Tag Archives: light

Italian Turkey Meatballs with Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Brussel Sprouts

19 Feb

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My search for the perfect meatball recipe has come to an end. After an arduous journey (not really)  I can safely say that this is the one. And turkey at that. Colour me surprised.

Very juicy, very flavourful, lovely texture and extremely light. Perfection.

I served these babies on a bed of brown rice with a homemade tomato sauce and balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and cherry tomatoes. Over all a pretty healthy meal, and couldn’t be easier.

Italian Turkey Meatballs
(30 minutes) (makes approx 16 meatballs)

  • 1 package lean ground turkey (approx 1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup panko (or traditional breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried chillies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Splash balsamic vinegar (approx 2 teaspoons)

1) preheat oven to 400. In large bowl, assemble all ingredients and mix well.
2) Form into small round meatballs (makes about 16) and place on baking rack
3) Bake 15-20 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.

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I roasted the tomatoes and brussle sprouts simultaneously, although they needed about 25-30 minutes at 400. I covered generously with olive oil and some sea salt. Half way through roasting I drizzled on some balsamic and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and returned to the oven. I broiled them for the last 5 minutes to give the sprouts a bit more colour.

They turned out to be a perfect addition to the dish. The textures worked well with the meatballs, as the sprouts were basically melt-in-your-mouth soft.

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I made a simple tomato sauce by sautéing 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil along with 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and diced red pepper. Once soft, I added crushed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, brown sugar and some dried chillies and a splash of balsamic. I made the sauce first, and added a 1/4 cup to the meatball mixture before baking.

I layered the sauce over the rice and topped with the meatballs, which I covered with more sauce and the roasted vegetable. I topped it all off with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

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I was thrilled with this recipe. I hope you try it out. Let me know if you do!

M

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Vegan Thai Green Curry with Tofu

21 Jan

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Things I Dislike:
1) being windswept
2) fluorescent lighting
3) the term “amazeballs”

Things I Like:
1) great cover songs
2) magazine subscriptions arriving by mail
3) green curry

Hopefully you like # 3 too.

Here is a simple recipe that really hit the spot on a cold, cold night.

Vegan Thai Green Curry

(30 minutes. Serves 2 with some leftover)

  • 1 small white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 handful fresh green beans, sliced thinly
  • 5 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, cut into smallish cubes.
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • Zest of 1/2 fresh lime
  • 3 kafir lime leaves
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Coconut oil (for frying)
  1. In a hot pan, fry thinly sliced onion, mushrooms and red pepper with coconut oil until soft. Add curry paste and mix well.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed garlic. Cook until fragrant and stir in the coconut cream and almond milk.
  3. Add kafir lime leaves. Bring to a low boil.
  4. Reduce heat and add tofu and seasonings (sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, lime juice). Adjust according to personal taste.
  5. Finish with broccoli, green beans and cilantro (do not over cook). Remove lime leaves. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  6. Serve immediately with rice!

Notes: 

In Thailand, restaurants usually have four condiments on the table:  sweet (sugar), sour (lime juice or vinegar) , salty (fish/soy sauce) and spicy (chilies) . People generally customize their dishes according to their preferences. Feel free to try this! Or, if you trust me, this recipe is balanced to what I think is just perfect.

I used Aroy-D brand green curry paste. It is pretty hot! Depending on your taste, maybe add less curry paste to start off.

I used Arvinda’s kafir lime leaves. They are like bay leaves, but have a lush flavour that add dimension to this curry. You can buy them at most grocery stores.

Coconut milk varies widely from full fat to lite. For this dish, I used coconut cream (about 6 tablespoons or 1/2 can) of the full fat version.  Coconut cream is the really thick creamy stuff that rises to the top of the “light” versions. If you want to use lite coconut milk, add the whole can and reduce the almond milk to only 1 cup.

Cut the peppers thinly, and the green beans too. I sliced the beans in half lengthwise (slightly tedious) , but worth it for the overall texture of the dish.

Please add fresh basil to this dish if you have it! I sadly, did not.

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Enjoy!

M

Sesame-Honey Tempeh Bowl with Carrot Slaw

15 May

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My favourite meals tend to come in bowl form. I can’t tell you why. Bowls are usually full of satisfying, hearty foods. Perhaps it is the tendency to mix everything together into one harmonious masterpiece that appeals to me. Last night I made a fantastic post-gym bowl full of veggies and quinoa with an awesome yogurt-tahini-chipotle sauce. Alas, I didn’t take any photos, but that sauce WILL appear in a future post. Heaven.

