A few weeks ago, we were leaving our friend’s apartment and she offered us a few springs of fresh oregano from her garden. Obviously, I accepted. Ever since I started my little indoor herb garden, I am convinced that there is nothing more convenient and delicious than having whatever amount of fresh herbs that you need at the ready. I never grew oregano though. I didn’t think I would use it often enough to merit it a spot on my small herb table. I was very pleased to leave with my little gift and made sure to stick the sprigs in a small cup of water in the fridge to stay fresh while I decided what to do with it. That night, I went to the store to buy the reddest tomatoes, crispest cucumbers and the best goat’s feta (which we are now completely obsessed with) that I could find. If I didn’t live with an olive hater, I would have grabbed some of those too. With all of those lovely, summery ingredients, I made a simple Greek salad. It was so good that it has become a weekly staple for us ever since, which is saying something because that rarely happens around here.
As soon as I saw a recipe for homemade hummus posted on I Will Not Eat Oyster’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try. Hummus is one of my all time favourite dips (it’s main rival is guacamole). I knew if I was going to spend the extra time soaking the chickpeas, it was going to be the centrepiece to a very special dish. I wasn’t going to just snack on it with vegetables or sneak a thin layer into a sandwich (which I also did with leftovers), I was determined to make this hummus the star of the show. And it is. A thick layer of creamy, lemony hummus is the base for this entire dish but it’s the combination with everything else on the plate that makes it the ultimate hummus. If you are ever going to make hummus into a meal, this is how you do it. I have been making my way through the leftovers of this for a whole week and am not complaining.
A very long time ago, I worked in a kitchen for a short period of time. The restaurant was a steak house and I worked on the salad station. It was a time in my life when I was debating quitting university to go to culinary school so I thought it was a good idea to get some experience in the kitchen before I made such a life-changing decision. For a lot of reasons, I didn’t end up going to culinary school but the one dish I think of when I think of that time was their caesar salad. I remember, on my last day, the chef I was working with gave me a little container of the caesar dressing because he knew I loved it so much. Since then, I have never really made my own caesar salad dressing. This is because every time I looked up a recipe they called for anchovies, which I have never been able to find at the store. A couple of weeks ago, I got a massive craving for caesar salad and decided that instead of tracking down anchovies, I would just try to make a dressing without it. On top of that, I knew I wanted it to be a kale caesar salad. I finally got my hands on some black/dinosaur kale again (which is my favourite in salads) and since caesar salad dressing is quite heavy, I didn’t want any delicate greens that would get weighed down.
My market stall neighbours sell healthy snacks. I always think it is funny standing there as they describe their flourless, sugarless treats and I look down at my bagels, filled with (glorious) gluten, white flour and sugar. I am, however, always surprised when we share a customer, but I guess in the end, you can’t argue with tastiness whether it’s a healthy snack or more of a treat. A whole section of their snacks is various flavours of roasted chickpeas. Until they came around, I totally forgot about these little guys, which are in many ways the perfect savoury snack. I used to love making them and sprinkling them over homemade hummus. They are simple, easy to make, customizable, pretty filling, healthy and crunchy. So, last week, I made a batch of slightly spicy, salty chickpeas and threw them in a salad, which turned a simple bowl of tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber into a light, summer meal.