This recipe from Martha Stewart Living is perfect for entertaining. You can use a whole chicken, cut up, or chicken pieces. Roast the chicken with lemon and orange juice, wine, dates and thyme, adding olives partway through. Once the chicken is done, boil the sauce to reduce it and serve over the chicken.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh fruit and their juices. Dates may contain sulfites, so read the label carefully. I used a white wine from Frogpond Farm with no sulfites added and President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives.

Squeeze juice over chicken and nestle citrus wedges into chicken

The chicken takes about 40 minutes to cook

Roasted chicken with dates, citrus and olives

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (about 5 pounds/2.25 kg), cut into 10 pieces

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, quartered

1 orange, quartered, plus ½ cup (125 ml) fresh juice (from 2 to 3 oranges)

¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

12 large soft dates, such as medjool or khadrawi, halved and pitted

3 sprigs thyme

1 cup (250 ml) large green olives

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). In a large roasting pan, season chicken with salt and pepper; drizzle with oil. Squeeze lemon and orange over chicken, then add fruit to pan. Add wine, orange juice, half of dates, and thyme. Roast 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven; rotate chicken pieces if browning unevenly. Add olives and remaining dates. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken breast (avoiding bone) registers 160 degrees F (71 degrees C), about 15 minutes more. Transfer chicken and citrus to a platter.

Place roasting pan over high heat, mashing some of dates with the back of a wooden spoon, until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour over chicken; serve. Serves 6.

From Martha Stewart Living

This is another recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s new cookbook, Make It Ahead. It is very easy, nutritious and, of course, you can make it ahead. If you aren’t adept at making a good seal with the parchment paper packets, use a stapler!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice because the concentrates contain sodium benzoate. I use President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives.

Place fish on parchment and add seasonings and olives

The fish will steam inside the parchment and be done in about 15 minutes

Herb-roasted fish

Ingredients:

4 12 x 16-inch (30 x 40 cm) pieces of parchment paper

4 8-ounce (250 g) boneless fish fillets, such as snapper or cod

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 tablespoons (60 ml) good olive oil

8 large sprigs fresh thyme

8 large green olives with pits

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).

Place one fish fillet on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with ¼ of the salt and ¼ of the pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon (15 ml) each of the lemon juice and olive oil over the top of the fillet. Lay two sprigs of thyme on top and place 2 olives next to the fillet. Repeat with the other three fish fillets.

Brush the egg whites around the edges of the parchment paper and fold in half. Carefully fold the edge of the parchment paper under and around the fish to make a package. Repeat for the other three packages. You can prepare the packages and refrigerate for up to one day. When ready to cook, place the package on a sheet pan and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve hot in the parchment paper. Serves 4.

From the Barefoot Contessa’s Make It Ahead


The Barefoot Contessa’s latest cookbook, Make It Ahead, contains make-ahead instructions for every recipe it contains. This garlic and herb roasted shrimp is a terrific dish and so easy. Melt some butter, add olive oil, seasonings and lemon zest. Pour over the shrimp and pop the dish in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, roast the shrimp for about 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread or rice, and a salad or green vegetable.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream and look for shrimp with no additives.

Mix butter, oil and seasonings

Pour mixture over shrimp and top with lemon slices

Garlic & Herb Roasted Shrimp

Ingredients:

¼ pound (125 g/1 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons (30 ml) good olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced garlic (6 cloves)

2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced fresh rosemary leaves

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large lemons

2 pounds (1 kg) shrimp, peeled with the tails on

1 teaspoon (5 ml) coarse sea salt

4 slices country bread, toasted

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium (10-inch/25-cm) sauté pan. Add the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon (2 ml) black pepper and cook over low heat for one minute. Off the heat, zest one of the lemons directly into the butter mixture.

Meanwhile, arrange the shrimp snugly in one layer in a large (12-inch/30-cm) round ovenproof sauté pan (or 10 x 13-inch/25 x  33-cm baking dish) with only the tails overlapping. Pour the butter mixture over the shrimp. Sprinkle with the sea salt and ½ teaspoon (2ml) black pepper.

Slice the ends off the zested lemon, cut five (¼-inch/6-cm-thick) slices, and tuck them among the shrimp. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, just until the shrimp are firm, pink, and cooked through. Cut the remaining lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the shrimp.

Serve hot with the toasted bread for dipping into the garlic butter. To make ahead, prep the dish and refrigerate it in the pan. Roast before serving. Serves 4.

