Food: Autumn Beef Stew

A hearty stew is perfect comfort food for Fall.  This one pays homage to Julia Child’s legendary boeuf bourguignon, stealing her trick of flavoring a wine-rich beef stew with bacon drippings, but adding generous chunks of carrot, potato and butternut squash.  Serve with a side of crusty fresh bread.  And make sure to drink some of the wine.

Image: Midwest Living

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Canola oil
  • medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • bay leaves
  • tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • pound butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • stalks celery, sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

directions

  1. In a large plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
  2. If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Return beef, bacon and any remaining flour to pot. Stir to combine. Add chicken and beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and liquid is desired consistency. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley.

Enjoy!

 

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Goldfish themed sweet treats

A good friend of mine who lives part-time in Tokyo just texted me a photo where she was eating a goldfish at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

This is a lifelike goldfish lollipop

Okay; it’s not a real goldfish (thank goodness) but a jelly dessert that’s part of a Goldfish Festival on until the end of September.  So I had to research the festival because one of the many things I remember about the time I lived in Tokyo was that they have an abundance of not-your-norm festivals.  

WHY GOLDFISH?

In Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), in the days before the blissful arrival of air conditioning and electric fans, the residents of Tokyo had their own tried and tested ways of dealing with the hot summer weather. Traditionally, people would don lightweight yukata cotton robes and found that viewing images of goldfish had the mysterious effect of providing psychological relief from the summer heat.

The Eco Edo Nihonbashi is a festival themed on the cooling image of goldfish, which aims to replicate this marvelous placebo effect as it takes over the streets of downtown Tokyo from early July until late September. Festival-goers are invited to try for themselves some of the tactics used to keep cool by Tokyoites of yore as they scoop goldfish, dance among the fish at a night-time aquarium party, and munch on refreshing goldfish-themed summer treats.

Eco Edo will showcase the curious cooling properties of goldfish to the full, with an array of goldfish-themed attractions. All these forms of Edo-period wisdom can be enjoyed in a traditional Japanese festival atmosphere, with the surrounding streets decked out with the festival’s trademark enormous goldfish lanterns.

Goldfish Sweets & Bar Walk

New to this year’s festival, enjoy traditional Edo hospitality on a gourmet stroll through Nihonbashi and Ningyocho districts, where many bars, cafes and restaurants will be plying guests with goldfish-themed sweet treats and bar menus as well as locally-produced Japanese sake. Dishes on offer include colourful jelly in glass dishes designed to resemble goldfish in a goldfish bowl, and chilled oden (fish and vegetable hotpot) garnished with tiny carrot goldfish. Visitors can also claim special gifts in each area they visit and collect stamps to enter a lottery to win luxury prizes.

As part of the food and hospitality event, the Mandarin Oriental is also tempting festival-goers with several special offers:

Goldfish Bowl Desserts

Slurp on exquisite layered jelly desserts made to resemble goldfish swimming in a goldfish bowl – they’re almost too beautiful to eat!
Where? Ground floor, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
When? 7:30-20:00 (weekdays), 9:00-19:00 (weekends and public holidays) to 24th September.
Only in Japan!

Food in the Forest: pilgrimme

pilgrimme on Galiano Island is a foodie dining out discovery.  It may be off the beaten path, but even so, it’s not easy to get a reservation.  It has been voted in Canada’s 100 TOP Restaurants for good reason.  I called a couple weeks in advance and was considered lucky to get a table for four during my recent stay on Galiano.  And what a dining experience it turned out to be.

plgrimme, the restaurant.  It’s worth the ferry ride over.

For years, Galiano remained a well-kept secret, its charms known mainly to the farmers and artisans who called it home.  The cozy wood cabin previously existed as a much loved French restaurant for years before present owners Leanne Lalonde and Jesse McLeery put their name above the door.  Leanne had previously worked for Rosewood’s King Pacific Lodge in the great bear rainforest where she first met Jesse.

Jesse made the inspiring journey to Denmark to spend the winter in the kitchen of Copenhagen’s acclaimed Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant . Returning west with new ideas and a reinforced vision, Jesse, with Leanne, opened pilgrimme working with the growers and artisans of Galiano Island.  Everything is made fresh from scratch, locally sourced, farm-to-table, creatively plated and extremely tasty.  Even the ceramics are made on the island.  They have a nicely curated wine list too.

