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Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

It’s been many years that I’ve anticipated getting the wonderful cookbook Plenty, by Ottolenghi. Last weekend, the book in my hands, I poured over every recipe with so much excitement.

As a busy student in my 4th year of medical school, and my fiancé in his first year of residency, we sometimes stall when it comes to creative ways to cook delicious vegetarian meals. We get a weekly local food box, which is wonderful, but we sometimes lack the creativity that we used to have. This cookbook has completely turned that around, helping us come up with fantastic delicious and realistic ideas.

Pulses are a wonderful alternative to meat protein. I tout their benefits to many people who ask me about ways to increase fibre or to those who are looking to increase the amount of alternative proteins. They fill me up, so that if I am on my feet all day long, I am still able to function at the end of the day.

This recipe is particularly flavourful, with nutty richness and crunch, the surprise hints of mint, and the buttery celeriac. I cannot recommend it enough!

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Directions – serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup puy lentils
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 cm wedges
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp hazelnut oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp chopped mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275, toast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Chop coarsely.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils, water, bay leaves, salt and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils become cooked but remain slightly chewy. Drain with a sieve.

In the meantime, bring lots of salty water to a boil in a separate pot. Boil the celeriac 10-12 minutes until soft.

While things are cooking place the oils, vinegar, mint and some salt and pepper at the bottom of a serving bowl. When the lentils are drained pour them into the serving bowl and stir to coat with the dressing. Place the celeriac, 2/3 of the chopped hazelnuts as well as 1/2 the chopped mint in with the lentils and stir until mixed in. Serve with crusty bread and sprinkle the remaining mint and hazelnuts on top.

Hope you enjoy!

-Sitelle

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Inspired by the changing autumn colours, the crisp morning bike rides through the streets of Ottawa, and the bountiful harvest, I sometimes feel like I cannot satisfy my desire to cook at this time of year. There are so many things I’d like to make!

This soup is inspired from rebar, a fantastic cookbook Catherine has already talked about. What I love about this soup is the tangy, rich and spicy flavour, in the form of a light soup. It is simply delicious!IMG_20151004_200842

Ingredients – 6 servings

-1 1/2 lb tomatillos, de-husked and washed
-1 hot chili of your taste (jalapeno or other), diced. You can remove or keep the seeds depending on how spicy you want it
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced, and divided in 1/4 and 3/4
-1/2 tsp salt and pepper

-6 cups vegetable stock, kept hot while preparing the rest
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 red pepper, diced
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups corn kernels
-1 small zucchini, chopped
-1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
-1/2 lime, juiced

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the tomatillos in half and place in a bowl with the olive oil, the chili and 1/4 of the garlic. Toss with salt and pepper and then place in a large enough baking dish that they can all be roasted without being piled up. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they are browned and roasted. Cut in quarters and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer, with the corn kernels.

In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion until it softens. Add the red pepper, the garlic, coriander, salt, and sauté for a further 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. Once the zucchini is in add the minced cilantro and stir, until the veggies are soft and the garlic is fragrant. Add the stock and lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, then add the roasted tomatillo mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add cilantro leaves for garnish. This is a delicious tangy soup you can have as a full meal with fresh corn bread or as a first course in a bold autumn feast!

-Sitelle

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As a senior medical student, I am learning the foundations of being a good doctor, spending anywhere between 40 and 90 hours each week in the hospital.  While I generally love my work, it often leaves me drained and pinched for time (especially after a 26 hour call shift!)  My meals have therefore become simpler (and make in abundant quantities to last a few days), but I haven’t stopped cooking.  I have been guilty of neglecting Gourm(eh)? over the past year, but hope I can make up for it with a few summer recipes over the next few months!

One of my favourite things is receiving my biweekly organic food boxes from Front Door Organics.  They deliver gorgeous fruits and veggies right to my front door – and in the summertime, I love choosing their local Ontario produce.  It’s always a treat finding veggies you just can’t get at the grocery store, such as sweet purple carrots, colourful watermelon radishes, and tangy micrograms.

I love potato salad all year round, but in the summer I try to avoid heavy mayonnaise dressings. The recipe in my most recent food box caught my eye.  Inspired by local veggies now in season, their potato salad has a light lemony vinaigrette.   Below is a modification of their suggested recipe of the week – Simple Summer Salad with Green Beans & New Potatoes.  Being an omnivore, I substituted their cubed smoked tofu with bacon, but it would be easy to return to their vegan recipe.

This summer salad was delicious.  I was too excited to chill this recipe for 30 minutes before trying it, but it was even better cold as leftovers the next day after the marinade had mellowed the salad.

Summer Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

(4-6 generous servings)

Ingredients:

SALAD MAKINGS

  • 1 pound new potatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp capers
  • 5-6 slices of bacon, cut into bite size pieces (or 1 cup cubed smoked tofu)

VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs (such as basil, parsley, and tarragon)
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt

Directions:

To prep the salad ingredients, start by boiling the new potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain and immerse potatoes in an ice bath to cool. Blanch the zucchini and green beans in salted water for 1-2 mins, then drain and also immerse in an ice bath to cool.  Remove veggies from ice bath and allow to air dry (don’t keep them in the ice bath for longer than 2-3 minutes to avoid getting soggy).

Meanwhile, cook the bacon and prep the other veggies.  Place all the salad makings together in a large bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together, then pour over the salad.  Gently mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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As I write up my blog about the most recent, and one of my most exciting culinary adventures in a while, I realize there are a few things I want to share with those who read this blog, including why I’m so excited about this recipe, and who I’m dedicating it to. It’s a bit more personal than normal (aka longer to read), so if you’re looking for the recipe fast, then just scroll down a bit past the photo!

First of all, as I look back on my relationship with food over the years – going from child to want-to-be-chef to medical student, it’s funny to see how my relationship with food has changed. I realize that I was very lucky to have parents and friends who took such great care to feed me healthy food me despite my wishing that I had more access to junk food when I was in primary school. I remember spaghetti squash days as those when I would have done almost anything to have a less healthy meal instead. I’d have traded almost anything for a fruit roll-up, or some dunk-a-roos. Now, though, here I am becoming a healthcare professional, and really (naively) hoping that one day, many of the patients I see will be able to have access to healthy food, will have spaces in which to cook it, and time and knowledge to do so. Not to mention the desire to cook and to eat healthy food, or at least have someone around them with the desire and all the other necessary prerequisites, who would share it with them. I know it’s an ideal and a very naive wish, but hey, it’s what I wish for.

Second, as this recipe is my own creation, I’m publishing it for Catherine, my wonderful friend and co-blogger, for her birthday this year!  I know I’m early, but I’ve already promised to publish this recipe to a number of friends, and I’m sure Catherine would love to know that the recipe I’m sharing in her honour has already been enjoyed by many! This recipe is perfect for Catherine: it’s one that keeps on giving (one spaghetti squash can feed many mouths, or can make many lunches!), it’s delicious, healthy, and it’s fully realistic to make while busy with clerkship. All you need is the ingredients, 10 minutes to assemble, and an hour in the oven.

I hope you enjoy this spaghetti squash surprise!

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Ingredients – for 1 full spaghetti squash, or approximately 6 servings

-1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds scraped out
-2 Tbsp olive (or other) oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried parsley
-1 tomato, diced
-lb lean ground beef
-1/2 cup dried cranberries
-zest from 1 lemon, finely grated
-1/4-1/2 tsp hot chilli flakes or cayenne
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Topping:

-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1 Tbsp butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dice the onion, mince or crush the garlic, chop the tomato and the parsley, zest the lemon, and throw all of these ingredients in a medium bowl with the meat, chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin, salt, and dried cranberries. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and mix well.

Meanwhile brush or coat the two spaghetti squash halves with the other Tbsp of oil. Fill each of the spaghetti squash halves with the meat stuffing, packing it down so it all fits. If it overflows a bit, it’s fine.

Place the spaghetti squash halves in a deep baking dish with 1 inch of water in the bottom of the dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook for 50-60 minutes, until the squash is soft. Once cooked, you might find there is a lot of juice in the squash (depends on the squash) – you can just drain it by pressing the meat stuffing down into the squash and placing the squash at an angle to let it drain out. This might not be necessary.

Before serving, melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the breadcrumbs. Top the squash with the breadcrumbs and keep in the oven until ready to serve!

Bonne appétit,

-Sitelle

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Since I’ve recently moved to a new city – Ottawa – I’ve quite enjoyed exploring the new market and food scene here. I love how I can also cross the river and end up in Québec, where food is inspired by ages of artisan craft. In homage to la belle province de Québec, we recently cooked a feast using local ingredients, featuring a Maudite beer and a plump, gnarly and bright orange hubbard squash. This risotto is perfect for those cold evenings we’ve been getting recently; and the smooth and rich pieces of roasted squash mixed in keep it lively.

