Fresh Fig and Baby Greens Salad

There’s a list of things I plan when we get our place in BC, and the first order of busi­ness will be a fig tree. If I can grow my own let­tuce I sure as hell can grow my own figs. I doubt this will make me self sus­tain­able (despite what the real estate assures me of) , but it will make me fig-​sustainable. Why? No figs to buy in Cal­gary this year. If you fol­low me on Insta­gram, you know that I was stalk­ing the pro­duce depart­ment man­ager about the next ship­ment - and I’m sus­pect­ing they got it just to get rid of me. One box (one pre­cious 16 fig box) later, and the fig sea­son seems to be over. So this, my friends, is it:

Fresh Fig and Baby Greens SaladFigs are per­fect as they are — I don’t like to cook them, bake them, or any­thing. They pair beau­ti­fully with goat’s cheese, and if you’re feel­ing a bit like Ital­ian, pro­sciutto. I per­son­ally like to eat figs straight out of the box, but for this lunch salad I paired them with some baby greens that I grew in the yard. Driz­zle them with olive oil, sea­son with salt, and you will expe­ri­ence fig heaven.

Fresh Fig and Baby Greens Salad
Serves: 4
  • 6 fresh figs, quartered
  • 5 cups of baby greens
  • ½ cup crum­bled goat’s cheese
  • driz­zle of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the figs, baby greens and goat’s cheese in a big salad bowl. Driz­zle with a lit­tle bit of olive oil and sea­son with salt. Toss lightly to combine.

One-​Pot Skinless Chicken Thighs

Here is a recipe for an easy and tasty chicken thigh dish made from pretty much noth­ing, ie: empty fridge after a hol­i­day. I usu­ally keep the skin on my chicken, but this is a lighter skin­less ver­sion that still doesn’t com­pro­mise on fla­vor. The trick is to dredge the thighs in flour before brown­ing — you get a nice tasty crust, and save calo­ries at the same time.

One-Pot Skinless Chicken ThighsI start by brown­ing the bone-​in chicken thighs in a pan, then trans­fer them into a dutch oven lined with sliced onions and chopped car­rots. I pour enough chicken stock to cover the drum­sticks 3/​4 of the way, then bake at 375F for approx­i­mately 1 hour, check­ing at about 45 min­utes in. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can place the chicken in a medium stove-​top pot, and sim­mer on low for the same amount of time.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s so ver­sa­tile — add new baby pota­toes, zuc­chini, sweet pep­pers, or green beans to your pot. Con­tinue Read­ing…

You don’t absolutely need chicken stock for this recipe, so if you’re in a pinch, use water. The bones in the chicken will fla­vor the liq­uid and essen­tially make a quick stock. Enjoy this with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

One-Pot Skinless Chicken ThighsTasty, sim­ple and delicious.

One Pot Skin­less Chicken Thighs
Serves: 4
  • olive oil
  • ½ cup white, or whole wheat flour
  • 8 – 10 bone-​in chicken thighs, skins removed
  • chicken stock, or water
  • 4 medium car­rots, peeled and sliced
  • ½ medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pep­per to taste
  1. Pre­heat the oven to 375F.
  2. Add a lit­tle olive oil into a large skil­let and warm over medium heat. Pour the flour into a large plate, then dredge the chicken thighs, pat­ting off the excess flour. Add to the hot pan and brown evenly on both sides.
  3. Place the car­rots and onions into a medium dutch oven. Put the browned chicken thighs on top, then pour in the stock so that the meat is cov­ered about ¾ of the way up. Sea­son with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for approx­i­mately 1 hour, check­ing for done­ness after 45 min­utes. Check the sea­son­ing and serve with crusty bread on the side.

July Update

Oops, I bet­ter dust the cob­webs off the blog before it goes all derelict on me. I have a good excuse — I wasn’t here. We’ve been back on Salt Spring, hik­ing, crab­bing, vis­it­ing with friends, and per­haps doing a bit of house hunt­ing. It’s our 13th year on SSI, so it’s hard to view it as vaca­tions. There’s good, there’s bad, but in the end it’s always like going to our sec­ond, bet­ter, home. Still, just when I think I know this small island inside out, there’s always some­thing new — meet­ing new peo­ple, find­ing new hik­ing trails, new sur­prises, who knows what can happen.

IMG_2006-2This lit­tle wood­creeper flew into the kitchen and we had to catch him as del­i­cately as we could. He was a bit dazed at first, but flew away just fine. Below: sea aspara­gus! I saw it in Luke Nguyen’s France a cou­ple of weeks ago, and then we’re walk­ing along the shore and … sea aspara­gus!!! (No way! Yes, I yelled it out as I ran to it) On the show they farmed sea aspara­gus and sold it for a good penny, but here’s it’s free, abun­dant and did I say deli­cious? Very crunchy and salty. It was ideal to sauté and place under grilled salmon. I could tell that Greg was very skep­ti­cal, but patient and under­stand­ing as he always is. He changed his mind after eat­ing it and told me we should go back for more.

IMG_20140704_214622View for the week. Our place had a nice view and a hot tub. I’m always appre­hen­sive when book­ing, because you just never know with these vaca­tion rentals. Some­times you get there and need to scrub the tub, some­times you find pubes, some­times the duvet wasn’t changed between who knows how many guests. This time, we had a giant spi­der under­neath the clothes washer — it was in the bath­room and directly a cou­ple of feet in front of the toi­let. So you sit there con­tem­plat­ing and sud­denly this thing comes out!!! Then it goes back under­neath and noth­ing can be done. He was there for the entire trip and I just grew to accept him. Greg kept con­vinc­ing me that he “lived under there” and wouldn’t crawl all over the house. Yea, and I’m gonna sleep in an open jun­gle hut this December.

Con­tinue Read­ing…

IMG_20140630_120501We drove this time, so the crab trap came along. We caught a whole bunch of red rock crabs, but only one dun­ge­ness, and it was too small to keep. Some­one told us that there’s good spot prawns fish­ing around the island, but we’d need a boat, obvi­ously. I don’t cook the crabs whole, because you can only eat the claws any­way. You bring a big pot of salted water to the boil (ocean water is best) then drop them in and boil for 10 min­utes. Eat with gar­lic but­ter, nomnomnom.

IMG_20140701_111033Quinoa and spinach salad with chick­peas and avo­cado. Freshly cooked quinoa is nice and fluffy, and the salad mixes well with­out much dress­ing. I wilted some spinach and tossed it through with the rest with a driz­zle of olive oil. It made a nice lunch. We had sim­i­lar vari­a­tions with sliced beef.

IMG_20140630_120700Our hosts gave us some salmon, and we had a nice time talk­ing to them. Every­one knows every­one on the island, it’s such a dif­fer­ent way of life. We met a nice older man from Cowichan Lake, who invited us to visit if we’re in the area. We also got to find what some Islanders think of us Alber­tans. I guess we all have buck­ets of gold and arrive in our dia­mond char­i­ots to snap up real estate… The first thing we were told when look­ing at houses was not to say you’re from Alberta, oth­er­wise they’ll want you to pay full price!

IMG_20140702_084406Here’s the sea aspara­gus raw — the stems are quite tough, so I snipped the lit­tle “arms” — I think that’s how it should be done.

IMG_20140704_195107View from the ferry ter­mi­nal at 6am.

IMG_20140705_061225And the long slog home…14 hours door to door. You’re barely human when you arrive. I drove through these moun­tains so many times that it takes a con­scious effort to appre­ci­ate their beauty. It’s like the moun­tains exist so you can get to the coast :) I’m kid­ding, of course.

IMG_20140705_151854Here’s a few pic­tures I meant to post last month — Thai skew­ers with peanut sauce. It’s just chicken strips mar­i­nated in coconut milk and curry pow­der, then grilled until done. It’s impor­tant to soak the skew­ers prior, oth­er­wise they’ll burn right off.

2014-06-24 18.57.47Beau­ti­ful spring in June… Cal­gary is beau­ti­ful in the sum­mer, I could sit under a tree and read a book all day. In win­ter I wish I could be any­where else.

IMG_20140605_104320Ran­dom sim­ple dinner.

IMG_20140531_122149View from my friend’s apart­ment. So many years I com­muted and worked downtown…

IMG_20140607_190121Kitchen mess. I’m so domes­tic :)

IMG_20140505_152804Okay, last but not least — figs. I’ve been stalk­ing the pro­duce man­ager at Super­store to tell me when they get their ship­ment. They did, like twice, and I’m pretty sure it was just to get the crazy fig lady to stop call­ing. I man­aged to get my hands on 1 case — and I don’t think we’ll be get­ting them in again. I don’t know why, there was plenty last year… I’m sad because I really love figs and I wait for them to come into sea­son. I need my own fig tree…

2014-06-24 19.01.10

Well, I’m off to make some din­ner. I hope you’re enjoy­ing your sum­mer and doing some relax­ing and de-​stressing. Until next time.

Beef, Zucchini and Asparagus Pasta Skillet

Beef, Zucchini and Asparagus Pasta Skillet

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Bunless Rice Stuffing Burgers

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If you love stuffing, then you'll love these bunless rice stuffing burgers.  They're a 50/50 mix of extra lean ground beef and rice, mingled with lots of fresh chopped herbs for a low-calorie flavor booster.  I browned them in a pan, then popped in the oven to finish - it's raining cats and dogs here this week, and I didn't want to get soaking wet in the name of barbecuing. See the little green chopped things?  That's chives - the best thing of early summer, and one of my … Continue Reading...