Category Archives: Vegetables

Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots

on oval plateThere are certain things I am powerless to resist. Cute black jumpsuits (only my daughter knows how many I own, and I’ve sworn her to secrecy), anything coconut on a dessert menu, smelling the head of a newborn baby and rainbow carrots with the tops still on.

Whenever I see them, I buy several bunches. I love them roasted. This is a simple recipe I found in Bon Appetit a few years ago. Harissa, is a spicy North African chile paste. I buy it in a tube, that keeps for quite a while in the fridge. Maple syrup tempers some of Harissa’s heat.What you'll need

Lined up for roastingpouring marinadeready for roastingI think this marinade will also be fantastic with roasted squash or parsnips, and I am excited to try it on grilled zucchini this summer.

Here’s a few other ideas for using up that tube of Harissa. It is spicy, so a little bit goes a long way.

  • Blend a spoonful into meatloaf or burgers
  • Swirl a bit into some mayo for a spicy sweet potato fries dip
  • Mix a dollop into humus for a spicy kick
  • Stir some into your favourite BBQ sauce for grilled or roasted chicken
  • Enhance your tomato sauce for pasta

Click here to print recipe for Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots.

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Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Latkes

plated-1On the 6th night of Chanukah I made Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Latkes. I could never make these on the first night of Chanukah. They would not be well received by my family. On the first night our family insists on traditional latkes. (I think it might actually written in Jewish Law somewhere!!). But feel free to let your freak flag fly and make these unorthodox latkes when Chanukah is almost over and everyone has had their fill of classic potato latkes.6th-nightThese latkes are based on a Japanese savory pancake called Okonomiyaki. I learned about them in the November 2016 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. As I read the recipe I was inspired to adapt it and create latkes using these ingredients.cutting-potatoesready-to-mixThe Brussels sprouts must be thinly sliced. The thin slicing blade of the food processor will do the job quickly. A sharp knife will also work. The sweet potatoes need to be cut into 1/8 inch thin matchstick pieces. A mandoline will do this quickly. If you don’t have one, cut the potatoes to fit the feed tube of the food processor and thinly slice potatoes first. Then stack them up and cut across with a sharp knife into matchsticks.

Eggs and flour act as the glue to hold everything together. mixed-and-ready-to-fryfrying-1Fry until deeply golden brown and crispy. frying-2Serve them with some chipotle mayo and a squeeze of lime or go traditional and top with applesauce. Savory, deeply crispy and very delicious, these latkes are sure to please even the most die-hard traditionalists.two-plates

Click here to print recipe for Sweet-Potato-and-Brussels-Sprouts-Latkes.

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Sweet Potatoes

dinner-for-2At some point over the holidays you know it’s time to rein it in. Eating a sleeve of Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes (insiders tip: they are even better frozen!) with a chaser of prosecco and calling it dinner can’t go on for too many days in a row. I find it’s best to do it before January 1st. Everyone knows that New Years resolutions don’t last.

I’m not talking about a kale and quinoa salad or an almond milk-frozen banana- spinach smoothie level reining it in. That’s hard core and way too severe for late December. I’m just suggesting that you prepare a meal that contains some protein, complex carbs and perhaps something green, and that requires you to actually sit down and use a knife and fork to eat it.

This recipe was inspired by NYT Cooking editor, Sam Sifton. Every Wednesday he writes about cooking without a recipe. On October 12 2016, he suggested roasting chicken thighs with sweet potato fries and jalapeños. I have made it several times, tweaking the procedure and quantities so you don’t have to cook without a recipe!

This sheet-pan chicken dinner is the perfect way to ease you back into a healthy routine. Start with cutting some sweet potatoes into a julienne shoestring fries shape. A glug of olive oil and a judicious sprinkle of Kosher salt and coarse black pepper to coat the fries is all that is required for seasoning.cutting-sweet-potatoesafew-glugs-of-olive-oilSeason some boneless skinless chicken things with more salt and pepper and a light dusting of smoked paprika (mild or hot, your choice). ready-for-roastingRoast for about 40 minutes in a hot (425°F) oven. Squeeze some fresh time juice over the chicken, scatter with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers (pickled jalalpenos are really good too!) and some cilantro and call it dinner. One frozen dark chocolate covered peppermint joe joe is a sensible dessert. It’s too soon to go cold turkey. Save that for January 1st!roasted

Click here to print recipe for Chicken-Thighs-and-Sweet-Potato-Sheet-Pan-Dinner.

