Friday, 24 August 2012

Grilled Peaches with Almonds

One of the best things about August is fresh, juicy peaches. At this time of year is when peaches from B.C. are available for $0.96/lb in the grocery store - B.C. peaches are the closest thing to local peaches we'll get in prairie land.
A couple nights ago, I wanted to do something a little different with a peach, so I came up with this simple recipe. I called it "Grilled Peaches", although I cooked them in a ceramic frying pan with ridges on it for that grilled look.
Grilled Peaches with Almonds
1 large peach, peeled, pit removed, cut into four pieces
2 tsp. margarine
Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. slivered almonds

Combine the margarine and spices. Melt the margarine in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the peach pieces. Sprinkle the peaches with brown sugar. It's OK to get some sugar on the bottom of the pan - this will help the carmelization process. Turn the peaches every minute or so. Cook until the peach juice/margarine/sugar begins to carmelize on the bottom of the pan. Transfer peaches to a plate or bowl for serving. Add the almonds to the pan and toss for 1-2 minutes, until thoroughly coated with remaining peach juice/margarine/sugar. Sprinkle on top of peaches and enjoy!!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Roasted Potato and Vegetable Salad

Roasted Potatoes and Veggie Salad
Baby potatoes
Brussel sprouts
Red pepper
Olive oil
Desired seasonings (seat salt, pepper, basil, rosemary, chili powder, curry, dill, garlic powder, etc. are some suggestions)
Baby spinach or salad greens
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Pre-heat oven to 350F.Clean potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Clean brussel sprouts and cut them in half. Clean the red pepper and cut it in small chunks or rings. Spread the potatoes on a cookie sheet. Spread the sprouts and red pepper on another cookie sheet. Brush potatoes and veggies with olive oil. Sprinkle with desired seasonings. Put the potatoes in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, add the veggies and cook everything for another 30 minutes.
While the vegetables and potatoes are cooking, place 2 cups of green on each plate. When the potatoes and veggies are done, top the greens with them. Add about 2 tablespoons of dressing to each plate. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

I'm not sure why, but a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make burgers out of portobello mushrooms, so I did a Google search, bought some mushrooms, and came up with these burgers. They're easy, juicy, and super flavorful. Not to mention much healthier than a traditional beef patty.

6 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems cut off
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Dash salt
6 whole wheat hamburger buns

1 red bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
2 tbsp. olive oil
Dash salt
2 tomatoes, sliced
12 sandwich pickle slices

To make the burgers: combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each of two large freezer bags. Add 3 mushrooms to each bag. Seal, and shake the bags gently until the mushrooms are covered. Let sit flat for at least 15 minutes.

In a large pan, saute the bell pepper and onion in the oil and salt over medium-high until well done. 

In a separate pan, cook the mushrooms with their extra marinade 5-8 minutes on each side, until the mushroom and dark, tender, and looks shrunken.

Toast the buns if desired. Spread hummus on both sides. Add a mushroom to each bun. Divide the pepper, onion, tomatoes, and pickles evenly among the buns.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

One thing I absolutely love homemade is vinaigrette. I don't think store bought varieties can ever compare! They're super simple, and there is an endless number of flavor combinations you can experiment with. I came up with a simple honey-dijon vinaigrette a few days ago, and it's a great replacement for the store bought honey dijon dressing we were buying.

Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

Makes 1 1/4 cups, or 20-1 tablespoon servings

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup liquid honey
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pureed garlic

Pour the oil into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the vinegar. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

NOTE: You can use olive oil instead of the vinegar, but it can't be refrigerated, as the olive oil becomes solid in cold temperatures.

You can also adjust the tangy-ness by increasing or decreasing the amount of honey accordingly.

Nutrition Information
Per serving, 1 tbsp.
Calories: 74
Fat: 6g
Sodium: 59 mg
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 0g 

Monday, 6 August 2012

My first entry!! :)

I've been wanting to have a blog for a long time, but for one reason or another I haven't started one. As you may have guessed from the title of the blog, this is going to be about cooking and food. I eat vegan-ish, meaning I don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs, and I still eat fish occasionally, and I'm not super strict about small amounts of milk, eggs, etc., added in cooking. And I will eat "normal" when I'm at someone's house. I used to think that being vegan is extreme; but I'm finding that it's really not all that extreme. It sound restrictive, but in reality it's opening up a whole new world of food I would never have tried before. Foods that I am, in fact, enjoying.

One of those foods is greens. Spinach, kale, swiss chard, rapini. Several years ago, I ate some cooked spinach, nearly gagged, and ever since then, swore off greens altogether. Last year, I discovered that I like greens if they are sauteed with a little oil and seasoning. Delicious. When Mom and I went shopping last week, we got some "broccoli rabe", also know as "rapini", which we haven't tried before. What is it exactly? Well, it a short dark leafy green with "broccoli buds" on it. After doing a Google search, I decided to saute the greens in olive oil, garlic, and chili powder. I then topped the dish off with chopped kalamata olives and fresh squeezed lime juice. Salty and acidic flavors help soften the bitter taste of the greens. The greens were strong tasting, but good. The only thing I didn't like was that they were a little bit on the tough side.

Chili Lime Rapini 
Total cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

10 stalks broccoli rabe
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. pureed garlic
dash chili powder
dash sea salt
10 kalamata olives, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime

Place the washed and trimmed greens in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water. Blanching the greens helps reduce the bitterness; placing them in the ice bath stops the cooking process and preserves the bright green color. Heat the olive oil with the garlic and chili powder in a large pan. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the olives and lime juice and cook just until the olives are warm. Serve immediately.