Tag Archives: pork

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! ūüôā


Monday РBeet 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
  • ¬ľ cup quinoa
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • 2 ounces (¬ľ large) ounce¬†avocado
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • Piece of grilled fish of your choice, like salmon
  1. Preheat oven to 425¬į. Toss beets with a drizzle of olive oil in a 13×9‚ÄĚ baking dish; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add whatever herb you like and ¬ľ 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‚Äď75 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 РChicken 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 pur√©e.

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

  • A¬†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¬į. 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‚Äď50 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 РSlow-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 РBroccoli 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 pur√©e.¬†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 РPasta 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‚Äôs 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 saut√©ed 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¬į. 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

I¬†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 Р4 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. ūüėČ

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 ¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ 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‚Äď20 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 ¬įC (325 ¬įF).
  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 saut√©ed 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¬įF (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!

Week of November 10, 2014

I just back from the grocery store and I am really excited about the meals this week! I re-discovered one of my old favorite food blogs, Qlinart, ¬†which was my go-to site for Asian-inspired dishes when I first moved into my own place and began cooking for myself. This week, for some reason I’m really in the mood for precisely that type of food, as you will see from my menu.

Friday, JW and I will be going to a cottage we¬†rented in the Georgian Bay. It’s our anniversary, and we wanted to do something special, so we’re stealing off for a few days to a¬†rustic log cabin¬†in the woods just off Lake Huron. Looking forward to it! ‚ô•


Monday – Lemongrass chicken

Photo cred: Qlinart

I’ve made this many times, and it really is best on the BBQ, but if the weather is too chilly the oven certainly¬†does the trick. I find the original recipe is a little heavy on the oil, so I’ve reduced it a tad.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole grain-fed chicken
  • 1/8 cup of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp finely minced lemon grass (about two stems of lemongrass)
  • 6 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 3 tsps hot chili flakes
  • 1 tsp hot chili paste
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt(or to taste)
  • 2 tsps ground pepper

Instructions

  1. To prepare the marinade, mix well all above ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl with a spoon.
  2. Spatchcock the chicken (flatten the chicken for the grill or the oven roast) and rub the skin and the interior with the prepared lemongrass-garlic-chili marinade. Let marinate for 24 hours or overnight in a well-sealed container.
  3. Having been marinated overnight, the chicken is ready to be grilled in the BBQ or roasted in the oven. When grilling on the BBQ, set the temperature to medium-high and keep the BBQ lid closed, but make sure to flip the chicken once in a while to maintain an even grill and avoid burning. The chicken should be cooked between an hour and an hour and a half.
  4. If oven roasting, set the temperature to¬†350F. Place the chicken in an¬†oven bag¬†and follow instructions. It’s really worth it to use the oven bag – it¬†cuts down the roasting time by almost half and makes the most tender and juiciest bird¬†ever. Roast the chicken in the oven bag for about an hour and a half until the skin is golden brown. (Without an oven bag, roast for¬†2 and half hours.) Once the skin is golden brown, it’s a good indication that the meat is cooked. The juices at the bottom of the pan is a good sign that the chicken is moist and tender. Remove and discard the oven bag and the juices.¬†To add that final “grilled” touch, place the chicken in the oven and “broil” for about 2-3 minutes until parts of the skin are slightly burnt. And voil√†, oven-roasted-broiled chicken without the BBQ.

Tuesday –¬†Braised chicken with winter squash tagine

Photo cred: Qlinart

We bought too many squash (squashes?) for last week’s stuffed squash recipe, so I¬†thought I would use my single leftover gourd¬†in this recipe. Also, I was just thinking that I haven’t used my tagine in literally years, what a perfect excuse!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut in large chunks
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 large winter squash, diced 1 inch chunks
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 1 orange peel
  • handful of fresh coriander to garnish, coarsely chopped
  • roasted slivered almonds to garnish (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat oil in the tajine base and stir in the onions, garlic, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon and saffron for about 2 minutes or until the onions have softened a little.
  3. Gently add the chicken and stir until all sides are lightly browned. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and lower the heat the medium, cover with Tajine lid (dome), and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the squash by carefully peeling and dicing it. Remove dome and add in the diced squash, the orange peel and the dates. Put the lid back on and carefully place the tajine in the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes. (Edit РI made this tonight and 20 minutes was definitely not long enough. The chicken was still raw and the squash was rock-hard. I extended the cooking time to a total of 60 minutes). Spices should slowly infuse in the chicken and squash, giving the dish incredible flavour.
  5. When done, remove from the oven, slowly remove the lid and sprinkle the coriander and almonds. Serve with couscous, rice or a side dish of vegetables.