From Make it Ahead by the Barefoot Contessa

If you want to impress your valentine, cook a lovely dinner at home. And to really pull out the stops, make your true love Yorkshire pudding. Traditionally served with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding can also be a dessert, often served with cream and syrup. I had always been intimidated by the thought of making Yorkshire pudding, and any I had eaten were often heavy and greasy. But I tried this recipe a few years ago and the results were great. I like it for two reasons: First, you don’t need pan drippings to make this version, just butter; and second, you can keep the batter in the fridge for up to two hours in advance. You and your valentine will love these tall, light and crispy Yorkshire puddings.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter than contains only cream, no colour or preservatives.

You can keep the batter in the fridge for up to two hours

Put a teaspoon of butter into each section of a muffin pan and put in the oven

Add the batter, filling each 2/3 full

Yorkshire pudding

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) flour

3 eggs

1 cup (250 ml) 2% milk

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt

fresh ground pepper

12 teaspoons (60 ml) butter

Preparation:

Add flour to large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the milk, eggs and seasoning. Add half the liquid to the flour and whisk. Add the other half — you want the mixture to be smooth and the consistency of heavy cream.

If it is a bit thick add a little more milk (1 tablespoon/15 ml at a time). Put it in the fridge to rest the batter for 10 minutes or up to two hours. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).

In a standard size muffin tray put 1 teaspoon (5 ml) butter in each mold. Put the tray in the preheated oven until butter is bubbling and tray is hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the hot tray and fill the cups just under 2/3 full (or they will bubble over). Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time or the puddings will deflate. Bring temperature down to 350 F (177 C) and finish baking for 5 minutes or until tops are crisping and golden.

Remove from oven and pierce with a small knife to release steam. Serve immediately. Makes 12.

From the Globe and Mail

When you slice pork tenderloin into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and pound them flat, they cook in less than two minutes, so you can dinner on the table in a hurry. In this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, the pork is simmered in a sauce of fennel, garlic, orange juice, olives and parsley. Tasty!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use fresh orange juice, a stock with no additives (I use Imagine Organic brand) and olives with no chemicals added (I use President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives).

Cut tenderloin into slices and pound flat

Sear the pork about 80 seconds on each side

Saute the fennel

The sauce cooks quickly

Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Fennel and Green Olives in Orange Pan Sauce

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon (5 ml) table salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground black pepper

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound/500 g), silver skin removed, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices, each pounded to ¾ inch (1.9 cm) with flat side of chef’s knife blade

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

½ medium bulb fennel, sliced thin (about 1 cup/250 ml)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon/15 ml))

1/3 cup (75 ml) orange juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange zest from 1 large orange

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or low-salt canned broth

¼ cup (50 ml) pitted green olives, sliced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

Preparation:

Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices. Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches (25 cm) across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil. Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate.

Heat oil in pan in which pork was cooked over medium heat, swirling to distribute. Add fennel; sauté until softened and starting to color, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute more. Add juice; boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spatula to loosen browned bits, until liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 ½ minutes. Increase heat to high and add stock or broth and any accumulated pork juices; boil until liquid reaches consistency of maple syrup, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium; return pork to pan with zest, olives, and parsley, turning meat to coat. Simmer to heat pork thoroughly and blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pork to serving plate and spoon sauce over meat. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This delicious fish dish from Canadian Living’s The International Collection is delicious and colourful, thanks to the turmeric in the marinade. Bursting with flavour, the fish is served over vermicelli noodles, with a tangy sauce and pickled shallots.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your fish sauce does not contain MSG; I use Cock brand. Use turmeric with no colour or anti-caking agents added and fresh lime juice.

Marinate the fish in the fridge for about an hour

The fish is served with a tangy sauce and pickled shallots

Hanoi-style vermicelli noodles with fish

Ingredients:

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp (15 ml) fish sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) water

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) minced gingerroot

3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground turmeric

1/2 tsp (2 ml) pepper

1 lb (454 g) tilapia fillets

8 oz (227 g) rice vermicelli

2 cups (500 ml) bean sprouts

1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh coriander leaves

1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts

Noodle Sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) finely shredded carrot

2 tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice

2 tsp (10 ml) white vinegar

1 Thai (bird’s-eye) chili pepper, minced

Pickled Shallots

3 shallots, thinly sliced in rings

1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar

1/4 tsp (1 ml) granulated sugar

Preparation:

Using mortar and pestle, mash shallots with garlic to make paste. (Or very finely chop with knife.) Stir in dill, fish sauce, vinegar, water, oil, ginger, turmeric and pepper; spread all over fish. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Noodle Sauce: Meanwhile, whisk sugar with 2/3 cup (150 ml) hot water until dissolved; let cool. Stir in carrot, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar and chili pepper; set aside.

