Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lentil salad with sweet potatoes, almonds and currants

Here's a tasty salad, warm or cold, perfect for the lunch box. I used purple and white sweet potatoes (look at the colour!), but you can use any kind you like.

lentil salad with sweet potatoes, almonds and currants (makes four large servings)

1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
2 small sweet potatoes, diced
Olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 375. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil. Add almonds, and sauté until golden, around 2 minutes. Scoop out the almonds, leaving behind the oil. Set almonds aside. Add onion to pot, and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes, until softened. Add bay leaves, lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss potatoes with olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until cooked and browned.

When lentils are done, and almost all the water is absorbed, add currants and baked sweet potatoes. Taste, and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm, or cool, on its own, or over a bed of salad.

hot cereal with apples, pecans and maple syrup

Hot cereal? I bet you're thinking about warmed up rice krispies right now - gross! In the olden days (term used loosely), cereal meant any kind of grain that you ate, which are really just edible grasses. Cereal, in it's true meaning, is not the sugary breakfast food we grab on lazy mornings, but a family of grains that were first domesticated 12,000 years ago. A high point in the history of the world, if you think about it.

Corn, wheat, oats, rice, barley, millet, quinoa and buckwheat. Look at your kitchen, and imagine where you'd be without them. Also, as a side note, the world cereal comes from the Roman Ceres, goddess of harvest and agriculture.

Now, onto the recipe. You can use any kind of hot cereal you like - I'm partial to cornmeal, oats or quinoa. The one I used in the picture is Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Hot Cereal. It's a mix of a bunch of grains, all ground up and ready to be cooked.

hot cereal with apples, pecans and maple syrup
(makes 2 servings)

1/2 cup  Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Hot Cereal
1 cup almond milk (or other milk)
pinch of salt

Tbsp butter or oil
1 apple, cored and sliced
handful of toasted pecans
splash of maple syrup

In a saucepan, bring milk, cereal and salt to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cereal is cooked to your liking. Meanwhile, heat oil or butter in a small frying pan. Add apple sliced, and sauté until apple is softened and brown, about 5 minutes. Add pecans and maple syrup, and turn off heat.

Serve cereal with apples on top, with some extra maple syrup or milk to taste.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

meyer lemon upside-down cake

meyer lemon upside-down cake

A delicious gluten-free cake: crumbly and nutty, with a lemony bite. Adapted from this recipe in Whole Living.

2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 meyer lemons, sliced as thin as possible
1 1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup honey
4 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the butter in a cast iron skillet. Throw it in the oven for a few minutes, until the butter melts. Swirl the butter around the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Layer the lemons in circles around the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Combine almonds, soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse, until almonds are ground to a fine meal. Put in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and honey, and whisk to combine. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until thick, but not forming peaks. Fold into almond mixture gently, until just combined. Pour batter into cast iron skillet, overtop of lemons.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let sit in pan for another 5 minutes. Invert cake over a plate. Serve in wedges, with coffee or tea. Delicious! (and beautiful too.)

sunday brunch

Next time you have the urge to leave your house and wolf down overpriced pancakes, resist the urge and bring brunch into your kitchen. (You don't even have to change out of your pajamas.) Put on some nice music, make some coffee and cook with (or for) the people you love!

Stacks of pancakes, piles of bacon, buttery toast... It's enough to bring on a brunch-induced food coma. Often I find myself sleeping away the rest of my hard earned weekend after a meal of traditional brunch fare: pancakes, waffles, starch and more starch.

This brunch menu has it all- protein, fruit and veg, and a little bit of starch - but it won't leave you sleeping on the couch. A sunny mango smoothie, eggs baked in a bed of spinach with a spicy yogurt topping and crispy potato hash browns. Lay out a table cloth, turn on the radio, and bring a healthy brunch into your kitchen!

sunny mango smoothie
(Buy some sad-looking, overripe mangos for this smoothie. They taste the best, you're saving them from the garbage, and they cost a fraction the price. This makes 4 or 5 cups, and keeps in the fridge for an extra day. Don't leave out the lemon juice and zest - it brightens up the smoothie and adds some extra zing!)

3 over-ripe atulfo mangoes (the smaller, yellow mangoes)
1 over-ripe banana
1/2 cup 3% yogurt
2 cups soy or almond milk
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 tbsp lemon zest
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Blend with an immersion blender. (Or use a traditional blender). Add 1/2 cup - 1 cup water to reach the consistency of smoothie you would like.

skillet baked eggs and spinach 
(adapted from this recipe in Bon Appetite) 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced thinly
1 green onion, sliced thinly
1 bunch of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper
4 eggs

1/4 cup 3% yogurt
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and green onion, turn down heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, until leeks are soft and starting to brown. Add spinach and lemon juice, and cook for a minute or two. Hold pan over the sink, and tilt to let the excess moisture run out. Give the spinach a press with your wooden spoon to get as much moisture out as possible.

Turn off burner. Make 4 indentations in the spinach, spreading it evenly around the pan. Crack the eggs into the indentations, being careful not to break the yolk. Bake until the egg whites are set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, salt, paprika, garlic and cayenne pepper. Serve eggs and spinach immediately, with a dollop of yogurt on each egg.

potato hash browns
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
olive oil
salt, pepper, dried thyme

Preheat broiler. Steam potatoes over boiling water for 10 minutes. Toss potatoes with oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread in a pan, and broil for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and brown. Serve with this homemade ketchup.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

preserved meyer lemons

preserved meyer lemons
3 meyer lemons
juice of 2 meyer lemons
1/4 cup kosher salt

Cut lemons lengthwise in quarters, leaving the bottom 1/4 inch attached. Combine in a jar with juice and salt. Let sit for 3 days at room temperature, shaking every day. Move to fridge after 3 days, and let sit for 3 weeks, until the rinds are soft.

Here's the original post from Martha Stewart. She says to give the lemons a rinse, chop them up and use them in stews and salads. Here's an Israeli Couscous recipe with preserved lemon, recommended by David Lebovitz.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

saffron rice

saffron rice with almonds and currants
Serve this as a side dish with anything with Middle Eastern or Moroccan flavours. Serves 6.

pinch of saffron
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cup jasmine rice
2  1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup currants (or raisins)

Cover saffron with boiling water in a small bowl. Set aside. In large pot, heat oil. Add almonds, and cook until browned, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Remove almonds with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add onions to the pot. Sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add rice, and stir for 2 minutes, until rice is toasted. Add water, saffron and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover. Cook rice for around 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat, fluff rice, and stir in currants and almonds.

(Adapted from this recipe at Epicurious)