Category Archives: cheese

Just Cheesy Enough…


Sunday morning – when you want decadent flavour with very little effort, these cheesy avocado toasts fit the bill.

Start by grating some cheese – in this case, aged cheddar and Caerphilly – but mixing up flavours will give endless tasty results. For two, cut a small avocado in half and mash with a squeeze of lemon juice. Then preheat the broiler and line a cookie sheet with parchment. While the oven heats, split and lightly toast two whole wheat English muffins.

Top the muffins with the grated cheese and place on the cookie sheet. Broil just until they are nicely melted. Spread the avocado on top and voilà, they’re ready to serve. Stand by for compliments.

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Super Simple Spring Salad


Hopefully the warm weather is on its way. We’ve had a few tantalizing tastes, and now it has at least warmed up enough for us to fit in some long neighbourhood walks in the morning. 

Spring produce is showing up also. Heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers (greenhouse grown), spinach and mushrooms are all I needed to put together this tasty plate. 

For the dressing, for two: in a blender jar, combine 1/4c or 60ml vinegar (I used homemade but wine or cider types are lovely), 2T or 15ml extra virgin olive oil, 2t or 10ml Dijon and 2oz or 60g of feta. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Then maybe another walk to run a few errands…

30 Minutes or Free?

When we’ve had a long day and don’t have a plethora of things in the fridge, we nearly always have the ingredients for pizza. From start to finish, in just over 30 minutes – a healthier, less expensive version than takeout, and you can keep the tip for yourself.

Preheat your oven to 400F

In a small bowl or measuring cup, put 1/2 c or 125ml lukewarm water. Stir in 1 t or 5ml sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Sprinkle 1 T (15ml) yeast over top. Set a timer for 5 minutes and choose some toppings. 

When the timer goes, your yeast should be foamy. A few grains may still float on top, and that’s okay. Stir with a fork and add this to a larger mixing bowl, along with 1T/15ml olive oil. Sprinkle in whole wheat flour, stirring with a fork, until it forms a ball and starts to clean the bowl a little. Knead on the counter half a dozen times with another light sprinkle of floor. (Other flours work also – experiment!) Sometimes we add dried herbs or pepper to the flour. Grease the bowl and pop the dough back in. No need to wash, the bowl should be mostly clean. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 10 minutes.

In this case we started with a base of caramelized onions, but pesto or marinara work great also.

  
For toppings we added mushrooms and olives, and a bit of Beemster cheese.

 18 minutes in the oven and it’s done – we usually let it cool five minutes before cutting as no one loves that pizza cheese mouth burn!

  

Let’s root, root, root for the team!

Spring is coming, we believe, although the weather is being uncooperative. Here’s a grest dish for the last of those winter veg.

  
This is a lovely vegetable gratin. The directions are unspecific…yet easy. 

Heat the oven to 400F.

Spray a casserole dish with olive oil spray. 

Now begin…

Slice some vegetables thinly, by hand or with a mandolin or food processor.  Layer them in the bottom of the casserole. Sprinkle with herbs, pepper, nutmeg, or other tasty bits. Grate or crumble on a scanty bit of cheese (this is not a cheap discount pizza)!

Repeat for 4 to 6 layers. At learn every second layer should be a root veg, to give body to the thing. Ours was purely potato, carrot, beet and parsnip. But kale, tomato, onion or beans are great additions as long as there are sliced veg on the top and bottom.

Press the top layer down. Then, grate on some real grated Parmesan – it adds a richness that no other cheese can match.

Bake for 45 minutes with a cover, the remove the cover and give it 15 minutes more. Let it cool 5 minutes before serving. Also great served cold the next day.

Dinner for two…

  
So…good! 

We had a busy day yesterday, cleaning, organizing, walking, shopping and visiting the Gardiner Museum’s amazing porcelain collection. The best way to top off a day like that is to make a delicious but low-effort dinner together. 

Here’s what we did:

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a casserole dish, place two pork chops. Ours came from our friend/neighbour/butcher, Mark. Over top, pour 1/2 c (125ml dry sherry). Thinly slice an onion and separate into rings, scattering on top of the chops. Add half a dozen capers and four roughly-chopped olives. Sprinkle with dry mustard and mace (or nutmeg, if you’re stuck). Put the lid on.

Next the potatoes. Slice 4 or 5, thinly. You will have two servings left over for tomorrow. In a glass cake pan or pie plate coated with olive oil cooking spray, arrange half the potato slices. Sprinkle with 2 t or 10ml of flour. Crack on some pepper and grate on a small amount (1 oz/30 g) strong aged cheddar. We used an amazing cave-aged one from Wookey Hole

Layer the rest of the potato on, pour over 1/2 c or 125ml of 1% milk. Add another cracking of pepper and another ounce or so of cheese. Cover with foil, not letting foil touch the cheese. Full disclosure: another casserole would work well here, only we don’t have one! 

Put both dishes in the oven for half an hour. Drink wine and chat.

Then remove the lid or foil and cook for another 15 minutes. Prep the Brussels sprouts or do what we did – use frozen. When the 15 minutes are nearly up, bring the sprouts just to the boil, covered, on top of the stove. Turn off the heat and let stand while you dish up the rest. Sprouts will be crisp-tender.

Have a lovely meal and enjoy each other’s company. Live happily ever after.

Chicken Parm…ish

  
When you’ve had a long day and just want to decompress, take a few minutes to get this going, and have a glass of wine while you wait! 

For two:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (not the frozen ones with added salt!)

1 egg

1/4 c 1% milk

1 c whole wheat bread crumbs

1/2 c no salt marinara 

4 T Parmesan, fresh grated

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet or lasagne pan with parchment.

Mix egg and milk together in a pie plate.
Put crumbs in another pie plate.

Dip each piece of chicken in egg wash, then in crumbs, patting to coat. Place in pan and put in the oven. 

After 30 minutes, turn chicken over. In 15 more minutes, spread  marinara on top of each chicken breast and grate on Parmesan.

Bake 3-5 minutes until cheese melts.

It’s Crunch Time! 

  
As the cold weather dissipates and we don’t just move to a different choice set of produce, but preparation tends to change, as well. If you’re inspired to move away from creamy soups and hearty stews, but there’s still a mix of winter and spring produce available, this may fit the bill.

Layer a handful of arugula, a handful of sliced cabbage, 1/4 of an English cucumber, and 1/2 an apple, sliced, on a plate. Drizzle with a mix of 10ml grainy Mustard, 10ml vinegar, and 10ml olive oil (Or use half Dijon/half Kozlik’s Triple Crunch, for the mustard as we did).

Crumble an ounce of Gorgonzola or smoked tofu on top. Enjoy!