 Wednesday РGreen Thai curry shrimp soup

Photo cred: Food52

This recipe was given to me by word-of-mouth from my friend Am√©. It’s so easily adapted to incorporate any¬†veggies, chicken, or whatever, and it’s the perfect¬†soupe-repas.

Ingredients

  • Zest and juice from one lime
  • About 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Half a pound of raw shrimp
  • 2-3¬†tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 can low-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 package vermicelli (angel hair) noodles
  • Asian¬†veggies of your choice (watercress, mushrooms)

Instructions

  1. Heat some olive oil in a stockpot. Sauté the ginger and garlic for a few seconds, and add the shrimp until the meat just begins to turn pink. Add the zest, lime juice and curry paste. Mix well so the shrimp is coated with everything.
  2. Add the coconut milk and the broth. Bring to a boil. then reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until you’re sure the shrimp are cooked through.
  3. Add the vermicelli and veggies, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Thursday –¬†Grilled pork chops with lemongrass and ginger

Photo cred: Qlinart

Pork was crazy cheap this week, and so to continue with my Asian food fetish this week here is a lemongrass-marinated pork recipe. I have again reduced the oil but otherwise it’s copied verbatim from the original.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops with bone
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (remove hard surrounding shell with your hands, and chop finely the inner softer stalk)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp raw cane sugar (or ¬ĺ tsp regular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili flakes
  • 1¬†tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Put the pork chops in a large freezer bag and flatten with a rolling pin or a meat tenderizing hammer. Transfer to another large freezer bag and add in the lemongrass, garlic, ginger sugar, fish sauce and chili flakes. Drizzle in the oil over the meat and spices.
  2. Close the bag and shake well and give the pork a good massage with your hands so as to mix in the spices well. Lay bag on a large plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Before grilling, take out the bag and leave at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove marinated pork from the bag. Grill both sides on the barbecue for about 5-7 minutes each side until well done.
  5. Slice the pork and serve with fresh lettuce and rice vermicelli. You can also wrap the pork slices in rice paper to make fresh spring rolls.

Friday –¬†Linguine with chard and shrimp

Photo cred: EatingWell

As I mentioned, JW and I will be out of town this Friday but I did find this tasty recipe that I might have made if I were home.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
  • 4 tsp¬†extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound)
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp¬†freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 16 cups thinly sliced chard leaves
  • 1/4 cup clam juice, or water
  • 1 tsp¬†cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp¬†lemon juice
  • 6 lemon wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook linguine until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until pink and curled, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Add chard in handfuls, stirring until it wilts before adding more; cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Whisk clam juice (or water) and cornstarch in a small bowl then add to the pan; simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the pan, add lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  4. Drain the linguine and return it to the pot. Add the sauce; toss to coat. Serve with lemon wedges.

Week of November 3, 2014

What a crazy last couple of days. I had no time at all to plan my meals as usual¬†on Sunday, as I was so worked up about a big event¬†this morning at work — I was scheduled to be interviewed to talk about my research for the Women In Science program for L’Or√©al. I was very excited and honored, but also¬†very¬†nervous… All told, I think it went well! Now that I’m home, I can finally sit back with a glass of wine and all my cookbooks! ūüôā


Monday –¬†Mustard-honey pork chops

Photo cred: Pinch of Lime
Photo cred: Pinch of Lime

When I got home from work after my exciting/stressful day of interviewing, JW had dinner all prepared. I think he was inspired by this recipe I found recently over at Food — the original has been¬†slightly modified.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs¬†pork chops (or chicken, if you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/8¬†cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup old-style (grainy) mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, fry the pork on both sides until brown on the outside.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients in a small bowl to combine; set aside.
  3. When the pork is nice and brown, pour the mustard mixture over the chops and let simmer until the pork is cooked through. Serve with salad.

