Tuesday, 4 March 2014

EASY PIZZA WITH A FRESH TWIST

Joy on a Saturday night, when all you really want to do is snuggle up by the fire and binge watch The Good Wife. 





EASY PIZZA WITH THE A FRESH TWIST


I wholegrain store bought pizza crust
1/2 jar sun dried tomato pesto
Good quality organic oven dried tomatoes (store bought or homemade)
Sliced roasted red, orange, or yellow peppers (jarred is fine)
Smoked Salmon
Goat Cheese

TOPPING:

2 cups fresh greens, such as chopped baby spinach or arugula
1/2 cup organic sprouts, such as broccoli, kale or pea shoots
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

Spread the pesto over the pizza crust. Cover crust with remaining ingredients up to topping.

Bake on bottom rack of oven until crust is browned and cheese is melted, about 8-10 minutes. 


Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients. Top the hot pizza with the fresh greens and bite into a little heaven.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

ARTICHOKE STEAMED IN WINE with MEYER LEMON BUTTER SAUCE

To think I’ve been intimidated by artichokes all these years! Could’t have been easier!




ARTICHOKE STEAMED IN WINE with MEYER LEMON BUTTER SAUCE


2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 lemons, quartered 
Salt 
Pepper
Thyme sprigs
2 whole artichokes


!/2 cup butter
1 Meyer lemon (or any lemon will do)
1 garlic clove, minced


Bring all ingredients, up to the artichokes, to a simmer in a large pot.


For the artichoke. Give it a good rinse. Cut off the stem. Then pull off a few of the thickest leaves near the bottom and discard. Cut off about 1 inch from the top and discard. Rub top cut part of artichoke immediately with the lemon, to prevent discolouration.

Now place the artichokes, bottoms up, in the pot with the broth and wine. Let this simmer away for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserts into the bottom easily. Remove from the broth and set aside. Artichokes are great served hot, cold or room temperature.


Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup of butter with lemon zest and garlic. Squeeze Meyer lemon juice in the butter.

To eat: pull the leaves off the artichoke, dip in the butter sauce. Then just sort scrape the  meat off the leaf off with your front teeth. Have a separate bowl to discard the tough part of the leaf.  So much fun!


Important Note: Do NOT eat the the thorny purple section in the centre. This protects the artichoke heart (the best part). Simply scrape away the the thorny purply part and then eat the entire heart, it will be tender and delicious.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ROASTED BROCCOLI AND KALE SALAD

I realize my most recent post was also a roasted broccoli dish (though vastly different from this recipe in every respect), but the scrumptiousness of roasted broccoli cannot be overstated. That, and the overwhelmingly positive response it received from my husband (who continues to mistakenly believe he'll enjoy the meat portion most), led to this little lovely appearing below. 


ROASTED BROCCOLI & KALE SALAD





1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets, including stalk
1 bunch black kale, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Plenty of olive oil
Plenty of sea salt and fresh black pepper

1/2 cup pea shoots
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Zest from one lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/2 bunch fresh dill, rough chopped
3 scallions, minced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss broccoli, kale, garlic, pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Place on a large baking sheet. Roast just until kale becomes crispy, gently tossing a couple of times. Should take about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir remaining ingredients together .

Remove broccoli and kale from oven, top with pea shoot mixture.

That's it!




Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Roasted Broccoli & Mashed Sweet Potato Crostini

This little lovely is the direct result of being left alone all day with nothing but a new cookbook and a huge appetite. How wonderful to feast away so magnificently before dinner, and yet still end up hungry!

Here is my happy adaptation.


Roasted Broccoli & Mashed Sweet Potato Crostini



1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or 1/2 habernaro chili, seeded and minced)

1 head broccoli, cut into flowerettes, tender part of stalk peeled and sliced 
Olive Oil
Sea salt
Pepper
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/4  cup minced cilantro
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, rough chopped

4 slices of heavy, grainy bread
Olive oil


Place sweet potato, orange juice, water and chili in a small sauce pan. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed and potato is well cooked, about 20-25 minutes. Mash well and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss broccoli with olive oil, pepper and salt. Lay in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast until broccoli is tender and beginning to  char, about 25-30 minutes. Give the broccoli a rough chop. You want some small pieces and some larger, so that it’s still recognizable as a vegetable.

Toss the lemon zest, lemon juice, cilantro, chives and hazelnuts with the chopped broccoli. Set aside.

Brush the bread with some olive oil and place directly on middle oven rack. Toast for 4-5 minutes or until nicely browned.

Now for the good part. Spread the toasts with the sweet potato mash mixture. Pile on the broccoli mixture. Top with a few more chives and cilantro if you’d like. Cut into appetizer size pieces. 


