We felt a little polluted after having dim sum two days in a row as well as poutine, so we stayed in today and made some great food. My sister loves buying high quality ingredients (expensive olive oils, vinegars, organic fruits, vegetables, and staples), but rarely has time to cook and a lot of stuff ends up going bad or getting old. So I saved some doomed groceries and made buttercup squash soup, chickpea/tomato/bocconcini salad, and ham/provolone/basil paninis. They all turned out awesome.
Buttercup Squash Soup
This soup came out creamy and delicious and it was super easy to make. This is what I did:
glug of olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 box (900mL) of chicken stock
1 buttercup squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1. Saute onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots in olive oil until softened.
2. Add chicken stock and buttercup squash.
3. Bring to a boil and cook until squash is tender.
4. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
5. Transfer to a blender or blitz using wand blender.
Ham, Provolone, and Basil Panini
My sister has this great Krups brand panini press. We bought one of our own a few years ago and ran it into the ground because we used it so much. It's the best appliance and makes everything delicious. It was so good to have a homemade panini again.
I bought a fresh baguette, cut it in 6-inch pieces, then halved them and turned them inside out so the soft part was on the outside. I filled them with smoked ham, provolone slices, and a few leaves of fresh basil. After buttering the outside, I put them in the press and in less than 2 minutes they were golden, brown, and delicious. There's no need to run to Lettieri for your paninis -- you can make fantastic ones at home.
Chickpea, Tomato, and Bocconcini Salad
I got this recipe from one of the Looneyspoons books, which are really cheesy cookbooks, but the recipes are unfailingly reliable. I'm not sure if I have the recipe exactly as they wrote it, but it goes something like this:
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
500 mL of bocconcini (get the pearl bocconcini so you don't have to bother slicing it)
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp chopped red onion
handful of chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Combine the chickpeas, bocconcini, grape tomatoes, red onion, and basil in a bowl.
2. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small jar and shake it up.
3. Pour dressing over salad and toss.
So easy and so delicious! Somehow, it makes the chickpeas taste rich and creamy.
It was a great lunch and we feel so virtuous and healthy...for the moment.