Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Vegan Southwestern Salad and Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

A pseudograin, quinoa is actually the seed of a plant closely related to spinach, beets and chard. It comes in a variety of colors, ranging from orange to black, purple, pink and white, but red and transparent yellow are the two most widely available varieties. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s rich in magnesium and manganese, and also contains significant levels of dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamins E and B-2. Because it’s wheat and gluten-free, quinoa is an ideal choice for those with a gluten allergy or intolerance.

Southwestern Salad

2-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce or leafy green of choice 
1 serving red quinoa cooked and chilled (1/4 cup dry) 
½ cup black beans 
½ cup corn 
½ cup jicama, sliced 
½ cup red pepper, chopped 
1 small tomato, chopped 
2 Tbsp red onion, diced 
1 avocado

For the dressing :
1/4 of a 10oz container of soft silken tofu, drained 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
1/2 tsp minced garlic 
½ tsp mustard 

To cook Quinoa:
Measure the amount of red quinoa you’d like to cook. Pour the seeds into a fine-mesh strainer and thoroughly rinse them under cold running water, lightly rubbing the seeds with your fingers.
Taste a seed once you’ve finished rinsing them. If it has a bitter taste, continue rinsing them until any bitterness is gone.
Measure your cooking liquid, which is twice the grain measurement. For example, 1 cup of quinoa requires 2 cups of liquid. You can use plain water or, for added flavor, vegetable, chicken or beef stock.
Place the rinsed quinoa and the liquid together in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the amount you’re making. Much like rice, quinoa expands as it absorbs the liquid. A 1-1/2 qt. saucepan is ample enough to cook a cup of quinoa.
Set the saucepan over medium heat. Stir the quinoa a couple of times as the water comes to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer. Stir the contents once or twice before covering the pan.
Cook the seeds until they absorb all the liquid, or about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When red quinoa is done cooking, it looks soft, and the germ ring along the outside edge of the seed becomes visible and separates slightly.
Serve immediately or allow the quinoa to cool before storing it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to five days.

Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 cup white sugar
·         1/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1/3 cup vegetable oil
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
·         1 cup water

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2.    Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
3.    Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25  minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
I added 1/2 cup chocolate chips and shredded coconut

For a vegan 'buttercream' frosting I mixed together 1/4 cup softened margarine, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and about half a tablespoon soymilk or enough to make the consistency spreadable.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Penne with Italian Sausage

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Penne with Italian Sausage
8 on the vine tomatoes, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups Penne
4 Italian sausages
1/4 cup parsley
2 cups mozzarella
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs 

Roast tomatoes and garlic with olive oil in a preheated oven set at 400 for 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, squeeze the meat out of the sausage skins into a pan, really breaking it up. Fry for about 10 minutes until the meat browns and becomes crispy.
Cook Penne according to package directions.
Drain reserving some of the water. 
Return pasta to pot.
Combine 1/2 the mozzarella, chopped parsley, breadcrumbs and roasted tomatoes and garlic and sausage with pasta. 
The parsley growing on my balcony
Add some of the pasta water if desired.
Spread mixture into 13 x 9 baking dish and top with remaining cheeses.
Cover with foil. Bake in oven set at 375 for 15 minutes.
Remove foil, return to oven for another 15 minutes.

Maple and Dijon Glazed Salmon with Smoky Sweet Onions and Oven Roasted Veggies

Simply Divine
These gorgeous vegetables are all locally grown. 
The beets, turnip and carrots were given to me by my friend James Manderville, and the others from one of my neighbours at the Davie Village Community Garden.
Keep an eye peeled for recipes using my very own grown heirloom tomatoes.

Oven Roasted Veggies
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450.
Scrub veggies.
Peel turnip.
Drizzle vegetables with olive oil.
Wrap veggies separately in foil.
Place beets and turnip on baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes.
Add carrots bake for another 30 minutes.
Rove tray from oven. 
Carefully open beets. Under cold running water, rub to remove skins.
Arrange veggies on a platter or individual plates.

Maple and Dijon Glazed Salmon with Smoky Sweet Onions
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp canola oil
2 boneless skinless salmon fillets
Salt and pepper

Soak cedar plank in water for 4 hours, Weighing it down to keep it submerged.
Prepare a spray bottle for flare-ups.
In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, lemon juice and Dijon; set aside.
Toss sliced onion in canola oil and 2 tbsp of syrup mixture.
Preheat BBQ to high.
Place plank in BBQ reducing heat to medium immediately.
Spread onion mixture evenly over plank. 
Close lid for 3-5 minutes. DO NOT leave unattended.
Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place on top of onions. 
Brush with some of remaining mixture and reduce heat to low. Close lid; cook for 10 minutes. Brush with remaining mixture. Close lid; cook for 5-8 minutes longer. 
Add vegetable to grill.

