Tag Archives: fish

Week of April 20, 2015

Things on my to-do list last weekend:

  1. Go to a super awesome bridal show with my friend Rebecca, who recently got engaged! (And buy a bunch of things at the show, even though I am not the one getting married) — Check!  And check!
  2. Enjoy cold beers on a sunny patio — Check!
  3. Run the Toronto Yonge Street 10 km — Check!
  4. Visit Kate’s amazingly adorable and unbelievably pretty new baby girl — Check!
  5. Change my phone number to a Toronto area code (only 3 years later…) — Check!
  6. Cook all my meals for the week and update my blog — not check. Oops! I guess I can’t do 6 productive things in one weekend. Oh well! Here’s catching up…

Monday – Zucchini quiche

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I had a leftover pie crust in my freezer, 3 or 4 zucchinis that were starting to go soft, and some leftover cheese from a pizza this weekend. Enter this recipe I found over at A Taste of Home.

Ingredients

  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion; cook and stir until tender. Drain and cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and seasonings until blended. Stir in cheese and zucchini mixture. Spread mustard over pastry shell; add filling.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown. Cover edge loosely with foil during the last 15 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday – Thai chicken burgers

IMG_2737[1]

I have made this recipe before from my It’s All Good cookbook. It’s fresh and summery and great with sauteed kale, bok choy or broccolette.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 shallots, very finely minced
  • 1 tsp very finely minced red chili (or more or less, however hot you like it)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (such as canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil)

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly mix chicken with garlic, cilantro, shallots, red chili, fish sauce, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 4 burgers, each about 3/4-inch thick.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both sides with a bit of oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch.

Wednesday – Chickpea curry

IMG_2738[1]

Interesting-looking vegetarian recipe from Budget Bytes. 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 8 oz spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (29 oz.) can chickpeas

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger on a small holed cheese grater. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat until the onions have softened (3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the curry powder and continue to sauté with the onion mixture for one minute more. Add about 1/4 cup of water and to the skillet along with the fresh spinach and continue to sauté until the spinach has wilted. The water will help steam and wilt the spinach (no water needed if using frozen spinach).
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add them to the skillet along with the tomato sauce. Stir well to distribute the spices in the sauce and heat through (5 minutes). Serve over rice or with bread.

Thursday – Asian chicken lettuce wraps

From It’s All Good. I think instead of wrapping these up in lettuce leaves I will use rice wraps.

Ingredients

  • Neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 head of bibb or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
  • A handful of cilantro leaves
  • A few scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat a few tablespoonfuls of oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and add chicken, along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break the chicken up, until browned, about 10 to15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat few more spoonfuls of oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat and add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, lotus root, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the carrot just begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Combine chicken and vegetables in 1 pan and add ½ c. of Lee’s Hoisin Sauce along with ½ cup of water; cook for a final minute or 2 to just bring everything together. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on the lettuce leaves until you’ve used it all up. (This recipe makes about a dozen wraps, but it depends how big your lettuce leaves are.) Scatter the cilantro and scallions over the lettuce cups and serve with sriracha if anyone wants a little kick.

Friday – Sexy fish stew

I’m not sure why this is called “Sexy fish stew” but JW found it over at All Recipes and it looks pretty tasty & is highly rated!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, trimmed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 pound boneless fish filets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir leek, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the melted butter until softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir wine into leek mixture, increase heat to medium, and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. Mix fennel and potatoes into leek mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add cream and stir to combine.
  4. Stir fish and tarragon into soup, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Stir gently, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Week of March 30, 2015

Last weekend I had the best weekend with my best friend Elizabeth who was visiting from out of town. I had the privilege of having her guest lecture in my class on Tuesday. We had a blast!

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 Monday – Grilled fish with cucumber clementine salsa

IMG_2669[1]

 

From my It’s All Good cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 4 clementines, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 fresh red chili, finely diced
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 mint leaves, finely sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning

From Gwyneth

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, stir together clementines, cucumber, chili, onion, cilantro, mint, juice and salt. Serve salsa with a piece of grilled salmon.

Tuesday – Avocado-beet salad

From my It’s All Good cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp white white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound steamed or roasted beets, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beets to the dressing and gently stir to combine. Transfer the beets to a serving platter and scatter the avocado and scallions over the top. Serve with protein of your choice.

Wednesday – Chopped Vietnamese salad

IMG_2674[1]

Another recipe adapted from It’s All Good.

