This refreshing salad from Canadian Living features a delicious miso dressing and soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat. This is a great vegetarian entrée and also goes well with grilled fish or chicken. I halved the dressing and used 175 g of noodles and still had six servings. This would also be good with spaghetti or linguine noodles. Because miso is quite salty, I did not add the ½ tsp of salt to the dressing.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice, real maple syrup and miso paste with no colour or preservatives added.

Miso paste flavours the dressing for this salad

Feel free to use whatever crunch vegetables you have on hand

Ginger-miso soba salad

Ingredients:

Miso Dressing

½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice

3 tablespoons (45 ml) white or yellow miso paste

2 tablespoons (30 ml) maple syrup

2 tablespoons (30 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt (optional)

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne pepper

Salad

225 g soba noodles

1 cup (250 ml) sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 cup (250 ml) bite-size broccoli florets

1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

Quarter red onion, thinly sliced

Quarter English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise

½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh cilantro (with stems)

¼ cup (60 ml) natural (skin-on) almonds, toasted and chopped

Preparation:

Miso Dressing: In large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, miso paste, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, salt (if using) and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Salad: In saucepan of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan of boiling salted water, cook snap peas and broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl of ice water to chill; drain well.

Thinly slice snap peas; place in large bowl. Add broccoli, red pepper, onion and cucumber; toss with half of the dressing. Add noodles and cilantro; gently toss with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with almonds. Serves 6.

From Canadian Living

Recently my friend Lisa and I attended a class at the President’s Choice Cooking School, which took place in the Loblaws store at Maple Leaf Gardens. Chef Guy Troendlin made these delicious lobster tails, topped with a tarragon cream sauce. I couldn’t wait to try them at home and was very happy with the results. Frozen lobster tails are on the small side, so plan on two per person.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The first challenge was to find out if the frozen lobster tails at the Bloor Street Market, where we shop, contained any additives. They don’t! Be sure to use fresh tarragon, butter that has no colour and cream with no additives. I used a white wine from Frogpond Farm with a sulfite level below 10 parts per million.

Sear the lobster tails, cut side down

Drizzle seared lobster tails with oil, top with chopped tarragon, salt and pepper and then bake

Baked lobster tails with tarragon cream sauce

Ingredients:

Four frozen lobster tails, thawed

2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh tarragon, chopped

1 small shallot, peeled and sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp unsalted butter

½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream (35%)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 F (232 C).

Place tip of blade of a large, sharp knife in the middle of a lobster tail. Bring the knife down, cutting the lobster shell. Loosen the meat from the shell without removing it. The tail and the shell should stay connected. Repeat with remaining lobster tails.

Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat; do not let the butter brown. Place the lobster tails in the plan, cut side down, and sear them for about a minute. Remove from pan and place tails, cut side up, on foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, tarragon, salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the same frying pan, sauté shallot until transparent (add more butter or oil if required). Add garlic and sauté for about 15 seconds. Add white wine and simmer until wine evaporates. Add cream, tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm.

Place two lobster tails on each dinner plate and top with sauce. Serves 2.

From Chef Guy Troendlin at the President’s Choice Cooking School

This delicious recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi has several steps, but the end result is well worth it. Hearty root vegetables are mashed with butter, maple syrup, spices and cooked lentils, then topped with shallots that have been braised in wine, stock and thyme. Cook’s Note: To make your own caster sugar, place regular white sugar in a spice grinder and process until it is very fine, about the consistency of icing sugar.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used a red wine from Frogpond Farm, which does not add sulfites to its wines. I also used Imagine stock and butter that contains only cream. Check your dry spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Brown shallots and then braise

Reduce braising sauce and add butter

Cook vegetables until tender

Le Puy lentils work best for this recipe because they hold their shape

Root Mash with Wine-Braised Shallots

Ingredients:

