Monthly Archives: August 2013

Super Simple Solo Salad – Cranberry Cashew & Kale

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Have you ever had one of those days where you’re just sitting in a moment, questioning where the day has gone? You feel simultaneously worthless and full of splendor. As if you’ve accomplished nothing and everything in this day. It’s peculiar that’s for sure… so in this anomaly of a moment I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and set out to make myself a filling salad. Only having to feed myself is a feat. I struggle with the serving size of a recipe and I too often make either one HUMONGOUS meal or two smaller meals… it’s frustrating to say the least. 

However, for the first time I made myself a wonderful little one serving salad that was quick to make and the perfect size. The cool thing about this recipe, some may say that this is common knowledge, is that you can adapt it to whatever you have in the fridge. Seriously, any kind of vegetables will work! It’s just a matter of throwing it together and shoveling it in your face.

I questioned myself in wanting to post this, but I think it gives a good base for salad making. I go by these simple rules:

  • 90% veggies (with a big leafy green base)/10% fruit
  • top with nuts, seeds or grains (dried fruit is common too)
  • make a dressing that has and oil base (olive oil is my go to), an acidic taste (lemon juice or any type of vinegar) and a sweet taste (agave nectar, maple syrup, honey)
  • Finish with a wee bit of salt and pepper

Salads are the best and easy and fun and nourishing. However, I’ll finish my ramble and let you get on to your own salad creations!!

SOLO SALAD – Cranberry Cashew & Kale (serves 1)

  • 1 medium handful baby kale, or spinach (or greenery of choice)
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1 cremini mushroom, chopped
  • 1/4 of a medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/4 of a pink lady apple
  • 10 parsley leaves
  • 10 cashews, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • agave nectar

Method:

Mix the greenery, radished, mushroom, zucchini, apple, and parsley in a small bowl. Top with the dried cranberries, cashews, a pinch of each salt and pepper and a drizzle of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and agave nectar. 

If you wish, you can mix the salad again to evenly incorporate everything.

 

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Delectable Pistachio Granola Bars

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Oh sweet baby!

Firstly, I deeply apologize for being absence! My computer is being a butt and the mouse works periodically and school is in full swing and I injured my back and I’m just FULL of excuses so let’s get on with the food. 

Secondly, I made these positively decadent granola bars. I just… don’t even know where to begin. The tart dried cranberries and lemon zest combines with the coconut and dates is nearly too much to handle. They are comfortably filling, have an awesome flavour AND have healthy ingredients! 

The one thing I found with these bars is that they are kind of… I want to say gooey but that’s not the appropriate word. And neither is soft. They just kind of, ever so slightly fall apart. I’m not sure if I need to make a second “egg” or if I need more oats or more coconut oil or WHAT. Maybe I just should have baked them a wee bit longer. Regardless they are still phenomenal. 

One other comment I have on them is that cutting them into 16 was wise of me (in my personal taste-bud opinion). Simple because eating a whole bar of this was a bit of a flavour overload. Of course GOOD flavours, but the smaller portions made me appreciate them even more. Everything in moderation or something… 

Next time I make these, I’d like to top them with melted dark chocolate and/or cocoa nibs once they have come out of the oven. Speaking of next time, an idea I have for a flavour of granola bar is tahini, banana and cinnamon. Does that sound revolting or intriguing or delicious? I shall find out soon enough.

Recipe inspired from atastylovestory.com

DELECTABLE PISTACHIO GRANOLA BARS (Makes 16 squares or 8 hearty bars)

  • 1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon ground flax+3 tablespoons water)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 6 soft Medjool dates
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped (1/4 cup reserved to top)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • zest of one lemon (preferably an organic lemon!!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • pinch of salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a square pan with parchment paper.

Mix the flax egg and let stand for 10 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, mash the two bananas really well with the coconut oil and dates (if you’re not patient enough plop the bananas, coconut oil and dates into a food processor) and mix in the flax egg. Add the remaining ingredients (except 1/4 cup pistachios) into the wet. Squish the mixture into the prepped spare pan with a spoon or fork and top with the remaining pistachios. Again, squish the pistachios into the granola to ensure they stay in the bars. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes (until they are golden and firm). Once cooled, cut into 8 or 16 pieces. Devour. 

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Butternut Squash & Tahini Dip

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Again, a simple dish!

This recipe is altered from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem (Again…). Originally this spread was thickened with greek yogurt, and since I don’t eat yogurt, I simply omitted it. I roasted the squash with the skin on and simply peeled it off once the squash was baked. One could eaily remove the hassle by peeling the squash before roasting. However I had an indredibly difficult time peeling it so I simply waited until after it was roasted.

This spread is perfect with any plain or flavoured crackers or in a sandwich or wrap. The roasting of the squash makes it easy to mash into the tahini with a fork so no food processor or blender is required! Plus the coarse and chunkier texture is a great change from the ultra smooth hummus-like pastes I’m used to.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & TAHINI DIP (serves 6)

  • 1 large butternut squash, quartered and sliced into 1/4 inch crescents
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 6 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread the squash on a roasting pan (for easier clean up and easy removal of squash slices, place the slices on parchment paper). Mix the oil, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and brush onto the squash. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the squash provides NO resistance when poked with a fork. Remove from oven, and as hot as you can handle, cut off the skin. Leave to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked squash, tahini and garlic. Smash with a fork until it forms a coarse paste.

