Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa, a grain or seed? You decide. I won’t get into that. Should you eat it? YES!!!
It’s so versatile and easy to cook. From sweet to savoury, on its own or added to vegetables, a little goes a long way. So here is one of my fav’s.
My family loves these Quinoa cakes and I’m sure you will as well😉. These remind me of summer 2014☺️so bear with me, not bare with me😇these little cakes make me happy😄

Preparation/Cook time about a hour Makes 15 1/4cup size cakes

INGREDIENTS
5 +1/2 cups (cooked )quinoa as per package instructions ~2 cups dry
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots(or onions)
1/4 cup more or less😐Olive oil-(or try Coconut oil)
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes( I like mine pulverized😊
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade fresh breadcrumbs*
4 eggs beaten
1/4 c finely chopped parsley(in summer I prefer fresh chives which are so easy to grow😎

*to make fresh breadcrumbs cut a fresh loaf of italian bread into pieces small enough to fit into a VITAMIX or other blender. Process until they are crumbs. Voila😊

TOOLS

large non-stick skillet
Spatula
Ice cream scoop 1/4 liquid measure

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PREPARATION

Sauté shallots in 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil with a pinch of salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat until tender and set aside to cool.
Measure out the cooked and cooled quinoa, place in a large bowl. Add cooled shallots or onions.
Beat 4 eggs with 1/2 cup water, add Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley.
Add the latter to the quinoa. Combine until blended. Let stand about 10 minutes.
On medium high heat add 1 tbsp oil in skillet. Measure out a level scoop full of quinoa into skillet. I cook about 5 per turn in my skillet. Make certain to leave some space between the cakes.

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Now this is where things get pernickety 😁so hang in there with me.
After a few minutes of cooking, use the back of your spatula to ever to slightly press the cakes down to form patties. Continue searing for another 3 minutes.
5-6 minutes total per side. Patience😯 now gently turn each one over and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until they are nicely golden. You may need to coax the runaway quinoa back to their pod😅I mean patty.

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They will be crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Eat them cooled or warm. We like a little spicy aioli with ours😍Place them on a platter for summer bbq’s, or store them in an airtight container once cooled and take a few for lunch.
This is a basic recipe. Add in whatever you wish. I prefer mine simple.
Try them out. Let me know how it went.
Love to hear from you. Be kind😘

Baked chicken fajitas

Eat chicken? Most of us here in Canada do. In fact, the average Canadian eats over 30 kg of chicken per year according to recent statistics. That being said, there are countless chicken recipes to try.
This one is simple and you likely have all the ingredients available in your fridge and freezer.
This recipe requires one bake pan which doubles as your serving dish. Prep and cooking time takes less than one hour.
Try it tonight!

INGREDIENTS:

5 boneless skinless organic or naturally raised chicken breasts sliced into 1″ strips
2 red peppers sliced lengthwise 1″ thick strips
1 green pepper same as red
1 1/2 large red onion sliced 1/2″
4-5 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp hot chilli flakes ( depending on your taste)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3+tbsp organic olive oil or melted virgin coconut oil

PREPARATION:

Pre-heat oven to 400′

Winter Asian pork stew

Pork stew

When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.

You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 or 2 Thai bird chillies or 1 rounded tsp of red chilli flakes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups onion wedges ( 3/4″ wedges)
2 cups butternut squash (1-inch dice)
2 cups diced red pepper( 1″ dice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste

PREPARATION:

Position rack in the bottom third of your oven and heat oven to 325’F
Spread the pork on paper towels to dry for 10-20 minutes before browning. If the meat is very wet, pat it dry. Use this time to chop the onion celery and carrot.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot (6 quart), until it is shimmering hot. Season 1/4 of the pork with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot( leaving 1/2 inch space between pieces. Brown well on all four sides, adjusting the heat if necessary. Each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the pork to a large bowl in batches. Repeat with the remaining pork pieces. Once all the pork is browned remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot and if there isn’t enough fat then add in oil equal to 2 tbsp. Return the pot to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cook stirring often and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chillies and cook stirring about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about 1/2, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the additional 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Crumple a 12×16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out.
(crumpling makes it easier to handle)
Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of stewing, add the onion wedges to the pot. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the squash and bell peppers. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven, cooking another hour until the pork is fork tender.

Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and taste adding more if necessary. Degrease the stew by laying a paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat over medium-low heat to serve.

This stew can be made ahead up to 2 days.

Offal is not so awful

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It’s making a comeback.
I’ve thought about this one for some time. I’ve been slightly hesitant to share this recipe. Mostly for fear it may conjure up some childhood memories.

One of the hottest trends in the gourmet food scene right now is offal. The term offal is a British name for the non- muscle parts of a butchered animal, such as the entrails and internal organs s becoming more popular, thanks to growing interest in Food Network TV shows, increased culinary travel, and the proliferation of innovative edgy neighborhood restaurants.