Some of the shared plates created especially for us

Here’s the thing that impressed me the most.  The restaurant created an all vegan menu which was absolutely delicious because out of our group of four people, two and a half of us are vegan.  I must admit that I had my reservations about that at first because I thought that vegan food would be less tasty but everything turned out to be surprisingly excellent.  As good or better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant all year.  And it made me change my mind-set.  In a perfect world we would all be vegan and everything would be better off.  Although I’m not quite ready to totally live up to that.  I’m not perfect just yet.

http://pilgrimme.ca/visit-pilgrimme/

 

 

A timely recipe for August

After my recent visit to a blueberry farm let’s just say that I came home with an abundance of the delicious antioxidant packed berries.  They’re ripe and in season. So I decided to try something simple but different.  In the sense that I made this dessert completely gluten free. Just because I wanted to try it. And it was as good as if I had used regular baking flour, etc.  Trust me on this – It really was that good! 

GLUTEN-FREE BLUEBERRY CRISP

This crisp is delicious served warm or cold, with yogurt for breakfast, ice cream for dessert or simply on its own!

*So here’s the big question: Are oats truly gluten-free? 

The short answer is YES — non-contaminated, pure oats are gluten-free. They are safe for most people with gluten-intolerance.

The main problem with oats in gluten-free eating is contamination. Most commercial oats are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley, and rye. The gluten in these ingredients can contaminate oats, and the nature of most gluten intolerances is that even a trace amount of gluten can cause severe discomfort. So that box of Quaker Oats? Probably not gluten-free.

Recipe adapted from Valley Natural Foods

Dressing up for lunch or dinner

with Creamy Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing

photo: d. king.

AHA – a healthy alternative to bought salad dressing

Easy to make and soooo delicious!  I think you’re going to LOVE this one.  Plus it looks pretty, especially in a pineapple bowl.

INGREDIENTS

  1. ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
  2. ⅓ cup rice vinegar.
  3. 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about ⅔ cup)
  4. 2 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger.
  5. 2 tablespoons lime juice.
  6. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey.
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil.
  8. ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste.

    Photo: d. king

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender (I use Vitamix), combine all of the salad dressing ingredients as listed. Bend until completely smooth. Taste, and add additional salt if the dressing doesn’t make your eyes light up. It should have some zing to it but you can always blend in a bit more honey if need be.

Serve over greens and add toasted sesame seeds (optional) to top it off and some shaved carrot.  TIP: you can have it as a main course if you toss in some cooked salmon or chicken.

Adapted from Love Real Food cookbook

Enjoy

 

 

 

Food: Cravings

Simple. Savory. Satisfying.

You need only a few key ingredients to whip something up in a pinch.

Image: cravingsofalunatic
Photo: d. king 1)penne 2)scrambled eggs

These simple worthy recipes for breakfast lunch and/or dinner use only three (or four) savory ingredients – an old standby of sour cream, chives and bacon no less.  On their own they’re pretty dull, but collectively they add a powerful punch to some dishes.  Something definitely to consider but maybe not to incorporate into a steady diet.

I can’t remember the last time I went out and actually bought bacon in a store because I usually reserve bacon as a side for occasional Sunday brunch.  However I was cross border shopping and ended up buying a box of uncured fully-cooked apple smoked bacon at Trader Joe’s.  I don’t know; just had a craving. And I hate frying up bacon because of all the rendered fat and this one only needed a few seconds in a microwave or frypan.  The problem is, then you have to use it up in a  relatively short time span.

For a few days I made the most delicious BLT sandwiches, but I switched the lettuce for avocado so it became a BAT instead.  So yummy with beefsteak tomatoes, good bread and mayo.

I probably won’t eat bacon for a while now, but if you have a craving as I did, here are a few easy ideas to help use it up. With sour cream and chives of course.

Breakfast Bourdain style:

Anthony Bourdain’s Scrambled Eggs

Image: d. king

Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 10 mins Serves: 2 servings

Here chopped bacon is fried until crisp.  Eggs are whisked and added to pan (sans milk or water). When eggs are finished cooking, a dollop of sour cream is stirred into the eggs, along with chopped chives or green onions.  It works and tastes incredibly good.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sliced bacon (about 2 slices of thick-cut or more depending)
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a medium or large pan (nonstick if you have it) over medium-high heat.
  2. Add bacon to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crispy, about 4-5 minutes (if using regular).
  3. Lower heat and drain some of the bacon fat.
  4. Add eggs to pan, stirring constantly, and when set, remove from heat.
  5. Stir in sour cream, chives and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Lunch: Penne pasta with sour cream, bacon and chives 

INGREDIENTS for two (or four as a side)

Image: d. king
  • 8 ounces short pasta (penne, ziti, etc)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped and cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • Chives, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Return to the hot pasta pot.
  2. Put the pot on the lowest heat setting on your stove and stir in butter and sour cream. Stir until both are melted and combined into the pasta.
  3. Stir in chives and cooked bacon.
  4. Serve at once.