¬†Tuesday¬†–¬†Acorn squash stuffed with farro

This recipe came in my Food & Drink magazine during the autumn. I folded back the page, knowing I would want to try it soon enough. The original calls for pancetta, but I’m going to make it vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 3 small acorn squash
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400¬į. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Put the halves facing down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to¬†350¬į.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine stock and farro. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until farro is tender but still a bit chewy. Drain any excess liquid and transfer farro to a bowl.
  3. In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, thyme, paprika and red chili flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add sherry (or wine) and simmer, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Add to farro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and fill the squash bowls with the farro mixture. Bake stuffed squash, uncovered, until stuffing is hot throughout, about 15 minutes.

Wednesday –¬†Curried lentils and sweet potatoes

Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen

This veggie recipe is only minimally tweaked from Deb’s original over at Smitten Kitchen, which calls for Swiss chard (I will replace with spinach).

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 jalape√Īo pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
  • 2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into¬†1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Instructions

  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender. (Add more stock as needed.) In the last 5 minutes, add chopped spinach. Just before serving, stir in lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish.

Thursday –¬†Cod fish soup

Photo cred: Jamie Oliver

Cod is on special this week at my grocery store, and I really felt like some hot fish soup this week. I came across Jamie Oliver’s recipe, and adapted it to fit my taste and the ingredients I have on hand this week.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and finely sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†white wine
  • 2 cups¬†milk
  • 2 cups¬†organic stock
  • 1 kg cod fillet
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, slowly fry onion and leek with olive oil for 5 minutes until soft and tender.
  2. Add potatoes to the pan. Give everything a good stir and then add the anchovies. Turn the heat up and add the white wine. Allow to cook down by half before adding your milk and stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour until the potatoes are tender. At this point, add cod and simmer for 15 minutes until the flesh flakes away. Season to taste, and serve hot.

Friday –¬†Pearl barley orzotto with¬†wild mushrooms

Photo cred: À la Claude

Apparently, according to Food & Drink, risotto with barley is a thing. I’m pretty excited because the original recipe indicates that “the barley version has the advantage of needing less attention at the stove: just add the stock and let it simmer.” Excellent!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pkg (15 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 leek (white and pale green part only, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pearl barley
  • 1 cup red wine, such as Gamay or Pinot Noir
  • 6 cups beef stock (approx.), divided
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
  • additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  Add cremini mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring often, until any liquid exuded by mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are browned and tender, about 8 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. In a 1-cup microwaveable measure, combine water and porcini mushrooms.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and pierce a few holes in wrap.  Microwave at high power for 30 seconds, then let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain porcini, discarding water.  Rinse and drain mushrooms, pat dry and chop finely.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter with remaining oil over medium heat.  Add porcini mushrooms, leek and rosemary.  Cook, stirring often, until leek is soft but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add barley, stirring to comine with porcini mixture.  Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until most of the wine has been absorbed by barley.
  5. Add 5 cups stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally until most of stock has been absorbed an barley is tender buy chewy, about 40 minutes.  Add addition stock if barley has absorbed all the stock before it becomes tender.
  6. Stir in cremini mushrooms, Parmesan, remaining butter and all but 1 tbsp chives.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon orzotto into a warm serving dish and scatter with remaining chives.  Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Week of September 22, 2014

Last night JW and I went to see Nick Offerman headlining at JFL42. I was so¬†excited and had been looking forward to the show for weeks, but I had perhaps set my hopes a little too high because unfortunately I was let down. The show wasn’t so much funny as it was a discussion about Dan Winters, canoeing in nature, Gordon Lightfood and Nick’s¬†undying love for his wife. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but definitely something a little funnier. I guess I will¬†have to stick to Parks and Rec!

