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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

I often forget how versatile and easy beans are to work with. Tonight, as I prepared for a meeting at home, I wanted to have a healthy and simple snack for those in attendance that would be satisfying and unique. I didn’t want to make hummus (although I love hummus), or anything with ranch dressing in it. So I googled spicy bean dip and came across a recipe for some spicy Asian bean dip on another blog. It was very popular, and incredibly easy. With a few modifications based on my pantry, this is the recipe I followed:

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Ingredients – serves 8 as an appetizer

dip
-1 cup dried white beans, cooked in a pressure cooker with 3 c water for 35 minutes (you can substitute 1 can white beans)
-2 Tbsp canola oil
-2 tsp sesame oil
-Juice from 1/2 lime
-2 tsp hot sauce
-2 tsp soy sauce
-1/2 tsp curry powder
-1 clove garlic, crushed
-1/8 cup hot water

veggie sticks
-4 carrots, cut into sticks
-3 stalks celery, cut into sticks
-1 red pepper, cut into sticks

Directions

Combine all ingredients for the dip in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. I like to add the water last and drizzle it in while the motor spins. Blend for 3-4 minutes, until fully smooth.

Serve with an array of veggies (add any of your favourites!), and you’re sure to have a crowd-pleaser! This also makes for great snacks for work or school.

Have a wonderful week!

-Sitelle

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With the school year behind us, Catherine and I are both setting out on our summer holidays. Catherine is off traveling (her turn) in South America, and I am discovering what Ottawa has to offer during the summer months, as it will be my first summer in the capital! One of the highlights so far has been receiving my first CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) box last week!  It included a wonderful medley of winter and spring veggies, pasture-raised meat, beautiful and flavourful eggs, and a hearty loaf of home-baked bread which I devoured with some friends on our way to a hike in the Adirondaks for the weekend. Needless to say, I am excited to dedicate some time to some new and hopefully inspiring recipes this summer, with the inspiration provided by my good food box, and the relative calm of the summer compared to the last few.

Today, as I begin some work from home, I took a break on the patio and read the LCBO’s Early Summer magazine in search of some new ideas. I came across the Crunchy Tangled Vegetable Salad, and immediately was inspired. While I have not made their recipe, it gave me a guide and I made a meal with what I had. The salad I made is refreshing, crunchy, filling and tangy; and it was accompanied by a fresh soft-boiled egg which provided just the right balance.

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Ingredients – 4 portions

Dressing
1/2 lemon (juice)
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used my favourite – Marie Sharp’s, from Belize!)
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic scape, finely minced (or just one clove of garlic if you don’t have access to scapes, which are the young shoots of garlic)
dash of black pepper

Salad
2 small beets, peeled and sliced with a veggie peeler into rounds
1/4 cabbage, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely sliced (you can use a spiral veggie slicer for the carrots and beets if you have one)
4 handfuls of spring greens
1 tbsp minced mint
1/2 tbsp minced celery shoots or parsley

Directions

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and let stand while preparing the vegetables.

Finely slice the vegetables and herbs as directed in the ingredient list and combine into a salad bowl or arrange on plates. Drizzle with dressing, and serve with a soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg if you desire!

 

 

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With the rush of every-day life it can be difficult to think of new recipes, and although the internet can be very helpful, I find sometimes it prevents me from being truly creative with my own cooking. I love the practicality of being able to be creative on the spot with what ever ingredients are available in the refrigerator and on the shelf. Lately, I haven’t had as much time or opportunities for creativity as I’m cooking for myself only most of the time, as one meal will last me days and days. Today, however, I had the chance to try something new, and it was delicious and fun as well!

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Ingredients: 4 servings (as a meal), appetizer for 8+

Carrots

-6 large carrots, cut into thin sticks (quarters or eighths)
-2 Tbsp canola oil
-2 tsp cumin
-2 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper

Hummus

-1 generous cup dried chickpeas, boiled and soaked overnight; then skins removed (if you’re crazy like me, but I’m sure it’s not necessary – you can also use canned chickpeas I’m sure)
-1 head roasted garlic (400F oven roasted for 40 minutes wrapped in tin foil)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp cumin
-2 tsp paprika
-1 tsp (or to taste) hot pepper flakes
-juice of 1 lemon
-2 Tbsp warm water
-2 tsp dried parsley flakes
-1 Tbsp tahini
-1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

To make the carrots, preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the carrots and place in a bowl with all the seasoning and the oil. Toss until evenly covered and then lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer, with no carrots touching (it’s the key to perfect roasted veggies!). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve with hummus if you like!

