Tag Archives: dinner

Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts

I’m really excited about the Fall season (Halloween is around the corner), and I anticipate it with so much foodie excitement every year. The seasonal produce is versatile and perfect for robust soups and vegetable gratins.

Best of all… winter squash is back! I just discovered the Hidatsa variety: it’s super sweet and hearty like pumpkin. Although the name sounds pretty fancy, it’s easily found at the local farmers market.

This dish is hearty enough to eat for dinner, or could be a great side dish as well. Clearly I’m ready for Thanksgiving.

Roasted Hidatsa Squash with Wilted Spinach & Toasted Pine Nuts


You will need:

1 small to medium Hidatsa squash; halved and seeded (you could also save the seeds and toast them)

4 cups loose organic spinach

1 red cippolini onion; thinly chopped and caramelized

1/4 cup pure grade A male syrup

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 can red organic kidney beans (optional; you could also use giant white beans)

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a heavy-duty, large chef’s knife, halve the Hidatsa squash and discard the seeds and threads.

2. Place squash halves on lined baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle  maple syrup and olive oil in each squash half, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven* and set aside to cool. *reserve the remaining maple glaze and transfer to separate bowl with toasted pine nuts.

3. Caramelize the onions by preheating a heavy-bottomed pan using medium heat. Add olive oil, heat for another minute add onions. Stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to stir and cook onions until lightly browned or crispy (depending on your preference), about 20 minutes. Add spinach, stir and continue to cook another three to five minutes, or until wilted.

4. When squash is cool, peel using pairing knife and roughly chop. Combine squash and spinach mixture and serve. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and remaining maple glaze. Add beans if desired (great way to add protein) and drizzle seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Voila: a cozy, warm winter salad. Enjoy!

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Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

I’m going to be honest with you. I did not feel like cooking last night.

I just returned from a week-long business trip to Toronto, and spent the day playing catch up. Cooking was not in the cards for me; however, I still wanted to eat something healthy and delicious for dinner. I needed to satisfy my post-workout animal hunger (you’ve been there).

Since I made sure to go to the farmer’s market last weekend, I was fully stocked with fresh vegetables. So, I decided to whip together a farm fresh quinoa salad. This was one of the easiest salads I’ve ever made, requires little equipment, and virtually no clean-up. It’s yummy and completely guilt-free, and I’m obsessed. Naturally.

It’s a lazy person’s perfect post-workout feast. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

You will need:

1 cup cooked & cooled organic quinoa (according to directions on box)

1/2 pint organic quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 chopped english cucumber (no need to peel, makes it crunchier)

1/2 chopped ripe avocado

sprinkle of organic freeze dried corn kernels (like this)

1 large garlic clove, minced

chopped basil

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar (or any good quality vinegar)

sea salt to taste

1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, basil and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; drizzle to your liking. Season with sea salt to taste. Stir.

2. Slowly add the quinoa to the tomato mixture and stir. Keep adding until you achieve the right balance of quinoa to vegetables (aka eyeball it).

3. Top off with chopped avocado and sprinkle with freeze dried corn. Voila! Easy-peasy.

 

 

 

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Broiled Tofu Tacos

I’m excited about this post for two reasons:

1. I just got a new 50mm fixed lens; the photos in this post are seriously improved.

2. I’ve never used my broiler before, and the results were wonderful. It’s my new favorite cooking method (and fast, too!)

I originally found this recipe in my current favorite vegan book, Pure Vegan (also used here and here), but decided to transform it into tacos. It was really very easy: I followed the recipe straight from the book, and then stuffed it in a crunchy corn tortilla. It’s so good, very light, and healthy. I’m a little obsessed.

Broiled Tofu, Carrot, and Shiitake Mushroom Tacos

*serves 4

You will need:

1.5 pounds of carrots (peeling is not necessary)

1.75 pounds extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

3 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

5 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

lime wedges for garnish

1 package corn tortillas, cooked over an open flame until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side)

1. Set an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut the carrots crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Cut the pieces lengthwise to a width of about 1.5 inches. Cut the tofu into 1.5 inch dice. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

3. In a large bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, salt and ginger. Add the mushrooms and gently toss until evenly coated with the marinade. Transfer the mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet. Put the tofu in the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss to evenly coat.

4. Broil the mushrooms for 5 to 10 minutes, until gender, turning once about halfway through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Leave the oven on.

5. Add the carrots to the bowl of tofu and toss evenly to coat. Transfer the carrots and tofu to the same baking sheet, reserving the marinade.

6. Broil the carrots and tofu for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning a time or two as needed. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, transfer to the bowl of reserved marinade. Add the mushrooms, green onions, vinegar, and sesame oil and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer to a large platter or smaller individual dishes and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Optional Step 7: heat corn tortillas over an open flame on your stove until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side), add tofu mixture and enjoy!

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Seasonal Gems: Watermelon & Plums

I always like to stress the importance of seasonal produce. There are so many great arguments for buying local, organic food as opposed to the alternative; but the most obvious is reflected in taste. Seasonal just tastes better.

I recently got together with friends for a potluck dinner; we each brought something to share. Watermelon has been in season all summer, so I already knew the main star of my dish. I settled on a salad with prawns, arugula, watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint.

