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I love risotto.  My love affair began the first time I made it.  Creamy, smooth, warm, earthy, and full of flavour.  It has now become our household ‘celebration’ meal.  If it’s on the table, it is either Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve or we are having people over.  I did make this one the other day, just because, and Mr. F was smiling his devilish smile at me accross the table.  He felt special and so did I.  That is what risotto does.

We have been making the risotto in a warm earthy flavour way pretty much every time.  Using ingredients like rosemary, mushrooms, goat cheese etc.  I’ll tell you that our two faves are rosemary and mushroom or goat cheese and prosciutto.  I’ve also made a special champagne risotto with lobster on New Year’s but that’s when we were ready to down the rest of the bottle on a carefree/baby free night.

This recipe of risotto is a real change up.  I got the book ‘Cook With Jamie’ from my brother-in-law last year for Christmas.  I didn’t mind the heavy cookbook in my luggage in the least!  I voraciously read it cover to cover when I got home, but then just left it on my shelf – what?!  I know.  I just couldn’t pick anything.  Does that ever happen to you? Well, finally I heard about this risotto.  It was claimed to be one of the best thing’s from the book, but fresh tomatoes in risotto?  That sounded….fresh….  Well, I can gladly report that it will be in our celebration rotation from now on.  I guess I never met a tomato basil combo that I didn’t love.

Fresh tomato, basil and ricotta risotto adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie

You can make risotto with whatever ingredients you want, but it always starts the same.  I will explain the basic recipe and then tell you when to add the rest.  Oh, and the basic recipe is superb as a side, no extras needed.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1.5 cups risotto rice (short grained or arborrio)

6 cups chicken broth (can use veg)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Extras:

1 clamshell of grape or cherry tomotoes (or any good looking ones that you see)

red wine vinegar and olive oil to marinade the tomatoes in

handful fresh basil

crumbly ricotta cheese or crumbly goat cheese

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

First chop the tomatoes in half or quarters and put them in a small bowl with a glug of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper, stir and let sit to marinade.

Second, place the ricotta on a small baking dish.  Rub with a little oil and spinkle with the oregano and red pepper flakes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Third, begin by putting the stock on low to medium heat.  In a separate pot, sauté the diced onions and celery in the oil until the onions are clear.  Add the rice and stir.  When the rice is somewhat clear, pour in enough dry white wine to cover the rice.  Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed.  Spoon one ladleful of warm stock into the rice mixture.  Continuously stir until it is the stock is absorbed.  Repeat this until there is about 2 ladlefuls of stock left. At this point, add 2/3 of the marinated tomatoes without the marinade – just use a slotted spoon. Continue adding stock as directed above until the last of it used.  For the final risotto, is should be creamy and oozy and slightly looser than you think.

Lastly add in the butter and parmesan until melted.  Right before serving, add the broken up ricotta, the rest of the tomatoes and tear in the basil.  Enjoy!

This recipe goes out to my good friend Tobes and anyone who has to pack a lunch.  Not all of us can be like Mr. F and eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch ever single day of his life since grade 7.  Every. Single. Day.  This is incredible.  He amazes me in several ways and this one is right up there.  He even told me once that he still looks forward to eating it every morning. Wha?!

Well, for those of us who need some variety in our brown bags, here’s a packable salad. I call it greek inspired because I don’t really know what is considered Greek, but I do know the flavours.  It’s got eggplant, red pepper, tomatoes and zuchini  with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano, all topped with salty feta cheese.  It can be eaten warm or cold and still taste great.  Chicken can be added to make it a heavier meal.  There is a handful of arugula (or rocket?) that may wilt after a day or two in the fridge so omit it if you want.  Overall, this is a good sturdy salad that is delicious to boot.  Let me know how it goes…..

