Thursday, January 31, 2013

Zaalouk - Smoky Moroccan Eggplant Dip


This is my version of Moroccan Zaalouk, which is an eggplant dish that is often served as a salad or as a dip.  

Ingredients


1 large eggplant
1 large zucchini
3 tomatoes, diced or 1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried chilies 


Directions


Put the Eggplant on a hot charcoal bbq and cook until the skin is blackened.  You can also roast the eggplant in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the bbq.  I like the charcoal bbq, because it gives the eggplant a nice smoky flavour.  This should take about 30-40 minutes on the bbq or in the oven.


While the eggplant is cooking add cumin, coriander, and chilies  to a hot pan.  Toast over medium heat for a minute or two.  Add olive oil and garlic to the pan.  In another minute or two add the zucchini, onion, diced tomatoes and cook over medium heat until veggies have softened.  Remove from heat and set aside..


Once the eggplant is black remove it from the heat source and peel the skin off while it is still hot.



Dispose of the skin and add the eggplant to the tomato mixture and add lemon juice and cilantro.  

Using a hand blender lightly blend the mixture.  Put into a serving bowl and top with cilantro.

Serve warm with pita or on top of romaine lettuce as a salad.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Falafel


Ingredients


1 1/2 cup chick peas, presoaked
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup flour
3-4 cups of vegetable oil (depending on the size of pot you use to fry)

Add all ingredients into a food processor.  Blend until mixed.


Use a falafel shaper to form small discs.  If you do not have a falafel shaper an ice cream scoop would do the trick.


Heat vegetable oil in a small pot on high heat.  Temperature of the oil should be at 350 degree Fahrenheit.  If it is too low the falafel will absorb too much oil and will taste greasy.  

Deep fry each of the falafel balls until golden brown.
   

Can be served with hummus as an appetizer or you can stuff into a pita with tabouli, hummus, diced tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and hot sauce for a meal.


Enjoy!


 


Tabouli


Ingredients


1 cup of bulgar
1 large bunch of parsley, washed and finely chopped
1 cucumber, diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Soak 1 cup of bulgar in 2 cups of water for one hour or until all water is dissolved.

In a bowl  add all the ingredients. Serve.

You can include a couple of diced tomatoes if you wish.  I did not since this was for a falafel and I was serving diced tomatoes on the side.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homemade Pita Bread



I had never made pita before, so this was very exciting.  The fresh pita was fabulous.  It will be hard to go back to store bought after this. 

Ingredients


4 cups white flour
2 cups semolina flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon yeast
2 cups water

Directions


Activate the yeast by mixing it with 1/4 cup of warm water (100 degrees F or 38 degrees C) and a teaspoon of sugar.  Set aside until it's frothy, about 10 minutes.

Blend the flours, remaining sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the yeast, oil and the water to form a dough.  The dough should be soft, but not sticky.  

Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface or with a mixer with a dough hook, for about 10 minutes.  The dough will be smooth and elastic.


Divide the dough into smooth balls.  You should be able to make 12 small size pita from this recipe.  Place the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, cover, and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.  


Roll out each dough ball into a thin circle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Set the rolled dough on a clean, dry towel and cover.  Leave to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Preheat a very lightly oil cast iron skillet over medium heat.  You can use a griddle or other non-stick pan if you do not have cast iron.  


Cook the pita, turning serveral times, until golden brown on both sides.  The browning will be uneven.  As it cooks the dough will puff up, which is how it becomes a pocket.


Recipe from:

http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/breadandrice/r/Batbout_recipe.htm



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hummus



Ingredients


1 1/2 cups chick peas
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions


In a bowl soak chick peas over night.  Rince and transfer to a pot or rice cooker and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender.

Put chick peas in a blender with tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.  Blend.  Put into a serving dish.  Can be used as a dip for pita, crackers or veggies or as a filling for falafel.





Monday, January 21, 2013

Moroccan Sweet Potatoes with Ginger

Ingredients


1 large sweet potato, diced
1" fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
cayenne pepper to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste


Directions


In a saucepan place diced sweet potato.  Fill with water until just below the tops of the sweet potato cubes.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer.

Add ginger, honey, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, cayenne and pepper.  Allow to reduce, about 10 minutes.

Moroccan Style Pork Chops

Ingredients

pork chops
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds,
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Directions


With a mortar and pestle crush cinnamon, cumin and coriander.  Add white wine vinegar to make a paste.

Rub pork chops with spice paste and grill until desired doneness is achieved.