If you plan on presenting this nicely, spread the dip on a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, drizzle the maple syrup and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with your favorite crackers or veggies!

I’d love to try making this with mashed chickpeas incorporated. Or I would overcook red lentils and mash them with the squash for an added protein boost. Regardless, this is a crowd pleaser, takes minimal effort, and tastes great. I loved opening my tupperware for lunch and seeing the beautiful spread inviting me to dig in after a long morning of dancing.

 

Spicy Carrots

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This recipe was not only tasty, but it was SUPER easy to make! I ate it for dinner and had the left overs for the next day’s lunch. This time let the flavours mingle and really set it. I’ll just say that I was truly sad when I had eaten the last bite.

I admit that originally I anticipated having the salad as just the carrots and arugula, but seeing as that alone isn’t too substantial, I cooked up some sushi rice as a base. The sticky rice was an excellent compliment! This would also be good on a bed of quinoa or wild rice (mm… wild rice would actually be a  GREAT idea with this) or even lentils.

SPICY CARROT SALAD (serves 2):

  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 small red onion (or shallot), chopped
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (or hot sauce of choice) (the amount depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave (or maple syrup or honey)
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula (or 1 hefty handful)
  • salt
  • 1 cup cooked grain of coice

Method:

In a large saucepan, cover the carrots with water and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and cover, cook for 15 minutes (until tender). Drain the carrots and, as hot as you can handle, chop the carrots about 1/4 inch thick. Place the chopped carrots into a bowl and toss with the apple cider vinegar.

Meanwhile, cook the onions over medium heat with the oil until golden (about 10 minutes). Pour the onions into a bowl and add the hot sauce, coriander, cumin, lemon juice, agave, and a healthy pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon). Add the carrots and toss well. Cover the bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes (30 minutes would be ideal!).

Portion the cooked grain of your choice onto each place, place arugula on each portion and top with the spiced carrots.

VOILA! Super easy and super tasty. This would be a great starter salad with out the cooked grain or, as I mentioned, more a more substantial meal with the grain. Also, for my lunch, to give it that extra oomph, I added about 1/4 cup of broccoli sprouts and it was delectable.

Spinach Salad with Almonds and Dates

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SO. I made the tastiest salad. It was (again) inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, but this came out of his book Jerusalem. I hit a gold mine in that my roommate bought both Plenty and Jerusalem for himself… so I’m indulging and making ALL the food.

Since this salad has quite a strong flavour, it is worth having on it’s own or as a starter to another dish. Another thing, I used a spice called za’atar. It’s a middle eastern spice consisting of thyme, sesame seeds, oregano, sumac (or lemon zest) and salt. If you don’t have any za’atar mix you can make your own by combining those ingredients (it’s a fairly chunky spice mix). A final note, I had a day old bagel I ripped up and cooked with the almonds but I imagine ripped up pita or naan would work just as well.

SPINACH SALAD WITH ALMONDS AND DATES (serves 2)

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion (or shallot), thinly sliced
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 bagel, sliced in half then ripped into medium sized chunks (about 1 inch square)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping teaspoon za’atar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt

Method:

In a small bowl, mix the onions and the dates with the vinegars and a pinch of salt. Set aside and let marinade for 20 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat. Once the oil heats up, add the bagel (or pita) bits and almonds and cook for 6 minutes (or until the bread is golden and crispy/crunchy), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the za’atar, chile flakes and a large pinch of salt.

Once the bagel bits and almonds are cool, toss with the spinach in a large bowl. Add the dates and onions and a drizzle of olive oil and the lemon juice. Mix well and serve immediately.

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I say “serve immediately” because that’s when the bagel is still nice and crunchy. However, I let a portion of it sit in the fridge overnight to have for the next day’s lunch and the flavours had mingled SO wonderfully. But of course letting it sit overnight meant that the bagel was no longer crispy or crunchy but became chewy. IT WAS STILL PHENOMENAL.

 

 

Power Quinoa Salad

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Firstly, I apologize for not posting anything within the past little while. My new apartment didn’t have the internet connected, but enough of that. HERE WE GO!

I made this salad for a school lunch. It’s packed with power, that’s for sure. The quinoa, avocado and edamame work awesomely with the tahini dressing!

QUINOA SALAD (serves 2 huge lunches or 4 smaller portions)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup frozen edamame
  • 1/2 an avocado, diced
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • optional squirt of sriracha (or preferred hot sauce)
  • a hefty tablespoon of seed of choice (hemp, sunflower and pumpkin work well!)
  •  pinch of sprouts (I used broccoli)

Method:

In a medium pot bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cook covered for 20 minutes (check every 5 minutes to see if there is enough water and adjust accordingly)

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan caramelize the sliced shallots on low heat (about 20 minutes or until translucent and sweet smelling).

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, carrot, edamame, avocado, cucumber and green onion with the mint, basil and parsley.

For the dressing, whisk the tahini, lemon and lime juice, Dijon, garlic and sriracha.

Allow the cooked quinoa to cool for at least ten minutes (to prevent the herbs from wilting too much). Add the shallots to the quinoa and let sit for another five minutes (the quinoa will absorb the sweet flavours of the shallots). Mix the quinoa and shallots into the veggies. Add in the dressing and mix until fully covered.

Add the handful of seeds for garnish (and an extra power boost!)

 

Feel free to chop up a tomato into this!