New Finds


If you’re in the mood for comfort food, try this sausage and squash with farro, a form of wheat that is nutty and slightly chewy when cooked. Sauté the squash, toast the farro, add fresh sage and stock and then bake until the farro is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, cook the sausage. When the farro is ready, add the cream and half the cheese. Serve topped with the sausage, cheese and sage.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine brand chicken stock, which is additive-free, and President’s Choice Free From sausages, which are preservative-free. Genuine Parmesan contains no additives or colour.

Farro is a type of wheat that is nutty and chewy when cooked

Sauté the squash

Toast the farro

Bake the squash and farro in stock

Cook the sausage on top of the stove until cooked through

Serve the farro topped with sausage, cheese and sage

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, divided

1 small butternut squash (about 2 lb/1 kg), peeled and cut into ¾-in/1.9 cm cubes (about 4 cups/ 1L)

2 cups (500 ml) farro

1 teaspoon (5 ml) chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

4 cups (1 L) unsalted chicken stock

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) reshly ground black pepper

½ pound (250 g) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

⅓ cup (75 ml) heavy cream

½ cup (125 ml/about 2 oz/57 g) grated Parmesan, divided

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC).

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a Dutch oven or wide, heavy pot with lid over medium-high. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and farro to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until farro is toasted, about 5 minutes. Add sage and cook 30 seconds more.

Return squash to pot; add stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Bake until farro is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Remove farro from oven and stir in cream and half the cheese. Serve topped with sausage and remaining cheese; garnish with sage.

From Real Simple

This recipe from Kitchn tastes as good as it looks. Toss thinly sliced potatoes in garlic, salt and pepper and arrange them into overlapping rows to create four rectangles. Roast the potato “rafts” for a half hour, then top with the fish, butter, lemon, thyme and capers. Roast until the fish is cooked through and then serve. Healthy (about 330 calories per serving) and delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a brand of butter than contains only cream and has no colour added. I use Unico capers, which are additive-free.

Arrange potato slices into rectangles and roast

Place fish, butter, lemon, capers and thyme on top of potatoes and cook until fish is done

The fish is flavoured by the butter, thyme, capers and lemon as it cooks

Lemon-herb sole on crispy potato rafts

Ingredients:

1½ pounds (680 g) russet potatoes (about 2 medium), unpeeled and scrubbed, sliced into ¼-inch-thick (0.64 cm) rounds

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced (roughly 1 tablespoon/15 ml)

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless sole fillets or other firm white fish (5 ounces/142 g each and 1 to 1½ inches/2.5 cm to 3.8 cm thick)

4 tablespoons/60 ml unsalted butter

1 lemon, thinly sliced

8 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons (30 ml) capers, drained

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until thoroughly coated.

Assemble 4 potato rafts by overlapping potato slices on the prepared pan in rectangular mounds. Each raft should consist of 3 or 4 shingled rows and be roughly 4 x 6 inches (10 x 15 cm); use 3 or 4 slices of potato per row.

Roast the potatoes, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown and beginning to crisp, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.

Blot the fish fillets dry with a paper towel. Place one, skin-side down, centered on top of each potato raft. Top each piece of fish with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter, 2 lemon slices, and 2 sprigs thyme. Scatter the capers atop the fish and around the pan.

Return the pan to the oven and roast until the fish is flaky and opaque, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the potato rafts and accompanying fillets to individual plates, ideally with a big spatula. Serve hot. Serves 4.

From Kitchn

I received a subscription to the New York Times cooking website for my birthday and I’m enjoying its many offerings, including this dish of rice noodles topped with spicy pork and herbs. Cook the noodles, drain and rinse, make the dressing and cook the pork, aromatics and vegetables. To serve, top the noodles with the dressing, pork vegetables, herbs, nuts and radishes. If you can’t find black vinegar, use balsamic instead. Instead of chile oil, I used canola and addes some hot pepper flakes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Marukan rice vinegar, a balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Cook rice noodles, rinse in cold water and drain

Prepare herbs, nuts and radishes

Prepare dressing

Cook the ground pork

Rice Noodles with Spicy Pork and Herbs

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) thin, round rice noodles

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) black vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chile oil

1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola or other neutral oil

½ pound (227 g) ground pork

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, chopped

2 scallions, light parts chopped, green parts reserved for garnish

1 tablespoon (15 ml) yacai (Sichuan preserved vegetables, optional)

Handful of herbs like mint, basil and cilantro leaves, washed

¼ cup (60 ml) salted, roasted peanuts, chopped

4 radishes, sliced (optional)

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook noodles according to instructions. Drain noodles while running under cold water, until they are cool to the touch. Set aside. Mix dressing by whisking rice vinegar, soy sauce, black vinegar, chile oil and sugar until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Cook the pork topping: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat, and add ground pork and salt. Pan-fry, breaking meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no pink parts and no liquid remain in the pan, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and scallion whites, and stir occasionally until the raw smell has disappeared and the meat is starting to brown in places, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables, if using, along with a tablespoon of water, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more, or until mixture is darkened and thick. Set aside.

When you’re ready to serve, divide cool, drained noodles into four individual bowls, and top each with a tablespoon of vinegar dressing followed by a pile of ground pork, herbs, peanuts and radishes, to taste. Serve with any remaining garnish, and additional chile oil and chile-oil solids, on the side. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This tasty dish from Food and Wine takes about 20 minutes to make. Sear the fish in butter and then transfer to the oven to roast. Meanwhile, fry bread cubes and then add lemon juice, wine, capers and herbs. Serve the sauce over the fish and dinner is ready!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the butter does not contain colour and the bread is preservative-free. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and a wine with a sulfite level of less than 10 parts per million. I use wine from Frogpond Farm organic winery. Unico capers are additive-free.