Oh, and it’s been a while since I posted a photo of Little Pea – so here’s a gooder:

if you like to pack this type of salad for lunch try these out too:

Feta and Lime Slaw

Hail to the Kale Salad

Warm Salmon and Bean Salad

Amazing Thai Salad

Greek Inspired Bulgar Salad

1.5 cups dry bulgar (I use large size kernels) boiled according to package directions

1 eggplant, diced

1 zuchini, diced

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, finely diced

a pinch of dried oregano

1 chicken breast, diced (optional)

1 red pepper, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 big handful arugula

4  tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

Start by putting on your bulgar to boil.  Next, grab a large skillet and with an little oil, saute the chicken breast (optional), eggplant, onion and zuchini.  Add one garlic clove, a sprinkling of dried oregan and salt and pepper.

While sauteing, chop up the red pepper and tomatoes.  These stay fresh, so just throw them in a big salad bowl.

Once the bulgar is done boiling and the veggies are done sauteing, toss them all into the same salad bowl as the red pepper and tomatoes.  Over this, throw in the handful of arugula.

For the vinaigrette, mix together the oil, lemon juice, honey, oregano and garlic.  Pour over top of the salad and toss.

 

Ah, the world of stamppot.  You may have dipped your foodie toes into this dish by means of a shepherd’s pie, but alas over here in the Netherlands it is the dish of all dishes.  As a foreigner one might ask – what is the cuisine of the Dutch?  If you walk the streets you will see that for restaurants they mostly eat foreign.  I asked my uncle-in-law once when he was touring me around Groningen, what traditional Dutch food was?  He quickly ushered me to a nearby herring stand and bade me to try it in true Dutch style.  Here I am, trying to do it right.

But what else is there?  I have introduced you to the mini meatballs in soup, pastries filled with almond paste, dutch appeltaart, but here is a real secret.  I call it a secret because it is mainly only made in the home.  It’s stamppot.  There are tons of varieties, so you will see a few on here in the future.  I had to make it “kale-style” before my hubby would marry me (just kidding, but it helped!).  It’s the kind of dish that you associate with your mom’s cooking, cold days and winter, basically the perfect comfort food.

The dutch love their potatoes and that is the base of this dish.  Mash any type of veg into it and you got a stamppot.  I am probably going to get this wrong, but I heard a story of its’ origin recently.  It had something to do with the invasion/freedom fight in Leiden way back in the day.  The soldiers had nothing to eat, so they copied the invading soldiers’ “stew” and invented the stamppot.

After years of only having boerenkool (the kale stamppot), it was high time to branch out.  Witlof or Belgian endive, as we call it in Canada, was an interesting ingredient.  They really use it here, not just as a spoon-type veg to carry an appetizer, but they really use it.  I always thought it was bitter as heck, but in this dish it is really good.  Wow, that is a good explanation – really good.  Here’s another try – It keeps its form, stays mildly crunchy and it cuts the richness in the dish.  The clove cheese may prove very difficult to find back in Canada, but you could try.  You could also just sprinkle some whole or ground cloves on top of a good gouda (that means: get it at a cheese shop and don’t use that processed smoked sliced stuff you see at the supermarket, please!).

I seem to think that stamppot is a main on its own, but Mr. F is always wanting it with a side of protein (a true meat and potatoes man – my Dad would be proud).  This one goes well with the traditional accompaniment of sausage or beef, but I tried it with a white fish and it was super.  I’ve made it twice in the last month and it has been met with rave reviews.  Mr. F calls it crack-in-a-bowl, I call it rich, smooth and something different for your dinner.     

 

 Friese Witlof Stamppot – Albert Heijn online http://www.ah.nl/recepten (sorry they are all in Dutch)

This serves 4 people a good-sized helping.

