Slightly Homemade French Onion Dip

Slightly Homemade French Onion Dip - trust in kim

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to do it all.  I have a lovely, time-consuming recipe for a French onion dip  made from scratch.  But this one is for when you need a little something to go with the veggies and you’re short on time.  I make my recipe with yogurt, but other people use sour cream and mayo, so feel free to use those if you wish.  I prefer it to be a little healthier, hence the yogurt, plus  think it tastes really good this way.

What you need:

  • plain yogurt (homemade recipe here) I use 3.5% fat
  • packaged dry onion soup mix
  • a little red onion
  • cheesecloth for straining (optional)

What you do:

  1. If you’re really in a hurry you can skip this first step; your dip will just be a bit more watery.  In this case it might be good to use a little sour cream or mayonnaise to mix with the yogurt. Here’s what you do: Place a sieve above a bowl and line the sieve with cheesecloth.  Put about 1 & 1/2 cups of yogurt into the cheesecloth.  Place in the fridge and drain the yogurt for an hour, or longer if you have time. You may need to remove some liquid from the bowl during the draining process.
  2. Finely chop some red onion (a few tablespoons).  Remove the yogurt from the cheesecloth and put it in a bowl; add some of the red onion, reserving a little for a garnish.
  3. Add some onion soup mix to taste, a little at a time.
  4. Garnish with some more red onion.
  5. Serve with veggies and/or chips.

Open Kibbeh

kibbeh - trust in kim

Here  is another Yotam Ottolenghi recipe from his Jerusalem cookbook.  It is not a traditional kibbeh recipe; this one is layered with a bulgur crust on the bottom, meat and onion, then the tahini on top.  It takes a bit of time to get this together, but there’s nothing really difficult about it.  I might make a little more of the tahini sauce next time, because I didn’t have enough to get to the edges of my kibbeh, and the meat got a little crunchy because of that.  Yet still yummy!

Serve this with fattoush or tabbouleh salad or even just a nice green salad.

What you need:

  • scant 1 cup/125 grams fine bulgur wheat
  • 200 mL water
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil/ 90 mL
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 green chile, finely chopped
  • 12 oz / 350 grams ground lamb (substitute beef if you wish)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup/ 60 grams pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons self-rising flour (I just added a pinch each of salt and baking powder to regular flour)
  • 3 & 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • salt and pepper

What you do:

  1. Line the sides an 8-inch/ 20 cm springform pan with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover it with water.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the garlic, onion and chile until they are soft. Remove the onion mixture from the pan.
  4. Cook the lamb in the large frying pan for about 5 minutes, stirring, until browned.  Add the onion mixture and add the spices, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, some freshly ground pepper, most of the pine nuts and parsley, leaving some aside for the top. Cook this for a few minutes, then return from the heat and adjust seasonings.
  5.  Preheat the oven to 400F.
  6. Check to see if all the water has been absorbed into the bulgur; drain any remaining water.  Add the flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.  Work this mixture with your hands until it holds together.  Add a little more flour if it is too sticky.  Press firmly into the bottom of the springform pan so that it is compact and level.
  7. Add the lamb mixture and press it down a little.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the meat is very dark brown.
  9. While the kibbeh is in the oven whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, 3 & 1/2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt.
  10. Remove the kibbeh from the oven and spread the tahini over the top (closer to the edges than in my picture!), sprinkle with the nuts and parsley and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the tahini sauce has a little colour and the pine nuts are golden.
  11. Remove the kibbeh from the oven and let it cool until it is warm or room temperature.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sumac.  Remove the springform pan sides and parchment paper and cut into wedges to serve.

Coconut Carrot Cake with Creamcheese White Chocolate Icing

coconut carrot cake - trust in kim

I can’t really believe I haven’t posted this one before.  I’ve been making it for years, and it is a favourite or many people.  The recipe comes from the Rebar Cookbook, which was put out by a great little vegetarian restaurant in Victoria, BC.  There is a bit of work involved in this cake, but just chopping and grating a few things, nothing too technical.  It also makes nice cupcakes or a 9 x 13 cake.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

What you need for the icing:

  • 9 oz ( 270 grams) cream cheese (firm block, not spreadable) room temperature – very important
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 oz (90 grams) white chocolate
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted (could cut back to 2 & 1/2 cups)

What you do:

  1. Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans.  I like to  cut out circles of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pans for easy removal.  Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and chopped walnuts in a large bowl.
  3. In a mixing bowl beat the sugars with the eggs. Add the vanilla and beat on high-speed until the volume has tripled. With the beater on low-speed, pour the oil in slowly to blend it in.
  4.  Combine the remaining dry ingredients and gently stir them into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes sit in the pan for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto cooling racks.
  6. After the cakes have cooled, prepare the icing.  Begin by melting the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat and set aside to cool a little while you do the next part.
  7. Beat the room temperature cream cheese on high-speed until smooth and fluffy, then blend in the vanilla and butter.  Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and mix on high until smooth and fluffy (I added the chocolate when it was too warm, and I couldn’t get to the fluffy stage.  I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes and that solved the problem). Slowly add the icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides now and then. Beat on high until the icing  is light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.
  8. Spread the bottom layer of the cake with one-third of the icing, smoothing it evenly to the edges. Chill for 10 minutes. Place the top cake layer on and frost the top and sides. I garnished it with white chocolate curls, but my next choice was to make a border of chopped walnuts around the edge.  Toasted coconut or a decorative piped border are other options.
  9. Store refrigerated where it will keep for up to 4 days.