This week’s menu includes two vegetarian meals and is otherwise a little chicken-heavy — chicken is on special this week at my grocery store. You may want to substitute in a fish dinner¬†instead.


Monday РTriple-mustard-crusted chicken and hobo corn

Photo cred: Foodpeoplewant.com

Monday’s¬†dinner is from my¬†Poulet cookbook. Tasty and simple, this recipe is perfect to start the week without any fuss or hassle.

Ingredients

Chicken
One whole chicken
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp dry mustard
2 tbsp mustard seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Hobo corn
4-6 ears fresh corn, husk and silk removed
2-3 tsp butter at room temperature
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Heat peanut oil in a Dutch oven and brown on the sides and bottom. Transfer to a plate, pour off any excess fat and wipe away any burned bits in the pan.
2. Add the stock, Dijon, and dry mustard to the pan over medium heat. Return the chicken to the pan, breast-side up. Sprinkle the mustard seeds on top.
3. Put the chicken in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
4. While the chicken is cooking make the corn: Rub each ear with butter, sprinkle with salt and a lot of black pepper. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Wrap each ear tightly in aluminum foil and put in the oven or on the BBQ. Cook about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the chicken and corn from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving.


Tuesday¬†–¬†Potato -leek soup

I love potato-leek soup, especially in autumn. Normally, this soup is quite calorie-heavy, but I was excited to find this recipe over at Skinnytaste that substitutes the cream for milk.

Ingredients
1 bunch leeks (about 4) dark green stems removed
1/2 large white onion, chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup 2% milk
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Wash leeks very carefully to remove all grit. I usually cut them horizontally and separate the rings to make sure no dirt remains. Coarsely chop them when washed.
2. In a medium soup pot, melt butter and add flour on low flame. Using a wooden spoon,mix well. This will thicken your soup and give it a wonderful flavor.
3. Add chicken stock, leeks, onion, potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth adding the milk and adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Wednesday¬†–¬†Butternut squash dal

Photo cred: Canadian Living

I haven’t had Indian food in a while! I’m going to give this vegetarian recipe a try with the butternut squash in my basket this week.

Ingredients
1 cup dried red lentils
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced gingerroot or 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground ginger
2 tbsp Indian yellow curry paste or powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, about 1 lb/500 g
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Garam masala

Instructions
1. Place lentils in a fine sieve and pick through to remove any stones or grit. Rinse well and drain; stir into broth and set aside.
2. In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; saute onion for 3 min or until starting to soften. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste (to taste), salt and pepper; saute for 2 min or until softened. Add lentils in broth, squash and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
3. Cover, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 min or until squash and lentils are soft and tender. Remove from heat and mash lightly with a potato masher. Sprinkle with cilantro and garam masala. Serve with papadum, basmati rice, or naan.


Thursday РSticky lemon chicken

Photo cred: Blue Kitchen

I found this recipe several years ago over at Blue Kitchen, and just like Ricardo‚Äôs grilled lemon olive chicken¬†recipe, it’s one I regularly turn to. I think lemon is one of my favorite flavors on chicken, and the honey in this recipe makes each bite finger-licking good!

Ingredients
8 to 10 pieces of chicken [4 drumsticks and thighs or a whole chicken cut up]
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar [or red wine vinegar]
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, thickly sliced [into 6 or so slices]

Instructions
1. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of thyme. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Add oil and brown chicken until golden on both sides [in batches, if necessary], about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and reduce heat to medium.
2. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add sherry vinegar and cook down until reduced by half. Add soy sauce, honey, remaining thyme, water and lemon juice to pan and stir to combine. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat with sauce. Add lemon slices. Cook until sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning chicken frequently to coat with sauce. Chicken should be done by that time; pierce a thick piece with a knife point to see that juices run clear.
3. Transfer chicken to serving platter or divide among 4 plates. Drizzle sauce over chicken and use lemon slices as garnish. Serve with couscous.