Jamie's Trapani-Style Rigitoni and Proscuitto Melon Salad

And another one from Jamie. 
This one is taken from Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes.

Trapani-Style Rigatoni 
1 pound dried rigatoni

2 ounces Parmesan cheese
¾ cup whole skinned almonds
2 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh red chilies
2 large bunches of fresh basil
4 anchovy fillets in oil
3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, red and yellow if possible

Add the pasta and boiling water to a large saucepan, turn up to a high heat, and cook following the package instructions, with the lid askew. Fill and reboil the kettle for topping up, if needed.
Put the Parmesan, ¾ cup almonds, 2 peeled cloves garlic, and 1 or 2 chilies (stalks removed) into a food processor and whiz until fine.
While the processor is still running, add 1 ½ bunches of basil, 4 anchovies, and two thirds of the cherry tomatoes. Whiz to a paste, then add a lug or two of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season if needed, then put aside. Halve or quarter the remaining tomatoes, then put aside. By now the pasta
should be perfectly cooked, so drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and return it to the hot pan.
Add the paste, mixing well to coat the pasta. 
Add a splash of water to make it silky and loose.

Tip the pasta into a large serving bowl, toss quickly, then scatter the reserved cherry tomatoes and basil on top and serve.

Prosciutto & Melon Salad

a small bunch of fresh basil
1/2 a lemon
2 115 gram packs of prosciutto
1 cantaloupe melon
balsamic vinegar

Pick the leaves from the basil, setting the smaller ones aside for later. 
Put the big leaves into a pestle & mortar with a pinch of salt and bash to a paste. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice. 

Lay slices of prosciutto on a platter, leaving a space in the middle. 
Halve the melon, spoon out the seeds, then use a spoon to quickly scoop chunks of flesh into themiddle of the platter. 

Drizzle over a little balsamic, then scatter over the reserved small basil leaves. 
Squeeze the juices from the melon halves into the dressing and stir in, then take the platter to the table, with the mortar and a spoon for drizzling over the dressing.

Jamie's Sausage Fusilli and Homemade Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream

Though I haven't posted anything in a good while, I have been making some really great meals with the intension of blogging. I apologize, the summer evenings have just been FAR too nice to sit in front of a computer for the time it takes to post!
This is it. This is the day of epic blogging!
Here's the first of the many missed meals...a couple of them pasta, but really, who doesn't love pasta?
Also, I read some really great recipes in Chatelaine this summer for ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, so I just had to get myself an ice cream maker. The following recipe is from the instruction manual of my little half-pint,

Jamie Oliver's Proper Blokes Sausage Fusilli

• 2 heaped teaspoons fennel seeds
• 2 dried red chillies, crumbled
• olive oil
• 600g good-quality coarse Italian or Cumberland sausages
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano
• a wineglass of white wine
• zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 500g good-quality fusilli or penne
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a couple of knobs of butter
• a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Bash up the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed, then put to one side. 
Squeeze the meat out of the sausage skins and put into the pan, really breaking it up. Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour and the fat has rendered slightly, then crush it once more so it resembles coarse mince. 
Add the bashed-up fennel seeds and chillies and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the meat becomes crisp, golden brown and slightly caramelized.
Stir in your oregano, then pour in the white wine and allow it to reduce by half. 
Add the lemon zest and juice.
Turn the heat down to low while you cook your pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. When the pasta has cooked al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water, and toss it in the pan with your sausagemeat. 
Coat the pasta in all the lovely flavours then add the butter, Parmesan, chopped parsley and a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water. This will give you a lovely loose, shiny sauce. 
Taste and check for seasoning, then serve immediately with a little extra grated Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Homemade Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream

My Half Pint Maker

4 tsp cocoa
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine cocoa and sugar and stir to mix. Add a small amount of half-and-half and mix.
Add remaining half-and-half and vanilla. Stir untill well mixed. Add to chilled bowl.
Once mixture starts to thicken in ice cream maker (approx. 8-10 minutes) add in pecans. 
Continue churning for another 5-10 minutes.