoes and stuffed peppers and tomatoes (all from our garden). We accompanied this with an amazing charred tomato risotto, with cherry tomatoes from out garden. We also had our best collaboration of the night, Caprese Salad, with yellow tomatoes from Mom’s garden, red tomatoes, from the cottage garden and pesto, made from basil from Steph’s garden. Freshness at its best.
This Monday we are on vacation at the cottage, so Monday night dinner looked like leftovers from the weekend, for Shawn, Dave and NMJ. Leave it to Shawn to dress up leftovers into something special…
We had a constructed salad of Grilled Chicken, Hard boiled Eggs, Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Potatoes, Grilled Corn off the Cob and the first French Green Beans from the garden, with an oil, Dijon, Lemon Juice and Fresh Tarragon dressing. This was accompanied with a Caesar Salad. Nice work on the leftovers.
Grilled Oysters with Rose Sauce
We are hoping that the menus for Monday Night Dining will be predicted by the bounty of our garden : We have fresh herbs, rainbow carrots and Swiss chard, Roma and Heirloom tomatoes, cute stuff peppers, yellow and green beans as well as mesclun salad, red leaf lettuce and Red Romaine lettuce to guide us on our culinary journey. Steph has also planted an assortment of herbs and fresh vegetables that should make our Monday Night Dinners explode with freshness. Since we are still quite early in the growing season we only have spring salad and fresh herbs to help plan the menu, this week. But then again, we are in the heart of strawberry season in Ontario, so what else do you need. Along with our usual trio, we have invited Jen B and Lisa W. The clouds were looking a bit ominous for the barbeque, but it all cleared up in the end, and although it was 29 degrees, we had a lovely breeze and were able to enjoy the evening outside.
My sister asked “So how do you make your tomato sauce?” Simple question, but instead of the obvious answer, I wanted to stress freshness, so my answer started with “Well in May you prep the soil and plant your tomato plants…” I’m blessed to have a great spot for a little garden, right beside the lake. I also have a backup garden, at my Mom’s house. I’ve seen a huge improvement in produce at the grocery store, especially imported stuff, when items are not is season here. Having said that, there is nothing like picking something, bringing it the 10 feet to the door and using it. There are certain things we grow every year and some things that we switch around. Here is a picture of the garden taken just after it was planted and 3 weeks later.
Join us in our adventures through cooking and sharing with friends!