Dill has become my fresh herb of choice lately. For a while I was tugging towards the essence of spring, so clogged by February's dull gaze, that I got swept up in the only verdancy I knew which was a green goddess dressing -- all basil and mint and cilantro blended together with lemon and olive oil and a bit of wasabi. But then I discovered lacinato kale ribboned and massaged in oil (hemp, oil, flax, you name it, kale's a bit of a floozy when it comes to rub downs), but then I got hooked on a salad that was various versions of shaved fennel, chopped fresh dill, thinly sliced Fuji apple, and raw kale. Sometimes I added nuts like sunflower seeds or hemp hearts and occasionally I tossed in some cooked garbanzo beans but it was also super tasty just on its own. I love salads that are built on basics that can stand proudly on their own but are also adaptable to adding a whole slew of other random things. Versatality is key.
When I eat salad for lunch while I am working at home I try to add something warm. An ingredient that shifts the dish a bit -- wilts the escarole or kale just a perfect amount or absorbs the dressing in just the right way; it's often legumes that have been cooked from dry or grains like coucous, quinoa or bulgur, but just boiled, still-warm-to-the-touch, perfectly cooked eggs are excellent too.
I tossed some shaved fennel with a bit of freshly chopped dill, added a few black kalama olives in oil (but small green Nicoise ones would be good too), chopped up some radicchio and spooned the horseradish mustard vinaigrette over top. Hardboiled eggs, still warm, absorb vinaigrette, and are a rare delight tossed with greens, especially of the chicory variety, I love this salad mixed in with a vinaigrette, then scrambled again with torn frisee (that prickly slightly bitter lettuce) folding all the flavours together.
I buy a half carton of eggs from Rowe Farms in Roncesvalles Village. They are, hands down, the best eggs I've ever eaten. I follow the Egg Farmers of Ontario guidelines for cooking perfect hard boiled eggs: place the eggs in a pot in a few inches of cold water, bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and set aside for 23 minutes. They said between 18 - 23 minutes but 18 left mine entirely runny. I like mine just-turned to entirely cooked yolk, no orange moistness left.
Some flaked tuna would be a good protein addition. As would some crumbled goat feta.
I use 2 to 1, light tasting olive oil to white wine vinegar, and shake in a jar with 1 tablespoon of Kozlik's horseradish mustard. The stuff is potent. Nose running inducing. But it is also addictive, delicious, intoxicating stuff. He's a Canadian mustard wunderkid who I first came across at St. Lawrence Market. He's got a stall stacked high with tall, thin mustard jars and an assortment of salty pretzels to give them a try. I picked up this mustard from Rowe Farms too.
Hey. Anyone else getting sick of being whipped by winter? I friend of mine emailed me a while ago concerned she may have died inside without fully realizing it. I'm just so tired, so listless, so... blah. I call it February Flatlining. But March is less than a week ago. Starting Friday, all eyes are pinned on spring.
The lake, which is just a few metres away from where I live in the city, is like a mistriss. Tempting me all day long. I used to think I walked a lot when I lived on the ravine, in mid town, with the foxes and rabbits and woodpeckers and Monarch butterflies, and I'd wander the back trails through thickets of 50 foot cottonwood trees, but now that I see water out my window, and when you're down beside the water, all you hear is waves or clashing ice or sand dunes disintegrating or seagulls, it's hard to pull yourself away.