Serve with Moroccan Sweet Potatoes with Ginger, grilled zucchini, pineapple and mushrooms.

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli



This is one of my favourite meals.  I love the warm noodles, chicken and sauce with the cold veggies.  This is a flavourful meal that you can feel good about eating.

Ingredients



1/2 package of vermicelli noodles, cooked and drained
2 Vietnamese grilled chicken breasts (recipe follows), sliced on an angle
1 carrot, finely grated
1/4 cucumber, sliced julienne
1/8 of a cabbage, sliced
1 cup of lettuce, sliced
1 1/2 cups of bean sprouts
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup peanuts, lightly crushed or chopped
optional - fresh cilantro and/or mint
Bun sauce (recipe follows)
lime wedges
sriracha sauce to taste

Directions


On a plate place a portion of cooked vermicelli.

Add all vegetables on top of vermicelli.  Top with sliced chicken, peanuts and cilantro and/or mint.

Pour 1/4 cup of the warm bun sauce on top of each plate.



Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Breasts

Ingredients


2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup minced lemongrass
2 tablespoons cilantro
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup tablespoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
lots of fresh ground pepper
optional - 1 hot red chili, finely sliced

Directions


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  Add chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours.
Grill chicken breasts.

Lemongrass 

Minced Lemongrass


Bun Sauce / Nuoc Cham

Ingredients


3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons carrot, finely grated
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 red chili, sliced (optional)

Directions


In a small pot simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs in a Pita with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce


In an attempt to come up with fun, yet healthy, recipes I came up with this one.  I am looking for more ways to add green veggies into my cooking, but at the same time I want something tasty!   I had a couple zucchinis in the fridge, so I thought I'd throw one in and see how it worked.  I was very happy with the outcome, it added a great texture.  I love cumin and use it in so many dishes, it adds great flavour to everything.  Now, if you wanted to make this healthier I would skip the pan frying and put the meatballs in the oven.  I like the crunch that comes with pan frying though, so I was willing to sacrifice a few extra calories. 

Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs


Ingredients


1lb. ground turkey
1/4 of a large red onion
1/4 cup parsley
2 pieces of organic spelt bread (or any other variety you may have)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup hot water
2 garlic cloves
1 small zuccini
1 egg
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or vegetable oil of your choice)

Directions


In a small bowl put milk and hot water.  Place 2 pieces of bread in the milk mixture to soak.  Set aside.


In a larger bowl put ground turkey, egg, cumin, salt and pepper and set aside.  

Pour out the excess milk mixture and squeeze the bread until most of the liquid is removed.  Crumble bread and add to the turkey mixture.


In a food processor chop red onion, parsley, garlic and zucchini.  Put into the bowl with the turkey mixture.



Mix together with your hands.  Form turkey into 1.5-2" round meatballs.  It should give you approximately 12-14 meatballs.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Add sunflower oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium high.  Once oil begins to smoke add the meatballs.  Brown on two sides and then place on a baking sheet or casserole dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.



While the meatballs are baking prepare Yogurt Cucumber Sauce.


Yogurt Cucumber Sauce


Ingredients


1/2 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1" of a cucumber
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Take cucumber, garlic and parsley and chop in food processor (or finely chop).

Mix yogurt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice.  

Add cucumber mix to the yogurt mix and add salt and pepper. 

Pitas

Pita's cut in half

Toppings:

Cabbage, sliced
Lettuce, choppped
Cucumber, chopped
Lemon wedges


Add toppings into pita, add meatballs, top with yogurt cucumber sauce and a squeeze of lemon.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Food Trends to Watch for in 2013

What we eat and how we eat is becoming more of a priority.  2013 promises to be the year of the conscious consumer.  People want to know where their food is coming from, how it is being handled and what is in it.   This year we will see catch phrases such as local, free range, farm to fork, organic and sustainable become more popular on menus and on the labels of your groceries.  These trends are evolving into mainstream pop culture and it appears that the grassroots movement is here to stay! 