This recipe was again inspired by the mountain of tempeh that had accumulated in my fridge, as it tends to do. After a quick google search I decided to replicate (and enhance, if I do say so) this dish. It was delightful.

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Carrot Slaw

1.5 cups shredded carrots
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1.5 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (or to taste)
1 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime

Sesame-Honey Tempeh

1 package of tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
Juice of other1/2 fresh lime

Preparation
1) to prepare slaw, combine all ingredients and set aside. Reserve some sesame seeds and cilantro for final garnish.
2) to prepare tempeh, heat oil to medium high in frying ban and fry tempeh until it is browned, about 7-9 minutes, stirring frequently.
3) In small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, honey, water, sesame oil and corn starch. Add to pan with tempeh and cook until it begins to thicken and cost tempeh about 1 or 2 minutes. Finish with lime juice.
4) meanwhile, divide cooked rice or quinoa and slaw between two bowls, and add tempeh mixture on top. Sprinkle with reserved fresh cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. (Scallions would be great too, I just didn’t have any)

Mix it all up, and enjoy.

 

 

Gluten free Falafel with Chipotle Tahini Yogurt

25 Feb

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Craving a quick and light meal? Look no further! You can whip these bad boys up and still have time to do homework watch the Oscars for four hours, uninterrupted!

The key ingredient for me here was the chipotle. Nothing beats that smokiness. It goes surprisingly excellent with the combination of tangy yogurt and nutty tahini.

And of course, this recipe is gluten and sugar free (just like me!). I’ve been on this crazy diet for 13 days now, (which also eliminates all dairy except for yogurt) and honestly, I feel great. More energetic and more alert! I’ve also finally lost those 3.5 Italy pounds (worth it) which is a nice bonus!

For those of you not on a cleanse, fear not. These falafel would be lovely wrapped in a warm pita with onion, tomato and parsley.

Gluten Free Falafel with Chipotle Tahini Yogurt
Makes 16

2 small cans of chickpeas (or one can chickpeas, one can another bean if you’re short- I actually used chickpeas and adzuki beans for this dish), drained and rinsed.
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1 egg
1 cup of cornmeal
1/2 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste, remember, I like things spicy!)
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 juicy lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Coconut oil, for frying
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Add beans to food processor and give it a few pulses. Remove half of the chopped beans into a large bowl, and leave the rest.

2. Process the remaining beans with garlic, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, spices, herbs, salt, cornmeal and flaxseeds. Taste for salt. Add egg and blend until incorporated into a thick, chunky paste. Add mixture to bowl with chopped beans.

3.in a large skillet heat oil at medium high (about two tablespoons). Gently ball dough and drop into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate lines with paper towel to drain. Serve immediately.

Sauce
1 cup yogurt
2 heaping tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground chipotle

1. Mix and drizzle on top or serve on the side.

I served this on a makeshift tabbouleh salad- finely chopped parsley with cherry tomatoes, chopped red pepper and cilantro, topped with olive oil,more sea salt and more lemon juice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and ground black pepper.

Then sit back, relax, and talk smack about celebrities.

M

Warm Herbed Quinoa Pilaf with sautéed Apple

6 Feb

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This is my first attempt at posting from my iPad. Those who know me well know that I find unfamiliar technology tedious at best, but for the sake of this blog, I’m trying to embrace all that is this magical potential at my fingertips.

Here is a quick recipe that I whipped up late one night. I decided on the apples at the last minute. Adding a bit of soft sweetness to a crunchy warm salad was a good call.

Warm Herbed Quinoa Pilaf with sautéed Apple

For the salad:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 large apple
1 handful fresh basil
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 small red onion
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 cloves fresh garlic

For the dressing ( note that this makes more dressing than needed for the salad)
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 table spoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon cumin (reserve other half for cooking)
1 tablespoon raw honey
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sauté onion over high heat until almost browned, about 10 minutes. Turn heat down to medium and add garlic and chopped apple, along with 1/2 of the cumin (1/2 a tablespoon). Cook until apple is soft. Add salt. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, mix dressing. I used a mason jar for easy shaking and storing!
3. Finely chop fresh herbs and add to cooked quinoa. Assemble salad and dress according to preference. Finish with final squeeze of fresh lemon and garnish with basil leaves. Serve warm (or cold. The leftovers were good too)

Ps. That wasn’t so hard!

Carrot Soup with Black Garlic and Feta

9 Nov

I have a million photos of food from Italy. It was such an amazing, inspiring trip. If you are at all interested in food and wine, head to the Terra Madre conference in 2014. Book it now. Just go.

