Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quinoa, Pear & Spinach Salad with Moroccan Spiced Lemon Dressing

Here's a quick and easy recipe that I've been asked for a few times, and instead of giving it just to those who've asked, I'm sharing it with everyone! (Good things should be shared, right?)
It's chock-full of healthy, seasonal fruits and veggies and tastes fresh and delicious!
And since I forgot to take pictures I'm including some factoids on some of the super-foods that are included in the recipe. Enjoy!

Moroccan spiced lemon dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about half a large lemon) and zest, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (if using water or unsalted chicken broth)
  • Moroccan spiced lemon dressing
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted
  1. Prepare quinoa. Bring stock to a boil (with salt) and add quinoa, stir to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. 
  2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare dressing: whisk lemon juice, yogurt, honey, cumin, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl until blended. Slowly whisk in oil so the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with ½ of the prepared dressing. Let cool.
  4.  Just before serving, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and top with quinoa, pear, tomatoes, onion, and pepitas. Toss to combine and serve.
  •   Make Ahead Tip: This recipe makes 2/3 cup dressing (Step 2). Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the quinoa, salad and remaining dressing separately for up to 2 days.
Buen Provecho!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tom Kha Gai ~ Thai Coconut Soup

Last night I hosted our Amazing Race night and was told by one of our racers, Sarah, that "this is the best soup I have ever tasted, and I'm not even exaggerating!". Well, after a long lapse in posts, I thought that a comment like that deserved its own blog post. She also made the pottery in the pictures; doesn't she sound like a lovely friend to have?
This one's for you, Sarah!

Tom Kha Gai

½ Tbsp coconut oil
½ white onion, thinly sliced
1 hot Thai chili pepper (or more, depending on your spice preference), minced

2 cans coconut milk (full fat makes for a richer, creamier soup)
1 cup chicken stock
2 inch piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemon grass, slightly bruised/flattened with a mallet or cleaver and chopped diagonally into 4 pieces

8 kaffir lime leaves
4 Tbsp fish sauce

1 or 2 chicken breasts, very thinly sliced
½ cup fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
juice of ½ a lime (approx. 2 Tbsp)
½ Tbsp coconut sugar or honey
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh spinach
fresh cilantro, scallions/green onions and 
coconut rice for serving

Melt the coconut oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute then add the chili and stir 1-2 minutes more until fragrant.

Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening to redistribute the separated cream and milk. Pour into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, fish sauce and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Then add the shrimp, bell pepper, mushrooms, lime juice, coconut sugar, tomatoes and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not mushy and the shrimp is bright pink.

To serve, place a scoop of coconut rice in the bottom of a bowl, spoon soup overtop and garnish with fresh cilantro and scallions.

Serves 4

Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicken Bacon Meatballs

Today is the last day of April and we got a snow storm. [cue my super unimpressed face]
This past weekend I was wearing a tank top and flip-flops and now I'm back in my winter gear braving snow and 60-90 km/h wind gusts. Spring this year has been interesting to say the least.

So how about a recipe for some healthy(ish) comfort food to tide us over until summer arrives?

I recently inherited a KitchenAid stand mixer with a grinder and pasta maker attachment (YES!!). When I went to the store to pick up the ingredients for this recipe I can't say I was terribly disappointed when they didn't have any ground poultry. Time to do things the (not-so) old fashioned way!

If you've never ground your own meat, I highly recommend it. Something about it was strangely liberating and gratifying. "Screw you store, I can grind my own meat!"

I smell sausages on the menu soon...
Anyway, back to the recipe.


2 slices bread, torn into small pieces (approx. 1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 strips bacon, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each, salt and pepper
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp hot sauce
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or 1 tbsp dried parsley)
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp tomato paste

Position oven rack in top 1/3 of oven; preheat to 400° F.
Soak bread in milk until soggy.
Cook bacon on medium heat for 3 minutes, add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent; cool.
Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk and discard the milk.
To the ground chicken add: bread, egg, hot sauce, bacon mixture and breadcrumbs; mix to combine. If it feels too soft, add more breadcrumbs until desired consistency is reached.
Form into 30 (or so) medium sized balls.
Incorporate tomato and oil (they won't really incorporate, but mush them together and make due). Brush paste onto prepared meatballs.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

I prepared a spicy, sweet and sour Asian sauce and a chipotle mayo dip. Both were excellent with the meatballs.

Good luck getting them from the cookie sheet to a serving plate. El Señor and I ate quite a few before we remembered they were supposed to be for guests.
And then I barely got a picture of them with the guests before they were all gone!

Buen Provecho!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Russian Cream with blackberry, blueberry and rose petal compote

Hallelujah its spring! Happy Easter!

Apparently I went into hibernation over the winter and didn't make a single post. Sorry friends.
I've got a good one for you now though. Our Amazing Race feasts are back in full swing and tonight I'm on dessert duty which is my favourite dish to prepare (and let's be honest -eat too).
I love that our Sunday feasts are so multi-cultural, offering an assortment of foods and traditional dishes from all over the world. How appropriate for Amazing Race, no?

For example here's our menu from last week:
Beef empanadas with pickled onions, cucumbers and salsa to start. Corn, avocado, baby tomato and cilantro salad, spinach parmesan mashed potatoes, Hungarian chicken Paprikash and homemade whole wheat sourdough artisan bread as the main. Homemade chocolate and chocolate-chocolate chip cookies sandwiched around vanilla, cookie-dough or birthday cake ice cream.

Tonight I'm told that we're having beef Vindaloo with rice pilaf and naan bread. I have no idea what the salad and appy are going to be, but I'm already excited.

So to keep with the multiculturalism, here's my contribution tonight:

Russian Cream with blackberry, blueberry and rose petal compote

Serves 12

4 cups cream (whipping or half & half)
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp plain gelatin
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries etc.)
2 Tbsp dried rose petals
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh berries or fruit to garnish

Blend sugar and gelatin well. Add them, along with the cream to a pot. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved. Cool to a slightly warm temperature and add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix quickly until well blended and smooth. Pour into mould(s) and chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Crush berries with sugar in a pot over low heat. Heat until mixture is syrupy. Add rose petals and lemon juice and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then spoon over gelled cream. Allow to chill for an hour or until set.

Garnish with fresh fruit, berries, mint, pirouette cookies, crushed toasted nuts or whatever you choose!

Enjoy! I hope everyone tonight does...

Buen Provecho!