Tag Archives: Main Course

Black Bean and Corn Patties

This is a recipe from Food52.  Smoked paprika is a must, as is a food processor.  We serve on top of mixed greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and top the patty with N’s Killer Guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and thinly sliced red onions (we don’t think it would taste good on a bun).

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cupscooked black beans, DIVIDED (or approximately 1 1/2 cans, rinsed and drained) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3  quick oats, plus extra as needed
  • 3/4 cups fresh corn cut from cobs
  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil for eight to ten minutes, or until golden, soft, and fragrant.
  2. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, sea salt, and peppers to taste. Stir in the sauté pan till spices toast lightly.
  3. Add 2 cups of the beans and stir to coat with the spices and onions.  Turn off heat.
  4. Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse them a few times. Add the onion, garlic, and bean mixture. Process everything together, until it’s well combined but still has texture.
  5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the last cup of black beans and the corn, and mix well with your hands. Check for seasoning and season to taste. If the mixture is too mushy to form into patties, add a little more oats or bread crumbs.
  6. Shape mixture into six patties. Pan fry them in olive oil until golden on each side, and heated through.

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Filed under food, Protein, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Moroccan-style Vegetable Pie with Chickpea Crust

This recipe is from CBC’s “Best Recipes Ever

 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper or red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rinsed drained canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, carrot, garlic, cinnamon, ground coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add yellow pepper, zucchini, cauliflower and chickpeas; fry, stirring often, until pepper is softened, 8 minutes.

Add pasta sauce and lemon juice; cover and simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender, 20 minutes. Stir in peas, fresh coriander and almond butter; let cool. (Make-ahead: refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; to continue, let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.)

Chickpea Crust*:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) rinsed drained canned chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp milk

Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse together chickpeas, butter, 3 tbsp (50 mL) cold water, salt, cumin and turmeric until crumbly. Add flour; pulse until combined.*

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cut in half; roll out each to 10-inch (25 cm) circle. Line 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate with 1 of the circles; spoon in vegetable mixture. Lightly brush pastry edge with some of the milk. Top with remaining pastry; trim edge. Using tines of fork, press edges together to seal and crimp. Brush top with remaining milk; slash steam vents.

Bake in bottom third of 400°F (200°C) oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

*Note:  I had to add about 2T more butter, and 3T more cold water to make the dough hold together enough to knead it.

Servings: 6

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Filed under dinner, food, Main Course, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Cauliflower and Chickpea Coconut Curry

This is certainly not authentic, and doesn’t have well developed flavours, but it’s very quick and easy.  Chop up some hot pepper and add at the beginning if you’d like to zip things up.  Add some potato, small cubes, along with the cauliflower.

  • 2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1” piece of ginger root, finely minced or grated
  • 2- 15 oz tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 28oz tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
  • 1 tin coconut milk (not sweetened!)
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

In a Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat.  When it is shimmering, add the onion and stir occasionally until softened.

Add the garlic and ginger, and cook a few minutes longer until the onion begins to caramelize.

Stir in the spices and toast for a couple of minutes until they are fragrant.  Add a couple of drops of water to prevent burning, if you need to.  Stir constantly.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, chickpeas, and cauliflower.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

If desired, take lid off and cook for a few more minutes  until sauce has reduced to the consistency that you like.

Taste for salt.  Add the chopped cilantro and stir carefully.

Serve over brown basmati rice, or with roti or naan

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Spinach Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds

This salad tastes much better to me with a double batch of the dressing.

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in dry frying pan or in oven
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped OR 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 medium English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/3” dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt (not Greek)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
  • salt & pepper to season
  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Stir in quinoa.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and cool, covered, in pot.
  3. Lay 5 or 6 spinach leaves flat on top of one another on a cupttingboard. Roll tightly into a cylinder, then slice crosswise into slivers.  Repeat with remaining spinach.
  4. In a large bowl toss together the cooled quinoa, almonds, spinach, cherries, cucumber, chickpeas and red onion .
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
  6. Pour over salad and toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Chill for 30 minutes to allow flavours to develop, then serve.