Friday РApricot-glazed pork tenderloin

Photo cred: Louise Thomas

This pork tenderloin is one of my mother’s recipes that she has previously shared on her blog, which is full of super tasty, super healthy recipes and exercises to keep fit. I will serve it with a massaged kale salad I found over at¬†Flowtoxcleanse.

Ingredients

Pork tenderloin
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4-cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/4-cup finely chopped dried prunes

Creamy massaged avocado kale salad
1 small bunch of kale
1 large avocado
1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium bell pepper

Instructions
1. Pat dry 2 pork tenderloins and brush with some of the above mixture.  Reserve the remainder and add 1/2 cup water to it.  Put aside.
2. Heat oil in a fry pan and brown the tenderloins on all sides. Add the remaining sauce to the skillet with the pork, and add dried apricots and prunes.
3. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork.
4. While the pork is cooking, make the salad: Remove kale leaves from stems. Wash and dry thoroughly. Chop kale up and place into a large bowl. Juice 1/2 a lemon and use a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt to the kale then massage it into the leaves until they get soft.
5. Place the ripe avocado, apple cider vinegar, juice of the other lemon half, olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and mash & blend until creamy. Massage it into the leaves until fully covered. Chop up some bell peppers and add to the salad. Set aside until the pork is ready.
6. Remove the cover from the simmering pork, raise heat slightly and cook until pan juices reduce slightly.  Thinly slice pork; top with fruit mixture.

Week of August 25, 2014

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I had a wonderful visit from my best friend a couple of days ago. She surprised me by announcing she had become a vegetarian — or at least, a flexitarian. Her decision, which was apparently inspired by the movie Vegucated, made me want to incorporate more veggie meals in my weekly diet, too. And wouldn’tcha know, my Mama Earth basket is full of inspiring options¬†this week¬≠.


Monday РRoasted acorn squash and gorgonzola pizza

Gorgonzola
Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen

I had never imagined putting squash on a pizza, but the recipes over at Smitten Kitchen almost never disappoint so I‚Äôm going to give this one a try! I’ve slightly adapted the original recipe.

Ingredients
1 (1- pound) acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 pound pizza dough (buy a ball at a local pizzeria, or make your own)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 cup arugula
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375¬†¬įF.
2. Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide half moons and place in a medium bowl. Toss the squash with olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the squash until tender and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Roll out the pizza dough on a flour dusted piece of parchment paper to a 13-inch diameter. Place the pizza and the parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and the gorgonzola on the pizza dough. Bake in the oven until golden and cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Peel the skins off the squash. Top the cooked pizza with the cooked squash. Toss with arugula with the squeeze of lemon juice. Slice and serve.


Tuesday¬†–¬†Spice-rubbed pork medallions with peach salsa

porkmedallions
Photo cred: Blue Apron

While listening to the radio last week, I heard an advertisement for Blue Apron, a meal service that will prepare and deliver dinner to your family. In the ad, they gave an example of a meal you might expect to receive from their service: Spice-rubbed pork medallions with peach salsa. *Drool!* Of course, I had to make it. I found the original recipe on the Blue Apron website РI barely tweaked it.

Ingredients
2 peaches
1/4 cup basil
1/4 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
Zest and juice from 1 lime
1/2 small red onion
4 pork medallions
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried thyme

Instructions
1. Pit and dice the peaches into small pieces. Finely chop the cilantro & basil. Peel and mince the garlic and red onion.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onion, basil, cilantro and lime juice and zest. Stir in a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Combine the garlic powder, oregano, cumin, ground coriander and thyme in a shallow dish and mix well. Season each pork medallion with salt and pepper to taste, then completely coat in the spice rub, tapping off any excess.
4. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Add the coated pork medallions and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Transfer the cooked pork to a plate, and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
5. Spoon the peach salsa over the pork and serve.


