I modified the original recipe from Bon Appétit to make it spicier and saucier. It also calls for chicken which would be tasty, but we were looking to make a vegetarian dish. Shrimp would also be excellent!
Serves 2 hungry people.
3 tb oyster sauce
2 tb chili garlic sauce
1.5 tb soy sauce
1 ts sugar
10 oz dried rice noodles
2 tb vegetable oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 yellow/orange bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1 small onion, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 egg, beaten
1. In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce and sugar.
2. Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir the noodles and cover the bowl for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
3. Heat a wok to medium heat and add the oil. Toss in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add in peppers, onion and tomatoes and half the sauce. Toss to coat and cook 3-4 minutes until vegetables have softened.
4. Add the egg, noodles and the rest of the sauce. Toss constantly until the noodles and vegetables are completely coated. Serve and top with basil, if desired.
In order to balance out all of the baked goods that have somehow made their way into our house (what else was I supposed to do with the Nutella? Or with the knowledge that there’s a killer bakery 15 minutes from my house by foot), I have been looking for some healthy recipes to balance out the gluttony. I came across this quinoa and carrot salad my latest issue of Bon Appétit and decided it looked perfect! Not only could I make most of it ahead of time, I could make a large batch for leftovers.
I made a few changes to suit my own taste and am really happy with how it turned out. The carrots were sweet, the feta was salty and the pepper rings added some heat. (You can find the original recipe here.) It’s an adaptable recipe, so feel free to make your own changes and let me know how you liked it!
1 c quinoa, rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tb apple cider
2 tb honey
2 ts finely grated lemon zest
1 tb fresh lemon juice
2 tb apple cider vinegar
5-10 pickled hot pepper rings, chopped
10 oz feta, crumbled
1 head Bibb or butter lettuce, leaves torn
1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
2. Boil 4 cups of salted water and add the quinoa. Cook 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender. Add in the onion and cook an additional minute. Drain and let stand 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, oil a foil-lined baking sheet for the carrots. In a medium bowl, whisk the apple cider and honey. Add in the carrots and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and place on the sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and cool.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Slowly add the 1/4 c olive oil and whisk til smooth to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the carrots and hot peppers to the quinoa. Dress with most of the vinaigrette and stir to coat.
6. Place lettuce on a plate, scoop the salad on top and finish with the rest of the vinaigrette. Crumble feta on top.
It’s November in Toronto. No offense to the November babies out there, but it’s kind of a miserable month. It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s generally kinda dreary. So what’s one to do to combat this downer of a month? Get in the kitchen and cook up something warming and delicious to make you forget about the blah-itude outside! This Moroccan tomato soup fits the bill and then some: it’s finished with creamy peanut butter that lends it a lovely richness.
This is a very balanced recipe, with no ingredient overwhelming another. If you like your food on the spicier side, add a little more cayenne than what’s called for here.
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 280z can crushed tomatoes
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 tb brown sugar
2 tb chili powder
1 ts cumin
1/2 ts black pepper
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cayenne pepper
1/4c tomato paste
1 tb red wine vinegar
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1. Toss the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 cups of water into a slow cooker. (Or a big pot set on low on the stove. Whatever you’ve got!)
2. Stir in the cinnamon, sugar, chile powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.
3. Cook on low for 5 – 8 hours.
4. Add in the peanut butter and, using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. (If it’s a bit thick, add in a little water and purée again.)
We’ve made this tasty, simple salad at home a few times and it always goes down a treat. Now is the perfect time to make it, too, with fresh corn, asparagus and basil in abundance! (My mother-in-law happened to have both green and purple basil in her garden, so that’s what he used in this incarnation.) J made it as part of my birthday dinner last week for a few of us up at the cottage and everyone commented on how much they enjoyed it – I’m sure you and your guests will, too.
4 ears corn, shucked
1 bunch asparagus, washed, trimmed
1 small red onion, diced
1 handful of basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade (very thin slices)
1/2 c sugar
1 c rice wine vinegar
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in the corn and cook 3 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to halt cooking process.
2. With the water still boiling, add the asparagus spears. Blanch again, for 1 minute. Remove and place in an ice bath.
3. Carefully remove the corn kernels from the cobs and place in a large bowl.
4. Cut the asparagus into bite sized pieces and place in the bowl.
5. Add in the red onion and basil.
6. In a small, separate bowl, mix together the sugar, vinegar, salt & pepper. Pour on to the vegetables in the big bowl and mix thoroughly. Season to taste, if necessary.
Let’s face it: rice is…well, it’s just rice. It’s not the most exciting ingredient. But what it lacks in flavour it makes up for in versatility, transforming from modest to extraordinary with a few extra steps. This is a modified version of Tyler Florence’s recipe: I used peanuts instead of cashews as that’s what I had around. He also calls for mint, but you could use cilantro or basil, too. I served this with lemon curry chicken, but it would go well with shrimp, pork or fish dishes.
1 c basmati rice
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and smashed w/ side of the knife
1/2 lb green beans
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 c cashews
1/4 c mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 mango, peeled, pitted & chopped
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1. Put rice in a sauce pan with the ginger, 2 cups of water and 1 1/2 ts salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir, turn down the heat, cover and cook 12 minutes. (If serving cold, spread the rice on a baking sheet and bring to room temperature.) Discard ginger.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the beans. Fill a large bowl with ice water and add just enough salt so that you can taste it. Boil the beans for three minutes and then place them in the ice water for another minute or so to stop the cooking and maintain their bright green colour.
3. Place the mango, red onion, mint and cashews in a large bowl. Stir together with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add in the rice and beans, seasoning with the lemon juice. Re-season with salt & pepper if necessary.
Currently, I am addicted to soba noodles. In truth, I love any kind of noodle (carb queen!) but these are my latest obsession. They’re easy to make and can be used in all sorts of dishes from salads to stir-frys. Last night, I went on a vegetarian tear, cutting up all sorts of spring veggies and some tofu for an Asian-flavoured dish with a soy-rice wine vinegar-hoisin-Sriracha sauce. If I’d had some mirin, I’d have used that, too, but I just grabbed what I had in the cupboards.
Serves 3 – 4
2 packages soba noodles, cooked
2 tb vegetable oil
1 2-inch piece of ginger, grated or finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
4-5 stalks asparagus, ends trimmed, cut to bite-sized pieces
1 c broccoli
1 – 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 tb soy sauce
1 tb hoisin
1 1/2 c firm tofu, drained and cubed
4 – 5 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 c peas
2 tb rice wine vinegar
Sriracha to taste
1. In a large pan, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the ginger and shallot and sauté for 3 minutes.
2. Add the asparagus, broccoli and carrots along with the soy and hoisin. Sauté another 3-4 minutes.
3. Toss the spinach in next and allow to wilt a little before adding the tofu and peas. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add in the rice wine vinegar and Sriracha to taste.
5. Serve over the cooked soba noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions if you like!
As a mini-project over the long weekend, I decided to make pickled red onions. I’m sure I could have bought them, but we happen to have a surplus of them at home so it made a lot more sense just to make my own…especially when I discovered how easy it is! The onions turn bright pink and become crunchy as they cool. They keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks and can be used in a wide variety of dishes!
1 red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 ts salt
1. In a small pot, blanch the onion slices for 1 minute in boiling water. Strain.
2. Place the onion back in the pot with the vinegar, salt and just enough cold water to cover everything.
3. Bring to a boil and cook 1 more minute.
4. Place the entire mixture (brine and onions) into a glass container and chill.
A few months ago, we decided to implement Meatless Mondays at our place. We already had a good variety of Latin American recipes from which to pick that were vegetarian but after a couple of months, we’d pretty thoroughly exhausted them and wanted to try something new. I really enjoy coconut curry but hadn’t tried many – okay, any – recipes with tofu. J came across this recipe and made it with much success. The original recipe did not call for the soy sauce, but I would certainly recommend you use it.
1 16oz carton of firm tofu, packed in water
1 tb vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tb ginger, finely chopped
1 15oz can coconut milk
1 ts Thai curry paste (or to taste)
1 ts soy sauce
1 ts hot sauce, optional
1/2 ts salt
3 tb cilantro stems, chopped + leaves for garnish
1 c frozen peas
Juice of 1 lime
4 c cooked rice
2 tb roasted peanuts or cashews, optional
1. Drain tofu and set on a cutting board while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add onion, cooking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; add coconut milk, curry paste, salt, soy sauce and cilantro stems. Simmer gently. (If you’re using the hot sauce, add it here.)
3. Cut tofu into cubes or triangles. Add to sauce, raising heat to medium. Cook until heated through, approximately 5 minutes. Add peas and cook for a few minutes until hot. Season with lime juice.
4. Serve tofu and sauce over rice and garnish with roasted nuts and reserved cilantro leaves.
Back from vacation, it’s my turn to cook and…there’s just about nothing in the fridge. I have the chance to go the grocery store, but won’t be home for a while nor near a fridge so meat and cheese are out. What’s a girl to do? Make a simple, healthy, flavourful curry, that’s what!
I’ve made a number of curries before but they tend to be coconut milk-based and require a number of ingredients. This time, I wanted to try something that was a little healthier but just as delicious. Enter: simple veggie curry. Lots of healthy ingredients and it only takes about 20 minutes total to make. I topped mine with a spicy mango chutney that balanced out all the flavours nicely.
1 tb canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tb fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 ts curry powder
1 ts garam masala
1/2 head cauliflower florets
15 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
15 oz can of diced tomatoes, including juice
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 c frozen peas
1. Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan to medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and masala. Stir and cook til fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the cauliflower florets to the pan and toss to coat. Then add chick peas and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place a lid on the pan and simmer til cauliflower is tender, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes.
4. Add in frozen peas and stir. Cook til they’re warmed through, 2-3 minutes.
5. Serve on basmati rice. If you desire, top with yogurt and/or mango chutney.
Apparently, I’ve become a grown up. I am now voluntarily eating not just Brussels sprouts but now rapini! Traditionally not a big fan of bitter greens, I have warmed to them in the last year so long as they are balanced with other flavours to cut through the bitterness. Cue J making Giada de Laurentiis’ sautéed rapini that has a nice kick with some chili flakes and sweetness from a handful raisins. This side dish looked fantastic served in our colourful casserole dishes!
2 bunches rapini, stems trimmed
3 tb olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 ts red pepper flakes
1/4 c raisins
2 tb pine nuts, toasted
1. Blanch the rapini by dropping it in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then transferring it to an ice bath. Reserve roughly 1/4 of the cooking liquid.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté about 1 minute.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the rapini. Toss to coat.
4. Add half the the reserved cooking water, the raisins, and cook until the rapini is heated through and the stems are tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.
5. Right before you’re ready to serve, add the pine nuts and toss so that all the ingredients have combined.