Mini Post! Creamy Dill Dressing

Dill Dressing

Hello there!

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Thanks for reading & enjoy!!

Stephanie M.

Source: https://www.ricardocuisine.com/en/recipes/4855-smoked-salmon-and-fiddlehead-salad

 

Posted in Breakfast / Brunch, Dinner, Egg free, Gluten-free, Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farro Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese over Beet Hummus

 

arugula-farro-beet-hummus-salad-insta-side

Hello there!

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.

arugula-farro-and-beet-hummus-salad-insta-top

Beet Hummus

(Make ahead)

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Directons

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.

 

 

 

Farro Salad

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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!

Stephanie M

Posted in appetizer, Breakfast / Brunch, Dinner, Egg free, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetable Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sardines Stuffed with Spinach, Pine nuts and Raisins

…with Oranges.

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.

sardines-instagram-shot

Hey there!

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.

sicily-cookbook-cover

sicily-cookbook-civilizations

Sardines Stuffed with Spinach, Pine nuts and Raisins

with Oranges

sardines-raw

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Directions

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

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in appetizer, Dinner, Recipe, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

 

chocolate-banana-muffins

Hey there!

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.

muffin-inside

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Can be mixed by hand with a whisk.
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 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.

muffin-inside-glam-shot

Instructions

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!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-virgin/coconut-sugar-healthier-s_b_5669084.html

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 😉 

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287251.php

Thanks for reading!!

Stephanie M.

Recipe found here! http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/greek-yogurt-chocolate-banana-muffins-movie/   VIA PINTEREST

Posted in Breakfast / Brunch, Dessert, Recipe, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Herbed Rabbit with White Wine Sauce

rabbit-plated

Original post: Nov 25th 2009

Hi guys!

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, chickenSpeaking 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. 

Serves 4

Ingredients 

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
Salt
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
Pepper

rabbit-glam-shot

Directions

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.

Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chickpea Bolognese and Pasta (V)

 

chickpea-bolognese-and-pasta-glam

Hello there,

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

INGREDIENTS

1 lb of “noodley pasta” such as linguine

Sauce

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)

chickpea-bolognese-glam-centred

DIRECTIONS

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. 🙂

thug-kitchen

Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Recipe, Vegetable Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Whoopie Pies

chocolate-nutell-whoopie-pies

Heya!

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

Yield: 14

Ingredients

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

Nutella Cream

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

chocolate-nutella-whoopie-pies

Notes:

  • 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.

Directions

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. 

Enjoy!

Stephanie M.

Recipe discovered on: http://www.handletheheat.com/nutella-stuffed-chocolate-whoopie-pies/

 

Posted in Recipe, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baked Italian Chicken Wings

 

chicken-wings-close-up-insta

Hello there!

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!

chicken-wings-parmesan-insta

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings. Drumettes and wingettes separated (tips discarded)

 

Marinade:

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

chicken-wings-brushed-insta

DIRECTIONS

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!

Stephanie M.

Recipe adapted from : http://www.whatscookinitalianstylecuisine.com/2011/01/baked-italian-chicken-wings.html

Posted in Gluten-free, Recipe, Side Dish, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overnight Oats with Chia and Berries

overnight-oats-poolside

Hello all,

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-kitchen-side

Overnight Oats with Chia and Berries

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Enjoy!

Posted in Egg free, Gluten-free, Recipe, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula

Chicken and Croutons

Hey everyone!

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.

Chicken with bread cutting board

Roast Chicken with Bread & Arugula Salad (Serves 4 )

Ingredients

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)

Bread placed in skillet

Place bread into a cast iron skillet

Chicken Raw in Skillet

Place raw chicken onto the bread

Chicken cooked bread in pan

While chicken is resting, remove bread from pan and cut into 1 inch cubes

Chicken and croutons on salad

When bread has cooled, place over arugula salad.

Directions

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.

Enjoy!

Stephanie M.


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

Posted in Dinner, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miso Glazed Black Cod

 

Miso Glazed Black Cod Plated 1

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. 

Notes:

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 Plated

Miso Glazed Black Cod

Ingredients

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

Miso Glazed Black Cod RawMiso Glazed Cod Baked 2Miso Glazed Black Cod Plated

Directions

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.

Enjoy!

 

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/miso-glazed-cod-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback
Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Curry in a Hurry (V, GF)

 

Curry close

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. 

 

Curry Glam Shot

Serves 4 if serving with rice.

Ingredients: 

  • 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
  • Salt
  • 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.

