Friday, April 29, 2011

The Ultimate Caesar Salad: my mom's favorite

A few years ago while my mom was over for a visit, my hubby Kelly grilled a bunch of romaine lettuce heads on the BBQ and drizzled this salad dressing with grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper sprinkled on top. The result was spectacular and my mom talked about it for months thereafter. "Who would ever think to grill lettuce" she would say. Such a simple salad but so perfect it certainly does not need the crutch of croutons. Tonight we served ours with an organic BBQ'd steak from Empire Valley Beef on the side. Perfection.

Caesar Salad Dressing
from Rebar modern food cookbook

(yields 1 1/12 cups)
1 bulb of roasted garlic (drizzle olive oil over the top to roast)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp caper juice
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves (I only used one since I was going out later and didn't want super stinky breath)
pinch salt
black pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients, except oil in a food processor or blender and blend. Add olive oil in a thin stream. I served our dressing on grilled romaine lettuce with extra parmesan cheese and cracked pepper sprinkled on top.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spice Up Your Life

With my mind and taste buds still on the beach in Mexico, I've been using a lot of my favourite hot sauce lately called Valentina Salsa Picante. I first discovered this mind blowing stuff many years ago during a relaxing jaunt to La Paz which is a charming little seaside village located on the Baja peninsula of Mexico. Since then, I frequently toss it on everything from eggs on toast, tacos, burritos, rice dishes and I've even added it to a chicken marinade before. This stuff retails for a shocking $2.74 for 1 litre at Que Pasa which is a mexican specialty supermarket located in Richmond, B.C. I've never shopped around but I'm sure it could also be found at other specialty stores as well. It's always worth the trip out to Que Pasa for their freshly made tortillas and salsas. Delicioso!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Pirate Looks at Sixty

A quick shout out to my dad who just had his 60th birthday! To celebrate this milestone my whole familia travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for one blissful week filled with goofy family fun, awesome mexican food, sun and surf, lazy days by the pool and more margaritas and cervezas than I need to mention.
As a new mom I give thanks to my dad and I can only hope to be half the parent that my dad has been to my sisters and I. Throughout my youth as a competitive swimmer he regularly woke up with me at 5 am and drove me to and from countless gruelling hours at the pool, packed my sisters and I wholesome school lunches, helped us every night with math homework and cooked scones and pancakes for us every weekend all while running a successful business that he started from scratch. I've never heard him raise his voice nor say a bad word about anyone. In his 50's he battled cancer and now at 60 he is training for his first triathlon. Richard Wey I salute you! xox

My dad with his three young daughters (me lower left eating as usual)

A fun picture of Superman lazing in the Mexican pool

and at the beach

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Unconventional Easter Feast: Deconstructed Samosas

After a long day travelling home from a fabulous Mexican vacation with my family I suddenly realized it was Easter. Since my hubby and I were exhausted from sitting squished up for five hours on a plane holding a bouncing 7 month old baby and then a run for the BC ferries thereafter we decided to go for a simple yet unconventional Easter meal. These samosa sandwiches are so fantastically yummy you'll definitely be going back for seconds. The warmth of the spices goes down perfectly with a full bodied glass of red wine. We paired ours with Mission Hill Cabernet Merlot from the Okanagan Valley for a memorable Easter feast.

Spicy Peas and Mashed Potato Toasted Sandwiches
from VIJ's At Home (*serves 6)

1 lb potatoes
10 oz frozen peas
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp garam masala or ground cumin
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
10 bread rolls of choice
1 cup sour cream Indian dressing (see recipe below)

Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until cooked and then mash. While the potatoes are cooking rinse the peas in a colander in water to thaw and then add the peas to the mashed potato mixture. Saute onions until browned and then stir in ginger and saute for another 30 seconds. Add salt, garam masala and cayenne and sautee for 1 minute. Next add the pea and mashed potato mixture and mix in the chopped cilantro.

Toast the bread roll halves and the spread the sour cream dressing onto the bun and then spread the potato pea mixture on top. Serve as open faced or with another bun on top.

*I highly recommend making the whole batch even if you are not cooking for 6 people since this makes excellent next day leftovers for lunch.

Sour Cream Indian Dressing

1 cup sour cream (plain yogurt also works well)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp green fenugreek leaves (I omitted this and it worked well)
1 clove garlic finely chopped

Friday, April 8, 2011

Salmon Pasta: a great go to meal

My good friend and former coworker Ashley came for a visit this past weekend from snowy Calgary and weeks before she was due to arrive she requested that we make this salmon pasta recipe that I used to frequently bring for lunch at work leftover from the night before. Every time I would bring it to work she would drool over it, shyly ask for a taste and then demand the recipe. After helping me make it this weekend she will now be able to make it on her own and hopefully make her new coworkers envious when she brings it to work as leftovers. This is a great go to meal since it is cheap, simple to make and requires very few ingredients, oh and it is super yummy and healthy to boot.

Salmon Pasta
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 tomatoes, remove skins and deseed
pasta (I like to use whole wheat linguini)
pepper to taste
1 can wild salmon
pinch of red chilli flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch oregano
parmesan cheese
1-2 anchovies, chopped finely

Fry chopped onion in oil until soft (about 10 minutes) and then add the garlic and deseeded tomatoes. We often also remove the tomato skins in water but this step isn't completely necessary if you are in a rush. While you are doing this you can be cooking a big pot of pasta, I like to use whole wheat linguini. Next, add the salmon, oregano and chilli flakes. Cook sauce until tomatoes have cooked all the way through and then serve on pasta with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. This usually makes enough for 2 large portions plus leftovers for the next day's lunch.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spicy Cauliflower

After my fantastic birthday weekend of being spoiled by my two men and pure indulgence ie. cheesecake, brownies and too many glasses of red wine to even remember, I thought I'd better make something a little detoxifying. This recipe from Vij's at home is surprisingly quick and simple to make despite the long list of spices. I served mine with a side of quinoa and papadum which is a thin crisp, indian flatbread which can be eaten as a snack or alongside any meal. I discovered my love for papadum many years ago during a memorable trip to India with my adventurous sister Melody, I love its crunchy and nutty taste which always takes me back to that magical country.

Spicy Cauliflower
adapted slightly from Vij's at home

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 cups pureed tomatoes
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
salt to taste
1 tsp tumeric
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
*10 cloves (optional
pinch of cinnamon

* I accidentally misread this and added 5 cloves of garlic which actually tasted really great.

Cut up the cauliflower into large pieces, wash carefully in water. Combine oil and tomatoes in a pan and add spices. Saute well for 3-4 minutes and then add cauliflower. Reduce to low and cook until cauliflower is fully cooked but not too soft. Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Baked Kale Chips: better then you think!

Okay, okay, I know what you are thinking...another post about Kale? I can explain.....since I already had the purple kale from my blog picture I recently took, I had to find a way to use it before it starts wilting. Kale chips are super quick to make and tasty as can be. You'll be shocked at how the baked kale chips lose their harsh kale flavour and instead impart a lovely, light crispy potato chip quality. These kale chips will impress even the junk foodies in your life.

Kale Chips

1 large bunch Kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt, to taste

Tear off all the kale leaves from the tough inner stem into a bowl and toss in enough olive oil to fully coat all the leaves. Toss in some salt and then spread onto a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheight for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.

Variation: add graded parmesan cheese sprinkled on top