Ingredients

  • 4 large bok choy leaves or lettuce, roughly shredded
  • 4 big leaves Napa cabbage, shredded
  • Leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup roasted, salted peanuts or cashews, roughly chopped

Vietnamese Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper sesame oil
  • 1/4 chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely diced red onion or shallot

Instructions

  1. Toss the bok choy, cabbage, herbs, cucumber, and nuts together. In a small bowl whisk together ingredients for dressing and drizzle over the salad. Serve with a piece of white fish.

Thursday – Cream of celery soup

I threw together this recipe with ingredients I had on hand this week.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk or water

Instructions

  1. Sauté the celery and onion in a bit of butter or olive oil, until just sweating. Add salt & pepper to taste, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and milk until completely smooth. Gradually pour into simmering broth, whisking throughout. Let simmer for a few more minutes. Pulse in a blender until smooth and creamy.

Friday – Spicy roasted cauliflower with Sriracha and sesame

IMG_2672[1]

Adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Bountiful.

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha, or to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into 3/4″ florets
  • Minced cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha. Whisk well. Gently add cauliflower and coat with marinade. Arrange cauliflower on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn cauliflower over and roast for another 10 minutes, or until tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Serve with protein of your choice.

Week of March 16, 2015

It was my first week at the new job, and although it was uncomfortably busy, I am so excited!! My weekend was also insanely productive. JW and I trekked out to Ikea on Saturday and got a few really cute pieces of furniture that are really nice additions to our little space.

I also managed to make all the meals for the week, which is a huge relief to me because I have a feeling I will be spending most evenings in my (new!) office. I’m slowly adjusting to my new job, but for now I am not as quick as I’d like to be in completing my daily activities, which means I have to do a bit of “after hours” work. At least I will have tasty meals! 🙂


Monday – Curry-roasted cauliflower, kale & farro salad

I’ve (purposely) planned to have no meat at all this week. I’m so excited to taste this totally veggie recipe from the most recent edition of Food & Drink.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups torn kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring water and a pinch of salt and pepper to a rolling boil. Add farro and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until farro is tender and liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Combine a drizzle of olive oil and 2 tbsps lime juice. Add to cooled farro and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  3. Combine kale, a drizzle of olive oil, 2 tbsps of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
  4. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper, and place cauliflower on the baking sheet. Whisk together a drizzle of olive oil and the curry paste and pour over the cauliflower. Use your hands to coat the florets evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Add kale to the baking sheet with the cauliflower and roast for 10 more minutes.
  6. Combine veggies and farro, and serve warm.

Tuesday– Salmon & lentil croquettes

I love fish burgers, so when I spotted this recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine, I got really excited. The patties started to fall apart a bit while cooking, so it may be helpful to add a handful of breadcrumbs or an egg to hold everything together.

Ingredients

  • 300 g cooked or canned salmon
  • 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix together salmon, lentils, mayo, cilantro and onions in food processor until combined. Stir in garlic and pepper. Shape mixture into 4 croquettes and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. Spray a skillet with oil and pan-fry burgers on both sides until golden (about 10 minutes).

Wednesday–Chickpea salad

This is one of my favorite vegetarian meals that I turn to regularly. It’s from my beloved All-natual everyday cookbook from Heidi Swanson.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 x 15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed, and a bit of grated zest
  • 4 pieces lavash flatbread or whole wheat tortillas (12 inch)
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, yogurt and salt. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the yogurt sauce across each piece of lavash.
  2. Pulse 2/3 of the chickpeas in a food processor a few times, just enough to break them up. Transfer them to the mixing bowl with the remaining yogurt sauce, along with the remaining chickpeas, shallots, celery and dill. Gently toss to combine then add the lemon juice and zest and toss again. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, if needed.
  3. Sprinkle each piece of lavash with 1/4 of the mixed greens (the yogurt will help hold the greens in place), top each of the four wraps with 1/4 of the chickpea mixture. Fold or roll into a wrap and serve.

Thursday – Curry noodle and fish bowl

I stumbled across this recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine and was seduced by the Asian flavors. Be forewarned — the original recipe is supposed to turn out to be a soup, but the noodles soaked up most of my broth and it ended up as more of a stew. Add more broth as you see fit.

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg mushrooms
  • 200 g rice noodles
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps cilantro
  • 4 white fish fillets

Instructions

  1. Whisk together coconut milk, broth and curry paste in saucepan. Add ginger, garlic, mushrooms and carrot and heat until steaming.
  2. Add noodles, soy sauce and cilantro. When noodles become tender, add fish and simmer until cooked through. Ladle into bowls to serve.

