This very easy recipe from the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit yields great results. Marinate chicken thighs in vinegar, brown and bake. Meanwhile, sauté radishes and mustard greens in butter, dress with vinegar and garnish with fresh tarragon. Cook’s note: if you can’t find mustard greens, use kale or Swiss chard.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure you use butter with only one ingredient: Cream.

Sauteed radishes have a mellow flavour

Wilt the greens slightly

Vinegar-marinated chicken with buttered greens and radishes

Ingredients:

2 pounds (900 g) skin-on bone-in chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon (15 ml) distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

8 radishes, quartered, halved if small

1 bunch mustard greens, leaves torn

4 tablespoons (60 ml) tarragon leaves, divided

Preparation:

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour ¼ cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 15–20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F (74°C), 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tarragon and remaining 1 Tbsp.  (15 ml) vinegar; toss to combine.

Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) tarragon. Serves 4.

From the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit

This recipe from Real Simple is quick, healthy and fun to eat. A mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar does double duty as a marinade for the salmon and dressing for the tacos. While the salmon is marinating, mix up the mayo, slice the cucumbers, cabbage and scallions. Then just sear the salmon, warm the tortillas and dinner is ready.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use tamari instead of soy sauce because it used alcohol as a preservative, not sodium benzoate. I can’t find Sriracha without additives, so I combined Tabasco original hot sauce with Hellman’s mayo. Read the label on the tortillas to make sure they are all-natural.

Baby cucumber slices, shredded cabbage and chopped scallions add flavour and crunch to the tacos

Sear the salmon and pull into chunks

Seared salmon tacos

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon (5 ml) brown sugar

4 6-ounce (170 g) pieces boneless, skinless salmon fillet

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

Kosher salt

¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise

2 teaspoons (10 ml) Sriracha

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

¼ red cabbage, shredded (2 cups/500 ml)

½ cup (125 ml) sliced scallions

8 small flour tortillas, warmed

Preparation:

Combine the soy sauce and brown sugar. Pour half the dressing into a large bowl and add the salmon. Let marinate for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Reserve the remaining dressing.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade and season with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt. Cook in the skillet until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Break into large pieces.

Combine the mayonnaise and Sriracha.

Divide the Sriracha mayonnaise, salmon, cucumbers, cabbage, and scallions among the tortillas and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This pasta dish from Martha Stewart Living is quick and tasty. Roast eggplant and tomatoes, sauté some sausage meat and then combine with cooked pasta, olives and cheese. Cook’s note: Smaller Japanese eggplants are best for this dish; if you can’t find them, slice a larger eggplant crosswise and then cut into coin-sized pieces.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use sausage and olives with no additives or preservatives and cheese that does not contain colour.

Roast the eggplant and tomatoes

Remove sausage meat from casings and saute

Penne with roasted eggplant, tomatoes, sausage and olives

Ingredients:

4 cups (1 L) cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of red, orange, and yellow

4 Japanese eggplants, cut crosswise into ½ -inch (1.27 cm) rounds

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound (450 g) penne

4 links sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup (250 ml) pitted Kalamata olives

½ cup (125 ml) grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving

Small fresh basil leaves, for serving

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). Divide tomatoes, eggplants, and garlic between two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil; season with salt. Toss to combine, then spread in a single layer. Roast until eggplants are tender and browned in spots, about 25 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than instructed on package. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium-high. Cook sausage, breaking it into small pieces, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add reserved pasta water; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until almost evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggplant mixture, sausage, olives, pasta, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top with basil and serve immediately, with more cheese alongside. Serves 4.

From the March 2015 issue of Martha Stewart Living

This recipe is quick, tastes good and is fun to eat! Whip up a peanut sauce, sauté shrimp, garlic, ginger, bok choy and scallions (the recipe also calls for carrot and bean sprouts, which I omitted) and serve in a lettuce wrap topped with chopped nuts. Cook’s note: Boston lettuce may work better than iceberg.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural peanut butter and fresh lime juice. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, which contains sodium benzoate. Look for frozen shrimp with no added preservatives

Peanut-lime sauce

Saute the shrimp and set aside

Stir the shrimp back in to heat through

Spoon into lettuce, wrap and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Peanut-Lime Sauce

3 tbsp (45 ml) smooth natural peanut butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch pepper

Lettuce Wraps

1 large head iceberg lettuce

2 tsp (10 ml) vegetable oil

225 g extra-jumbo shrimp, (about 16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) minced fresh ginger

2 large heads Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut in matchsticks

pinch each salt and pepper

1 cup (250 ml) bean sprouts

1 green onion, sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

Preparation:

Peanut-Lime Sauce: In bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, pepper and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water. Set aside.

Lettuce Wraps: Halve and core lettuce; gently separate 8 large leaves, trimming if necessary to make 5-inch (12 cm) lettuce cups. Set aside.

