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Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

13 Jun

I am not a mayonnaise hater, I just find sometimes it weighs things down. Potato salad doesn’t have to be terrible for you. It can be light and fresh and easy on the waist line. In the summer I eat a significant amount of potato salad and this recipe is my fail safe!

I make this to last for days so we can eat it all week. It’s the perfect accompaniment to some fall off the bone ribs, herb marinated chicken kebas, lemon pepper fish kebabs or blue cheese stuffed burgers. Basically, if you BBQ it, throw this on the side!

I’ve kinda got a thing for herbs. They really liven things up (geeze that statement makes my life sound thrilling…..)

mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1.5 lb of mixed small potatoes (by mixed I mean purple, white and red – it looks prettier this way). If you live in Canada President’s Choice makes what I use – found here. If mixed aren’t available to you, simple small red or white potatoes will work just fine!

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

the juice of one lemon

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard

5 grinds of black pepper

5 green onions, diced

1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (if you are a cilantro hater, totally fine, leave it out, or replace it with flat leaf italian parsley)

1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup of chopped fresh dill

Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Strain and slice the hot potatoes in half, placing them in a large bowl. In another bowl, or a glass measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, whole grain dijon mustard and pepper. Pour the dressing over the potatoes while they are still hot* and toss. Allow them to cool to room temperature.

*As a side note I want to talk about putting the dressing on while the potatoes are hot. I find they absorb the dressing very while they cool. I make sure to give them a toss every 15 minutes or so as they cool to ensure they are all getting enough dressing attention.

Once the dressed potatoes are room temperature I toss them with the fresh herbs and green onion. Now you can either serve or refrigerate until later.

If you refrigerate until later they may seem a tad dry when you take them out to serve. When I say dry I mean they may seem like there is very little dressing on them (b/c it has been absorbed by the potatoes). If this is the case I squeeze another lemon over them and toss with a few tbsp of olive oil.

This is such a versatile side dish.

Perfect to store in the fridge if you have large numbers at the cottage for the weekend. Or to keep you going all week-long with a side dish.

Seriously, purple potatoes are pretty cool.

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Colourful Vegetable Quinoa with Tahini Dressing

31 May

I’m back! Sometimes I get a tad busy with work and, well, other things. Don’t be fooled. There’s still a stack of laundry yet to be touched, a list of rooms that MUST be cleaned last week, yet somehow remain untouched, and many other tidbits. What to do when you can’t squeak out more than 6 hours of sleep a night on a good night? why teach yourself to bake of course!! This rationale makes perfect sense when standing next to your sparkly new kitchenaid stand mixer. I haven’t posted any of these recipes yet b/c “teach yourself” are the key words here. As much as I love to cook I’ve never been a baker. I don’t like sweets (bitch about me later in private please), so I usually only bake twice a year. Once for Mark’s birthday and the other time for an annual Christmas party. Lately, that has changed. As soon as I figure out how to not add inappropriate amounts of salt I will share some sweet treats with you all! Until that time, back to quinoa.

We were gifted a wonderful cookbook by wonderful friends the other weekend. It came in very handy after an over the top long weekend at the cottage (spritzers and caesars? Yes please!). This was a great recipe that hit the spot as a much-needed light dinner. (Although, I would not be afraid to use it as a tasty side dish either). I obviously had to make a few changes to the recipe (this is where I fail at baking…).

Colourful Vegetable Quinoa with Tahini Dressing (adapted from Sophie Dhal’s cookbook, Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights)

Serves 4 as a dinner and many as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa

1 cucumber quartered and sliced

4 green onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

Tahini Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons tahini

1 clove of garlic

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Let cool to room temperature (it’s ok, I normally can’t wait that long either – I think I lasted 15 minutes. I just stirred it a lot so that the heat could escape faster).

In a food processor, or with an immersion blender combine the dressing.

In a large bowl combine the quinoa, chopped vegetables and dressing.

Geeze that was easy! Pat yourself on the back, it’s been a long day!

This keeps nicely in the fridge, so go on and make yourself a big batch.

After a few more weeknight dinner posts I’ll blow your minds with oreo cheesecake bars. BAM!

Salmon Burgers

25 Apr

These aren’t just any old salmon burger. They are salmon burgers with a bit of an Asian twist. The burger is a beautiful thing. But let’s be honest, it’s not always that kind to your waistline. I also don’t eat a ton of red meat, so it really isn’t happening that much over here. As a result I have made up numerous twists on a traditional burger. This one is delicious, and fantastic for you!

