Spring Orzo with Peas and Arugula

Spring has sprung so it’s time for bright, light and lemony dinners. This Spring Orzo is perfect hot or cold and makes the perfect side dish to any spring meal!

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So I know I was just complaining about snow a few days ago, but when you go from Calgary to LA and the temperature changes really drastically in just a few hours you easily forget how cold and wet it was and suddenly feel like it’s Spring again. Last weekend I wanted to eat comfort food and turn on Christmas music and now all I can think about is fresh produce and BBQ’s.

Now, I don’t know about you but when I think about summer I think of fresh peas right out of the garden. I’m sure that growing up my mom always wondered why she didn’t ever have any peas left, or perhaps she knew the truth and really only planted them to keep us occupied while we were in the yard.

This orzo is the best of summer all wrapped up in one dish. The citrus, sweet peas and arugula make it so fresh and with the addition of red pepper flakes, it gives it a little kick that makes it perfect.

It’s also great both hot and cold so if you need to bring a side dish to a picnic or BBQ this is a great option. Served with a great piece of grilled chicken or fish this is a meal fit for warm days and nights!

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prep time 10 minutes

cook time 15 minutes

total time 25 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb orzo

5 cloves of garlic

1 lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

5 tbsp salted butter

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup arugula

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

3/4 cup grated parmesan

salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil then cook orzo according to the directions.

While the orzo is cooking mince garlic and zest the lemon. Add oil to a medium frying pan and add in garlic and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute then add in Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook another 1 minute then stir in butter and simmer for 2 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked drain then add back into the pot. Stir in butter mixture, juice of the lemon, arugula and peas. Mix until fully combined and arugula is wilted then add in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Cauliflower Steaks with Smoked Paprika

These smokey cauliflower steaks are a perfect meat alternative for your next dinner.

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So last week was soooooo cold here in Calgary, and I don’t know about you but when it’s feeling like -40 outside all I want to do is stay inside. So needless to say last week was the perfect week for testing out some new recipes.

Now a few months ago I was watching Gordon Ramsey’s Master Class and he made cauliflower steaks, and ever since then, I have been dying to make them. My only problem was that while we were in California I didn’t have an oven-safe frying pan so I had to wait until I got home to my own house and not an Airbnb.

I had been planning to make cauliflower hot “wings” on the weekend but that was quickly overridden by my realization that I could finally make those cauliflower steaks I had been thinking about for so long. Now, these are not Gordon Ramsey’s, but they are my own version which has smoked paprika and dried mustard which are 2 of my favourite spices. I also served these with microgreens and I think the combination is perfect. the fresh crunch is a great addition to the smokey lemony flavour.

You also want to marinate these for a minimum of 4 hours but they also stand up to longer, so if you want to prepare the night before you have a really nice and quick dinner for a busy weeknight! So go ahead and cook up a cauliflower steak this week!!!

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prep time 10 minutes + 4 hours to marinade

cook time 30 minutes

total time 40 minutes

servings 2 - 4

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

1 lemon

6 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp corn starch

4 tbsp hot water

salt to taste

Instructions

In a small bowl combine oil, thyme, paprika, dried mustard, juice of half of the lemon and 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped. Set aside.

Wash and dry your cauliflower then turn upside down and carefully cut off all of the leaves. Turn over so your stem is down the using a large knife slice your cauliflower into “steaks” 1 - 1.5 inches thick (you will get between 2-4 steaks depending on the size of your cauliflower). Save the ends of the cauliflower for another use.

In a ziplock bag place, your “steaks” then pour in your marinade. Set in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large oven-safe frying pan place butter, 3 cloves of smashed garlic and slices of your remaining 1/2 of the lemon. allow for butter to melt and garlic to become fragrant.

Carefully remove your cauliflower from your ziplock and place in the frying pan. Allow to fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until nicely seared. Once each side is browned place frying pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until your cauliflower is fork tender.

Remove from oven - place cauliflower on a serving tray and drain all but 1 tsp of butter from the pan. In a small bowl combine corn starch and hot water and stir to remove any lumps. Add your corn starch mixture to the frying pan and stir well being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Season with salt to taste. Pour thickened pan drippings over your cauliflower or on the side.

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Lemon Chia Seed Muffins with Lemon Glaze

These lemon chia seed muffins give you that fresh flavour of lemon with all of the health benefits of chia seeds. The perfect switch up to your classic lemon poppyseed muffin.

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I don’t know about you guys but when it gets cold outside (like it is here in Calgary right now) I just want to stay inside and bake all day. But the problem is, when it’s cold I don't always want to trek outside I’m always missing atlas one of the most important ingredients.

First off I wanted to make a lemon poppyseed loaf, because who doesn’t love a lemony loaf right? But the problem was my loaf pan was being used to make crackers (which will be posted soon), and the second problem, I didn’t have any poppyseeds.

Now the loaf problem is easily solved with muffins, but how about the poppyseeds? So after staring into my pantry for a few minutes, I spotted the lovely little chia seeds, which I have an overabundance of since I thought I would eat chia seed pudding all the time, then tried it and hated it.

Let me tell you I was very pleasantly surprised that the taste and texture are almost identical to poppyseed’s, yet you get the health benefits of chia seeds!!! So all and all it’s a win-win right? So if it’s cold where you are go ahead and stay home and whip up a batch of these lemon chia seed muffins.

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 15 - 18 minutes

total time 35 minutes

servings 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups flour

4 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup white sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup milk

1 lemon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Line your muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl combine egg, sugar, melted butter, milk and juice + zest of 1 lemon. In a small bowl stir together flour, chia seeds sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze

2/3 cup icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp milk

zest of 1 lemon

In a small bowl whisk together icing sugar, milk and lemon zest. Once muffins are mostly cooled pour a spoonful of glaze over each muffin.

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Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Finally a cookie for the adults. These lemon shortbreads are light and buttery with the sophisticated flavour of rosemary.

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I don’t know about you but when I think about rosemary cookies I automatically think spa. The same way that I feel when drinking cucumber water.

Now this is probably because the last time I had a rosemary shortbread was as Soakology in Portland Maine. Now if you have never had the opportunity to have a foot soak you need to do it. It is amazing how relaxing it is to soak your feet in coconut milk and lavender, and when it’s November in Maine, you can’t find a better way to warm up!

So after returning from my trip east I just knew I had to recreate these little treasures. The combination of lemon and rosemary is the perfect combination. They are light and buttery and would be a welcome accompaniment to any dessert table, or as a mid day sweet treat!

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prep time 1 hr 30 min

cook time 12-15 min

total time 2 hrs 15 min

servings 30 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

1 cup room temperature butter

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

In a large bowl beat together butter + powdered sugar. Once well combined add vanilla + lemon juice and beat another 1 minute.

In a small bowl combine flour, salt, zest of 1 lemon + minced rosemary. Slowly add flour mixture to the butter, stirring until well combined. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie tray with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface roll out cookie dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or a small glass cut out shapes and place on prepared cookie tray.

Bake 12-15 minute or until cookies are firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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