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4 kids. 3 dogs. 1 amazing wife. 1 great job. And a huge passion for food. Cooking it, tasting it, growing it. An abiding love and respect for the farmers, artisans and other individuals committed to bringing the best to your table and mine.

Come along for the ride. You can never be quite sure of where we're going, but it will almost always be delicious.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Trust Me! (When I say I'm going to just do something simple in the kitchen.)

One of the great things about knowing your way around the kitchen, is that you can make a quick meal and make it tasty. Leftover baked potatoes and a few slices of black forest ham? Crispy Ham and Potato Hash with Fried Eggs for breakfast. Crisper drawer full of veggie bits and pieces? Vegetable Minestrone with Pasta and Parmesan and Garlic Toast for a quiet dinner for two. So, simple meals are definitely possible. But when Kris told me last night that a friend was coming for lunch today, and I said I'd make a simple pasta, this may not have been quite what she had in mind.

During the thunderstorms and gales of last night, I made a quick trip to the grocery store for a few supplies. The eggplant and zucchini looked especially good, so I decided on a grilled vegetable pasta. Some red onions, tomatoes, peppers and goat cheese finished off my shopping, along with a bag of farfalle. I came home wet and bedraggled from the storm, but at least a plan was in place.

After breakfast, I turned my attention to lunch(one of my favourite ways to spend the latter part of the morning). As I sliced the vegetables and diced the tomatoes, I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something. Then it occurred to me, there was nothing green going in this pasta. Whether spinach, escarole or even collards, I always like a little green. So I quickly headed over to the grocery store. I was thinking perhaps some baby arugula or baby spinach might do the trick. But I was in for a pleasant surprise.

As I reached for the tub of washed baby spinach leaves, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a beautiful display of black kale from Riga Farms in Bradford. The leaves were nice and thin, but crisp and beautiful. I was almost giddy as I headed out of the store. This was going to be good.

I got home and looked over my ingredients. Time to get started.

 I made a quick balsamic vinegar and olive oil marinade for the vegetables and got them onto the grill. I trimmed the kale from the stems and gave it a thorough washing to get rid of any sand. Flipped my veggies on the grill and then started cooking the kale in some olive oil with a generous amount of garlic. I didn't want to cook it too far, since I love my greens with a bit of chew. Now the veggies were done, the kale was done, and the tomatoes were diced. Almost time to eat.

Farfalle went into  a pot on the stove while I roughly chopped up all the vegetables and put them in a mixing bowl. In went the tomatoes and the sauteed kale. I drained the farfalle and tossed it in, along with some more olive oil, some fresh basil and  spoonful of sambal oelek (Indonesian chile paste) to add a touch of heat. A quick mix and taste. Still needed a bit of salt and pepper. Taste again. Perfect.(Tasting your food constantly is one of the biggest things that separate home cooks from professionals. If you want to be a better cook, TASTE!) Off to the serving dish and a snowy crumble of fresh Ontario goat cheese and it was done.

Simple....?? No,

But soooo good!

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