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Filed under food, Grains, Main Course, Protein, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Anne’s Quinoa Salad (via Pat Tamosetis)

  • 2 cups cold water or broth
  • 1 cup quinoa   (rinse well before using – I use organic white quinoa)

Combine water and quinoa in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer until quinoa “pops” (~15-20 min).   The water should all be absorbed and the quinoa should be tender.  Let cool to room temperature.  I like to cook the quinoa in the morning and then make the salad in the afternoon when it is cool.

  •  1 sweet onion (Vidalia or similar) finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tblsp olive oil/butter/coconut oil
  • Pinch each of white sugar and salt

Caramelize onions and garlic in the oil with salt and sugar over med-low heat, for about 25 minutes or until golden yellow and very soft. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Chop:

  • 2 stalks celery
  •  1 red pepper (half and half red and yellow)

Grate:

  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 1 peeled apple
  • 1/3 cup raisins or cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

You can add any nuts, seeds, fruit or veggies that you like – be bold!  If you use apple, get the dressing on the quinoa quickly so the apple does not go brown. Combine the quinoa, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and berries in one large bowl/pot.  Pour on the dressing.

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • a squeeze bragg or soya sauce
  • bloop maple syrup (up to 1/8 cup)
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • Orange zest (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper as suits your taste

Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a glass container and give them a good shake. Pour over quinoa and veggies.  Fold to disperse dressing.  I stir the salad every hour or so to combine the flavours.  Refrigerate for an hour or overnight – enjoy!

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Utterly Inauthentic Moo Shu Chicken

  • 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into very thin strips
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh beansprouts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • (1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce (divided)
  • 4 (6.5″ or 7″) flour tortillas, warmed

In a small bowl, combine chicken with 1 TBSP soy sauce, the cornstarch, and the pepper.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until very hot.  Add chicken mixture, and stir fry until chicken turns white, about 3 minutes.

Add cabbage, bean sprouts, scallions, mushrooms, and waterchestnuts to wok.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add beaten egg and stir fry 1 to 1.5 minutes, until egg is just scrambled.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp soy sauce, sherry, sugar, bouillon granules, sesame oil, and 1 TBSP hoisin sauce to wok.  Stir fry for 1 minute.

Brush centres of heated tortillas with remaining 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce.  Spoon chicken mixture down the centre of each.  Fold in sides of tortilla.  Fold bottom quarter of tortilla up over filling, then roll up to enclose.  Serve immediately with additional hoisin sauce for dipping, if desired.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Curried Chickpeas with Vegetables

This is basically how this recipe appears in “The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking”.  It is absolutely delicious!  Make sure that you use all of the specified ingredients, as the taste blend is wonderful.  It’s a good idea to have a read through and get things prepared in advance of beginning to cook.

Heat in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat until sizzling:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed cumin seeds

Add:

  • 1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic.

 Cook, stirring, over low heat for 1 minute; do not brown.  Stir in:

  • 2 tsp curry powder

Cook for 1 minute.  Stir in:

  • 1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 1 cup of ½ inch cubes peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of ½ inch cubes peeled potatoes
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup 1 inch pieces green beans (or use frozen)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, or vegetarian chicken cube with water to make 1 cup
  • ½ to 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir together in a separate small bowl:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (we use Greek)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

 Add to the vegetables along with:

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers (or more, to taste)

 Cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through; do not boil.  In a small separate skillet over medium heat, toast:

  • 2 tbsp shredded, unsweetened dried coconut

 Sprinkle over the vegetables.  Top with:

  • ¼ cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

Serve with rice and/or naan.

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Filed under Main Course, Protein, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Tomatoey Chicken Curry

  • 2 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • pinch red ground Indian chilies
    • 3 tbsp ghee
    • 2 medium onions, minced
    • salt
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced (appx 2 tbsp)
    • 1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
    • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed (include seeds if you want it hotter), minced
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped finely (about 1 cup)
    • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
    • ½ cup coconut milk or whole milk plain yogurt
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • ground black pepper
  1. Combine the spices and set aside.  Heat the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the spices and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  2. Stir in the onions and 1 tsp salt, and cook, stirring constantly until the onion is softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the chicken to coat with the spices and cook, stirring often, until it is just opaque, about four minutes.
  5. Stir in the water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks.
  7. Stir the tomatoes, peas, coconut milk or yogurt, cilantro, and butter into the sauce until combined, then stir in the shredded chicken.
  8. Return the curry to medium heat and cook, until the butter is melted and the sauce is hot, 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Asian Inspired Beef Lettuce Rolls

