Easy, go-to recipes on the run with One Big Table

I am a big fan of pre-planning meals. And by big fan, I mean I think it's an amazing idea that I don't always put to good use. Hence why, when I'm staring down the barrel of the 4:30, "what's for dinner tonight?" dilemma, I always think preplanning is a good idea :) So, I just went ahead and asked my amazing Italian chef buddy Giulio to come up with some easy, go to recipes for batch cooking, that also make use of local, in season ingredients. And being the amazing guy he is, he came up with delicious options I have made numerous times since our shoot. Both recipes are the kid-friendly, husband-friendly and momma happy kind. Enjoy. 

Recipe and instructions by Giulio, of One Big Table:

SWISS CHARD FRITTERS (makes about 14-16 fritters)

Simple & Delicious: I love serving this dish that will turn Swiss Chard into your new best friend. These fritters freeze very well and make an excellent snack for kids and a surprising appetizer for the whole family!

 

2 bunches, Swiss Chard

1 clove Local Garlic

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 tbsp flour (wheat, spelt or gluten free)

1 handful mint

1 handful cilantro

2 generous pinches of sea salt

1 lemon for garnish olive oil for frying.

Separate Swiss Chard leaves from the stems. Blanch leaves in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, then cool off in a water bath.

Once cool, squeeze all the excess water out.

Next, in a food processor add all the other ingredients except for the flour and blend until smooth. Then add Flour.

Pan fry large spoonfuls of mixture, in a non stick pan with a splash of olive oil on a lively heat for about 3-4 minutes per side (small pancakes size, about 2 inches across).

Serve with lemon wedges.

YAM SALAD WITH MISO VINAIGRETTE (4 people)

This is a great Salad, filling and delicious, and perfect for those weeks you are on the go. Make a big batch at the beginning of the week. and personalize the recipe with what you have in the fridge or what inspires you the most.

3/4 lb Yams

1/4 cup Carmelis Goat Feta

handful of Cilantro (or your favorite herb)

1 Red Pepper diced

1 handful of Local Sprouts (pick your favorite, we used garlic sprouts in this recipe)

2 Tbsp. of Shiro Miso Paste

2 Tbsp. Rice wine Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Start by peeling the Yams and grating them with a cheese grater. Blanch the Yams in a large pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes - the yam should still have a bit of firmness to it, so imagine you are cooking pasta.

Immediately cool down the yams in a water bath and, once cool, allow the excess water to drain.

In a bowl, add peppers, sprouts and yams mixing well. Add the miso, the vinegar and the oil, season with salt and mix with your hands. Gently massage Miso into the salad making sure to blend thoroughly

Check the flavors - depending on your yams and the quality of the ingredients, you can add a little extra miso and vinegar to bring the flavors up a few notches. Trust your palate and let it guide you to make a beautiful dish.

Once you are happy with the flavors, crumble the feta in it, give it a final mix and enjoy this beautifully colorful and nutritious salad!

Buon appetito! G

Upper Bench & One Big Table ~ Connecting Through food and passion

 I am such a believer in connection: connection to our loved ones, connection to our community, connection to our food. Which is why I was so excited about One Big Table - a culinary journey into our local food community. The man behind the project, is Giulio Piccioli- a charismatic, opera singing, food-loving, Italian man, with a passion for local ingredients and his pet chickens.

Giulio's videos and blog posts delve into our connection to food, featuring how-to cooking instructions, Q+A's with local artisans, farmers and entrepreneurs, and of course feature the beautiful Okanagan.

When we chatted about working together on a few projects, I was so excited Upper Bench was first on the list. 

Upper Bench Estate Winery is an amazing winery and creamery, the ultimate foodie combo. Shana is the passion and creator behind the creamery- producing hand crafted, pasteurized cheeses that make bellies dance, and taste buds sing. I have always loved their products, but watching how the cheeses are made, the craft, the passion, the energy and love put into every step, made me respect and love the cheeses even more. Shana and Lisa (her amazing assistant) were like little cheese elves, giggling and crafting a product they believe in. Check out the video teaser on One Big Table's Facebook page. The video will be up in the next few weeks and we have even more fun coming for you.

I'm hoping to feature more of these types of projects in future, so please let me know what you think :)

A shot from Naramata Bench overlooking Okanagan Lake.

Alone with a pot, a stove & a spoon

My older sister gave me my first cooking lesson. She showed me how to push a chair up to the cupboard so I could reach the peanut butter. She showed me how to unwrap and re-wrap the bread bag so the bread wouldn't dry out. She taught me to stand on my chair at the counter top with all my ingredients and cooking utensils, and prepare my very own breakfast. It was very liberating at three years old to be self-sufficient in the kitchen.

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Now twenty-three years later, it's a bit more daunting to be in the kitchen alone. Peanut butter and bread just don't cut it, mostly because I don't really eat either of them, at least not as stock items ingested throughout the day. Now that hubby's out in the bush, working and fishing and getting back to his manliness, I find myself wandering though the kitchen, dinner time fast approaching, poking through cupboards searching for the adult equivalent to PB and bread. Usually I settle on fruit, eaten standing at the sink, juices dripping down my arms and splurting everywhere. Or nuts. Or if I'm willing to wait a pot of rice, beans and veggies is like a 5 course meal in this single/married girl's life. I've tried to mix it up, but when it comes down to it, I usually want my staples. I want what's easy, what I know and what I don't have to think about.

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It isn't that I don't like cooking. I love cooking. But cooking for one isn't as satisfying. Sure if the meal's a flop there's only one victim but if the meal's a success there's only one winner, and everyone knows winning is way more fun when other people witness it. Real cooking is far more than boiling, dicing and stirring. It's about the company.

Some of our best dates have been spending the day cruising around the markets, picking out ingredients, watching the meal take shape based on what's ripe and fresh and looking tasty. Throw in a good bottle of wine, silly conversation, solid tunes, and now we're talking. I'll take that over a fancy meal in a restaurant any day.

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Still, alone in the kitchen I feel a bit mischievous eating at the kitchen sink, or straight out of the pot. It's like standing on that chair, three years- old, mistress of the kitchen with my very own spread of peanut butter and bread.It's a different kind of cooking. It isn't fancy or decadent in the ordinary way. To an outsider it looks simple and bland, but to me it's a little piece of self-sufficiency I've grown to appreciate.