Dilled Potato and Corn Salad

I have finally decided to use the precious Prince Edward Island potatoes that my friend Emma brought me after her trip home to the island.  Waiting for the ideal moment and ideal meal to cook these potatoes was difficult, considering that I place PEI potatoes in the same value category as things like “gold” and “seasons 1-6 of LOST.”  That being said, my expectations were pretty high as I searched for a recipe worthy of their goodness.

This recipe came from the September issue of Canadian Living, which my mom kindly dropped off to me before leaving for Chicago.  The recipe incorporated the potatoes nicely (they are so key they even got a special mention in the title!) as well as took advantage of the fact that it is now corn season!  Since we don’t have a BBQ, I grilled the corn on the stove using a non-stick pan.  How did this work out?  Alright, I guess, but I am mourning over the absence of those photogenic grill lines that BBQ’s provide.  I may have to do something drastic and make my own homemade griller…

An added bonus for this meal?  It cost me a grand total of $3.56 to make.  This minimal amount included: a large bottle of red wine vinegar (which I am not extremely fond of but I think the taste may grow on me), fresh dill, green onions and corn.  Not too shabby for a filling dinner and leftover lunch.  Also, I’m so glad I went with the fresh dill, it was so refreshing.  New goal for the school year: plant and maintain my own spice garden.

The pictures turned out so well that I couldn’t select only two, so we have a hat trick of photos for your viewing pleasure!  Next up: more birthday surprises and the completion of Gord’s challenge.

Grilled Chicken Barley Salad

I made this salad exactly one week ago to this day.  The reason I am just posting it now can probably only be attributed to sheer laziness and my extreme backlog of blog posts.  Get ready for some frequent (I’m talking maybe everyday) updates for the next week or so!

ANYWAYS, back to this Grilled Chicken Barley Salad.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), this dish reminded me so much of the Mediterranean Barley Rice Salad I made back at the beginning of July.  That being said, they were both delicious, and perhaps in the end the only similarities were my extremely poor palette and the fact that both dinners contained barley.  Since I have been majorly lacking chicken in my diet lately (considering I ate plain chicken three times a week this school year – I’m in withdrawls), I decided I needed to find a recipe that incorporated both summer flavours and this favourite protein.  Once again, Canadian Living pulled through for me, and this dish ended up being extremely easy to make as well as super effective as a work lunch for the next two days.  Could a student ask for anything else?

Also, no matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to like raw tomatoes.  I used grape tomatoes in this recipe, and I thought the sweetness of them would make me fall in love.  How wrong I was.  I will need to find another way to conquer this ever-expanding tomato hatred.

ALSO PART TWO: My friend Gord at the Savoury Starving Studenthas once again blog challenged me!  This time, I need to make one of the recipes that he has posted on his site.  Like a true journalism student, he gave me a deadline (August 26).  I’ll keep you posted with what I choose, and will obviously post an absurd amount of pictures once the challenge is complete.

Chicken Burger Melts & Mango Avocado Salad

Never having made a burger of any kind from scratch before, the task of making one was long overdue.  Shaping my own chicken burger was…an experience.  Raw meat is the most disgusting thing in the universe, and having to touch it was absolutely awful.  To make my burger, I used Canadian Living’s “Chicken Burger Melts” recipe.  The best thing about this burger was that it allowed me to bring out my old friend, the George Foreman grill for the very first time since learning to cook!  Taking out that grill brought back many, many memories from my grilled cheese and plain-chicken-and-bbq-sauce days.

Side note: This burger also represents the first time I have eaten vegetables on a burger.  Big step.
Side note II: If purchasing a delicious, mouth-watering cheese such as brie to put on your burger, ensure that you do not eat 3/4 of the cheese prior to your dinner being cooked.  Personal experience has found that it is almost enough to kill your appetite.

As for the mango and avocado salad, I am happy to announce that I FINALLY know how to properly peel and cut these two delicious fruits, thanks to a bunchofonlinetutorials.  There was a slight moment of panic while making this salad, as my first avocado turned out to be bad on the inside.  The new grocery store near my house turned out to be a lifesaver, and I quickly dashed down there to pick up a lovely already-ripe avocado.  Disaster averted.