Will wonders never cease?  We’ve found another ground beef recipe that is really good!  The flavours and textures are so delicious, that I don’t even really notice the ground beef.  Adapted from “Canadian Living”.  Serves 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 four-inch piece cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 Boston lettuce leaves or leaf lettuce, washed and dried (we use a whole head)
  • 4 lime wedges
  • about 1 cup of dried parboiled rice, sushi rice, jasmine rice — or any sticky rice — cooked according to package directions, and placed in a serving dish
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced gingerroot
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Asian chili sauce or hot pepper sauce

Preparation:

  1. Arrange vegetables, lettuce and lime wedges on serving platter, or place in small bowls.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, sauté beef over medium-high heat, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Drain off any fat.
  3. Add garlic, ginger and five-spice powder; cook over medium heat, stirring, until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce and chili sauce; cook, stirring, until hot, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
  5. Let each person spoon beef mixture into each lettuce leaf. Top with some cooked rice, cucumber, red pepper, carrot and green onions. Squeeze some lime onto the filling.  Wrap lettuce around filling.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Bonnie and Grandma Ruth’s Pork Pie

I grew up eating Bonnie’s pork pie; my mom also makes this recipe, and now we have started!  This recipe makes one absolutely gigantic meat pie, or two normal-sized pies.  If you want two pies, just make sure you have enough pie dough to line two pie plates.

Pork Pie

While I'm not the Queen of Piecrusts, this is what a single pie -- less about 1/3 cup filling -- looks like.


  • Pie crust for 10” covered pie (roll out 2 rounds)
  • 3 lbs lean ground pork
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sage
  • 2 pinches ground cloves
  • 4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
  1. Cook pork over low heat with a little water, and drain off excess fat with a spoon.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients, stirring constantly until the meat loses its pink colour, and liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Cover and cook 45 minutes longer.
  4. Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender, drain, and then mash them.
  5. Mix the potatoes into the cooked meat mixture, and cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 450F
  7. Lay one of the piecrust rounds into a 10” pie plate.
  8. Fill the pie so that the mixture forms a high mound.
  9. Cover with remaining  pie dough round, seal, and cut some venting holes.
  10. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to 350F, and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and baked through.

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Filed under Main Course, Protein

Squashed Baked Potatoes

Another blast from the past; I’m not a lover of potatoes, but I do like these.

  • baking potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes onto a greased baking tray, and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes to an hour (until tender)

Remove from oven and make an X-cut in the top of each potato, then squash each potato with a potato masher, or a mug or plate.  The idea is to flatten them, not mash them.  You want the skins to crack and the insides to be rough.

Drizzle each potato (liberally) with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 450F for about 15 to 20 more minutes, until crispy and golden.

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Filed under Main Course, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Aarti Sequeira’s Saag Paneer, with a tweak or two

After searching for at least 25 years for a Saag Paneer* recipe that really hits the spot, we found one!  This recipe is incredibly easy and relatively quick; it is well worth taking the few minutes it takes to make your own paneer.  I’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces paneer, cut into 1” cubes* (see recipe and photos below)
  • 1 16oz package frozen spinach
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced finely
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large Serrano chili, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • (or ½ cup plain yogurt, with no cream)

In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons of oil.  Gently add the paneer cubes, and toss very gently.  Let the cubes marinate while you prep your other ingredients.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave, in a microwave-safe dish,, 5 minutes on high.  Puree the spinach in a food processor until smooth, or mince by hand.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms.  In a couple of minutes, give the pan a shake and turn the paneer cubes.  You want the cubes browned on two or more sides.  Remove the paneer onto a plate (this also tastes good without seasoning and frying the paneer; just cube it and add it at the end of cooking the spinach).

