Mexican Caesar Salad

 

chicken caesar salad - trust in kim

Here’s an interesting twist on the usual Caesar – this one has an avocado and yogurt in the dressing, and a few extra veggies, making it a pretty healthy salad.  The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie.

I didn’t actually make this one myself; I’ve injured my shoulder and can’t cook, so my wonderful friend John came over and cooked this for me.

What you need:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • cucumber, sliced into rounds (I like to use the mini cukes, but English works too)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1.5 oz Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets (I used a bit of anchovy paste)
  • 5 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • juice of 1 lemon + an extra lemon just in case you need it
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • a small loaf of bread (we made it into garlic toast)

What you do:

  1. Place the chicken on a large sheet of parchment paper and toss it with salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano, and a little olive oil.  Fold the parchment paper over and flatten the chicken to about 3/4 inches thick by basking it with a rolling-pin.  Get  a grill pan or a cast iron frying pan really hot before placing the chicken in the pan.  Grill for 3-4 minutes per side.  It should get nice and browned.  Remove the chicken from the pan
  2. Fry the bacon until crispy, then let it sit on a paper towel to remove the excess fat..
  3. To make the dressing, put the avocado flesh, half the grated Parmesan, garlic, anchovies, yogurt, lemon juice, a few drops of Worcestershire, and the olive oil into a blender (or use an immersion blender as I did). Blend until smooth, then add a little salt and pepper to taste, and possible more lemon juice.
  4. Break pieces of washed and dried lettuce into a large bowl and add about half of the dressing, mixing until it is all coated. Toss in some tomatoes and cucumber rounds. You can either arrange the salad on a platter, or on individual serving plates: arrange the chicken on top, then crumble some bacon on top, along with some Parmesan.
  5. Enjoy with a nice loaf of warm crusty bread or garlic bread.

Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Sauce

Roasted Butternut and Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing - trust in kim

This roasted veggie salad is one of my newer favourites. The veggies caramelize and become even more delicious when they are roasted, but this salad is really just an excuse to use this tahini dressing.

You can easily make it into a full meal by adding some quinoa or another grain.  I’ve also made it with some sumac-spiced chicken on the side.

What you need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • baby spinach

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of hot sauce

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and get two baking pans ready.
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Cut the stem off; if you wish you can peel it, but the peel is edible, as it turns softer when it is baked. Cut the squash into slices and toss them with a little olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet, salt and pepper lightly, then put into the oven.  It will need about 30 minutes to cook.
  3. Cut the squash into florets and place on another baking sheet.  Throw it into the oven and set the timer for about 15 minutes.  At that time you can flip them over so the tops have a chance to brown up.  Flip the squash oven now too.
  4. When the vegetables have both browned up nicely they are ready to eat. If one looks done before the other you should pull it out of the oven.
  5. While the vegetables are in the oven you can make the tahini dressing.  Begin by putting the tahini in a bowl and add a little bit of water to mix until the tahini becomes liquid.  Then add more water until it is all combined.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Place the spinach on a large plate, (add your grains now if you are using them) and top it with the squash and cauliflower.  Drizzle with the tahini dressing.
  7. Enjoy!

Vegan “Cream” of Mushroom Soup #2

vegan cream of mushroom soup - trust in kim

The “cream” in this soup is pureed cashews; they add creaminess without dairy, but also a hint of sweetness.  And it doesn’t taste like soup with nuts in it.

This yummy soup is one I’ve made before, but this time I kept some of the mushroom slices whole instead of blending them all in.  I really like that little mushroomy bite, both for the texture and the flavour.  I also used some dried mixed wild mushrooms in this version.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • a few dried wild mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

For the Cashew Cream:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water

What you do:

  1. Soak the cashews in the half cup of water and set aside.
  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in about 1/4 cup boiling water.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the chopped onions, sautéing them until they are slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set a small bowl of the fried mushrooms aside to mix in later.
  4. Add the broth and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid if you’re using them.  Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, puree the cashews until they combine with the water to make a smooth, thick liquid.
  6. When it is ready, blend the soup until there are no large chunks of mushroom.  Stir in the cashew cream.  The original recipe says to strain the soup now, but I liked it the way it was.
  7. Season with pepper, and possibly with salt.  Because it has soy sauce you may not need the salt.
  8. Reheat the soup and serve with some fried mushroom slices on top.

This works well as leftovers, and for freezing.

vegan cream of mushroom with cheese toasts - trust in kim

Fish Cakes in Tomato Sauce

P1030219

I love fish, but I rarely cook it at home.  Not really sure why, it’s just not something I like to do.  Maybe it’s because of the fishy smell in the house after.  This one has no fishy smell or taste, just yum, and good for you.  I’m trying to cook more fish because it’s good for me, and this is a really delicious way to include more fish into your diet.

Yes, I have blogged this recipe before, but the picture was terrible, and the recipe really is amazing.  It’s from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook.  This time I had some mahi mahi in my freezer that I wanted to use up, and worked really well in this dish.  You can use any white fish for this recipe; Ottolenghi suggests cod halibut, hake or pollock.

I brought the leftovers to work, and the people who ate it really enjoyed it.

I made this with whole wheat bulghur, which was good, but I think brown rice was a better match.