Wednesday¬†–¬†Eggplant burgers

grilled-eggplant-sandwich-a
Photo cred: Simply Recipes

One of the main problems I have when trying to work vegetarian meals into my diet is that I inevitably feel hungry a few hours after a meatless meal. Eggplant, however, is one of the only vegetables I can fill up on. It’s meaty like steak and, when cooked on the BBQ and seasoned properly, can be just as tasty. I got this recipe in my veggie basket from Mama Earth, and I think they got it from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
10-12 fresh basil leaves
1 tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 burger buns

Instructions
1. Lay eggplant slices on paper towels and salt generously on both sides. Let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Combine the two vinegars and a tsp of olive oil into a shallow bowl. Lay the tomato and onion slices in the bowl and coat with the dressing.
3. Preheat the grill to high. Pat the eggplants dry and brush both sides with olive oil. Lay the slices on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned.
4. Remove the eggplant slices from the grill and place them in the buns. Top with cheese and marinated tomatoes & onions, and top with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy warm.


Thursday РShrimp chowder

chowder
Photo cred: Everyday Maven

JW has been requesting chowder for a couple of weeks now. We had some corn leftover from last week‚Äôs veggie basket, so I figured I could use it here. Plus, I have been wanting to make my own shrimp stock for months ‚Äď chowder seemed like the perfect excuse. Recipe adapted from Everyday Maven’s original.

Ingredients
2 tbsps olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off
2¬Ĺ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ cubes
2 dried bay leaves
8 cups homemade shrimp stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1″ pieces
1 pound fresh clams (in shell), scrubbed clean
1 cup coconut milk

Instructions
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add corn and onions and sauté until soft.
2. Add cubed potatoes to pot along with bay leaves and shrimp stock. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 18 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
3. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and discard. Transfer 2 cups of (mostly) potatoes and broth to a blender. Combine with 1 cup coconut milk until completely smooth and set aside.
4. Bring broth back to a boil. Once boiling, add clams and shrimp. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook 2 to 3 minutes until clams are opened and shrimp is pink.
5. Remove from heat and slowly pour in potato-coconut milk mixture from blender, stirring constantly to incorporate. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot.


Friday¬†–¬†Paella

paella

What the heck are you going to do with the 5 lbs of shrimp you shelled from yesterday’s chowder? Make paella, of course! Freeze any leftovers. Adapted from the original recipe at Allrecipes.com.

Ingredients
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked short-grain rice
1 pinch saffron threads
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
2 lemons, zested
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat more olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, bell pepper and sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink.
3. Combine rice mixture with meat and seafood. Serve hot.

Week of August 18, 2014

I’ve been feeling a little lazy recently. We’ve had guests over every weekend this month, and so by the time the week starts up again I’m a little out of breath. So for this week’s menu, I’m turning back to old favorites that are simple and straightforward.


Monday РStuffed pork tenderloin & creamed green beans

There is literally nothing easier than this pork tenderloin. It’s barely even a “recipe” – it’s embarassingly simple, just something I pulled together one day a couple of years ago after I tasted (and loved!) a similar tenderloin I bought pre-stuffed with bruschetta at the grocery store. All you need is a tenderloin and a package of bruschetta. I typically prefer to make everything from scratch, but as I said this week I’m feeling lazy.¬†I had some leftover feta from this weekend, so I added that in too.

Ingredients
1 or 2 pork tenderloins
1 package of store-bought bruschetta (or make your own)
100 g feta
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 450 ¬įF.
2. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper. Cut a deep incision lengthwise into the meat, but not all the way through.
3. Stuff the tenderloin with as much bruschetta and feta as will fit.
4. Tie the tenderloin with butcher’s string to keep the stuffing from spilling out.
5. Sear the meat in a hot pan until it’s golden brown.
6. Transfer to a roasting pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pork is cooked to your preferred doneness.

While the tenderloin is baking, make the creamed green beans. This recipe is adapted from Todd Porter & Diane Cu’s¬†Bountiful¬†cookbook.

Ingredients
1 lb green beans
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the beans, cooking unti they are bright green (about 2-3 mins).
2. While stirring, add the cheeses and milk. Cook until the cheese is melted and the beans are tender. Sprinkle almonds over the beans and serve warm.