Also, exciting news!  As some of you may have noticed, I now have my very own DOMAIN NAME!!  Hoorah!  I was completely positive that I was going to accidentally delete my blog whilst trying to achieve this url, so I am very happy that we are still here!

Gord’s Dinner, Part One: Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad

(Eeeee, it has been a week since I last posted, apologies!)

……..

To celebrate the completion of my tofu challenge a few weeks ago, my good friend and fellow blogger Gord made me a delicious dinner of quinoa salad, gazpacho and creme brule (see a few posts back for the scrumptious results).  This meal started a pattern of what I now call “reward dinners,” where each of us cooks for the other when a challenge is completed.  Gord’s very first challenge was to make a pie from scratch, and the result was an amazing strawberry rhubarb pie, a dish whose tastes boggled my mind one afternoon after a long day in the office (I ate it in a record-breaking two minutes).  To honour the completion of his challenge, I knew I had to make Gord a dinner that was just as, if not more delicious than the dinner he made for me.

Knowing that Gord is way more into vegetables than I am, I knew this supper had to incorporate a fair share of legumes.  I also happen to know that Gord likes chickpeas.  With these two checkpoints in mind, I flipped through my Canadian Living Everyday Favourites cookbook, and found the perfect recipe: chickpea tabbouleh salad.  The salad is apparently a Lebanese delicacy, and used bulgur, something that I have been curious to cook with for sometime now.  Since I obviously didn’t know what bulgur was before making this recipe (I simply liked that it rhymed with “vulgur”), I have decided to include the Bulk Barn definition below, should anyone also be confused as to what this strange sounding food is:

Bulgur (noun) – bulgur is made from soft wheat kernels that have been cooked, dried and then cracked; thus “cooking” it is simply a matter of rehydration…

Now that we all know what bulgur is, let me just sum up this post by saying that the salad was great, with a lemon dressing and crunchy cucumber (even if there were a few too many vegetables for my liking).  The only thing I didn’t like were the tomatoes (raw tomatoes are my greatest enemy, next to tofu), but I simply included them for Gord’s benefit.  Alas, they added a gorgeous red colour, which I must admit to loving.

Stay tuned in the next few days as I post parts two and three of Gord’s dinner (appetizer and DESSERT).  It just gets better from here!!!

Thai Mango Salad (and a short vacation hiatus)

With my mangoes finally having ripened, I decided to hurriedly prepare a delicious and nutritious meal for today’s lunch.  I say hurriedly because I started making this salad at exactly 11:34 a.m., a short 26 minutes before my family was due to pick me up for my first family vacation in three years.  Summer salads with no cooked ingredients actually make the fastest meal ever- gotta love ’em!  Gord, if you are reading this right now and wondering why the hell I made this salad without you, fret not, I will find something equally (if not more) scrumptious to make for your challenge prize as soon as I get back from vacation.  I promise.

This salad turned out brilliantly, and I got rave reviews from my mom who decided to pack up my leftovers for a picnic lunch later in the day.  Bestowing the ultimate honour on my cooking skills, she even asked me for the recipe (which can be found on the Canadian Living website here) so she could make her own version at home.  PS: mangoes are the best, most tender fruit ever.

So how is my vacation, you ask?  It is quite enjoyable, thank you for wondering!  I am currently typing this from inside a gorgeous Mont Tremblant hotel, nestled at the bottom of a group of seemingly endless mountains.  Arriving late this afternoon after getting lost several times in and around the Tremblant area (trying to navigate our way using my mom’s iPad = unsuccessful), we finally got to our hotel and quickly began exploring the village.

So far I have been on a handful of gondola rides (see above: I giggle like a child from sheer excitement every time I get on one) and have strolled around the vibrant streets of the village with the famjam.  I am proud to say that in true Duff-family fashion, several embarrassing touristy pictures have already been taken:

My favourite part of the day?  Going down a steep slope on a luge track, and waiting at the bottom for my mom who abused the brakes on her cart and arrived a complete five minutes after my brother, dad and I.

See you after my vacation hiatus, Blogosphere!