Pickled shallots: Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine shallots, vinegar and sugar; set aside.

Broil fish on greased broiler pan until nicely charred and flakes easily when tested with fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut into 4 portions.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well; shake. Set aside to air-dry.

Divide noodles among 4 large bowls. Top with bean sprouts, coriander, fish and pickled shallots; sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with noodle sauce, adding as desired and tossing to coat. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living’s International Collection

I love ravioli, but it is very hard to find ravioli that is paper thin and tender, instead of thick and chewy. So I thought I’d try to make it myself, using this recipe from Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book. I made this recipe in three stages: First, I made the filling, at about 10 a.m., because it takes four hours for the ricotta to drain. I finished the filling about 2 p.m. and refrigerated it. Then I made the sauce about 4 p.m. and refrigerated it. I put the eggs out to warm to room temperature around the same time. Finally, at around 5:30 p.m., I started the dough, using a food processor and then pasta making attachment for my stand mixer. Dinner was ready about two hours later, but it was well worth the time and effort!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano do not contain colour or preservatives.

Drain the ricotta for four hours

Lightly smash the garlic and saute in oil

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

I made the dough in a food processor

Knead the dough for 10 minutes

With a pasta machine, roll out the dough into long, thin sheets

Place the filling at regular intervals on one side of each sheet

Brush around filling with water, fold over, push out any air and seal the ravioli, when cut into squares

Boil for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a warm serving dish

Top with tomato sauce and cheese

Filling

2 cups (500 g) ricotta cheese

¾ cup (90 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus extra for serving)

2 large egg yolks

¼ to ½ tsp (1 to 2.5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

To make the filling, place the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours to drain off as much excess moisture as possible. Discard the liquid and transfer the ricotta to a bowl. Add the grated cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg to taste, ¼ tsp (1 ml) sea salt, and pinch of pepper and mix until well blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Simple tomato sauce

2.5 lbs (1.25 kg) fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or 1 28 oz. (875 g) can plum tomatoes.

1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, chopped (chop just before using)

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, place in a colander in the sink and let drain for 5 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, pressing wit the back of a wooden spoon to release its juices, until it takes on a rich golden colour but has not yet turned brown, 1-2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and immediately add the tomatoes, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt, and season to taste with pepper.

Using a fork or potato masher, press down on the tomatoes to break them up until they are in fairly small pieces. Raise the heat to high and bring to tomatoes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes form a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and use right away, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Makes 4 cups.

Pasta dough

3 cups unbleached all-purpose four, plus more as needed

½ tsp. fine sea salt

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 tbsp. olive oil

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but ½ cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved ½ cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1.25 lb. dough.

Roll out the pasta with a machine, to the thinnest setting. Lay the sheets out flat on a floured surface

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold lengthwise to make the centre, then unfold so it is flat again. Beginning about 2 inches (5 cm) from one of the short ends, place small spoonfuls of the filling at 2-inch (5-cm) intervals down the centre of one side of the fold. Dip a pastry brush in cool water and lightly brush around the filling; this acts as a glue that keeps the filling tightly sealed inside the pasta. Fold the dough over the filling. Using your fingers, mold the dough around the filling to eliminate any air pockets. Press the edges of the dough firmly together to seal. Using a fluted or straight pasta cutter or a chef’s knife, trim off about 1/8 inch (3 mm) from all sides of the pasta strip. Cut evenly between the mounds to make 2 to 2.5-inch (5- to 6-cm) square ravioli. Place the ravioli in a single layer on a floured rimmed backing sheet. Turn every few minutes to prevent ravioli from sticking. Do not let them sit too long or the filling will seep through the dough.

In a large pot, bring 5 quarts (5 litres) of water to a rapid boil.

Rewarm the tomato sauce, stirring in the basil as the last ingredient.

Add salt to the boiling water and gently drop in half of the ravioli, then cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, uncover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed to prevent the ravioli from knocking against one another and breaking. The total cooking time should be 3-5 minutes. Test a ravioli for doneness, then lift our with a large slotted spoon, allowing a little water to cling to them so they remain moist, and transfer to a large, warmed, shallow serving bowl; cover the bowl with foil to keep ravioli warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli. Spoon the tomato sauce over the ravioli and sprinkle with a little cheese. Serve right away. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serves 4.

From Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce

Tagliatelle is a long, flat egg noodle that looks like fettucine. In this recipe from Lucy Waverman, it is paired with a delicious meat sauce. It’s a perfect supper for a stormy January evening.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Unico tomatoes and tomato paste and Imagine brand organic chicken stock instead of the beef stock. Check the label on the mushrooms and cheese to ensure they are additive-free and do not contain colour. I used a red wine with a sulfite level lower than 10 parts per million.

