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Top Posts & Pages
- Crunchy Baked Drumsticks à la KFC
- Giada’s Lasagna Rolls
- Roasted Cauliflower and Multicoloured Carrots on Savoury Chickpea Pancakes With Yogurt Sauce and Baby Lettuces
- The Best Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs #quickprep
- Banana Bread: Taste-Two
- Mini Post! Creamy Dill Dressing
- Farro Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese over Beet Hummus
- Sardines Stuffed with Spinach, Pine nuts and Raisins
- Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Herbed Rabbit with White Wine Sauce
I always say that I don’t like cover songs, cover bands, wedding bands… I don’t like it when restaurants change or remove a beloved item from their menu. I like good things to stay exactly the same, in their original format, most of the time 😉 Although, I guess there has to be exceptions because today I updated an old but really great recipe that I posted in 2012 called Falsi-fried Chicken Drumsticks . If you didn’t deduce this by the name, it’s a recipe for crunchy baked chicken drumsticks that are meant to look and taste fried. It was wildly popular at my house! All the taste and crunch without the guilt. This is a common theme along my posts where I try making healthy meals taste less healthy. For my Falsi-fried Chicken, I simply bread drumsticks in a seasoned breadcrumb mixture, like shake n’ bake, then dab oil onto the chicken pieces with a pastry brush, giving them a nicely fried look and feel without all the oil. Today’s post was a play on that recipe so can I call this a re-boot?! We’re not touching the original, we are simply adding a new recipe to the repertoire. Reboots are ok in my book. In fact, they can be awesome!
Someone somewhere must have mentionned Kentuky Fried Chicken the other day and I thought I’d Google they’re “secret” spice blend and make my Falsi-fried chicken drumsticks using that blend, hoping it would taste a little something like KFC 😉 I don’t know how accurate my findings were but that blend and my updated preparation method certainly kicked these up a notch!
Making chicken skin
Say what? The best part about KFC is the exterior, right? The crispy delicious, artery clogging chicken skin. When cooking for myself any my husband, I go lean, using only skinless drumsticks and I noticed that tossing the chicken in flour, rolling it in egg and dredging it into breadcrumbs creates a chicken skin like coating! EUREKA! And although I like to cook my chicken legs to an internal temperature of 180+, the meat remains moist and delicious on the inside; the coating must create a protective moisture barrier.
Don’t be afraid to season your drumsticks! Some of the salt inevitably comes off when dredging so I salt them before putting them in flour, then I salt them a little after the egg and then I salt them again at the end; hot out of the oven. I find that when you are making chicken especially, it is important to season it thoroughly or it’ll taste bland. This is especially true if you are trying to mimic that fast food flavour.
Active prep time about 20 mins
Inactive about 35 mins
8-10 skinless drumsticks
1 cup of flour
2 eggs thoroughly beaten with a dash of salt
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, preferably Panko crushed a little by hand.
( I used a mixture of Panko and regular Pastene breadcrumbs ’cause that’s what I had on hand and I like the mix of textures)
1/4 cup of neutral tasting vegetable oil
Baking sheet lined with parchment, brushed lightly with oil
KFC Copycat Spice Blend
2 tsp onion powder
1tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp chili
1/2 tsp ground celery or celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
Preheat oven to 425F
Prepare the spice blend
Place 1 cup of flour and 5 Tbsp of the spice blend in a resealable bag and toss to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Prepare your egg and breadcrumb dredging bowls. Set aside.
Rinse and dry drumsticks well
Season drumsticks all over with a sprikling of salt
Place drumsticks in a resealable bag with flour mixture and shake ’em up until fully coated.
One by one, shake off excess flour and roll drumsticks into the egg to coat, letting the excess egg drip off.
Coat fully in bread crumbs and place onto your prepared baking sheet.
Sprinkle on some extra spice blend.
Once all of the drumsticks are on the baking sheet, dab all over the tops with neutral vegetable oil using a pastry brush
Bake at 425F for 15 mins. This will ensure a crispy skin.
Lower the temperature to 375F and bake for about 35 mins or until they reach 180F internal temperature. I go a little higher than that and they don’t dry out at all. Place the thermometer sideways into the fleshiest part of the drumstick for an accurate reading.
**No need to turn drumsticks**
Optional: For an extra crunch, raise temp to 400-425F again towards the end of the cooking time. Working quickly, remove drumsticks from the oven, dab a little more oil and add a couple of sprinkles of seasoning and salt. Place them back into the oven for a few more minutes.
Remove, let cool and enjoy. They’re also great cold or at room temperature. They make the perfect midnight snack! Serve with coleslaw and potatoes 😉
BBQ dipping sauce
I prepared a little BBQ dipping sauce using Stubbs Original flavor BBQ sauce, a couple of pinches of the remaining spice blend and a little honey. Adjust ratio to your liking. It was absolutely stupendous with these drumsticks!
I know my posts have been few and far between and I do apologize for that. I’ve been busy and haven’t had much time for experimentation and what I like to call recreational cooking. However this weekend I was inspired! I got an email from Giadzy which is Giada De Laurentiis’ newsletter. I decided to click on the link and began perusing her site. While reading, I remembered why it was Giada who turned me on to cooking in the first place. Her recipes easy, they’re well written, accurate and always turn out great. The ingredients are familiar to me and I never have trouble imagining how the dish will taste. So, I decided to try out her easy Lasagna Rolls. I love the creamy comfort of the béchamel & nutmeg, the contrast of the slightly tangy marinara and the slight saltiness of the Parmesan cheese. I was so pleased in fact, that I’ll be making it again for my girlfriends get-together this week.
Giada’s Lasagna Rolls
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (15-ounce, 425 g) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce, 284 g) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
10 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (boil a few more in case some break)
2 cups marinara sauce
1.5 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
For the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread a large spoonful (about 3 tablespoons worth) of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.
Roasted Cauliflower and Multicoloured Carrots on Savoury Chickpea Pancakes With Yogurt Sauce and Baby Lettuces
Once and a while I like to make a vegetarian meal but it has to be satisfying. Roasted vegetables seasoned with a smokey spice blend on a comforting chickpea pancake with a cool yogurt sauce, ticks all of the major craving boxes for me. The chickpea pancake which is gluten and wheat free satisfies my unceasing carb cravings 😉 and it’s amazing how raw cauliflower transforms when it is fried or roasted. It softens and caramelizes, sweetens then all of a sudden, it’s full of flavour. The refreshing lemony lettuce offers a crisp texture contrast while the cool yogurt sauce lightens and brings everything together. My husband is a huge fan of this recipe and really looks forward to the evenings that I make it.
