Roasted Root Vegetable Chips

roasted root vegetable chips - trust in kim

Even though I know they are so bad for me, I really really love potato chips. I never ever buy them unless it’s a special occasion because I know I will not be able to leave a single chip in the bag. I’ve tried some of those fancy root vegetable chips, and loved them too.

Looking for a healthy alternative, I figured I could make my own root vegetable chips at home, using much less oil than the store-bought bags of chips. The trick is getting them very thinly and uniformly sliced. To do this I used a mandoline.

The picture of the roasted chips above was taken before I decided I needed to put them back in the oven to get a little crisper. They should look more browned than in that photo.

What you need:

  • 1 small potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 beet
  • olive oil
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the vegetables as thinly and uniformly as you can.
  3. Place the vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and some salt.
  4. Spread the vegetables in one layer on a baking sheet. Keep each type of vegetable together; the roasting time varies between the vegetable types.
  5. Roast for about 15 minutes, then check the chips. If some are done, remove them, then let the rest continue to roast, checking every 5 minutes until they are done. They will get crisper as they cool.
  6. It’s best to eat these the day you make them, as they will get a little soft.

sliced root vegetables - trust in kim

Healthy Air-popped Popcorn with Olive Oil and Nutritional Yeast

healthy popcorn - trust in kim

This is one of my absolute favourite snacks. I know, butter on popcorn is delicious. But so is this! And olive oil has so many health benefits. One that I just found about is that it can help prevent osteoporosis because it aids in calcium absorption. As well, nutritional yeast has many nutrients, including B vitamins. You can adjust the amount of salt in this homemade popcorn, if that is a health issue for you.

Many a savoury craving have been done away with by this bowl of goodness. Right now I’m using a Tuscan herb infused olive oil to drizzle on it, but I’ve typically used a nice extra-virgin olive oil. There are a lot of infused olive oils out there these days, so you could experiment with them.

I used to make popcorn in the microwave – throw the kernels into a paper bag, fold the top over a little and nuke it, turning the microwave off as soon as the popping stops. This was an excellent method until one day when the bag caught on fire and melted the inside of my microwave. Now I use the stove top method.

What you need:

  • popcorn kernels, a few tablespoonfuls per person
  • olive oil – good quality extra-virgin, or an infused one
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • nutritional yeast

What you do:

  1. Place the popcorn kernels in a large pot that isn’t too heavy (unless you have super strong wrists) and put the lid on it. Have a large bowl standing by.
  2. Turn the stove on high heat and place the pot on it, giving it regular shakes. As soon as you hear the first pop you have to keep shaking, so the popcorn doesn’t burn, and each kernel has a chance to pop. As soon as you don’t hear any popping take the pot off the stove.
  3. Lift the lid carefully (some of those unpopped guys like to jump out at this point) and pour the popcorn into the bowl.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the popcorn. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast. Mix it all up so the popcorn is evenly coated. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs. Eat it while it’s still warm.

Enjoy! And know that it is as good for you as it tastes.

Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses

yotam ottolengi butternut squash - trust in kim

Fall is here, so here’s a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe that is delicious and comfort-foody.  It isn’t the simplest recipe, as you have to bake the squash, burn the eggplant (doesn’t sound yummy but it is) and make it into a sauce, plus toast some nuts and seeds.  But if you love to cook you’ll probably enjoy making and eating this one.  The recipe is from Ottolenghi the Cookbook. (Thank you John for this fabulous surprise birthday gift – he saw me oohing and awing over it, and went back and bought it for me.)

I found it wasn’t necessary to add all the oil that the recipe called for, so I cut the oil content from 6 tablespoons to 3.  Feel free to add more oil if you wish.  The cookbook says to let the squash cool before serving, but I changed the order of the preparation so I could take the squash out of the oven last and serve it hot.

What you need for the squash recipe:

1 large butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds (if you can’t find them it is still so delicious without)

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1/2 cup basil leaves (I forgot to buy these! but it was good without them too)

salt and pepper

What you need for the burnt eggplant recipe:

1 medium eggplant

2/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used my regular yogurt)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.5 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Set the oven temperature to 350F.  Sprinkle the seeds and nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.

2. To make the sauce begin by placing the eggplant over a flame – on your stove-top if you have gas, on a barbecue if you don’t, and in the oven if you have neither of those.  Burn the eggplant for 12-15 minutes, turning with tongs from time to time.  The skin should be dry and cracked, and you should smell a smoky aroma.  If you do this in the oven it will need a much longer cooking time.

3. Make a long cut through the eggplant and scoop out the flesh, doing your best to avoid the burnt skin.  Drain in a colander for 10 minutes, then chop coarsely. (you could get the eggplant into the oven now if you want-see step 5 )

4. Stir together the eggplant, yogurt, oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, parsley and garlic.  Mix together and add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Raise the oven to 425F.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into wedges that are about 2cm thick.  Arrange the squash on a baking dish preferably with the skin side down and brush with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the wedges are tender and slightly browned.

6.  Arrange the squash slices on a serving platter and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top, then garnish with the basil.  Serve with the sauce on the side.

Enjoy!

Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Lemony Kale with Onions, Garlic and Pine Nuts

Another quick, easy and delicious way to serve up the super-food kale!  Kale is one of the few things I can harvest from my garden year-round, so it’s always good to find some new ways to cook it up.

What you need:

1-2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

olive oil

1/4 of a red onion, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 bunch kale, roughly chopped

1/2 a lemon

salt, to taste

What you do:

1.  Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the sliced onions and cook until they are browned.

2.  Add the garlic, cooking briefly, then add the chopped kale.  Toss the kale with tongs a few times until it is wilted and the onions and garlic are distributed throughout.

3.  Squeeze on a little lemon, a little salt too, and then toss the pine nuts in.

Serve it right away!

Spanish Salad

This isn’t an authentic Spanish recipe; instead I was inspired by the amazing vegetables I found in the markets of Barcelona.  Was it because I was on holiday, or did these veggies truly have more flavour than the ones at home?  I’m not sure, but since they were bursting with flavour, they didn’t need much doctoring up with dressing.  I just drizzled on a little extra-virgin olive oil and cracked some salt on top.  Simple and amazing.

What you need:

a few tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes

a few mini cucumbers

an avocado

olives with the pits in them

What you do:

1.  Chop the veggies up and put them into a bowl.

2.  Drizzle with the best quality olive oil you have.

3.  Crack on a little salt.

I served mine with some chorizo, flatbread and a glass of red wine.  Buon provecho!

Monserrat