Tagliatelle is a long, flat egg noodle

Brown the meat until no pink remains

Simmer the sauce

Tagliatelle with bolognese sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup (250 ml) boiling water

One 796 mL can tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped onion

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped carrots

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped celery

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped garlic

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped parsley

12 oz (375 g) ground beef

12 oz (375 g) ground pork

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup (125 ml) red wine

1 cup (250 ml) beef stock

1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste

¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream

Pinch nutmeg

1 lb (500 g) tagliatelle

½ cup (125 ml) grated parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

Soak mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve mushrooms and liquid separately. Finely chop porcini mushrooms and reserve. Strain tomatoes and reserve juice for another use. Chop tomatoes and reserve.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook gently for 10 minutes or until vegetables are very soft and beginning to brown. Stir in garlic and parsley and cook for 3 minutes more.

Add beef and pork and sauté until meat looses its pinkness, about 5 minutes. Add reserved mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add wine and boil until wine is mostly evaporated and mixture is saucy. Stir in stock, mushroom soaking water, tomato paste and tomatoes.

Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour. Re-season and add whipping cream and nutmeg. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes longer or until flavours are combined.

While sauce is cooking add tagliatelle to a large pot of boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes or until tagliatelle is al dente. Drain well.

Toss tagliatelle with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

Our dear friend and neighbour Denyse sent me this recipe from the New York Times last summer, and we recently all sat down together to enjoy it. The ingredient list is long, but the results are worth it. The preparation is in two parts, as the chicken is marinated in spiced yogurt for several hours. I served the chicken with basmati rice and Indian-spiced vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for yogurt, butter, canola oil and tomato paste without additives and use fresh lemon juice. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Imagine brand chicken stock.

You can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours

Simmer for 30 minutes

Butter Chicken with rice and Indian-spiced vegetables

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (375 ml) full-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) ground turmeric

2 tablespoons (30 ml) garam masala

2 tablespoons (30 ml) ground cumin

3 pounds (1.5 kg) chicken thighs, on the bone

¼ pound (125 g) unsalted butter

4 teaspoons (20 ml) neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil

2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

2 medium-size tomatoes, diced

2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

Kosher salt to taste

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade

1 ½ cups (375 ml) cream

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) tomato paste

3 tablespoons (45 ml) ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds

½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed.

Preparation:

Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.

Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.

Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serves 6.

From the New York Times

This quick stir-fry from the January 2015 issue of Canadian Living is a great supper during the busy holiday season. Stir-fry pork and vegetables, mix in a tangy sauce and serve in Boston lettuce leaves. You can also serve it over steamed rice.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I make hoisin sauce from scratch – the recipe is below. Check the sesame seeds and cashews to make sure they are additive-free. I used Eden Organic red white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, Eden toasted sesame oil and Tabasco original hot sauce in place of the Asian chili sauce.

Saute pork strips

Saute garlic, ginger and peppers

Return pork to pan and add sauce

Pork and Pepper Lettuce Cups

Ingredients:

Hoisin Sauce

4 tbsp. (60 ml) soy sauce

2 tbsp. (30 ml) peanut butter

1 tbsp. (15 ml) honey or molasses

2 tsp. (10 ml) white vinegar

Pinch garlic powder

2 tsp. sesame seed oil

1 tsp. (5 ml) Chinese-style hot sauce

Pinch pepper

Mix ingredients together

Stir-fry

4 tsp. (20 ml) vegetable oil

1 lb. (450 g) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in ½ inch (1 cm) wide strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 each red pepper and yellow pepper, sliced

3 tbsp. (45 ml) hoisin sauce

2 green onions, sliced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) sesame seeds, toasted

Pinch each salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped cashews, toasted

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) sesame oil

1 tsp. (5 ml) white wine vinegar

1 tsp. (5 ml) Asian sweet chili sauce

12 leaves Boston lettuce

Preparation:

In wok or nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat: sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add red and yellow peppers; sauté until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Return pork and any juices to wok. Stir in 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the hoisin sauce and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water; cook until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, about 1 minute. Add green onions, sesame seeds, salt and pepper; sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in cashews and sesame oil. Scrape into clean bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together remaining hoisin sauce, the vinegar, chili sauce and 4 tsp (20 ml) water. Spoon pork mixture into lettuce leaves; serve with hoisin dressing. Serves. 4.

From the January 2015 issue of Canadian Living

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