I kg potatoes peeled and quartered

1 kg belgian endive (aka witlof or chicory)

2 tbsp butter

1 vegetable stock cube + 1 cup water or 1 cup prepared stock

0.5 cup (125ml) creme fraiche or sour cream

150g (2/3 cup) grated Friesland clove cheese (replaced by a good gouda cheese sprinkled with whole or ground cloves)

salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

Boil the potatoes in a pot full of water for about 20 minutes or when they can easily be pierced with a fork.  As this is coming to a boil, prepare the endive.  Cut off the base and slice down the center in oder to remove the core.  Melt the butter in a large pan.  Add the endive and the stock.  Cook on low with the lid on for about 20 minutes or until the endive is softish and becomes more translucent.  Stir the creme fraiche or sour cream in with the endive and season with nutmeg and black pepper. 

Turn the broiler on in the oven.  Drain the potatoes and mash.  I find it easier to mash if I add some of the liquid from the endive pan.  Once mashed creamy, mix the potatoes and endive together.  Place this mixture into an oven dish and sprinkle with the clove cheese.  Melt the cheese under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is a golden brown.  Serve big heaping scoops onto each plate and as I mentioned a side of meat is optional.

Here is the post I promised.  A nice bread for a side of soup.  These biscuits are perfect on the side of soup, salad, stew or chili.  As you all may have noticed from the blog, I am not much of a baker.  Yes, I have my mainstays like Mr. F’s favourite chocolate chip cookies and a good pizza crust, but beyond that I always feel nervous.  When I do take the plunge I am usually surprised at the ease of the whole thing and also pretty dang proud of myself.  These biscuits are no exception.

Let me tell you a little something funny – baking powder biscuits were the first thing I ever made on my own.  The setting:  a small home-economic’s classroom kitchen in grade 7.  Remember home-ec?  I secretly loved that class.  Cooking, baking, sewing, learning about the colour family you look best in – this is all the other side of me that some don’t know about.  As long as I am letting it all hang out, I will confess that at the moment I am obsessed with crocheting.  Yup, a closet crafter in an athlete’s body.  Well, a 6 month pregnant athlete’s body – is that an oximoron? 

Now that you know me a little better, let’s get on with these biscuits.  So, they make these things for the first recipe in a home-ec class.  That indicates their ease and what is nicer than home-baked bread straight from the oven that was a cinch?  That is why I make these so often.  Also this recipe uses ingredients that I always have on hand.  I used to add an egg, but when I tried my friend A.J.’s when we were over for dinner at her place, I omitted the egg on her advice that they come out way flakier.  She was right.

These biscuits are flaky, buttery, light, soft centered and crispy crusted.  They take barely any time to whip up and are a welcome warm side to bowls filled with stuff.  If you wanna take them up a notch, they are a perfect vehicle for cheese and herbs like in the ones I made with the Tomato Soup.  Please try them, they may become a staple in your home as they have in mine.

Baking Powder Biscuits – greatly adapted from Grandma’s Touch Cookbook

I am giving you a recipe that makes approximately 10 small biscuits.  If you want more, simply double the recipe.  If you are adding anything to them (grated cheese, chopped fres herbs, etc), add it before the milk, right into the flour mixture.  Do not knead, just form into a flat circle and cut out the shapes.  Here, I just used a knife and made triangles, but circles are traditional, so it’s your choice.  Maybe even a cookie cutter would add some fun!

1 cup flour

0.25 cup cold butter, sliced into pads

2 tsp baking powder

0.25 tsp salt

0.5 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit (230 degrees celsius). 

If you have a food processor:  Throw the flour, baking powder and salt into the processor.  Add the butter and process until the mixture looks mealy.  Take out the blade or transfer to a bowl and add the milk.  Stir until just mixed and then turn out onto a floured surface.

If you don’t:  Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a bowl.  Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut in the butter.  You are finished when the butter chunks are about pea-sized.  Add the milk and stir unit just mixed.  Turn out onto a floured surface.

  Use your hand to form a flat circle about 1 inch thick.  Use a sharp knife to cut out shapes or an upside down glass to cut out the circles.  Place on a sprayed or parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees fahrenheit (230 degrees celcius).

 

Yay, it was my birthday yesterday!  I am one of those gals that loves a birthday.  I am one of those gals that announces it to people weeks in advance so they don’t feel stupid when I say, “Oh, its my birthday today” or say “It was my birthday yesterday.”  Nope, I give people all the chance they can get to wish me a good b-day.  Why?  Because I like it and because I know that I like making people feel special on their birthday too, so why not give others that chance.  Anyways, birthdays are a chance to celebrate and why would I pass up a chance like that?!

I got pancakes in bed, a sweet cookbook from loving Mr. F and in the evening we went out for Thai with some great friends we made here.  I was weary about the Thai place, though.  It took a while to pick a restaurant.  Mr. F and I spent an evening biking around the cobble-stoned streets in the center to check out where the hot spots were.  Turns out that the Dutch also like to eat out on Fridays and Saturdays because the centrum was hopping.  I had my eye on something asian and thought Thai would be just right.  The problem was that one of the Thai restaurants in Calgary is a personal fave, so going for Thai here could be a major disappointment.  Well, I am happy to report that it was a major delight!  I just love the way Thai food has such a variety of the most flavourful food I have ever tasted.  Seafood soup, spicy peanut sauces, coconut curries, the list goes on.  How about a sweet and sour sauce, oh man, my mouth is watering again with the thoughts of last night’s meal…

On the recipe front, aside from my birthday, I did try something, FINALLY.  I say finally because I have had a can of harissa paste in my cupboard for probably 3 months now.  Maybe even longer.  When I read the ravings of a certain carrot and harissa salad plastered across the food-blogesphere I frantically searched all the tiny grocers in my city until I found a coveted can of this harissa paste*.  What was it?  How did it taste?  And then, this dilemma arose.  Mr. F. eats carrots every day, every single day, for lunch.  Could I possibly serve him a carrot salad for supper without him turning orange?  So, the colourful can of harissa got lost in the back of the cupboard.

Then, I read about another salad that used harissa paste.  Thanks to The Wednesday Chef, we got to taste this mysterious red paste, finally.  It is hot, kind of sweet, garlicky and a bit tomato-y.  I don’t know if the tomato taste is a ghost taste since it is so red, but anyways, you gotta try this stuff out for yourself.  It made me feel all worldly, trying an ingredient that is not found anywhere in my culture.  I’ll give you the option, try the carrot salad or the zucchini one.  Try one of them and let me know what you think of harissa. 

*I ended up finding the paste at a Turkish grocery store.  It’s common in North Africa or that is what Wiki says.  Oh, and it is crushed pimentos.

Everytime I navigate to a food blog I always wonder where their top picture came from.  You know, the one at the top of the blog that features some sort of food.  The Wednesday Chef has some herbs, POC has some lemon rind and mine has some cherry tomatoes looking like juicy red jewels (look up).  Were these pictures taken especially for the top banner or were they part of a photo taken while cooking.  I bet you are just dying to know?!!

Well, ok, you might not be that interested, but I will tell you anyways.  The cherry tomatoes are from a picture I took while making this here recipe.  Now you know!  Mystery solved.  See you next time.

Oh, you want to know the recipe?  (I am so lame.)  Well, it is a snap.  It is quick to whip up and is a really nice meal or side.  Who doesn’t like caprese anyways?  Those short towers of fresh mozzarella, a slice of ripe tomato topped with a leaf of basil and showered in olive oil.  All this recipe does is warm everything up and add some pasta.  You’re gonna love it.

Warm Caprese Pasta Salad

This is one of those recipes that I saw somewhere or watched on tv and made it so many times without a recipe that I totally forget where it comes from.  So…it’s mine now?

1 small clamshell of cherry tomatoes cut in half  (you can substitute in grape tomatoes or diced large tomatoes)

3 tbsp olive or veg oil

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 large buffalo mozzarella ball or several minis

1 handful of fresh basil

2-3 cups dry pasta (your fave)

Start with heating the oil in a pan.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 min, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add in the tomatoes.  If you are using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them in half and place them cut side down in the pan (like in the photo above).  Simmer the tomatoes on medium heat and do not stir.

