I am a fruit fiend at this time of the year. One of my favourite weekly rituals is to go the farmer’s market and choose the best-looking produce that I can find. Obviously, this includes a variety of fruit, straight from the Okanagan Valley. I tend to go for berries, which are beautiful, juicy jewels that make my oatmeal and yogurt so much better and stone fruit, which I love eating on their own, as a snack. Despite the fact that stone fruit are far less reliable than berries- is there anything worse than a mealy peach? – they are my absolute favourite. I typically don’t cook or bake with my summer fruit because they are so delicious raw but when I was faced with making a light dessert for a BBQ last week, I couldn’t think of anything more delicious than a stone fruit, hibiscus fruit salad.
A few days ago I was scouring Lady and Pups’ website for recipes that use black sesame. For some reason a recipe of homemade wontons swimming in this peanut sauce came up, and I knew that I had to make it immediately (the black sesame creation will be coming soon!). Not only did the peanut sauce look amazing, but I’ve had a bag of peanuts sitting on my shelf for months now. We’re moving soon and I am trying to get through all of the dry ingredients that I have stockpiled over the months (same reason that I was looking for a black sesame recipe!). Out of all of the nuts that we go through on a consistent basis, peanuts is not one of them and I couldn’t think of any better way to use them up.
This past weekend, I was at a potluck and had one of the most delicious eggplant dishes that I had ever tried. I immediately had to ask where the recipe was from and lucky for me, it was sitting in Jerusalem, one of my favourite cookbooks. I couldn’t believe that I had overlooked the recipe, but when I found it in my book later that night, I wasn’t too surprised. It was one of the few recipes in his book without an accompanying picture. I am so drawn in by Ottolenghi’s gorgeous photographs that I can’t help but skim over those that are unlucky enough not to have a stunning, colourful, full page photograph right next to it. Either way, I knew I wanted to make the recipe as soon as possible but to make it a full meal, I decided to make eggplant and mango salad rolls for a little twist on a classic.
I finally got to go skiing last weekend. There is no other activity that I can think of that gets me outside in the fresh air, for a whole day, during the winter time. I can’t tell you how good I feel to be outside, in the sun and the snow, in the mountains where everything smells good, and moving. It’s such a luxury over these winter months. With skiing comes the need for snacks. Mostly the snacks are needed on the long car ride home when you finally sit down and suddenly realize that you are deeply tired, hungry and thirsty from all of that moving and fresh air. My go-to snack is granola bars. They are easy to keep in my ski jacket pocket, nutritious, filling, and have just the right balance of sweet and savory that I crave at times like those. I have been making versions of these granola bars ever since the Smitten Kitchen cookbook came out. There is a date and almond version in her book but I decided to make some apricot sunflower granola bars this time instead. I have tons of sunflower butter in my fridge and I thought it would be a nice change.