carrot cake - trust in kim

Guajillo Chile Salsa Grilled Prawns

guajillo chile salsa prawns - trust in kim

I got this guajillo chile salsa recipe from chef Eric Fisher at Altamar restaurant.  I decided to alter the recipe a little by using orange juice in place of white wine, and then I brushed these beautiful fresh prawns with it and grilled them.  Freshness is so important with seafood, as is grilling only enough to cook it.  Previously frozen prawns have a tougher texture, and overcooking also makes them tough.  That said, even at the fish counter the prawns may just be thawed after being previously frozen, so buy what you can.

This recipe makes enough salsa to keep in the fridge for a few weeks and use for other purposes, like grilling meats, or topping tacos or empanadas.  It’s not very spicy hot, but full of flavour, so if you like it really hot you’ll want to add a bit of hot sauce.

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 dried guajillo chili peppers, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • fresh prawns, shells removed but tails remaining

What you do:

  1. Chop the garlic rather than using a garlic press; the press just makes it mushy.
  2. Heat the olive oil to medium high in a frying pan, then add the garlic.  Stir the garlic around so it doesn’t burn, and add a big pinch each of salt and pepper.  When it starts to just get brown around the edges, add the orange juice.  Add the chili strips along with their seeds. Let this simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the frying pan from the heat and put the salsa into a blender with the parsley, or use an immersion blender, as I did. Taste and see if you think it needs more salt.
  4. Heat the grill to medium.
  5. Skewer the prawns.  I like to skewer each one through two parts, as you can see in the picture, so they don’t move around when I flip them.
  6. Brush some salsa on each prawn.  Make sure the rest of your meal is ready to go before you grill these, because they will be done quickly, and you want to eat them right away.
  7. Grill the prawns briefly on each side.  You will know they are done when they change colour from grey to salmon-coloured (depending on the type of prawns you are using). Remove from the grill immediately after they change colour, and serve.

I served mine with a lightly dressed salad.

Enjoy!

Green Gazpacho

green gazpacho - trust in kim

This soup is awesome! I was a little hesitant at first, as I’m not a big fan of green bell peppers, but since I have loved red gazpacho so much I thought I should at least give this a try.  After all, Yotam Ottolenghi wrote in his lovely cookbook Plenty that this is by far his favourite cold soup, so it must be good.  It is now one of my top favourites too.  It has so much flavour, and it’s got lots of healthy ingredients.  I made one big change, though – the recipe serving six people called for one whole cup! of olive oil! I cut that down to 1/4 cup.  Still takes great, and I feel better knowing I’m not eating almost 3 tablespoons of oil per serving.

While there is no cooking, there’s a bit of chopping, and then blending, so it’s not as quick as I thought it would be.  But it is totally worth a little extra chopping.

What you need:

  • 2 celery stalks (including leaves)
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 6 mini cucumbers (! & 1/4 lbs), peeled
  • 3 slices stale white bread with crusts removed
  • 1 fresh green chile (I used a jalapeno)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I just used my plain yogurt)
  • about 2 cups cold water
  • 9 oz ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper (I just used black)

What you do:

  1.  Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan or in the oven. Let them cool.
  2. Roughly chop the celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, bread, chile and garlic and place it in a blender. If you are using an immersion blender, as I did, just put the ingredients into a large bowl.  If you have the option to use a blender I recommend that, as it would be a bit easier to get the right consistency for all the vegetables.  Add the sugar, walnuts, spinach, basil, parsley, vinegar, oil, yogurt, most of the water, half of the ice cubes, salt, and some pepper.  Puree until smooth.  Add more water if you need, in order to get the right consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
  3. Add the remaining ice and blend for just a second or two to break it up a little.
  4. Serve with homemade croutons or a few walnuts sprinkled on top.

This makes 6 very generous portions.  I cut the recipe in half, which would be a great option for a starter-sized portion.

 

My Favourite Breakfast – yogurt, granola and fruit

yogurt, fruit and granola - trust in kim

Most days I enjoy some version of this breakfast, depending on the fruits that are available.  This one has blueberries and papaya – can’t wait until there are fresh local fruits available!

I make my own granola so I can control the ingredients and limit the fat and sugar content, and because I think it tastes great.

What you need:

What you do:

  1. Choose a pretty bowl, if that matters to you, and put some fruit in it.
  2. Add some yogurt.
  3. Top with granola.
  4. Enjoy.

Best served with a cup of tea, in my opinion.

Peanut Butter Granola

peanut butter granola-trust in kim

What you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • dash of salt (if there was none in the peanut butter)

 

What you do:

1. Combine the oats, and chopped nuts in a large bowl.

2. Melt the peanut  butter and add the honey or other sweetener and salt to it.  Stir this liquid into the nut and oat mixture and make sure there are no clumps of peanut butter remaining.

3. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes in total. First set the timer for 10 minutes, then break it up a little. Stir it again after another 10 minutes, then check and stir every five minutes until it is golden brown. Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.

I like to serve mine with yogurt and fruit, and sometimes just fruit and soy milk.

 

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