Friday – Grilled tilapia with Israeli couscous salad

Pearl couscous (or Israeli couscous) is actually not couscous at all but rather pasta. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the biggest fan of pasta, but this type really appeals to me. Its shape and size makes it pretty and also very tasty – it gets all coated in whatever dressing you pour on, making it perfect for warm or cold salads. I found this tasty recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine, and plan to grill a piece of tilapa to serve with it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Juice and zest from 1 emon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 tsp crushed chili pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine pearl couscous and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat; cover and let stand for about 15 minutes or until couscous is tender.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and toss to combine. Serve warm with grilled tilapia.

Week of March 02, 2015

Happy March! I can’t believe how quickly February flew by… Granted, it’s the shortest month — but still! I suppose this only means we are closer to summer. Yay!

I spent most of the week training at my new job. I am so excited to start! T minus 8 days..


Monday – Crispy Brussels sprouts

Photo cred: Minimalist Baker
Photo cred: Minimalist Baker

I recently discovered the Minimalist Baker, a wonderful food blog with healthful, delicious recipes like this one. I will serve this with a piece of pan-fried fresh fish.

Ingredients

Sprouts
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed and dried
  • 3-4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
Sriracha aioli
  • 3/4 cup hummus
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • pinch each sea salt + garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and cut any large Brussels sprouts in half.
  2. Add to a mixing bowl and toss with a generous amount of oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the pan is hot, add a bit more oil to the pan and only as many sprouts as will fit without crowding the pan. Cover and cook for 1 minute, then use tongs to toss and turn over halved sprouts to cook both sides evenly. Cover once more and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Shake the pan once more to toss the sprouts and then cover for another 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately add back to the (empty) mixing bowl and top with minced garlic and season again with salt and pepper. Continue cooking other batches until all of the sprouts are sautéed. Serve hot with the Sriracha aioli, and Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs if desired.


Tuesday – White beans and charred broccoli

Photo cred: Bon Appetit
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

This recipe came in my veggie basket this week, and I thought it would be a tasty, filling vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

  •  2 cups dried white beans
  • 3 oz. Parmesan with rind
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 lb. broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 2 strips lemon zest, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Soak beans overnight. The next day, drain and place in a large heavy pot. Remove rind from Parmesan and add rind along with onion and garlic to beans. Pour in water to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, adding water as needed to keep beans submerged, until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Let cool.
  2. Discard vegetables and Parmesan rind, then drain. Preheat oven to 450°. Toss broccoli with ¼ cup oil on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Finely chop half of broccoli and toss in a large bowl with drained and finely chopped anchovies, lemon zest, lemon juice, and beans. Shave half of Parmesan over and add remaining broccoli and ¼ cup oil; toss and season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice. Shave remaining Parmesan over.

Wednesday – Seared fish with tomato and dill sauce

Photo cred: Ricardo
Photo cred: Ricardo

Saturday night was date night, and JW cooked the most amazing dinner for me. It was exactly the kind of meal I love, and we enjoyed it with a bottle of tart white wine. I plan on making it again Wednesday — it was just so good!!! The original recipe is (unsurprisingly) from Ricardo.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 5 plum tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 white fish fillets (we used cod)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all­ purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and cook the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, water, herbs, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and hot sauce, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a plate, coat the fish in flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large non­stick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil and brown the fish for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until the desired doneness (depending on the selected fish, cooking time may vary). Serve the fish hot, topped with the tomato sauce.

Thursday – Sicilian sausage stew

Photo cred: All Recipes
Photo cred: All Recipes

It’s not spring just yet! We’ve had a cold front recently and I have been craving some good comfort food exactly like this.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup small pasta (e.g., farfalle, penne)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Stir in sausage, onion and fennel seeds and cook until sausage is brown, 10 minutes. Stir in carrots and celery and continue to cook and stir until vegetables begin to color, 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, basil and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in pasta, salt and pepper, cook until pasta is tender, 10 minutes more. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.

Friday – Roasted beet and fennel salad

Photo cred: Food & Wine
Photo cred: Food & Wine

Beets and fennel are in season and are, again, in my basket this week. I will combine them in this tasty salad which I will serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds—bulb cut into 1/2-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon chopped fronds
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 oz goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium baking dish, toss the beets with the thyme, the water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly. Discard the thyme.
  2. In a small baking dish, drizzle the fennel wedges with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until tender and lightly browned.
  3. Pour the beet juices into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets, fennel wedges and fronds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with goat cheese crumbled on top.

Week of February 23, 2015

JW and I stayed up way too late watching the Oscars last night. We’ve never really watched the Oscars before, but Neil Patrick Harris was hosting and we really like him so we figured we’d watch. We now have a new list of movies we want to see — we hadn’t seen any of the nominated films, but they all look excellent. First one on our list: Birdman! We will probably settle in with some popcorn on Thursday. Looking forward to it!


