Food: One Pot Veggie + Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Photo: d. king

Last night was the first time I made this dish. I’ve been in the mood to try satisfying meatless meals and something easy to prepare & fairly quick to cook. It’s a keeper. This one is filled with goodness like mushrooms, chickpeas and marinara sauce. Plus it’s only 143 calories per serving for those of you watching your weight. Why Spaghetti squash? (see bottom for some of the health benefits). This squash possesses an uncanny resemblance to spaghetti strands when cooked, and for this reason is known as vegetable spaghetti which makes the dish when combined with the rest, taste somewhat like a vegetarian lasagna. You can add other veggies like zucchini, red bell peppers or broccoli. It was delicious especially with the added sriracha hot sauce (I always zip it up with a little heat on the side).

Serves: Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 lb.) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ tsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce (your favorite kind)
  • 1 ¾ cups (no salt added) chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (animal rennet-free for vegetarian)

Instructions

  1. Using a large, sharp knife, pierce the spaghetti squash in several pieces.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
  3. Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, set over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic, oregano, pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  8. Stir in the reserved spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, chickpeas and parsley.
  9. Spread the spaghetti squash mixture into an even layer in the skillet. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
  10. Place the skillet under the broiler until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 cup | Calories: 142.9 cal | Fat: 4.1g | Saturated fat: 1.0g | Carbohydrates: 22.1g | Sugar: 6.7g | Sodium: 182.6mg | Fiber: 5.5g | Protein: 7.5g | Cholesterol: 3.3mg

Notes

Weight Watchers Points: 3 (SmartPoints), 4 (Points+), 2 (Old Points)

Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is also rich in the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, which promote optimal cellular function. Folate is also found in this bright-colored vegetable. Folate supports the formation and development of new cells and may help prevent birth defects, making this squash an ideal food for pregnant women. This nutrient can also help filter out homocysteine from your blood and promote cardiovascular health.

Potassium, a mineral that maintains proper muscle and nerve function, is also present in spaghetti squash, making it helpful for people with high blood pressure. Manganese, a mineral that assists in bone and tissue heath, metabolism, calcium absorption, and nerve function, is another key component. Spaghetti squash also contains the essential minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Another reason to consume spaghetti squash is for its omega-3 and omega-6 fats content. Omega-3 fats are associated with the prevention of inflammation, which may cause heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer. On the other hand, omega-6 fats are linked to proper brain function. It is critical to maintain the ideal 1:1 ratio of these fats.

Not bad for starters eh?

Above taken from Dr. Mercola Website

Food: Sustainable Sablefish in Asian Marinade

Sablefish in this marinade

is truly one of my all time favourite dishes.

With its rich and buttery flavour, Sablefish is considered a delicacy by chefs across the country.  This recipe takes barely no time to prepare, ready in minutes and then disappears almost instantly.

Sablefish has a high oil content which allows it to be cooked at high temperatures. It also makes this fish an ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which many health experts suggest reduces the risk of heart disease.  AND the taste is unbeatable.

You can alter this made up recipe depending on how many people you’re serving.  This is for two:

In a small dish mix equal amounts (1 tsp. each) of sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, fresh grated ginger & sake (the alcohol burns off when cooking but you can omit this).  To the bowl add a little less amount of chili oil + yuzu hot sauce (a vinegar/citrus japanese sauce).  Mix together.  Pour over two equal size pieces of Sablefish and let sit in fridge for several hours.

When ready to *cook, pat the fish dry and bake in pyrex plate (350F) until done – about 10 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out easily. Top with sesame seeds (optional; I used “everything but the bagel” seasoning which also has sea salt, garlic + onion and gives fish an extra tasty crunch).  This one is available at Trader Joe’s.

With the added sesame seeds. Sides: buttered acorn squash, steamed local asparagus + vegetable casserole.

*This time I did not bake the fish.  I used my (almost untouched) George Foreman Grill on highest heat sprayed with a little coconut oil (and did not pat the fish too dry so it would not stick).  Left for a couple minutes, it was seared perfectly on both sides and came out intact and it tasted amazing.  Just in case you happen to have forgotten about the GFG, it can still work magic (and not just for grilled cheese sandwiches).

Sometimes we play with these things for a little while, put them away and then forget about them.  Now I’m re-imagining useful ways to use my older cookware like the grill, the slow cooker and clay pot.  It’s fun.

Photos + Recipe: d. king

 

 

Recipe of the Week – Tuscan White Bean Dip

Party Pleaser

whitebeandip

Photo: d. king

Here’s a foolproof simple, healthy happy hour dip.  It’s a creamier and delicious alternative to hummus.

  • 1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • roughly 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle over top
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Course Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (you can also use oregano – fresh or dried)
  • a little sprinkle of cayenne
  • *Zaatar (optional but worth it if you can find it)

Tip: if you want a thicker consistency you can always add some Tahini (sesame seed paste used for making hummus) or less olive oil.  Play around with it.  It will be great either way.

Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Garnish with rosemary and/or other spice.

**ZAATAR (an exotic middle eastern spice mix made of sumac (from a flowering plant), thyme, roasted sesame seeds, marjoram, oregano, course salt. FYI: also great sprinkled over plain olive oil & balsamic for dipping.

Serve with pita, tortilla chips or fresh crusty french bread.

Sidenote: I have this thing for lazy susans.  My fridge is full of them – it makes life easier if you have lots of jars, condiments + such.  Now I bought a large round bamboo serving dish which I place overtop one of my lazy susans to place a variety of stuff on when company comes over.  People don’t have to reach over you to get another slice of cheese or whatever…they can just rotate the tray towards them.  I think it’s a better serving alternative.

Recipe of the Week: Seafood in Coconut Curry Broth

Last week I made this delicious flavorful dish for an important celebration

my 25 year wedding anniversary! And I might add that the time has flown by.

Who says you have to go out? An evening spent at home with good food, good company, good wine, conversation, music and candlelight cannot be beat by going out to a restaurant.  Add to that a glass or two of bubbly to start…a perfect evening!

We were craving seafood and I hadn’t made this in a very long time.  It’s quite simple as everything is made in one pot.  You can alter the seafood depending on what you like as it’s adaptable as long as you’re using a variety of fresh seafood.  I have to admit the mussels make a huge difference for added flavour & appearance.  Originally I followed a popular recipe from an Indo-American Bistro, but as per usual I changed it and did it my way and it turned out perfect.

1 Tbsp. butter

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 green onions, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1-2 tsp. Madras curry powder

salt + pepper to taste

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup fish stock  (you can make from scratch by boiling bones in water or you can buy from your local seafood store).  I bought frozen halibut stock which dissolves quite easily).

Splash of dry white wine or more (or none)

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Saffron threads

For Seafood: I used scallops, halibut, prawns & mussels

½  lb. sea scallops (if large, cut in half)

1 lb. white fish cut into chunks (halibut or cod)

1 ¼  lb. mussels (scrubbed + debearded)

8 large prawns (shelled + deveined)

Recipe serves 4 people

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté garlic, shallot and green onion for a few minutes over a low heat.   Add the olive oil and turn to medium high heat.  add tomato and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper.

Add coconut milk, stock and cilantro.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add scallops, fish, mussels and prawns all together.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Discard any shellfish that have not opened.

Best served in large soup bowls with naan bread for dipping.  YUM!

Enjoy!

Photos: d. king

A Recipe From Paris’s Famous Poilâne Bakery

The following is brought to you (via me) by My Little Paris, a website that I’ve lately become addicted to for fun French musings on life, cooking and je ne sais quoi else.bakery1

3,451 miles. That’s how far Apollonia Poilâne used to go to get her bread every week.

Okay—technically, it was FedEx delivering the loaf from the Poilâne bakery in Paris to Apollonia’s mailbox in the US. But still. The woman clearly takes her bread seriously. She had to: when her parents died in a helicopter crash just months before she left France for college, 18-year-old Apollonia spent four years running the entire bakery from—no kidding—her Harvard dorm room. The following recipe is not for bread (it’s impossible to recreate a Poilâne loaf at home, trust us). But it’s one of Apollonia’s personal favorites, and involves chocolate, crushed butter cookies, and salted butter. Kind of hard to complain.

(Tip: they’re best made with Poilâne’s punition biscuits (which you can order here), but any old butter cookie will do.)
In Paris? Stop by Poilâne’s flagship bakery at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi for breakfast (or lunch, or both). Not in Paris and desperate for a loaf? FedEx yourself Poilâne’s famous 4.5lb sourdough here.

Food: Fish Tacos

Making fish tacos is the closest I feel to being at the beach in Mexico. 

fishtacos1 Because some of my best food memories is eating fish tacos on the beach in Mexico.

Somebody said that it’s not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.

But I never follow a set recipe for tacos because there are so many variations.  These are closest to typical baja style with a little twist and without the sauce. Okay, maybe they’re just my own version.

Buy small street tortillas (they’re easily found in many supermarkets now – I prefer corn to flour) and make pico de gallo from scratch.

Pico de Gallofishtacos2

  • Chopped fresh red + yellow grape tomatoes, jalapeño, sweet maui onion, handful of cilantro, sea salt + squeeze of fresh key lime.
  • Sprinkle chili/lime seasoning blend on both sides of fish (I used Mexican seabass but you can substitute any white fish). Grill until done – a couple minutes per side. Divide fish among warmed tortillas and add pico de gallo, shredded purple cabbage, extra salsa if you like, top with more cilantro, sliced avocado, squeeze of lime & fold in half.  Add a side of chopped mango for added sweetness.

Buen apetito!

They’re fairly fast and fun to make and definitely delish!

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

Food: the versatile rice bowl

I’ve rekindled my love for rice bowls.  Not only nutritious & delicious but easy to make.

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

It’s a good way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Energize your meal with protein: chicken, salmon or steak. Substitute quinoa or noodles instead of rice as a base and play with a variety of different veggies and dressings to turn it Mexican, Indian, Asian+ for endless possibilities.

Let’s try unlikely combos.  Let’s eat things that are good.  Let’s eat things that make us feel good.

Vegetarian Coconut Rice Bowl Recipe

Yield: 4  bowls

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
* 1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
* 2 limes
* 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 1/2 cup frozen edamame
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the rinsed rice in a rice cooker. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk to the cooker, and 1 1/4 cup water & cook.

When the rice is done, add the juice of half a lime along with 1/2 cup cilantro. Stir.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become tender and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for about another minute.

Now add the remaining coconut milk, edamame, remaining cilantro, scallions & another good squeeze of lime juice. Let it simmer 3 minutes, or until the edamame warms through.

Serve over coconut rice garnished with more scallions and fresh lime wedges.

Here’s a growing fast food chain I really like:

Freshii is a (fairly new to Vancouver) fast food restaurant chain that specializes in healthy rice bowls, salads, juices and smoothies.  I recently stumbled upon it when I was hangry (that place when you’re really hungry, bordering on the verge of cranky anger) and enjoyed the *Oaxaca bowl very much.  I wondered why there were not more fast food places like it. The story behind it is interesting blending fashion & food.

Matthew Corrin is the founder & CEO of Freshii.  While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Matthew was inspired by “mom-and-pop” delis with fresh food but lackluster branding & service. He sought to “add magic to the fresh food business” & brand the commodity of fresh food not unlike Starbucks branded the coffee bean. He’s a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals Restaurateur of the Year. In 2005, he founded Freshii.

Oaxaca Bowl

my Oaxaca Bowl

*brown rice & kale, avocado, beet slaw, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, crispy wontons, lime wedge, spicy yogurt sauce (1927 W. 4th in Kits).

Source for vegetarian recipe: bevcooks.com

Food: Brasserie Bourride (Fish Stew)

Yesterday I posted about the dreamy dinner for two prepared at the Frick Museum by Michelin chef Daniel Rose of Le Coucou brasserie in New York.

The bourride, stewing.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

The bourride, stewing. Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Rose, an intense young chef originally from Chicago, made his Michelin-approved reputation conjuring clean, seasonal recipes from the old French canon at a small Parisian establishment not far from the Louvre called Spring. For his New York debut, however, he has provided the kind of grand, ostentatious stage you rarely see anymore in this populist era of chef burgers and haute pork buns. The T-shaped space, on the ground floor of a downtown hotel called 11 Howard, is lit with rows of circular chandeliers that look like they’ve been heisted from one of the castles in Game of Thrones.

Below is his recipe for one of the Entrées he served up for he and his lucky wife:

Recipe: Bourride With Aïoli

Bourride in case you are not familiar is a provençale fish soup which is akin to a classic Mediterranean fish stew and which is much less complicated and expensive to make than bouillabaisse.

Phone: 212-271-4252

Source for Daniel Rose: NYmag.com

Art/Food: Dinner at the Frick

This is frickin amazing…

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf

Daniel Rose and Marie-Aude, Styling by Diana Tsui. Suit, shirt, and shoes by Tom Ford. Dress by Ralph Lauren Collection. Shoes by Oscar de la Renta. Tablecloth by E. Braun & Co. Candelabras by Lynn Field at Bergdorf Goodman.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Daniel Rose and Marie-Aude, Styling by Diana Tsui. Suit, shirt, and shoes by Tom Ford. Dress by Ralph Lauren Collection. Shoes by Oscar de la Renta. Tablecloth by E. Braun & Co. Candelabras by Lynn Field at Bergdorf Goodman.Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Inside Le Coucou Chef Daniel Rose’s Seafood Dinner for Two at the Frick

A feast for the senses! I mean what could make you feel better and be more romantic for a foodie/art lover than fine French dining inside a New York  Fine Art Museum among distinguished Old Master paintings while wearing designer duds. Nothing I say!

For this year’s Holiday Food special,  American cooks with French restaurants were sent into homes (and the Frick) to host relatively easy-to-replicate dinners.

It smells like France in here,” chef Daniel Rose says upon entering the Fragonard Room of the Frick Collection. It’s a welcome smell for the 39-year-old Chicago-born chef, who rose to fame in Paris for his tiny, seasonally focused restaurant Spring, and who decamped to New York with his family this past June to launch the grand, inventive brasserie Le Coucou. He was at The Frick recently to cook a romantic dinner for his wife, Marie-Aude, surrounded by the looming The Progress of Love panels, done by one of his favorite painters. (When he first arrived in Paris to study at the American University, he found himself at a Drouot auction at which he bought a “possible” Fragonard, cut from a larger painting, and had it cleaned and sold it for three times more.) For this intimate dinner (save for a crowd of security guards — the Frick has never allowed food to be consumed in this room before), Rose set out to design a menu that would allow him to spend more time eating and less time cooking: warm briny oysters with seaweed butter and oeuf norvégien (an artichoke heart topped with a soft-boiled egg and a creamy coating of crème fraîche with chives and enveloped in smoked salmon), followed by a bourride bursting with clams, mussels, large prawns, and black bass. As the two finished up their meal with a classic dense chocolate mousse and royale d’orange cookies, he said: “There’s no place I’d rather be than here.”

Food: Oh So Moist Carrot Cake

This moist, rich cake is made using whole grain flour, fruits and veggies, more “natural” sweeteners and healthy oils. Your kitchen will smell divine with the aroma of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves as this cake bakes.

Coconut whipped cream with toasted coconut flakes

Little Loaf – topped with whipped coconut cream & toasted coconut flakes

I took this original recipe and divided it into individual loaf pans to give to friends.  Makes three.  Instead of the usual cream cheese or traditional whipped cream topping I whipped coconut milk (without guar gum in the ingredients) with a little maple syrup & vanilla extract.  It’s a much healthier alternative but the secret is to make sure the coconut milk is very well chilled.  Leave the can in the fridge for at least one hour.  It can also be helpful to put your mixing bowl and beaters (or blade) in as well, so everything is very cold.  As far as the cake goes, you can always substitute some of the pineapple for grated zucchini (as I did for a few of them), omit the walnuts entirely and/or add raisins.  I made my own apple sauce.

Carrots – Carrots are one of the best sources of beta carotene, which balances the immune system and reduces the risk of many cancers. They also guard against cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation, slow the aging process, and are great for digestion disorders. They also contain fiber, calcium, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Cinnamon – This spice has antiseptic properties, is a digestive aid, has anticancer properties, and is beneficial for the heart, lungs, and kidneys. It also helps lower blood pressure and makes insulin more efficient thus controlling blood sugar spikes.

Walnuts – These nuts contain beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids that are great for the brain and lowering cholesterol. They are also high in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Pineapple – Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. It is also rich in the enzyme bromelain, which aids in digestion, is an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-cancer agent. It can greatly reduce the swelling of carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and gout.20161116_101505

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup olive or coconut oil (I used organic virgin coconut oil)
2 eggs (or 2 Tbs ground flax seeds soaked in 6 Tbs water)
1 cup raw carrot, grated (2-3)
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole grain spelt flour, rice flour, kamut flour or combination
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp unrefined salt (I used himalayan)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
optional: 1 tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves (I used a pumpkin spice mix)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together gently.
  4. Pour into a greased 7×11 inch cake pan (or a muffin tin) or individual loaf pans,
  5. Bake at 350ºF until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes (20 minutes for cupcakes in a muffin tin). Cool and serve.

    “If your regrets linger, if you cannot find inspiration in solitude, then
    you still have much to learn from the writers and poets and the cooks
    on becoming the artist of your own life… you can never re-create the
    past. But you can shape your own future. And you can make a cake.”

    ~ Jacqueline Duval, in ‘Reckless Appetite a Culinary Romance’

Photos: d. king