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

 

 

 

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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?

 

 

 

Dishing: Blackened Fish

Fresh & Flavorful

Photo: Taste of Home (this is blackened Halibut)

This is such a delicious way to serve up mildly flavoured quick-cooking fish like Tilapia, Perch, Cod or Red Snapper.  Perfect for rice bowls or tacos.

After making this you have options to serve the fish alongside fluffy rice & veggies or as the main ingredient for tacos.  Rockfish like Perch or Snapper is perfect for fish tacos. The fish will flake apart nicely so you can stuff your tacos with it along with fresh salsa (see my fire-roasted corn salsa recipe below) diced avocado, extra cilantro and fresh squeezed lime.

INGREDIENTS for 4 people

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first eight ingredients. Add fillets, two at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large cast-iron skillet, cook fillets in butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Originally published as Blackened Halibut in Simple & Delicious April/May 2012.

Photos: d. king  (Snapper for Two)

Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa:

In a large bowl add chopped grape tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, black beans + fire roasted corn niblets (You can toast them over the stove to save time but it would be better grilled right from the husk.)  Toss with freshly squeezed lime juice + coarse salt. Add chopped avocado.  Little street tacos, rice on the side and you’re done.  It’s delicious.

 

 

Healthy Alternative: Homemade Coconut Milk

photo: the happiness kitchen

I’ve been pouring store bought coconut milk over granola, oatmeal and adding it in place of water to smoothies for a looooong time. That’s before I knew how so much more delicious and easy it is to make my own.  Trust me,  bought coconut milk does not compare to homemade. It’s great for smoothies, but after making your own you’ll realize how watery it is in comparison because they use more water to coconut ratio. I prefer coconut over almond milk.  It’s my tropical side coming out.

When you make your own it’s almost like cracking open a fresh coconut.  Really!

Ingredients (for about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3-4 cups water (use less water for thicker, creamier milk!)
  • Pinch salt
  • Add optional: 1 Tbsp maple syrup, ½ tsp. vanilla extract or scrape half a vanilla bean for added sweetness.  fyi: I have not added any extras so far

Instructions

  1. Add coconut, 3 cups of hot (not boiling) water, pinch of salt (I like himalayan), and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture seems well combined.
  2. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Save pulp for smoothies, baked goods or add it to oatmeal. You won’t waste any and it gives added coconut taste.
  3. Transfer to a sealed container or glass bottle and refrigerate. Will keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Shake before use, as it can separate in the refrigerator (due to no preservatives!).  Some recommend squeezing the milk through a cheese cloth after using sieve but I didn’t need to do this.

FOR COFFEE LOVES (like me)

And if you want to go one step further try making your own coconut milk creamer.  I’ve been using So Good fat free Coconut Milk Creamer with French Vanilla which works really well to sweeten up coffee instead of adding sugar.  But I can’t find it easily in Vancouver and I’ve tried all the other brands which don’t compare in my opinion. I still like sweetener (that’s not gonna change) so I’m now making my own.

Homemade Coconut Milk Creamer

Homemade coconut milk creamer for coffee is also super easy to make. All you need is quality coconut milk and a healthy sweetener like honey and natural vanilla extract. Full fat coconut milk contains the healthy medium chain fats that are in coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

  1. Blend the coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla extract together until the creamer is mixed well.
  2. Pour desired amount into your coffee or tea and store the remaining creamer in the refrigerator.
  3. Make sure to shake the creamer well before using. Enjoy! This creamer will be good for up to two weeks.

 Sooooo Good!

 

Super Food: Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Sweet meets Savory

This healthy & hearty salad made in one pot is hard to beat. It takes maybe 30 minutes to prepare and it’s a delicious vegetarian meal packed with protein which comes in handy for lunch. Non-vegetarians can enjoy it for dinner served as a side along roast chicken or fish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth (or water)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ⅔ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup finely diced flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup sliced toasted almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add coconut oil to a large pot and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot add in onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the following spices: turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds more.
  2. Next add in broth (or water) and quinoa; bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for exactly 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  3. Stir in chickpeas, cranberries and parsley to the quinoa and mix until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with toasted almonds and extra parsley. Serves 4.
  4. To serve: Place in mason jars or meal prep containers for lunch throughout the week. Garnish with extra toasted almonds.

Quinoa: with 8 grams per cup, this gluten-free seed-like grain is a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, antioxidants, and fiber.

Recipe & Photo: ambitiouskitchen.com

 

 

Food: ROASTED BEET HUMMUS

For a winning party or potluck dip you cannot BEET this recipe.

Taken from theminimalistbaker.com

It’s a nice departure from the usual Mediterranean style hummus we’ve come to love. Super creamy and flavorful. Full of vitamins and minerals. Perfect with pita or veggies.  I made it twice in one month to rave reviews (unless they lied but I doubt it).

It’s also very simple to make. Once you have a roasted beet it’s a matter of throwing everything into a food processor or blender and whisking away.  You might want to roast more than one beet (to use the others in salads, etc.) because that takes the longest time.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), remove the stem and most of the root from beet, and scrub and wash it under running water until clean. Drizzle on a bit of canola or olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance and is tender (similar to a baked potato). Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

But it won’t last one week because you’ll eat it up before then.