Tag Archives: garlic

Chilled Sesame Tahini Soba Bowl

15 Jul

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You guys. I am so very excited to share this recipe with you (!!).

I had a very ho-hum week in the kitchen. Some recipes I tried fell disappointingly flat.

Obviously, I want to share only my favourites. As a blogger, this can be a frustrating process when trying to come up with fresh content!

And then- Hallelujah!- I whipped up this dish and I knew I had to share. The flavour was out of this world.

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These cold soba noodles are basically a vehicle for this awesome sauce (NOT to be confused with “awesomesauce”- cringe) which called for tahini and a shocking amount of sesame oil.

I’ve always thought sesame oil was to be used rather sparingly, but here it totally works.

Colour me surprised!

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This can be consumed hot (loved it), cold (also loved it) as a side dish (yum) or as a meal (did that!)

Try it out and tell me what you think! ( Based on this recipe from foodnetwork.com)

Cold Sesame Tahini Soba Bowl

20 minutes, serves 4

– 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
-2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
-1 tablespoon molasses
-3 tablespoons sesame oil
-3 tablespoons tahini
-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-3 cloves garlic, minced
– pinch or two of hot red chilli flakes
-1/2 fresh red bell pepper, sliced thinly
-1/2 cup peanuts
-1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
-1/2 cup chopped spring onion
-fresh cilantro
-wedge of fresh lime
-1 package soba noodles

1) In a small saucepan, bring soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and garlic to a boil. Turn heat to low and stir in molasses and return to simmer until reduced about 1/3.
2) Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add sesame oil, tahini and sprinkle of chilli flakes. Whisk to combine. Add salt if desired.
3) In large pot, bring water to boil and add noodles. Stir and watch until they soften (should take 3-5 minutes). Do not over cook!
4) Have ice bath ready. Drain noodles, plunge in ice bath and drain again. Rinse well with running water.
5) Combine noodles and sauce and rest of ingredients. Garnish and serve.

Feel free to add chicken or tofu to hearty it up. Although I found it rather filling on its own and the peanuts added good protein.

I want to make more. Right now.

M

Spaghettini in White Wine Cream Sauce with Sausage, Capers and Garlic Confit

18 Dec

I made this recipe while half in the bag. It culminated after a spirited afternoon of listening to music and chatting with my love in the company of lots of wine and year end best-of lists. Miraculously, this dish emerged as an elegant meal that only added to our evening. It was rich and packed with flavour, perfect for soothing the transition into early winter darkness that is, frankly, super depressing.

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If you’ve never made garlic confit before, you probably should. It is super easy and can be added to almost any dish to add some finishing oomph. It is essentially whole cloves of garlic slow cooked in olive oil until soft. It’s a lot like roasted garlic, but the bonus is the by product garlic-infused olive oil that can (and should) be saved for future sauces and dressings. I die.
I made a batch before hand (which inspired this pasta dish now that I think about it ((foggy)). The most annoying part is peeling the cloves, but luckily the garlic I had comprised of those dreamy, huge, easy to peel bulbs which made my life a lot less tedious. Just peel garlic (don’t smash!) and submerge in good quality olive oil, over low heat simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half until very soft. Reserve the garlic and olive oil and use in future dishes (i.e everything).
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Spaghettini in White Wine Cream Sauce with Sausage, Capers and Garlic Confit 
  • 8 cloves garlic confit (or roasted garlic)
  • 1 fresh red pepper
  • 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or whatever you be drinking)
  • 3 Italian sausages
  • Pasta (about four servings)

(To Garnish)

  • Dried (or fresh) parsley
  • Red chili flakes
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Parmesan
  • Sea salt

Hmmm…let’s see if I remember this correctly now (I kid)

  1. Pre heat oven to 350-375 degrees. On baking sheet, place sliced red pepper and whole cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil and salt in the oven. Set timer for one hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place peeled garlic cloves in low simmering olive oil for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. Your house will smell amazing.
  3. When veggies and garlic are almost done, in a  separate pan fry the  sausages in bite sized pieces. I removed them from their casing for a more rustic feel (about 10 minutes over medium heat).
  4. To begin the sauce, in a medium sized frying pan, over high heat reduce wine to about 1/3 of liquid (about 4 minutes). Add butter and stir.
  5. Add capers and cream to the sauce and stir. (Tip: some capers are extremely salty, you may want to rinse them first). Remove two cloves of cooked garlic from the oil and break into the sauce. They should be very soft. Mix.  Taste for salt and let simmer over low heat.
  6. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until desired level of done-ness (for me, about 6 minutes). Strain pasta and leave just a little bit of starchy water in the pot.
  7. Return pasta to pot with water and mix about 2/3 of the cream sauce into the pasta along with the sausage.
  8. Once plated, top with the peppers, tomatoes, three cloves of cooked garlic along with the remaining sauce.
  9. Garnish with spices and cheese.