It’s CRAZY how delicious this incredibly healthy appetizer is.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Brie & Blue Cheese Nachos

These nachos have me looking forward to next year’s Superbowl already! Or any other sporting event requiring heavy, calorie-laden delights. However, paired with a fruity zinfandel, definitely sophisticated enough for Masterpiece Theatre.




BRIE & BLUE CHEESE NACHOS


10 oz tortilla chips
Olive oil
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
8 oz brie, sliced
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the tortilla chips in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish. 

Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in a little olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and salt, cook until nicely browned. 

Toss the spinach with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over the tortilla chips. Top spinach with the brie, then mushrooms and blue cheese.

In the same pan as you cooked the mushrooms, sauté the red onions for a couple of minutes, until softened. Then layer on top of entire dish.

Pop in the oven and cook until warm and bubbly, about 20 minutes.


Trust me, you won’t be needing any salsa with this wondrous concoction.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

MEXICAN PORK STEW

How perfect is this for Super Bowl? Hearty, heavy, delicious and maintenance free. It just happily cooks away whilst you enjoy the game (or more importantly, the commercials and the half-time show!)


MEXICAN PORK STEW



5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2 1/2” cubes
Salt 
Pepper
Chili powder
Olive Oil
1/2 lb bacon. chopped
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, sliced
2 large onions, minced
2 large carrots, diced
4 poblano or Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
12 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried beans (black, pinto, chickpea or combination), rinsed well
2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes, broken-up a bit with the back of a spoon
4 canned chipotle peppers, chopped 
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons malt vinegar (or red vinegar)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

TOPPINGS:

Cilantro, rough chopped
Scallions, chopped
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack, or combination
Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
Jalapeño slices
Chili Flakes
Fresh tomatoes, diced
Avocado, sliced


Sprinkle pork cubes with salt, pepper and chili powder and toss with olive oil. Let rest for about 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pork cubes on 1 or 2 large baking trays, so that they are in a single layer and do not overlap. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the bacon. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this process with the chorizo, removing the browned slices and placing on the plate with the bacon.

In the remaining bacon fat, sauté the onions and carrots until nicely browned. Add the poblano peppers and cook for another five minutes. Add the garlic for another 2-3 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. 


In a large slow-cooker place browned pork with it’s juices, bacon, chorizo, browned vegetables and all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Cook on Low for 8-10 hours, stirring after about 6 hours. If mixture seems too dry, you could add a bit of water or broth.


Serve with bowls of toppings on the side.

Monday, 20 January 2014

BLUE CHEESE STEAK

 VIRTUES OF HEDONISM

by Shelley Kary

Ah hedonism. That pleasure seeking scamp, swaggering in just as you’ve vowed to live a life of virtuous self-denial.  Of course your mind and soul long to live clean and to give back. But an aged ribeye lingers in your mind and the blue cheese left from Christmas isn’t going to eat itself. Not to mention that uncorked Chateauneuf-du-Pape gifted from some generous spirited colleague. The heart and taste buds want what they want. It’s the age old battle of the psyche.

Sure hedonism’s gotten a bad rap through the centuries. It’s not high-minded enough, not compassionate or of service to others. And fully unleashed it can be damaging to our own bodies and spirits. All true. Hard-core samaritans believe it should be abandoned completely in pursuit of higher minded, worthy goals. 

And while this viewpoint has its merits, why can’t we have it both ways? Why can’t we be of service to others and get a heck of a kick out of life? Throw in a little decadence now and then. Otherwise, how can we possibly survive the inescapable pummeling that the world will occasionally hand us?

I want to enjoy life and I want others to enjoy life. So I want my life to reflect this simple value regularly, albeit in small ways.

Which is exactly where this steak comes in. (Especially if the beef happens to be raised locally and free to roam a grassy pasture.) You receive pleasure. You give pleasure. 
Yin Yang. All of this while providing some vitally important nutrition.

So come on. A little hedonism is good for the soul.


GRILLED STEAK WITH BLUE CHEESE


           Ribeye Steaks
           Steak Spice
           Chipotle Powder
           Dried Thyme Leaves
          Dash of Sea Salt
          Freshly Ground Pepper
          Olive Oil
         Worcestershire Sauce
         Blue Cheese, crumbled (your favourite type. I used Danish here, but a gorgonzola would be great as well)

Sprinkle both sides of the  steaks liberally with steak spice, chipotle powder, and thyme. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Then drizzle olive oil over both sides and rub in with the back of a spoon. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat an indoor grill pan to medium high. Once the pan is hot, grill steak for about 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness of the steak.

Flip steak. Immediately drizzle with a few tablespoons of Worcestershire, and top with the crumbled blue cheese. Let the cheese melt while the steaks finish cooking, another 5-8 minutes. (I actually used a meat thermometer this time, because my steaks were quite thick. They came out perfectly)

Allow steaks to rest under loosely draped foil, and then eat up!