In large nonstick skillet or wok, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook shrimp, turning occasionally, until pink and opaque throughout. Remove to cutting board; halve lengthwise. Set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook garlic and ginger, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add bok choy, carrot, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts, green onion and shrimp.

Spoon shrimp mixture into lettuce cups. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with peanuts. Serves 4.

From the May 2015 issue of Canadian Living

This arugula-almond pesto from Martha Stewart is quick and easy to make, colourful and bursting with flavour. Just whirl arugula, almonds, garlic lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in your food processor and then toss with the pasta of your choice. Penne rigate has ridges, which help the sauce cling to the pasta.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the almonds to be sure they do not contain preservatives and use fresh lemon juice, not a concentrate. Check the label of the cheese to make sure it does not contain preservatives or colour – I use Splendido brand.

Arugula and almonds replace basil and pine nuts in this pesto

Penne rigate with arugula-almond pesto

Ingredients:

5 ounces (141 g) baby arugula, some leaves reserved for garnish

3 tablespoons (45 ml) blanched almonds, toasted and chopped (2 ounces/56 g)

1 small clove garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan (1 ounce/28 g)

Coarse salt

½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 pound (454 g) penne rigate

Preparation:

Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt. Pulse until coarsely pureed. With motor running, slowly add oil, processing to a paste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; transfer pasta to a bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat evenly. Drizzle with oil, garnish with arugula leaves, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Martha Stewart Living

Duck breasts are available in most grocery stores, and they are easy to make. Score the skin so the fat renders, quickly sear and then finish roasting in the oven. This recipe from Chatelaine also features a Szechuan sauce, braised napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural stock such as Imagine Organic brand. Heinz ketchup is additive free and I used honey instead of molasses. Use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern

Sear and roast the duck

Meanwhile, saute the shiitakes

Crispy Szechuan Duck with Braised Napa Cabbage and Shiitakes

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, divided

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) ketchup

2 tbsp (30 ml) fancy molasses

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger

2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dark sesame oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) hot-red-chili flakes

2 duck breasts, 14 oz each (400 g each)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

2 8 oz. (227 g) pkgs fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 small napa cabbage, cut into eighths lengthwise with core intact

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400F (204C) Line a baking sheet with foil.

Whisk ¼ cup (60 ml) broth with half of garlic, ketchup, molasses, ginger, vinegar, soy, sesame oil and chili flakes in a small saucepan and set over medium-high. Boil until sauce thickens and reduces to ½ cup (125 ml), 3 to 5 min. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Place duck breasts, skin-side up, on cutting board. Using a sharp knife tip, cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt. Season with fresh pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium. Place duck, skin-side down, in pan. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, 8 to 10 min. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Transfer duck, skin-side up, to prepared sheet. Roast until medium-rare, 8 to 10 min. Let stand 10 min before slicing.

Reserve fat from pan in a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp (15 mml) fat to pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, 3 to 4 min. Stir into warm sauce in saucepan. Add 1 tbsp (5 ml) of remaining fat to pan, then cabbage. Sauté for 2 min. Add remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) broth and garlic, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, turning cabbage often, until tender, 5 to 7 min. Divide cabbage among 4 plates. Top with mushroom sauce and sliced duck. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

This recipe from the April 2015 issue of Food and Wine is definitely dinner party-worthy. You can use chicken drumsticks or drums and thighs. Brown the chicken, sauté bacon, vegetables and mushrooms, add wine and thyme and simmer for about 90 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Canola oil can contain artificial ingredients, so check the label. Use bacon preserved with celery salt, not nitrites. I used a red wine from Frogpond Farm that has a sulfite level lower than 10 parts per million. Imagine organic brand chicken stock is additive free.

Brown the chicken legs

Saute the bacon and vegetables

Remove the chicken while you thicken the sauce

Add the chicken back in to reheat

Chicken Legs Coq au Vin

Ingredients:

8 chicken drumsticks (2 pounds/1 kg)

Kosher salt

Pepper

3 tablespoons (45 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

1 slice of bacon, chopped (optional)

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped carrot

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped celery

1½ cups (375 ml) chopped mushrooms (3 ounces)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) brandy

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste

1 bottle dry red wine

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock

2 thyme sprigs, plus chopped thyme for garnish

Preparation:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust all over with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the flour. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the bacon to the casserole and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brandy and cook until reduced by half, 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of flour until incorporated. Add the wine, stock and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning the chicken occasionally, until very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Simmer the sauce until thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and discard the thyme sprigs. Return the chicken to the sauce and heat through. Garnish with chopped thyme and serve. Serves 4. Make ahead: The coq au vin can be refrigerated for 3 days.

