Thursday, 30 October 2014

Braised Chicken, Fennel and Tomatoes

Well, as you may have noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. You want to know why? BECAUSE MY HUSBAND IS ON A DIET!!! And I have to say, I'm not liking it much. Not only because he has lost quite a few pounds and I haven't, but also because I'm not cooking what I really want to cook. I've been making a lot chicken dishes. I'm getting sick of chicken! And the thing is, he would be totally fine with the same chicken dish over and over. He is a creature of habit, as you know from my blog...remember, he eats the same thing for breakfast, day after day. And now he eats the same thing for lunch, day after day. It's me that needs variety and I am constantly looking for new ways to make chicken, which I have to say, hasn't been that easy. There are only so many different recipes on Pinterest!

This time I decided to braise the chicken with fennel and tomatoes. Braising the keeps the breasts moist. Easy. Tasty. One pot meal. Doesn't get any better than this.

Braised Chicken, Fennel and Tomatoes 

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, sliced
1 jalapeño, sliced, totally optional
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and add to pan. Let it brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and add the fennel, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeño and capers. Pour the the stock over, cover and reduce the heat. Cook until the chicken is done, which should tale about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and sprinkle with parsley. Serve.

m xo

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Plenty More...Parsley, Lemon and Cannellini Bean Salad

I have been waiting for my Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi for a few weeks. I pre-ordered it! I love this man! His recipes are so beautiful and inspiring. I want to make every single one of them. I'm always amazed at the different combinations of salads and dishes he comes up with. I have never been disappointed with any of his recipes.

I made this salad last night and it was delicious! It kinda of reminds of tabbouli with the amount of herbs in it, except that it is a lot more filling because of the quinoa and beans. It makes for a wonderful light lunch.

It calls for red quinoa, which I happen to have on hand but you can use regular quinoa if you want. Although the contrast on the beans is very pretty...See, I told you his recipes were pretty.

I will definitely be making more recipes from this book, so stay tuned.

Parsley, Lemon and Cannellini Bean Salad

2/3 cups red quinoa
2/3 cups flat leaf parsley, finely shredded
2/3 cups mint, finely shredded
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups cannellini beans, drained
1/2 large lemon, skin and seeds removed, flesh finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa in boiling water and drain. Rinse under cold water and drain. Set aside and let it dry out. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir together and serve.

m xo

Friday, 24 October 2014

Blueberry Mango Chia Seed Pudding

This is a nice breakfast or a treat at night when you are craving "something sweet" but don't know what? I always crave something sweet after dinner, and this hits the spot!

I made this with blueberries and mangoes because that is what I happened to have on my counter but I have made it with mangoes and dried coconut before and it was equally as nice. You can use just about any fruit you have or like. Just make sure to make it the day before to let the chia seeds set.

Blueberry Mango Chia Seed Pudding

1 lb. blueberries or approximately 2 cups
1 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen
2 cups almond milk or  regular milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup chia seeds

In a blender, blend the blueberries, mango, almond milk, Greek yogurt, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour in a large bowl and mix in the chia seeds. Stir until the chia seeds are incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, the pudding should be thick and creamy. Serve.

m xo

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Raw Thai Almond Kelp Noodle Salad

So, this is a first for my blog. A guest in my kitchen!!

Barbara, a Holistic Nutritionist
Over the years as a hairstylist, I have been very fortunate to meet some wonderful, interesting people. I have known Barbara Ollerenshaw for a few years and she has truly inspired me because she recently went back to school and became a Holistic Nutritionist. I asked her if she had a dish she would share with me on my blog and this is one of her favourite dishes. A raw Thai noodle salad. This is a healthy answer for when she gets a craving for Pad Thai.  I love Thai food! I was intrigued!

This really is a nutritious dish! I've never had kelp noodles before and I have to say they were very similar to rice noodles except they were a little on the rubbery side but not in a bad way! If I didn't know they weren't rice, I probably wouldn't have noticed. The salad itself was so refreshing and flavourful. It was amazing! The fact that it is also good for you is an added bonus. Here are just few reasons it's good for you.   
Kelp, a sea vegetable is very nutrient rich. Calcium, iron, manganese and complex B's, to name a few. It also aids in the healthy growth of nails and hair. And who doesn't want healthy hair and nails? I talk to a lot of women in my chair and hair and nail growth is one of our main concerns. The kelp noodles are found in the refrigerated section of the health food store. Garlic provides enzymes to help with digestion and alkalizes the body. Ginger is an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and stimulates digestion and liver.