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Crunchy Winter Slaw

ginger-crinkle-cookies_17As we enter the festive season of butter and sugar, I thought it would be a good idea to have a new recipe at the ready to provide a healthy counterbalance. This slaw recipe was inspired by an Asian slaw I read about in Milk Street Magazine. This new publication is Christopher Kimball’s first venture since leaving Cook’s Illustrated last year.

I have been a huge fan and supporter of Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated since it’s inception in 1993, so I was curious to check out the premiere issue of Milk Street. The premise behind Milk Street is to bring techniques from the world’s kitchens to America’s weeknight dinner table. Christopher explains that, “There’s no ethnic cooking. It’s a myth. It’s just dinner or lunch served from somewhere else in the world…. Milk Street offers an invitation to the cooks of the world to sit at the same table…All food is everyone’s food.”

This is my take on Milk Street’s “Coleslaw by Way of East Asia.” I loved the combination of cabbage, radishes and sugar snap peas, but I wasn’t fond of the dressing (coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and serrano chili). I preferred an apple cider vinaigrette with honey and grainy mustard.

I settled on a combo of Brussels sprouts, red, green and Napa cabbage, radishes and sugar snap peas for my vegetables. Cilantro and mint were also invited to this fresh party.veggiesI believe that every salad needs an element of crunch. Croutons are good, but nuts are better! I was inspired by a maple spicy nut crunch I read about in the LCBO’s Holiday 2016 issue of Food & Drink.  I’m very excited that the magazine is now available online.

I used a combo of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, sliced almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. nuts-and-seedsThe nuts get coated in a hot bath of maple syrup, brown sugar, paprika, salt and cayenne. coating-nuts-and-seeds20 minutes in the oven crisps up everything beautifully. I added some dried cherries to the cooled nut mixture. The recipe makes more than you will need, but it keeps perfectly for at least a month in an airtight container. It makes a very yummy afternoon snack.crunch-mixtureready-to-mix

Click here to print recipe for Crunchy-Winter-Slaw.

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Pan Fried Butternut Squash and Apple Salad

black-round-serving-platter-2Guys, I have big news! Perhaps not internet breaking caliber news, but still, kind of exciting. Did you know you could make a vinaigrette with melted browned butter instead of oil? Kind of mind blowing, I know!

There are no shortage of butternut squash and apple salad recipes out there. A quick Google search unearthed 613,000 of them! What makes this one special is the dressing. It’s a brown butter and apple cider vinaigrette and it’s bonkers awesome.

Regular readers of this blog know my love for brown butter. I have used it in seven different desserts. But it had never occured to me to use it as the fat in salad dressing. I have to give credit for this genius idea to Toronto chef Haan Palcu Chang.

If you have never had brown butter before, you are in for a treat. It adds a layer of toasty, nutty deliciousness to anything it touches. Making it couldn’t be simpler. Butter is composed of butterfat, milk protein and water. When you brown butter, you are essentially toasting the milk protein. As you heat the butter, and it begins to bubble and sputter away, the water evaporates and the hot butterfat begins to cook the milk solids, turning them from creamy yellow to a splendid speckled brown colour and your whole kitchen smells like toasted hazelnuts.

The squash is thinly sliced and pan fried until is is almost charred. A cast iron skillet is perfect for this, but a non-stick skillet will also do the job.charring-in-cast-iron-panYou can cook the squash ahead of time and warm it in the oven just before assembling the salad. A tart apple like Granny Smith is a wonderful contrast to the sweet squash. Brown the butter just before you are ready to serve the salad. If you make it ahead of time the butter will start to solidify.black-round-serving-platterWhile the vibrant orange hue of butternut squash is gorgeous on its own, adding a crunchy topping of toasted hazelnuts, a verdant shower of mint and green onions and ruby red jewel-like pomegranate seeds turn this salad into a pretty stunning masterpiece.dinner-for-2

Click here to print recipe for Pan-Fried-Butternut-Squash-and-Apple-Salad.

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