For the shallots

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

1 1/3 lb (600 g) shallots, peeled

1 2/3 cups (400 ml) red wine

200 ml vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

1 tsp (5 ml) whole black peppercorns

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tbsp (15 ml) caster sugar

Salt

2 tbsp (30 g) butter

For the lentils and vegetables

1/3 cup (80 g) puy lentils

½ celery root (300 g), peeled and cut into chunks

2 carrots (300 g), peeled and cut into chunks

½ kabocha squash (300 g), or other type, peeled and cut into chunks

2 sweet potatoes (600 g), peeled and cut into chunks

5 tbsp (70 g) butter, diced

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

1½ tsp (7.5 ml) ground cumin

Salt and black pepper

Preparation:

Put the oil and shallots in a heavy pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for five minutes until well coloured. Add the wine, stock, bay, peppercorns, thyme, sugar and a ¾ tsp (3 ml) salt, cover and simmer for an hour. Remove the lid, raise the heat and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove the shallots and keep them warm. Stir butter into sauce and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, simmer the lentils in plenty of water until tender (about 25 minutes), drain and set aside.

Half fill a medium pan with water, bring to a boil, add the celery root and carrot and, after 10 minutes, the squash and sweet potato. Ten to 15 minutes later, they should be done.

Drain the veg, shaking off as much liquid as possible, and mash well with a potato masher. Mix in the butter, maple syrup, cumin and cooked lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, top the mash with shallots and pour sauce over the top. Serves 6.

From Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

This excellent dish from Food and Drink is simple to make and yields terrific flavour. Place garlic, butter, brown sugar, orange zest and juice in a baking dish, add the chicken, rub the chicken with coriander and bake. The result is tender chicken and a delicious orange and garlic sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Butter can sometimes contain colour, so look for a brand that contains only cream. Check the label on the coriander to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Place ingredients in glass baking dish

Bake until chicken is done

Roasted chicken legs with orange and garlic

Ingredients:

8 whole cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar

1 medium navel orange

4 chicken legs, about 10 oz (300 g) each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander

3 tbsp (45 ml) water, plus more, hot, if needed

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).

In a large glass baking dish, add garlic, butter and brown sugar. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 large strips of zest from orange and add to dish. Halve the orange and squeeze juice into dish; add halves.

Place chicken legs in dish and generously season with salt and pepper. Divide the coriander between the 4 legs, rubbing it into the skin.

Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and increase heat to 450°F (230°C). Remove foil, baste the chicken legs with cooking liquid, stir in 3 tbsp (45 ml) water and return uncovered to heated oven.

Continue cooking until chicken is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes, checking occasionally to avoid burning.

Remove chicken from dish. Carefully squeeze any residual juice from orange halves into cooking juices. Remove orange zest. Using the back of a fork mash up the garlic cloves. Stir the sauce to combine and pour over chicken legs. If needed add 1 tbsp (15 ml) hot water to dish to loosen sauce. Serves 4.

From the Winter 2017 issue of Food and Drink

This is another great recipe from Bonnie Stern’s More HeartSmart Cooking that is tasty and is only 167 calories per serving. You can serve this as a main course or as an appetizer, using the sauce as a dip.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use shrimp with only salt added and make sure the bread you use has no additives or preservatives. I used Ace bread. Use fresh lemon juice and a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites. I use Acetia la Bonissima Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, which is imported by Sarafino.

Toss shrimp with oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper

Assemble ingredients for hot garlic sauce

Lightly breaded shrimp with hot garlic sauce

Ingredients:

Shrimp

1.5 lbs (750 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh rosemary, or a pinch dried

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

½ tsp (2 ml) pepper

2 cups (500 ml) fresh whole wheat or white breadcrumbs

Hot Garlic Sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ tsp (1 ml) hot red pepper flakes

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper

¼ cup (45 ml) chopped parsley

Preparation:

In bowl combine 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss with shrimp.

Place breadcrumbs in large, flat dish. Dip shrimp in crumbs and pat crumbs in gently on both sides. Arrange shrimp in single layer on baking sheet(s) lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

In small saucepan, warm 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil with chopped garlic and hot pepper flakes. Add lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Just before serving, cook shrimp in preheated 425 F (220 C) oven for 6 to 10 minutes or until just cooked through.

