Toronto!

On Tuesdays I will be exploring a new location to satisfy my wanderlust while my feet remain firmly planted on Canadian soil. I’m so excited! I hope you’ll join me in these new adventures. 

No need for a plane ticket today. Toronto has been experiencing extremely hot weather for the past week or so—it’s like our own little tropical island–minus the palm trees and ocean breezes. I wouldn’t trade it for cold winter weather, that’s for sure, but I am having a bit of trouble adjusting, as I always do this time of year.


I am convinced Spring fever is a valid medical condition—foggy brain, unexplained giddiness, especially at work, smiles spread across the faces of everyone around town…the sudden unveiling of pale winter-shrouded skin reflecting the bright summer sun.


This is visible when walking to and from whatever outdoor activity you suddenly have on tap, and of course now every meal and drink must be cold and consumed on some type of open-air establishment or patio. Morning coffees are now served on ice, and everyone is slightly more loose and laid back. Sure, it’s less than ideal to be cooped up in the office in this weather, but not having to brace against the arctic wind as you lean into the cold changes a person. And even though we go through this every year—Toronto suffers through both extremely low temperatures during winter and very high temps in summer—there is always a period of adjustment. Some years, the weather warms up slowly, giving us beautiful days full of warm sun, starchy blue skies and cute, light jackets. Other times, it’s straight out of your winter boots and into shorts. A shock to any system, even ours.


So every year around this time I get a bit fidgety. I am still used to a warm comforting drink at night, and yet now, just the thought of a bedtime tea makes my blood boil. The change throws me off, which in turn has me reaching for a heavy pasta dish. Funny, my appetite is the only part of me that has already adjusted and I feel like I must force myself to eat something—I can’t NOT eat dinner. Can I?


During the dog days of summer, weeks into the welcome yet stifling humidity, I’ll eat if I’m hungry, and if not, even better—it means I can maintain my semi-hibernating, fully horizontal state on the cool wood floors. The less movement the better! But now, only a week in, I’m still suffering the internal struggle.


What’s a girl to do? Pull out the salad recipes, silly!


This salad recipe came to me unexpectedly, staring back at me from Mum’s coffee table during a visit last week. I know, you don’t really NEED a recipe for salad, do you? But sometimes, especially now, when my brain is half-cooked, you need some help to boost the creativity. Salads can be wonderful this time of year with all the fresh produce bursting from the ground. But you can often end up in a salad rut, choosing the same greens, proteins and crispy additions. So to have it all laid out for me in black and white, well, I was sold!


I must admit, there were a few more steps to this recipe than I would’ve liked. Having said that, it does suggest blanching the beans and then using the same boiling water to cook the potatoes–a welcome time and effort saver. And the substitution of trout was lovely, but leaves you open to still sub in canned tuna or salmon if  you prefer or if you just can’t get your hands on a piece of fresh fish. And who doesn’t love a boiled egg in a salad?

So while I slowly acclimate to this now steamy climate, I urge you to give this salad a try and let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear all about your favourite no bake dinners, and any other ways you beat the heat in the kitchen. Stay cool, my friends.

Trout Niçoise Salad;

Canadian Living Magazine

Ingredients

Preparation

Into saucepan, pour enough cold water to come at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) above eggs. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Immediately remove from heat; let stand for 18 minutes.Drain and run cold water over eggs for 1 minute; drain and peel off shells. Cut eggs in half lengthwise.Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling lightly salted water, blanch green beans until tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Remove with tongs to bowl of ice water to cool; drain.Add potatoes to same pot of boiling water; cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and cut in half.Sprinkle trout with half each of the salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat 1/2 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat; cook trout, turning once, until fish flakes easily when tested with fork, about 4 minutes.Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine lemon juice, tarragon, mustard, honey and remaining salt and pepper. Gradually drizzle in remaining oil, whisking until emulsified.Divide eggs, green beans, potatoes, salad greens, olives and tomatoes among 4 plates. Top each with 1 piece of trout; drizzle each with one-quarter of the dressing.

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