I have a story I’d like to share about sweetbreads. I’m not talking about dessert. I’m talking about offal, organ meat and specifically, the pancreas and thymus of an animal. When properly prepared, it is absolutely delicious.
Don’t judge until you’ve tried. They are a delicacy. Rare to find nowadays.

But once upon a time, you could even get sweetbreads for free at your local butcher shop. My husbands uncle Mario would often ask his butcher for them. He’d tell him they were for his dog. His butcher was happy to oblige as he took them for scraps. But Mario knew exactly what he was doing. Clever man. He made the best sweetbreads. Not sure whether his Butcher ever caught on.

As for myself, I’ve had the opportunity to try quite a few different organ meats. Some not by choice and some out of curiosity. And I have been pleasantly surprised.
Here is a list of offal that you may have tried:

Blood is used to make blood sausages and blood puddings. It’s a great source of iron, although it can be high in fat and cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of blood sausage contains about 380 calories and 15 grams of protein, and is about 80 percent fat.
Hocks are the joints between an animal’s leg bone and foot. They have much skin, tendons, and ligaments, and so must be stewed or braised for long periods. Hocks, used in Southern U.S. and Caribbean cuisines to flavor soups and greens, are high in protein and fat. A 3-ounce serving of ham hocks contains about 230 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 18 grams of fat.
Intestines, popularized lately by the “caveman diet” (or the paleo/Paleolithic diet), are called chitterlings by Southern cooks. These meats must be thoroughly cleaned and cooked because of food safety issues.
Tripe is the lining of an animal’s stomach. It’s a good source of protein but high in total fat and saturated fat.
Heart, commonly used in Peruvian barbecue and Scottish haggis, is a good source of protein but is extremely high in cholesterol.
Brain is used in Latin and European cultures but consumption is restricted in the U.S. due to concerns about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or “mad cow disease.” A 3-ounce serving of beef brain is about 130 calories and 9 grams of protein, and is only 14 percent fat.
Liver, when from younger animals, tends to be less tough and has a milder flavor. It is high in protein, iron, and vitamin A.
Sweetbreads consist of the pancreas and thymus of an animal, and are most tender and flavorful when from veal and young lamb. Sweetbreads are a good source of iron and protein but are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Tongue is best prepared using slow, moist cooking methods. A good source of iron and protein, but high in saturated fat.

The only thing on this list I haven’t tried is brain and I’m good with that 🙂

In my opinion, most of us shy away from eating say, liver because we don’t know how to prepare it. Yet we’ll eat fois gras.

If you are a Crossfit athlete, you really should start incorporating some organ meats into your diet once a week.
Here are the goods on beef liver for example.
It is rich in Vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6&B12. And it’s a great source of Iron and Zinc.

My recipe is a simple one.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Beef liver(baby)
2-3 rashers bacon chopped
1 1/2 large onions sliced
Olive oil
Coconut flour for dredging
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley chopped

PREPARATION:

Start by rinsing the livers. Pat dry then dredge in some coconut flour. Heat a few tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add the livers and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Careful not to overcooked as the livers will become tough. Set aside on a warm plate.

Then add the chopped bacon and sliced onions to the skillet and sauté until the onions are tender. Add red wine, and cook down until it has reduced one half. Add back the livers add salt and pepper and cook another few minutes. Plate them and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.
They should be slightly pink inside.

African chicken almond stew

It’s time to stew. This little gem came to me by way of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. The original recipe was a peanut stew so I replaced peanuts with almonds, a little less almond butter, a bit more heat from cayenne and boneless chicken leg pieces to speed up the cooking time. Serve with my curried cauliflower rice and it is a perfect cold weather warm you up meal. Here we go!

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. boneless chicken legs and or thighs
3 tbsp olive oil or virgin coconut oil
1 large onion chopped
A 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups organic chicken stock or broth
1/2 c + 3 tbsp almond butter
1/3 cup toasted almonds*see note below
1 tbsp ground coriander
11/2-2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

* note: toast your 1/3 cup almonds in a frying pan over medium heat about 4 minutes and set aside.
Heat a large cast iron pot or heavy bottom pot over medium heat,and add the olive oil. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season both sides with salt.
Brown them in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. Look for a nice brown sear on the chicken. Set aside in a large plate.
Sauté the onions in the same pot for 3-4 minutes scraping down the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes stirring well to combine.
Add the chicken, chicken broth,crushed tomatoes, almond butter, toasted almonds, ground coriander, cayenne and stir well to combine.
Bring to a simmer, uncovered and taste for salt.
Cover the pot and simmer gently for 60 minutes.
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Plate over cauliflower rice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and sliced almonds. Enjoy 🙂

Serves 6-8

Spaghetti squash gets saucy

Spaghetti squash gets saucy
Today I’m dishin’ out my meat sauce recipe. It’s one you can make and freeze. I know there are some out there that think meat sauce is just tomato sauce and ground meat. And if that works for you then so be it.
For those that are looking for something more, then look no further.
This sauce as with many needs time to develop flavour.
Think low and slow.
This is why you’ll want to make this as prescribed! You’ll have plenty left over to either freeze or refrigerate for up to a week.