I urge to try this recipe, even if it's just to try something that you haven't had before. Trust me, you'll like it! 

Raw Thai Almond Kelp Noodle Salad

massaging the kelp noodles

1 package of kelp noodles
Juice of 1/3 of a lemon
Himalayan salt

1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup lime juice, about 3 limes
1 tablespoon honey
1 jalapeño, or to taste
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 inch of ginger, peeled

Salad Vegetables
Red pepper, slivered
Carrots, slivered
Cilantro, chopped
Salad greens
Green onions, chopped
Sprouted mung beans(crunchy pea) to sprinkle on top, optional

For the noodles:
Put the noodle in a strainer and rinse with hot water. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and a bit of salt. With your hands, message the kelp until soft. Cover and refridgerate.

For the dressing:
Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until thick and fluffy. This makes more than enough dressing for this salad. Keep leftovers in refrigerator for another salad.

To assemble the salad, cut the noodles with kitchen scissors because they tend to be on the long side. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of dressing on noodles and mix together. Add the veggies and add a little more dressing and mix. The amount of dressing you use depends on the amount of vegetables you have for the salad but don't be afraid to use most of it. The vegetables and the noodles tend to soak up a lot of it. Sprinkle with cilantro and sprouted mung beans, if using. Serve right away.

m xo

Monday, 22 September 2014

Quintessential Pasta Dish...Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

This is one of those dishes that I think everyone should have in their repertoire. Spaghetti with garlic and oil. This is my comfort food. It's a popular late night snack after a night out. In the time that it takes the water to boil for the spaghetti, you sauté garlic and chili flakes in olive oil. Toss all together and top with chopped parsley. So easy. So good.

I have fond memories growing up, of my parents coming home with their friends after a night of dinner and dancing and my dad making this dish for everyone and the evening would start all over again. I mean, we always had pasta, garlic and olive oil in the pantry. We didn't have a lot of money growing, but we never lacked good family and friends!!

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

250g spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 red, hot chili or chili flakes to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Boil pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add garlic and chili pepper. Sauté until fragrant. When the pasta is ready, toss with the oil and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

m xo

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cherry Tomato Crostata

You know, there was a time I was obsessed with Martha Stewart. I loved her and I wanted to be like her. I watched her shows and subscribed to her magazine. I only got rid of the magazines a few years ago, and that's only because my mother was cleaning out her basement and came upon them and didn't want to keep them any more. I don't blame her. I don't know when was the last time I looked through them. Probably 15 years ago.

Anyway, it was during this time in my twenties, that I decided I wanted to perfect the fruit pie. Crust and all. Especially the crust. You see, Martha was baking these beautiful pies that were made from scratch and used fruit that she grew herself on Turkey Hill in Conneticut. Go figure! So I was making and baking pies practically every week. And I think after a few months, I did perfect the pie...I also gained 20 pounds but whatever, I made beautiful pies.

So then I spent my thirties trying to lose the twenty pounds, which meant I stopped making pies. I still make a pie here and there but my crust is not nearly as perfect as it used to be. But I don't mind.

When I came upon this recipe for tomato pie, it called for a crust made from scratch. I debated whether to make it or use an already prepared crust from the frozen section in the grocery store. Ultimately the grocery store won. Martha would be very disappointed. Oh well.

I doubled this recipe because I had a lot of cherry tomatoes from my garden.

Cherry Tomato Crostata
makes one 9inch pie

1 prepared pie crust, thawed
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (optional)
5 1/2 cups grated provolone or fontina cheese
1/2 cup mayo

Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix the cheese, basil and mayo. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the pie shell. Top with the cherry tomatoes and press down. Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

m xo

Friday, 5 September 2014

Cucumber and Nectarine Salad

Sometimes all you need are a couple of ingredients to make a really good dish, especially this time of year. As you know, my garden is coming to end and I just picked the last of my cucumbers. I was really surprised how much my plant yielded this year. At one point, I had to bring a few to work to my co-workers because we couldn't keep up. We were having cucumber salads for lunch and dinner everyday, but I'm not complaining. They were delicious!

The farmers markets and the grocery stores are exploding with Ontario grown produce. I love it! I bought a huge basket of nectarines and made this dead simple cucumber and nectarine salad.

I peeled my cucumbers because the type that I grew had pinchy little things on them. I usually don't peel the English variety. I used nectarines but you can use peaches.

Cucumber and Nectarine Salad   

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2-3 nectarines, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
3 tablespoons  rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
7-8 mint leaves, chopped

Combine everything in a large bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

m xo