I really liked how the peppers and tomatoes turned out. Super packed with flavour, and just a little bit charred. Yum.

Quick! Eat this now before all your January diets start! (Or just wait until March when winter becomes just too much to bear without food like this).

Tell me, what’s your favourite winter comfort food? Maybe I’ll feature it on the blog! 

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Spicy Fusilli Pomodoro with Bacon and Basil

16 Feb

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While craving bacon but having no eggs, I whipped this up for a Saturday lunch. It was a huge hit. Very flavourful, and so satisfying after a solid week of salad eating (see last post). I used gluten free rice pasta and omitted the cheese, but for all you sensible people reading, this would be magnifico topped with some fresh shavings of Parmesan.

So far the no dairy-sugar-gluten thing has been quite manageable, while cooking at home that is (don’t ask me about the wine and coffee). It just requires making simple substitutions. However, eating in restaurants is much more difficult, and working in one is even harder, especially with all the amazing Valentines Day desserts flying around.

Let’s just say that this dish made up for a weeks worth of discipline! Smoky, salty bacon, sweet caramelized onions, spicy tomato sauce and bright, fresh herbs. No one felt deprived.

Spicy Fusilli Pomodoro with Bacon and Basil

Serves 5-6

1 package gluten free brown rice fusilli
1 package organic bacon, chopped into small, bite sized pieces.
1 large onion
1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh basil
1 carrot
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon hot red chilli flakes
Olive oil
Stevia (substituted for sugar)
Salt and pepper

This recipe requires juggling a few elements simultaneously. Start to finish it should take about 40 minutes.

1. In food processor, combine carrot, 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 of onion and parsley until very finely chopped. Add some olive oil while processing so it doesn’t all stick to the sides. Set aside.
2. Heat a regular sized pot to medium and add 3 cloves chopped garlic, cook until fragrant and add tomato paste and then crushed tomatoes. Season with salt, mix well and let simmer. (Some water might be necessary if the sauce is too thick)
3. In a larger pan, at medium high heat, cook chopped bacon along with second half of onion, also chopped. Cook until bacon has reduced and is almost crispy and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Using a spoon, skim the bacon fat out of the pan as it accumulates.
4. Add pasta to pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, return to sauce and add stevia (or sugar) to balance acidity and finish with drizzle of quality olive oil and half of the fresh basil. Turn to low.
6. In a separate frying pan, sauté the onion-carrot- parsley mixture until soft. Once cooked, add tomato sauce along with two tablespoons of the pasta water and stir well.
7. Once pasta is almost done, drain and return to pot, along with the sauce. Mix well. The pasta should finish cooking in the sauce, for added flavour. Add the bacon and onion mixture to the pasta, add the chillis and the rest of the basil, roughly torn and incorporated throughout. Finish with black pepper and (optional) Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy with a nice glass of red, for me 😉

Hearty and Spicy Potato Leek Soup

2 Jan

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Christmas and New Years was a whirlwind. From December 23rd to the 2nd of January, my feet barely stepped foot in my own apartment, let alone the kitchen. Today was specifically planned to be a day with no plans. Sleep in, watch some episodes of Misfits (check it out), head to my favourite neighbourhood lunch spot (Zocalo at Bloor and Dundas West) and stock up on some groceries. Scheduling, obligations and rules of any kind were strictly forbidden today. We even skipped yoga.

Pure heaven.

Scott’s parents own a catering business and as a result, we inherited lots of leftover perishables, including  a 10 lb bag of potatoes (!) a 10 lb bag of onions (!!)  and another 10+ lb bag of carrots (!!!). So tonight we made big batches of caramelized onions, carrot ginger soup and potato leek soup.