Healthy eating anecdote:
I don’t know about you but when I only have a salad for lunch, I feel like I’ve something important! lol Even if it’s the first time in 6 months, I think “ok, I am a healthy eater, I feel lighter already”. Then, I tell people, with a tone that resembles one of someone who climbed a mountain. “yeah… yeah… I only ate a salad today…” Then, I proudly log this into my calorie calculator. Wow! I only consumed 250 calories! Then, I feel as though I am dying of starvation for the rest of the day, dreaming of the sandwich I should have made and that I’ll definitely make tomorrow. (but I actually make it when I get home from work) Or what about when someone at the office brings doughnuts, I’ll have one because I “only had a salad” Thankfully, this recipe ain’t nothin’ like that and hopefully you won’t feel like reaching for a doughnut after eating this 😉
Chickpea Pancakes, also known as Farinata and Socca, is a popular street food served in parts of Italy and France. It’s usually served lightly seasoned with fresh herbs. The first time I tried making these (got the recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook at the time), I was really perplexed as to why anyone would eat this. It was thick, heavy and tasteless. So, intrigued, I read up on it and found that many people online thought of them as “delicious” , “a favourite snack” and one described them as “crispy with a custardy interior” I realized that I must have done something very wrong. Then I stumbled upon the recipe below and now I understand the allure 😉
Parchment paper (optional but very useful)
Chickpea Pancake Batter
Good things come to those who wait. To ensure proper moisture absorption, the ideal waiting time for a good farinata batter is 4 – 8 hours. Although, I have been strapped for time (Because I was unprepared and hate waiting) and used the batter after only 1 hour. The pancakes turned out well anyway. I recommend prepping your batter in the morning before work so that it’s ready when you get home and that way, it doesn’t really feel like you’re waiting 😉
- 1/2 pound (or 226 g or 2.5 cups) finely ground chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Whisk ingredients together, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
This recipe is not an exact science. Just make sure you have approximately as much carrot and cauliflower stated below, otherwise it’ll mess with the flavour balance. When adding your spice blend, lemon and salt, give it a taste and adjust to your liking.
500-600g Multicoloured Carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2″ long pieces at an angle. (You can use orange Nantes carrots, which tend to be slimmer than regular carrots but the multicoloured ones are prettier )
Mixed baby lettuce (I like baby gem lettuces when available because they are small and crispy)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large lemon
1 large head of cauliflower or 2 smaller ones cut into bite-sized florets
Bunch of fresh chives, chopped
200g of Plain Greek yogurt
Spice blend: 10 g or about 2 tbsp equal parts Smoked paprika, ground cumin. Adjust to your liking.
Additional salt, as needed
Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare your mise en place. Peel and cut your carrots and cauliflower as described in the ingredients list, zest and juice the lemon, Thinly slice the chives and mince the garlic.
Combine the yogurt, 1/2 of the spice blend (or to taste), 1/2 of the garlic and 1/2 of the lemon juice and add as much of the lemon zest as you like. (Start with half and go from there) Season with salt, to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator. The garlic flavour will intensify as it sits, which is what you want.
On a lined sheet pan, toss the carrots, cauliflower and the remaining garlic with a generous drizzle of olive oil, the remaining spice blend and additional salt, if needed. Arrange in a single layer. Bake until softened about 25 minutes, or until very tender, turning once.
While the vegetables are roasting, make your chickpea pancakes. Drizzle olive oil into your non-stick pan, heated to medium or medium high. Working in batches , spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown and transfer to a warm dish. Cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
See pics and video at the end of this post to see how to cook your chickpea pancakes in a pan, like a pro 😉
In a bowl combine lettuces, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, 1/2 of the chives, salt and pepper.
Plating time! Top each pancake with some yogurt sauce, the roasted vegetables and dressed lettuce. Garnish with remaining chives, drizzle more lemon if desired and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!
Tips and Tricks
Making Pan Fried Chickpea Pancakes
So after making this recipe a few times, I learned a few tricks!
The pan needs to be hot at first, but keep it at med-low for the majority of the time. Gas and electric stove tops vary and your pans conduct heat differently as well.
I’m not skimpy on the oil. I put a silver dollar sized drop of olive oil into the pan.
Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter and swirl around. When bubbles or tiny pockets form that means that it will be soon time to flip it but wait just a little longer until the top sets (no more runny batter), then flip!
After I’ve flipped it, I know I’ve got my temperature right when I can slide it around in the pan as shown below.
These are best enjoyed right away while they’re warm and crisp around the edges. Season with more salt if necessary.
Hi guys, Long-time-no-write!
I thought I had gone into blogging retirement but I stumbled upon this recipe and it was so good and easy to make I just had to share. Besides the fact that these ribs are saucy, fall off the bone, roll on the floor delicious, they can also make for a very quick supper!
How can a slow cooker recipe make for a quick meal?
I recently went rogue and bought baby back ribs. The rules of my house are that during the week, it’s fish, lean meat and vegetarian recipes. Although, I didn’t hear my husband complaining when I placed the plate in front of him 😉 So, anyway, now that I bought them, I had to figure out the best way to make them. The method had to be hassle free and quick but everybody knows that the best ribs are cooked slow and low, but ain’t nobody got time for that!
I decided on a recipe in which I could cook the ribs overnight in the slow-cooker to tenderize them. In the morning, I removed the ribs from the slow cooker to cool and put them in the fridge. I washed the slow cooker and put it away. When I got home from work, all I had to do was take them out of the fridge, pre-heat the oven, slather them with BBQ sauce and bake them for just about 20 minutes. While the ribs were baking, I quickly steamed some green beans, boiled a few potatoes and popped open a container of coleslaw and that was it! We haven’t enjoyed ribs like that in a very long time and dinner was done in a snap. Clean up was easy too.
I know that you can boil your ribs in water or Dr. Pepper or Coke for a couple of hours but I don’t want to bother with that, having to be there to supervise the process. A slow cooker takes that tedious step away.
- A rack of baby back ribs usually weigh between 1.5 to 3 pounds. Mine were 1.6 pounds or 740g. Apparently, the less they weigh, the better they are because it means they come from a younger piglet and are therefore, better tasting…uhhhh.
- Most people can eat a whole rack to themselves but the other night two racks fed 4 people but I had lots of sides ; string beans, boiled potatoes, pickles and coleslaw
- Halve your rib racks for an easier fit in the slow cooker
- BBQ Sauce: I used a 50/50 blend of Stubbs Original and Stubbs Sweet Heat. It was the perfect balance of savoury and sweet with just the right amount of heat.
About 3 pounds baby back ribs, trimmed (membrane removed from the back of the ribs)
- Note: I halved my rack for an easier fit in the slow cooker.
About 1 cup water
1/2 onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce (see note)
Slow cooker (I have a large 6qt)
Large baking sheet
Season ribs with salt (and other desired seasonings. I had some bbq coffee rub on hand so I sprinkled some on but it’s not necessary)
Pour water into slow cooker
Place ribs in the slow cooker. You can stand them up on their sides or stack them on the bottom. I prefer to stand them on their side , placing one rack in front of the other (see pics)
Top the ribs with onion and garlic.
Cover with lid and cook on Low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours.)
Remove ribs from the slow cooker. They should be very tender.
Discard liquid, onions and garlic
Cool and refrigerate if you are baking them at a later time.
Baking the ribs
(Remove ribs from refrigerator)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Transfer ribs to a baking sheet (to prevent sticking and for easy clean up, place a piece of parchment paper onto your baking sheet)
Coat ribs generously with BBQ sauce.
Bake in the preheated oven until the sauce caramelizes, approx 20 minutes.
You will love them!
I got this amazing recipe from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/228498/slow-cooker-baby-back-ribs/
Sometimes a sequel can be as good as the original. It happens.