 

Curry veggies washed & boiled

Vegetables ready to go!

Curry veggies just added to pan

added to sauté pan

Curry veggies 1

added coconut milk and spices

Curry dish black background

Voila!

Directions:

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)
Enjoy!!
Stephanie M.

Great Indian restaurant in MontrealRasoi

Because we were on the subject of Britain, here’s a fun site that lists the British terms for every day things  :

British Slang Dictionary

Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Gluten-free, Recipe, Vegetable Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoodles with Almond Butter Sauce

 

Zoodles with Almond Butter Sauce Close light

Lets begin…

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

Hello there!

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!

 

Zoodles raw

 

Zoodles with Almond BUtter Sauce Light

Ingredients:

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

Directions: 

  1. 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.
  2. Chop almonds (or peanuts) by hand or use a food processor.
  3. 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/

Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Gluten-free, Recipe, Side Dish, Vegetable Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lazy Lasagna with Ricotta and Spinach

Lazy Lasagna peice side Insta

Hey there,

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.

 

INGREDIENTS

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
PREPARATION

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!

Stephanie M.

 

Posted in Dinner, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Salmon Burgers (egg & breadcrumb free)

Salmon Burger Patty

Hey there!

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!

Notes:

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.”

 

SALMON PATTIES

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

BURGERS

3 tablespoons coconut oil (or other neutral oil)

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

2 cups prepared coleslaw (optional) or other desired topping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the salmon in a food processor. Pulse until the salmon resembles ground meat. Remove and transfer to a medium bowl.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. To build the burgers, place a patty on each bun and top each with ½ cup of coleslaw (or whatever else you like).

Enjoy!!

Posted in Dinner, Egg free, Gluten-free, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bibimbap Salad

Bibimbap Instagram

Be creative – use what you’ve got on hand! Here I used rapini instead of spinach and added some sliced avocado 😀

Hello there!

My husband is participating in a weight loss competition at the office so I am trying to support him by making low-fat, low-gluten meals that contain as many nutrients as possible. We have been eating better for a while now but we were a week away from his final weigh in so it was crunch time and I needed inspiration. I just can’t do salad anymore. So while I was at my local Chapters buying a couple of mother’s day cards, I stumbled upon Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook entitled “It’s all Easy – Delicious weekday recipes for the super-busy home cook” Hello!”, I thought, “That’s totally me!” This doesn’t sound like a healthy-eating cookbook by the title, but it is. Just know that if Gwyneth’s name is on the cookbook, then the recipes are good for you – its a given. This was the perfect thing to ensure my husband’s victory while at the same enabling my cookbook addiction.

I noticed the Bibimbap Salad recipe right away while leafing through. I love Bibimbap, a signature Korean dish which is usually served in a stone bowl, filled with rice, various cooked and raw vegetables, some meat or fish and topped with a poached egg, a little sauce and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Its heavenly! Although this recipe is an approximation of the real thing, it contains the main elements. The dressing in this recipe is amazingly fresh and a little spicy – it definitely makes the dish.

This is what I have learned from lots of sporadic reading of health articles online, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Miller and several top 10 lists on Pinterest… 

What are the key ingredients you need to eat on a regular basis?? Ginger, coconut oil, any leafy green, garlic, pineapple, sweet potato, tomatoes in any form and various whole grains.

What to avoid? Refined sugars and flours, fried foods, processed foods and animal fats. That pretty much sums it up. Oh, and reduce your dairy and red meat intake.

What will happen to you? It’ll improve gut health, boost your immunity, reduce weight and inflammation, lower cholesterol, stabilize sugar levels, increase energy and it’ll make you happier too – less mood swings! We could all use some o’ dat, so stock that fridge with the good stuff already!!

Ingredients:

Sauce:

Bibimbap Salad Dressing

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1tbsp)

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tbsp of spicy red pepper paste such as Gochujan or prefer Thai Red Curry Paste by Blue Dragon. Its creamier and does not even taste like curry in this quantity. Used it by mistake, preferred the flavour and now use it exclusively in this recipe.

1 tbsp + 1 tsp o toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp of rice vinegar

2 tbsp of tamari or soy sauce

2 tbsp of water

1 tsp of maple syrup

1/3 cup of Kimchi (Found at Tao or any major grocery chain with a large health food section. Its so good!)