Oh, except when we smear wasabi mayo on the top. But more on that later.

Salmon Burgers

Serves 4 large burgers, or 6 medium burgers

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs salmon filets, without the skin, and roughly chopped into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp chopped cilantro (if you aren’t a fan, just leave it out)

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp wasabi

1/2 tbsp ginger, grated

1 egg white

1 tbsp panko (japanese bread crumbs)

Place the salmon into a food processor. Pulse chop it until it is a mince (try not to over do this, otherwise your burgers will be supper liquidy – if that’s that case, add a bit more panko). Transfer to a bowl.

Add the onion, cilantro, soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, egg white and panko to the bowl. Mix thoroughly so that everything is incorporated. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 or 6 sections and shape into patties.

Heat your grill to medium heat. Oil your grill, bbq or indoor – doesn’t matter – we eat these puppy’s all year round. Cook for a few minutes a side, until cooked through.

Top with whatever you like. A favourite around here, wasabi mayo. The ratio is up to you. Depends how hot you like it.

We also usually also go with tomatoes, onions and pickles. Snore.

This is a perfect burger alternative for a lighter lunch on the dock or deck. Although, we also eat them regularly at home in January for dinner – go figure. Ya, they are that good.

Sesame Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach

15 Apr

I wasn’t feeling well the other day and the idea of cooking an entire meal wasn’t working for me. I felt like just grabbing a simple solution on the way home that hit the spot. But when you’re not feeling well I belive (disclaimer – do not listen to me , I am probably the last person you want to listen to re: how to feel better b/c I don’t belive in pills) healthy nutritious food is the way to go. This is a simple solution that not only made me feel 100% the next day, but it also took 20 minutes to make (meaning I got to bed by 9pm).

Who out there is obsessed with Whole Foods? Ya, me, ok. I am sure I am not alone. I tried to copy one of those beautiful pre-made salads you buy at their pre-made food counter. My Mom (who is a fantastic cook) loves this concoction that Whole Foods has created. So I tried to re-create it for her. (Mom I hope you’re reading…..I know you are…you may be my only reader). The smart thing to do would have been to go and read their ingredient list b/c they post it. I didn’t. Whoops!

Sesame Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of dry quinoa

2 sweet potato, diced into bite sized pieces

1 cup, packed firmly, baby spinach

1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp soy sauce (if you’re gluten-free use tamari)

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. toss the sweet potato pieces in a little bit of olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes (flipping after 10) until slightly browned.

Cook the Quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once done toss with the spinach and put the lid on the pot and leave for 5 minutes.

Add the sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce (or tamari) and roasted sweet potato and toss. Serve at room temperature or cool.

Out of respect for Whole Foods and all that they do I won’t mention the price differential. Infer what you will.

(if everyone could please ignore the random piece of quinoa on the side of the bowl. Again, alone for photography, left to my own devices. I am a maniac I tell you. I hate to admit it, but I took about 8 shots before I noticed. Then as luck would have it I decided I needed to use this shot b/c it was one of the better ones. Ya, we’ve already gone over how I suck at photography. I’m working at it (not really, my photographer has just been away).)

What is my favourite part about cooking with quinoa? protein without thinking about a protein source. Genius!

Japanese Stir-fry with Tofu

12 Apr

This is one of our weeknight go-tos for dinner. Not only is it quick and delicious, but it’s full of veggies and protein. It makes a quick and easy re-heat for lunch the next day as well!

Think of this as a starting off point. If you don’t like mushrooms, no problem, sub for carrot. If you feel like cabbage, trade it in for bok choy. You can really mix and match your veggies here if you feel like getting a little adventurous! (I know I know, pretty risque for a weeknight isn’t it?)

Japanese Stir-Fry with Tofu (adapted from Rebar)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Sauce:

1/4 cup red miso paste

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp soy sauce (tamari if you’re going gluten free)

2 tbsp mirin (Asian cooking wine, found in the Asian section of the food store)

1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 garlic clove, grated or pressed with a garlic press

1/4 tsp red chile flakes (I double this, you could also leave it out)

Stir-fry:

2 japanese eggplants, halved and sliced into 1 cm pieces (they are thin and long and slightly lighter than a regular eggplant – most food stores have them I find)

1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

1 cup of snow peas

1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed to bite size pieces

4 cups bok choy, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 bunch of green onions, sliced

Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk together. Set Aside.