 Monday – Vietnamese salmon

Photo cred: Qlinart
Photo cred: Qlinart
This recipe is from an old blog I loved and followed for years. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since 2012 but I continue to go back to it when I’m craving Asian flavors.

Ingredients

For the salmon

  • 2 lb salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp thinly sliced cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Marinate salmon fillet in fish sauce, oil, lemon, garlic and ginger for about an hour. Once marinated, broil salmon for 5 minutes in the oven. Turn off broil and leave salmon to bake for max 10 minutes in low heat at 200 F to make sure salmon is not overcooked, but nice and moist.
  2. While salmon is cooking, combine ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl. Serve alongside the cooked fish.

 Tuesday – Szechuan pork

Photo cred: Qlinart
Photo cred: Qlinart

Another recipe from the (sadly retired) Asian blog I mentioned above, Qlinart. The original recipe suggests to stuff the pork loin with a cup of fresh sage, but I’m actually not a fan of sage so I think I’ll stick to just simple Szechuan peppercorn, lemongrass and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork loin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorn flavored salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small brown paper bag for roasting

Instructions

  1. With a sharp knife, slice into the center of the pork loin and open it up so the pork loin looks like one thick layer of meat. Place on a cutting board (inside up). Drizzle some olive oil on the entire inner surface of the pork.
  2. Rub in vigorously half the amount of the Szechuan peppercorn flavored salt (about 3/4 tbsp). Spread the garlic slices over the surface of the pork. Roll the pork tightly closed.
  3. Season the outer surface of the pork with the flavored salt (about 3/4 tbsp, or to taste, go with your instinct) and the lemongrass, and drizzle a bit more olive oil on the entire surface.
  4. Tightly wrap the pork loin in plastic film. Let it chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
  5. For even roasting, let pork sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 360F. Apply olive oil to brown paper bag with a pastry brush (IMPORTANT: bag must be thoroughly greased throughout so that it doesn’t burn and it will seal in the steam). Roast for about 40 – 50 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, open bag; be careful of steam inside of bag. Return pork into the oven and broil for about 10 minutes for a darker brown color.

 Wednesday – Tallboys

It’s a friend’s birthday on Wednesday and so we will be having dinner at Tallboys, a microbrewery downtown. I think I may have one of their yummy-looking burgers…!


Thursday – Thai roasted carrot and beet soup

Photo cred: Mama Earth
Photo cred: Mama Earth

This recipe came in my vegetable basket this week, along with 2 lbs of beets and carrots. I love the deep, rich color – and of course, the fact that it is packed with nutrients! I will probably serve this with leftover pork or salmon.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb red beets
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the beets and carrots into 1 inch pieces. Toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and ½ tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, stirring halfway. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat sauté the chopped onion in the remaining tbsp. of olive oil until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, another 1-2 minutes. Add the broth, the roasted vegetables and the remaining ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are very soft.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop over low-medium heat to re-warm. Stir in the coconut milk, reserving 1 to 2 tbsp. for garnish. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with the reserved coconut milk.

Friday – The Regal Beagle

place_13195

We’re planning on eating out on Friday again, as JW’s friends are organizing something at the Regal Beagle pub to kick off the weekend!

Week of February 16, 2015

Apologies – I had to take another week off. I’ve been working a ton lately, trying to get as much done as possible before the new job starts. I’ve had a bit of trouble catching my breath and decided I wasn’t going to do any meal planning; rather, I just made up combinations of ingredients I had available each evening … or let JW cook for me! How lucky am I? 🙂

We just got back from a long weekend in Niagara Falls. Because we both felt like we needed to take a breather, and because it was Valentine’s Day, JW and I decided (very spontaneously!) that we would spend the weekend eating out, drinking good Niagara wines, playing (losing!) at the Fallsview casino, reading a good book, and soaking in our hotel’s jacuzzi. It was wonderful. ♥


 Monday – Zucchini, leek and bacon pasta

carbonara-pasta-spaghetti

Today was Family Day, a public holiday in Ontario. Unfortunately, we realized too late that all the grocery stores had closed early because of the holiday! We were left to throw something together with what we had in the fridge. We found inspiration at All recipes, and only made a few tweaks to work with what we had on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley, or to taste
  • 1 small zucchini

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta at a boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 8-10 minutes; drain.
  2. Fry diced bacon in a large skillet until browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon into a bowl with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels. In a clean skillet, cook and stir leek and zucchini until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Return bacon to skillet with the veggies and stir in pasta. Gently mix in sour cream and season with black pepper and parsley.

