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Stir-fried Bok Choy

17 Nov

During my walk to work today a bird pooped on my head. True story. Then i got told over and over again how it’s good luck. There is nothing good luckish about this. All it meant was that I had to stand in the bathroom picking poop out of my hair at 7:30am. My day then went on as normal with no lottery wins or out of the ordinary events. fml.

Today is brought to you by simple side-dishes. In keeping with the simple theme this is going to be short (minus the rant above).

This is a great side when you need some greens. Goes well with pretty much any dish, but it really compliments any main dish with Asian flavours.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 cups bok choy (you can use any size bok choy you want)

1 garlic clove pressed with a garlic press

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free dish)

1 tbsp oyster sauce (if you’re vegetarian or vegan leave this out)

Heat a large fry pan, preferably a wok, to medium high heat. Add a splash of oil and the boy choy. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce, saute for one more minute. Serve.

I’m pretty sure it’s more fun if you eat it with chopsticks.

Smashed Sweet Potato with Feta and Cilantro

12 Sep

I’m starting to think if you’re not a cilantro fan this blog isn’t very kind to you. Oops!  I’ll try to post some recipes that aren’t as heavy on it. This on could easily do without it. You could add parsley instead or just leave it out all together.

A lot of the time speed and simpleness outweighs creativity when it comes to side dishes when I’m at the helm. We eat a ton of sweet potato, but usually in the form of oven fries or just plain mashed. I know, yawn.

Smashed Sweet Potato with Feta and Cilantro (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, quartered

1 yellow potato, quartered

1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup water

2 ounces feta cheese

1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely diced (or you could always use chili flakes if you don’t have a fresh chili)

1/3 cup of fresh cilantro

In a pot place the sweet and yellow potato and 1/2 a lemon. Make sure they all fit nice and snug. Put 1/4 cup of water in the bottom.

Place a lid on the pot, bring the water to a boil – this will take 2 secs, it’s only 1/4 cup of water. Then turn to medium high heat and steam the potatoes for about 15 minutes until completely cooked through. (You can also do this in the microwave. Just use a microwave safe dish with a tightly fitting lid and microwave on high for 15 minutes).

Get out a large cutting board (I use this cutting board to chop the chili and then just leave the chopped chili right on the board). put your cilantro on top of the diced chili and run your knife through it a few times so it’s roughly chopped. Place the feta on top and do the same to the feta.

Toss the lemon and drain any excess liquid from the pot. mash the potato very roughly with a fork. Turn the potatoes onto the cutting board on top of the other ingredients and chop and mix. This is very rough, no need to have smoothly mash potato. Just chop to mix in the cilantro, feta and chili.

Serve right off the cutting board.

How’s that for a spicy Monday?

Linda’s Mango-Cilantro Salad Dressing

22 Aug

Let’s talk family. I’ve got a big one. 5 younger siblings. I know, huge in modern-day standards right? As we are all getting older our family is getting larger.  The great thing is, just when you thought you’re fantastically large family couldn’t get any better one of your siblings brings in a new family member (I’m talking significant others here). This is where Linda comes in. He is my sister’s boyfriend. Ya, his name isn’t actually Linda. It’s Linn. But Linda has such a nicer ring to it doesn’t it?

Linda recently moved back out east (he hails from there). And on Friday my sister moved there too….sad. The good news is Linda still sends me recipes….and the even better news, the recipes are delicious (he has actually only sent me one – this one – Linda, get on it!).

This is fresh and the mango dressing is a really great alternative to the vinegar, oil and dijon salad dressing that I usually turn to!

Linda’s Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 box of mixed greens

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 shallots, sliced

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 a red pepper, sliced

1/2 a green pepper, sliced

Feta for garnish

Mango-Cilantro Salad Dressing:

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup honey

zest and juice of 1 lemon

zest and juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

In a large bowl combine all the salad ingredients.

Linda’s exact wording for how to make the dressing: “throw all those dressing into a food processor and watch the mess turn into deliciousness.” He also very correctly informed me that this dressing made enough to feed a small army (however, I did discover it keeps beautifully in the fridge).

Dress and toss the salad. Sprinkle a little bit of feta over top and enjoy!

