Don’t remember the last time I bought a salad dressing. It’s all too easy to make your own from scratch and so much tastier. This creamy, versatile and delightful dressing is packed with vitamins and goes with almost any salad. It’s a healthy alternative to dairy or mayonnaise-based dressings.
What you need:
1 whole large ripe avocado.
1 clove garlic, peeled.
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice.
3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
¼ cup low-fat greek yogurt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
water, as needed
Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about 1/3 cup water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.
A friend requested I post a vegetarian/vegan soup recipe. I’ve never followed one so this is a kind of non-recipe recipe. All you need are a variety of vegetables and patience for chopping. Because literally you just chop & toss everything into a pot. This soup is chock full of nutrients & tons of flavor. Because vegetable soup can lean towards being more bland than other kinds, you can play with your spices. Add 21 vegetable spice mix, pepper, sea salt and Herbs de Provence. Of course ***bay leaves are a necessary addition while cooking.
4 cups of vegetables, roughly chopped. Use a mix of spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, yam, sweet potato, parsley, etc.
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil or *ghee (Note: if using ghee, the recipe is no longer vegetarian/vegan)
**4-6 cups vegetable broth (I made mine from scratch but you can use better than bouillon.
Or; water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
When serving add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil & sprig of parsley to garnish
1. Heat coconut oil or *ghee in large pot or a Dutch oven.
2. Add onions and garlic, stirring until fragrant, then add vegetables and stir for a minute or two longer.
3. Add broth or enough water to cover the vegetables. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender and puree in a high speed blender (or with a hand blender) until smooth.
4. Season as desired and serve with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and some sea salt (Maldon is a good choice).
*Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s made from heating butter and allowing the liquid and milk portion to separate from the fat. The milk caramelizes and becomes a solid, and the remaining oil is ghee. Ghee has a long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest cooking fats available. You can buy it at many grocery health-food stores like Whole Foods.
This ingredient has been used in Indian and Pakistani cultures for thousands of years. When used in place of butter, ghee has several benefits. Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes. So it is known.
**Homemade Veggie Stock: I’ve been freezing ends and skins of vegetables like carrots, onions and herbs like parsley, cilantro, etc. to use for making stock. I wash everything before freezing then place them in a pot & heat with covered water. It offers more flavor rather than using plain water. Of course you must discard the vegetables and use only the stock when making veggie soup.
***Nutrient Packed Bay leaves offer us a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron. Bay leaves apparently help to soothe body aches. You can add 4-5 bay leaves in 1 litre of water and add to bathwater to relieve sore muscles and rejuvenate the body. Supposed to ease joint pain from arthritis. Try it!
Hope you enjoy it. Let me know how it turned out. xo
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.
This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.
5 *chicken breastsboneless and skinless
1/2teaspoon **kosher salt
1/4teaspooncoarse ground black pepper
1teaspoon Italian seasoning
2lemonsjuiced and zested
1cuphalf and half
1tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”
In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.
Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
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).
Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
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.
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.
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
⅓ cup rice vinegar.
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about ⅔ cup)
2 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger.
2 tablespoons lime juice.
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey.
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil.
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste.
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.
You need only a few key ingredientsto whip something up in a pinch.
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
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.
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
Heat a medium or large pan (nonstick if you have it) over medium-high heat.
Add bacon to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crispy, about 4-5 minutes (if using regular).
Lower heat and drain some of the bacon fat.
Add eggs to pan, stirring constantly, and when set, remove from heat.
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)
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
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Return to the hot pasta pot.
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.
Stir in chives and cooked bacon.
Serve at once.
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!
From Bland to Beautiful. Cauliflower; you dress up nicely.
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.
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
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.
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.
makes 1 cup
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sage
2 tbs dijon mustard
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.
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.
Among its advantages: It’s made from one of thehealthiest 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.
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.
One example: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium skillet over low heat.
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.
Decreases Risk for Heart Disease and Brain Disorders.
Provides High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals (Especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K)
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
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.
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.
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!)
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
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.
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.
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.
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Blend the coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla extract together until the creamer is mixed well.
Pour desired amount into your coffee or tea and store the remaining creamer in the refrigerator.
Make sure to shake the creamer well before using. Enjoy! This creamer will be good for up to two weeks.