Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prima Donna, Mojitos, and Sun!

Summer's been a bit sporadic on the west coast thus far: any and all sunshine-y days remain comfortably lodged between week long rain spells. Yesterday was so dreary, summer felt like a million miles away. I shivered at the thought of baring my legs or taking a dip in the ocean. Uh uh, no thank you! Not when it's raining so hard that wetness rebounds back into my face when I'm walking to my car, or when the high is only 14! degrees!!
And yet,
The sun came out today, and it felt like this was the way it had been all along. All glowy and warm and fabulous. Everything has seem so weighted down, completely water-logged and soggy, but when that sun came out, even the saddest of shrubs perked up, myself included.

And let me tell you, I am ENJOYING THIS SUN! I've had a super busy day of doing nothing but lounging in the backyard, eating fresh local strawberries, and drinking one of these:
There is something about drinking a mojito out of a wine glass and soaking up the sun sprawled across a lounge chair that makes me feel a bit like a Prima Donna, and I'm kind of loving it. Oh sweet sunshine, you bring out the best in everyone. Now would you please stick around just a little bit longer...?

Even if these sunny days are few and far between, these are the summer days I live for. My skin is rosy and freckled, and my body and soul feels rejuvenated. I'm going to raise my glass to that.

Strawberry Mojitos

Yield: 2 servings

I like to drink my mojitos SANS alcohol! But that just means you can drink more and never get wasted (win!). The combination of lime and mint is the most refreshing one I can think of, especially on a glorious sunny day.

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, divided
4 tablespoons simple syrup, divided (or to taste)
Juice from 4 fresh limes
Club Soda
Ice Cubes
Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 oz. rum (optional!)

Muddle together the mint, simple syrup, and lime juice. Divide between two glasses. Add ice cubes, a couple of slices of strawberries, and rum (if using) to each glass. Top with club soda, stir, and enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011


If you were to show up at my door unannounced and say, "Jacqueline, I'm starving. Feed me!", I would. I would whip you up a batch of cookies without a doubt, because cookies are one of my main areas of interest in life. Seriously. A good cookie is not hard to come by, but a great one... well, I've got a few of those up my cookie repertoire sleeve (so to speak). You'd also be in for a huge bowl full of Fried Chickpea Salad (or garbanzo bean salad, as K likes to say), which I personally consume three days a week on average. Needless to say, I'd fill you up good.

I must admit that on a day to day basis, I am the most boring eater ever. I won't let you in on that secret when I cook for you. But I'm just saying, when when it comes to cooking for only me, I am e-a-s-y to please. You see, when I find a recipe I love, I am faithful to it until the end of time, or until I get tired of it (whichever comes first). For example, on the average day, I would far rather make myself my usual toad-in-the-hole breakfast than research a more sophisticated way of preparing eggs. While we're on the subject though, toad-in-the-holes are not only incredibly tasty, but they are very resourceful and inventive! Anyway, my point here is that I have a handful of go to recipes that I use and reuse over and over, and I like it that way.

This recipe for Fried Chickpea Salad is one of those ones that I consider a staple in my diet. My go-to meal. I have yet to grow tired of it, even after our multi-year relationship. I like it warm, or cold. And it doesn't really matter the time of day to eat it either. I am quite certain a few remaining chickpeas once found their way inside my early morning omelette, and I know for sure they've made an excellent midnight snack.

Fried Chickpea Salad

The key to this salad being delicious lies in your hands. You need to be heavy-handed with the salt. Too little will yield you a totally boring, bland salad. Keep adding, gradually!, until you've reached an adequate amount. You'll know, cause the salad will suddenly pop, filling your mouth with a bounty of flavours.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 a medium sized red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a skillet, saute onion in oil until soft. Add spices, stir, and continue to saute for 3 minutes. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, and salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add cilantro, and add more salt as needed. I like to eat the chickpeas on a bed of arugula, topped with avocado, or all on its own.