Linda says and I quote…..”as we say in the east coast, it’s “off the chainz””

Fiddleheads with Edamame and Feta

14 Jun

Before fiddlehead season is over it is imparitive that you all know about this recipe. I LOVE fiddleheads. I usually just steam them and eat them straight up. I guess Mark was getting a bit sick of this. When we got the newest Food & Drink from the LCBO he pointed out this recipe and insisted I make it.

This really adds to fiddleheads. Since we tried it the first time I can’t stop!

As I am writing this Vancouver is down 4 – 0. Lame. I was hoping for a more exciting evening. Thank god I still have you fiddleheads!

If you’re a fiddlehead lover – or dare I say it, a fiddlehead virgin, try this recipe! It’ll hook you.

Fiddleheads with Edamame and Feta (from LCBO Food & Drink, early summer 2011)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 oz (250 g) fresh fiddleheads

2 1/2 cups of shelled edamame

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Steam the fiddleheads until fork tender (3 to 5 minutes). Allow to cool. I buy frozen shelled edamame so I steam them according to the package directions – I suggest you go this route as well (big hint – it’s the EASIEST!). Allow to cool.

In a large bowl toss the fiddleheads and edamame with lemon juice, olive oil and feta.

We are eating this on a bi-weekly basis. Not taking advantage of fiddlehead season would be a crime!

I think I am personally eating the majority of the baby ferns in Ontario. When I put it that way it doesn’t sound so great…..something about eating and baby in the same sentence. This isn’t the same as veal. Go for it!

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.

Grilled Salmon Salad

7 Jun

Now that it’s finally starting to look and feel like summer outside I have taken up the wonderful habit of eating dinner in the back garden. Winter is such a distant memory. Bring on the BBQing!

This recipe is perfect for left over grilled salmon. It is also perfect for when you buy salmon for the BBQ but have no clever ideas of what to do with it. (this may have been me this week). I toyed with the idea of marinating it, then I remembered this amazing recipe!

The raspberry vinegar makes all the difference! And the celery and onion give you a nice crunch. It’s a great mixture of flavours while being nice, light and simple.

Grilled Salmon Salad (from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook )

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs of salmon filet (no skin, no bones)

1 cup of celery, finely diced

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp capers

2 tbsp raspberry vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp freshly chopped dill

ground black pepper

Coat your salmon in some olive oil and black pepper. Grill on the BBQ for a few minutes a side until cooked through. Let cool.

combine the celery, onion and capers in a bowl. Break the salmon by hand into bite-sized pieces (salmon flakes very easily) and add to the bowl.

Add the raspberry vinegar, olive oil and dill and toss to combine.

That Ina Garten really is clever. I love her and I love her recipes. This one does not disappoint!

We eat this for dinner in the summer time with a few other salads on the side. A great idea for this meal is if you have guests at the cottage, grill some extra salmon when doing your dinner grilling and then make this fantastic salmon salad for lunch the next day.

Happy Summer!

California Salad

2 Jun

I made up the name for this salad. Every time I am in a restaurant and there is a salad with strawberries and goats cheese it is called California salad. I’m trying to be fancy. I didn’t want to call this spinach salad with goats cheese. Bear with me. I promise I will lead you astray!

Normally I am not a huge fan of fruit in my food. Or fruit in general, but that’s probably a discussion for another day. I digress. There was a bit of a grocery shopping crisis at our house a few weeks back and all the fridge contained was strawberries, a box of baby spinach and some left over goats cheese. I think you see where I am headed…..

Since that fateful day I have been making this regularly. Funny b/c this is something I would typically completely avoid. Likely it’s the 7 years straight of rain we’ve had (this may be a slight exaggeration, I’m not sure). I’m craving summery food. CALIFORNIA food (I’ve never been to California…..see, I’m leading you astray already…)

California Salad

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 box baby spinach

6 strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup goats cheese

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or toasted sliced almonds (whichever you prefer – if neither you could always use pecans, or any nut you like)

1 shallot, finely sliced

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

Combine the dressing in a cup or glass measuring cup and whisk together.

Combine all the other ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing.

Buying salad dressing is really a huge waste of money and it’s full of garbage. It takes 2 seconds to make your own – give it a go, you’ll never go back!

On this no-grocery day I picked up a rotisserie chicken at the end of the street, whipped up some oven sweet potato fries (don’t you love how long sweet potatoes can sit on your counter and not go bad), paired it with this salad in and we had a fantastic dinner! Who knew?

Crack a bottle from a California vineyard and pretend. Fake it till ya make it! California will come eventually….

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