Putting Kitchen Tools and Herbs to Good Use – Fresh Basil, and Egg Salad With Dill

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Our kitchen at home has never been the showcase for fancy tools, machines, and gadgets.  Sure, we have a rice cooker and we have a wok hiding somewhere (my mum hasn’t used it in years), but other than that, our kitchen work bench is pretty simple.  No stand-mixer, no immersion blender, no sandwich or panini press, no slow cooker, nothing of the sort.  But our kitchen made friends with the new girl in town and what you see here is our very own, brand spankin’ new mini food processor in action!  I know, I know, how could I not have a food processor after all this time??  Food processors and mixers and the like are queens of the modern kitchen and ours has always felt a little bit empty without one.  My mum and I have asked ourselves that question many times and we finally hunkered down and bought a little one to go food happy with last week!  And did we ever have fun 😀 

We were contemplating what to make first and I figured that something simple to start off would be best, nothing to aggravate the blade on the first go-around.  So we made egg salad with lots of fresh, delicious dill that I bought at the Bloor & Lippincott farmers’ market!  I loooove dill and we always like to dress up our egg salad with something whether it’s with paprika, chili flakes, or celery so dill seemed like the natural choice for this time given how much I bought that day at the market.  Our food processor worked like a dream!  It’s a manual food processor, not an electrical one, so turning the crank was quite fun, ha!  The result was perfectly fluffy, luscious dill-y egg salad.  We mixed in a little mayo and we were good to go. 

Aside from eating my dill and sticking my nose in the baggy to smell it, I have been hugging and squishing my basil plant (no, not literally) because I love it so much.  I lovingly stare at it when I’m at my kitchen sink, I rotate it several times a day so that all the leaves get equal amounts of sunlight, and I handle the fragrant leaves as gingerly as I would priceless china.  It’s my baby.  I’ve never had a basil plant before so this was so super exciting for me!  I live on the edge, don’t I?  With the exception of two days, I’ve been eating basil with everything and I am absolutely LOVING it.  I stick basil leaves in my sandwiches, sprinkle some on my noodles, and I can’t wait to do more with it.  I’m crossing my fingers I don’t do anything to mess up my plant, but I would think that after nearly 3 years of working in a flower shop I wouldn’t hurt my plant that easily and quickly if at all!  I’ve been taking the utmost of care with it and like I said yesterday, it’s the gift that keeps on giving 😀

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The Bloor-Borden farmers’ market is located off the intersection of Bloor St. West and Lippincott St., just east of Bathurst St.  The farmers’ market is located in the parking lot south of Bloor St. on Lippincott.  The market is held every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm.  For more info, click here.

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Herbs Make For a Fragrant Kitchen and Delicious Food – the Farmers’ Market at Bloor & Lippincott

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I feel like I am having the best luck ever with the markets this summer.  This is the first summer that I have made it a point to going “marketing” every week and I carefully choose which market to visit based on what neighbourhood I’m in and what time the markets open up shop.  I am more and more impressed and filled with joy every week as I visit a new farmers’ market in the city.  Last week I paid a visit to the Bloor-Borden farmers’ market and bumped into my friend Jen on the way there and we, along with my boyfriend, happily perused the yummies there.  The Bloor-Borden market, located off of Bloor St. West and Lippincott St. at the Green P parking lot in the Annex, was so full of fresh, colourful fruits and vegetables and HERBS!  I was beside myself when I saw an entire table devoted to fragrant, delicious herbs and boy did I bring home a whopping load of goodies.  The herbs came in huuuge bunches and the prices were SO good.  A ginourmous bunch (that really looked more like a bush!) of herbs for $2 each.  Yoink, don’t mind if I do! 

I picked up a bunch of dill, a bunch of cilantro, and my favourite pick of the day, a basil plant!!  Cue fan-girly squealing here.  I have always wanted to make my own food from freshly grown basil and the basil plants were too beautiful to pass up.  $5 for a gift that keeps on giving?!  Yes, please.  As soon as I bought my basil plant, I was already starting to brainstorm what foods I could pair it with: sandwiches, pasta, soups, and of course, the ever popular pesto.  I mentioned this on my twitter, but if anyone has any recipes or meal suggestions that include basil, feel free to comment and share!  My mum and I have have already used the dill to make egg salad (photos to come tomorrow) and some of the cilantro in some veggie stir-fry.

There was also a bounty of vegetables and stuff I hadn’t seen at other markets such as rainbow radishes, red carrots, orange beets, different kinds if heirloom tomatoes (both baby and regular-sized), and purple bell peppers!  The prices at this market are fantastic and there’s a long table that where you can choose any 3 items for $10.  It took every ounce of willpower not to walk away with more as I was already bogged down with my purchases, tote bag, and mini backpack!  I made a promise to myself though that I would go back sometime to pick up some vegetables.  That, and to actually get photos of all the glorious herbs.  You’d think I would have photos of what I bought, but this time, no.  I think I was so excited to see such wide range of fresh herbs smack dab in front of me that all purpose went out the window until I left with my purchases and realized that I had no photos of the very thing I was singing my praises about.  D’oh!  Ah well, that’s what the next time is for.  This was -and is- a wonderful market to visit and I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t be able to find something wonderful and fresh to bring home from here.

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The Bloor-Borden farmers’ market is located off the intersection of Bloor St. West and Lippincott St., just east of Bathurst St.  The farmers’ market is located in the parking lot south of Bloor St. on Lippincott.  The market is held every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm.  For more info, click here.

Quite Possibly the Last Grad Lounge Feature – Saying Farewell With Spicy Tomato Dill Soup

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It’s true, this may very well be my last Weekly Grad Lounge post.  The Grad Lounge will be closing up shop for the summer after this Thursday (June 30th) and seeing that I’m no longer a grad student, the chances of me reporting back with more good eats from here come September are slim to none.  I’m sad that I won’t be able to make any more weekly posts because it’s been so much fun, but most of all, I’m sad that I won’t get to eat here and see the people who keep this place running like clockwork on a consistent basis anymore.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll have the job of my dreams (or any full-time job for that matter) by the time September rolls around, but even so, it’s looking like this meal may have been my last here. 

I’m saying farewell with a bowl of hot, spicy tomato dill soup with lots of yummy dill and chives and creamed tomato with a crunchy side of baguette bread.  I slurped this bowl of soup up real good.  I love dill, I love chives, and because I don’t shy away from tomatoes and enjoy a little bit of kick in my food (and evidently in my soup!), this was delicious.  Dunking my crunchy bread into the creamy soup and crushed tomatoes was delightful.  I’m going to really miss getting excited over new menu items, walking in to find out that there are daily special menu items written on the chalkboard I haven’t tried yet (and consequently, haven’t blogged about yet), and having a homey place on campus to have a wholesome, great meal.

Writing these weekly posts has been awesome; it’s given me focus, a way to get inspired, and a way to show everyone just how important The Grad Lounge has been to me during the course of my grad student career.  And to think that there are still menu items I haven’t blogged about yet!  I really hope someday I’ll be able to pick up where I left off and post more Grad Lounge meals here and there, but for now, it’s good-bye.  Thanks for the memories (and of course the delicious food!), it’s been amazing.

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They will be closing for the summer THIS THURSDAY (June 30th) and will be open from 12pm-5pm for the next several days, so drop in to get your last fix of the summer and to give Mike and Paul a big thanks for all their hard work.