Squid with tomatoes and peas

SquidPeasFor my birthday this year, my dad gifted me with Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Doesn’t he know me so well? :)

To inaugurate the cookbook, I decided to make Marcella’s Squid with Tomatoes and Peas recipe. While I’m no stranger to preparing seafood at home — shrimp, fish, and mussels are regulars in my rotation — I hadn’t introduced squid into my kitchen. Boy, was I missing out! This dish is so easy and bursting with flavour. I was nervous about handling squid, but we bought pre-cleaned ones from the market and had them all chopped in a matter of minutes (fyi: this is a good step-by-step guide if you buy whole cuttlefish). So, in just one hour and with a single pan, we were enjoying what I swear is the best squid dish I’ve ever had.

2 1/2 lbs small to medium whole squid, or 2 lbs cleaned squid, sliced into rings a little less than 1/2 inch wide
1 1/2 tbsp onion, finely chopped (about half a small onion)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (about 2 cloves — but we live by the rule of always doubling the garlic :) )
1 tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 cup fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, or canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their juice
freshly ground black pepper
1 10-oz package frozen peas, thawed (or frozen, if you’re lazy like us :) )

Wash squid rings in cold water and pat thoroughly dry with cloth or paper towels.

Put the onion and olive oil in a large saucepan, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes a pale gold, then add the garlic. When the garlic becomes lightly coloured, add the parsley, stir once or twice, then add the tomatoes. Stir thoroughly to coat well and cook at a steady simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the squid to the pot, cover, and adjust the heat to cook at a slow simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt, a couple grinds of the pepper mill, and stir thoroughly.

Add the thawed peas when the squid is tender (taste a ring to be sure it is fully cooked!), stir thoroughly, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Taste and transfer to a warm, deep serving platter, and serve promptly.

Red bean mochi with matcha

MatchaMochiRedBeanWe had our dear friends Yoshi and Tomomi over this weekend, along with their two kids, Kai and Kako. They were so sweet to have brought over the most delicious treat: red bean-filled mochi, dusted with matcha. I love the slightly sweet taste of the red bean paste, paired with the velvety, chewy texture of the mochi, mixed with the earthiness of the matcha powder that frosts your tongue right at your first bite. I’ve been savouring these little cakes every night after dinner, and sometimes for breakfast, too :)

[Mochi from Minamoto Kitchoan]

A poem


by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

[Photo taken this summer at Upper Kananaskis Lake, Alberta.]

The best bruschetta

BruschettaT made dinner last night with heirloom tomatoes from the garden. It was easily the best bruschetta I’d ever had. Of course, I went back for…fifths.

He started with this recipe from Tasting Table’s Sous Chef series and adapted it as he went. The happiest modification came accidentally; T reached for the mirin instead of the champagne vinegar. He said it was purposeful, his new “secret ingredient” — I know better :) The mirin offered a touch of sweetness, almost like honey would have, which complemented the balsamic vinegar perfectly.

This is the ideal no-cook summer meal. I can’t wait to devour more of them as our tomatoes ripen out back.

Tomato bruschetta with avocado
Adapted from Julya Shin

Red onion, ¼ medium (finely diced)
Mirin, 2 tablespoons
Balsamic vinegar (the best quality you can find), 5 tablespoons
Ripe heirloom tomatoes, 2 medium (cored and cut into bite-size pieces)
Basil and mint, 1 cup (roughly torn)
Sea salt, 1 teaspoon, plus extra for serving
Extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons
Good quality day-old bread, cut into thick slices
Garlic clove, 1 (minced)
Ripe Hass avocado, 1 (pitted, quartered lengthwise and peeled)
Burrata, 6 ounces
Freshly ground black pepper

Add the red onions, mirin, and balsamic vinegar into a small bowl. Set aside and macerate for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, torn herbs, garlic, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, ½ cup of evoo, and macerated red onion plus 2 tablespoons of the macerating liquid. Stir to combine and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Toast the bread, then brush lightly with the remaining evoo.
On each piece of toast, place a quarter of the avocado and smash it onto the toast with a fork.
Season with a pinch of sea salt.
Stir the tomato mixture, then spoon some over each toast.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and top with a dollop of burrata.

Getaway: Swimming Holes

KidsSwimmingHoleT and I have been fortunate enough to travel out of the city three weekends in a row now, and I’m realizing how rejuvenating these trips are for me. It’s difficult to find balance in New York sometimes and these weekly interruptions have provided the perfect reprieve.

Today we were lured upstate by the promise of a fabled swimming hole. Hidden in the middle of a forest in the Catskills, I swear this spot was plucked out of a movie. The sun shimmers through leafy canopies, the water is deep and clear, and there are plenty of tall rocks to launch off of. My friends and I spent the afternoon diving into the chilly pond, snacking on cherries and watermelon, and laughing over cold beers — an idyllic summer day, if you ask me.

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Seed packets

SeedPacketsLast night I made little seed packets and I love how they turned out. Simple, rustic, heartfelt, and inexpensive — they make ideal DIY gifts.

If you’re looking to recreate: I used natural waxed paper folded into sachets, my favourite heirloom seeds, and pretty flora-themed washi tape to seal. I labeled each seed packet using a thin permanent marker directly on the waxed paper, but next time I’d like to try this kraft packing tape.

Enjoy! xo

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Field Trip: Brooklyn Crab

Brooklyn CrabThis weekend T and I trekked to Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook with a few friends and had the best time. We sat up on the roof and feasted on crab rolls, snow crabs, king crabs, and blue crab. Essentially, we recreated that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba rattles off all the different preparations of shrimp — except with crab.

If you plan on heading over, here are a few tips I found helpful:
– Bring sunscreen and sunglasses; the view is fantastic, but it can get really bright on the water.
– Steamed crab is the way to go (as opposed to boiled) — it keeps the meat nice and plump!
– The king crab and crab rolls were our favourites.
– The restaurant is very family-friendly. There are lots of activities (mini-golf, beanbag tosses, coin rides) and a kid’s menu for pickier eaters (you may not need it though, because what kid doesn’t love beating crabs with mallets?).
– Our friends surprised us with the best key lime pie from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, around the corner. I was licking the foil clean :)

I’d highly recommend Brooklyn Crab for a fun outing. We can’t wait to go back!

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