Carpaccio, pizza, fried artichokes, fresh green olive oil, gnocchi, spicy  goat stew and cheese cheese cheese!

I will tide you over with an appetizer, I mean a  primi, until I get these essays done am able to try out and share some true Italian  recipes.

Until then, why not start off with a delicious soup?

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This soup was easy to make, and perfect for a cold fall day. I finally tested out that black garlic I picked up on Granville Island in Vancouver, which was exciting indeed!

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Black Garlic is essentially fermented, caramelized garlic. It looks just like regular garlic, but the cloves are jet black, sweet and sticky. The flavour is phenomenal.

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I topped the soup with a drizzle of black truffle oil, a generous amount of feta cheese and arugula.

Perfetto!

Carrot Soup with Black Garlic and Feta

  • 10 fresh carrots (approx)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 5 cloves black garlic (or half a head)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • truffle oil (to taste. Go slow. It is strong)
  • salt and fresh black pepper
  1. Wash and chop carrots ( I didn’t bother peeling them…nutrients are in the skin, non?) and boil them in salted water until soft
  2. Meanwhile, fry onion in butter and white wine until brown. Add the wine over time, in quarters, so that the onions brown well. Reduce heat, add turmeric an mix well with the onions.
  3. Drain the carrots, and return to large pot. Add the onions, garlic and stock. Blend well with hand blender until smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 minutes (or more)
  5. Once served, add 1/2 cup of feta cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil.

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If you don’t have black garlic, not to worry. The regular stuff will work just as well, but maybe use only three cloves instead of five, unless you find vampires absolutely terrifying.

At Long Last! Ancho for my Lentil Tacos!

12 Sep

 

I’ve been searching for Ancho chili powder for ages, in order to make these tacos from an amazing vegan blog called Post Punk Kitchen, a new favourite of mine and a source of much recent inspiration. I finally found some on a recent trip to Vancouver, at the lively market on Granville Island.   I also grabbed some spicy and distinctly smokey Chipotle powder, which is also somehow hard to find.

Half  curiosity and half impulse buy at  the checkout included some mysterious and magical black garlic, something I have yet to experiment with, but is still sitting patiently on my kitchen counter (and at $5 a head,  it best be good)

These tacos were made immediately upon arrival back in Toronto. They were pretty quick and satisfying. Also a healthy break from all the rich food and booze we indulged in on the West coast!

 

Spicy Ancho Lentil Tacos 

  • Coconut oil
  • 1/2 a large red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can of red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons ancho chili
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh cilantro
  • tortillas
  1. Combine all the spices in a small dish and set aside
  2. Preheat large pan at medium high and melt coconut oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  3. Sautee onion and garlic with dash of salt until lightly browned and fragrant
  4. add spices and toss for about 30 seconds, to toast, and lower heat
  5. Add lentils and mix together for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Add a splash of water if too dry.
  6. Taste for seasonings, and serve over toasted or warmed tortilla.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro

Serve with any toppings you like!  They are very versatile and would also be great with grilled pineapple, coleslaw, sour cream, cheese or whatever is left over in the fridge.

I chose a quick guacamole, salsa and fresh lime combo. I was happy with my first foray with Ancho…it is very smokey without much heat.

 

This pitcher of sangria was conveniently awaiting our arrival, courtesy of our cat/housemate Grace.

Kismet!

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Quick and Easy, Tuesday’s Tuna Cakes

4 Sep

For many of us, today marked the first day back to school or work. With summer winding down and schedules ramping up you may be interested in some simple and healthy recipes for weeknights.

I apologize for this blurb sounding like something out of a Metro commuter paper, but I read it today for the first time in awhile, and clearly I’m easily impressionable.

These were very simple to make, and so so flavourful! I grabbed a handful  of some fresh basil from my grandparents garden yesterday, it was so fresh and fragrant.  A key ingredient here.

Tuna Cakes

  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 1/2  red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 of a fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • cornmeal
  • coconut oil

1. Combine all ingredients (minus the cornmeal and coconut oil) in large bowl and mix well.

2. Form into medium sized patties and dust with cornmeal on both sides.

3. Over medium high heat in large pan, heat coconut oil.  Fry until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes on each side.

This recipe yields 6. I served them over salad, but they would make awesome burgers. They could also be made into smaller bite sizes and served as an appetizer! Very versatile I’d say.

Back to the Kitchen-Avocado Pasta with Fresh Garden Herbs

8 Jul

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Cooking for one isn’t all that fun, hence the drop off in recipes that you may have noticed lately (sorry). It can be a lot of effort and mess when cereal or a smoothie would probably suffice, amiright? While Scott has been in Asia, I’ve been feeling less than inspired cooking wise, especially since I’m usually working during dinnertime hours. But today, a gorgeous and sunny Sunday that included a run in High Park followed by a terrific Ashtanga class left me feeling simultaneously famished and inspired.