My favorite part about the dish, besides the just-picked freshness, was the variety of textures. It also went along famously with my friend’s plum prosciutto bruschetta, also an in-season winner. The combination of the two make a really easy, simple, summer meal. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon Salad

*serves 4 as a side

1 small seedless watermelon, sliced into chunks

10 cooked prawns

1/2 package arugula

1 english cucumber, peeled and sliced into chunks

10 mint leaves, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you love it)

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, prawns, and mint. Add olive oil (drizzle to your liking) and toss. Add arugula, and lightly toss. Sprinkle feta on top, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Plum Prosciutto Bruschetta

8 slices of fresh, rustic bread; toasted

Humboldt Fog goat cheese

1 package prosciutto

4 organic plums; sliced and pits removed

arugula to garnish

1. Layer the following ingredients to create easy, instant bruschetta: goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula and plums. Serve.

 

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Tropical Prawn Salad with Mango, Avocado & Charred Corn

This recipe was the product of a long day. You would think since I write all day at work, the last thing I would want to do is come home and write about food. It’s quite the opposite; I couldn’t wait to channel my energy from the day into a random, new and fun dish.

I love this summery salad because of it’s bright colors and fresh bite. The snappy prawns along with sweet mango, creamy avocado and crispy corn make this salad an everyday must. The best part about this salad: the corn component makes it hearty enough for dinner (but light enough so you feel great).

Tropical Prawn Salad with Mango, Avocado & Charred Corn

Serves 2

.5 lb fresh, peeled and deveined prawns

2 tbsp organic tamari sauce

1 mango, peeled and sliced into chunks

1 whole avocado, sliced into chunks

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 ears of corn, husks removed

2 cups butter lettuce, washed and sliced

2 limes

2 cloves of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly cracked pepper to taste

1. Wash the shrimp with cold water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a bowl with tamari, a squeeze of lime juice, and a few dashes of pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side (you will notice a dark pink color and a little crispiness). Set aside, but do not wash the pan.

3. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and place the two whole ears of corn in the pan. After about 4 minutes, turn the heat down, and turn the corn over. You will notice a brown charr color on one side of the corn. Cook another 2 minutes, and set aside to cool.

4. Once corn is cool, cut off the cob. Combine corn, charred scallions (yes, even the crispy ones from the pan), butter lettuce, chopped mango, and shrimp in a bowl. Toss.

5. To make the dressing, combine lime juice (about 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper and blend until combined.

6. Add avocado to the salad, and drizzle dressing on top. Enjoy alongside a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white and so great with food). Happy Friday! This is what I’m doing…stoked for the weekend.

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Addicting Double Lemon Chicken

I rarely make chicken breast because the cooking process is so easy, and never considered it to be a “wow that’s so good” kind of meal. I ‘m notorious for making overly complex recipes, just because I like a challenge in the kitchen (the more steps, the better!) In my honest opinion, chicken breast is pretty vanilla.

I felt this way up until I discovered Double Lemon Chicken Breasts from Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic; this recipe is particularly addicting. The in-season, sweet tomatoes combined with the tart chicken provides the perfect balance for your taste buds. Just try not to go back for seconds (go for it – it’s low-carb).This chicken breast recipe is perfect for any occasion. Serve it hot or cold, for dinner with friends or a picnic on the beach. It goes with pretty much everything. I’ve fallen back in love with boring, old chicken.

Double Lemon Chicken Breasts with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa 

For the Tomato Basil Salsa-

1 pint fresh organic cherry tomatoes, quartered (use a pairing knife)

7 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of sea salt

freshly cracked pepper to taste

For the Lemon Chicken-

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

8 skinless boneless chicken breast filets, pounded until 1/2 inch thick

Grapeseed or canola oil

2 or 3 lemons, halved

1. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. To prepare the chicken, combine the flour, lemon zest, and salt and pepper on a flat dinner plate. Using a fork, mix together until thoroughly combined.

3. Wash the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Dredge each fillet in the flour mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Set aside.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the grapeseed oil, using just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken fillets in batches, cooking each side until lightly golden (about 2 minutes per side). Before removing the chicken from the pan, squeeze generous amounts of lemon juice over each piece. Serve topped with the basil salsa.

I could honestly eat this more than once per week; it’s hard to get sick of. Enjoy!

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Weekday Health Spot: The Plant Cafe

My greatest joy — exploring restaurants — is also my greatest weakness, and makes my wallet unhappy.

Since I like to eat healthy during the week, I try to cook at home (saves money, too); which leaves  room to dine about town during the weekend. However, I definitely have those weak moments where I crave a restaurant rendez-vous, so I like to have a strategy:

1. No sit down service. If you plan to eat out, you can avoid a more costly bill by eating at smaller cafes. These types of restaurants usually have fast, healthier options like soups and salads, which are perfect during the week.

2. Organic produce from local farmers. Wherever you go, try to make sure the restaurant has organic produce and local farmers/suppliers. There seems to be an unexplainable correlation between tasty, fresh food and local sources — you really can’t go wrong on this one.

3. Walk instead of alternate transportation. If you are lucky enough to live within a 5-10 minute walking distance to decent restaurants, make sure to take advantage of this exercise opportunity.

If you follow my strategy, then it’s OK to eat out during the week. I am a huge advocate of The Plant Cafe Organic, which falls nicely into the three rules listed above. It’s fast, economical, and the produce is local and organic. Not to mention, it’s absolutely delicious.  You can bet this place is part of my weekly rotation.

Sweet Potato Soup with Sunflower Seeds

Dino Kale Salad with Quinoa, Carrots, Roasted Almonds, Cucumber, Avocado & Sesame Seeds

Spicy Red & Green Juice: beets, carrot, celery, apple and ginger

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