    Image: cravingsofalunatic

Dinner: Baked Potato

Whatever you’re having with a side of baked potato.  Tell me you don’t need any instructions on this. OR; even better: just a fully-loaded baked potato with added stuff like broccoli and cheese.  I know you want to!

We all have to satisfy our cravings.  Okay; I’m done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dishing: a good side of Bad-boy Cauliflower

From Bland to Beautiful. Cauliflower; you dress up nicely.

Photo: d. king

My food goal this week was to make the easiest Anthony Bourdain recipe I could find.  There were two.  But I chose this one for two reasons.  1) I had a head of cauliflower in my fridge intending to make cauliflower rice. 2) Anything that makes cauliflower more flavorful is worth a try.  This one will not disappoint.  It’s actually very delicious – tastes better than it looks.  What I find funny is that Cauliflower is one of my least favorite vegetables yet I’m appreciating how adaptable it is.  Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of the cruciferous kind.  But there are exceptions to every rule.

This recipe is dead simple to throw together too. It’s also intriguing because it mixes Greek & Italian herbs with Middle Eastern tahini and Japanese miso. Proves we can all get along.

The cauliflower gets crisp and charred on the edges. After the florets are roasted and tossed in the thick sauce of tahini, miso, red wine vinegar and a splash of water, the heat of the cauliflower will loosen up the sauce and coat every inch in delicious nuttiness, umami and a tad of tang.

It’s a side dish but Bourdain said one adult could easily polish off the entire dish for dinner. As usual, he said it exactly like it is.  I did it.

So when he described this dish as This s–t is compulsively delicious, you can bet that he was right.

“Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame” is from his book, “Appetites: A Cookbook”

It’s the last cookbook he wrote. This isn’t a collection of necessarily cutting-edge cooking, but rather recipes for dishes that he loved to cook at home — well, on the rare days that he was actually in New York and not traveling the globe for his must-see “Parts Unknown” show on CNN. They’re also dishes that Bourdain thought every home-cook ought to have in his or her repertoire.  It will be a part of mine from now on.

Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame

(Serves 4 as a side dish)

1 head of cauliflower, broken by hand into florets

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt (I used fleur-de-sel)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon white miso  (it’s a paste that you can readily find now at most grocery stores)

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds (I used a mixed sesame seasoning seed blend)

*I squeezed a little bit of fresh lemon juice over top but try it “as is” first.

All you have to do is toss the cauliflower with spices, roast, and then toss it again with your tahini and miso mixture. That’s it!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower, oil, salt, coriander, oregano, and pepper and toss well to evenly coat the cauliflower with the oil and spices. Transfer to a sheet pan and arrange in an even layer, making spaces between the pieces as much as possible. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the tray and lightly tossing the pieces halfway through.

While the cauliflower roasts, combine the tahini, miso, vinegar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth.

Once the cauliflower is done, remove it from the oven, transfer to a mixing bowl, and toss with the sauce and sesame seeds to coat evenly.

Side note: Bourdain’s chapter on desserts is all of one page, which essentially says, “F–k dessert.” Turns out he wasn’t big on sweets, preferring cheese instead.

Adapted from “Appetites: A Cookbook” by Anthony Bourdain

 

Monday Mood: A Cook’s Tale

Anthony Bourdain

 

1956-2018

It takes a special personality to make someone who never met you evoke great sadness upon hearing of your passing. Such is the case with the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain.  Aside from his friends and family, numerous others were shocked and saddened over hearing the news just three days ago.

Bourdain always reminded me a little bit of Leonard Cohen.  He was a Foodie, not a Poet although with his artistic combination of mixing food with storytelling through travel, you could almost describe him as being somewhat poetic.  His lifestyle influenced so many people. He represented to dining what Muhammad Ali represented to boxing or Leonard Cohen to poetry. A master of his craft – which was food.

According to the New York Times, Bourdain rose to fame after writing a darkly funny memoir about life in New York City restaurant kitchens which made him a celebrity chef and touched off his second career as a journalist, food expert and social activist.

