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.

Quick ‘n Easy Coq au Vin

Hearty dishes aren’t usually described as elegant, but this classic French recipe is the very definition.

This is something I would usually reserve for ordering in a good French restaurant, and even then, it’s not something I readily crave.  But I had chicken and I had white wine on hand.  Actually I had everything except the bacon so it made sense to find a recipe.

PHOTO: Liz Andrew.  STYLING: Erin McDowell

The only problem? You need Julia Child levels of patience and skill to pull it off. Enter this foolproof version, which is ready in under an hour. Plus, it’s made with dry white wine instead of red for an elegant twist.

What you need:

3 pounds chicken (8 pieces total—thighs, breasts and drumsticks)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 strips bacon, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it’s well browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat begins to render, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Pour the wine into the skillet, stir in the mustard and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  5. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is almost fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover the skillet and add the cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

de rien

 

Recipe: greek oregano chicken + orzo with tomatoes in garlic oil

If you’re looking for an easy, no fuss delicious dinner made in one pot – this is it!

image: halfbakedharvest.com

I’m always on the lookout for recipes that keep things simple but are healthy, hearty and smell heavenly.  Of course a touch of the exotic or unexpected is always a plus and it must look appetizing on the plate and pleasing on the palate. In this one the *orzo takes on a risotto-like texture since it gets cooked in with the chicken and peppers.  Sometimes oregano can be overpowering, but when paired with this chicken, some balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika, it’s perfect. This dish was originally a summer dish because of the heirloom tomatoes but you can still find them at select grocers and winter farmers markets.  The first part of the recipe (Tomatoes) is an extra step which is optional, although I highly recommend making it.

Ingredients:

TOMATOES

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes sliced
  • 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

CHICKEN + ORZO

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bit size pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 cup mixed kalamata or green olives
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta (use gluten free if needed)
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Instructions:

TOMATOES

  1. Add the olive oil, garlic and chili pepper flakes to a small sauce pan. Bring the oil to a low boil and then quickly reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool and then store in a glass jar for up to a month in the fridge.
  2. Add the tomatoes to a bowl or plate and drizzle with the chili oil mix. Sprinkle with salt + pepper. Serve alongside the chicken.

CHICKEN

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium size dutch oven or large skillet set on medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the chicken, garlic, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken to coat and then cook until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano and cook another minute. Remove the chicken from the pan and to a plate.
  3. To the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil, the bell peppers and a pinch of salt + pepper. Sear the peppers until just beginning to caramelize on the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Add the orzo and another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the pasta with the peppers on then pour in 2 1/2 cups water. Cook until almost all the water is absorbed and the orzo is creamy. Taste the orzo to make sure it is soft in the middle, if needed, add another 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking the orzo until soft. It is important to stir the orzo often, as it wants to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Once the orzo is cooked, slide the chicken and olives into the orzo and remove from the heat. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve the dish topped with crumbled feta cheese and a side of tomatoes in chili oil.

*Orzo is a Greek barley-like pasta, the shape of large grains of rice

Original Recipe: halfbakedharvest.com

Let me know if this is something you would make and if you make it, let me know how much you like it.

 

Grill Talk: lime-marinated Mahi Mahi

Surprise, surprise…who knew?  It’s actually quite easy to barbeque.

Everyone except me it seems. But honestly confession….I recently barbequed for the very first time. For someone who has always enjoyed cooking in all its various forms, I’ve never had the desire to barbeque until now, even though I find many things taste better when on the grill – even vegetables. For no reason I can think of,  I’ve always left it up to others, specifically my husband to do the honors.  But now that I’m on my own and in the company of more than one barbeque I thought it was time to give it a go.  Because I’m doing some things I’ve never done before how daring of me. So once I fired it up; mystery solved! This is my third time grilling in the past two weeks, and each time dinner was surprisingly delicious.  And simple.  And quick.

My first attempt was Wild Alaskan Salmon coated with mayo, grainy mustard & spices.  Then it was a boneless rib-eye steak and now:

Lime-Marinated Mahi Mahi

Hawaii Mahimahi is an excellent source of healthy, extra lean protein. It is also low in saturated fat and low in sodium. It is rich in niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. It (like most fish) should not be over cooked and flakes easily when done properly.  It’s also very meaty, almost steak-like in texture.  So if you want to re-create a tropical flavor this recipe will do so.  Enjoy.

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and grated lime zest together in a bowl to make the marinade.
  3. Place the mahi mahi fillets in the marinade and turn to coat; allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.
  4. Cook on the preheated grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  5. Garnish with twists of lime zest to serve (optional).

What is your favorite thing to grill?

 

  

 

Stylish Food – Gucci’s Haute New Restaurant

 When I think dream of Gucci, what usually comes to mind is:

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of THIS:

But when in Rome Florence you can now dine out Gucci-style.  It appears that the latest trend is mixing famous high-end fashion houses with cuisine.

The Italian fashion house has opened a 50-seat restaurant, Gucci Osteria, in Florence where three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura will serve up high-end dishes.

The Gucci restaurant is sited behind the walls of the 14th century Palazzo della Mercanzia building, overlooking the city’s most famous square, Piazza della Signoria. Visitors can treat themselves to the likes of Parmigiano Reggiano tortellini, Peruvian-inspired tostadas, pork belly buns and mushroom risotto for €20 to €30 euros per dish.

Few strategies come without an element of risk, however.

*Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli said that if luxury companies did not provide a gastronomic experience that matched their other goods, it could dilute their brands. “The experience has to be luxurious and recognizable,” he said.  At least fashionably plated right?

“Food is luxury as much as fashion,” said Stefano Cantino, strategic marketing director at Prada, which owns exclusive Milan patisserie Marchesi.

“Barriers have been broken.”

The Gucci Osteria restaurant is part of “Gucci Garden,” which includes an exhibition area, a bazaar-like boutique and a cinema room. “Haute couture and haute cuisine are a recipe made in heaven,” chef Bottura told reporters.

So if you can’t have that special Gucci bag or pair of loafers you can always get a loaf of Gucci bread.   But to do so, you still have to get to Florence.

btw, just because you asked….this is my new favorite neutral:

Source: businessoffashion.com

*Bernstein is widely recognized as Wall Street’s premier sell-side research and brokerage firm, with a global equity trading platform that spans the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

 

 

Food: One-Pan Salmon with potatoes and romaine

Dinner Simplified

This easy salmon recipe gives you the main course and sides all at once, so fewer pots and pans to clean later.  Plus I happened to have tiny potatoes and romaine to use up in my fridge. And sometimes all you need are just three ingredients. 

Makes 4 servings

1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes (or other bite-sized)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Four 6-ounce salmon fillets

1 tablespoon melted butter

¼ teaspoon paprika

2 hearts romaine lettuce

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.

3. Roast the potatoes in the oven until slightly golden and fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. While the potatoes roast, cut 2 romaine hearts in half and rub with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

5. Brush the salmon fillets with the melted butter. Season each fillet with paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

6. Arrange the romaine and salmon on the baking sheet with the potatoes. Continue roasting for 5 to 7 minutes more, until the lettuce is tender and the fish is cooked through.

7. To serve, divide the potatoes, romaine and salmon among four plates.

For when you fancy nothing fancy; just good!