From the April 2015 issue of Food and Wine

This easy rib recipe from the March 2015 issue of Bon Appetit yields delicious results. Pulse chiles, garlic, oil, vinegar, rosemary and hot pepper flakes together in your food processor, smear all over the ribs, wrap up tightly in foil and bake at a low temperature for three hours. Then just run them under the broiler until browned. The meat falls off the bones, and the spicy marinade is delicious. Cook’s note: Fresno chiles look like red jalapenos. If you can’t find them, use green jalapenos instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the rice vinegar has no preservatives. I use Marukan brand.

Coat the ribs with the sauce and wrap tightly in foil

After three hours, the ribs are very tender

Brown the ribs under the broiler

Ingredients:

1 rack St. Louis–style pork ribs (2–3 lb./900 g to 1.36 kg)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 Fresno chiles, seeded if desired

10 garlic cloves

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh rosemary leaves

½ teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley

Lemon wedges (for serving)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C. Place a double layer of foil large enough to wrap ribs on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips). Set ribs on top and generously season with salt and pepper.

Pulse chiles, garlic, oil, vinegar, rosemary, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until mixture is almost smooth (a few larger pieces should still be visible). Rub ribs all over with marinade and pour any excess over top. Wrap up tightly in foil.

Roast ribs until meat is tender but not quite falling off the bone, 2½–3 hours. To check doneness, run a paring knife through 2 or 3 ribs; it should slide easily into flesh.

Heat broiler. Once ribs are cool enough to handle, remove foil and reserve juices. Place ribs on a clean rimmed baking sheet and broil until charred in spots and marinade has formed a golden-brown crust, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes.

Slice meat into individual ribs. Drizzle with reserved juices and top with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

From the March 2015 issue of Bon Appetit

This recipe from the January 2015 issue of Bon Appetit is a little unusual, but it is very good. It also introduced me to an ingredient I had never tried before — nutritional yeast. These yellow flakes, a form of deactivated yeast, add a cheesy, nutty flavour to foods and are popular with vegans and vegetarians. A little Google research indicated that a good brand was Purely Bulk, so we picked some up at the health food store. They did add a depth of flavour and umami (savoury taste) to the broccoli. I used a combination of chopped cashews and almonds instead of peanuts.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Marukan seasoned rice vinegar, which has no preservatives. Check the label of the nuts, as they can contain additives and preservatives.

Nutritional yeast adds savoury flavour

Cook the florets in a dry skillet until they start to brown

Roasted and charred broccoli with nuts

Ingredients:

1 bunch broccoli (about 1½ lb./680 g), ends trimmed, stems peeled

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) nutritional yeast, plus more

4 scallions, thinly sliced

Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450° F (232° C). Slice broccoli stems on a diagonal ¼” (0.6 cm) thick. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil, and season with kosher salt and pepper. Gather up loose pieces of left-behind florets and finely chop. Roast stems until browned around edges, 15–20 minutes. Add vinegar; toss to coat.

Meanwhile, heat a dry medium skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add florets. Season with kosher salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until bright green and lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add peanuts and sugar. Cook, stirring, until nuts are golden brown. Stir in 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) nutritional yeast; season again.

Serve broccoli stems and florets topped with scallions, sea salt, and more yeast. Serves 4.

From the January 2015 issue of Bon Appetit

Spring may be just around the corner, but while there is still a chill in the air try this delicious baked pasta from Lucy Waverman. This is comfort food at its best – Italian sausages, a creamy sauce and five kinds of cheese. Enjoy it with a salad and a glass of wine.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for sausages without fillers or preservatives and for wine with a sulfite count lower than 10 parts per million. Cheese may contain colour, so read the label carefully. Use butter that contains only cream.

After browning sausage, mix ingredients in a bowl

Place pasta in glass baking dish and top with cheese

Bake until bubbling and brown on top

Ingredients:

12 oz (375 g) rigatoni

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

3 mild Italian sausages, meat removed from casings (14 oz or 400 g)

½ tsp (5 ml) chili flakes

½ cup (125 ml) white wine

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

1 cup (250 ml) milk

8 oz (250 g) ricotta

1 4-oz (125 g) ball buffalo mozzarella, sliced

8 oz (250 g) grated fontina

4 oz (125 g) grated ricotta salata (or feta)

1 cup (250 ml) green peas, defrosted if frozen

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) butter

½ (125 ml) cup grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add rigatoni and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is slightly undercooked (it will continue to cook as it bakes). Drain and reserve, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) cooking water separately.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in sausage meat and cook, breaking up with a fork, until it loses its pinkness, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Add wine and bring to boil. Boil until wine is reduced by half, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved cooking water. Return to a boil then remove from heat.

Transfer contents of skillet to a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in cream, milk, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, fontina, ricotta salata and green peas. Stir in pasta. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Butter a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish. Pour pasta mixture into dish and dot with butter. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until mixture is bubbling and cheese is golden on top. Serves 6-8.

From Lucy Waverman

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