His mother, Gladys Bourdain, was a longtime editor at The New York Times.  She said she had no indication that he might have been thinking of suicide. “He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this,” Ms. Bourdain said.

Despite his untimely death, Mr. Bourdain taught us a lot about enjoying the good life and that is something to celebrate.

Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain

Never one to shy away from dramatics, Anthony Bourdain’s latest cookbook, Appetites, begins with an interpolation of a famous quote from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina​: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

“If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.”

“Tokyo would probably be the foreign city if I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo, and I think the majority of chefs you ask that question would answer the same way.”

“Travel isn’t always pretty.  It isn’t always comfortable.  Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.  The journey changes you; it should change you.  It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.  You take something with you.  Hopefully you leave something good behind.”  – Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain’s legacy is that he left a lot of good behind.

White Wine Herb Poached Wild Salmon with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Haricot Vert Salad

How many ways to cook wild salmon?  I can count the ways.  Here’s a good one:

White Wine and Herb Poached Wild Salmon for two.

Incorporating three of the things I love most: wine, herbs and salmon.

1 salmon fillet, skinned & debonned, about 1 lb (½ lb for each)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, sliced
6 sprigs fresh sage
salt & pepper

Check salmon fillet for any pin bones, taking care to remove with tweezers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. In a large nonreactive skillet, place lemon slices and herbs. Pour in wine and water and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add salmon on top of lemons and herbs, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, about 10 minutes. Check doneness – if fish is firm and opaque, remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to serve.

poaching

Warm Brussel Sprout and Haricot Vert Salad

1/2 lb french green beans, trimmed
1/2 lb brussel sprouts, cleaned and shredded roughly with a mandolin or a very sharp knife
1 shallot, sliced
1 tbs butter
salt & pepper

In a skillet over medium high heat, warm butter until melted. Add green beans and shallot. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook until green beans are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add Brussel sprouts, tossing thoroughly until combined. Set aside until ready to serve.

Sage Aioli 

makes 1 cup

1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sage
2 tbs dijon mustard
1 egg
2 tbs lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse to combine garlic, sage, egg and mustard, about 10 seconds. While food processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, season generously with salt and pepper and pulse to combine, about 10 seconds.

To serve, plate Brussel sprout & haricot vert salad, top with salmon fillet and top with a spoonful of aioli.

*The original recipe called for 1 cup of canola oil and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  You can decide.

Is canola oil healthy?
Quality canola oil is on par with some of the healthiest oils out there. Canola oil is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s than most vegetable oils, which may help reduce your risk of inflammatory illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Like olive oil, canola oil also contains a boatload of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. In the kitchen, canola has a mild flavor and relatively high smoke point, making it a versatile cooking oil and safe at high heats. Since cold-pressed oils can spoil more quickly than others, they should be stored in dark bottles and refrigerated to ensure freshness.

Bottom Line: Some conventional canola oils are questionable, but you can avoid the dangers and reap the heart-healthy benefits by choosing a quality expeller-pressed or cold-pressed oil that’s also organic or non-GMO.

original recipe at: http://abetterhappierstsebastian.com

 

 

Dishing: Cauliflower Rice

AHA…Another healthy alternative.  This one for rice.

I’m sure you’ve seen it on many a menu of late.  If you haven’t made it already I urge you to try it.  It’s simple and you can serve it up pretty much any way you would with regular rice.  Just add garnish.

Image: A Food Centric Life (with parmesan and herbs).

Among its advantages: It’s made from one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can get, so it’s loaded with nutrients including fiber, vitamins C, K and B6, and potassium. Cauliflower has 25 calories per cup vs. 218 for a cup of cooked brown rice.

Directions:

  1. To make the cauliflower rice, break up the florets and pulse cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor until it resembles rice, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. One example: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat.
  4. Add the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Stir frequently, until the cauliflower has softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.Spoon the cauliflower into a large serving bowl, pour sauce over top. Serve warm.

You can gently stir fry or sauté with it using in place of rice for paella or risotto or just mixed with other vegetables. Cauliflower is like a chameleon – it will change it’s flavour depending on how you use it.  It’s not as boring as it looks.

Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

  • Helps Reduce Cancer Risk.
  • Fights Inflammation.
  • Decreases Risk for Heart Disease and Brain Disorders.
  • Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (Especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
  • Improves Digestion and Detoxification.
  • Aids in Weight Loss.
  • Helps Balance Hormones.
  • Preserves Eye Health.

Have you tried it?