Creamed beans


Tuesday¬†–¬†Ricardo’s grilled lemon olive chicken

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It’s typically the meal I whip up when we have impromptu guests visiting, or when I’m feeling uninspired. It never disappoints – and the leftovers are even better.

Ingredients
4 skinless boneless skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts, but thighs are much more tender and juicy)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced and seeded
3 shallots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup green olives, drained and pitted
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 ¬įF.
2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the chicken on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a plate.
3. In the same skillet, brown the slices of lemon on each side. Add oil as needed. Add shallots, garlic, spices and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
4. Deglaze with the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the broth. Bring to a boil.
6. Cover and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, turning the chicken halfway through.
7. Serve with couscous or rice.

Lemon Olive Chicken
Photo cred: Ricardo Cuisine


Wednesday РSlow cooker roast with potatoes & carrots

Ah, the crockpot! The lazy cook’s best friend. I am going to attempt a new recipe I found over at We Got Real, that makes the most of the carrots and potatoes that will be in this week’s¬†veggie basket. Just add a chunk of beef chuck and voil√†!

Ingredients
1 4-5 lb beef roast
4-5 red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 onion, skin removed and quartered
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup beef stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Season roast with salt & pepper to taste. Place in crockpot.
2. Add garlic, oregano, and thyme evenly over the meat. Tuck the onion quarters, carrots and potatoes around the roast.
3. Add ¬Ĺ cup beef stock/water and turn on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. Serve with rice.

Crockpot
Photo cred: We Got Real


Thursday РWhole Mediterranean sea bass & Lemony kale salad

There are few things that I enjoy more than whole grilled fish. Incidentally, the weather is supposed to be nice for a BBQ this Thursday! Score.

Ingredients
1 whole sea bass
1 bunch kale
Lemon
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat the grill.
2. Pat the fish dry. Coat generously with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Grill until crispy, about 15 minutes.
4. In a wok, heat some olive oil. Throw in the kale with a pinch of sea salt. Fry on med-high until the edges of the leaves begin to curl and get crispy. Squeeze the lemon juice over the leaves, sprinkle with¬†Parmesan and serve warm with the BBQ’d fish.


Friday¬†–¬†Burst tomato galette with corn and zucchini

Last weekend my sister was visiting and I seized the opportunity to make something that I had been obsessing over for awhile –¬†a galette. Essentially a¬†galette is somewhere between a pizza and a pie – flaky, crusty, salty, open-faced goodness that’s¬†sliced into¬†wedges and eaten warm. The one I made for my sister was a variation on¬†a zucchini & ricotta galette¬†from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen.¬†We packed it full of¬†different types of squash and salty cheeses. It was¬†amazing, and I instantly wanted to make another. Oh, what a coincidence: my best friend will be visiting this weekend! It’s the¬†perfect excuse to try my hand at another of Deb’s Smitten Kitchen galettes,¬†Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini.

Ingredients
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse Kosher or sea salt
3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 ear corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini or summer squash, diced
1 bundle scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk stir the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Make filling: Get down the saute pan with the lid. If you don’t have one, any large lid will do. Add olive oil, tomatoes, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if that’s your thing) to your saute pan then cover and heat over high heat. Roll the tomatoes around from time to time so that they’ll cook evenly. In a few minutes, you’ll hear some putts and pops as the tomatoes burst a little. When most have, remove lid, turn heat down to medium and add zucchini chunks. Saute for two minutes, until they soften. Add corn and cook one minute. Add scallions, just stirring them in, then turn off heat. Adjust seasonings if needed. Transfer mixture to a large plate and spread it out, so that it will cool faster. You want it cooled to at least lukewarm before assembling the galette.

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round and it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; I like to fold my dough gently, without creasing, in quarters then unfold it onto the baking pan. Sprinkle tomato-zucchini-corn mixture with half of parmesan and spoon the mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. If any liquid has puddle in plate, try to leave it there as you spoon. Sprinkle with almost all of remaining parmesan, leaving a pinch or two behind for the crust. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle glaze with last pinches of parmesan.

Bake the galette: For 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Corn galette
Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen