Dressed Up – Asian Salad Dressing

This is a light, easy and flavorful salad dressing – perfect for Spring.

Photo Credit: The Creative Bite

Toss with greens of your choice and chopped cabbage, Add carrot slivers, crunchy chow mein noodles, mandarin orange slices and diced chicken (optional).

Ingredients (amount shown is for two people):

  1.    3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
  2.    3 tablespoons soy sauce, pref. low-sodium.
  3.    1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated.
  4.    12 teaspoon fresh minced garlic.
  5.    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil.
  6.    13 cup extra virgin olive or grape seed oil.
  7.    1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
  8.    1 tablespoon scallion, chopped (green onions).

Assemble:

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl or food processor.
  2. If using a bowl: SLOWLY drizzle in the sesame and olive, peanut or grapeseed oil, whisking constantly so that the dressing will emulsify.
  3. If using a food processor, leave it running while you drizzle in the oil.
  4. When dressing is well combined, add sesame seeds and scallions.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate and use within a week.

Place ingredients in a jar and shake well. Some like to add a little sugar for added sweetness. I prefer not to although you can also add a bit of honey if you like.

ENJOY!

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Dips: Healthy Hummus

Hummus is an essential party pleasing dip.  You can buy it, however it’s pretty easy to make, plus it’s extremely healthy.  Hummus is rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The best thing is that it tastes soooo good.

Hummus Dip with oven baked Pita Chips & cut up veggies.  Cut up pieces of bought pita bread and bake in the oven at 350F for a few minutes to crisp up into chips.

Ingredients:

16 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas, rinsed)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. cumin

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp. Tahini (sesame paste)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

TIP: add a few tablespoons of water to mix (if too thick) and you prefer to avoid adding more oil.

Process:
This recipe really could not be any easier.  The key to smooth hummus is letting the food processor do all of the work. Throw the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, tahini, and rest into the food processor. Turn the food processor on for about 30 seconds and then slowly pour in the olive oil.  Add a few tbsp. of water if it looks like the hummus is too thick. The food processor really helps in creating that creamy texture we all love.

For toppings I love toasting some pine nuts in a pan.  Simmer some herbs in olive oil and pour over top.  Parsley is great too.

Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Homemade hummus usually lasts for about 7-10 days in the refrigerator.  But I can assure you it won’t last that long.

 

 

Food: Fabulous Flatbread

If you love pizza and really….who doesn’t?

d. king

This flatbread tastes similar to a thin crust pizza (my personal favorite), but with less calories, and it’s perfect for when friends drop by unexpectedly (or not) and you want to serve up something relatively easy to make in a hurry and extremely tasty.

Try to have some staples on hand always.  It will make your life much easier.

I start with a low-carb tomato-basil or Italian herb wrap or actual flatbread (available at pretty much any worthwhile grocery store).

Set the oven to 350F and put the flatbread on a tray for about five minutes on its own to crisp it up.

Then take it out and add the following (above photo shows what I had on hand at the time which thankfully ended up to be more than enough and extremely flavorful to boot).

tomato sauce and/or paste (I like the tube – it’s less messy)

Sliced tomato

Thinly sliced sweet onion

Artichoke Hearts

Kalamata Olives

Sundried Tomatoes

Grated cheese (mozzarella or parmesan)

A bit of Burrata…even better!

Drizzle with olive oil & a bit of balsamic and spices to taste.

Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.  Take it out.  Cut into squares.  Serve.

Tip: Of course you can vary the toppings to suit your taste!  Spinach + Feta? If you’re a meat lover add pepperoni, etc.  You can have fun with this.  There are so many variations.

Soooo good!

 

 

 

Best in Bone Broth

I’ve had this recipe on hold since I’ve been making my own bone broth from scratch.  I add the rich broth to many recipes and also use it to mix over meat for the dogs. I think this one taken from GooP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lifestyle website) is worth sharing because it claims to be The Best Bone Broth on the Planet.  Now who’s going to argue with that?  

How to Make the Best Bone Broth on the Planet

Marco Canora started serving bone broth from the takeaway window at his NYC restaurant Hearth in 2014. In fact, it was so wildly popular that he built Brodo, a whole restaurant devoted to the stuff, in 2016. But that’s not where it all started for him. “I had a relationship with broth long before it was called ‘bone broth’—and long before I knew anything about its health benefits,” says the chef and entrepreneur, who also runs Zadie’s Oyster Room in the East Village. “Our signature broth at Brodo is pretty much the same broth I learned to make as a child, watching my mom in the kitchen.”

Opening Brodo, however, had a great deal to do with Canora’s own personal health journey. “After twenty years of carb-loading, smoking, drinking, and working eighty hours a week in high-stress NYC kitchen environments, I was in a deep hole of inflammation and anxiety,” he says. The results: gout, high cholesterol, weight gain, insulin resistance, and lack of energy, along with a mental and emotional toll. “I had become short-fused and lost my ability to motivate and manage a staff,” says Canora.

Bone broth was key to his path back to health. “Its nutritional benefits and healing abilities for the gut and immunity played a large role,” he says. “While there are no magic bullets, as I learned about its properties, I made an effort to drink it more often. And the better it made me feel, the more strongly I felt about sharing the amazing goodness that is bone broth with my customers.”

How to Make Bone Broth by Marco Canora

  1. Get some bones: Visit a local butcher or farmers’ market or order them online, and always save the leftover bones and whole carcasses from anything you cook.
  2. Fill a large pot (I recommend eighteen quarts, minimum) four fifths of the way with bones and cover with cold water. The water should cover the bones by two to three inches.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, periodically skimming off impurities and fat.
  4. Add organic chopped vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes (canned, fresh, or paste), along with aromatics, like parsley and peppercorns.
  5. Continue to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours, checking periodically to make sure that the bones are fully submerged.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer.
  7. Season with salt to taste and let cool.
  8. Transfer cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Skim off any solidified fat from the top and store the broth for up to five days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.

Common Mistakes

  1. Not skimming your broth frequently enough. Skimming removes impurities and fat for a clear, clean broth.
  2. Skimping on cook time (we simmer our bones for eighteen to twenty-four hours).
  3. Using beef-marrow bones for making broth. For some reason, lots of people believe this is the right bone to use, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The marrow bone, aka femur bone, is a smooth bone with very little meat. The meat is where the umami-rich flavor comes from, so you WANT meaty bones for your broth! The marrow bone also lacks connective tissue, which is where all the collagen goodness comes from. And though marrow is nutrient-dense, it is also pure fat, so it liquefies during cooking and either emulsifies into the broth (giving it an unappealing cloudy/milky look) or, worse, floats to the top, where it’s skimmed off with other impurities. (If you want to consume marrow, I recommend you add it to the finished broth with a battery-operated frother.)

Now you’ve got bone broth. Other than drinking it, what can you do with it?

Cook with it. Good broth is a forgotten staple, something that should appear on your shopping list next to salt, butter, olive oil, milk, and eggs. A good broth makes just about anything taste more delicious, and it adds nutrition to boot. As I write this, I’m braising beef shanks to serve with risotto:

Both dishes are even more delicious with bone broth.

Food: Poke Please

First things first, it sounds like “Poh-keh”—not poki, not poke.

Photo: d. king

However you word it, the native to Hawaii food phenomenon is sweeping the country.  It’s like a sashimi salad with all the toppings.

I recently sampled a new place in Palm Springs called Haus of Poke and loved it.  Everything is behind a counter and you just let the server know what you want.  They have lots of tempting choices.  They certainly have a new customer.

Many people don’t know what Poke is exactly… so here for your information:

Photo: d. king

Fun fact: poke can be easily made at home.
Indeed, making ahi poke doesn’t require a fancy recipe: Get your hands on 500 grams of sashimi-grade tuna and cut it into bite-sized cubes. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a handful of chopped green onions, and whatever other condiments you feel like. Whisk it all together and marinate the tuna cubes in it for an hour in the fridge, and voila! Fresh, delicious poke that you can serve over rice with some slices of avocado for good measure.

Sounds good to me!

Have you tried it?

 

Comfort Cooking: Creamy Lemon Chicken

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN

A slow cooker is such a great kitchen appliance to have around.  Especially if you want to let something simmer for a long time without worrying about it.  I found this recipe on a website called dinnerthendessert.  Original recipe calls for chicken breasts but it’s equally good using chicken thighs. It’s also perfect as a pasta topping!  In fact that’s exactly what I did the next day – with tossed linguine.

Image + recipe: dinnerthendessert.com

This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 *chicken breasts boneless and skinless 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon **kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
  3. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.

  4. Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
  5. Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (lemons in the picture is just for reference. Don’t cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  7. In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
  8. Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.

    *Did you know?

    Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963. Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones.

    **Why do recipes recommend kosher salt?

    Kosher salt is often recommended by TV chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot!  The flaky structure also makes it easy to spread atop your food.

    By the way, kosher salt is so called because of its role in the process for preparing foods such as meats according to the Jewish tradition. Because it has so much surface area and doesn’t dissolve as quickly as table salt. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.

    Let me know how you like it?

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!

 

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/

 

 

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!