Tuesday – Eating out: Kingyo

Photo cred: Kingyo
Photo cred: Kingyo

My supervisor is visiting from out of town on Tuesday, so we are going to go for dinner at Kingyo, one of our favorite restaurants. The food is phenomenal — the most authentic Japanese food I’ve had outside of Japan! My personal favorites are the stone-grilled beef tongue, the fresh grilled mackerel with daikon radish, and the stone bowl slow-stewed pork belly on rice. I can’t wait!


Wednesday – Fish stew with fennel

Photo cred: Epicurious
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

JW and I are not the biggest fans of fennel, but it came in our basket this week and I immediately thought to make a fish stew, which my mom made once with fennel and it was simply divine. I found a tasty-looking recipe here.

Ingredients

  • Good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces small waxy potatoes (such as baby Yukon Gold), scrubbed, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche (I actually used non-fat sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add fennel and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add water to pot and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10–12 minutes. Stir in crème fraîche. Add flounder, cover pot, and reduce heat. Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir dill into stew; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Thursday – Grilled cauliflower salad

Photo cred: Stacey Snacks
Photo cred: Stacey Snacks

I’m still a little obsessed with my new Ottolenghi cookbooks. Here is a simple salad that will make good use of yesterday’s leftover dill and the cauliflower in my basket; I will serve with some fresh salmon, on special at my grocery store this week.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • Handful baby spinach or arugula leaves
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing by hand or in a food processor or blender: mix toggether the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding oil in a slow trickle. You should end up with a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes only. Drain through a colander and run under cold tap water to stop the cooking. Leave to dry. Once dry, mix with another drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  3. Place a ridged griddle pan over the highest heat and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot — alternatively, cook them on the broil setting of your oven until charred (this is probably what I will do). Grill the cauliflower in batches, making sure they’re not cramped. Turn them as they grill until nicely charred. When done, transfer to a bowl. While the cauliflower is still hot, toss with the dressing, followed by the dill, spinach and tomatoes.
  4. Check the seasoning before serving and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Friday – Saudi rice and lamb

kebsa 3

A few weeks ago, JW took me to the House of Spice, a tiny store in Kensington Market that he thought I would like. He was so right. They had everything – spices I had never heard of, and others I’d been searching for for years! I got particularly excited when I found a bag of dried limes, which are essential for making authentic-tasting middle-eastern dishes, such as this one.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250 g ground lamb
  • 2 dried limes, cut into halves
  • 1⁄4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp saffron, leaves
  • 3 lamb or beef stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 1⁄2 cups water
  • 2 1⁄2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Fry onions for 3-4 minutes or until golden in color then add garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Add minced lamb and fry for 5 minutes or until it becomes brown in color. Add dried limes, spices, stock cubes and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute then add the water and bring to boil.
  3. Add the rice, bring to boil with occasional stirring, cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked.

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Week of January 19, 2015

I’m having one of those Sundays where I just don’t have the energy to get all creative with our meals this week, so I’m doing a bit of recycling — I’ve posted a few of these recipes before,  but that just means they’re tried and true! 🙂


Monday – Beet and arugula salad with salmon

Photo cred: Bon Appetit
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

I got this recipe from the Food Lover’s Cleanse and have only slightly adapted the original. I’m going to serve with a piece of grilled salmon to make it a bit more filling.

  • 1 bunch red beets
  • 3 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • 2 ounces (¼ large) ounce avocado
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • Piece of grilled fish of your choice, like salmon
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Toss beets with a drizzle of olive oil in a 13×9” baking dish; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add whatever herb you like and ¼ cup water. Cover pan tightly with foil (you want steam to build up in there) and roast beets until a paring knife slips easily through flesh, 60–75 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in covered pan, which will help loosen the skins. Rub off skins with paper towels.
  2. After beets have cooled, toss with arugula, quinoa, olive oil, and lemon. Top with avocado, sunflower seeds, and a piece of grilled fish.

 Tuesday – Chicken with squash purée

Photo cred: All recipes
Photo cred: All recipes

I’ve made this chicken before, remember? I’m going to leave out the limes this time, and serve with my own version of the Food Lover’s Cleanse-inspired squash purée.

For the chicken

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil

For the purée

  • 2-lb. squash (butternut, ideally) halved, seeds removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  1. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. oil. Season squash with salt and pepper and place, cut side down, on sheet along with garlic cloves. Roast on bottom rack until squash is tender, 45–50 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. In a small bowl, mix together the spices for the chicken, and sprinkle generously on both sides of the breasts. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side.
  3. When the squash is done and cool enough to handle, peel garlic and scrape flesh from squash. Mash garlic and squash together in a large bowl. Add cumin, paprika, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday – Slow-cooked pernil

Photo cred: Skinny Taste
Photo cred: Skinny Taste

I didn’t even know what pernil was until two minutes ago when I went looking for ideas on what to do with a pork roast I bought on special and found this recipe. Turns out, “Pernil is a typical pork dish in the Latin Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and Cuba.” I will serve with tangy grilled broccoli. Yum!

