Category Archives: Vegetables

Falafel Spiced Roasted Tomatoes and Salmon

Shortly after telling my husband I was working on a recipe for Falafel Spiced Tomatoes and Salmon, I served him the above dish. He poked around the plate and looked at me with a sad face. “Where are the falafels?” he asked. I explained that “falafel spiced” was a qualifying adjective for the roasted tomatoes. There are no actual falafels in this recipe. The tomatoes are roasted in the same spices that are used in the making of falafels. He was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to name the correct part of speech.

This recipe is inspired by a Joshua McFadden recipe for Falafel Spiced Tomatoes and Chickpeas on Flatbread, that I bookmarked in August of 2015 and have been meaning to make for the past 3 Septembers when heirloom tomatoes are at their most glorious. Given that we are smack in the middle of January, I decided to use rainbow grape tomatoes and just roast them with the falafel spices (garlic, sumac, ground cumin and corriander and red pepper flakes).

I started the salmon fillets, skin side down in a hot pan with melted butter, to get the skin really crispy. Baste the flesh with the melted butter once or twice, then transfer pan to hot oven to finish cooking.
The tomatoes are so flavourful, that I kept the seasoning on the salmon simple, just salt and pepper. Something green on the plate will make you feel virtuous! I went with sauteed green beans and some toasted salted almonds. Some chopped mint, parsley and cilantro, if you like it, are also welcome.

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Shaved Cauliflower Salad

4 plates of saladAnybody else out there taking a break from cookies this week? Yeah, I thought so. We are too. Personally, I don’t like to use the “D” word (diet). I just prefer to take a break from certain foods for a while if my eating habits have been unbalanced. December has a way of unbalancing us.  I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions but this year I have promised myself to begin each day facing the bathroom mirror, flexing my arms and uttering the affirmation, “Damn, look at those chiseled arms!” 

This salad is sure to bring some balance back into your life. It is extremely flavourful and satisfying. The dressing is an umami bomb, containing both nutritional yeast and Parmesan. Nutritional yeast is not just for vegans. It adds a cheesy, nutty, savory flavour that can give any dish a zesty boost.

Now is the time to splurge on the green or orange cauliflower and those pretty artisan lettuces you see at the grocery store.cauliflower and lettuces-2I bought a 4 pack of Artisanal lettuces. The box contained sweet, crisp green little gem lettuce (the one that looks like mini romaine), mild and nutty red oak leaf lettuce and a zesty red tango lettuce. Arugula and some romaine hearts would be a fine substitute if that’s all you can find.

Whisk together some lime zest, lime juice, honey, dijon, nutritional yeast, parmesan and olive oil. dressing 2Cut your cauliflower into quarters, remove the hard core and thinly shave it. Use a mandoline or just a sharp knife and use this as a chance to work on your knife skills. I love my little knife sharpener. It’s so easy to use. slicing cauliflower

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Click here to print recipe for Shaved Cauliflower Salad.

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Roasted Squash Wedges with Pomegranate, Chermoula and Tahini

3 platesPeople tell my husband all the time how lucky he is. They imagine that being married to a food blogger is heaven, with something fresh and exciting for dinner every night. I’m here to dispell that image. I like to shoot in natural light. The optimal time for shooting in my kitchen is between 11 am -2 pm. By dinnertime, the food is cold and has been manhandled so much, nobody would want to eat it.

Often he will arrive home to a kitchen that looks like a tornado went through it. When I’m shooting, I try out different plates, bowls, and assorted props to get the right look. Those dishes pile up on the counter and in the sink. He generously and uncomplainingly washes those dishes. Curiously, he is opposed to drying dishes. He just likes to pile them up to let them air dry. But I’m not criticizing.

On days when I’m not shooting a new post, I’m just like you. I have a small repertoire of meals that I make on a weekly basis. Roasted squash is one of those items in the rotation. I either cut it into french fries or round circles. I always use butternut squash. I’m in a squash rut.

On a visit to the market last week, I was inspired to up my squash game and try some different varieties. Assorted Squash The jade green ones with the light green stripes are Kabocha squash. They are a Japanese squash that is fairly new to North America. Kabocha squash has a delicate honeyed sweetness and a smooth, almost fiberless texture. No need to peel this baby as the skin is very thin and roasts up crispy and delicious.

The deep orange ones, that look like they are topped with a Turk’s turban are aptly named Turban Squash. They have so much personality. The taste is quite mild and the texture is floury, making it perfect for soups. Mostly it’s used as a decorative squash because it’s just so cute.

