lunch

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi

Yottam Ottolenghi’s recent cookbook, Plenty More, is in some ways an antithesis of the Pure Prairie Eating Plan in that some of the ingredients are hard to find and the recipes can be challenging and time consuming…and yet we come back to it because the recipes are imaginative, fresh and FULL of flavor! Thai Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chile Oil is one of our favorites and we thought you might like to try it over the holidays.  It has some ingredients that aren’t always easy to find (e.g. lemongrass and Kaffir leaves) and ½ a can of coconut milk, so when we’re making it we make a double batch of the body of the soup (without the sugar snap peas and fresh cilantro) and freeze one batch for later.  The recipe for chile-infused oil makes more than you need for 1 batch of soup, but it can be kept for up to a month in the fridge and used for drizzling on soup, salads or grilled dishes.  We think it’s definitely worth the effort!     Thai Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chile Oil (adapted from Plenty More) Serves 4, Serving Size 1 ½ cups (375 mL)   Soup Ingredients: 4 oz (120 g) sugar snap peas 3 Tbsp (45 mL) sunflower oil 1 medium onion, thinly sliced ( 1 ½ cups/160 g) 1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL)thai red curry paste 2 lemongrass stalks, gently bashed with a rolling pin 4 fresh  Kaffir lime leaves (or 12 dried) 1 ¼ cups (310 mL/250 g) red lentils 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk 1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL) lime juice 1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL) soya sauce 1 cup (250 mL/15 g) cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped salt   Chile- infused Oil ¾ cup (180 mL) sunflower oil 1 banana shallot or 2 regular shallots, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup/50 g) 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped 1 tsp (5 mL) peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger ½ red chile, coarsely chopped ½ star anise pod 2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder 1 tsp (5 mL) tomato paste grated zest of ½ a small lemon   Directions: For the Chile oil: Heat 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of sunflower oil in a small saucepan.  Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chile, star anise, and curry powder and fry over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the shallot is soft. Add the tomato paste and cook gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining oil and lemon zest and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Leave to cool and strain through a cheese cloth (or coffee filter) lined sieve This makes more oil than you need for 1 batch of soup, but it can be kept for up to a month in the fridge and used for drizzling on soup, salads or grilled dishes.   For the Soup: Bring a small pot of water to a boil and throw in the sugar snap peas.  Cook for 90 seconds, drain, refresh under cold water, and set aside to dry. Once cool, cut them on the diagonal into slices 1/16 inch/2mm thick Heat the sunflower oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook over low heat, with the lid on, for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion is completely soft and sweet.  Stir in the red curry paste and cook for 1 minute.  Add the lemongrass, lime leaves, red lentils, and 3 cups (700 mL) of water.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are completely soft....

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Crunchy Winter Salad

Crunchy Winter Salad

We found this recipe on The Globe and Mail’s Chef Basics with Matt DeMille.  It really is delicious!  We were a bit afraid that the beets would dominate the flavour, but they blend really nicely with the other ingredients.  The fennel adds a hint of liquorice, the pear a touch of sweetness, the pomegranate is crunchy…all-in-all a simply yummy mix.  Grapeseed oil is trendy right now, if you have it on hand that’s great. We substituted canola oil for a nice, light, local flavour; we didn’t have dry sherry vinegar on hand, so in the spirit of keeping it simple we substituted the red wine vinegar we had on hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make it your own!  Add some pumpkin seeds and feta cheese, tofu or chicken to make it a meal. Click here for preparation tips from Chef DeMille. Crunchy Winter Salad Serves 6 – Serving size 1 cup per serving Ingredients:  2 medium carrots, raw 1 medium beet, raw 1 bulb fennel, raw 1 cup (250 mL) kale, raw 1 medium pear, with skin 1/2 medium pomegranate Dressing: 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon Mustard 3 Tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup 1/4 cup (60 mL) dry sherry vinegar 3 Tbsp (45 mL) grape or canola oil salt and pepper to taste 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice Directions: 1.  Peel and chop or shred carrots and beet.  Place in ice water while you prepare the other ingredients. 2.  Chop fennel bulb, pear and kale and place them in a large salad bowl.  Cut the pomegranate in half and use the back of a spoon to dislodge the seeds into the bowl (see the video for details http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/life-video/video-this-crunchy-winter-salad-is/article27506927/). 3.  Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk until emulsified.  Pour the dressing over the salad and mix completely (Cheff DeMille suggests mixing with your hands to get a nice even coating of dressing. 4.  Top with sprigs of parsley and mint and serve as a side salad.  Add goat cheese, feta, tofu, chicken, nuts or your favourite protein to make it into a meal on its own. Nutritional analysis (per 1 cup/250 mL serving): 160 kcal, 7.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 3 g protein.  Canada Food Guide Servings:  2 Vegetables and Fruit....

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It’s a classic soup kind of day!

It’s a classic soup kind of day!

What could be better on a cold day that a nice hot bowl of soup?  One of our favourites is an old classic – Beef and Barley soup.  It’s full of flavour, stocked with veggies, protein and ‘stick to your ribs’ barley.  This recipe serves 8…or 2 meals for 4, 4 meals for 2…#lotsleftoverforlunch!   Beef and Barley Soup You can use Beef Simmering Steak instead of Stewing Cubes in this recipe, if you like. Trim the steak and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil 1 lb (500 g) Beef Stewing Cubes, trimmed 6 cup (1.5 L) vegetables, cut in small pieces (i.e. onions, carrots, celery, rutabaga and/or potatoes) ¼ cup (50 mL) pot or pearl barley 1 can (10 oz/284 mL) beef broth ¼ tsp (1 mL) EACH dried thyme, dillweed and pepper 1 bay leaf Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat; brown beef cubes. Stir in vegetables, barley, broth, thyme, dillweed, pepper and bay leaf. Add 4 cups (1 L) water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook for about 2 hours or until beef and barley are tender. Discard bay leaf before serving. Nutritional Information Per Serving (Calories 173, Protein 15 g, Fat 6 g, Carbohydrates 15 g, Source of iron (13% DV) and excellent source of zinc (39%...

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Harvest Soup with Carrots, Parsnips and Apple

Harvest Soup with Carrots, Parsnips and Apple

Fall on the Prairies brings to mind images of harvest – market stalls and larders brimming with root vegetables, gardens cleaned up and ready to go for next year and pantry selves lined with garden preserves.  We thought that this harvest vegetable soup was the perfect recipe for this time of year and perhaps for Thanksgiving lunch or dinner.  It’s simple to make and can be made ahead, leaving lots of time for outdoor hikes or games.  Serve it with equally simple open faced grilled cheese sandwiches (1 per serving) for a great lunch or simple supper.  Roasting vegetables brings out all the best of the flavour, which is lovely and fresh and sweet at this time of year. Harvest Soup with Carrots, Parsnips and Apple This soup has a sweet, garlicky flavour.  Serves 6.  Serving size about 1 cup (250 mL).   4-5                  parnips, peeled and sliced 1” (2.5 cm) thick                     4-5 2                      medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1” (2.5 cm) thick       2 1                      large onion, diced                                                                    1 2                      medium potatoes, peeled and diced                                    2 1                      apple, peeled and quartered                                                   1 3                      cloves garlic, peeled                                                                3 1 Tbsp.           canola oil                                                                                15 mL 4 c.                  low-sodium vegetable stock                                                 1 L pepper or cayenne pepper to taste   1.  Preheat the oven to 400 oF (200 oC). 2.  Spread the cut up parsnips, carrots and onions on a foil-lined baking tray.  Drizzle with canola oil.  Roast for 20 minutes. 3.  Add the whole garlic cloves and roast until the vegetables are tender, about 20 more minutes. 4.  While the vegetables are roasting, cook the potatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat in the vegetable broth.  Don’t worry if they start to fall apart. 5.  Add the roasted vegetables and cook 20-30 minutes longer, until all the vegetables are very soft.   Cool. 6.  Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, then return to the saucepan to reheat over medium heat.  Add pepper to taste.   For the photo, we used the idea of a “parsnip chip” from Spilling the Beans.  This is how to make them: After peeling a parsnip, use the vegetable peeler to make long strips (about 1 cup or 250 mL).  Heat some canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it’s very hot but not boiling.  (Or, use a deep fryer or electric wok.)  Working in batches, transfer the parsnip strips to the hot oil with a fork.  Cook until very lightly browned, 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a plate covered with paper towels to drain.  Parsnip chips can be stored in an airtight container, then crisped in the oven for a few minutes when you’re ready to use them.   Nutritional analysis (per serving):  202 kcal, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 6 g protein 254 mg...

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Experiencing the Mediterranean Diet firsthand

Experiencing the Mediterranean Diet firsthand

Rhonda and Cathy both had the opportunity to travel to the island of Ischia off the coast of Italy earlier this year.  They participated in teaching a course that included a section on the effects of culture and environment on food and eating.  They experienced amazing hospitality staying at La Rotonda sul Mare and eating at La Caserecchia (http://www.ischiareview.com/la-casereccia.html) in the evenings.  We asked them to tell us a bit about their experiences.   PPEP:  What was the most amazing food experience you had while in Italy? R:  The freshness of everything was truly amazing.  Although it was still spring when I arrived, there was local produce available or it was brought in from farmland around Naples, which is a one-hour ferry-ride away.  The Colella family, which owns the restaurant, has their own farm.  The bruschetta was so delicious because of the sweetness of the tomatoes and the flavor of the olive oil. C:  Lemons are famous on Ischia because they are so large and much sweeter than the lemons we import to Canada.  The first night we arrived it was very late but we were taken to the restaurant before going to the hotel.  I was persuaded to try the house special, a linguine in cream sauce with lemon.  Later we had a cooking lesson and learned how to make it:  three ingredients – pasta, cream, lemon zest. PPEP:  What surprised you about the Mediterranean Diet as it was practiced where you were? R:  Well, since we were eating in a restaurant it’s not easy to determine how families were eating in their homes on a day-to-day basis.  One thing that endures is the social aspect of the meal.  Typically we didn’t start dinner until 7:30 or later and would leave around 3 hours later.  Most Italian families didn’t start until later than we did. C:  I wasn’t surprised by the bountiful seafood in the diet.  We had several kinds of fish like sardines and anchovies as well as mussels and shrimp.  I was surprised by the amount of meat because the Mediterranean Diet pyramid suggests meat once per week or less.  That could also have been because we were eating in a restaurant.  I was also surprised that most of the vegetables were cooked, even breaded and deep-fried.  I was also surprised by some differences in food handling.  For example, eggs in grocery stores weren’t refrigerated.   PPEP:  What lessons would you bring from the Mediterranean to the prairies? R:  Take advantage of what’s fresh and in season.  That’s hard to do in the prairie provinces about 8 months of the year, but for the other 4 months, you can amaze your taste buds.  Many grocery stores do try to highlight local produce and there are lots of farmers markets and backyard gardens. C:  Enjoy eating with family and friends.  Try new recipes.  Anything with a vine-ripened tomato in it is twice as yummy.   La Caserecchia Bruschetta For about 8 slices of Italian loaf: ½ cup (125 mL) balsamic vinegar 2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes (halved/quartered) 8 fresh basil leaves, torn 2 cloves minced garlic (or to taste) 1 tsp. (5 mL) dried oregano Salt and pepper (to taste) Olive oil 8 slices of bread such as Italian loaf To make a reduction, gently simmer ½ cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot until reduced by half.  It should be thickened and syrupy.  Save the remainder for salad dressing or dipping strawberries. Toast the bread lightly (in the toaster, under the broiler, or on the BBQ grill, making sure to flip it to brown both...

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Puffy Cheese Biscuits

Puffy Cheese Biscuits

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a standard comfort meal in our home.  When I want to change things up a bit, just for fun or for company, I go to a recipe I got from an old milk calendar.  The recipe uses ingredients that we often have on hand, it’s flavourful, easy to follow and, like Yorkshire Pudding, these biscuits have a bit of ‘WOW’ power when they come out of the oven.  The recipe makes 10 biscuits or 10 servings and it goes well with tomato soup.   Enjoy!   Ingredients 1 cup  ( 250 mL ) Milk 1/3 cup  ( 80 mL ) cold butter, cut into bits 1/2 tsp  ( 2 mL ) salt 1 tsp  ( 5 mL ) dry mustard 1/4 tsp  ( 1 mL ) black pepper of cayenne pepper 1 cup  ( 250 mL ) all-purpose flour 4  eggs 1 tbsp  ( 15 mL ) Milk 1 cup  ( 250 mL ) Canadian Swiss or Cheddar cheese, shredded 3 tbsp  ( 45 mL ) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese 2 tbsp  ( 30 mL ) sesame seeds Preparation Combine milk, butter, salt, mustard, pepper and cayenne in a medium-sized saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; beat in flour all at once and stir until mixture forms a ball of dough. Return to medium heat; cook a few minutes longer scraping mixture along the bottom of pot to dry dough slightly. Transfer dough to a bowl; cool 5 min. Beat in three eggs, one at a time. Mixture will be slippery. Beat the fourth egg lightly and reserve 2 tbsp (30 mL) egg with 1 tbsp (15 mL) milk. Beat remaining egg into dough. Add both cheeses; combine well. Butter a cookie sheet; dust lightly with flour; trace out an 8-inch (20 cm) circle. Spoon batter in mounds around the outside edge of circle; mounds should barely touch each other. Brush tops with egg-milk mixture; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 °F (210 °C) for 10 min. Reduce heat to 350 °F (180 °C); continue to bake 45 to 55 min longer or until biscuits are firm and golden. Serve warm. Nutritional Info per serving Energy: 202 Calories Protein: 9 g Carbohydrate: 11 g Fat: 14 g Fibre: 0.6 g Sodium: 227 mg Top 5 Nutrients Nutrient % DV* Calcium: 13 % / 146 mg Selenium: 29 % Vitamin B12: 26 % Folate: 17 % Riboflavin: 16 % *percentage of daily...

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