Based on my original recipe, Banana Bread with Pecans and Chocolate Chips, which is always, ALWAYS a mega hit whenever I make it, Banana Bread: Taste Two, is a little healthier, heartier and it’s my preferred version at the moment. It could have been called “Banana bread made with bag bottoms and leftovers” but that doesn’t have a ring to it at all 😉
How did this come about? Often, cooking experiments can go disastrously wrong but sometimes they go very, very right. Just make sure you’ve got a pen and paper on-hand to document what you did. I can’t tell you how many times, I hit it out of the park with a made-up recipe and I think to myself “Yeah, I’ll remember” and I never do.
So anyway, one day, I noticed that I had a couple of bananas that were just about right for baking and I dug out my tried and true banana bread recipe. Perusing my pantry I thought, Hmm, I have about a cup of this whole wheat flour left, so I’ll use it to get rid of it. I spot the almost-empty bag of quick oats. Why not throw in a handful, yeah… and some chia seeds too. Oh, but chia seeds thicken liquids and I added oats so I should add more moisture. Yes, a little oil. (I don’t actually know for sure if the added oil was necessary but it certainly didn’t hurt.) So, that was pretty much how this came to be and I LOVED IT!
The addition of the whole wheat four, quick oats and chia seeds gives this banana bread a beautiful texture, more robust. Not to mention the added nutrients and fibre. The dark chocolate chips gives it a sublimely rich chocolatey flavour and of course, is also an antioxidant.
I hope you enjoy it!
Banana Bread with Pecans and Chocolate Chips
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour (or spelt or oat flour if you have some on hand instead)
1/2 cup of quick oats (or a handful #rachelrayism 😉
1 tbsp of chia seeds, approximately (or a palmful #rachelrayism 😉
1+1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
4 overripe bananas (Mash two of them with a fork, set aside)
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup (1+1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup of canola or any other light vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecans (or walnuts), finely chopped
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips (50%) (Add more if you like)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan or whatever type of pan you are using.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, oats, chia, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer, for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream.
Add the melted butter and oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts, chocolate chips and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (see cooking times for other pan types) , until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don’t get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; it’s typical.
Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Toast the slices of banana bread and serve with butter for a nice breakfast treat.
-Feel free to adjust the ratio of chocolate vs. nuts or to add more sugar. I reduced the amount to 3/4 cup of white sugar but the original recipe calls for 1 whole cup
–You can use milk chocolate, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. All work great but I am partial to dark. It’s rich in flavour, more reminiscent of coffee and of course dark chocolate is healthier.
-If you want to use a bundt pan, baking time is about 40 to 45 minutes. Pop-overs take about 30 minutes.
Show me some love and send me your thoughts! 😀
Stephanie M xo
Anecdote: I was trying to google if there was a specific name for “bag bottoms”, you know, the tiny chip crumbs at the bottom of the bag. I found “shake” as a term but as I read on I realized its the name of left over weed or hash at the bottom of the bag. Uhh Nope! “Bag bottoms” it is! lol
Here’s a really easy recipe for creamy dill dressing. Last night, I doloped it over smoked salmon and fingerling potato salad. It’s so versitile! Drizzle it over some grilled shrimp, seafood salad or cooked fish such as trout or salmon.
While I was prepping the rest of my dinner, I was dipping potato chips in it. Shhhhh….
Creamy Dill Dressing
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cider or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh dill (or more if you like)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) whole-grain mustard or regular dijon
1/2 to 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.
Thanks for reading & enjoy!!
I tried this gorgeous salad at a recent event I attended at Appetite for Books, a lovely, aptly named cookbook store in Westmount where you can attend either a traditional cooking class or a private dinner for 10, where you watch and learn how your delicious 4 course meal is created. I was lucky enough to be invited to the dinner version. What a pleasure it was to sit and eat and talk about food among ceiling-high shelves of cookbooks! I was in heaven. When this salad was prepared and presented there were loads of oohs and ahhs of course and when we tried it, well, everyone was just floored. In fact, for many, it was the best course of the evening. The vibrant colours – green and bright magenta, the different textures – creamy goat cheese and beet hummus and the slightly chewy, hearty and comforting farro and the flavours – slightly bitter arugula, tangy goat cheese (always a good match), the slight sweetness, garlic and sesame flavours of the beet hummus and the light vinaigrette. The original recipe calls for pomegranate seeds with adds more of all three components; crunch, colour and a sweet tang ( didn’t have any this time but they’re definitely a must-do! )
Thankfully we were all given the recipe and that’s how it found its way here. I hope you enjoy it.
You can make this salad without the delicious, homemade beet hummus but that’s like taking off a tiara, still beautiful but no sparkle. It looks absolutely stunning on a plate with it’s deep magenta colour peeking beneath all the green and beige, transforming it from a regular-looking salad to an enticing, captivating and super healthy dinner course or lunch.
Since I was cooking for two and this makes a generous amount of hummus, I enjoyed the leftovers all week with pita chips, crudités and of course more of this salad!
- 3 medium beets
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of tahini (or to taste)
- Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425.
Wash and wrap each beet in foil, like you would a baked potato. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 60-75 minutes until tender but still firm. (If you stick a skewer in and it comes out easily, they’re done! Allow to cool for 20 mins and remove the foil. Slip off the skin with your hands (your hands will turn pink but its nothing two hand washes won’t remove and wear an apron or you may get beet juice on your clothes). Cut the beets into 1 inch cubes and refrigerate or just make sure they are completely cool.
In a food processor, combine the cooked beets with the garlic, coriander, lemon juice and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until incorporated and smooth. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the Tahini. Season with salt.
Ah! The ancient Italian grain, Farro, a relative of modern-day wheat. It was a mainstay of the daily diet in ancient Rome. Farro is hearty and chewy, with a rich, nutty flavour. It not only provides numerous health benefits but it adds a wonderful contrasting texture to the greens.
- 1 cup of farro, rinsed under cold water.
- 1 splash of olive oil
- 1 splash Sherry Vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
- a lemon for juicing
- Salt and pepper
- Seeds from 1 Pomegranate (optional)
- 1/4 cup or crumbled goat cheese or your favourite feta.
- pre-washed container of baby arugula salad
Place the farro in a large sauce pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
Chef Jonathan recommended drying out the grains a little by spreading them in a layer on a baking sheet and placing it in the oven at a low temperature to remove excess water. (Don’t over do it though! Check them once and a while 🙂
Dress the faro with a good splash of olive oil, vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon and spread a generous amount of beet hummus over the base of the serving plate. With salad tongs, place the salad over the hummus, keeping it centred so that a rim of hummus shows all around. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds (if using) and crumbled cheese on top. Enjoy!!
Health benefits of our star ingredients:
Beets are low in calories, high in vitamin C, B3, B5 and B6, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Just by their colour (betalain pigments) you can tell that they are a nutrition power-house. Betalain pigments help in the creation of red blood cells, are a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and contain detoxifying agents that are richer in beets than other plant foods.
Farro is an unprocessed grain meaning that it has an intact bran and germ, the parts of the grain that provide nutrients, protein and fibre. Therefore, it is a slow burning carb, beneficial for cardiovascular support, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol but also helps to create a healthy gut environment. Although it does contain gluten because it is a form of wheat, it is said to contain lower levels than modern strains of wheat. Farro, like beets, also contains high levels of B vitamins , magnesium, zinc and iron.
