Healthy, Seafood, Weekday Dinner

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

May 2, 2016

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It’s been a while since I posted anything, and while I’d like to blame my recent move to London (UK not back to my hometown London ON), I think I’ve fallen out of the habit a bit. However, there is no shortage of amazing food and inspiration here (it is the land of Ottolenghi after all), and following a particularly delicious dinner last night, I am trying to get back in the swing of things! One of the best things about living in London has been the markets, for food stuffs and all other stuffs. Every weekend Graham and I seek out a new one, or return to our favourite in Marylebone, where we fill as many bags as we can carry reasonably (ubering occasionally). Upon returning home we cram it all in our miniature fridge, and then endeavour to make it all before the next market day! It’s a lovely ritual and a great way to ensure we are eating local food that is in season.

This salmon recipe is super easy, healthy, and very delicious. All you need is salmon, red chilli jelly, S&P and some jalapeños. THAT’S ALL.

Happy Eating!

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Pasta, Seafood

Pasta with Tuna and Capers

September 27, 2015

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I don’t really eat a lot of pasta… I think it may be a defence mechanism because pasta is REALLY delicious but potentially dangerous for the waistline when consumed in large quantities. For largely this reason, all of the lovely pastas we receive as gifts tend to accumulate over time in the cupboard (yes we get a lot of pasta as gifts for some reason… sauce also).

Last night Graham called me out on my pasta hoarding, and I decided to incorporate some of the other longterm residents of the pantry and refrigerator – tuna, garlic, capers, feta cheese, and frozen peas. This all came together in about 20 minutes and was delicious!

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condiment, Healthy, Ottolenghi

Zhoug

March 24, 2015

While Zhoug might sound like a Marvel super villain, it is actually a super simple condiment that you will want to put on EVERYTHING. Once again Ottolenghi wins with this dish. Zhoug is traditional to Yemeni Jews and a staple in Israli cuisine (think shawarma and falafel pitas with much Zhoug).

This recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook, and while I always make a few modifications, my strongest recommendation would be to double the recipe! Graham and I have been slopping this on everything from the spiced lamb and eggs, with yogurt sauce, to my toast in the morning, poached eggs, and I even snuck a little on the chicken burgers I made tonight. If prepared properly (with sanitized jars etc.) the Zhoug should keep in the fridge for up to three weeks… but I assure you it won’t be around that long!!!

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Brunch, Featured, Ottolenghi, Weekday Dinner

Spiced lamb with eggs and yogurt… and Zhoug

March 22, 2015

I decided to do some proper menu planning this week, mostly because I feel I have been neglecting my beloved Ottolenghi books. His recipes never fail to deliver on taste and creativity and in many ways his recipes helped shape my cooking style (and certainly the contents of my pantry). Whenever I feel a food rut coming on I clear my schedule (his recipes can be quite labour intensive) and get to work. I also find his recipes are great for entertaining because usually you feel more ambitious when having company, and despite the long list of ingredients the food is pretty foolproof and OH SO crowd pleasing.

This week I chose a few meat dishes from Jerusalem and some salads from Plenty More (stay tuned for my versions!).

Once again Ottolenghi did not disappoint and this lamb dish was fantastic: Lamb seasoned with rich and spicy flavours, eggs perfectly runny, creamy and cooling tahini yogurt sauce, and the Zhoug is just a party in your mouth. Lots of layers… and all beautifully married together. I would eat this for brunch or dinner, and I have just enough for our lunches tomorrow.

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Healthy, Seafood, Weekday Dinner

Crispy Spicy Shrimp featuring the Boss Kale Salad

March 10, 2015

Graham and I have been watching/listening to Britney Spears for the past hour and it has put me in an excellent mood. I strongly encourage you to revisit some of Britney’s older material if you have not in a while – the denim outfit in Overprotected alone is worth it. Anyways… when you are jamming out to Britney you probably want something healthy (serious ab envy) and also something quick so you can work on your choreography between chopping and frying. Spicy shrimp and kale salad should fit the bill.

This light and easy weekday dinner packs a lot of protein and will leave you with plenty of energy to have a dance party later. Stay tuned for my Boss Kale Salad recipe. Why is it called Boss Kale Salad you may ask? Here’s a hint: crisp prosciutto, burrata and peaches.

 

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Luxury Potato Salad

February 19, 2015

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To be honest there is nothing particularly luxurious about this salad (inexpensive, humble ingredients) but I was reminded of polish luxury potato vodka just now… and that made me chuckle… and I don’t feel the need to explain myself further. This is an instagram pic (perhaps noticeably lacking Graham’s photo editing skills) but you can pretty much see everything going on with this salad – spicy, herby, pickly, potatoey. We had MANY potatoes left over from Graham’s birthday raclette dinner and while I typically steer clear of white potatoes (I know it’s kinda silly but I do) these were great and surprisingly light. I have probably committed a sacrilege against my Eastern European heritage with my lifestyle choices but I like to think of this salad as a humble tribute… or something.

