Sunday, March 27, 2011

Winter Spring Spring Winter

Here in Toronto, we're not sure whether it's still winter, or it's the beginning of spring. Since putting away my big Colombia winter jacket, I've been stubborn and called this week of minus double digit temperatures, wind chill factors and even a day of blowing snow that lasted from 8am - 8pm -- yup, I've called it spring. I've refused to bring my big jacket back out and have fooled myself by adding another thermal layer and pretending that it's spring.

The truth is, that I got through this every year. The end of March and the beginning of April has always been full of weather surprises: warm and sunny one day, wet and rainy the next, and icy and windy the week after. It's a mesh of the two seasons together, and -- shhhhh don't tell -- I kinda like it that way. It's kinda like what this supper was -- a mesh of warm, earthy, winter flavours, with fresh spring ones that wake up of your taste buds and comfort you at the same time.

The other night, we made another really easy, tasty and satisfying supper from our latest edition of Vegetarian Times. It was a simple meal of bulgur cooked in broth, flavoured with garlic, shallots, mushrooms and tomatoes, with the added springyness of baby bok choy and fresh thyme. I haven't really cooked with bulgur much, but I found that in this dish, it was perfect -- nutty and hearty and quick to cook, pairing perfectly with the wintery, earthy mushrooms and shallots. The bite from the tomatoes and fresh taste of greens was a comforting reminder that spring is on its way .. for sure.

You could totally up the protein factor of this supper my added tofu, chicken or even chickpeas. I think next time I'll add a bit of lemon zest and squeeze of juice at the end to perk things up a bit more. Chopped fresh parsley would be a great addition as well.

Bulgur with Veggies
adapted from Vegetarian Times

4 small bok choy
2 teaspoon of olive oil
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of grape of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 shallots, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of fine bulgur
2.5 cups of vegetable stock (feel free to use part water)
1 spring of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Blanch the bok choy in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and roughy chop. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes or until nice and brown. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, cut-side down and cook for 2 minutes, until brown. Remove and set aside.

4. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet. Saute the shallots and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Add the bulgur and toss to coat. Add broth thyme spring, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then cover. Reduce the heat of medium-low and simmer for about 7-8 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is cooked.

5. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and bok boy back into the skillet and toss until everything is mixed together. Serve immediately.

Coffee Update! (Final One!)

We're finished!!! We sampled the good stuff at 24 different, independent cafes in Toronto. Sadly, our journey is over, but we have plans to make our own list of indy cafes to visit this summer.

The Mascot - mocha, cappuccino and americano enjoyed after a yummy lunch of ethiopian food and followed by a lovely, sunny walk in Parkdale.

The One - We saved the best for last -- one of my all time favourite coffee hangouts: cinnamon-spiked drip coffee, cappuccino and americano, enjoyed with cookies and a vegan chocolate cherry bar and the company of our favourite barista


  1. Firstly, yum. This is right up my alley. And secondly, I love, love, love your outlook on this messy merging of seasons. Personally, it depresses me, but you've cheered me up.

  2. Thanks Monika! I don't want to jinx it, but I think spring may finally be winning the battle ...