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt, to taste

Bibimbap:

3 tbsp of toasted sesame oil

12 shiitakes, stemmed and sliced thin

1 cup of mung bean sprouts or regular bean sprouts

4 cups of lightly packed baby spinach

4 cups of cooked white, brown rice or quinoa

4 small or 2 large carrots, peeled and grated

4 poached or hard or soft boiled eggs

Kimchi

Furikake seasoning (recipe below)

Directions

To make the sauce blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

To make the bibimbap, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of sesame oil , the shiitakes and a generous pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.

Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Add another tablespoon of sesame oil and and add the bean sprouts and a pinch of salt and sauté until just tender. Transfer those to a bowl, separate from the mushrooms. Add the final tablespoon of sesame oil and add the spinach, season with salt and cook until just wilted.

Divide rice among 4 bowl and arrange the grated carrots, shiitakes, sprouts, spinach, eggs and Kimchi on top. Garnish with Furikake and serve with sauce on the side.

Furikake Seasoning  (So good, you’ll want to put it on everything!!)

2 large toasted Nori sheets or 4-5 of the smaller ones.

2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds

2 tsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil

Pinch of salt

Use your fingers to crumble the nori into very small pieces into a bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and store at room temp in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (3 days? Yes. The nori becomes stale and papery after about 3 days)

Enjoy!!

Posted in Dinner, Gluten-free, Recipe, vegetarian recipe | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Nutella Stuffed Final

Hey there! So, what could make my all time best cookie recipe ” Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies ” taste even better?? There’s only one way – Nutella!

Right now, there’s a little Nutella craze going on. It’s been around for ages but suddenly all over the country, Tim Hortons’ doughnut shops have just introduced their new Nutella cookies, pastries and doughnuts and everyone everywhere it seems, are jumping on the bandwagon. At work, someone brought homemade Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies and everyone went bonkers.

Nutella squirrel

You mean… we don’t have to eat it on toast or with a spoon anymore?

We could…put it in a cookie??!

People are hella’ excited about this rebirth.  So, I decided to try making them with my chocolate chip cookie recipe and I immediately knew that I had just made the ultimate Nutella cookie. The results yielded a variety of facial expressions, wide eyes, closed eyes, and lots of “OMGs”.

These cookies taste a lot like Chips Ahoy but softer; add a Nutella molten centre and they become unbeatable like they’ve been given super powers. Bring them to your next get-together and you will be forever revered for your talent.


Looks aren’t everything but they sure help.

When I first started making chocolate chip cookies I found that they didn’t look very professional. All of the chocolate chips were covered in dough making them look too “homey”. Here’s the trick. When there’s about 6-7 minutes left of cooking time , I pull the cookies out of the oven and working quickly, I carefully place the additional chocolate chips onto each cookie, pressing down ever so slightly and then pop the cookies back into the oven. They’re sure to come out looking picture-worthy! 

Cookie Staging

These babies have 7 minutes of cooking time left.

Good to know beforehand: 

  1. Chilling your dough produces a better cookie: There is at least one hour of chilling time before you can assemble and bake your cookies.
  2. (optional) Chill your Nutella jar for no longer than 20 min, it’ll be easier to handle. Don’t chill for too long because it’ll be too hard to scoop.
  3. Frozen Nutella Centres. Not every recipe calls for this but it will make your life easier. While the cookie dough is in the fridge, the nutella centres must be placed in the freezer for minimum 1 hour. Its way easier to form your dough around a frozen centre, trust me. See instructions below.
  4. Let it rest: Once dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and allow time for dough to soften a little. The softening time not only made the dough easier to scoop but it made a better cookie in the end. When I used very cold dough, my cookies came out flat and a little pale. By the time I got to my second and third trays of cookies, made with slightly warmer dough, they rose properly and were a lovely golden colour.

This may seem tedious but I thought you wanted to make the best cookies 😉

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: aprox 2 DOZEN ( I got 22 )

Prep: 2 HOURS (INCLUDES CHILLING)

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp

1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs (or extra large)

1+1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, beating to combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours (although dough keeps up to 3 days in the fridge)

Nutella Centers 

INGREDIENTS/TOOLS

1 large jar of Nutella (725g)

1 rounded tablespoon

DIRECTIONS

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using your rounded tablespoon, spoon about 22-24 dollops of Nutella onto the sheet.

Freeze for 1-2 hours.

They need to be frozen solid because working with soft, melted centres is a messy job.

Frozen nutella

Assembly

Preheat oven to 375.

Remove dough from the fridge and allow to sit and soften a little 20-30 min.

Then take the frozen Nutella centres out of the freezer. Now the magic can happen!