To make the hummus, soak the chickpeas or use canned, and roast the garlic. Then combine chickpeas, garlic, water and tahini in a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Then add remaining ingredients, and process for another 1-2 minutes. Place in serving bowl.

I envision the carrots and hummus would be great as a finger food for a dinner party: just have tooth picks on hand and enjoy!

-Sitelle

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During the really busy time that is exams, all I want to do is cook and bake. I can hardly handle the temptation of getting up and baking muffins, making soup, or even just home-made pop-corn.

Well, you caught me. It’s true, I can’t handle it. I think I’ve made all of those in the last 3-4 days.

Now that I’ve been doing this university thing for the last 5 years, I have developed crafty ways of cooking during exam periods. I study lecture by lecture. In between each, I cook meals that I can make in little bursts of 10 minutes here and there [and I get my partner in crime to do a lot of the work, and the dishwashing is especially appreciated]. It’s my way of infusing fun into nutritional toxicology. Perhaps I can even call it studying.

This stir-fry is really fast and delicious, and can be made in maybe 3 bursts of 10 minutes each, as long as you remember to marinate the tofu in advance (the night before is best but a few hours is still ok).

Ingredients – 4 servings

Tofu marinade

-1 block tofu (extra firm is great, but sometimes I medium too for a change), sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
-3 cloves garlic, germ removed, and finely minced
-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
-zest of 1 washed lime
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-2 tsp sesame oil
-juice from one lime
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 cup water

Stir-fry

-1 onion or leek, sliced
-1 Tbsp canola oil x2
-2 tsp sesame oil x2
-1 clove garlic, germ removed, and sliced
-1 carrot, cut into juliennes
-1 red and 1 green pepper, sliced
-1 zucchini, halved then sliced
-1 head broccoli, cut into florets
-1 cup sugar-snap peas, stems removed
– Salt and pepper and cayenne to taste
-1/2 washed cilantro leaves

-1 package soba noodles

Directions

To make the tofu marinade, chop the garlic and ginger, and mix in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.  Slice the tofu and add it to the marinade.  I like to use a large roasting pan because then I can cover all the tofu with marinade. Cover it and let it rest in the fridge, occasionally (once or twice) basting it with the marinade. If you can remember to marinate it the night before, your taste buds will be rewarded.

The night of, take a first 10 minutes to chop everything.  Put the onion/leek separate, the garlic separate, and then in 1 bowl keep the broccoli and peas while in another bowl keep the remaining veggies you have cut.

In a second bout of effort, heat both types of oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion/leek, and let sauté for a few minutes.  Add the garlic for one more minute and stir.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the soba noodles (or make some rice).

In a second frying pan, add the remaining canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu without any marinade, and sear each side for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Then add some of the marinating juices and simmer while you add the broccoli and peas to the wok, and stir, for 3 minutes.  Then add the remaining veggies, and cook for 2-3 minutes so they are hot and crisp. Pour in the remaining marinade, and bring to a boil quickly and stirring often. Then remove from heat and serve with the tofu, noodles, extra soy sauce and garnish with the cilantro.

-Sitelle

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Today, this soup basically created itself from a craving in my kitchen.  It was so good. After though, wanting to share the deliciousness, I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a name for it.  In the end I chose “Alphabet Soup” not because of the alphabet noodles I did include (they were the only soup-able noodles I had in my pantry), but because I’m pretty sure that aside from “D”, this soup includes all of the vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are required for optimal nutrition.  The perfect meal. In retrospect, I could also call it “Rainbow Soup”.  My favorite nutritional rule of thumb: the more colours, the better.  I frequently get asked nutritional advice, given my undergrad in nutritional sciences.  That’s my best response.

The soup simmered all afternoon, the aromas teasing us all the while.  It was created from a craving I had, and was inspired by several recent experiences.

For the last 6-8 months I have been so fortunate as to be involved in launching a community kitchen in Toronto, Cuisine Partage, with a most lovely group of people at the Centre Francophone (I should probably install a translating widget onto the blog to make it more accessible…).   Every week at Cuisine Partage, we got together for 4 hours or so to shop, cook, and eat together, in an effort to increase food security (and dare I say nutritional security) for francophones living on social assistance in Toronto.  I am sad that the pilot project has already ended, and I hope that this wonderful program can continue long into the future.  This recipe is a testament to the deliciousness that can be created on-the-spot, with people from all the world over.  One of the participants had a favorite secret ingredient, and it is definitely included here: nutmeg. We got a Good Food Box from FoodShare one week, and ended up with kale, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and tomatoes, among others.  Stew it was!

The other inspiration for this recipe was my recent adventure in Belize – the importance of flavour, and lots of it!  This was achieved by cooking the meat (or beans, for vegetarians) with cilantro and parsley at the onset, and then adding entire bunches of it near the end as well.  I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Ingredients – 1 large pot of soup

-4 cloves garlic, minced, and separated into two portions
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion (I like to use purple ones here, but any is fine)
-1 lb extra lean ground beef (meat option) or 1 can (or 1 cup soaked overnight) navy beans
-1 bunch flat leaf parsley
-1 bunch cilantro
-10 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
-2 bay leaves
-3 ripe tomatoes, diced (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes here instead as I don’t like winter/spring red mushy things in the grocery store)
-4 carrots, chopped into half-moons
-1 orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
-1 potato (I like yukon gold), peeled and diced
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
-1/4 of a purple cabbage, chopped dice-size pieces, and rinced (if you do it in a bowl the blue water ensuing is amazing!)
-1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
-2/3 cup alphabet noodles or 1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
-3 cups vegetable broth (or you can make it using bouillon)
-more water, depending on volume of pot
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add 1/2 the garlic.  Stir for 1 minute, and then add the meat and a handful of chopped cilantro and parsley.  If you are making the vegetarian version, I like to do the same with the beans as it gives a really nice flavour.  Brown the meat/beans, and remove any fat once it is cooked (this is really important as you want the broth to be clear).  Add the onion once the excess fat has been removed, and stir.  Add the bay leaves, rest of the garlic, thyme sprigs and the tomato.  Cover everything with water (but no more than covering), and bring to a boil.  Add the carrots/potato/sweet potato, the nutmeg, cayenne and the bouillon.  Let simmer for at least 1 hour, skimming the bubbles and residues from the top using a large spoon.  The more you do this, the more delicious it will be.  Replenish any lost liquids so that the veggies are always covered.  Around 20 minutes before eating, add the noodles and cabbage.  Add more water if there is not enough to cover everything.  Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning.  About 5 minutes before eating, add the chopped kale and the remainder of the chopped parsley and cilantro.  Stir well to distribute the veggies evenly.  Enjoy with a few pieces of crusty bread, or alone, as this soup is a meal in and of itself!  Although I am usually a “puréed soup” person, this is absolutely one of my favorites.  I hope you will like it too.

-Sitelle

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Looking through previous posts, I realize it’s obviously winter: squash and other yellow vegetables dominate, as do warm, comforting dishes, at least in the main course department!  This year, Graham and I have really tried to make the most of the ‘local’ diet – although we do have some exceptions like oils and tea and chocolate and others.  I estimate we’re at 80-85% local, but we do allow ourselves a few oranges during the winter, because otherwise our fruit intake would be dismal.  It’s actually a really fun challenge, trying to re-invent different ways of eating squash, cabbage, carrots, apples, potatoes, other root veggies among things.  So, it should be no surprise that there’s some repetition in some of those veggies, especially squash.

I was particularly excited for this soup because it was cold out, and we still had a good-sized squash from Liz and Heather’s garden.  It’s mind-boggling how a vegetable can last so long, and not lose any taste!  And it’s always even more special when it comes from a place you know.

Delicious with crusty bread, a dollop of cream, or just on its own!

Ingredients (4 servings)

-1 small buttercup squash (or other squash), peeled and diced
-1 onion, diced
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 large carrots, peeled and diced
-3 cups vegetable stock
-1 1/2 cup water
-1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
-pinch of nutmeg
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil at medium heat.  Add onions, and cook, while stirring, until they are translucent.  Add squash and carrot, and sauté for a couple minutes.  Add stock and water, as well as nutmeg and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Purée the whole thing in a blender or with a hand-blender.  Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and, if desired, a dollop of cream.  It’s simply a treat.

-Sitelle

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