Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stolen Salad

This recipe is a complete rip off of Fresh's All-Star Salad.  After trying this at the restaurant, I found it quite easy to recreate this version at home.
The combination of flavours is so wonderful, you'll want to eat this every day.  It's also one of those "I'm so proud of myself for eating healthy" dishes.  This is a super superfood salad (damn, I should have called it that instead).Feel free to add/subtract ingredients as you see fit.  I trust you will enjoy (and I'm really not a salad person).  This is a filling meal.  No need to pair with a main course.

The recipe is a rough guideline for 4 servings.  If you like something more, then use more of that ingredient.  See?  Cooking is fun.

What you'll need:

1 sweet potato
1 cup quinoa
1 cup edamame beans (shelled)
6 cups purple kale (or a similar veg)
1/2 cup dried goji berries (or dried cranberries)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 bunch parsley

optional: marinated grilled tofu, sprouts, your favourite ingredients, etc

tahini, lemon, water, and S&P to taste

What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Slice sweet potato into discs, brush with oil, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake for about 20 minutes (turning once)
  • Cook quinoa (this is so easy in a rice cooker - 1 c quinoa, 2 c water) and set aside
  • In each bowl, combine kale (stalks removed), parsley, and cilantro
  • Top with edamame, berries, and seeds
  • Add a few slices of sweet potato, and a few spoonfuls of quinoa
  • Serve with lemon-tahini dressing


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gimme Some M'Oatmeal

This is my Buby.  She was one of the smartest, cutest, nicest, cleverest ladies in the world.  She raised her voice at me a total of one time (when I was eating muffins on her stairs with my sister Becky).  She somehow managed to remember the intricate details of her million family members and friends' lives.  She had a knack for making people feel special.
When I had sleepovers at her house, she'd always make me stovetop oatmeal (that is, when she finally woke up - Yes, she was a night hawk).
My Buby was a phenomenal cook, so of course it was always cooked to perfection.  The consistency just right that we could make a well in the middle for brown sugar.  We'd pour milk around the edges, like a moat around an oat castle.  And BUTTER - one big blob that would melt all over the oatmeal and seep into the milk river.
Now, I'm not sure how Bub would feel about baked oatmeal (she didn't love change) - but she also supported anything and everything I ever did.  So Bub, this one's for you.

What you'll need:

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar (you can always add more...)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1/4 cup (or less) butter or substitute
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple
blackberries and raspberries to top it off

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 
  • Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl
  • If you have a cast iron pot:
    • Melt butter on stove and add remaining wet ingredients
    • Add dry ingredients to the pot and stir it all together
    • Stir in sliced apples and pop it in the oven
  • If you're not using a pot, you'll be doing more dishes and:
    • Combine all wet ingredients, including melted butter
    • Add wet and dry ingredients together, and stir in your sliced apple
    • Transfer mix to square baking dish and pop in the oven
  • Cook for about 20 minutes, until you have a nice, slightly crunchy top
  • Scoop into bowls, add a milk river, and top with berries or your other favourite fruits
This is a perfect Sunday morning treat, and if you make extra, you can take it to work to make Monday more bearable.  I don't have leftovers...but my house does smell delicious.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Almost Vegan Whole Wheat Banana Berry Pancakes

It's raining, kinda chilly, and I've got nothing to do.  To me, this is a sign that I should not get dressed and should make pancakes in my slippers.  It's also almost Passover, so bring on the chametz baby!

Though typically a breakfast food, you'll enjoy this healthy version at any time of day.  Add ice cream to make it not so healthy and serve for dessert.
This recipe is just as easy as making them from a box, so toss away the preservatives and increase the taste factor by preparing these bad boys from scratch.  

What you'll need (for about 10 good sized pancakes):

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (not soda!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 egg (can be replaced with an extra banana to make it 100% vegan)
3 tablespoons oil
1 banana
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used blueberries and raspberries)
corn syrup - for topping!

What to do:

  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Mash banana, add wet ingredients, and mix together with the dry bowl
  • Stir well, ensuring all flour pockets are destroyed (yes, DESTROYED)
  • If batter is too runny, add flour
  • If batter is too thick, add more milk (pretty easy, right?)
  • Add fruit of your choice and/or chocolate if you must
  • Heat pan (medium to high heat) and add a bit of butter or oil
  • Spoon batter into pan and flip when the edges start to harden (typically, the flipping point for pancakes is bubbling but the whole wheat kind of kills that part)
  • Keep pancakes in the oven until you're ready to serve

I'm sure you've made pancakes before, and if not, you'll get the hang of it.  Don't get discouraged by the first one - they tend to suck.  Serve with your favourite syrup and coffee.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuna Gourmelt

If your current method for making tuna melts is mixing tuna with mayo, throwing it on a piece of bread, and blanketing it with a piece of processed cheese, then keep reading.  This variation from that classic after school snack will please you and appease you.  If you're as big of a fan of hot lunches as I am, you'll surely enjoy this easy fix.  And if you don't want to stray too far from the "classic", then you can keep your beloved processed cheese in the mix.

What you will need:

fresh whole wheat bread or bun
canned tuna
green olives
cheddar cheese
mayo (optional)
salt and pepper

To start:
  • Boil water for your egg (hard boiled = 8 minutes)
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 C
  • In mixing bowl, combine tuna, mayo, chopped tomato, cheese, green olives, and salt and pepper
  • Once egg is done, peel and chop directly into mix
  • Combine well (add a little sriracha sauce if you like it spicy) and scoop onto bread
  • Pop pieces in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is toasty

It doesn't get much easier than this folks!  Add a salad, and you've got yourself a pretty balanced meal - awesome breath included!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Cream" of Mushroom Soup and "Give It To Me" Garlic Bread

Oh man, oh man.  I am in heaven.
It's not just because having soup on a snowy day (especially a snowy day at the end of March) feels like perfection.  It's because I have been drooling over the recipes in for a while now, and finally decided I would take the plunge on Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup and Not-So-Vegan Garlic Bread.
I was so excited  about how this would turn out that I skipped a big step just so I could get it in my belly faster.  Lessons learned?  It's okay to cut corners (who wants to strain soup anyways?) - because this is the most comforting and delicious meal I've had in a long time.  The garlic lingering on your fingers (and the buzz from a ten dollar bottle of viognier you should pick up) will give you fond memories of your meal for the entire night.

What you'll need:

worcestire sauce
soy sauce
vegetable broth

fresh baguette
green onion
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

What to do for the soup:
  • Slice your mushrooms (about 4 8 oz packages); This may take awhile (depending on your skills) but perservere - it's worth it
  • Heat oil in a large pot, add sliced onion and chopped garlic
  • Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat until they are soft and omitting liquid
  • Add ground pepper, 1-2 tablespoons each of worcestire and soy sauce, and 3-4 cups of vegetable broth
  • Meanwhile, in a blender, blend 1/2 cup each of cashews and water to make a lovely cream and set aside
  • [You can get your bread started now (see below)]
  • Use a hand-held blender to puree your mushrooms and/or transfer to blender to puree (I did both)
    • Please PLEASE don't hurt yourself making this soup.  Hot liquids rise when blended so BE CAREFUL and blend small amounts at a time
  • Transfer back to large pot, add cashew cream and heat on low until you're ready to serve(immediately if you're me)
What to do for the bread:
  • Cut thick slices in your baguette, making sure to not slice it right through
  • Mash together a couple tablespoons of butter, one finely chopped garlic clove and spring onion, salt and pepper, 1 tsp of olive oil, and fresh parmesan cheese
  • Spread throughout and wrap in tinfoil
  • Bake at 350 C for ten minutes.  Or less - or more
  • Be careful not to scald yourself as you pounce on the finished product
I called it "give it to me" bread because that's what you'll be thinking until it's in your mouth.  You may as well call the soup that too.  And you didn't think I'd let you get away with not hearing about what you're eating, did you?  Well..mushrooms are high in vitamins, minerals, and FIBRE, AND have none of the bad stuff.  Check it.

Get the legit recipe from the master herself and a million other drool-worthy recipes here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Eggplant Asparagus Spaghetti

Who says tomatoes have to be the main base for pasta sauce?  I went out on a limb and gave eggplant the lead role for her 15 minutes of fame tonight.  I'm referring to cooking time when I say 15 minutes because after I daintily ate (read: scarfed down) my Sunday concoction, I can tell you that this one is here to stay.
The bold flavor and meatiness of the eggplant could stand on its own, but adding in the asparagus adds all kinds of crunchy, bitter wonder.  This is comfort food with a twist. 
Spiced just right, this just may be your new go-to.  

Also..did you know that eggplant is technically classified as a berry??  Me neither.

What you'll need: 
spices: salt, pepper, chili powder
fresh parmesan
tomato sauce or paste

To start:
  • Peel eggplant, cut into thick chunks and lightly salt (this is to make the eggplant "sweat")
  • Heat oil in large saucepan; add garlic and fresh basil
  • Add eggplant and two chopped tomatoes
  • Boil water for pasta!
  • With a potato smasher, reduce the eggplant/tomatoe mix to a thick sauce, adding water until you get to your desired consistency
  • Add your spices and a about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • In a separate pan, heat a little oil and sautee asparagus pieces with some of your eggplant sauce
  • Once the pasta is ready, add directly to the asparagus and add more sauce
  • Toss pasta directly in the pan and serve immediately with fresh parmesan and ground pepper
Read all about what eggplant has to offer, including nicotine! here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Legitimate Pad Thai

I love Thai food.  I mean, I really really love it.  Though I've been cooking it for as long as I can remember, and the finished product is always tasty (in my humble opinion), the problem was that I was Canadianizing it too much; I was complicating things with too many ingredients (yes, ketchup was involved).

I've since learned that the beauty of Thai food is its simplicity.  But here's the clincher - the signature Thai flavours could not contrast one another more.  Most dishes are actually only based around 4 ingredients/flavours: sour-lime, sweet-sugar, salty-fish sauce, and spicy-chili.  How do I know this?  Well, Dan and I travelled to Thailand and spent a full day with a crazy Thai woman (trust me - she told us she threatens her husband with a cleaver if he stays out past 2am) and learnt the art of Thai cooking.

I guess I should come clean: for those who attempted the Tom Kha Soup I posted recently, I'm told that regular ol' ginger is NOT a substitute for galangal, but I still remain unconvinced...

Anyhow, you can trust me on this one - it's directly from the source.  Pad Thai, though not the most obscure item on the menu, is the most traditional dish and, arguably, one of the easiest to make.  That said, be creative, use other ingredients, garnish like it's your job - but always, ALWAYS stick to the basics and you'll never be let down.

What you'll need:
fish sauce
oyster sauce
rice noodles
green beans

To garnish:
cilantro and/or green onions
hot sauce or chili powder
chopped peanuts

What to do:
  • Place vermicelli noodles in bowl of hot water to soak - Do not boil!
  • Heat oil in wok and add chopped garlic
  • Immediately add tofu pieces (or chicken if you so please)
  • Add scrambled egg (you can scramble in the wok to save time and dishes)
  • Immediately add 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp fish sauce, and 3 tsp oyster sauce.  Don't use measuring spoons - go with your gut
  • Add your noodles and a tiny bit of water if they aren't fully cooked
  • Last step! - Throw in your chopped carrots and green beans and cook for about 1-2 minutes - be careful not to overcook your veggies
  • Add your garnishes and serve!

For a veggie (or kosher option), sub in mushroom sauce for oyster.  Vegans (and kosher sticklers) can leave out the fish sauce or add soy.

Last night I made enough for two grown men and ate every last morsel.  Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much.