For the pernil

  • 3 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Juice of 2 limes

For the broccoli

  • 1 head broccoli, separated into florets
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Place in the ceramic part of the crock pot, cover and refrigerate, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.
  2. The next day, remove the crock pot and cook on low, 8 hours. After 8 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks. Remove liquid from crock pot and add pork back to crock. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back and adjust salt, pepper and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.

For the broccoli

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl or Ziplock bag, mix together all ingredients. Shake well.
  3. Spread broccoli evenly on a cookie sheet and grill florets until they are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, about 15 minutes.

Thursday – Broccoli purée soup

Photo cred: Parade
Photo cred: Parade

We save all our broccoli stems after we’ve removed the florets to eat, and when we’ve amassed enough (4-6 stems, I’d say) JW makes the most wonderful, creamy purée. I’m not sure there’s really a recipe for this soup; I think JW just improvises every time he makes it. To make it a little bit heartier, I am going to ask him to add a few potatoes this time.

  • At least 4 broccoli stems, rougly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Handful of small potatoes (like New or Fingerling), chopped into small cubes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a stockpot. Sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant, only about a minute or two. Add the broccoli stems and potato cubes and cook until they begin to soften, stirring frequently to mix all the flavors.
  2. Add the broth. Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the broccoli stems and potatoes are very soft. When done, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before pulsing in a blender to purée.

Friday – Pasta with turkey meatballs

Photo cred:

JW was craving pasta as one of our meals this week, and I think I have a few turkey meatballs and sauce in our freezer (recipe below). Perfect for an easy, end-of-the-week meal.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves
  • 2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan on low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure garlic does not burn. Add 2 of the basil leaves and stir for 1 minute. Add in both cans of tomatoes with their juices and remaining basil leaves. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow sauce to simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Meatballs

  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
  • Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  1. In a food processor, pulse onion, arugula, parsley, garlic, sage, basil, thyme and rosemary until finely chopped. In a bowl, combine onion-herb mixture with turkey, salt and pepper; mix with hands.
  2. Roll turkey mixture into about 12-16 golf ball-sized meatballs. In a large pot over low heat, warm tomato sauce. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook meatballs in skillet in batches, stirring, until browned, 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer meatballs to simmering sauce (recipe below); partially cover pot. Cook meatballs, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Week of January 12, 2015

Last week, it felt soooo good to settle back into my usual diet of eating lots and lots of vegetables. I felt like I practically hadn’t touched a single vegetable over the entire holiday break! This week is also going to be very veggie-heavy, with not one but two vegetarian meals. One of my colleagues (thanks, Alicia!) clued me into a goldmine of tasty recipes published each January by the magazine Bon Appetit, as part of their yearly “Food Lover’s Cleanse“. To quote from the website,

The whole point of the Food Lover’s Cleanse is to tempt you back into balanced, homemade, healthful eating with its vivid, delicious food (…) after fun, but disorienting, holiday seasons, where pie is a viable option for breakfast and some dinners are made only of cheese and Chardonnay.”

Perfect! Just what I need! There are 2 weeks’ worth of breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes available on their website, all amazingly delicious-looking and all for free! So I’ve worked a couple into my menu this week, and I’m excited to try them. Oh, and I’ll be starting off each day with a yummy new breakfast suggested in the cleanse: Oatmeal with cacao nibs and figs. Off to the grocery store!

PS. Friday’s dinner at Medieval Times was hilarious. It was way more elaborate than I expected: the knights actually jousted on real horses, there were falcons flying around the arena, the waiters and waitresses (erm, serfs and wenches) all had old English accents and referred to us as lords and ladies, and dinner (tomato soup, a half-chicken, huge spare rib, baked potato) was served in old tinware with no utensils (JW was particularly excited about gnawing on a huge drumstick and eating everything with his hands). It was awesome!

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Monday – Dijon chicken with chard and shiitake mushrooms

Photo cred : Skinny Taste
Photo cred : Skinny Taste
Photo cred : Bon Appetit
Photo cred : Bon Appetit

I found this chicken recipe last week, but couldn’t work it into my meal plan. Here it is this week, only slightly modified from the original. As a side, I will prepare Bon Appetit’s chard and sautéed shiitakes.

