Tuesday, March 31, 2009

chopstick and rock clock...time to eat!

My household prides themselves on shopping regularly so that we cook with fresh and local ingredients. However, 2 thirds of this dish started out frozen! Sometimes, it helps to keep a few frozen essentials stocked away. By combining fresh seasonings and herbs, you can turn even frozen ingredients into something extraordinary. I thawed the piece of salmon and topped it with olive oil, S&P, chili flakes, sesame seeds and lemon slices. I broiled it for 12 minutes. The noodles were a pantry staple, and they were tossed with bok choy, red pepper, chillies and lime. The dumplings were stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms, from frozen they were boiled and then sauteed with onion and fresh cilantro. In the end, even pulling supplies from the freezer or pantry you can create a fresh meal by using herbs and exquisite garnish... yummy!

lemon,parsley&parmesean - scalloped potatoes

this side dish was created to accompany the baked chicken but came with a twist from ordinary scalloped potatoes and au gratin, by using lemon and Parmesan instead of the typical processed garbage cheese. Thanks to the efficiency of a Mandolin, I was able to get 5 potatoes sliced paper thin within minutes.

1. thinly slice any kind of potato you have (feel free to mix, or add sweet potato)
2. shred old Cheddar and fresh Parmesan cheese
3. chop fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
4. layer potatoes and add cheese whenever you feel like it
5. fill the gaps with liquid (*2 cups milk, juice from 1 lemon, and chopped parsley)
6. top with a few crumbles of butter and bread crumbs to give a golden crispy top
7. bake at 400 so that the milk is boiling and softening the potatoes for about 30 min.

vegetarians, look away.... chicken bake ahead

I prefer to cook colourful vegetarian meals, however with a family tribe of carnivores, the chef needs to make exceptions. Today I stumbled across a can of artichokes and fresh spinach and immediately wanted to make a delicious dip in the food processor. However, I got distracted by the 2 pieces of chicken breasts beggin' to be baked. This simple on dish requires you to stuff chicken breasts between a bed of spinach, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Simply topped with olive oil, S&P and fresh parsley, the dish creates an incredible juice, leaving the entire meal great for topping rice or potatoes. (*I will get around to making that spinach artichoke dip soon, I promise)
1. drain/wash artichokes and spinach, wash cherry tomatoes, slice a few pieces of red onion
2. season chicken breasts with S&P (plus paprika for kick) and brown the outside in a pan
3. wedge that golden seared chicken between all your veggies
4. top with a splash of olive oil and fresh chopped parsley
5. bake for approx 30 -40 minutes, *depends on oven and size of chicken pieces.
6. enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

fresh vegetarian spring rolls..yummy!

ta da!!! fresh, colourful and healthy rice paper spring rolls, great for dipping in sweet chili or peanut sauce. I thought I would take a different approach to this post, and instead of just posting one final product picture, I have included some step by step details.This is the *creation station: set your table to include all your cut fruits and veggies, a bowl full of cooled and drained vermicelli noodles, a damp cloth, and bowl of hot water to soak the rice paper in. (only takes about 1 minute in the water to soften)
lay mango, asparagus, red peppers and avocado down first. Then add vermicelli noodles and herbs (this was a mix of cilantro, lemon juice, chili flakes, and rice wine vinegar). Next, fold over the sides to keep all the goodies from falling out. Lastly, roll everything into a tight little package and set aside.
don't you just LOVE the colourful array of fresh fruits and veggies. here's a close up of the ingredients used. and below, is everything you need to make this dish. (cilantro, fresh ginger, avocado, mango, red pepper, vermicelli noodles, asparagus, lemon, and of course rice paper.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the platter i forgot to take to the party

I created this little Asian fusion bowl trio to bring to a friends party, but it stayed behind wrapped up in the fridge, and my family got to it the next day. Bowl number 1: a buckwheat soba noodle salad (can you believe they take 4 minutes to boil????) with sesame seeds, fresh lime juice, chillies, cilantro and red peppers. Bowl number 2: vermicelli noodles garnished with soya sauce, lime juice, chillies, red pepper, and freshly grated ginger. and bowl number 3: best appetizer and party pleaser *edamame. yummy!

think outside the box - open face sandwich

oh how i love weekends, and the time to enjoy lunch! This open faced sandwich combines cucumbers, tomatoes, boccochini cheese, sea salt, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil (instead of using butter). Placed on whole grain dark rye bread (*toasted of course), you can eat the cheesy side first, and then wash it down with the veggie half (or vice versa)...OR simply close and cut the sandwich for the more traditional approach. the yellow rose is for show, for colour, and for wonder. The little red goodies are radishes and they pack a mean nutritional punch (rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, potassium // and a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium.. nutritious and delicious!

breakfast of champions

this balanced breakfast not only showcases the brightest colours of the rainbow, but it also takes inspiration from each food group *protein, whole grains, fruits&veggies, and dairy. Now that's what i call a complete breakfast. A little bit of everything, and of course, a flower. today was a beautiful blue ski day and this breakfast was consumed after a walk outdoors. you can imagine how good it taste, even if it's the simplest thing ever! (boil, slice, toast and pour... that's it!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

when craving maki....make your own

On the way home from work today, I ventured into our enormous Asian grocery store for some essential ingredients to make very quick and easy maki (sushi rice, seaweed, cucumber and red pepper) oh and of course edamame beans and miso soup on the side. Despite sticky rice ending up everywhere, the rolls came out pretty precise and delicious, the miso soup was impossible to mess up (just add boiling water) and the edamame boiled themselves in 10 minutes. What a wonderful way to create a pretty plate of something you usually have to go to a restaurant to enjoy. By no means am I trying to claim authenticity here (sushi and maki done by professional chefs is a culinary force to be reckoned with), but adding chopsticks to any home made meal makes dinner that much more fun! enjoy.