The credit for this recipe goes to Chef Jonathan of Appetite for Books.
Hope you love it!
If I had added “with oranges” to the title it would have been way too long but it must be said. 😉
This typical Sicilian dish is comprised of sweet, savory and citrus flavours. Its delicate, delicious and very healthy.
Sardines are one of the highest sources of omega 3 and B12 you can get! This dish also contains, iron, protein, vitamins D, C , B3 and so much more.
Has anyone tried Ancestry DNA? That’s the DNA test where you spit into a tube and send it to a lab in Ireland where they analyze your sample and send you a break down of your true ancestry. You know the commercial “I thought I married an Italian….”
Well I did it. First, after 6 weeks, I got a reply from them saying that they could not extract DNA from my sample and that I needed to resubmit one. They kindly sent me a new tube, free of charge. Of course, this had to happen to me.
Me to my husband “Why do you think they couldn’t extract any DNA??” worried face
My husband, “They probably scrapped the sample by mistake or you didn’t give enough of a sample”….pauses….. “IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE DNA, YOU WOULD NOT BE ALIVE!” This of course meant “Shut up and stop being crazy”.
I resubmitted a sample, worried that once again they’d give me the same result and that the authorities would come knocking because I was a living anomaly. But of course, it worked. After what felt like a million weeks, I got my result and learned that I am mostly Italian but as much as 17% of my ancestry comes from countries such as Yemen, Syria, Iraq … It’s not surprising as I am half Sicilian and Sicily was conquered by several civilizations starting with the Greeks 650BC, then Roman Byzantine, Arab (hey there!), Norman, Spanish and Italian as of 1789.
So, why did I just tell you all that and what does it have to do with sardines? Well, because I bought a Sicilian cookbook over the weekend and it shows, very nicely laid out by the way, what each civilization contributed and when. Love it! This recipe for stuffed sardines is from our Arab origins combined with the relatively modern Italian influence and of course, the oranges which are everywhere in Sicily.. People are just tripping over them everywhere they go. All that to say that this is a Sicilian dish with Arab roots.
Sardines Stuffed with Spinach, Pine nuts and Raisins
- 1lb fresh spinach
- 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly sliced
- Salt and fresh pepper
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup of sultana raisins (golden raisins) soaked in warm water for 30 min.
- 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs (grated from day-old dry bread, country style loaf, without crusts. The crumb has to be course/chunkier than the store-bought kind.)
- 12 fresh sardines, heads + large pieces of spine and larger bones removed and “filleted”. (See note about sardines)
- 1 orange, sliced
- 8 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
- 12 or more wooden cocktail sticks or heavy duty toothpicks – soaked in water for a bit.
Sardines: My fish monger was confused by my request to behead and fillet my tiny sardines. He looked at me, increadulous “I can’t do that!” he said. I returned the same look saying “but that’s what the book says!“. In a sec, I was gonna have an internal melt-down. I understood though, as these were too small to fillet so he removed the head, and butterflied them. This worked well. 12 of these butterflied sardines used up nearly all of my filling. I hope that this saves you trouble when you get to the fish market. You’re welcome.
I can’t tell you how many times I show up at either a butcher or fish market, recipe book in hand, and I ask for what the book says and I get a puzzled look in return. Sometimes the book is the problem and sometimes it’s them. Urhhh.
Preheat oven to 325. (170c or gas 3)
Steam the spinach briefly until wilted. Drain and allow to cool. Squeeze out excess water so that you end up with a dry-ish ball of spinach. Chop it finely.
Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic for just a minute over medium heat. Add the spinach and season generously and combine with the garlic.
Drain the raisins. Chop raisins and pine nuts together and add to the pan and combine. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Grease an ovenproof dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set aside.
In a bowl combine spinach mixutre with bread crumbs. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
Lay the sardine flat, fleshy side up, removing as many of the larger bones, debris and the thicker base of the spine if there is some remaining. The tiny bones can be eaten. (this always makes me nervous when I am eating sardines. I fear choking or stabbing myself internally) cough, cough But don’t worry – never happens.
Drizzle your sardines with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the stuffing down along where the spine would be and pat it down. Roll it up and secure with a toothpick or two. Repeat with each sardine. (no sh*t)
Put them all , standing up, in the ovenproof dish. Place the orange wedges and bay leaves in between each sardine roll. Season again with a little salt and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. They can be served warm or at room temperature as an anitpasto or as a main, accompanied by rice or salad. Drizzle sardines with a little orange, its delicious!
These were phenominal and so mediteranian! I felt like I should be eating this at a sea-side restaurant with a chilled glass of white wine. Glad I was able to make and enjoy a lovely peice of my heritage.
Thanks for reading !!
Stephanie M. xoxo
Found this great recipe on Pinterest, “The world’s catalog of ideas” It’s a marvellous place to lose yourself in. It can motivate you to make delicious muffins like these AND introduce you to new food concepts, like sandwich cake! Do you know what a sandwich cake is??? (It’s revolutionary! Stay tuned!) and It can also show you 10 weird signs that your relationship is on the rocks even if you didn’t know it or how can you possibly live without finding out what experts say the shape of your butt actually says about you?? (giant eye-roll) and the worst part?? You can’t help it! Your hand just goes, like a mindless zombie and … clicks. You just have to know!
Anyway, you will LOVE these rich and moist Double Chocolate Banana Muffins! Not only are they super chocolatey and delicious but they contain dark chocolate which is an excellent antioxidant, probiotic and protein-rich Greek yogurt, heart-healthy coconut oil and of course potassium-packed bananas! You can enjoy these and feel good about it.
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Can be mixed by hand with a whisk.
- 1 cup, less 1 tbsp of all purpose flour (Measure 1 cup of flour then remove 1 tbsp from it)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed (I used a combination of Stevia (Granulated , cup for cup) and coconut sugar and it worked great!)
- 1 cup very ripe bananas (2 if large -3 if small) They need to be at their sweetest!
Tip: To quickly ripen bananas, pop them into a 350 degree oven for 6-12 min until they turn completely brown. Cool, peel and mash.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously coat a muffin tin with cooking spray and then dust the cavities with cocoa powder. (or use cupcake liners)
If you haven’t done this already, remove and discard 1 tablespoon of the 1 cup of flour. The tablespoon of cornstarch replaces the removed flour, creating a higher, cake-like texture.
In a small bowl, toss together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.
Combine dry ingredients with a whisk
Make sure your bananas are at their ripest. Remove the skins and mash the bananas well. A few lumps are ok, they add texture 🙂 See quick tip above.
In another bowl, briskly whisk together the egg and Greek yogurt until smooth. Stir in the melted coconut oil (slightly cooled, but measure in it’s melted state),vanilla extract, brown sugar, and the mashed bananas.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. I used a rubber spatula and gently folded the batter until combined. Over-mixing results in denser muffins.
Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cavities of the muffin pan.
Bake for 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin. Do not overcook.
Allow to cool and then remove from the muffin tin. (You may need to use a butterknife to cut around the edges and help pull them out! These muffins are a little sticky)
Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
You can microwave a muffin for 15-20 seconds. Try it with peanut butter!
