20 May 2015

Spring Salad from Ottolenghi


Spring is all about alfresco dining, sun-drenched days, and quality time with friends. When I first started learning to cook in my home kitchen, one of the initial things I discovered was that the key to outstanding meals was using good quality ingredients. As time passed I realized that this meant either growing or purchasing the best local ingredients available which with today's trends has become easier and easier with a resurgence of farmers markets, specialty food shops and local producers.

What has taken me years to understand is that recipes are merely guidelines and are open to any interpretation. I used to follow recipes to the letter and they always turned out well, but as the years progressed, and I have become confident in the kitchen, I am more open to experimentation and substitution. 

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16 May 2015

May is National Burger Month So Let's Get Flipping

Did you know that May is National Burger Month? Now that it is the long weekend we are flashing up the barbecues across the nation, donning our aprons armed with spatulas, condiments, and hearty appetites and fulfilling our meat-centric dreams.



































I like burgers. I like burgers a lot!!! I am part of a wanderlust group of over 200 burger aficionados who travel up and down the valley one evening per month sampling burgers, on or off the menu. We hit everywhere from established burger joints, pubs, and wineries to high end farm-to-table eateries. Anywhere where we can make burgers happen we will be there. Of course we don't all go at once!

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10 May 2015

A French-Inspired Picnic to Celebrate Mothers Everywhere

Macarons; Salmon Rilettes with Easter Egg Radishes and Microgreens; local asparagus
The lilacs and dogwood trees are in full bloom, orchards are buzzing with bees and the hummingbirds have returned. A visit to the farmers market yesterday cemented the idea in my mind and ultimately in my kitchen. Spring is when everything seems to come alive!!!!! The days are longer and the markets are beginning to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. Nothing comes quick enough as we wait impatiently to enjoy fresh, sweet cherries and sweet garden peas. It is the season for furled fiddleheads, asparagus and escarole and a wide variety of lettuce hand plucked from the garden for green salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season our dishes. All of these tastes of Spring were bursting from the stalls at yesterdays market.


Yesterday I had a rare morning off and was able to head to our local farmers market. Awaiting me were fresh local asparagus from Armstrong, freshly plucked greens of all kinds, fresh herbs, Easter Egg radishes, free range eggs, and microgreens. So to celebrate moms everywhere I created another Sunday picnic with a French theme in mind…ooh la la...
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7 May 2015

My Vote is for Marinated Burrata with Basil for Perfect Picnic Fare and Other Burrata Recipes


Marinated Burrata with basil
Sometimes you come across a recipe that changes your way of thinking. On a wanderlust day in the Okanagan this marinated burrata made its way into my kitchen and into my heart forever. As a result picnics here at More Than Burnt Toast will never be the same again. Simple, rustic, and so transportable. I will be taking this Italian-themed antipasto on EVERY picnic from now on. It comes together in a flash which makes it perfect for an impromptu Italian-inspired picnic under the shade of a blossoming apple tree.

What makes this antipasto a star? Burrata from my beloved Puglia!!! You could use buffalo mozzarella but it would simply just not be the same. However it would work in a pinch. If you're a lover of mozzarella, ricotta, or really anything that's straight-up creamy, this cheese antipasto is what you need…

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6 May 2015

The Last Supper with Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Lemon and Proscuitto Pasta



Pasta with Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Lemon and Proscuitto

The Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club has been on our radar and in our lives since 2009. In the early days as we were taking our baby steps into the blogging world we were a part of Cooking Lights on-line community and featured once a month on their blog Simmer and Boil.  I am honoured to say that I have been here throughout, sharing recipes from the pages of Cooking Light magazine despite  the challenges of being super woman…wink…wink.

As of this month however we will retire our aprons (or our capes as the case might be) as a group after almost 7 years with a heartfelt sense of loss. Real life has a way of getting in the way of writing and blogging and enjoying our passions to the fullest as many of you know. But I am here to tell you that it is always a matter of making time for doing what your passionate about and making it happen no matter what that is. 

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3 May 2015

Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese and Other Picnic-Worthy Salads


Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese
I am very high on Puglia although I have never been fortunate enough to travel there. In my humble opinion it is the “next Tuscany” for the culinary traveller and high on my travel bucket list. It is exotic, yet accessible. 

When I travel I like to live with the locals. Breaking bread at the same table has always been in my minds eye the best way to discover a country and its people. I want to live day to day and harvest olives and grapes that have grown and matured under the heat of the southern sun and taste their richness and aromatic flavour. The Murge in Puglia is dotted with mysterious-looking conical shelters called "I Trulli" where I want to live out my days. They were built by an ancient race and although they are still used for agricultural storage they are slowly being converted into accommodation for locals and tourists alike. 

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23 April 2015

Greek-Inspired Barley Salad with Arugula and Feta




I am ready to confess. Over the winter I had almost eliminated grains from my diet altogether. Porridge for breakfast once a week, a quinoa salad or two from the cafe downstairs at work, but other than that they have sadly been missing from my life other than endless varieties of rice and wild rice. Perhaps it is because I enjoy the chewy consistency of grains the most in salads that they have been absent over the winter months. But with Spring comes not only the hummingbirds, lilacs, and longer days but grains make a reappearance in my kitchen.

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19 April 2015

Sunday Picnics Inspired by Greek-Inspired Red Pepper Dip


Greek- Inspired Red Pepper Dip
With the thermometer rising it is time to take to the hills. Todays Greek themed picnic included dolmades nistimi, cold cuts, and a Greek Barley and Arugula Salad. To begin our feast we paired crispy, colourful garden vegetables with a roasted pepper and goat cheese dip. Begin by roasting 2 heads of garlic for a deep, earthy flavour. You can find instructions here from The Kitchn.

Roast red peppers and blend with herbs and mild goat cheese. Allow the flavours to blend for at least 2 hours or overnight. Pack it up in your picnic basket and this cheerfully coloured dip will turn heads at your next outing. It can also be used as a spread on sandwiches.

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13 April 2015

An Impromptu Spring Picnic on a Wanderlust Day


Green Goddess Avocado Dip with Crudites
The forsythia and almond trees are in full bloom, orchards are blazing with colour and the hummingbirds have returned. A visit to the farmers market last week cemented the idea in my mind and ultimately in my kitchen. Spring is when everything seems to come alive!!!!! The days are longer and the markets begin to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. Nothing comes quick enough as we wait impatiently to enjoy fresh rhubarb and sweet garden peas. It is the season for furled fiddleheads, asparagus and escarole and a wide variety of lettuce hand plucked from the garden for green salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season our dishes. All of these tastes of Spring will be bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes…soon, yes soon…..
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1 April 2015

The Virtual Supper Club Celebrates April Fool's Day with a Chicken B.L.T. Salad


April Fools Day with Cooking Lights Chicken B.L.T.
We welcome you back to this months Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club where we continue our celebration of delicious food on the "lighter" side. We always appreciate you joining us for this event where we get together on the first Wednesday of every month to create a delicious meal from appetizers to dessert with a theme in mind. Ultimately our love of food, blogging and our commitment to a health conscious lifestyle is what has brought us all together. 

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