Maudite risotto with squash_Ed

Ingredients – 6-8 servings

1 onion

1 large clove garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 well garnished sprig of fresh thyme

8-10 cups homemade (or packaged if you don’t have any) vegetable stock

1 cup dark beer (we used Maudite)

1/3 cup parmesan

1/2 tsp salt plus any more to taste

1 1/4 cups arborio rice

1/2 kuri (hubbard) squash, cubed, roasted (400F) in 2 Tbsp olive oil + 1/8 tsp salt + 1 tbsp fresh thyme + 1 minced clove garlic

Directions

To prepare the roast squash, preheat the oven to 400F and peel and dice the squash into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic and combine the olive oil, salt and fresh thyme with the garlic in a large bowl. Place squash cubes into bowl and toss with all ingredients. Arrange the squash cubes on a baking dish, making sure none are touching so they roast best. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the edges become golden and the squash is tender. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat the stock in a pot and keep it simmering with a lid on while you cook the risotto in another pot.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion with the fresh sprig of thyme until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Once the onion is ready add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then add the arborio rice and stir to coat. Cook the rice grains in the oil/onion/garlic mixture for 3-4 minutes, until they become translucent as well. When the rice is ready, add the beer and stir to mix it all in. After this, add the stock one cup at a time, stirring, until the stock is absorbed. You don’t need to be stirring constantly, but it does require a lot of stirring for best results.

Continue adding stock one cup at a time, until the rice is cooked through and the risotto is creamy. Season with salt. When just about ready to serve, stir in the parmesan and the cubes of squash. Serve in bowls or deep plates, and garnish with a pinch of parmesan and fresh thyme if you like!

Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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My final exams are quickly approaching, and I admit to frequent procrastinating via cooking. I happened upon a recipe that combines three of my favourite ingredients, and couldn’t resist trying it for dinner!  I love the nuttiness of quinoa, and frequently pair it with a parsley lemon vinaigrette.  The ingenuity of this recipe comes with the addition of pomegranate and baked acorn squash.    The squash caramelizes as it bakes, providing contrast to the acidity of the pomegranate. And, oh is this dish lovely looking!

I tinkered with the original recipe’s proportions by doubling the dressing and upping the pomegranate quota (one can never have too many pomegranate seeds…)  This tasty and beautiful dish comes from A Thought For Foods blog.

Quinoa with Acorn Squash and Pomegranate

Quinoa with Acorn Squash and Pomegranate

Serves 4 as an entree, or 6 as a side

 

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa, cooked

1 acorn or kabocha squash

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or 1 pomegranate)

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for roasting squash

Juice from one lemon

Zest of a lemon

Salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. With a sharp knife, cut the top and bottom off the squash.  Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Cut each piece in half again lengthwise.  Then slice each quarter lengthwise, creating 1/2 inch slices.  Place squash slices into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Spread across the pan and arrange so each piece sits flat. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa.  In a separate bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and scallions.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Once the acorn squash is finished, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

5. Mix together the cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and dressing in a big serving bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with the roasted squash pieces.

Bon appetit!

 

– Catherine

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I apologize for the number of sweet recipes I’ve posted of late. I’ll admit I’ve got a fairly good excuse: I’ve just moved to a new place, so my kitchen is totally barren, I did not bring any cookbooks except one, I don’t have easy access to the internet, and perhaps most importantly I’ve moved somewhere where the grocery store carries only half of the things I would normally use (let’s face it, I am actually totally blown away by what I can find in the grocery store in Hay River, although I hear it gets pretty dreary in a few months after the fall vegetables start going bad).

I simply don’t have many of the ingredients necessary to cook interesting savoury dishes, whereas I can bake many, many things simply with flour, butter, and sugar, and the odd other exciting thing such as apples although that’s not necessary, just a perk.

This time, though, we decided to invest in a few more spices, one of them being chili seasoning. With the cold weather approaching, everyone’s cravings have gone towards stews and soups. I’ve had beans done countless ways since I arrived, many times accompanied with bannock. Yesterday, we sat down and made enough chili to last us for a few weeks. What I love about chili is that it’s easy to make and is flexible depending on whatever you might have laying around. What always challenges me, though, is that my pots, no matter how big, are never big enough.

Ingredients – one large pot of chili

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2-3 Tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (well rinced)
1 can chick peas (well rinced)
1 cup dry lima beans (soaked overnight and skins removed)
1/2 can crushed tomatoes

2 stalks celeri, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 mushrooms, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup pickle juice (Catherine’s trick)
2 tsp brown sugar

Directions

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid. When the oil is hot, cook the onions until they are soft and then add the garlic and spices. Stir, and once fragrant add in the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, add the beans, and finally, add the tomatoes. Increase heat a bit, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 20 or so minutes while you chop the remaining veggies. Add in the pickle juice, soy sauce, and the remaining veggies, as well as the sugar if you want to include it. Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours with the lid almost fully on, and serve alone, with bannock, toasted bread, or on a bed of rice. My favourite is to top it with shredded cheddar!

-Sitelle

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