Get the skinny:
Dark chocolate is my new go-to for all my chocolate baking needs. It adds a satisfying, deep, intensely chocolatey flavour. It feels more sinful somehow, even though it’s the healthier option. Go figure. I don’t know if you’ve ever added coffee to a chocolate dessert such as brownies or chocolate cake. It adds the same depth as dark chocolate. Try it!
Sugar: So, I am trying to consume less sugar lately and although this recipe doesn’t call for that much, I still wanted to try substituting it. Why am I trying to consume less sugar? Well my father recently found out the he is diabetic and needs to be on medication for life. It’s hereditary, I am a carb-aholic and I’ve taken a liking to sweets more than ever. PLUS, I find that the more sugar I consume (chocolates, muffins etc…) the more I want. I now suddenly need to have something sweet with my morning coffee and then I need a pick-me-up in the afternoon etc… So, although I exercise and am at a healthy weight, I am trying to drop this bad habit I’ve formed. So, I decided to substitute the sugar in this recipe with two popular ‘healthy’ and natural sweeteners Stevia and Coconut sugar. You may be wondering why in the world I used both. Well, (lol) the Stevia bag claimed that you can use it like regular sugar , cup-for-cup but I found it too airy and fluffy; not the right texture. The recipe called for brown sugar…well…coconut sugar is brown and sorta’ clumps together… and that’s it! That was my thinking process! Anyway, my husband says these muffins are his favourite so I guess it worked out well. I was thrilled of course and felt a little less guilty. 😉
Coconut Sugar: “Compared with table and brown sugars, coconut sugar has impressive amounts of nutrients like zinc and iron as well as antioxidants. Coconut sugar also contains good amounts of inulin, a type of dietary fiber you don’t digest in your upper gastrointestinal tract. Instead, inulin acts as a prebiotic, feeding your intestinal bifidobacteria (a probiotic).
Among its benefits, clinical research finds prebiotics like inulin support gut health, colon cancer prevention, blood sugar balance, lipid (fat) metabolism, bone mineralization, fatty liver disease, obesity, and immunity.” However, lets not lose our minds putting coconut sugar on everything! It is still a form of sugar. In fact, 2/3 of it is composition is essentially sugar, containing fructose and glucose but the great news is that, as explained above it is much healthier and nutrient rich than its rival. As with regular sugar, continue to proceed with caution!
Stevia, a natural plant-based sweetener boasts that you can bake with it, as with regular sugar. Turns out Stevia contains ZERO calories and is safe for diabetics! It is naturally sourced, from the Stevia plant, causing no effect on blood glucose levels! Hooray! Now that I know I can bake with it, I will from time to time. Except for cookies! You can’t make a legit chocolate chip cookie without real brown sugar …but that topic will be for another post 😉
Thanks for reading!!
Recipe found here! http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/greek-yogurt-chocolate-banana-muffins-movie/ VIA PINTEREST
Original post: Nov 25th 2009
In my opinion, this is the best rabbit dish I have ever tasted. Tender braised meat in a thickened white wine sauce delicately flavoured with onion, marjoram and oregano. Deceptively easy to prepare, this dish will make you look good; like a seasoned chef. Ha! You see what I did there? 😉
This is actually my parents’ famed rabbit recipe and everyone that tries it asks for the recipe, every time.
If you’ve never had rabbit, I think it’s safe to say that the flavour is reminiscent of chicken except slightly sweeter and not as dry. Although it’s categorized as red meat, it is lean, light in colour, texture and flavour. We don’t make rabbit enough; I guess we just don’t think about it and if you’re anything like me, it’s always chicken, chicken, chicken. Speaking of which, you can actually make this recipe with chicken if the idea of cooking Thumper makes you sad.
Before we begin: Make sure your butcher cuts your rabbit into about 6 pieces or more if you prefer daintier portions.
Feel free to add a few potato cubes to the skillet while the meat simmers. – Actually, I recommend it. Potatoes are always a good idea; they’re magical. They take on all of the delicious flavours and contribute to the creamy texture of the sauce.
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp of salt to add to the flour
1x 2 to 3 pound rabbit cut into about 6 pieces
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/2 cup of water
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp of dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 tsp of dried oregano, crushed
2 tbsp of snipped Italian, flat leaf parsley
In a plastic resealable bag, combine 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp of salt and the pepper. Add rabbit pieces; shake to coat.
In a large skillet (which has a lid. You’ll need it later), heat oil and butter on medium/medium-high heat.
Brown the rabbit. About 5 minutes per side. Remove rabbit pieces from the pan and reserve in a dish.
Add onion slices to the pan and sauté until slightly softened (sweat them)
Add wine to deglaze, scraping the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it simmer until reduced slightly.
Add water, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste), marjoram and oregano to the pan.
Return rabbit to the skillet.
Good to know: At this point, you may find that you have very little liquid. If this is the case, you can add a small amount of water to the pan to help it along but as the meat cooks down, with the cover on, it will excrete it’s own moisture.
Cover and simmer for 45 min to 1hr. Adding a little water now and again if you find the sauce is too thick.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. When it’s cooked and very tender, sprinkle with fresh parsley and season with black pepper.
I often try to go meatless with my pasta sauces and I always feel like there’s something missing…Oh yeah. It’s sausage. So you will understand my hesitancy when I came across this recipe in my new Thug Kitchen cookbook (Vegan). Although, I noticed that I kept flipping back to it, curious. So I made it and it was so delicious! The flavour was full and rich and I missed neither the meat nor the cheese. I knew it was genuinely good because I ate it for lunch the next day and wanted to make more that same night. The original recipe recommends long pasta or “noodley pasta” to be exact, but I felt like my penne lisce (penne with no ridges) were calling my name and they were perrrrfect with this sauce.
Chickpea Bolognese and Pasta
1 lb of “noodley pasta” such as linguine
3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 cup of minced cremini or button mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic , minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp of dried basil
Dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of red wine
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1/2 cups of tomato sauce or good quality coulis (passata) such as Mutti
1 – 15 oz can (or 1+1/2 cups) of chopped chick peas
Mutti with Basil is MY NEW FAV!! I found that this sauce greatly contributed to the rich flavour I boast about in this recipe. This week, I made it with another brand that I like and it just wasn’t the same. Mutti products can be found at Intermarché and certain Provigo Stores.
1+1/2 cups of canned chickpeas, chopped with a knife or pulsed briefly in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of watermelon seeds.
Chopped fresh Italian parsley and a few leaves of Basil for garnish (too good to omit)
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Reserving a cup or so of pasta water, drain and set pasta aside.
While pasta is cooking , make the sauce. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes until they soften and become golden in spots. Add the mushrooms and the salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic herbs and pepper flakes, then pour in the wine.
Sauté for another two minutes until the wine cooks down a bit.
Stir in the tomato paste and sauce.
Bring to a gentle simmer and then fold in the chickpeas. Add a little pasta water if the sauce has thickened too much.
Taste for seasoning.
When everything is cooked and tender within the sauce, toss in the pasta.
Take it off the heat and top with fresh chopped parsley and a little basil.
*if you don’t want to use wine, use vegetable stock instead.