What you need for the tomato sauce:

2 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (I once used smoked – not as successful with this recipe!)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

1-400 gram/14 oz  can chopped tomatoes (I added some cherry tomatoes I had in the fridge)

1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped coarsely

salt and pepper to taste

What you need for the fish cakes:

3 slices white bread with crusts removed (about 60 grams) (I had no bread so I substituted bread crumbs)

1 & 1/2 lbs cod, tilapia, halibut, hake or pollock

1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

30 grams flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

30 grams cilantro, finely chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 extra-large eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)

What you do:

1. To make the tomato sauce, begin by heating the olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and spices and cook until the onion is soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, chile, garlic, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add freshly ground pepper and more salt if you need it. Keep this simmering so it is hot when you add the fish to it. (If you’re making rice, you could start it now)

2. To make the fish cakes, begin by putting the bread in a food processor and making bread crumbs, then place in a bowl.  (or just use bread crumbs) Chop the fish up very finely and add to the bowl along with all of the other ingredients except the olive oil.  Mix it all together with your hands.  Form the mixture into cakes about 8 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick.  You may need to refrigerate them for about 1/2 an hour to firm up a little.

3. To begin cooking the fish cakes, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan, then add half of the fish cakes, searing  for a few minutes, until quite browned. Carefully flip the cakes and brown the other side.  Place the seared fish cakes in the hot tomato sauce and then sear the other half of the fish cakes.

4. Once all the fish cakes have been placed in the tomato sauce, add about a cup of water (or white wine) to cover the cakes partially.  Cover the pan and simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and turn off the heat about ten minutes before serving to let the cakes settle.

I liked them when they were served hot, but the cookbook says they are good at room temperature too.  Serve over rice or bulghur, or with bread to soak up the sauce, and garnish with a little mint or cilantro.

fish cakes and tomato sauce - trust in kim

Green Couscous

green couscous - trust in kim

This scrumptious recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty – love this book!  I used the larger Israeli couscous, which is also called pearl couscous, but you can feel free to use the smaller version.  I really liked the texture of the larger couscous, which has a bite more similar to a small pasta. The recipe involves cooking the couscous, then coating it with a lovely green herb paste, then topping it with pistachios, green onions, fried onions, arugula or spinach, and a little green chile.

I enjoyed this salad alongside roasted cauliflower and squash with tahini sauce. I absolutely love this meal, and my leftovers at work were the envy of many. This would also make a great picnic salad, instead of a pasta salad.

What you need:

 

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (or regular – just cook it according to the package directions)
  • just over 1 cup boiling water/ chicken broth/ vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (I like to use a sweet onion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh green chile, finely sliced
  • 1 & 1/4 cups arugula or baby spinach

What you need for the herb paste:

  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

  1. Cook the couscous according to the package instructions.  I used homemade chicken broth to give it a little more flavour, but you can use water or veggie broth if you have it.
  2. Fry the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until they are golden and soft.  Mix in the salt and cumin, then set aside to cool
  3. Blend all the herb paste ingredients together.  You can use a food processor, but I used an immersion blender because that’s what I have in my tiny kitchen, and it worked well.  Add a bit more olive oil if you need; I left out 2 tablespoons of oil that the recipe called for.
  4. Mix the herb paste into the cooked and slightly cooled couscous, then mix in the pistachios, green onions, green chile and arugula or spinach.  I added the spinach to individual portions because I knew I would have leftovers, and I thought it would wilt over night if I mixed it in.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

3 Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

grilled cheese sandwich - trust in kim

 

Having just made some homemade tomato soup, and knowing how much my sweetie would love it, I made up this grilled cheese sandwich for dipping in the soup.  While the photo doesn’t look like the cheese was gooey, it really was.  And the combination of cheeses was awesome.

What you need:

  • 2 slices whole grain bread (I used Uprising Breads)
  • cheese – I used some Havarti, aged Gouda, and Asiago
  • butter

What you do:

  1. Cut some slices of each cheese.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium and add some butter.  Put one slice of bread into the pan and layer the cheese on top of it.  Put the other bread slice on top, then turn the heat down to medium low and let it fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add a little more butter to the pan, then flip the sandwich.  I flipped it a few times through the cooking process to make sure it didn’t burn. You want to toast the bread nicely and melt the cheese at the same time.  The lower heat helps to accomplish this. I tend to go easy on the butter, but I know that using more makes it taste extra good, so do what you feel right about.
  4. Remove the sandwich from the pan when the cheese is gooey and cut it into halves or quarters.  Serve while hot with a bowl of tomato soup.

Roasted Fennel and Root Vegetables

roasted fennel and root vegetables - trust in kim

These veggies smell great as they are roasting, and they were fabulous alongside a roast chicken. So easy, and a delicious comfort food on a cold winter night.  Feel free to add more or less of any of the vegetables, or omit some altogether.

What you need:

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 3-4 small beets, peeled
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  If you’ve just roasted a chicken, as I did, put the bird aside with a cover on to rest just before you put the vegetables in the oven.
  2. Scrub, then chop the vegetables into pieces that are about 4cm.  The sweet potato can be a little bigger, as it cooks faster. Put them all on a baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil.
  3. Roast for about 10 minutes, then take them out of the oven and toss them around a bit.  Return to the oven and let them cook for another 10 minutes, or until they have browned nicely.
  4. Salt and pepper the vegetables, then serve immediately.
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