Chard Dip

July 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

chard dip

My spinach dip is quite famous and surprisingly only has 4 ingredients. Whenever I bring it to picnics or potlucks, people often ask for the recipe and I share it. The next time that I see them, they comment that they tried to make it but it wasn’t as good as mine.

I think the secret to cooking is to start with the best quality ingredients. I try to buy as much as I can from the farmers market and then I shop at organic food stores. The secret to this recipe is the organic sour cream which is the base of the dip. That alone will make or break this recipe.

People also comment that this recipe is so simple yet so flavourful. I believe in a less is more philosophy. All you need is to know how to cook properly and get a sense of how to combine ingredients that compliment each other. In this recipe I contrast the texture of the creamy sour cream to the crunchy water chestnuts. This creates a polar effect on the palate and keeps the dish alive.

To spice up my regular spinach dip and to get some chard into my kids, I decided to substitute spinach for chard. To be honest, it tastes exactly the same and turns the dip a little pink, my favourite colour. I thinly sliced focaccia bread which I toasted in the oven and served it with the dip.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch swiss chard
1/2 tsp (2 ml) – 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 can 227 ml sliced water chestnuts – drained and chopped
2 cups (500 ml) organic sour cream

Directions:
1. Cut off stalks of chard and cut into 1 inch pieces and steam.
2. When the chard is wilted, drain any water, transfer to a cutting board and chop.
3. Place the chard in a bowl, add salt and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the water chestnuts, stir and let sit another 2 minutes.
5. Add the sour cream and serve with crackers, bread or veggies.

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Lazy Summer Lunches

July 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

green beans & salad

When the weather is hot, I don’t feel like cooking. I would rather be outside enjoying the warm weather and monopolizing on summer activities. I have mostly been eating easy to prepare meals like sandwiches, dips, cheese platters and salads. I finally decided to make a warm dish and threw together some beans that I bought at the market with quinoa and left over greek salad.

It made quite a tasty dish and fell into the lazzez faire attitude that I have been feeling for some time. You can cook any vegetable that you have in the fridge and serve it on a grain and add a side of salad on top. This one bowl main allows all the flavours to mingle and create some complexity in this fairly simple dish.

Cooking time 15 minutes
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked quinoa or grain
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped onion
1/2 tsp (2 ml) black mustard seeds
2 handfuls cut green and yellow beans
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) greek salad
chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil. When hot add the mustards seeds.
2. When the seeds pop add the onions and cook until golden.
3. Add the beans and saute until still crunchy but soft in the middle, about 7-10 minutes.
4. Season with salt and serve on a bed of quinoa with a side of salad. Garnish with cilantro.

Pineapple and hot pepper grilled cheese

July 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

pineapple and hot pepper grilled cheese

Pineapple grilled cheese is a favourite recipe that I picked up in India. It’s a common menu item in the beach areas and I’ve enjoyed many pineapple grilled cheeses while escaping India’s hot midday sun.

My son got quite hooked on them and tried to order one in Delhi. It was a humorous occasion when the waiter came back with a round slice of pineapple topped with a thick cut of cheese. We had to explain what we wanted and fortunately he brought back the right item. After that experience, my son never bothered to order it again outside of the beach areas.

At home in Canada, I make them regularly for my son who is a huge pineapple fan. He is a student in french immersion and one of his favourite things to say to his sister is “Tu es une ananas.” Which literally means “You are a pineapple!”

I’ve added hot peppers to this recipe to contrast the sweet and spicy flavours. This grilled cheese is very refreshing on a hot day and is a good use for any left over pineapple.

 

Makes 2 slices
Cooking time 10 minutes
Serves 1

Ingredients:
2 slices of bread
pineapple chunks
hot peppers
cheese

Method
1. Toast the bread to prevent the bread from becoming soggy.
2. Place pineapple and hot peppers on the bread and top with sliced cheese.
3. Grill in the oven until the cheese has melted.

Apple Grape Juice

July 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Apple Grape Juice

At a recent trip to Costco, I found a 4 lb box of organic red grapes for $7.99 so I bought two. I decided to juice the grapes plain and found the taste to be quite sweet and astringent so I added apples. The juice became less sweet and was very refreshing. I now add a few red grapes to most juices to add a sweetness and cut the flavour of harsher veggies. You can create recipes with all fruit like this this one or use red grapes in replacement for apples to create variety.

Prep time 5 minutes
Makes 1 large glass of juice

Ingredients:
2 apples
2 handfuls of red grapes

Pop the fruit through the juicer and enjoy!

Coconut Curry Alfredo

July 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

coconut alfredo

Heirloom Restaurant is a beautiful open space concept restaurant just off Granville Street on 12th Avenue. It has been open for some time, but it took an invitation to a going away party, to get me in the door. I have no idea why I waited so long to try this vegetarian haven. The menu has many vegan and gluten free options to choose from and they source their ingredients locally and from organic suppliers.

The restaurant has a casual laid back vibe with an artistic edge. Our party of eight was seated at a long banquet table off to the back. The restaurant was packed on the friday night with couples on dates and groups out for the night.

As I looked over the menu, I was overwhelmed and could not decide what to order. I snuck a look at the food around me and noticed that the portions were very generous. I decided upon the vegan and gluten free coconut curry alfredo ($18.50), with the Aloe Rose ($11) cocktail to start.

My cocktail took forever to come and I even had to remind the server. She said that it was coming and that there was a long wait ahead of us. My drink finally arrived just before the food. The Aloe Rose  was quite lovely. It had hibiscus infused vodka with cointreau, rose water, lemon, agave and aloe vera. It was quite refreshing on the warm summer’s evening.

When the food finally arrived I was very hungry. The coconut curry alfredo was a clever spin off of the classic pad thai. The thick rice ribbon noodles were taught and chewy. The transparent and creamy sauce tasted more like coconut oil than coconut milk which left a clean taste on the palate. Each bite was delicious. The firm asparagus and eggy tofu with crispy fried onions perfectly complimented each other.The dish was so full of flavour that I could not finish it.

Overall, I thought the food was amazing and I will definitely go there again. The beautiful atmosphere in combination with a chill vibe and amazing vegetarian food guarantees a good night out. Heirloom Restaurant is located on 1509 West 12th Avenue in Vancouver. You can contact them at (604) 733-2231 or email them at info@heirloomrestaurant.ca.

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