Recipe from “Thug Kitchen 101 – Fast as F*#k“. Yes, the cookbook is called that.lol
They may swear in this cookbook but they are serious about healthy eating. 🙂
I’ve got just the thing for you to bring to your next holiday party which will raise your social status by a few notches guaranteed! 😉
Adorable, tempting, irresistible, chocolatey, soft, fluffy, delicious & NUTELLA are some of the adjectives I would use to entice you into making/eating these whoopee pies…as if you needed to be enticed. 😉
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Chocolate Whoopie Pies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated or caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 + 3/4 cup (245 grams) plain flour
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2.5 to 3 cups (375 grams ) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) Nutella
2-3 tablespoons milk
- Cover the batter with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. The dough will be impossible to roll into balls if the batter is at room temperature.
- Once out of the freezer and rolled into balls, let them sit a while at room temperature before baking. When baked from a very cold state, it’ll result in wrinkled tops and any bumps in the dough will not cook down. Unsightly.
- I got a little excited when making these and put a little too much Nutella cream in my pies, thinking “YES, MORE NUTELLA IS BETTER”, with crazy eyes and all…but I was wrong; it threw the cookie:cream ratio off. Too much cream for the cookie 😀 I made a batch with a more reasonable heaping 1tbsp of cream in the centre and they were perfect but feel free to experiment.
Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Gradually add the the dry ingredients to the wet. Do not over mix.
Add half the buttermilk and gently fold with a spatula or with your mixer on the lowest setting.
Add the rest of the buttermilk and combine again. It will be sticky and rather dense.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help firm up the mixture so you can easily roll spoonfuls of the batter into balls using your hands – just like you would for traditional cookies. They will be a quite sticky but rolling them in your hands will help achieve a nice smooth finish. I used 1 rounded tablespoon of dough per ball.
Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C).
Place the cookies onto the prepared trays, leaving ample space (min 2″) for them to spread out when cooking. Let them sit for a while at room temperature. (As I learned, if you put them into the oven while very cold, they won’t grow properly and will get wrinkly tops)
Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes. As with brownies, they might feel slightly undercooked but they’ll continue to bake and set even when out of the oven. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer the cookies onto a wire rack. While they are cooling, make the Nutella frosting.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy.
Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, and beat with the electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Add the vanilla and beat again.
Add the Nutella and mix, adding the milk as needed. The frosting should be fairly firm yet spreadable.
Pipe or spoon about 1tbsp of the icing onto one whoopie pie and place another on top, pressing down delicately; continue until they’re all sandwiched.
Recipe discovered on: http://www.handletheheat.com/nutella-stuffed-chocolate-whoopie-pies/
I made this really easy, very flavourful and frankly, exciting dinner tonight and wanted to share.
These chicken wings are so irresistible! It’ll be really hard to control yourself around these; delicately salted, with a parmesan, garlic and herb sauce brushed over deliciously crispy wings, glistening on their platter, waiting to be savoured.
I cannot wait to serve this at my next get together!
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings. Drumettes and wingettes separated (tips discarded)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves of minced garlic
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Sauce: (to be brushed on just prior to serving)
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Toss wings in the marinade until fully coated.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F
Place wings in a single layer on a cookie sheet which has been covered with parchment paper.
Bake until fully cooked and crispy. About 1hr
Note: To obtain an extra crispy skin, broil for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time. Keep a close eye on them though 😉
Remove wings from the oven. Working quickly, using tongs, place them onto paper towels to absorb excess fat. Brush with sauce and immediately move wings to a serving dish.
Sprinkle lightly with some more fresh parmesan if desired.
Serve hot & enjoy!
Recipe adapted from : http://www.whatscookinitalianstylecuisine.com/2011/01/baked-italian-chicken-wings.html
It has been a while and honestly, I’ve missed writing to you!
Ever heard of overnight oats? They’re the best thing ever because it takes minutes to prepare, there’s no cooking involved, it’s healthy and super delicious! I hadn’t heard of this until recently when a friend of mine explained to me, in great detail, how delicious overnight oats are and by the end of her dreamy description, I was drooling. She described the creamy texture that the combination of chia seeds and yogurt create, the tart berries with the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup and of course the oats, which soften after soaking in all the goodness. So, I immediately looked the recipe up on Trois Fois Par Jour, a great blog I follow by Marilou Begin. Maybe you know of her? She’s a multi talented local celebrity and her recipes are delicious and inspiring.
So this is basically Marilou’s recipe with a few modifications. Mainly, I put a little less milk (1/4 cup instead of 1/2 a cup) to give it creamier in texture. 1/2 a cup makes it feel more like cold cereal so you can have it that way if you prefer. I also sometimes add cinnamon, hemp cereal, coconut sugar and other types of fruit. It’s a great source of fibre, protein and can help with digestion.
I don’t like eating this straight out of the fridge (sensitive teeth 🙂 but it never fails; when I take it out, I immediately have a spoonful and think “oooh too cold”….then I wait about 3 seconds and take another spoonful…”ooh still too cold” and this goes on until it’s finished. It’s too hard to resist 🙂
Overnight Oats with Chia and Berries
1/4 cup rolled oats or quick oats
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds (I use a mixture of chia and hemp cereal)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup Almond milk (or regular milk) Adjust qty to you liking
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup of blueberries
Combine all of the ingredients in a small Tupperware or Mason jar, making sure to lightly mash the raspberries into the mixture.
Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
Great for a quick & healthy breakfast.
The Barefoot Contessa has done it again! For those that follow my blog a little, This roast chicken recipe is as delicious and easy to make as her Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef recipe; therefore, it’s a keeper. Not only will it taste great but it really has that wow-factor as it has little twist to it, making it original and utterly irresistible.
Note: This is a prepare-ahead recipe. You’ll need to season your chicken and place it in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours before you cook it. This ensures a crisp skin and tenderizes the meat. It also makes it possible to then serve your chicken on a weeknight or when you don’t have timefor fussy prep work.
Now, besides the fact that this chicken comes out with a deliciously crispy skin and the meat so very moist, what gives this dish it’s wow-factor is the bread. Yup, the bread. The chicken is roasted on a bed of thickly sliced country bread, in a cast iron skillet so the bread becomes lovely and toasted at the bottom and the tops remain soft with the meat drippings. It absorbs all of the flavours – the chicken, lemon, herbs and garlic making it so very tasty. The bread is then cut up into cubes (croutons) and served on a platter with the chicken and arugula salad.
The croutons are so delicious and crunchy, it’ll be hard to resist eating it all as your cutting and plating it. “Oh, there’s a piece that’s too dark, oh! there’s a stray one, oh! there’s an oddly shaped one , lets fix it”…. you know.
Roast Chicken with Bread & Arugula Salad (Serves 4 )
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken (I used a 3lb chicken)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large garlic cloves, smashed flat
1 lemon, quartered
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus extra for serving
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 (¾-inch-thick) slices country bread
Good olive oil
For the Arugula Salad (recipe follows)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (3 scallions)
2 tablespoons dried currants or cranberries (optional)
6 cups baby arugula, lightly packed (6 to 8 ounces)
Prep your chicken: Place the chicken in a baking dish. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and thighs without breaking the skin. Carefully slide the sprigs of thyme and the garlic under the skin. Put the lemon wedges into the cavity. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the body.
Sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and the pepper, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
Salting the chicken and leaving in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours ensures a crispier skin.
Although the original recipe does not indicate to do so, I always allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for 30-45 min before cooking it. It will still feel cold to the touch when it goes into the oven but not as much as it would have been straight out of the fridge.
On serving day: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is very clean or it’ll get very smoky in there)
Place the bread in a medium (10-inch) cast-iron skillet in a single layer. Brush the chicken with olive oil and place it, breast side up, on top of the bread.
Roast for 30 minutes, then turn it over and roast for 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Wrap the skillet tightly with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for a full 30 minutes. (Don’t worry; it will stay hot.) The bread will be almost burnt on the bottom and soft with the pan drippings on top.
Place the dressed Arugula Salad in a very large, shallow serving platter. Put the chicken and the bread on a cutting board. Cut the bread into 1-inch squares and sprinkle them on the salad. Carve the chicken thickly and place it on top of the salad. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, sprinkle it with sea salt, and serve warm.
For the Arugula Salad:
Whisk the vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup.
Whisk in the olive oil, stir in the scallions and currants, and set aside.
Place the arugula in a large bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss well.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe: http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recipes.aspx
Copyright 2014, Make It Ahead by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved
Black cod: My new favourite way to get in my Omega 3’s. It is a mild tasting white fish, with the perfect texture; firm, moist and flaky. Also, you can’t deny, its darn gorgeous!
That lovely caramelized top is achieved with a mixture of white miso paste, brown sugar, sesame oil and Mirin; a combination that adds richness and umami (aka – intensely pleasurable flavour) to this dish. It’s quick to prepare,absolutely foolproof and a sure crowd pleaser!
Make this at your next dinner party and I guarantee that at least one person will say “You know, I’m not really crazy about fish but this is amazing!” or something to that effect. In any case, this is sure to be a favourite in your recipe arsenal.
You can find white Miso and toasted sesame seeds at any health food grocery store such as Tao or at your local Asian grocery store.
Black cod has one of the highest levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which contributes to it’s silky and rich texture.
The safe internal temperature for fish is between 145 and 150. A food thermometer removes any guesswork. It’ll not only prevent undercooking your food but it’ll help prevent overcooking it as well, which can be just as bad.
Miso Glazed Black Cod
6 (6-ounce) black cod fillets, or regular cod fillets
1/3 cup low-sodium blond or white miso
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
Toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions, for garnish, optional
Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine miso, brown sugar, sesame oil and mirin and stir well until brown sugar is fully dissolved.
Brush about 1-2 tablespoons miso glaze on each fish fillet. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
Place an oven rack on the upper third level of your oven.
Preheat on Broil setting (high).
Place fish under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, or until top is slightly charred and glaze has caramelized. Keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t char completely.
Lower oven to 375 degrees F and remove fish from oven and dab on a little more glaze.
Return to oven and cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 and flakes apart easily with a fork.
I recommend garnishing with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
Have I lost you already?!? I can imagine that some friends and family have not even made it to this line, they saw “curry” and bypassed the email. “What’s she thinking?” then… “DELETE!” . My (Sicilian) father probably shut down his whole computer.
…but if you are here – Welcome!
Curries have become Britain’s national dish! Did you know that? Not meat pies, mushy peas or fish and chips! Nope. Everyone “goes for a Curry” over there; after a night of drinking, before a night of drinking, during a night of drinking lol… Curry in Britain has become as common and beloved as pasta and pizza for us. Everyone, even little old English ladies are making it at home on the regular. On the other hand, in my circle here in Montreal, I know people who claim they break out into a sweat when they eat it and some find the smell intoxicating (not in a good way) As comedian Sugar Sammy would say “ça sent les épices” (It smells like spices) 😀 So, where’s the disconnect here? For me, I’d say its an acquired taste because Indian cuisine feels so very far away from the European flavours I am accustomed to. We’re getting better though; our millennials are way more open and adventurous with food and why not? There’s a lot of great cuisines out there.
So, I was on a mission! Like my once deep dislike of green beans; I couldn’t handle being one of the very few that didn’t like them! So I ate them until I did! Or what about the times I said, with such finality, ” Sushi?! I will never put a piece of raw fish in my mouth!” hmmm, we all know that was an absurd statement. So I figure, if all of Britain is in love with curry, then I want to love it too. So after years of trying it here and there, I finally get the allure. The vibrant spices, the heat, the comforting textures, the variety… it’s very exciting. Now I crave it every once in a while. My favourites are the milder yellow curries, especially those containing coconut milk. The cravings sneak up on you; you start with a little of that irresistible Naan bread and a little butter chicken or chicken Korma over white rice and then the next thing you know, you can’t get it off your mind.
So speaking of dishes you won’t be able to get off your mind, here is my very delicious recipe for a vegetable Curry, inspired by my friend, Claudia P (who I affectionately refer to as Claudia Jr. because we also hang around with Claudia A , another of my muses, who is slightly older) I digress….
This dish is saucy, creamy and a little spicy. The cauliflower, potato and chickpeas are soft, warm and comforting. Serve over white rice if desired and definitely serve with warm Naan bread!
Yes, you’ve entered Carb Town, sorry.
Serves 4 if serving with rice.
- 1 small head of Cauliflower cut into very small flowerets
- 1 small/medium russet potato, peeled and cubed (about an inch-square)
- 1 can of chick peas , 19fl oz/540ml , drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 inch peice of ginger , minced (optional)
- 2 Roma tomatoes roughly chopped (or a couple of canned tomatoes)
- 3/4 can coconut milk, 14fl oz/414ml, stirred
- 2 generous tbsp medium yellow curry powder, or to taste
- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste, or to taste (add gradually, its spicy)
- 1 tsp of cumin or to taste
- 1/2 tsp of tumeric for color enhancment but more for the amazing health benefits 😉
- 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil for sautéing
- aprox 1 cup water, to loosen the sauce for simmering
- Chopped fresh cilantro as garnish. Chop up the stems too and set apart from leaves.
“To Taste” You may have noticed, for my quanities, I put the suggested amount but added “to taste” at the end. This is because you can adjust this to your liking. Maybe you like the cumin flavor to be very pronounced or you don’t want your curry to be very spicy. I created this recipe by adding and tasting, until it was perfect for me.
Wash + chop your vegetables. Cauliflower should be cut into small flowerets, potatoes should be cut into small cubes about 1/2 inch sq.
Quickly par-boil potato cubes in salted water and drain. They must remain firm but edible.
If you are sensitive to chick peas, boil for 10 minutes and drain.
Sautee onion in coconut oil on medium heat until softened. Then add garlic and ginger (if using) and sautee for a few seconts, do not brown.
Add chopped tomato , combine the onion mixture
Add cauliflower, potato and chickpeas and stir to combine
Stir in spices (Curry powder, red curry paste, cumin, tumeric)
Stir in coconut milk to coat and distribute spices evenly. Lower the heat if it starts to boil too rapidly.
Add a little water to loosen the stew at this point and throughout the process – about 1/4 cup at a time until vegetables are very tender.About 1 cup total or more if you prefer your curries to be more liquid.
Add 1 tsp of salt
Cover partially and simmer
Stir occasionally and make sure your stew isn’t sticking.
Taste & adjust seasoning to your liking.