Heat a large wok to medium heat. Use a splash of cooking oil (I use grapeseed), rotate it around the wok. Once the oil is hot add the eggplant and mushrooms. After 5 minutes add the tofu. Continue to stir-fry for another minute. Add the bok choy and snow peas. Stir fry for another 5 minutes, until the bok choy begins to soften. Pour in the sauce and combine. Add the green onions and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

Serve over top of rice, I usually use brown rice. (my rice cooker may possibly be my most favourite kitchen appliance(don’t worry food processor, you’re a close second). It makes our quick weeknight dinners even better – cooking rice is a nuisance. When cooking brown rice I use a few tbsp’s extra of water than the standard 1:2 ratio.)

Home alone = no photographer. When left to my own devices, blurry food is on the menu!

Moo Shu Pork

8 Apr

Chinese food is a dream come true. Moo Shu Pork is pretty close to perfection. I can’t eat this fast enough – and believe me I try – I am a crazy fast eater. When I make all my food I cook for 4 so that we both always have lunch the next day. With this we make double, simply so we can have 2 servings each – yes, we are disgusting! When this is my lunch, I eat around 9:30 a.m. Patience is a virtue, one that I was not blessed with!


This looks more anemic than it should. I am a moron and forgot to buy green onions. This worked out perfectly for me last week when I realized at the last-minute that I didn’t have green onion. Turns out the green onion gods were looking out for me that day. I had bought some the week before and there was an ENTIRE bunch in the fridge. This week when the EXACT SAME PROBLEM occurred I was not as lucky. No green onion in sight. apparently all green onion karma was gone. Needless to say, these photos are lacking some serious green colour pop. Please imagine how much better it could look.

Moo Shu Pork (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 pork tenderloin*, sliced into rounds, and then slice the rounds into strips

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced into strips

2 tbsp grated ginger

1/2 head of savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

5 green onions, sliced (yup, I’m a moron)

1/3 cup of soy sauce or tamari (to make this recipe gluten free use tamari)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

Heat a large pan to medium high heat. Spray with cooking oil. Whisk your eggs in a bowl and add them to the pan. Move the pan so that the eggs spread out into a large thin pancake. Cook until cooked through. Slide out of the pan onto the counter. Roll into a log and slice into strips. Set aside.

Coat the pork in cornstarch in a bowl. Heat a large non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Add a splash of grapeseed oil (or canola oil, or any vegetable oil) and saute the pork until cooked through (approximately 10 minutes). Transfer to a separate bowl.

In the same pan saute the mushrooms and ginger until the mushrooms are soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add the cabbage, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Saute for 5 minutes until the cabbage softens slightly. Add the green onions, the eggs strips and the pork. Cook until warmed through. Serve over rice.

* If you aren’t a pork fan, this can be substituted with thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken or turkey.

I got a complaint the other day at work regarding how loud I was eating. I was eating this. I can’t control myself. Help!

Thai Red Curry Shrimp

7 Apr

I live with a man who is obsessed with Thai food. If I made it every day I don’t think he would ever complain. His absolute favourite is any form of coconut milk curry. This dish usually gets me in the good books. An added bonus? There’s very little chopping involved!

Bonus points at home and not much work. I’ll take it!

If  you want to be praised at home, or if you’re a bit down b/c you haven’t had a vacation in months, or it’s raining or snowing when it should be sunny and hot MAKE THIS!

Thai Red Curry Shrimp (adapted from the LCBO Food and Drink)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp red curry paste

1 cup very finely diced red onion

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes

2 tbsp fish sauce

The grated rind of 1 lime

1 tsp sugar (I leave this out – I don’t dig a sweet dinner)

1 lb of shelled shrimp

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (if you’re a cilantro hater just leave it out)

The juice of 1/2 a lime

Pour the coconut milk into a large sauce pan and simmer until it thickens slightly (approximately 10 minutes). Add in the curry paste and stir until incorporated. Simmer until fragrant (approximately 2 minutes). Add the diced red onion and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, lime rind, fish sauce and sugar, let simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and cook until pink throughout (this doesn’t take long at all – watch it, once it turns pink you’re good). Add the basil, cilantro and lime juice. Stir to incorporate.

Serve over top of jasmine rice.

Welcome to Thailand! If you’re looking for a truly authentic experience locate yourself a lady-boy to eat next to you.

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