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta.  In a large serving bowl, tear up the mozzarella and the basil into bite sized pieces.  I usually go heavy on the basil since I want that heavenly taste with every bite!

Check in on the tomatoes.  When they are soft, you can press them down with a fork.  This kind of mushes them up and turns them into a sauce.  You can now stir and get everything moving. If you want your sauce on the liquidy side, then cover with a lid and simmer on low.  If you less liquidy sauce then let the tomatoes simmer without a lid.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and toss it into the large serving bowl already containing the mozza and basil.  Pour over the sauce and stir.  The mozza will melt and become stringy and the basil will be oh-so-frangrant.  Serve as the entire meal, vegetarian style, or add to a meal as a side.

Hail Caesar, I mean “Hail Kale!”  The vegetable of course.  Sorry about that.  I have been watching a lot of tv series on DVD lately, since we are sans an actual TV, and Rome season 1 and 2 have been the most recent.  We would normally be watching episodes of Lost or How I Met Your Mother, but alas, the video rental shops feature slim pickings when it comes to tv series.  It has broadened our horizons, though.  Now I know more about Henry VIII from The Tudors (we checked out the story line on wiki and it was pretty bang on) and I know more about how people in California live (Californication season 1).  Turns out that basically people were just doing a lot of hanky-panky.  Back in the day in Britain and recently in California.  Who knew?

Back from the gutter people, let’s get down to business.  Salad.  Kale.  Who even knows what kale is?  It is a leafy green veg similar to swiss chard.  It’s quite firm and on the bitter side.  It is nice as a side, steamed and slathered with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.  A very nice change from spinach.  Sorry to all you spinach lovers, but I just don’t like how it gets so soggy when steamed.  Kale retains its bite and it a stunning green.

I guess I first encountered kale during my second year of university.  The first 2 years I lived in a house that rotated people through five rooms.  I was a regular and so was the owner’s daughter.  It was good times, good time I say!  In those days I relied on a stirfry mix that came in a red box and included the sauce.  How many times did I make that?  Now I know how to make a stirfry out of fresh vegetables, but how fun to look back on my so-called “home-cooking.”  At least I wasn’t spending my dinners at MicDics!

Anyways, in the second year I had a roommate that was Dutch.  One day he mixed kale with mashed potatoes and called it delicious.  It was a Dutch delicacy.  Little did I know that it would be the favorite dish of my future husband or that I would be living the Boerenkool life on a daily basis in the actual country, but I digress.  I soon found myself checking out this mystery vegetable.  It was touted as a superfood.  Extremely healthy for the body.  How could an athlete pass that up?

Years later, an organic store in Calgary popped up and offered a cookbook – Planet Organic Market.  This is a cookbook basically every Canadian speed skater owns because we are all about the nutritious and delicious.   Gotta fuel the body, you know?  It just so happens that this salad is a fave of these skater cookbook owners.  This is a virtual superfood feast!  Not only that, it has wonderful colour, crunch and an unexpected taste.  This salad is dinner party worthy.  Think slaw with a kale base.  It especially looks great on a plate in the fall with its deep saturated hues.  Try it this autumn, you will “fall” for it just like the rest of us!  Oh that was bad…

Hail to the Kale Salad – adapted from Planet Organic Market Cookbook

1 bunch (about 5-6 leaves) chopped

3 cups grated carrots

Half a head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced

0.5 cup each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Vinaigrette:

0.5 cup oil (I use veg oil, but hemp or flax oil bumps up the nutrition)

0.33 cup soya sauce (the recipe calls for Braggs Liquid Aminos which I also use, but soya sauce is just more readily available)

5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tp dried oregano

Start but washing the kale.  You need to de-stem these babies and here is the easiest way.  Grab the end of the stem with one hand.  With the other hand make a claw and run your fingers on either side of the stem.  This will pull all of the leaf off of the stem.  Discard the stems and chop the leaves.  Shred the carrots on a box grater and thinly slice the cabbage.  Throw it all into a huge bowl. 

