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By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

Has the July heat got you sweating over the thought of turning on your oven? Beat the heat with this week with a fresh take on an ethnic classic: my twist on traditional Pad Thai that can easily be modified to suit any vegan pallet.

The unconventional use of smoked tofu in this recipe is a great way to satisfy any protein craving. Even if you’re not a tofu lover I suggest you seek some out and give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised. Worried about genetically modified soy? Go for organic soy as GM ingredients cannot be certified organic in Canada.

Opting for raw veggie noodles instead of the traditional rice noodles makes for a light, refreshing and super hydrating entrée – great for a supper on the patio or packed up for lunch!

Zucchini Pad Thai

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Zucchini
  • 1 cup Bean Sprouts
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • ½ Red Pepper, sliced
  • ½ Smoked Organic Tofu, cubed*
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Thai Basil, chopped
  • 1-2 Spring Onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • ¼ cup Roasted Peanuts
  • ½ Lime, reserve the other ½ for the sauce

*Option: substitute tofu with 2 eggs beaten with 3 drops of tamari & 3 drops sesame oil and cook like an omelette over medium heat, slide on to your cutting board and slice into thin strips.

Satay Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (if vegan use 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar instead)
  •  juice of ½ Lime
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch Ginger, thickly sliced
  • For an extra kick: 1 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste or Sriracha Sauce

Method:

Start by preparing the dressing to allow the flavours to develop. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Because of the consistency of the peanut butter and curry paste a little hand whisking may be necessary to make a smooth dressing. Keep the ginger and garlic in large pieces, so they can easily be retrieved after they have infused their flavour. In the event that you love the bite of raw garlic and ginger chop it up finely and bring on the heat!

Use a mandoline with a grater attachment to grate the zucchini into “noodles”. If you don’t have a mandoline you can simply chop the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices and then cut those slices again into thin strips that resemble noodles.

Place the “noodles” in a medium sized bowl and begin to layer the remaining ingredients on top; bean sprouts, sliced pepper, grated or mandolined carrots, tofu (or egg), basil, cilantro, spring onion and peanuts. Drizzle with satay sauce, serve with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Serves 2.

 

By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

Enough can never really be said about the vegetables in the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family. They are often touted as being nutrition powerhouses that work to fight cancer. The phytonutrient responsible for this nutritional clout is called indol-3 carbinol – a special chemical found in cruciferous vegetables that help the liver in detoxifying carcinogens (cancer causing compounds) found in our diets and environment. They have also been established to reduce the growth of breast cancer cells and to prevent the spread of various types of cancers . Eating a serving of these magnificent vegetables has been proven to not only reduce your risk of cancer but their high vitamin and mineral content, like vitamin K and C as well as folate has been associated with a reduction in macular degeneration.- making them quite capable at keeping your eyes healthy and keeping you looking young and radiant!

This recipe is my take on a traditional Irish side dish, calcannon, that is sure to satisfy your cruciferous cravings! Try it hot, cold, as a main or as a side dish. The featured flavours are so versatile they will  perfectly compliment any protein.

Cruciferous Calcannon 

Ingredients:

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  • 6 yellow fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 green cabbage, chopped
  • 3 leaves kale, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Boil the chopped potatoes in salted water until fork tender, strain and set aside.

In the same pot, melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and cabbage and saute until translucent.

Remove from heat and add reaming butter, kale and cooked potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mash until potatoes are smooth.

Serve.

Reference whfoods.com

 

Frittata

By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

This is a great recipe for the end of the week when your vegetable drawer is full of those last few veggies that are past their prime. In my frittatta, I used lots of winter market staples like potatoes and carrots, however this recipe is so versatile that almost any veggie combo could work. This recipe’s flexibility goes beyond its ingredients; transform those veggies headed for the bin into a quick weeknight dinner, weekend breakfast or even serve it cold for lunch. Fritattas work well served with a salad or even on toast.

My heart breaks every time I see an egg white omelette on a brunch menu, somehow egg yolks have gotten a bad rap! Perhaps in the wake of the low fat diet craze or in an effort to avoid high cholesterol foods. I want to shed some light on these misconceptions. The simple facts are that our bodies needs some good quality fat, like that which is found in egg yolks, to function properly and eating high cholesterol foods do not increase our bodies’ cholesterol. Egg yolks are a great source of vitamins A, E and K as well as omega-3 fats and a whole host of other nutritious minerals. Most of the an eggs selenium, a powerful antioxidant hard to find in today’s food supply, is found in the yolk.  The better part of the nutrition in a egg is in fact packed inside the yolk. So make whole eggs part of your regular routine and reap all the benefits!

Forget-Me-Not Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 small bunch greens*
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

*I used Swiss chard in my frittata but any green would work depending on what you can find at the market or at the back of your fridge. Kale, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, ect.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mandoline your potato into thin slices. Grease the bottom of a pie dish with 1 Tbsp butter and layer the potatoes along the bottom and sides of the dish. Pop the pie dish lined with potato into the oven while you prepare the vegetables.

Heat a pan over medium heat with the remaining butter. Dice the onion and carrot and sweat in the preheated pan. While your onion and carrot are sauteing chop your greens and beat your eggs in a small bowl. Add the greens in with the onions and carrots once they have become translucent and saute for a few minutes more. Season as desired.

Remove the pie dish from the oven and spread the cooked  vegetables evenly over the potatoes. Pour the beaten eggs over the top and spread them evenly with a rubber spatula if needed. Reduce of the oven to 325 degrees and bake the frittata for 25 minutes or until the egg is the centre has hardened.

Once baked flip over onto a cutting board and serve.

Serves 4-6

soup

By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

Spread the love this February with this heart-y healthy soup, chock-full of winter market staples! Beets are not only high in fibre (essential for moving cholesterol out of your colon), but they are also a great source of potassium (a key mineral in maintaining a healthy blood pressure). This powerful heart-saver is paired with the incredible cholesterol fighting super powers of the humble cabbage.

My borscht has even more hearty flavour for your heart to enjoy with a few simple twists on tradition;

  • Forget the pesky peeler and leave the skins on for even more fibre
  • Add a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes for a kick AND a great boost in circulation.
  • Swap your regular refined salt for a pink (Himalayan rock) or grey (unrefined sea) salt and reap the benefits from less sodium

Roasted Beet Borscht

Ingredients:

  • 3 large red beets
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 small head cabbage (I used a neat heirloom variety I found at the market; January King)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 litres of vegetable stock (or if your feeling particularly resourceful make your own veggie or chicken stock, the flavour is always unbeatable!)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (a beautiful little gem you can pick up at the market!)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill (1 Tbsp dried will work just fine this time of year)
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper and quality salt to taste
  • Cayenne powder or red pepper flakes to taste
  • Quality sour cream and extra dill for garnish

Method:

IMG_1432 (2)Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets well and chop into 1 inch cubes. Place the chopped beets on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. No need to fuss over their tenderness, the beets can finish cooking in your soup pot.

While the beets are roasting, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the diced carrots and onions and sweat until the onions become translucent. Then add your chopped head of cabbage, dill and bay and continue sweating for approximately 5 minutes. Add the stock, vinegar and roasted beets to the pot, turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Once the soup has simmered, blend with an immersion blender until the beets look as though they were grated.

Serve with a sprinkle of dill and a dollop of sour cream. This soup is great either hot or cold, especially as the veggies are in season almost all year round.

 

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Here are 5 fast facts about one of the most versatile superfoods; Quinoa:

  • Quinoa is not a member of the grass family, therefore it is not grain. It is in fact a seed.
  • Quinoa is one of the few plant-based foods that is a complete protein, meaning it is a source of all 8 essential proteins.
  • Quinoa is gluten free.
  • Unlike most grains, quinoa is very anti-inflammatory (simply put it supports good health) due to both its high levels of omega-3 fats and antioxidants.
  • Quinoa will make you happier! It is a good source of tryptotphan a precursor to serotonin; one of the feel good brain chemicals.

Savoury or sweet, quinoa is easy to slip into so many recipes. Try it today in my salad fit for any cold December day.

Warm Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 small Butternut Squash
  • 3/4 cups Quinoa
  • 1 small red onion
  • Small Bunch Kale
  • 1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dressing:

  • The juice of half a Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare squash: peel, remove seeds and cut into 1 1/2 cm cubes. Spread out on a baking pan, sprinkle with cumin and paprika and season to taste. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

Rinse quinoa in warm water, until the water runs clear. Combine quinoa in a pot with 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the quinoa begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes more.

Finley chop red onion and kale and place in a large bowl with the cranberries.

Toast pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium-high heat, until the seeds become slightly puffed and golden.

Pour the warm squash, quinoa and pumpkin seeds in to the large bowl the kale. The heat from these ingredients will work to slightly steam the kale. Cooked kale rather than raw is always a nice gift for your thyroid.

Combine the honey, lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk while adding the olive oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Even pre-dressed this salad keeps well in the fridge. Make a big batch and pack it for a quick and healthy lunch!

By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

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By Elizabeth Whalley, RHN

My favourite breakfast classic gets a market makeover in this recipe. Centered around A Bread Affair’s Love at First Bite; a delicious loaf of bread that incorporates the flavours and ingredients of the Lower Mainland. Best of all the rest ingredients can be found at the market year round.

Hazelnut Crusted French Toast with Blueberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf Love at First Bite from A Bread Affair
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 cups blueberries (vendors often sell them frozen at the winter market)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Butter or coconut oil

Method:

Place the blueberries in a small sauce pan and simmer over a medium heat for about 20 minutes.

While the blueberries simmer, slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices.

Chop the hazelnuts into a small pieces, place on a plate and set aside.

Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Whisk until light and frothy.

Melt 1 tsp butter(or coconut oil) in a frying pan over medium high heat. Dip once slice at a time into the egg mixture, once on each side. Press one side into the chopped hazelnut and transfer to the hot frying pan. Continue until all of the bread slices have been coated and cooked. Add more butter between slices if necessary.

Turn the heat on the simmering blueberries down to low and add the maple syrup.

Serve the French Toast with the blueberry compote and dollop of strained yogurt, plus maple syrup if needed

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • about 12 ounces of fresh cranberries

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.  Reduce to medium and cook for 10 to 12 minute or until cranberries pop.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  Serve chilled.  You can play around with the measurement for the spices depending on your own personal preference.

pesto and crostinis

By Dan McCash

Arugula Pesto

You don’t often need to read a recipe’s specific ingredient amounts like you’re translating Morse Code ( “2 Tbsps with 1 cup and ½ quart” does not equal “S.O.S.”)

Pesto is an exceptional recipe to flex your own personal taste buds by “approximating” the amount of each ingredient that’s combined and today we’re making it with arugula!

Ingredients

  • 2 or more big bunches of fresh Arugula, stem to leaf
    1 or two Tbsp of citrus juice
  • as MUCH raw garlic as you please (proportionally, probably about ¾ cup)
  • A cup of any nuts, toasted (toasted almonds are dynamite, giving this pungent sauce a very nutty undertone)
  • 1/3 cup of grated or powdered parmesan cheese (NO mac & cheese powder, yech!)
  • Dash of salt
    Olive oil – however much you can work with adding but appox. 1 cup

Directions

Pack arugula into your food processor (or a friend’s processor if you haven’t got one)

-blitz at the leaves to give an initial chop

-drizzle some olive oil into chopping leaves to help speed it up

Add all your garlic, nuts, and keep pouring in some oil as you go. Drop in some citrus juice and taste. Season to your liking. Keep blending and pour in parmesan cheese.

Once the recipe’s saucy and to your taste, pour in a jar, drizzle a thin layer of oil, seal and refrigerate

Crostinis

Cheese, jam, olives, tapenade, sauces: including basil & tomatoes, there’s a myriad of pantry items that will sit atop crostini crackers to make your dinner party into a tapas lounge for the night!

Ingredients

  • 1 bagette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • some good ol’ S&P

Directions

With the baguette, cut 1/2 cm slices until you can cut no more. Lay slices on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Lightly brush them with olive oil and sprinkle your salt, pepper, and maybe there’s some herbs that you may fancy (ie- a pinch of rosemary is always a hit)

Lay another parchment over baguette tray and seal with a 2nd cookie sheet. Toast in the oven, preheated for 400 F for approx. 7 – 10 minutes.  Be sure to poke in to see how things are toasting–it’s a very short amount of time in the oven before Golden Brown skips to “Burnt Toast”

HINT: if your bread knife is dull, baguettes are much easier to slice when they’ve been in the freezer for an hour.

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By Elizabeth Whalley RHN

As the conventional food industry is becoming more and a more globalized, I have opted for a more local diet, as I’m sure many of you have. I will continue to wait patiently for the first tomato of the season after a long winter of countless root vegetables. Eating local allows us to connect to the environmental changes going on around us, changes that are often as innate as the changing of the seasons.

Thus, you can understand my excitement in seeing the many varieties of peppers at the market last week after a long, pepper-less winter. All of the different shapes, sizes and colours were so alluring. If you’re lucky you’ll even get a history for your pepper varietal from your knowledgeable farmer. If you’re not so lucky (as I seem to have found myself), you’ll be led astray to the land of incredibly hot peppers. Not to worry, as  possibilities for peppers are endless and roasting helps to mellow out those spicy peppers. Here is my homage to local market peppers of any shape, colour and size;

Basil Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • A few pounds of your favourite peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese (I used feta, it added a great depth of flavour)
  • 2 tablespoons quality olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

20130823-183315.jpgPrepare the peppers for roasting; for smaller peppers chop off the top, for larger cut into quarters. Be sure to remove as much of the seeds and membrane as possible, after roasting hot peppers can actually be quite mild without them. Chop off a small portion of the top of the garlic cloves (this allows them to roast much better).

Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, along with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserving the remaining tablespoon for the filling), sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.

While the peppers cool combine the remaining ingredients, along with the now roasted garlic in a food processor. Pulse until a smooth consistency is reached. Season to taste, I found with the feta no additional salt was needed.

Transfer the filling to a piping bag. If you don’t have one a zip lock bag with the tip cut off works in a pinch. Pipe the filling inside the peppers. Place tops on the peppers and return to a 375 degree oven for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm with freshly cracked pepper and grated Parmesan or asiago cheese (optional).

 

 

 

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The day is much cooler today so you might be thinking about using your oven again after our record breaking sunshine in July.  Many of us picked up blueberries from the market yesterday, so why not treat ourselves, our family or our friends to a heart warming, classic comfort dessert made from these delicious berries.  Jodi’s tip for this one is to add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the topping.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup oats or gluten-free oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp cold, cubed, unsalted butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 350º.  Wash and pat the blueberries dry.

DSC_0541_17392Mix blueberries, lemon juice, brown sugar and cornstarch and place mixture in a greased, ovenproof dish.  In a separate bowl, rub together almond flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter until mixture is crumbly.

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Sprinkle dry mixture over the berries.  Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until topping begins to brown and it smells too good to leave in any longer.

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Enjoy with some heavy cream or ice cream to top it off.

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