Week of February 02, 2015

I’m back! I had to take a little break from meal planning and blogging. Last week was weird and crazy and uncertain and stressful, but something really exciting ended up happening amid all the mayhem — I got a job!!! I’m so excited! I’ll be covering a one-year maternity leave in a behavioral neurology clinic. I start in March! 🙂

Now that that’s all settled and I’ve recovered from the excitement, I’m ready to plan my meals for the coming week. For most of them, I turned to two new cookbooks I received at Christmas, Plenty More and Ottolenghi.

 Monday – Batata harra

Photo cred: She's cookin
Photo cred: She’s cookin

I was running out of ideas for using the boatload of potatoes we have, until I found this simple, spicy recipe in Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. He suggests serving it with a piece of fish or chicken, which I will do. This recipe makes a lot, but I love the idea of having leftovers with scrambled eggs for breakfast!


  • 2 1/4 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and chopped into pieces
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside to completely dry.
  3. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, and spread the potatoes in a single layer. Pour both oils over the potatoes and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Mix gently, and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes, red bell pepper and half of the cilantro, and return to the oven for another 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the potatoes are tender and nicely browned.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature, adding the remaining cilantro just before serving.

Tuesday – Chickpeas and spinach with honeyed sweet potato

honeyed chickpea sweet potato

This is my veggie dish for the week, which I’ve only barely tweaked from Ottolenghi’s original.


  • 15-oz can chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 19-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 cups spinach (I will use chard)
  • Coriander leaves, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sweet potato

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the yogurt sauce

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried mint


  1. Put the sweet potatoes in a saucepan with the water, butter, honey and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, turning the potatoes halfway through to color evenly.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, cook for a minute, stirring, then add the tomatoes and the ground cumin. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes over a medium heat and then add salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Stir the spinach and chickpeas into the tomato sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Make the yoghurt sauce by whisking together all of the ingredients and seasoning with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the warm chickpeas into a serving dish, arrange the sweet potato slices on top and garnish with the coriander leaves. Spoon the yoghurt sauce on top or serve on the side.

Wednesday – Chicken burgers with sunchoke fries

Photo cred: Olive & Herb
Photo cred: Olive & Herb

I had never heard of sunchokes before they appeared in my veggie basket this week. Turns out, they are the tuberous roots of a type of sunflower. I am going to make these “fries” with them, served with simple chicken burgers.


For the burgers

  • 1 lb ground white meat chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp finely minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sunchoke fries

  • 1 lb sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), scrubbed
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley


For the burgers

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Shape into patties. Fry patties in a skillet until golden and cooked through (about 5 minutes per side) or, if you’re feeling adventurous enough to brave the cold, grill on the BBQ.

For the sunchoke fries

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Scrub the sunchokes and chop into bite-size chunks. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper until coated.
  3. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until the skin is slightly browned. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve plain or with a side of ketchup.

Thursday – Warm beet salad & grilled fish

Photo cred: Ottolenghi
Photo cred: Ottolenghi

I’m kind of addicted to beets these days. We keep getting them in our basket and I just love them! Ottolenghi suggests roasting them for a salad, which totally appeals to me — however, I’ve had to modify his original recipe quite a bit to fit with the ingredients I have on hand this week. I will serve with a piece of roasted white fish.


  • 2 lbs red and/or golden beets
  • 3 oz sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cup watercress
  • 2 cups chard, spinach or arugula
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Pre heat the oven too 400 degrees F. Wash the beets and wrap them in foil individually. Bake in the oven for anything from 40 to 90 minutes, depending on their size (baby beets might take even less). Check each one, as cooking times vary a lot: the beet should be tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
  2. Spread the sunflower seeds out in an ovenproof dish and toast in the oven alongside the beets for 8 minutes — just until lightly colored.
  3. Once the beets are ready, unwrap them and peel with a small knife while still warm. Cut each into halves, quarters or cubes. Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Toss well and then taste: there should be a clear sweetness balanced by enough salt. Serve warm.

Friday – Curried fish stew

Photo cred: Taste.com
Photo cred: Taste.com

I have so much leftover passata from pizza night last Friday, and when I googled “leftover passata” I found a Châtelaine page with some tasty suggestions. Here’s one.


  • 2 cups passata
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Madras curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 chopped white fish fillets


  1. Pulse all ingredients except the fish in a blender. Transfer to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add chopped fish and boil until cooked through.

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