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The potato leek soup was the stand out winner here (unless eating fork-fulls of pure caramelized onions counts, but it doesn’t). It was the first time I’ve ever made it, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It turned out to be really fast, with great depth of flavour. This recipe is pretty healthy, being free of cream, and yet is still nice and creamy (and also happens to be vegan and gluten free).  So hearty and satisfying!

Spicy Potato Leek Soup

  • 1 large leek, rinsed and finely chopped (white and tender pale green parts only)
  • 8-10 medium sized potatoes (lost count, sorry)
  • 1 medium sized white onion, sliced finely
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Water (about 6 cups, or just enough to cover the potatoes in a large pot)
  • 1 cube vegetarian bouillon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pressed olive oil
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Wash and chop potatoes into medium sized cubes and add to large pot. Fill pot with water just to cover and bring to a boil
  2. Add bay leaves, veggie stock and salt to water. Boil until potatoes are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, in frying pan,  sauté leeks with garlic, onion and white wine until browned, soft and fragrant.
  4. When potatoes are cooked, add leeks, garlic and onion to pot with potatoes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves, and puree mixture until creamy and well incorporated.
  6. Add almond milk (can also use regular dairy)  until desired consistency is reached. Add olive oil and blend well.
  7. Add parsley, black pepper and hot pepper flakes.
  8. Heat gently (do not boil) for a few more minutes, until heated through.
  9. Garnish with caramelized onions, croutons, cheese, or all of the above!

I picked up a spice mixture of peperoncino, aglio (garlic) and Italian parsley (prezzemolo) in a Roman market during my recent foray to Italy, and threw it in at the last minute. I’m glad I did, as the hot peppers added a nice, subtle kick and the parsley some colour. It really enhanced the recipe!

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Tell me, what would you do with 10 lbs of potatoes?? (I’m asking because… there are still quite a few left over)

Baked Balsamic n’ Honey Glazed Tempeh- Prepare to be Converted

18 Dec

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There have been three lonely packs of tempeh sitting in the fridge forever. Three. That’s a lot.  Like an old hand-me-down hanging in the closet, time and time again I just never seemed to reach for it.

I realize that I have sung the praises of tempeh and its health benefits in the past (as in this post and this post) but lately it has just seemed…uninspired.

So, determined not to toss it (as that would be very wasteful), I searched the miraclenet and in 10 seconds found this recipe from Making Love in the Kitchen, one of my favourite Toronto healthy eating sites/blog (Check it out, guys).

As usual, it did not disappoint!

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First of all, let me just share some major reasons to love tempeh: 

  1. It is a probiotic food- like yogurt, meaning that it helps your body produce healthy bacteria. It also has antibiotic properties.
  2. Tempeh is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids.
  3. AND very importantly, unlike tofu, tempeh maintains all of the fiber of the bean, and gains some digestion benefits from the enzymes produced during the fermentation process used to make it.

Still not convinced? Then I suggest you try this recipe.

Baked Balsamic and Honey Glazed Tempeh 

(recipe is for two 250 gram packages)

  • 2 packages of tempeh cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or dried)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 bay leaves

Marinade: 

  1. Add vinegar, garlic, honey, thyme, tamari, oil and bay leaves to large bowl and add tempeh cubes to marinate in the fridge and mix (2-24 hours, mixing occasionally)

Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 350, place tempeh and marinade in a glass dish and cook covered for 20 minutes
  2. Remove from oven, stir, and recover. Cook another 20 minutes. Your house should smell amazing by now, and your mouth should be watering.
  3. Remove cubes from sauce and transfer to bowl.
  4. Over medium high heat, cook sauce until bubbling. Add cornstarch to thicken (tip: stir cornstarch with small amount of water in separate bowl first to make a loose paste before adding to sauce. This eliminates clumps).
  5. Cook for about five minutes, until syrupy. I added fresh black pepper for some more bite. Pour over tempeh and mix.
  6. Garnish with scallions and fresh basil. Serve over rice or quinoa. Eat!

Best tempeh recipe I’ve tried yet! This is a very simple way to incorporate it into your diet. Also great for those who are vegan and/or gluten free.

ps. If you are making this on the fly and don’t have time to marinate it first, its no biggie, but recommended. Proof: this dish was even better the next day.

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And hey, I have 99 likes on Facebook- such a tease. Anyone care to make it an even 100? It would make my day!

Immy May

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