Add the ghee/oil to the pan.  When melted and hot, add the onion, garlic, and chili.  SLOWLY sauté the mixture until golden and the oil is shimmering on top, about 15 minutes.

Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin.  Cook, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the spices are well toasted.  Add a few drops of water if it is drying out and burning.

Add the pureed spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach.  Add generous pinch of salt, and the ½ cup water.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes with the lid off.

Turn the heat off, add the cream/yogurt a little at a time to prevent it from curdling.  Once the cream/yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, gently add the paneer.  Turn the heat back on, cover, and cook until everything is hot.

Serve with basmati rice, and/or naan.

*Paneer

paneer making

Making the Paneer

  • Cheesecloth to line a colander
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth (available at the grocery store)
  2. In a large, wid pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom.  Be patient!
  3. Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low.  Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds and whey separate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contens into the cheesecloth-lined colander.  Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavour.
  5. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey.  Tie the cheesecloth to the kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a brick, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side.  Set another plate on top, and weight it down with tinned food, or a very heavy pot.  A ziplock bag full of water will also work.  Press for at least 20 minutes. In the photo to the right, I’ve used our very heavy granite mortar on top of a plate.

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Filed under food, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Shipwreck Casserole

A bit of a pain to assemble, and not very gourmet, but once it’s put together it can just sit unattended for two hours in a 350F oven.  Reminds me of 70’s fare and the foil packed dinners that we used to make for camp fire cooking.

  • 2 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb lean ground beef, or lamb
  • ½ cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • ½ to 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 10 oz condensed tomato soup
  • 10 oz soup can of very hot or boiling water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dried or fresh herbs, to taste
  1. Spread onions over the bottom of a greased 2-quart lidded casserole dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  2. Lay the sliced potatoes over the onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  3. Pat the ground beef evenly over the potatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  4. Evenly distribute the dry rice over the ground beef.
  5. Spread diced celery over the rice and ground beef; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  6. Mix soup and hot water together, and pour over top of the casserole.
  7. Cover the dish, and bake, covered, in a 350F oven for 2 hours until vegetables are tend

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A Facsimile of Boston’s Creamy Chicken Curry Pasta for Niall

  • 3 cups dry penne
  • 2 Tablespoons or so of butter, or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons hot madras curry powder
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  •  2 to 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces (fresh or canned, drained)

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil.  Add dry penne, stirring to prevent it from sticking together.  Cook according to package directions, approximately 7 or 8 minutes.  Drain well, but do not rinse!

Meanwhile, melt the butter or heat the oil, and add the red onion.  Stir and cook until it begins to sweat, and then add garlic and red pepper.  When they are softened, but still have a bit of a “fresh bite”, add the curry powder and chili flakes.  Stir and cook for a minute or two.

Stir in the heavy cream, bring to a very gentle boil and cook until it begins to thicken to the consistency you like for your alfedo-ish sauce.  Gently stir in the cooked chicken pieces and the pineapple, and cook till they’re heated through.

* to cook the chicken, one can bake in the oven or cut into bite-sized pieces and sauté with the vegetables until no longer pink.  To bake ahead, put two boneless, skinless chicken breasts onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Turn twice, two coat the entire breast.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then bake for 40 minutes or so in a preheated 350F oven.

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Candied Pecans

  • ½ large egg white
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon sea, or kosher, salt
  • Large pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons water
  • 2 to 3 ½ cups raw pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.Using an electric mixer, or a whisk, beat egg white until foamy, about 1 minute with the mixer.Add sugar, brown sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and water.  Whisk until well combined – it will get thick-ish – about 45 seconds with the mixer.Gently stir in pecans until well coated. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of pecans for this amount of “candy”, but it will coat almost 4 cups very nicely.Pour nuts onto baking sheet, and spread out so that they are in a single layer.Bake for a total of 40 minutes, taking out and stirring/flipping the nuts after the first 20 minutes.Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Break apart into single nuts.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

These are great on a spinach salad dressed with citrus vinaigrette.  For nuts that are great “out of hand”, try Maple Roasted Almonds.