Mix up the vinaigrette in a trusty jar and pour over the kale mixture immediately.  Stir and coat everything. 

Now here is where I digress from the original recipe.  They want you to roast the seeds in a pan and then coat them in tamari.  You can definitely do this step, but turns out the coating just comes off once the seeds hit the vinaigrette in the salad.  I usually just buy salted seeds and roast them and then toss them in with the salad.  The roasting brings out their flavour and their saltedness is basically what you are going for with the tamari. 

Toss it all together and let sit for 30 minutes (they say 2 hours! Who can wait that long?).  This gives the leaves a chance to soak up all that good vinaigrette.  You can leave it for longer or if you just can’t wait, like you just got home from training and are about to parish from hunger, then dig immediately! 

 This is a massive salad (serves 4-6 hungry athletes) so you can half it or it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

I may be a bit early with this “recipe”.  Are potatoes being dug up yet?  I think you could probably pull up some small ones just for this occasion or make your way down to the market.  It is the most sublime little concoction you ever will taste.  It heralds from a small farmhouse a few miles outside of Ituna, Saskatchewan.  From my dear sweet Granny.

You know how everything your Granny makes just stays with you your whole life?  Her cooking is straight up meat and potatoes.  Farm food.  It is the organic, healthy, whole foods everyone is into these days.  My Geege (grandpa) just laughs at the whole movement.  He says, in his endearing Polish accent, that he’s been growing organic grains his whole life and Granny’s been planting and harvesting organic whole foods from her 1 acre garden to feed the family from the start of time.  Ok, not the start of time, but it’s been happening since my relations were fresh off the boat from Ukraine and Poland. 

I used to loooove getting to spend the night out at the farm.  During the day we would run around in the muddy yard, feed the cats, make forts and play the ridiculous games that you can only make up when you are young and filled with imagination.  Geege would be out in the fields and Granny would be hard at work.  Washing clothes and running them through the press to squeeze out the water (anyone know what I am talking about here? super old school).  Then she’d bring it all out and hang it on the line.  She’s call us all to the garden and set us upon the peas while she pulled up dinner.  We’d just be as happy as pigs in mud there.

At night we’d all go to bed early under homemade feather tics and just have the most peaceful sleeps with no sounds from the city.  I would always wake when Granny would be tinkering in the kitchen, early in the morning, with the kettle on the stove for tea.  I would tip-toe on the freezing flour in my nighty and pull up a chair from the 1970’s? 60’s? 50’s? table, my feet dangling from the stool.  Granny would greet me with my special Ukrainian nickname and ask if I wanted some tea.  She would quickly change the question with a wink and say,”How about some hot chocolate instead?” Only at Granny’s would we get hot chocolate for breakfast.  The morning was so peaceful at the farm and everyone would slowly rise as the sun came up.

Well, now that you are sufficiently enamoured with my Grandparents, I will finally give you the secret potato recipe.  Boil new potatoes, warm cream and fresh dill in a saucepan with salt and pepper.  Pour over the potatoes and dream of summer days on the farm… 

***uploaded onto It’s a Blog Party! Check it out for this and many more recipes of the week.

New Potatoes in Cream and Dill Sauce – from Granny Foodlova

It’s gonna be hard to give you real measurements here, but they truly are not needed.  Here are the important bits: use only new potatoes from the garden or supermarket, do not over cook the potatoes, serve immediately while still piping hot.  This is great with beans from the garden and roasted ham, beef or chicken from the oven.

