Friendly Food Snobs

supper

best kale salad

kale salad I brought kale into my life with this recipe! Two years of tinkering and I thought it time to share. The secret tricks to this being healthy and absolutely delicious are fresh lemon juice and a quick massage of the kale with the dressing. Unlike most salads, the kale leaves hold up to the dressing, and once tossed and dressed this salad tastes better an hour after mixing or a day later. It’s a great side dish for just about any protein, or stirred into quinoa for a quick quinoa salad. Hello leftover lunches.

best kale salad

Ingredients:
head of kale washed and chopped into 1 or 2 inch strips
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 and 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic chopped
pinch red pepper flake
3/4 cup grated parmesean cheese (half goes in dressing, half on top)
handful toasted slivered almonds
handful dried cranberries

I find it easiest to chop the kale, then wash it in a salad spinner. Another quick trick is to measure the olive oil and whisk the dressing together in the same glass measuring cup. Less clean up! Combine all ingredients for the dressing, reserving half of the grated parmesean. Pour the dressing over the kale in a large bowl. Massage the dressing into the kale (30 seconds max). Top with remaining cheese, nuts and cranberries and that’s it. I have made this dozens of times and find it tastes best after hanging out covered with cling wrap in the fridge for an hour before serving.

easy bbq chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bbq chicken is huge on taste and short on prep time. I came up with it the summer Oscar was born and just remembered it the other day. Depending how much time you have you can marinate it for as little as one hour or overnight. I’m often short on time and dinner hour is approaching (eeek..again!) and I’ve  had success marinating in just one hour. My three year old loves this chicken. Feel free to add more siracha if you like more spice.

Ingredients:
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp siracha
2 tbsp ketchup
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl, cover and refrigerate. Grill on the bbq at 375 degrees turning once. I’ve served this with quinoa and a kale salad or arugula salad.

beef kebobs and mint garlic yogurt sauce

beef kebobsbeef kebobs beef kebobsThese are the best beef kebobs for a winter supper. Middle eastern flavours served with rice and a yogurt sauce that tastes amazing and takes two minutes to assemble. I’ve been making variations of this recipe for about 10 years and I think I’m finally happy with it. Warming, filling, and perfect for this polar freeze Toronto has experienced this winter. The recipe made enough for our family of three (and a prego me) to have for two dinners. So I would say serves 4-6 people. Want to do a veg on the side? I make a simple green salad with cucumber and greens, or roasted cauliflower florets with olive oil, s&p and lemon.

Ingredients for beef kebobs:
600 grams lean ground beef
1 egg
1 large cooking onion grated (or 2 small)
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
fresh black pepper to taste (I like a lot)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak 8-10 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands or paper towel squeeze all the excess moisture from the grated onion. Combine all ingredients and using the back of a dinner fork blend and mash together. Let beef mixture rest five minutes.

Holding the skewer with your left hand over the parchment lined pan, scoop some of the meat mixture with your right and form it along the skewer. I find it easiest to lay it on the lined pan and form the kebob along the skewer. Put only four or five skewers per pan at once. Bake for 17 minutes or until slightly browned. Then remove the cooked kebobs to a waiting plate and form the last batch. Makes 8-10 beef kebobs. I serve with basmati rice cooked to package instructions and chopped Italian parsley. As well as the following super simple mint garlic yogurt sauce.

Ingredients for mint garlic yogurt sauce:
3/4 cup full fat plain Balkan yogurt
1 tsp dried mint
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine and store in fridge until ready to eat. Keeps well in fridge for three days.

grilled halloumi caprese salad

grilled halloumi caprese saladRipe tomato slices play well with grilled salty halloumi in this grilled halloumi caprese salad. A rethink of the traditional tomato and mozzarella caprese, and I think maybe even better! It was a super busy weekend at our house Oscar turned two and we hosted a big family BBQ and Sunday was Father’s Day. My quick to make but still yummy Father’s Day dinner for Neil was BBQ flank steak and this salad, and some fresh garlic thyme pita bread and hummus. Fresh and tasted like summer.

I first tried halloumi about 15 years ago backpacking in Cyprus and we’d have it wrapped with grilled meats in a pita (usually at 2am after a night out). This meal reminds me of all those flavours.

As with all simple recipes, quality ingredients are key. Thankfully they’re not hard to find for this salad. I let my tomatoes ripen on the window sill for a few days, and just bought the halloumi from my local grocery store. You can get cow or sheep and both are great. The basil came from my garden, the olive oil from my mother-in-law’s recent trip to Italy and the balsamic reduction is store bought. You can find balsamic reduction at any major grocer now. It’s reduced balsamic vinegar (make sure you read the ingredients) and so handy to drizzle over a salad, BBQ meats or cheeses. I use it for salad dressing instead of honey often too.  My boys gobbled this salad up and used the fresh pita bread for the leftover olive oil on the plate. So if you occasionally eat carbs like we do, serve up a little good bread for this recipe – worth the calories to sop up that good olive oil! Makes four side portions.

grilled halloumi caprese salad

Ingredients:
250 gram package halloumi cheese
2 large or 3 small ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper
10 whole basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction

Cut the halloumi cheese into 1/4 inch pieces. I usually get 10-12 slices per package. Pat dry with paper towel. Heat a non stick pan or case iron skillet to medium heat. Grill cheese for 2 mins a side until golden brown. Use a rubber spatula to check it every minute or so. I do it in two batches to not crowd the pan. Slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices and layer on serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Layer grilled halloumi on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and toss basil leaves over top. Eat right away or can sit on the counter for 30 minutes or so until serving.  Recipe can easily be doubled. Enjoy and happy summer eating!

Canola Eat Well Holiday Baking Party

canolaevent031-IMG_1028



Who doesn’t love baking up a storm, hanging with your girlfriends, learning about food, and sipping some wine? I got to do all this and more last week attending a farm-to-table holiday baking party hosted by Canola Eat Well. The event took place at Luxe Appliance Studio, a stunning cooking space on King St East here in Toronto, and was hosted by cookbook author and chef Emily Richards.

015-IMG_0962

A neutral oil, canola oil can be used for frying as well as in sweet or savory recipes. Emily explained its versatility and how well it lets other flavours shine. A great versatile healthy oil to have in your pantry, I often use it in baking and for making popcorn the old fashioned way on the stove top using a pot and kernels.

My dad’s family has run a successful family dairy operation for generations. At the event I especially loved getting to chat with a Canadian canola farmer from Alberta about how the farm-to-table dining craze supports Canadian farmers and their local communities. Just another reason to reach for canola oil!

To kick off the evening and get our hands dirty we crushed some canola seeds. A practice canola farmers still do today to grade the quality of their canola seed. We were even able to expel some canola oil.
018-IMG_0977
025-IMG_0998 (1)024-IMG_0994 (1)
arancini2arancini
A highlight of the night for me was connecting with Emily, a successful cookbook author and mom of three. She shared some tips on weeknight family dinners and the beauty of cooking and eating as a family. Emily talked about watching her grandmother use canola oil this time of year in holiday baking and shared some of her favourite recipes. I have included her aranaci rice ball recipe below.  If arancini is on the menu at a restaurant I always order it to share as a starter. Crispy and cheesy, a perfect small bite with some wine. It’s featured, along many other delicious Southern Italian recipes in her latest cookbook Per La Famiglia. A great Christmas gift for a foodie!

Arancini (Cheese-filled Rice Balls)

Ingredients for filling:
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 egg

Ingredients for Coating:
6 oz mozzarella, provolone, asiago or havarti cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
4-6 cups canola oil (for frying)
good quality sea salt (to sprinkle after frying)

Filling: Boil water and saffron in large pot. Add rice and reduce heat to low stiring frequently for about 20 minutes or until tender but firm. Add romano cheese and butter. Set aside and let cool. Coating: Cut cheese into 16-18 small cubes and set aside. In a shallow dish whisk eggs. Divide rice filling into 16-18 small balls. Make an indentation in each ball and place cheese cube, then seal indentation. Roll balls in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. In a large saucepan heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry balls in small batches 2-3 minutes until golden. Drain on a paper towel lined dish. I added a sprinkle of coarse sea salt to these as they cooled as well.

I served these at home with a little tomato sauce for dipping and topping and they were a huge hit.

128-IMG_1432

Photo credit: photography by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well. This event and post was sponsored by Canola Eat Well. All opinions and comments are my own.

1 2 3 7

Skip to toolbar