I love going to the markets and seeing the spring and summer produce slowly appear. Every year, when summer turns to winter, I miss the abundance of fruit and vegetables that are in their prime but after a few months, it’s easy to forget what a good tomato looks like. Now that peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes are back and super cheap, I feel like my dinners would be lost without them. While there is nothing better or fresher-tasting than crunching into a whole red pepper or a lightly salted tomato sometimes it’s nice to have a warm, hearty meal. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying than applying a little bit of heat, some herbs and spices, and coaxing the best, freshest produce into an easy, weeknight dinner in under half an hour. That’s exactly what this spring ratatouille is.
As always, I bought a couple of giant sweet potatoes and waited a whole week for creativity to strike. Most of the time, I end up baking my sweet potatoes as wedges and while they are delicious, that’s not a complete meal (far from it). I wondered whether I could still get the gorgeously soft, charred, sweet potato without turning on the stove and, on top of that, get a whole meal out of it. It doesn’t hurt to dream big. I ended up thinking of a sweet potato hash. I figured that I could dice up some sweet potato and red onion, cover them in spices, cook them covered, in a super hot pan and that they would steam and brown at the same time. From there, it could become whatever I wanted. That was where this one pan sweet potato hash and eggs was born.
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.