Prelude to summer: Backyard meals

The last few weeks have been thoroughly blissful. Being “between jobs” for me has meant spending luxurious amounts of time planning out, shopping for, and crafting elaborate meals. Much to the benefit of my friends and boyfriend, I’ve had nothing much to do the past couple weeks except cook. While I don’t have any advice or recipes to share right now, I’m putting up pictures from the culinary highlights of the past couple weeks.

I spent the better part of a day preparing an Indian(ish) dinner for my boyfriend last week. The menu: Paneer with Creamy Cumin Tomato Coconut Curry and Arugula, Grilled Corn and Asparagus with Fenugreek Curry, Yogurt Tamarind Marinated Grilled Chicken and Kulfi (frozen condensed cardamom milk dessert). I live on Commercial Drive, a neighbourhood rich with Italian/Mediterranean grocers, and good Indian ingredients are hard to come by. I decided to take a crack at homemade Paneer. I was shocked at how easy it is. My recipe yielded about a pound, and all I had to do was slowly bring 2L of milk to a boil with a tsp of sugar, and pour 1/4 cup vinegar in before removing from heat and straining through a triple cheesecloth and pressing into a flat shape. I did some research, and you can basically use the same process to make your own Ricotta (just add a little cream, and sub the vinegar for lemon juice). Dead fucking simple.

Paneer

Paneer straining through a cheesecloth

The paneer in the Cumin-centric Tomato & Coconut Curry with Wilted Arugula and cashews

The paneer in the Cumin-centric Tomato & Coconut Curry with Wilted Arugula and cashews

Left: Chicken marinated in a Cumin/Yogurt/Tamarind mixture, topped with Cucumber Raita Right: Grilled Asparagus and Corn on a Tomato Fenugreek curry

Left: Chicken marinated in a Cumin/Yogurt/Tamarind mixture, topped with Cucumber Raita Right: Grilled Asparagus and Corn on a Tomato Fenugreek curry

This stuff tastes like flowers. Don't ask me what's in it or what it's called, but it's a very perfumey indian syrup I imagine would be good in cocktails. We put some in the Kulfi and it was delightful.

This stuff tastes like flowers. Don’t ask me what’s in it or what it’s called, but it’s a very perfumey indian syrup I imagine would be good in cocktails. We put some in the Kulfi and it was delightful.

backyard

I harvested this crusty little table from the alleyway on my way home one night. Painted it white, and now it serves as a social center piece. Barely big enough to feed 4 people on, but I’m not one to complain about free things. 

the goods

Inspired by leftovers. Tomatoes stuffed with Barley, Mushrooms, Fennel, and Chicken Livers, Baked with Buttered Breadcrumbs. Pasta with Porcinis, Swiss Chard, Chardonnay, Black truffle oil and a fuck ton of butter. 

 

Backyard charcuterie plate: 2 homemade tapenades, Grainy mustard, Deluxe Foods Apricot Jam, Sopresetta, and turn up cheese

Backyard charcuterie plate: 2 homemade tapenades, Grainy mustard, Deluxe Foods Apricot Jam, Sopresetta, and turnt up cheese

My baby: fig vinegar to be.

My baby: fig vinegar to be.

 

This week I’ll be giving homemade ricotta a shot, and making fried chicken with my boyfriend. If both/either go alright, I may or may not show and tell. If you’ve got any recipes/links to recipes that kick ass, and have ricotta in them, post in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Prelude to summer: Backyard meals

  1. Wow Jamie! You’ve got my mouth watering in the worst way! You are such a wonderfully well-rounded artist, and it’s really neat to see your artistry extend to food as well.

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