Monday, July 14, 2014

Kale and Squash Brown Rice Bake

I remember doing puzzles every summer as a child, but I only found out this year, that my Mom had one ready for us the day that school ended to help us transition into the summer. Now I realize why I feel like doing a puzzle at the beginning of my vacation or a few days off. So, true to form, when I recently finished a 7 day stint at work, Louis and I pulled out a puzzle to complete. It was really relaxing and fun, and a great way to transition into my weekend. 

Lucky for me, I had more than 2 days off this time so I had time to really start to enjoy my summer. We went paddle boarding a few times, ran some much needed errands, worked on the house, and I did some baking and cooking as well as playing with my awesome new espresso machine.

When I have time like this, I always try to prepare some meals that will work as left overs for the busy days ahead, and this is one of those meals that surely won't disappoint.  

Kale and Squash Brown Rice Bake
adapted from The Spectrum Diet, recipe by Art Smith 2007

2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped red pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp Italian spices
1 C brown rice
1 C water
1 1/4 C vegetable broth
salt (if using low salt broth)
1 small butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1/2 C canned tomatoes
14 oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
4 C kale, blanched
1/4 C fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Saute the onion, red pepper, celery, garlic and Italian spices in a small amount of oil in a saucepan until they soften ( about 5 minutes)
2. Add the brown rice, water and 1 C of broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Season with salt if desired. Cook until all liquid is absorbed ( about 45 minutes to 1 hour)
3. While the rice is cooking, place the squash cut sides down on a baking sheet and roast until a fork can pierce the flesh ( about 40 minutes). Cool the squash and peel it. Cut into chunks.
4. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the tomatoes and lentils to the saucepan and stir well. Allow to heat thoroughly
5. Blanch the kale until it is tender
6. In a casserole dish, layer the rice mixture followed by the squash, the kale, then sprinkle with parsley and the cheese. Drizzle with the remaining broth.
7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes

Great as left overs!

approximate nutritional information ( for 8 servings)
cal 206
fat 2.8g
  sat fat 1.1g
carbs 40.1g
   fiber 4.5g
   sugars 4.4g
protein 9.6g

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Canada Day! Fresh Mache and Pea Salad & Strawberry Scones

This post won't be long because I want to get outside and enjoy the fantastic weather we've been having. However, I wanted to give you a couple of really fresh testing seasonal recipes with a hint of red and white to help you celebrate our nation's birthday. Happy Canada Day!

Fresh Mache and Pea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
adapted from "Spring Mache Salad" from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman 2006
serves 1

1/2 C fresh shelled peas, sugar snap peas or a combination of both
1-2 large handfuls of Mache
1 large stalk of celery, sliced
2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. Arrange all ingredients in a bowl and top with Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon Vinaigrette
serves 2-3

Juice from 1/2 of a large lemon + an equal amount of garlic infused olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp dill

1. Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid. 
2. Shake vigorously. 
3. Store left overs in the fridge for use within a couple of days. 

Approximate Nutritional Information per serving with vinaigrette

cal 211
fat 14g
   sat fat  2g
carbs 14g
    fiber 4g
    sugars 5g
protein 6g

Strawberry Scones
adapted from "Raspberry Cream Scones" from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman 2006

parchment paper
1.5 Tbsp chia seeds
1 1/4 C Almond Milk 
3 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C sugar plus 2 Tbsp for topping
1.5 Tbsp baking powder
3 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter cut into bits and chilled
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C fresh strawberries, hulled, washed, and sliced

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Preheat oven to 400F
3. Mix chia seeds with 1/3 C of the milk in a medium bowl and set aside to gel
4. Place the flour, 1/2 C sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. 
5. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter or your hands, blend the mixture until it is crumbly
6. Add the rest of the milk and vanilla to the chia mixture. Whisk well to combine. 
7. Add the chia mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just barely combined. Gently fold in the strawberries. 
8. Turn out the dough onto a gently floured work surface. Shape the dough into a disk about 4 cm thick. Cut the dough into 10 wedges. 
9. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. 
10. Brush the scones with a small amount of milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
11. Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, about 15-20 minutes. 
12. Serve warm. 

Approximate Nutritional Information
per scone

cal 260
fat 8.9g
  sat 4.9g
carbs 40.6g
   fiber 2.4g
   sugars  10.4g
protein 4.5g

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Charred onions and Fiddleheads

When we were kids, my family would head to northern New Brunswick for at least a week every summer to spend time with my grandparents and extended family. My grandparents owned a farm, so I remember picking (and eating) fresh vegetables and berries, collecting eggs, and running around in the barn and yard. When it was raining or we had moved in for the night, we always played UNO or Lobsters and Fiddleheads. I would take a wild guess that most of you have never even heard of the game Lobsters and Fiddleheads. When I googled it, the only thing that popped up was the abandoned trademark information. I honestly can't remember how to play the game, but I know that the next time I'm at the farm, I'm looking around to find that game and relive some family memories. Outside of playing a game about fiddleheads, fiddleheads were also always on the menu when we were there. My grandmother picked her own fiddleheads and froze them to have out of season. As a child, I don't think I was enamoured with them, but their unique shape helped get them down ( along with a healthy helping of vinegar to mask the bitter taste). Now, I like to have them at least once a year when they're in season, and this is how I like them cooked. I know I'm late posting this recipe, but if you can still get some fiddleheads, this is a simple and tasty way to cook them up.

Charred Onions and Fiddleheads

2 Handfuls of Fiddleheads washed
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful slivered almonds

1. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
2. Saute onions in dry skillet until they begin to char
3. Add fiddleheads and continue to saute for another 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in the balsamic
5. Serve topped with almonds