Drizzle sauce over shrimp, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 6-8.

From More HeartSmart Cooking by Bonnie Stern

This delicious recipe from Bonnie Stern’s More Heartsmart Cooking has lots of flavour from spices and roasted garlic but doesn’t have lot of fat. To flatten the chicken breasts, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth end of a meat tenderizer. Unlike regular couscous — small grains of durum wheat — Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped in tiny balls, about the size of small peas.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the orange juice concentrate and spices have no preservatives added.

Pound chicken breasts until they are a half-inch thick, marinate and then grill

Flattened Cumin-Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic Israeli Couscous

Ingredients:

Chicken

6 skinless, boneless single chicken breasts, 4 oz/125 g each

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) orange juice concentrate

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

½ tsp (2 ml) pepper

Israeli Couscous

4 cups (1 L) chicken stock

8 oz (250 g) Israeli couscous

1 head roasted garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

To roast garlic, trim about ¼ inch/5 mm off the top of a garlic head. Place the garlic cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 F/ 200 C for about 40 minutes or until tender. Gently squeeze the garlic out of the skins.

Remove filets from chicken breasts (freezing them for stir-fries or chicken fingers). Pound remaining pieces of chicken until about ½ inch / 1 cm thick

In small bowl, combine olive oil, juice concentrate, cumin, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Rub mixture into chicken breasts. Marinate for 10 minutes or up to overnight in refrigerator.

Grill chicken breasts on lightly oiled barbecue or grill pan for a few minutes per side — 3 to 5 minutes, or just until cooked through.

Meanwhile, to prepare couscous, bring chicken stock to boil. Add couscous and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Stir garlic paste or pesto sauce into couscous. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place couscous in serving dish and arrange chicken on top. Serves 6.

From More Heartsmart Cooking

This tasty recipe from Canadian Living gets its heat from Thai bird’s-eye peppers, which are tiny but pack a powerful punch. To tone down the heat, reduce the amount of minced pepper you add to the dish and use for a garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Marukan rice vinegar and Cock fish sauce, which are both additive-free.

Brown the pork

Remove pork and saute green beans, garlic, ginger and Thai pepper

Return pork to pan and add vinegar, fish sauce and brown sugar

Pork and chili pepper bowl

Ingredients:

1 Thai bird’s-eye pepper, halved crosswise

1 lb (450 g) lean ground pork

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil

2 cups (500 ml) green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons (20 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon (15 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fish sauce

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) packed brown sugar

4 eggs (optional)

½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

2 green onions, sliced (optional)

Preparation:

Mince half of the Thai pepper; thinly slice remaining half. Set aside.

In large nonstick skillet, cook pork and salt over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Scrape into bowl. Set aside.

In same pan, heat half of the oil over medium heat; cook green beans, garlic, ginger and minced Thai pepper, stirring occasionally, until green beans are tender- crisp, about 5 minutes. Add pork, vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions and remaining Thai pepper. Serves 4.

To top with a fried egg (before garnishing with cilantro and green onions), wipe pan clean and heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook eggs until whites are set yet yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Arrange 1 egg over each pork bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions and remaining Thai pepper. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

I always like to get a cookbook for Christmas, and this year I was happy to receive the latest from the Barefoot ContessaCooking for Jeffrey. This is the first recipe I’ve tried, and it’s a winner! Onion and fennel are sautéed with sausage and spices, simmered in a tomato-cream sauce, tossed with cooked pasta and baked. You can also make it ahead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for sausages, Parmesan, tomato paste and spices with no colour or preservatives added. I used a white wine from Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Frogpond Farm organic winery that contains only naturally occurring sulfites.