Not only are consumers becoming more educated about where their food is coming from, they are becoming more health conscious as well.  This year we will see loads of green leafy vegetables, such as kale, dandelion leaves, swiss chard and any other kind of green leafy vegetables.  These green vegetables are full of nutrients and antioxidants, so load up!  We'll see them in salads, as sides and even as mains. I suspect we'll also see more of the green smoothie that will incorporate as many of these greens as possible.  Quinoa and whole grains will not loose their momentum, but we'll see other grains such as Teff, Freekeh and Farro pop up on menus and in your local supermarket.  It was also predicted by CRFA's Diane Chaisson on December 4, 2012 in her article Eight Food Trends to Watch for in 2013 that Asian flavours, such as Vietnamese, and Japanese noodles will grow in popularity.  Although, I tend to disagree with this one.  Asian flavours have been around and I feel that it's time for something new.  I am hoping to see a wave of flavours from Ethiopian and Jerusalem this year.   These cuisines offer healthy flavourful options that fit with the other trends Chaisson outlined for 2013.   She's also predicted we'll see animal skin on menus this year. This fits in with the whole animal movement we've been hearing more about.  I'm just not so certain this particular trend will take off for the home cook.

With all of this healthy and ethical eating we will still want to induldge from time to time.  What will the trend be this year?  Well, say good-bye to cupcakes and hello to donuts!  Not just regular donut shop type donuts, but gourmet dounuts, we'll see all types of flavours and styles of donuts.  I've even heard of donuts being used as burger buns.  Another trend that is forcasted for the US this year is popcorn.  Popcorn without the butter and salt is actually healthy.  FoxNews.com anticipates popcorn will be seen in salads, dessert, tacos and even ice cream.  Again I am not sold on this one, but time will tell. 

Other trends I foresee for this year are vegetarian or meat free meals being incorporated into the weekly menu.  Maybe taking on "Meatless Mondays" as part of your routine or just opting for a meal without meat from time to time.  My husband and I often give up meat for the month of February, and since we are typically meat eaters this gets us creative in the kitchen.  Legumes may just take a bigger role in the average diet by replacing meat in the meat free meal or just replacing the good ol' rice and potatoes.

Loose leaf tea will also become more popular for 2013.  It has a much smaller eco footprint than tea bags and it also offers the health attributes of hydration as well as the leaves, seeds, roots or bark that are used in that variety.  It is a fun way to hydrate, be social and experience some aroma therapy all at the same time.

With the popularity of the grassroots movement more and more people are going back to the basics.  They are making food from scratch.  That said I foresee DIY and scratch cooking as a trend for this year.   We'll see more canning and fermenting, making your own bread, sauces, tortillas, ice cream, peanut butter, and so much more.   Time to eat up those store bought potato chips and try to make them yourself!

There are lots of exciting and healthy trends to look for this year.  The bottom line is healthy and earth friendly foods are the way of the future.

References:

Chaisson, Diane. (December 4, 2012).  Eight Food Trends to Watch for in 2013. Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice Association (http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/foodtrends2013.aspx)


FoxNews.com. (January 2, 2013) Food Trends for 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/01/02/emering-food-trends-for-2013/)



Spicy Roasted Broccoli with Coconut Oil


Looking for some new ideas to spice up the plain old steamed broccoli? 

Ingredients


1 large bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh chili pepper, thinly sliced and seeds in
1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl put the broccoli florets and add all other ingredients.  Toss broccoli, so they are coated evenly.



Place broccoli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Green Smoothie


A green smoothie is a great way to add a tremendous amount of greens and nutrients to your diet.  Most of us are always on the go and this doesn't take much more than 3 or 4 minutes to prepare!  We have recently started making these almost daily.  I keep the greens washed and in a ziploc bag in the fridge, so when I want to blend one up it only takes a minute.

Ingredients


handful kale
handful dandelion greens
1 banana
1 pear, pealed, cored and sliced
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup water (you can add more to desired thickness)

Directions


In a blender add all ingredients.  Blend until desired consistency has been reached.





Raspberry Frozen Yogurt


If you love frozen desserts like I do then this is a great recipe for you.  I like that I can control the amount of sugar when preparing frozen yogurt or icecream at home.  Homemade is almost always the better way to go.

If you don't already have an ice cream maker you can pick one up for about $50-100, depending on the make and model.  You can also get an attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Which ever way you go this is a great piece of equipment to add to your kitchen. 

Ingredients


3/4 cup organic whole milk
1/3 cup organic sugar
4 cups organic low fat vanilla yogurt
18 oz. frozen organic raspberries, thawed and pureed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions


Put ice cream maker bowl into the freezer and allow to freeze completely. 

In a mixing bowl add milk and sugar.  With a hand mixer mix on low until sugar is dissolved.



Measure raspberries and use a hand blender to lightly puree.



Stir in yogurt, raspberries and vanilla.




Pour into the frozen ice cream maker bowl and turn the machine on.



You'll see it begin to thicken.





Allow to mix for 20-25 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.

Pack frozen yogurt in an airtight container and keep in the freezer.