Ingredients

Dijon chicken

  • 8 small chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lime, squeezed, and lime zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse the chicken and remove the skin and all fat. Pat dry;place in a large bowl and season generously with salt. In a small bowl combine Dijon, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and pepper. Mix well. Pour over chicken, tossing well to coat.
  2. Spray a large baking pan with a little Pam to prevent sticking since all the fat and skin was removed from chicken. Place chicken to fit in a single layer. Top the chicken with dried parsley. Bake until cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. Finish the chicken under the broiler until it is golden brown. Serve chicken with the pan juices drizzled over the top.

Ingredients

Chard with sautéed shiitakes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces shiitakes, stems removed, quartered
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 bunches rainbow chard (about 1 lb.), stems separated and thinly sliced, greens roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shiitakes and cook, undisturbed, until brown, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add half the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mushrooms to a plate and wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chard stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook until stems begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chard greens and 2 Tbsp. water. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook until greens are mostly wilted, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, tossing, until greens are wilted and tender, about 2 minutes more. Stir in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday – Stuffed dumpling squash

Photo cred: The Kitchn
Photo cred: The Kitchn

Tuesday evening, JW and I will be attending our first cooking/wine-tasting class at the local LCBO. I’m really excited! We will be attending Chef Tony Andrady’s Seasonal Entertaining session, where we will “get tips on how to organize our next gathering”, and learn how to prepare: cauliflower and smoked bacon chowder; salmon gravlax martini; a rack of lamb with quinoa-hazelnut crust, mint pesto with creamed peas; and artisanal raisin bread pudding with bourbon cream. (Oh my!)

We’ll still need a lunch, though, and I found this light, vegetarian recipe over at The Kitchn.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet dumpling squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 cup shelled pistachios or other nut, coarsely chopped
  • 4 dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place squash face-down in an oiled baking dish. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven but keep oven on.
  2. Prepare the stuffing while the squash is baking. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onion is translucent. Add pistachios, dates, lemon zest, and cinnamon and sauté for another minute. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Turn the squash upright in the baking dish and stuff with the quinoa mixture. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday – Seattle Asian salmon bowl

Photo cred: Skinny Taste

love bowl-meals. The concept of having all kinds of yummy ingredients blending together in a bowl and eaten all together just really appeals to me. When I came across this one over at Skinny Taste, my mouth started to water! I’m so excited for Wednesday!

Ingredients

Salmon bowl

  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 4-ounce avocado, diced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup sprouts such as daikon radish
  • 1 strip nori, shredded
  • 16 ounces wild salmon, cut in 4 pieces
  • olive oil spray
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp less sodium soy sauce (or GF Tamari)
  • 2 tsp wasabi in tube
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Heat rice and keep warm.
  2. Season salmon with a pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Heat a frying pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan lightly with oil spray. When hot sear salmon, around 2 – 4 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  3. Split rice into four bowls equally, 1/2 cup each. Top each bowl with 1 oz avocado, green onions, cucumbers, sesame seeds, and sprouts. Place salmon on top of each bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and sprinkle with shredded nori. Serve immediately.

Thursday – Curried brussel sprouts, chickpeas and sweet potato

Photo cred: Bon Appetit
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

Another vegetarian meal from the Food Lover’s Cleanse. I love the Indian-inspired flavors and chunky ingredients — I bet JW won’t even notice it’s all-veg. 😉

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped peeled ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed, halved
  • 1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • Greek yogurt (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 1 minute. Add onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in turmeric, garam masala, if using, and cayenne; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Stir in coconut milk and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, 18–20 minutes. Stir in dates and simmer, uncovered, about 3 minutes more. Serve curry dolloped with yogurt.

Friday– Ricardo’s slow-cooked BBQ ribs

Photo cred: Ricardo
Photo cred: Ricardo

I’m already feeling a bit guilty about this Friday’s meal — it kind of totally goes against my whole clean-eating-after-the-holidays mantra. But we’ve had a pack of ribs in the freezer for a few months now, and I’m worried they’ll get frostbitten if we don’t cook them soon.

… And, let’s be honest — I came across this recipe in Ricardo’s new cookbook that I just couldn’t resist!

Ingredients

Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp  chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 5 lbs pork baby back ribs
  • extra-strength aluminum foil

Barbecue sauce

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup apple jelly
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Dry Rub

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Set aside.
  2. On a work surface, with a paper towel, remove the white membrane on the back of the ribs. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with the dry rub, rubbing the meat well on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  3. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 170 °C (325 °F).
  4. Wrap the ribs, up to two racks at a time, in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Barbecue sauce

  1. In a saucepan, fry the spices in the butter for 1 minute and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is syrupy. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the grill, setting the burners to medium. Oil the grate.
  3. Unwrap the ribs and grill for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, basting with half the sauce. Keep the remaining sauce for service.