I had a bag full of quickly ripening avocados on my hands, and wanted to try something other than a guilt-inducing solo guacamole binge. Besides, it is no secret that I love avocados. To me, avocados are one of nature’s greatest triumphs. So delicate, rich and subtle. Sometimes I find them just plain beautiful. Don’t these ones look perfect? And besides besides, my blog needed some love. Cooking for one? Pha! Cooking for all. (Sorry about that). 

The recipe was inspired by this one, from one of my new favourite food blogs A Cozy Kitchen, and also Pinterest, in which people are seemingly fascinated by all-things-avocado (as well as lots and lots of ways to use mason jars).  I added fresh broccoli into the mix, as well as some edamame for protein, and skipped the cheese in favour of nutritional yeast.So yes, this dish is perfect for vegans! I also used spiral Kamut pasta instead of linguine.

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Avocado Pasta with Fresh Garden Herbs

  • 1 and a half medium, ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of almonds
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pasta of choice (about two cups)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup edamame (shelled)
  • some broccoli

1.Boil pasta in well salted water until al dente. During the last 3-4 minutes of cooking add broccoli and edameme into the boiling water with pasta.

2. Meanwhile, blend the basil, thyme, almonds, garlic, nutritional yeast and some olive oil into a paste (as smooth as possible).

3. Add the avocados and mustard to the pesto and blend well, adding a bit more olive oil. If too thick, add some water. Blend until smooth.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add lemon juice and stir well.

5. Drain pasta with veggies, and incorporate the sauce. Mix well. Sprinkle with more nutritional yeast, pepper and fresh herbs. Serve immediately!

This was incredibly fast and easy. If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand, or are just plain skeptical, I encourage you to use Parmesan instead (actually, I encourage you to try it first before you knock it! But Parm would also be delicious) . Next time, if I wasn’t in a rush ( to relax in front of the T.V) I would roast the garlic first for added depth.

Added bonus: on a hot day this does not require standing guard over a hot stove (with the exception of the pasta-boiling part), but keep in mind that avocado turns brown after awhile, so this is best served immediately if you are concerned about things like presentation.

All in all, a great summery solo meal!

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Salmon en Croute, an Experiment Gone Right

5 Feb

Last night was my first foray into the world of pastry, packaged or from scratch (preparing it, that is, not eating it).  Having an aversion to all-foods- packaged,  naturally I went straight for the more difficult, home made version.  I’ve heard many sad tales of  defeat and frustration that have accompanied  failed pie crusts over the years and perhaps this is what has stopped me, that and not being a huge baker or sweets person (…have I really never made a pie before?!).  My friend and her boyfriend recently prepared a (superior) salmon en croute for lunch that was so delicious  it has not left my dreams ever since.  This was my version.

Terrified this would turn out reminiscent of a glorified Hot-Pocket.

As not to waste anyone’s time, I’m not going to post the pastry recipe. It still needs work and I did not have the proper ingredients (if you want to attempt pastry with whole wheat bread flour and icing sugar then go ahead!) That being said,  still a successful first try. The filling was just about perfect though. ..just use another pastry recipe of your choice!

Ingredients: 

  • pastry
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill
  • juice of 1/3 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 package of feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salmon fillet
  • egg
  • black pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. In food processor, blend fresh dill, olive oil, feta, pepper and lemon. The consistency should be quite thick. You can play around with the ratios to your taste. It is really hard to go wrong with these flavours however, I feel it is important to highlight the dill and not overpower it with the lemon. My feta was very salty for example, but if yours is not you may want to add some salt too.
  3. Roll the pastry out so it can completely wrap the salmon, and lay it on a buttered baking sheet.
  4. Place the salmon in the middle, and spoon on the dill mixture thickly. Cover the top with the rest of the pastry and seal around the edges, making a neat parcel. Cut excess pastry and discard.
  5. Using a brush, wash 1 beaten egg over the top to glaze
  6. Cut three or four slices into the top to let steam out
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until pastry is browned and crispy
  8. To test readiness, insert sharp knife into the middle of the salmon and hold for three seconds. Test the heat of the knife on inner wrist. If the knife is hot, then the salmon is cooked.

I must admit, this was a hit. The result was very tasty and light. I served this with steamed broccoli, kale and red peppers topped with lemon and sea salt.

Into the vault,  salmon en croute, into the vault!

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