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

You will need to work quickly because if the Nutella starts to melt, it will be messy.

Take 2 tablespoons of dough, flatten it in the palm of  your hand and place frozen Nutella in the centre. Fold dough around it, adding dough where needed, sealing it and patching holes. You want the Nutella to remain contained.

Be sure to place cookies 2 inches apart onto your cookie sheet.

Repeat until all ingredients are used.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until they’ve achieved a light golden colour. Remove from the oven and let them sit. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet.

Once they are solid enough to move, remove to a wire rack. (Don’t rush it like I ALWAYS do)

Cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

I just love how the centres always remain gloriously molten, even when completely cooled.

DO THEY FREEZE WELL? Hell yeah, they do! Make a few batches , freeze them and take them out a couple of hours before you want to serve them. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Avocado Baked Eggs

Baked avocado

I’m sure, like me, you’ve seen avocado baked eggs all over the internet. I love eggs and avocados so I couldn’t wait to try. Eggs are not as high in cholesterol as once thought. They have amazing health benefits such as reducing the risk of breast cancer, they’re great for vision and they boost your brain! Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, they help lower cholesterol, they contain more potassium than a banana and are high in fibre.

This recipe calls for small eggs in order for the yolk and egg white to fit perfectly into your lightly scooped avocado. Who buys small eggs?? I’d always ask myself when at the grocery store… “No recipe I’ve ever heard of calls for small eggs. Its just silly.” So, after I bought said eggs for this recipe, I examined the first one and thought, “How cute are they??? They’d look so cute sunny-side-up or OMG, hard boiled!”  Adorable. I am now a small egg buyer.

Anyway, on to the recipe…

Note: Not every grocer carries small eggs. I found mine at my local Provigo. You could of course use a larger egg but that’d mean scooping out more avocado. Just make sure to eat what you scoop out 😀

Small eggs are great if you want to eat them regularly for breakfast but in smaller quantities. We love eggs so, for us having a dozen extra large and a dozen small isn’t a big deal. With their generous shelf life, we have no problem using them up before the expiry date and we don’t even eat eggs every day.

Raw egg in avocado

2 Servings

Ingredients:

1 hass avocado, halved and pitted

2 small eggs

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes: Chives are a nice touch and you can also top with chopped tomato for a super vitamin-rich breakfast.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Using your great estimation skills and your trusty teaspoon, scoop out some avocado flesh, leaving just enough room for your egg to fit. (I’d say roughly 2 heaping teaspoons per half)

Place your avocado halves into a small baking dish that will house them snugly. We don’t want them tipping over and spilling egg all over the place. (I use my Brie baking dish).

Working with one egg at a time, crack your first one into a small bowl.

Using your teaspoon, gently scoop out only the yolk and place into the avocado cavity. Beat the egg white lightly and carefully pour onto the yolk, burying it. (this is important because otherwise the yolk will cook more rapidly than the white)

Repeat with the second egg.

Season with salt

Bake for approximately 20 min. You can poke the white with the tip of a knife to ensure it has set. 

Season with freshly ground pepper and garnish with chives (if using).

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Posted in Breakfast / Brunch, Gluten-free, Recipe, Snack food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grilled Tiramisu with Coffee-Speckled Mascarpone Cream

TIramisu (Grilled) Final

Hey there!

Yeah, you read right. Its a new, delicious and very easy twist on Tiramisu, just in time for spring. (if it ever gets here!) I subscribed to a channel on my Apple TV called Tastemade. Its a series of short segments centered on, you got it, food and travel of course ; two of my favourite topics. One day, when I was just letting the shows play one after another, I discovered Megan Mitchell, a chef and food stylist on a show called Grill Camp. Grill Camp?? Yeah, I didn’t think it’d be my thing but she makes these great meals in no time and makes it look so easy which is totally my thing. She made this Tiramisu on a trip to Seattle which is of course, known for its coffee! It looked delicious and simple to make and it turns out , it is and I had to share.

This Tiramisu and my all time favourite, from Restaurant DaEmma, have one thing in in common which I absolutely love. Coffee grains are mixed into the mascarpone mixture producing a lightly speckled look, reminiscent of vanilla bean ice cream, but the best part is the slight crispiness they add.

Mascarpone cream cropped

Notes: 

You don’t need an outdoor grill to do this. You can use the bottom grill of a panini press or a grill pan.

Sara Lee frozen pound cake is firm and dense so its perfect for the grill. Also, it’s subtle taste doesn’t interfere with the flavours in this dish.

Why grill the cake? It warms the exterior and adds a slight toasted flavour. Although more importantly, it dries the exterior to prevent the cake from getting overly soggy when the coffee is drizzled on.  Also, it looks cool. People will be impressed 😉

Servings: 4-8 (depending how you decide to plate it & how thickly you slice your cake. See note below)

Ingredients

Sara Lee frozen pound cake, thawed (doesn’t matter if its not fully thawed)

1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese

1/2 tsp ground expresso

1 tbsp of powdered sugar

2 tbsp of granulated sugar (divided)

1 + 1/2 cups of brewed Espresso or other rich strong coffee completely cooled

1/2 cup of whipped cream (I buy containers of frozen whipped cream. It keeps so well & its always ready to use)

Directions

Slice your pound cake into thick slices for a maximum of 8 slices.

Lightly grill your poundcake on a preheated grill or grill pan, until you get those good lookin’ grill marks on them. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your mascarpone, ground coffee, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp of the brewed coffee.

Gently fold your whipped cream into the mixture. Taste and adjust by adding more sugar as needed. Set aside.

Stir in the remaining tbsp of granulated sugar into the remainder of your brewed coffee

Drizzle brewed coffee over your pound cake slices. (I drizzle quite generously)

To plate your dessert, place one slice of poundcake onto a dish and scoop drop a large scoop of your mascarpone mixture over top letting it droop down the sides. Place a second piece of poundcake and top that layer with another heap of mascarpone mixture.

Note: Of course, you can plate this as you like. The method above makes for quite a large serving. You could for instance use a dessert cup; place a piece of the cake at the bottom and top with a generous dollop of the cream and chocolate shavings. You can also cut your poundcake into squares and stack, making smaller versions of the full sized portion This way you can maximize the number of servings. 

Then…savour and enjoy

 

ADAPTED FROM: Megan Mitchell : https://www.tastemade.com/shows/grill-camp/chicken-paillard-with-grilled-tiramisu

Posted in Dessert, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weeknight Gourmet: Gnocchi with peas and crispy prosciutto

Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto

Hello friends!

It’s “throw-back-thursday” and I wanted to share a recipe I had published several years ago, when I first got married. I spend so much time finding new recipes that I sometimes forget the great ones I’ve already made 🙂

Here is the original post:

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. Its a real winner. When I tried it – I thought of you and said…”Must… blog!”

As you may or may not know, all I think about is…”what are we eating tonight, tomorrow, next week, & right now…” Especially now that I’m married and in charge of all the meals, I spend time, happily scouring my many cookbooks or the Food Network site for tasty & easy new recipes.

 

My faithful follower and fan, my husband (God bless him), is my guinea pig (like he has a choice) ; he loves this one! He’ll never tell me he hates something, he’s a smart man, but I sure know when he LOVES something 🙂  However, with the praise, there is a funny downside. I constantly get blamed for any ounce of weight gained, tight fitting jeans and shirts..lol

Now on to the recipe! Its super easy , its different, quick to prepare and looks beautiful! You’ll love the different flavors and textures – the pillowy gnocchi, the salty and crisp prosciutto and the amazingly fresh tasting lemon ricotta that you dollop on the side 🙂 Its too delicious!

 

Gnocchi with peas and prosciutto - real life

I call this picture “Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto – REAL LIFE” because when I eat this, I smoosh the ricotta throughout the pasta, add more prosciutto and more parmesan. 😀

Yield: 4  servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package of gnocchi 500g
  • 1+ 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3-4 slices of prosciutto/Serrano ham
  • 1  French shallot, finely diced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 cups Lemon Ricotta (recipe below)

Lemon Ricotta:

  • 1 cups good quality ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Place the ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl and add the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Place about 3 strips of prosciutto on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper and place in a preheated 400F degree oven. Cook until crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch peas in boiling water , drain and set aside.
Boil the gnocchi in salted water. The gnocchi are done when they’ve all floated to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve about 1/2 cup cooking water
Now that prosciutto has cooled, crumble it and set aside.
Preheat a sauté pan on med-high heat. Add 2 counts of olive oil and once heated, add chopped shallots and gently saute until fragrant and translucent. Throw in the peas and toss gently to coat. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Add boiled gnocchi to the pan and gently toss. Add a ladle of pasta-water to the pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with crispy prosciutto and a scoop of that fresh tasting lemon ricotta.
Enjoy!!
Posted in Dinner, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment