Aug 28 2014

Ricotta & Marinated Summer Squash

These cool appetizers are a lovely way to showcase all the summer squash that is in season right now; like zucchini and patty pans. But beware, the squash needs to marinate for a couple hours in the fridge before you can assemble and serve, so this is definitely a think ahead dish!

Ricotta and Marinated Summer Squash

3-4 medium-sized zucchinis and patty pans

½ bunch basil, minced fine

½ bunch mint, minced fine

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp red chili flakes

1 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

1 shallot sliced into thin rounds

Ricotta cheese

Marinate the Squash

With a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of squash.

Mix in bowl with herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, seasonings and sliced shallot.

Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Assemble

Slice fresh crusty bread in 1/3-inch slices. Toast if you would like (I did).

Spread with ricotta and top with ribbons of marinated summer squash.

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.


Aug 28 2014

Summer Berry & Oat Cobbler

This summer has been a little too chilly for my liking. A few weeks ago I found myself at a cottage during the worst of the cold/rainy weather; it felt like fall. All I could think about was warm stews, and soups, and breakfasts! This summer berry and oat cobbler is perfect for cool summer days, when the berries are still at their peak and you don’t mind turning on the oven. I found the recipe over at Nourished Kitchen, where I have been getting a lot of recipes recently, since I bought her cookbook. Both the blog and this recipe are worth a go. I will definitely be making it again in the near future; it was adored by everyone who sampled it. Oh, and I used cherries and blueberries in mine.

Summer Berry and Oat Cobbler

For the Filling

6 cups mixed berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Topping

2 cups oat flour – whiz oatmeal in your magic bullet or coffee grinder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg

2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

To make the filling, combine the berries, maple syrup, sugar and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a boil, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes as the berries expel their juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into the boiling berry mixture and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken. Pour into a 9-inch round baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the oat flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter, until the dough is in pea-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and maple syrup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.

Break off golf ball size pieces of the dough, lightly pat into a circle and place over the berries. Continue with the remaining dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden.


Aug 26 2014

Overnight Chia Pudding

In case you didn’t know, chia seeds aren’t just for growing sprouts on lamb-shaped terracotta statues. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they also contain fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Those tiny little seeds pack a nutrient punch! When immersed in liquid they absorbed up to 12 times their weight and take on a gelatinous like texture. I know that the word gelatinous rarely means anything good, but trust me, they are delicious, and very easy to work with.

Although the title of this blog post is overnight chia pudding, don’t let that stop you from making this kind of pudding in a pinch, it can take on its pudding like texture in minutes; you don’t have to wait hours. I enjoy making this pudding for breakfast since it’s easy to whip up the night before, but this can be made for dessert as well, in about 20 minutes. Sometimes I stir in some cocoa powder and or cacao nibs to make it more decadent and dessert-like.

Overnight Chia Pudding

1 cup vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkle cinnamon

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake until there are no lumps. Place in the fridge overnight. Stir once more and top with fresh fruit.


Aug 12 2014

The Only Kale Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need

There is a restaurant on Wellington West, here in Ottawa, that I frequent often. They make brussels sprouts sexy and kale taste so good you’ll want to eat it every day. They also have an epic tuna crudo, but let’s get back to the kale. I recently came across the recipe for their lovely kale salad that they top with a heaping pile of airy manchego cheese. Yum! This really is the only kale salad recipe you’ll ever need.

Kale Salad with Caper Vinaigrette

For Caper Vinaigrette
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons capers, plus a good splash of brine
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups canola oil, scant

For Salad
2 bunches curly kale
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
1 1/2 ounces Manchego cheese

Method:
To make the vinaigrette, purée anchovy fillets, Dijon mustard, capers, shallot, garlic, vinegar and water in a blender or VitaMix until smooth.

Chef’s Tip: Allow some caper brine to be included with the capers; it will give the vinaigrette an extra “capery” flavour boost.

Slowly add the oil with the blender running. Season with salt.  Chill the dressing until using.

Remove the stems from the kale.  Wash, then soak in ice cold water.  Using ice cubes, massage each leaf individually.  The leaves will turn a strong green.  This tenderizing process removes the leaf’s stiffness and will give the kale a more lettuce-like texture.  Once the kale leaves are torn into pieces, pat dry with a towel.

To make coarse bread crumbs, place chunks of old bread in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes to dry and then crumble it in your hands until you have pieces the size of small peas.

Fry bacon slices until the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, remove bacon and save the bacon fat in pan.

Add the coarse bread crumbs to the hot bacon fat in the pan and sauté until the crumbs are golden.  Season lightly with salt.

Put the kale in a bowl for tossing.  Season it lightly with salt.  Add the bacony bread crumbs, and crumbled bacon.  Don your kitchen gloves. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and massage it into the leaves.

Place in serving bowl and top with shredded cheese using a fine microplane.


Aug 12 2014

Buttletproof-ish Coffee

Looking for a way to make you weekend coffee at home extra special? Or are you looking for a way to REALLY enjoy one cup of coffee each morning before work, in an attempt to drink less throughout the day? This is the most delicious coffee ever, and you only really need one cup of it.

Have you heard of bulletproof coffee?? It seems to be everywhere on the internet. The key is getting your hands on some coffee without toxins, and then to use unsalted grass-fed butter, but I’m not doing any of that. I have coffee and butter in my house already, let’s just use that!

Bullet Proof Coffee

1 cup strong coffee, sometimes more

1 tbsp coconut oil, sometimes more

1 tsp butter

Dash vanilla

Sugar optional

Put all ingredients in a blender of some kind and blend for 15-20 seconds. Enjoy!