When almost done, stir in chopped cilantro stems
Serve over jasmin rice if desired.
Garnish with chopped Cilantro leaves
Must serve with warmed/grilled Naan bread 😀 (I usually brush them with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and warm them on the grill)
Zoodles?? (my spell checker is in disbelief. It keeps changing the word to “noodles”)
Zoodles : Spaghetti style noodles made from zucchini, using a Spiralizer
Facts: Vegetarian recipe, Gluten Free, Vegan & Raw. It’s super healthy; super delicious
So, here is another recipe that was so delicious & so simple to prepare that I immediately began writing this post after dinner. The dishes weren’t even done yet. Now, that’s excitement!…but also procrastination.
If you like sesame, peanut butter sauce, soy sauce or simply love the sweet n’ salty umami flavours often associated with Asian cuisine, then you’ll love this.
Note: When I say, serve immediately, I really mean it. Zoodles start excreting water very rapidly. If you let them sit, the excess water will dilute the once flavourful sauce. You don’t want to end up with zoodle soup 😉
To counter this, I recommend you do the following:
-Prepare your sauce ahead of time and when you are just about ready to sit down to dinner, spiralize your zucchini. Its incredibly quick to do.
-I found that it helps to dry your zoodles with paper towels
-If you have a spiralizer with a thicker and thinner blade, I use the thicker one. A thicker zoodle takes longer to break down.
Dress your zoodles and enjoy!
1/2 cup smooth almond butter (Click the link to see my favourite brand)
3 Tablespoons low-sodium gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon water
salt and pepper
1/4 cup almonds or peanuts (plus more for garnish)
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
3/4 cup chopped scallions, green and white parts
2 teaspoons with sesame seeds
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Sliced avocado, optional
- Combine almond butter, gluten-free tamari or soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, lime juice, water, salt and pepper into a food processor then pulse until creamy. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Chop almonds (or peanuts) by hand or use a food processor.
- Place the zucchini noodles into a medium bowl with the scallions. Add the almond butter sauce and the chopped nuts and toss to combine thoroughly. Top with sesame seeds, extra chopped peanuts, and chopped cilantro then serve immediately.
Notes: You can use two spiralized kohlrabi or cucumbers instead of zucchini.
This recipe was found on one of my favourite blogs: http://iowagirleats.com/2015/04/20/sesame-almond-butter-zucchini-noodle-bowls/
The longest I can go without pasta is about a month and then I lose my mind. Most Italians reading this are probably thinking “A month? Are you crazy?!?” I get it but I really try to avoid pasta as much as I can. Tonight though, I had just about reached my limit and Man! This recipe did not disappoint. It had all the necessary comfort components – satisfyingly saucy, creamy, cheesy, warm and gooey – you name it and it was so quick to prepare. It’s perfect for a weeknight and making it doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re expedient and clever 😉
Make it quick: I usually have sautéed spinach ready in the fridge (yes, seriously) and I usually have prepared Bolognese tomato sauce (meat sauce) in the freezer so this recipe was ready before I could say “Lazy Girl Lasagna with Spinach and Ricotta!!” 😀
Lighten up! I shaved off a few calories by decreasing the amount of cheese (I know…boring) but it was still very tasty. In the ricotta mixture, I sprinkled only a couple of teaspoons of Pecorino Romano cheese instead of the 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Pecorino Romano’s flavour packs a punch so a little goes a long way. I omitted the mozzarella between the layers, only adding a light sprinkle on the very top layer. I omitted the parmesan on the top layer as well.
Making this lasagna lighter did not affect the flavor much as I was using Bolognese sauce, which is flavourful on it’s own. However, if using plain tomato sauce or tomato purée, I would imagine you’d have to ‘up’ the amount of cheese.
Note: As this recipe is made with left overs, adjust your lazy lasagna to your liking. I tend to use more pasta than recommended and more sauce. That’s the beauty of this; you can use it as a guide and make it all your own. In any case, it’ll be delicious.
3 heaping cups leftover cooked short cut pasta tossed in butter, such as penne
Oil or butter, for greasing baking dish
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
8 ounce (250 gram) container ricotta (I love Bella Casara brand – found at IGA)
1 egg, beaten
Pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (or a couple of tbsp. of Pecorino Romano)
About 2 cups of jarred puréed tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce (preferably Bolognese)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch square baking dish.
Heat large fry pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is hot, add garlic. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until just wilted. Remove from pan. When cool, squeeze out any excess moisture and then mix with ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, egg and nutmeg. Set aside.
At the base of your baking dish, layer 1/4 cup tomato sauce, about 1 cup pasta, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, all of the spinach and ricotta filling, remaining pasta, 1/2 cup more tomato sauce, remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. (Note: If you prefer your lazy casserole more saucy, add 1/4 cup more sauce.)
Cover with parchment and foil. Bake until cheese is melted and pasta is thoroughly heated through and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered, until cheese turns a little golden, about 5 minutes.
Thank you for reading! Enjoy!
My summer-bod, healthy-eating hasn’t even started yet and I’m already fed up of making salmon filets in the usual way. In fact while sitting at work yesterday I was pouting, like a child at the prospect of having it for supper again and then EUREKA! I got an email from Pure Wow recipes and found a recipe for these Salmon Burgers! Ingredients include: chopped fresh dill, green onion, old bay, salt and lemon. It sounded fresh, light and delicious + I had all the ingredients at home, so I tried and loved them! A burger is great; just think about all the ways you can top them. Yesterday I could not decide between cilantro/mayo/dijon/tomato/avocado or tzatziki/cucumber/tomato or roasted red pepper/spicy giardiniera/mayo/dijon. I went Italian with the third option and it was so delicious!
I know I sound like a broken record but using an instant-read food thermometer really takes some of the guess work out of cooking. Your patties should reach an internal temperature of 160-165. However, if you were making fillets, they can be cooked to an internal temperature of 155-158.
When I say mayo, I mean : (Soy-free) Vegenaise. Its magical and I put it on everything! Its lighter and tastier than regular mayonnaise and seems to go with just about anything. My favourite way to use it is when I make my morning toast:(mini bonus recipe!) 1 thin slice of my favourite pumpernickel bread – toasted , veganaise, avocado slices, boiled egg (halved, placed yolk-side down and lightly smashed on), salt. Its the best.
“Vegenaise® is an egg-free spread that is a healthier, tastier option to regular mayo. Made with exclusively Non-GMO ingredients and using only heart-healthy, expeller-pressed oils, Vegenaise® delivers the smooth creamy texture of mayo without any of the artificial ingredients, trans fats or preservatives.”
1½ pounds skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 green onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
2 cups prepared coleslaw (optional) or other desired topping
- Place the salmon in a food processor. Pulse until the salmon resembles ground meat. Remove and transfer to a medium bowl.
Add the green onions, garlic, lemon zest and juice, parsley, dill, Old Bay, salt and pepper to the bowl with the salmon, and stir to combine. Divide the mixture into six even pieces (about 6 ounces each), and form into round patties roughly the size of the buns.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until golden brown on each side and fully cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper towels to remove any excess oil. (internal temp 160-165)
To build the burgers, place a patty on each bun and top each with ½ cup of coleslaw (or whatever else you like).