Feta, chickpea and zucchini salad, salmon with balsamic maple glaze and a coffee shop adventure

Feta, zucchini, bean saladJonathan and I have been married almost three weeks now – and have been loving every moment of married life!  I have made many tasty dinners and we have gone on a few foodie adventures in Detroit.  It has been very humid in Windsor and so a fresh summer salad recipe was in order.  We had purchased a Costco sized container of feta cheese, so I have been very creative lately with feta.  Summer salads with beans, zucchini and a light olive oil and balsamic dressing are refreshing and delicious.  This salad is also very versatile you could also add in cherry tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber or other favourite veggies.  The salmon I made had a balsamic and maple glaze, which was the perfect week night meal.  The glaze thickened perfectly and was very balanced in its light sweetness and balsamic flavour.

From our adventures in the USA, Jonathan discovered a unique coffee shop that we just had to try.  The Roasting Plant is a coffee shop in Detroit that features a system of tubes that roast, grind and store your coffee until it is ready to be Roasting Plantbrewed fresh on site.  While you sit at your table you can see green coffee beans being roasted in the Javabot.  There is also a great deal of selection from region to roast for the coffee beans.  Jonathan tried three different small sized coffees (called a flight of coffee, so you can sample a few different roasts) and I had an iced coffee.  We also shared a small croissant – yum!  The coffee was delicious and we would both recommend a visit if you are a coffee snob/ coffee lover.  The concept of the tubes, roasting and fresh brewed coffee is great and the coffee is delicious.

Feta, chickpea and zucchini and salad

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

½ cup green olives, sliced

1 medium zucchini, chopped into small pieces

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix dressing in a measuring cup and stir well.  Then drizzle over top of salad and toss together.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Salmon with Balsamic Maple Glaze

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ maple syrup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Prepare baking sheet with lightly drizzled olive oil.  Place salmon fillets on the sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (adjust bake time according to your oven, mine took 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, whisk all other ingredients together in a saucepan.  Let simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.

Pour glaze over salmon and cook in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy.

Feta, zucchini, bean salad with balsamic maple glazeRoasting PlantIced coffee at Roasting PlantRoasting Plant

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Wild Mushroom, Spring Pea and Zucchini Stroganoff

Dinner last night was a new recipe from the Spring 2012 Food & Drink magazine.  Jonathan and I tried out this recipe for dinner and were extremely pleased with the results.  The only thing we would change is the wine choice.  The Chilean organic chardonnay was flavourful and lovely however, next time we will probably use a more dry Riesling.  We selected our wine from the vintages section of the LCBO and we made a decision on it, probably because it was organic.  (Still a tasty wine though, we really did enjoy it.)

Modification to the recipe was the addition of zucchini, we had one in the refrigerator and it turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the dish.  The mushrooms and peas were delicious (mushrooms and peas are always delicious) in a nice creamy and flavourful sauce.  It was the fresh peas and mushrooms that drew me to the recipe originally.  The fresh thyme and chives are a must have, they added the yum factor, dried spices just cannot compete.

If it was my family eating this dish, someone would probably object to zucchini, we all have such different tastes.  Sarah hates mushrooms and Dad would probably want to take a vote as to whether the meal would go into the regular rotation of favourite meals.  However, the nice thing about cooking for Jonathan is that we both love so many of the same foods.  Maybe this is why we are soulmates?  Jonathan and I both agreed that we would make this recipe again!

Ingredients

12 oz (375 g) broad egg noodles

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 lbs mixed wild mushrooms (halving or quartering larger ones so they are all similar in size)

1 cup fresh peas

1 cup sliced zucchini

1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme

½ tsp of salt and pepper

1 cup white wine

1 cup sour cream

2 tbsp finely chopped chives

Instructions:

  1. Cook egg noodles according to package directions until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large, deep, nonstick skillet, heat butter with oil over medium-high heat until butter is melted and foamy.
  3. Add finely sliced onion and cook until golden (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  5. Stir in sliced mushrooms, sliced zucchini, peas, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms are nice and golden and perfectly sauted.
  6. Add white wine and cook until reduced by half (about 2 minutes).
  7. Mix in sour cream, stir well, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until it is perfectly piping hot.
  8. Serve over hot egg noodles and garnish with fresh chopped chives on top.