The smaller orange and yellow squash are known as Sweet Dumplings. Diminutive in size but mighty in flavour, these little guys are sweet and delicious. Bonus points because the skin is edible and you don’t have to peel them. I sliced a Kobacha and a Sweet Dumpling into wedges and removed the seeds.cutting turban squashThe October issue of delicious magazine was the source for this gorgeous dish. I adapted it slightly. spices

ready for roasting Once roasted the dish is garnished with toasted salted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. I added some salty ricotta salata cheese, but feta or goat cheese would also be great.Pomegranate There are two sauces to drizzle on top. The first is a chermoula sauce, a spicy herb sauce often used in Moroccan cuisine.The second sauce is a tahini-based mixture. While you could certainly serve this without the sauces, they really elevate the dish to something special.

Click here to print recipe for Roasted Squash Wedges with Pomegranate, Chermoula, and Tahini.

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Smoked Paprika Roasted Squash

2 platters 1We’re all familiar with the concept that small changes can add up to big differences. The internet abounds with lists that I seem powerless to resist clicking on. You know the ones I mean; 7 Small Changes That Will Make a Big Difference in Your Life, 10 Small Changes Which Make a Big Difference11 Small Lifestyle Changes That Can Make A Big Difference In Your Health & Happiness.

Last week I made a small change of my own, which, by the way, I have yet to see on any of these lists. We eat butternut squash at least once a week in our house. I always prepare it the same way. I cut it into sticks like french fries, drizzle on olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and  roast it at 400°F for 45 minutes.

As I peeled the squash a crazy thought flitted through my brain. What if I changed the way I usually cut the squash?  Wild, I know! I went rogue and cut thin circles.slicing squashThose lists always advise you to take it slow and not to make too many changes at once, so I kept it consistent and mixed the squash with my usual combo of olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Smoked paprika, if you’ve never used it, is fantastic. I won’t go so far as to say it’s life changing, but it is pretty damn amazing. It makes everything taste better. I put that shit on everything.salt pepper and paprikamixing bowl and baking sheet2 baking sheetsI was actually surprised at how different the squash turned out from when I cut it into fries. The slices baked up more tender on the inside and crisper on the exterior. My squash fries never got golden brown like this. They were either limp and pale after 45 minutes or if I left them in longer, they burned. These circles were consistently golden brown with an outstanding texture.dipping in chipotle mayoI’m not a scientist, but I think the reason for this difference is that the amount of surface area that was exposed to the heat of the oven was greater when the squash was cut into circles, vs. the fry shape, so the squash had better chance to release all its moisture before crisping up.

If you’re serving this to company, scatter a few pomegranate seeds on top and whip up a dip. Mix one small chipotle chile in adobo sauce (seeded and chopped fine) into 1/2 a cup of regular or light mayo. (Don’t use fat free).

Here’s a tip for what to do with the remainder of the chiles in the can. Take a few minutes to seed them all. Puree the seeded chiles in the food processor and then spread the paste out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put it in the freezer until firm and then break it up into large pieces and store in a ziploc bag in the freezer. It will keep for months. Just break a small piece off whenever you need it. It defrosts very quickly. it’s great on chicken, fish and in rice.platter on white table

Click here to print recipe for Smoked Paprika Roasted Squash.

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Zucchini with Corn and Ricotta Pasta

serving pastaZucchini and I have a complicated relationship. She and her sister, summer squash and her cousin, the adorable pattypan squash, lure me with their shiny skin and vibrant colours. I bring them home from the farmers market, bathe them in olive oil, honey, salt and chile flakes and grill them for a few minutes. Sadly, I am always disappointed by their bland flavour and watery texture. yellow and green zucchinipattypan squash Then I saw a recipe in the June issue of Bon Appetit for Summer Squash and Basil Pasta and I was convinced to give zucchini another chance. Apparently, if you sauté the heck out of the zucchini, for over 15 minutes, it becomes jammy and saucy. That’s when the flavour transformation happens. All the water evaporates out of the zucchini and the flavour becomes concentrated and delicious.

This is my take on the Bon Appetit recipe. I have adapted it slightly.

Slice up lots of garlic and start frying it gently in some olive oil. The original recipe leaves the sliced garlic in the final dish. I don’t love crunching down on big bits of garlic so after the garlic is lightly golden brown and has imparted its gorgeous perfume to the oil, scoop out the sliced garlic and discard it. slicing garlicsauteeing garlicZucchini needs salt. Lots of salt. Don’t be afraid. adding saltOnce the zucchini has wilted down, add some raw corn and keep cooking until the zucchini deepens in colour and gets all jammy. Don’t forget some spicy heat. I used red pepper flakes.zucchini cooked down to jammy consisitencyI finished the dish with some grated Parmesan, fresh mint, basil and a big dollop of ricotta cheese. If you happen to have any homemade ricotta hanging out in the fridge, even better. big bowl of pasta

Click here to print recipe for Zucchini and Corn Pasta with Ricotta.with a scoop of ricotta