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Filed under Appetizers, food, Protein, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

West Indies Style Rub for Pork Tenderloin Kebabs

Toast over medium heat in a dry skillet (about 2 or 3 minutes):

  • 2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoon coriander seeds

Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. With a mortar and pestle, grind to a fine powder.  Transfer to a small bowl and add:

  • 2 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon ground red pepper

Stir well.  Will keep for a few weeks if kept airtight and dry.

Cut the tenderloin into large cubes, and rub the spice mixture into it.  “Marinate” in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum of 24 hours.  Tastes better if marinated longer.  Thread onto skewers and grill.

 

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Filed under food, Main Course, Marinade, Protein

Niall’s Summer Pasta Salad

Really an “anything goes” kind of salad, adapted from LLL’s “Whole Foods for the Whole Family

The Salad Ingredients:

  • ½ lb pasta, cooked and drained
  • ½ cup celery, chopped small
  • ¼ cup red or Vidalia onion, finely diced (use spring onions if you don’t have)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ red or green pepper, diced
  • 2 tins water-packed tuna –no hydrolyzed plant protein – flaked
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, a handful
  • ½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped

The Dressing/dip Ingredients:

This makes way more than the above recipe requires!

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Gently combine all of the salad ingredients.  Add dressing, tossing, until the salad is coated to your preference; it’s likely that you’ll have about 2/3 to ½ of the dressing left over.  Refrigerate until flavours mingle.

The left over dressing makes a great raw veggie dip.


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Filed under food, Grains, Main Course, Protein, Salad Dressing, Salads, Vegetables

Grilled Chicken Kebabs, with Dressing and Dip

Read through the entire recipe before beginning, as there are several steps and components to this meal.  Six hours maximum is required for marinating the chicken, but you may marinate for three hours if necessary.

Total amounts of common ingredients – that require prep — for all three components:

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

The Chicken:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes

Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.  Transfer to a large ziplock freezer bag, and add cubed chicken.  Marinate, refrigerated, for approximately 6 hours, or a minimum of 3 hours.  Do not marinate longer than 6 hours!

The Veggies:

Prepare the following to put on the skewers:

  • 2 red bell peppers , cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion. peeled, with outer 3 layers cut into 1-inch pieces*

The Kebabs:

When six hours have passed, remove chicken from the marinade and discard remaining marinade.

Thread each skewer with the vegetables and chicken as follows:

  1. 2 pieces pepper
  2. 1 piece onion
  3. 2 pieces chicken
  4. 1 piece onion
  5. 2 pieces pepper
  6. 1 piece onion
  7. 2 pieces chicken
  8. 1 piece onion
  9. 2 pieces pepper
  10. 1 piece onion
  11. 2 pieces chicken
  12. 1 piece onion

The Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together, and set aside for later.

The Grilling:

Grill the kebabs over high heat, on all four sides, for 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to a serving platter, and brush the kebabs all over with the dressing.  Serve with the following dipping sauce.

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded then finely chopped

Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, basil, mint, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.  Stir in the cucumber.  Let rest for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerated, for several hours.

*Cut the root and growing end of the onion off, peel it, then cut onion in half lengthwise.  Remove the centre of the onion, leaving the three outer layers intact.  Cut each half lengthwise into two pieces.  Now cut each chunk of onion into three pieces lengthwise.  Cut each of the remaining pieces crosswise into three pieces.  Aim for approximately 1″ squares which are three layers thick.  Save the centre of the onion for another purpose.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Marinade, Protein, Vegetables

Raita/Cucumber Salad

We eat a few different versions of raita, but this one goes nicely with these beef kebabs.

  • 1 English cucumber, halved, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced

Mix all of the ingredients together; eat within an hour or two.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Salads, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Indian Flavoured Kebabs

Soak 9 bamboo skewers in water while making the meat mixture.

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup very finely minced onion (1 large)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • one 2 ½“ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add and mix with hands until evenly combined:

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef

Shape this mixture into 9 flattened sausage shapes, approximately 4” long, 1 ½“ wide, and 1” high.   Carefully thread each sausage shape onto a skewer.

Grill on a barbecue until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  You may also broil them in the oven, for 3 to 5 minutes per side, using a slotted broiling tray.

Serve wrapped in a warm naan or pita, or with basmati rice, and raita.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein