" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Craziness

What is going on?

I mean, last week we were all in shorts and sandals and this week
I am back to wearing cashmere sweaters.

Crazy, just plain crazy. I guess that is spring in Canada for you.

Since it has turned cold again I am craving a bowl of something hot and spicy. This is an adaptation of a recipe that was in our newspaper recently. It has all the exotic flavors of North African cuisine.
This dish is very low in fat and high in fiber and because you are using boneless chicken breasts, this stew cooks in less than half of the time that beef or pork stews do.



Lets just hope the weather soon turns like Morocco too!


Moroccan Chicken Stew
  • ~olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts diced
  • 2 peeled and sliced carrots
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 can of tomatoes with juice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 can each of green lentils and chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
In a large wide pot heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until translucent.
Add the chicken and cook until starting to brown.
Add the carrots and spices.
Mix to coat everything well with the spices.
Add the tomatoes, beans and water.
Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to simmer.

Cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with line juice squeezed over the top.


Cheers!




Going Green

There is no doubt about it, "Green" is the buzzword these days.

Everyone talking about ways to change their daily living habits to benefit both us and our earth.
In relation to food, one way to be green is to try to buy local produce if you can. This way you support your local farmers instead of produce being trucked from hundreds of miles away in huge gas guzzling transport trucks.

Another way is to buy organic vegetables and meats if your budget and availability allows.
Organic produce is grown without herbicides and pesticides, therefore we are not supporting the practice of polluting both our air and the food being treated with harmful chemicals.
If you cant buy organic you can make up a produce wash featured on Oprah's talk show aired on Earth Day
. This spray will remove any harmful chemicals from your produce.

In celebration of Earth Day this week and the return of the warm weather, I am featuring two green salads.
The first is a Greek Salad and the second a classic Caesar salad. Both classic summer staples on most summer menus.
Iceberg lettuce is used in traditional Greek salads however I prefer to mix it with the darker more nutritious romaine variety. In the Caesar salad the raw egg and anchovy paste can be optional as some are not fond of these additions.
I have left out amounts on certain ingredients as you can adjust to your taste.

These two salads are perfect on their own as a light summer meal or as a side dish served with a entree such as grilled beef or chicken. I have also added my recipe for homemade croutons. This is an excellent way to use up day old bread.

Kermit was wrong, it is easy being green!

My Greek Salad
  • washed and dried lettuce greens of choice ( I used Romaine here)
  • pitted black olives
  • feta cheese crumbled
  • red onion sliced
  • grape tomatoes
  • cucumber sliced thin(optional)

Dressing
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh minced oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well and chill while you prepare the salad. In a large salad bowl combine remaining ingredients, toss with dressing and serve.






Traditional Caesar Salad
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 raw egg yolk (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • washed and dried romaine lettuce
  • crumbled cooked bacon
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • croutons
  • lemon wedges (optional
. Sprinkle a little salt into the bottom of a large wooden salad bowl. With a fork mash the garlic clove in the salad bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, lemon juice salt and pepper. Mix well. (Add the anchovy paste and egg if using at this time too) Add the lettuce, cheese, croutons and bacon. Toss well. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Homemade Croutons
  • ~day old bread such as Italian, focaccia, black olive or similar diced into 1 inch cubes
  • ~olive oil
  • ~sea salt
In a large frying pan heat the oil and add the bread cubes. Cook over medium heat, tossing the cubes until they are brown and crisp. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

Cheers!





A Perfect Marriage

One of the most common ingredients used in steak marinades and reductions is that of red wine and peppercorns. The flavours marry well and is a classic combination I have loved for years.

For this recipe I used salmon instead of beef for a lighter more seasonal dish.
Be sure to simmer the sauce slowly so that it gets really thick and syrupy.
This would make a perfect dish for entertaining with baby boiled potatoes and carrots tossed with rosemary and olive oil.

Slow Baked Fillet of Salmon with a Red Wine and Peppercorn Glaze.
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 tbsp cracked peppercorn
  • ~olive oil
  • 1 large boneless salmon fillet
Preheat oven to 275F.
In a small pot combine the first 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium and cook until thickened and syrupy( about 15 to 20 minutes).
Brush a shallow roasting pan with olive oil. Add the fish and cook in the oven until the skin lifts.
Remove skin and discard. Baste salmon with the glaze and return to oven. Baste one more time while baking for 30 to 40 minutes until the fish is opaque.
Drizzle leftover glaze over salmon and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Barolo

Cheers!

At Last!

Dare I say it?
Could it possibly be true?
Is Spring really here?

I must say, it sure feels like it! The days are longer, the sun warmer and the snow is just about gone.
This is the time of year I like to change my cooking style from the heavy rich comfort style foods of winter to lighter fare that includes seasonal vegetables.

Asparagus is abundant this time of year. We enjoy it braised and tossed with olive oil and Parmesan, steamed with lemon pepper butter or tossed in a pasta dish.

This pasta dish is perfect for a casual get together. If possible buy Speck style prosciutto. It has a deep smoky flavour and is made from specially raised hogs in Italy.
Rondele or Boursin cheese are soft cheeses with added herbs and garlic. I have noted that it is optional to add them however they will round out the flavours nicely.

Add a salad of baby greens and a glass of crisp white wine.

Happy Spring!



Penne with Asparagus

  • ~olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion diced
  • 1tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 bunch of asparagus trimmed and washed and cut into 2 inch pieces.
  • Penne pasta
  • 6 slices of speck prosciutto torn into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of light cream
  • 2 tbs Boursin or Rondele cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile in a pot bring salted water to a boil, add asparagus and cook until just tender then drain.
In a large shallow pan heat the oil and cook the garlic and onion until softened.
Add the asparagus, prosciutto and herbs. Cook until prosciutto starts to crisp slightly.
Add the cheeses and cream. Bring to a low boil reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
Serve immediately with additional Parmesan on top.

Wine Suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc

Cheers!