Monday, March 29, 2010

Quick Meals

During the week this is what is ideal. A friend of mine asked me yesterday for some ideas...she is definitely needing healthy but wanting it to be fast. I on the other hand had one of those weekends where we did not eat properly at all so tonight will hopefully satisfy her "quick" request and my attempt at holding off scurvey!!!
In Fine Cooking this month there is a great looking veggie dish on page 33.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta.
1 med fennel bulb with fronds attached (pretty hair on the tips); 1 med orange pepper, cut in to approx four pieces, seeded and stem removed; 1 med red onion but into 1/4 inch slices; 1 med zucchini, again, 1/4 inch slices; 1/4c olive oil; salt and pepper; 3 T red wine vinegar; 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved; 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese; 3 T loosely packed thinly sliced fresh basil. Cut stalks off fennel, remove 1/4 c worth of fronds and set aside. Remove outside piece and quarter the bulb and then slice the quarters lengthwise in to...yes...1/4 inch pieces. I am not bbq'ing so will brush all of the veggies and toss in the oven. You can grill them if you are able...I am not...sad I know. Idea is to char them with o oil and a little salt. Cool and chop in to pieces and transfer to a bowl. Make the dressing out of the remaining 2 T oil, vinegar, 1/4t salt and 1/4t pepper. Toss with veggies and add fronds and tomatoes. Sprinkle the feta and basil on top and voila! A quick and healthy and of course, very pretty dinner awaits!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Swiss Chard

I stopped at my favourite farm stand, Madrona and scooped up some fresh swiss chard and cauliflower. So excited to make a lentil salad with them tonight. I think I will saute some onion and garlic in olive oil and add some turmeric and cumin. Then I will chop the cauliflower quite small in to bite size pieces and toss them in. Lastly will go the chard, again, chopped in to ribbon like pieces. I have these lovely small black lentils that can be cooked in water with a bay leaf or thyme for flavour. Drain them and add to the veggie mixture. Will be easy, check, healthy, check and will taste really good, big check. Still have lot's of greens so will make a nice big green salad and bought a warm baguette, which I have not touched (!) and cheddar cheese to round it out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tis the Season

In our part of the world March is the beginning of halibut season. It is such a versatile fish that you can add so many flavours to, not to mention cook it in a variety of different ways. I bought a filet today and baked it for honestly, 14 minutes. Ready and inhaled. I put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. I made a dressing of liquid honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, fresh ginger and wasabi.I then cut the filet in to pieces and poured it on top, flipped the pieces over and flipped them back again. Heat the oven to 425 and bake away. Enjoy it, will try some other combos in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That was amazing, can we have it again tomorrow?

Music to my ears at the dinner table. I made "Vietnamese-Style Caramel-Braised Chicken" tonight from Fine Cooking. It was really good with brown jasmine rice and bok choy. Here is the recipe:
1/4 c fish sauce (I used Oyster sauce); 2 large shallots, finely chopped; 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced; 1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes; ground pepper; 1/4 c granulated sugar; 6 - 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 3/4 inch strips; 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro.
In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce and 1/4 c water. In another small bowl, mix the shallots, garlic, chili and 1/2 t pepper.
Put the sugar and 2 T water in a 10 inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan until the sugar dissolves. Let the melted sugar come to a boil and cook, swirling the pan occasionally at first and more frequently as the sugar browns, until it has caramelized to a deep amber colour, about 5-8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and, standing back to avoid splatter slowly add the fish sauce mixture to the pan. Swirl the pan to combine, return to the heat and bring to the boil. Add the shallot mixture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots soften, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the pan in a single layer, reduce the heat to medium low and cover, cooking at a simmer and stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through 8-10 mins. Serve sprinkled with cilantro, I did not because I forgot to buy it...but still tasted great.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More and Less

It is again leftover night tonight, made a ridiculously huge lasagne. I am going to make a nice big green salad to go with. But while standing in the kitchen I started to think about how to replenish my pantry, now that it is looking a little better. A friend of mine coined the above phrase at the beginning of January while we were discussing new years resolutions. I loved this, loved loved loved it. I have thought of more fruit, less sugar; more water, less wine (sometimes!); more lipstick, less chapstick. You get the idea. So while checking out my pantry I started thinking like this. More rice, less pasta. More whole grains, less cereal. More beans, less potatoes...all in time but a goal none the less.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Break

When you have kids this is one of the highlights of the year...a true break after the winter term of school. Another fun part for me is the change in routine. Different foods if you are away, more casual meal times or just more time to make new things. Any way I look at it, this is an indulging time with my family that I enjoy immensely.
But now, back to normal and I noted that my pantry has to have a bit of an over haul. Just so you know, I loooooooooooove to purge. This includes my closet, my kids' rooms, really, any where that I deem necessary at the time. Of course, there are areas that need it desperately but are not that back to the pantry. I noted that for some bizarre reason I have yet another box of lasagne noodles. This means a veggie lasagne tonight and I use a recipe loosely from the French Laundry Cookbook. I know that I do not have everything but am going to wing it...I am sure Thomas Keller has done that once or twice.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Thank heavens for my family and my friends. My great friend Beth Hayhurst took some pics for the blog and my sweet and technically savvy son put them up for me, I hope you enjoy them. We included a pic of asparagus because spring is here and nothing says spring like asparagus!
We are going to have a roast chicken to go with, in fact we are having two roast chickens because one just doesn't do it any more. And I am going to make some herb rice. This is a recipe that my mother in law makes and it is heaven.
Melt 3 T butter in pan and add 1 cup of uncooked brown rice and 1 cup of chopped onion. Stir until onion turns golden. Add 2 cups of hot chicken stock and 1/2 t marjoram, 1/2 t savoury and 1/2 t salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It has been a while since I made spaghetti so tonight is the night. I do not follow a recipe for this. What I do do is start with onions and garlic, just like yesterday and then add extra lean ground beef. I know that there is more flavour in lean but I would much rather eat fat elsewhere than in my beef. So, from here I add tinned tomatoes and ideally fresh oregano or basil. Do not forget lot's of freshly ground pepper and a little salt. I will probably make a spinach salad to go with, gotta get those greens in!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From Soup to Salad

I am going to make a huge salad tonight...lot's of colours and textures over quinoa. It will include sauteed onions and garlic, always a good start. Add celery, peppers, and corn. If you have mushrooms, carrots or brocoli, add away. And just to make sure, add a tin of black beans, great source of protein. In another pot, heat a little oil and add some paprika and then your quinoa and water. When all is ready, chop some parsley and add a little lemon juice.
This is a version of the quinoa salad from Whitewater. I did not have all of the ingredients so I used what I did have. And it was fabulous!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

I was advised today to make this for dinner tonight. When two of my kids came down with a miserable flu my third child declared this should definitely be our dinner tonight. Now, the day did not leave a lot of time for preparation. So here is what I did. I bought a roast chicken from the grocery store. Could not be bothered to defrost any chicken broth so I bought a quart of it. And threw in some egg noodles and a little green onion. Heated up a baguette and voila, dinner was ready and loved by the sickies and by those who are still feeling pretty fine!