INGREDIENTS:
4-6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-large onion(finely chopped or puréed in a mini processor)
3 small carrots ( same as onions)
2 stalks celery ( same as onions)
3 lbs stewing beef (ground)
1 cup good red wine( something you would drink)
1-24 oz bottle strained tomatoes (see picture below)(available at Cosco)
1/4 cream
sea salt
crushed red chillies
freshly ground pepper
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PREP:

Heat olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add chopped vegetables on medium heat until soft, stirring frequently.
Add the ground beef and cook until it has lost it’s raw colour. Pour in the red wine and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes, making sure to get every bit – add a little water to the bottle, swirl and pour into the meat.

Heat cream in the microwave or separate pan then pour into the sauce. Season now.
Cook uncovered over the lowest heat for at least 2 hours. LOW AND SLOW
This sauce should not boil, but should break a few bubbles on the surface.
Stir it occasionally and season again as needed.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH PREP:

Preheat oven to 375′
Cut your spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.
On a foil lined baking sheet add 2 tbsp olive oil. Place the squash skin side up and bake 35-45 minutes or until a fork easily pierces though the skin.
Scoop out the inside of the squash into a pan. Place medium heat for a few minutes to remove the excess water before adding your meat sauce.

Cauliflower stands up

Cauliflower, part of the cabbage family is coming into season.
So, what do you do with this head of cauliflower?
It’s a blank slate and is screaming for help, so here’s one way you can help it along.

Curry sesame cauliflower rice

INGREDIENTS:

1 small to medium head cauliflower
3-4 tbsp virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter
2-3 tbsp organic sesame seeds
1 tsp crushed(powdered) hot pepper (or cayenne)
2 tsp curry powder
Sea salt to taste
Gluten-free curry powder
PREPARATION:

Remove any brown spots from the cauliflower. Grate the entire cauliflower using the largest holes in your grater.
In a large non-stick skillet, at medium high heat, melt your virgin organic coconut oil, ghee or organic butter, add sesame seeds, and spices and cook 20 seconds. Add grated cauliflower and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Careful not to overcook the cauliflower. Sprinkle with desired salt and serve hot.

Curried sesame cauliflower rice

Asian inspired slaw

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Cool down with this Asian slaw. No cooking required, make this ahead, keep refrigerated for a few days. Add some protein, keep it simple and quick. When I’m rushed for time I add leftover shredded chicken or store-bought shredded roasted chicken right to this slaw. It pairs well with shrimp and lobster too.
To save time purchase pre-shredded mixed cabbage or slaw and just add the dressing.
Use 4 cups of slaw.
If you have a food processor follow the instructions below.

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 head each of red and green cabbage, finely shredded in food processor~ 3 cups total
1/2 cup store-bought broccoli slaw
1/4 cup store-bought match stick carrots
2 green onions chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger(optional)*
1 1/2 -2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish

PREPARATION:
Microwave honey for 10 seconds, then add vinegar,lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl add the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots and green onions. Pour in the dressing and mix. Refrigerate at least an hour.
Garnish with sesame seeds.

Gazpacho

A tomato-based vegetable soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. GAZPACHO
is intended to be served cold and is especially good on hot summer days. Which of course were here a few days ago.

Ripe tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe. Most GAZPACHO recipes allow for raw ingredients so by all means try this recipe RAW.
I prefer the flavour that roasted red peppers impart and because I roast and freeze my peppers I always have some on hand. If you like you can use jarred roasted red peppers.
*stale bread is also traditionally used to add bulk to this soup, so if you choose you may remove the crust from 1/2 a baguette, soak the bread in a little water and add it to the vegetables in your blender

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs ripe tomatoes (6 medium)
1 cup roasted red peppers puréed (or 1 raw seeded and roughly chopped)
1 large cucumber seeded, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw onion roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves pressed
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 cup really good olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 1/2 tsp sea salt

PREPARATION:

Start by scoring your tomatoes with an X, place them in a preheated oven 350′ for 30 minutes
Once cooled, the skin will peel off nicely.

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Then toss the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender for about a minute. *add the soaked bread with the vegetables if you choose
The mixture will look a bit chunky. Empty the contents into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Add the olive oil in a steady stream, stirring to incorporate. Then chill for several hours and days. It tastes better several days later, so it’s perfect to make ahead.

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This soup is quite thick so I’ve used it as a salsa in shot glasses with grilled shrimp. Garnish with some finely chopped peppers and cucumber.
Or serve in soup bowls with sliced avocado.