The most exciting thing about this recipe? PIckle juice in the dressing. Maybe this is something everyone knows about but I didn’t and was THRILLED by the discovery. Also try and use polish pickles, it feels more authentic somehow.

I love you mom.

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Cauliflower Frittata – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

November 30, 2014

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Another Ottolenghi inspired dish, this cauliflower frittata is just REALLY good. As our co-workers and loved ones know, Graham and I eat a lot of frittatas.. Why you may ask? Because they are quick to whip up, reasonably healthy (though with enough cheese and meats you can turn the most well meaning frittata into a heart attack), and it makes a perfect four serving meal – two dinners and two lunches.. Though lately Graham has been whipping up 12 egg frittatas which could take care of your next three meals.

The frittata is also a great entry level dish to explore your culinary creativity – cheap ingredients (so you don’t feel badly if botched), standard formula yet oh-so-versatile (eggs + cheese + veg + herbs + leftovers + whatever you have lying around), and did I mention it was quick?

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Seafood

Caper Lemon Tuna Tartar

November 19, 2014
Caper Lemon Tuna Tartare

Another tuna tartar you may say? And I say YES! I created this recipe at a dinner party recently because I felt an asian tartar would clash with the mostly french menu. When this tuna baby was born I realized I had been in an asian tartar rut… FOR YEARS. Don’t get me wrong The Tuna Tartar is still a favourite, but it was just so good I became complacent, and people kept requesting it, and I didn’t want to change, and well needless to say that’s how food ruts happen.

After I made it for my parents friends at the aforementioned dinner party, I knew I had to make it again.. and soon! The tartar pictured above was born on Wednesday around midnight because I was adamant that Graham needed to try it. He did. And he liked it. I will stop raving about this dish shortly, but the dressing was the real star here. On this same late night snack fest, I had also roasted a butternut squash with no real plan of what to do with it. I made some more of the dressing and mixed it in with the squash and it was also SO GOOD.

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Cauliflower and Chicken Curry

November 19, 2014

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I should preface this post by saying this is not actually curry… assuming the defining characteristic of a curry is curry powder (which seems logical to me). So let’s instead say this dish is very reminiscent of curry with a sweet and spicy coconut broth and other complex curry-like notes. I made this on Friday during a brief window I had before heading to a friends birthday. I needed something I could throw in the oven and forget about while I ran to the gym, and this worked perfectly with about 7 minutes of prep! I ended up buying some wine and a birthday card instead of going to the gym but the timing of 45 minutes still worked! I added some cauliflower and snap peas today to complete the dish and it turned out beautifully.

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Sesame Chicken Thighs

October 12, 2014

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I have been all about the chicken thighs lately and you should be too! The boneless, skinless variety are a healthier option and take almost no time to cook. I know purists will argue that the bone and skin are all flavour but you can’t beat the speed and ease of this recipe. If you have the foresight to marinate a day ahead the flavours have more time to develop, but even 30 minutes is usually enough time for the sweet sesame marinade to absorb. You can always hike up the flavour by making a little extra sauce and pouring it on top.

About my relationship with chicken thighs…

I make chicken thighs a lot but I am not yet sick of them and neither is Graham (I know this because he requests them all the time!). I think it is natural to attach yourself to an ingredient or family of ingredients.There is a lot of comfort in repetition, and the satisfying feeling of really getting to know something – let’s call it intimacy. This intimate understanding allows you to perfect your preparation and expand your creative reach. When I have chicken thighs in front of me I feel relaxed and let myself be inspired by whatever other ingredients I have handy – some leftover wine in the fridge, fresh herbs that are going off, and of course my enormous stash of condiments.The key is not to become anxious about all the other great recipes and ideas you should be testing out. This is a particular challenge for me in cooking and life… for example I find it VERY difficult to re-read books (even my favourites) because I think of all the other great books left to be read. However, I am learning to relish reading those great books again and recreating my rock solid recipes – I guess the crazier life gets the more you enjoy the calm of intimacy.

I recently re-read one of my favourite books “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and in this book Milan Kundera describes the German expression “einmal ist keinmal” or roughly translated “once is never”. Essentially if an experience (or delicious dish) happens only once, it may as well never have happened at all. I will refrain from describing the ontological conclusions that ensue, but I think it works for this context.

I was not expecting the chicken thighs to be so thought provoking… If you made it this far please continue reading for the very simple and delicious recipe 🙂

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