Secrets of the Freezer

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It’s the time of year when you really feel the urge to de-clutter…lots of household “sprucing up” projects. And then one day you look in the freezer.

So many things have accumulated over the winter. One of them, a bag of roasted beets, another, the remains of a package of phyllo. A few mushrooms, a bit of goat cheese, and voilà! Beet Wellingtons.

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Vegetarian Delight

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In preparation of the coming onslaught of hot cross buns and bunny cake, we’ve been sticking to the straight and narrow, diet-wise. Fortunately this isn’t much of a sacrifice when we have great recipes like Kozlik’s delicious mustard chickpeas.

We made a few substitutions but it’s easy to do that with their versatile recipe. A little avocado in orange juice is a nice sidebar.

Get Grilling!

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Despite the recent cold snap, grilling season is ramping up once again. This weekend we picked up these delicious chops from Rowe Farms, as well as a mixed bag of organic veg.

To cook veg in a packet is foolproof! Take two layers of foil, and put sliced veg of almost any variety (we had carrots, spinach, radish, onion, sweet potato…). Toss with a little olive oil and herbs of your choice. Wrap it up tightly and put it on the grill while it’s heating. Continue to cook, turning occasionally, until chops, steaks, or burgers are done.

Change of Seasons Chicken

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Yesterday we had a typical Canadian spring shock to the system. After days of gloriously mild weather, it turned very chilly, gray, and windy. Since we spent the day running around (Alliance Française for French class, some lunch, then the Canada Blooms show, then errands…whew!) we wanted a warming sort of dinner.

We made this easy chicken and pasta dish, which serves 3 (leftovers for Sunday lunch, with a salad).

Cook 100g (3.5 oz) whole wheat spaghettini.

Meanwhile, in 10ml (2 t) olive oil, sauté a leek that has been sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts only) until it starts to become translucent. Add 125 ml chopped cauliflower (1/2 c) and two spears of asparagus, sliced into bite-size lengths. Put a lid on this and give it a couple of minutes to release a bit of liquid. Then stir in a diced tomato, 30ml (2T) pesto, and 60ml or 1/4 c of pasta water. Lid, turn down the heat, and let it simmer til the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and mix into the veg. Put the lid back on and let the whole thing sit on very low heat for 3 or 4 minutes for the flavour to develop.

Enjoy!

Salade de…Boeuf?!?

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When we had a houseful of teenagers, “leftover roast beef” was an oxymoron. But our home is emptier now, and our eating habits have changed as well. Today at lunch we needed to use some roast beef. But not too much. Also on hand: a couple of roasted beets, some arugula, and the last ounce of Shropshire Blue from our New Year’s party. We sliced the beets on a bed of arugula, then the beef. Next, a vinaigrette using a tablespoon of grainy mustard (ours was Kozlik’s), a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, and the zest and juice of half an orange. A grating of the cheese and we split about a tablespoon of pecans over the two plates for extra crunch.

It's the Great Pumpernickel

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This weekend I tried pumpernickel from Jean Paré’s classic cookbook, “Breads”.

It turned out so well I kept looking for excuses to eat it. So lunch had to be a sandwich! Albacore tuna mixed with tomato, dill, grainy mustard and light mayo made the filling tasty enough to hold up to the robust flavour of the bread. And with the whole grain rye flour, the loaf has enough fibre to enjoy without regrets.

Veggies Bursting with Colour

20111214-202416.jpg. Don’t you love a meal that looks fussy, but isn’t? Tonight we made Beet Wellingtons (check our recipe page!) and a tasty salad with hothouse greens, tomatoes and mushrooms.

For the dressing, we used some of the red pepper and rosemary pesto we made in the summer, thinned with some wine vinegar.

Tasty, fast and packed with colours. Mmm.

Fast Fennel Chicken

Healthy food! It’s all around us, but with so many tempting treats beginning to make an appearance, being able to cook up a fast feast of healthy food is essential. Today we made a veggie-packed pasta dish.

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We started by putting 2 ounces or 60 grams per person of whole wheat pasta on to cook. In the meantime, we diced four skinless, boneless chicken thighs into a sauté pan with some olive oil. As the cooked, we finely diced and added a shallot and a clove of garlic. Next came a carrot, peeled and diced fine, and 1/4 head of fennel, finely diced. While it was cooking over low heat,we ground up about a teaspoon/5 ml of fennel seed, and zested a lemon. we juiced the lemon into a small bowl and got rid of any seeds.

When the pasta was al dente, we drained and tipped into the sauté pan with the lemon juice, zest, fennel seed, a small amount of pasta water if needed, and a couple of tablespoons (10 ml) of light whipped cream cheese. We left it in the pan, covered but off the heat, for about 3 minutes for the flavours to come together, and ate it up. The cooking took less than half an hour, including boiling the water…leaving more time to watch Christmas specials and make some presents.