Weather this weekend is all sunshine. So we’ll be eating al fresco, lighting up the grill and tossing the last of my summer basil plant all over our plates. Simple, mediterranean and fresh, I’ve been making this version of potato salad for years and this is my favourite variation of recipe. Serves four with leftovers.
italian potato salad
8 small red potatoes cut in half or quarters
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
pinch red pepper flakes
1 onion cut into half moon slices
1 teaspoon brown sugar
8 sun-dried tomatoes chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Heat two tablespoons oil in frying pan and begin to caramelize onions. Adding sugar and salt and pepper after ten minutes. Boil potatoes (skin on) in salted water until tender. Chop garlic and mix with remaining four tablespoons olive oil, pinch red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic and salt and pepper to create the dressing. Leave at room temperature. Drain potatoes when done cooking and mix into dressing while potatoes still warm. Stir in the caramelized onions. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with basil strewn across the top. Can be served at room temperature or straight from the fridge. Capers, feta or black olives make lovely additions too.
Sometimes you just need a reset. A little virtue after too many indulgences. This veggie soup hits the spot for me and beats any diet. Feel free to improvise with whatever you have in the fridge. Like most soups, it freezes well and tastes even better a day or two later. Makes eight servings.
kale potato soup
1 small head of kale or 1/2 of a large head of kale chopped
1 head of broccoli chopped
2 onions chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 carrot chopped
3 small potatoes peeled and chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
handful fresh parsley, basil, chives, thyme (any fresh herbs on hand)
olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan
6 cups water or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon herb de provence
Don’t worry about perfect slices, as the soup will be pureed near the end. Heat olive oil in big pot and saute onion, carrot, garlic and herb de provence until fragrant. Add the kale and cook until wilted. Add water/stock, potatoes and broccoli. Adding more liquid if you want the soup thinner, I like 6 cups just fine. Simmer covered for 40 mins. Let cool slightly, add the fresh herbs and puree using a hand blender. Stir in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning.
Sweet eggplant and roasted garlic mixed with goat cheese, scooped with homemade sea salt pita chips. Think baba ganoush but with an improved texture. The pita chips are better than store bought and I’ve taken to keeping a bag of them in the freezer for this exact recipe. Serves six with leftovers.
goat cheese eggplant dip + sea salt pita chips
2 small or 1 large eggplant
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon cumin
150 gram packet goat cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 1 each)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with chopped Italian parsley or toasted sesame seeds
Using a fork, generously poke holes in eggplant and salt. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until soft and dark on both sides. Flip once. Add the garlic cloves to the pan in a foil pouch drizzled with one tablespoon olive oil and pinch salt in the last 10 minutes.
Remove roasted eggplant to stainless steel strainer. Set in sink, sprinkle salt and press down to remove as much liquid as possible. Cool and drain for 20 minutes. Use the stem to pick up the eggplant, scraping as much flesh as possible into a clean bowl. Some pieces of skin are okay and add a smoky flavour. Add remaining ingredients and combine by hand or using a hand blender. Reserve one tablespoon of olive oil to pour on at serving. Let “set” in fridge for an hour. Garnish with chopped parsley or toasted sesame seeds.
sea salt pita chips
salt and black pepper to taste
coarse sea salt to garnish
50 ml olive oil
Using kitchen scissors cut the pita into wedges and place on a cookie sheet. Combine olive oil and salt and pepper in small bowl and brush onto the pita. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Flip once. These burn easily so keep an eye out. Taste and top with additional sea salt if desired. Chips stay crisp in an air tight container for three days.
herb corn salad
1/2 cup packed chopped herbs like basil, parsley and chives
kernels from 3 cooked corn cobs
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Combine. Best eaten outside with meat from the BBQ. Serves four.
I know I don’t need to educate anyone on the benefits of pitcher cocktails. Too many to count really! More time with friends, less time prepping and making drinks is my rationale. The longer this sits, the better it gets. Perfect for late summer afternoons and dining al fresco. The sangria is close to the colour of rosé wine and so pretty in a glass pitcher. Enjoy!
1 bottle dry white wine
3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate or cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups sparkling water/club soda
6 shakes angostura bitters
3 tablespoons grand marnier
1 tablespoon sugar
1 orange, lime and lemon
Slice orange into half moons. Drop into pitcher followed by grand mariner and sugar. Leave covered in refrigerator for two hours. Add remaining ingredients and juice of half a lemon. Serve in ice filled glasses garnished with lime wedges.