Saute fennel, onion and sausage

Toss cooked pasta with sauce and press into baking dish, topping with Parmesan

I refrigerated the dish for several hours and then baked it until it was heated through and brown on top

Ingredients:

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

3 cups (750 ml) chopped fennel (1 large bulb)

1½ cups (375 ml) chopped yellow onion

1¼ lb (565 g) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

2 tsp (10 ml) minced garlic

½ tsp (2.5 ml) whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle

½ tsp (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream (whipping cream)

2/3 cup (150 ml) half-and-half

2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste

1 lb (454 g) dry rigatoni

½ cup (125 ml) chopped parsley leaves

1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, crumbling it with a fork, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp (10 ml) salt and 1 tsp (5 ml) black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, and add the heavy cream, half-and-half and tomato paste. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tbsp (30 ml) salt and cook the rigatoni according to the directions on the package. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and ½ cup (125 ml) of the Parmesan. Press into a large shallow baking dish, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve. To make ahead, refrigerate for up to a day and then bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 C).

From Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten

Even if you don’t want to make the pork chops in this recipe, be sure to try the roasted peppers and onion, which are tossed with oil and herbs, topped with feta cheese and roasted until tender. They are delicious! The pork chops are also great — just be sure not to overcook them.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the labels of the Italian herb seasoning and feta to make sure they don’t contain colour or preservatives. Look for a brand of balsamic vinegar that contains only naturally occurring sulfites. I use PC old-fashioned Dijon mustard, which is all-natural.

Toss peppers and onion with herbs and oil, top with feta and roast

Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper before cooking

Honey balsamic pork chops with roasted peppers

Ingredients:

1 red onion, cut in 2-inch (5 cm) pieces

2 red peppers, cut in 2-inch (5 cm) pieces

4 teaspoons (20 ml) olive oil

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) Italian herb seasoning

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt and pepper

1/3 cup cubed feta cheese (about 50 g)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid honey

1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely grated or pressed

2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon mustard

4 bone-in centre-in pork loin chops (about 850 g total)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

In large bowl, toss together red onion, red peppers, half of the oil, the Italian seasoning and half each of the salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on generously greased rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with feta. Roast in 425°F (218°C) oven, turning once, until veggies are tender and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together honey, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Sprinkle pork with remaining salt and pepper. In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook pork, turning once, until just a hint of pink remains inside, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour honey mixture over pork chops; cook, turning to coat, until glazed, about 1 minute.

Divide pork and vegetables among 4 serving plates; sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

If you’re tired of your roast chicken recipe, try this new take on it from Food and Wine. Remove the backbone of the chicken, flatten it and brown, skin-side down, in a skillet on top of the stove. Then roast it in the oven. Meanwhile, roast carrots and mushrooms and toss with farro, a hearty grain similar to barley.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and make sure the nuts do not contain preservatives.

Remove backbone from chicken, flatten and brown, skin-side down

Toss vegetables together and roast

Roast chicken in oven and let it rest before carving

Mix roasted vegetables with cooked farro

Pan-roasted chicken with warm farro salad

Ingredients:

One 4-pound (1.8-kg) whole chicken, backbone removed and chicken cut in half

5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

3 sage sprigs

½ pound (226 g) small (not baby) carrots

1 pound (454 g) mixed mushrooms, chopped, any tough stems discarded

1 ½ cups (375 ml) farro

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving

½ cup (125 ml) chopped toasted hazelnuts

Chopped parsley, for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450° F (232° C) Set racks in the middle and lower thirds of the oven. Rub the chicken all over with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter. Add the sage sprigs, then add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and roast in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally, until cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Reserve the pan juices but discard the sage.

While the chicken is cooking, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots and mushrooms with the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables on the lower rack of the oven until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice the carrots. Transfer the carrots and mushrooms to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the farro until al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well. Add the farro to the vegetables along with the lemon juice, half of the hazelnuts and ½ cup (125 ml) of the reserved chicken pan juices; mix well. Transfer to plates, top with the remaining hazelnuts and garnish with parsley. Carve the chicken and serve it with the farro and lemon wedges. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

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