Week of January 05, 2015

We’re back! After a wonderful two-week holiday visiting family & friends, I must admit I am glad to settle back into my old routine. My clothes were starting to fit a little too tightly and I am looking forward to eating normally again. I’m really craving lots of vegetables and simple, simple meat and fish dishes after all the overindulging over the holidays. Also, I got two new cookbooks as gifts, which I can’t wait to try out!


Monday – Massaged kale salad with simple mackerel

Photo cred: Yeo Valley

Typically, my favorite way to eat kale is sautéed in olive oil and sea salt, but I recently read about massaged kale salad in my Bountiful cookbook. Also I’m going to take advantage of the mild weather (3 degrees today!) and serve this salad with whole mackerels, lightly brushed with olive oil and simply grilled on the BBQ.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and saved for veggie stock
  • 1 avocado or 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 mackerels or other small fish such as sardines
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the kale leaves into strips. In a large bowl, mash the avocado with the lemon juice. Add kale strips and massage the kale with your hands until it softens and becomes “limp”. If using olive oil, massage leaves with olive oil and toss with lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Descale the fish and brush lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill on the BBQ until the skill is crispy and the flesh is fully cooked.

Tuesday – Spicy chicken & spaghetti squash

Photo cred: Simply Recipes
Photo cred: Simply Recipes

This recipe was inspired by one I found, again, in Bountiful, only I’ve replaced the sausage with a spicy chicken recipe I found over at All Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tbsps paprika
  • 2 tbsps garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
  • 1 spaghetti squash

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lightly oil a sheet pan and place the squash, cut sides down, on the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the flesh is easily torn into strands with a fork. Remove the flesh from the shells and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper. Set aside about 3 tablespoons of this seasoning mixture for the chicken; store the remainder in an airtight container for later use (for seasoning fish, meats, or vegetables).
  3. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Rub some of the reserved 3 tablespoons of seasoning onto both sides of the chicken breasts. Place chicken on the grill, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear. Slice the chicken into strips and place on a bed of spaghetti squash to serve.

Wednesday – Curry-roasted root vegetables

Photo cred: Jonathan Lovekin

This recipe is from one of my new cookbooks, Plenty more (thanks, Val!). It immediately caught my eye, but I’m a little worried I won’t be able to find the required leaves used as seasoning (curry & lime leaves)… Fingers crossed that one of our local grocery stores will carry them. I will adapt the recipe to fit the veggies in my basket this week, but any root vegetables would be delicious roasted in this way. I will serve this with a piece of grilled salmon and a squeeze of lemon.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into batons
  • 1 bunch beets, peeled and cut into batons
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into batons
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 tbsps lime juice
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 6 fresh or frozen lime leaves, very finely shredded
  • 2 stems fresh curry leaves, kept on the stem
  • 2 fresh salmon fillets, grilled to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the veggies in a large roasting pan. Add the olive oil, curry powder, half the lime juice, and salt and pepper. Toss well and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables once or twice during cooking. Add the lime and curry leaves and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour the remaining lime juice over the top and serve warm with simple grilled salmon.

Thursday – Pork tenderloin and quinoa salad

Photo cred: watercress.co.uk
Photo cred: watercress.co.uk

I found this fabulous-looking salad recipe online today, which I have only slightly modified. I will serve it with a simple grilled pork tenderloin (I found a yummy rub over at Skinny Taste!).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium head broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 oz hazelnuts (approximately 12-15 nuts)
  • 1 bunch watercress or arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa in boiling water for 10 mins or until just tender. In a separate pan of boiling water, cook the broccoli florets for 2 mins. Drain the quinoa and broccoli in a large sieve and rinse in cold water until cold. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the oil, lemon zest and juice and seasoning to taste. Toast the hazelnuts under a medium grill, then roughly chop. Add to the quinoa, along with the watercress. Toss to combine and set aside.
  3. Combine the cumin, garlic and chili powders, paprika and pepper in a small bowl and rub all over the tenderloin. Preheat the grill to high, or preheat the broiler to high.  Grill or broil the tenderloin, covered on high 5 minutes on each side, then move to indirect heat if grilling, cover the grill and cook an additional 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 145°F (about 20 to 22 minutes total). Serve with the quinoa salad.

Friday – Medieval Times

Our friend Jess is hosting her birthday dinner at the super-kitsch, super-fun-looking Medieval Times restaurant, so we’ll be eating out. I’ve never been to one of these restaurants but I will be sure to give an update next week!