Seasonal eating

I have learned a great deal about the food industry over the last year. Over that time, I’ve taken a more proactive approach to cooking for myself following a moderate set of ethical guidelines that I’ve established in accordance to my new knowledge. There were some difficult moments and meals where I blankly ignored what I knew. The summer however has brought on a wealth of new flavors and ingredients that have provided me the means to easily follow a diet that is both more sustainable and healthier.

One issue I face during the year that affects my eating habits is the desire for diversity. In North America, with the annually available products from around the world in the grocery stores, this is not so hard to do. But doing so means sacrificing your appreciation for fresh ingredients. So often, you pick up a fruit or vegetable that has traveled (literally)thousands of miles to be there, was picked before being ripe and was grown on massive industrial farms where artificial fertilizers provided the necessary nutrients for their flavor profile… Fresh produce, in season, from locally sourced farms that practice sustainable agriculture taste vastly different from what we are used to seeing at the grocery store. Over the last weeks I’ve enjoyed a plethora of wonderful foods both colorful and nutritious that have helped me try new things in the kitchen. Much of that experimenting has been simple; fresh produce doesn’t need much work to taste good, and one thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve become creative again. I had gotten bored during the winter months and seemed to use produce redundantly, without any attempt at trying new things. Of course, the summer also provides a great deal more to work with.

Here are some dishes I quickly put together over the last 2 weeks that I enjoyed. You’ll find that there are reoccurring ingredients in these dishes… The fresh produce I’ve used the most recently has been green peas, broad beans, carrots, radishes, fresh leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes. Last weekend, at the Jean-Talon market, I learned that the corn season had just started

local arugula, carrots, green peas, radishes, sun dried tomatoes, humus and olive bread
corn, green pea risotto with poached lobster.. oh yes, and a lovely Sicilian white wine by Arianna Occhipinti

mizuna, amaranth greens, tomatoes, radishes, peas, sunflower seeds, and a creamy qu├ębec goat cheese

polenta, hard boiled eggs, broad beans, carrots, zucchini, celeri, onions

Broad beans, tomato and quinoa salad with veggie pate on toast

I’ve got a quick and light lunch alternative on the menu today.

Carolina bought broad beans( also known as fava beans) recently: a bean I rarely use because of its “offaly” flavor. Broad beans are a staple in a number of cultures because of their ease of growth and ability to suffer through harsh climates. They offer an interesting health mix, with a large amounts of thiamine, potassium, and folacin. They also provide protein, fibers and vit. C.

It was nice to have something different in the house, and I had somewhat forgotten what they tasted like so it allowed me to adjust my recipe accordingly. I steamed the whole pods and took out the beans where I covered them in olive oil and lemon juice. I tasted them, and realized they would be better paired with strong pungent tasting ingredients such as mustard and herbs.

broad beans and tomatoes

I cut some grape tomatoes, green onions and boiled quinoa, while making a vinaigrette that would highlight the earthiness of the beans while providing a nice contrast.
The vinaigrette was simple, a simple mix of red vinegar, dijon mustard, dried herbes de provence, seasoning, and olive oil.

I toasted some multigrain bread and spread store bought vegetable pate on top, mixed the salad ingredients and added some thinly sliced fresh parsley for some brightness.

There you go: a lunch high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and fibers that is very light on the stomach and will keep you going for the rest of the afternoon.

Enjoy.