A pot-full of new smallish potatoes, halved or quartered

1-250 ml carton of cream (real cream or it won’t thicken, I’m talking full fat here people)

a heathy dose of chopped fresh dill

s+p

Boil the potatoes until still firm.  Drain the potatoes and replace them back in the hot pot.  This will dry them out, so as not to dilute the cream sauce.  In a saucepan, pour the cream and add the fresh dill and salt and pepper.  Stir on low heat until the cream thickens a little.  It will bubble up and thicken naturally.  Pour over the potatoes and make sure every inch is covered with cream.  Savour or devour and shake your head at how amazing this 3 ingredient side could possibly taste this good.

Wow, that is kind of a long title.  I am the worst at coming up with recipe titles.  When I ask Mr. Foodlova if he wants this salad for dinner, I usually say, “want that, you know, that salmon chunk salad”  or I masterfully stutter ” I’m making that bean thingy mix salad tonight.”  Doesn’t that sound delicious?  Bean mix – yuck.  So, I’m giving you the long version title because then you  know all the main players in this game and you will be thinking of how the combo will taste.  Spoiler alert –> it is awe(high note) – some(low note).

I’m going to go on a little side note here, so please bear with me.  I like me some comedy and sometimes we will rent a DVD.  On the advice of my sister-cousin (that’s my name for a cuz that is like a sis) we rented Russell Peters.  Um, you need to rent Russell Peter. OMG it is funny.  No exclamation marks in this paragraph because I am being 100% serious.  Funny.  Now, recently I surfed Youtube and landed on this Russell Peters’ bit (fyi: contains swearwords!).  Watch and you will totally understand how I just wrote awe(high note) – some(low note) above.  And if you’re a friend of Mr. Foodlova, then you will be losing your mind laughing because it is an exact replica of how he will articulate a particular swear.

Back to the main track….where was I, oh ya, I am writing a food blog.  Beans and salmon.  Ricardo.  Yes, the lovely debonaire character.  I miss his Quebecois accent on TLC, but still have his cookbook to browse.  This recipe does not hail from his cookbook, oh no, this is one committed to memory from his show.  I’m sure I remember it slightly different than he made it, but it is deadly none the less.

If it’s hot out in your neck of the woods, then eat it chilled, if it’s mild, then eat it warm.  If you live south of the equator, eat it hot.  Any way you like, it is lick-the-bowl-when-you’re-finished good.

**Loaded on It’s a Blog Party!

Salmon Salad with Green and Black Beans – adapted from Ricardo Larrivee

Now, here are some variations.  I prefer to use sage as the fresh herb of choice.  It gives the salad a crazy-good earthy taste.  I replaced it with dill on this day because sage was out at the store.  Turns out that either way is great.  If you need some carb action in this meal, steam/boil/bake some potatoes and toss with the salad.  A side of plain rice mixed in would also be good.

You can step this recipe up a notch by BBQing the fish and green beans first.  This gives the salad a smoky taste and the salmon gets those crispy edges.  I definitely reccommend it, especially if it’s too hot to cook in the house.

Salmon (enough for 2-4 people or however many you are feeding) cubed into 1 inch squares

2 C fresh green beans (break the beans into 1 inch segments)

1 can Black beans, rinsed (important!)

1/2 an onion, diced (or a whole small one)

3 stalks celery, chopped

fresh sage (add to taste)

Dressing:

3 tbsp  canola oil

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I’ve used red wine vinegar and it was good too)

1 tbsp dijon mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

Begin by steaming the green beans.  You can just boil the beans or throw them in the microwave, but the method I like is using a one-size-fits-all steamer tray.  This thing is so pretty, but also works aweome.  It fits in any size pot.  All you need to do is put about 1 inch of water at the bottom and then place the tray in.  Lay the veggies on top and start steaming.  You can even do potatoes this way.

 

 In another large pan, start to saute the onion and celery.  All the ingredients are going in this pan, so make sure it is big enough.  When the onions just turn opaque, drop in the cubed salmon.  Gently stir around the mixture until the salmon is cooked, but not flaking apart.  Throw in the rinsed black beans and steamed green beans and toss.  When the whole mixture is warm, pour out into a large serving bowl.  Tear the sage into the bowl (or chop the dill).

Mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a jar and shake until combined.  Just so you know – the mustard acts as an emulsifier and that is why the oil and vinegar can mix.  Booya, I know my chemistry 🙂

Now heap onto your plate and make sure you get seconds!

Hello.  As I was clicking through those other food blogs I told you about (What I’m Reading), I started wondering if everyone was on holidays?  How could they just leave us all hanging here with only a post here and there.  Don’t they know that they have loyal followers that need want to read their new shiny posts as often as possible?  Don’t they know that some people are bored and rely on their postings to pass time and procrastinate on papers that are due at the end of the month?! 

Then I looked at the last time that I posted….ummmm….sorry.  Yup, I am guilty of the same thing.  The weather turned hot here and I have been spending less time at the computer.  I have been coaching some speed skating, crocheting a baby blanket, taking Dutch lessons, frequenting the markets around Delft, riding over to Rotterdam to watch the Tour de France in person – you know just your every day stuff.  Um, I hope you caught that last one, you know the one about watching the Tour de France!!!  Ya, just your every day stuff over here in Europe.

While I try to put a lid on the bragging, let’s talk about this recipe.  It’s not European at all, but it is a recipe from a European (is the UK european?).  Jamie Oliver that is.  The Naked Chef.  Remember when everyone used to call him that and you started watching the Food Network just to see a guy cooking in the nude only to be disappointed, but then excited again since his recipes were so dang good and easy?  We have a friend who is in love with Jamie.  He’s got every cookbook and every time we get invited over for a meal, it’s some amazing dish from the pages of the Naked Chef.  

This amazing Thai salad is from his first (I think) publication The Naked Chef Takes Off.  Said friend inspired me to buy this cookbook for Mr. Foodlova and it has not disappointed.  Aside from this salad, my first post on Risotto is from this book.  There are several others that are so easy and tasty that you just keep making them.

You know when you eat something and you think, “What is that taste?”  It’s a taste you keep wanting more of.  “Sure I’ll have another helping of the salad”, “What’s in this salad?”  That would be the star of this dish – the vinaigrette.  Lime juice, ginger, soy sauce, cilantro and the secret ingredient is sesame oil.  That is the je-ne-sais-quoi (or however you would say that is Thai) of the salad.  You will not be disappointed if you try it and summer time is the perfect time!

Crunchy Thai Salad – adapted from Jamie Oliver 

This salad can be made by the truckload.  If you’re making it for the whole family or a BBQ/potluck then use a whole savoy cabbage.  To make it smaller just use half of the cabbage head. 

1 Chinese or Savoy cabbage 

A couple handfuls of arugula and/or spinach 

red and green bell pepper, julienned (finely sliced in strips) 

a couple handfuls of bean sprouts 

a small bag of baby snap peas 

a couple green onions, chopped on the bias – for asian flair! 

half of an english cucumber sliced in strips to match the peppers 

See how you can add anything you want or have in your fridge?  Just add as much as you think.  You can’t really go wrong.  This is the combo I usually use (plus or minus a few ingredients), but go nuts! 

Vinaigrette 

4 tbsp lime juice 

3 tbsp oil 

1 tbsp sesame oil 

1 tbsp soy sauce 

a good pinch of brown sugar 

1 tbsp minced ginger 

1 small clove garlic, minced 

something spicy – you could use a red chili, some red pepper flakes, some hot sauce you like, I’ve even used some Sweet chili sauce. 

a handful of chopped cilantro (can be substituted with basil or mint) right into the dressing. 

Chop up all the veggies and throw into a large bowl.  Shake all the vinaigrette ingredients up in a jar.  Pour over the veggies and toss.  Sprinkole with some sesame seeds to finish it off.  Let sit for a few minute in the fridge so that the vinaigrette can get soaked up a little.  

If you want to make it a meal, add some cooked egg or rice noodles and some chicken or shrimp would do the trick for some protein.

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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