Sear fish

Fry croutons and then add lemon juice, wine, capers and herbs

Fish with Capers and Croutons

Ingredients:

¾ cup (180 ml) unsalted butter, divided

1 teaspoon (15 ml) olive oil

4 skinless fish fillets, such as cod, halibut, tilapia or skate (about 2 pounds/1 kg total)

Kosher salt

White pepper

½ pound (250 g) crusty bread, cut into ½-inch (1.25 cm) cubes (about 3 cups/750 ml)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) dry white wine

¼ cup (60 ml) salt-packed capers, rinsed well and drained

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped tarragon

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 475° F (245° C). In a large ovenproof skillet, melt ¼ cup (60 ml) of the butter with the oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper, add to the skillet, and cook over moderate heat until bottom is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish, transfer the skillet to the oven, and roast until the fish is just white throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plates and loosely cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining ½ cup (125 ml) of butter. Add the bread cubes and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and wine, and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in the capers and herbs. Spoon the mixture over the fish and serve. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

This is another great recipe from Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. Marinate shrimp in a mixture of lime juice and Sriracha, sauté aromatics, add asparagus and when it is tender add the shrimp and marinade and quickly stir fry. A quick and tasty weeknight supper!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for shrimp with no additives and use fresh lime juice. I use Simply Natural Organic Sriracha, which is all-natural.

Marinate shrimp in lime juice and Sriracha

Sauté aromatics and then add asparagus

Add shrimp and marinade and quickly stir fry

Sriracha Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 lb (454 g) shrimp, shelled and deveined

3-4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) lime juice – squeeze 1 lime

3-4 tablespoons (45-60 ml) Sriracha

4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil

1 (small) onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) ginger, chopped

1 lb (454 g) asparagus, peel stems and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces, discarding thick, hard ends of the stalks

Cooked rice

Preparation:

Marinate shrimp in the lime juice and the Sriracha for 15-30 minutes.

Heat oil in large frying pan. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger until soft and beginning to brown – about 5 minutes. Add asparagus. Cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to brown. Cover pan and turn off heat until asparagus softens. This step might not be necessary if the asparagus is very thin. When you are ready to eat, turn up heat and add shrimp with the marinade. Cook until shrimp is barely done, about 3-4 minutes. It is crucial to almost undercook the shrimp, so that the shrimp doesn’t get tough.

Divide rice into bowls or plates. Spoon shrimp and asparagus mixture over the rice. Serve with extra Sriracha and lime wedges. Serves 5.

From My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

Grain bowls — any type of grain topped by a variety of ingredients — are a great way to bring healthy nutrition and variety into your diet. This recipe from Chatelaine starts with a base of rice, topped with roasted chicken and broccoli, greens, orange slices, nuts and a spicy hoisin drizzle.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have never been able to find all-natural hoisin sauce, so I make my own. The recipe is below. Check the canola oil to make sure it is additive-free. All-natural sriracha is also hard to find, but

Simply Natural Organic makes a delicious additive-free red sriracha.

Marinate chicken

Place broccoli and chicken on sheet pan and roast

Place cooked rice in bowl and top with chicken, broccoli, greens, orange slices, nuts and sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) quick-cooking brown rice

2 oranges, divided

3 tbsp (45 ml) hoisin (see recipe below)

3 tbsp (45 ml) canola oil, divided

1 ½ tbsp (22 ml) sriracha

1 tsp (5 ml) alt

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 cups (750 ml) broccoli florets

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup (250 ml) microgreens

½ cup (125 ml) toasted cashews, chopped

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

Preparation:

Mix hoisin ingredients together.

Cook rice following package directions. Let stand 10 min, then fluff with a fork.

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

Whisk juice of 1 orange, hoisin, 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil, sriracha and salt in a bowl. Reserve 1/3 (75 ml) cup. Add chicken to bowl and stir until coated. Let stand 10 min.

Place chicken on 1 side of prepared sheet. Drizzle with marinade. Toss broccoli with remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil on other side of sheet. Roast until chicken is cooked through and broccoli starts to brown at edges, about 15 min.

Cut off top and bottom of remaining orange. Cut off peel and white pith, so flesh is showing. Slice into rounds, then halve. Slice chicken. Stir green onions into rice and divide among bowls. Top with chicken, broccoli, orange, microgreens and cashews. Drizzle with reserved 1/3 cup (75 ml) marinade and any pan juices. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

Merry Christmas everyone!

This quick dish from the New York Times turns a plain fish fillet into something special. Melt some butter and stir in garlic, thyme, curry powder, ginger and lemon zest. Pour the sauce on the fish, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and broil for about five minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream. Check the curry powder to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use fresh lemon juice, as the concentrate is bitter and contains sodium benzoate.

Make the lemon-curry butter

Pour the sauce over the fish and broil

Broiled fish with lemon-curry butter

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (60 ml) unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced

1½ tablespoons (25 ml) minced thyme leaves

1½ teaspoons (7 ml) curry powder

1½ teaspoons (7 ml) grated ginger

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) fine sea salt, more as needed

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) finely grated lemon zest

Ground black pepper, to taste

4 (6-ounce/175 g) blackfish, flounder or hake fillets

Fresh lemon juice, for serving

Dill fronds or fresh parsley, for serving

Preparation:

Heat the broiler. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in garlic, thyme, curry powder, ginger and ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt; heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon zest.

Season fish with salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour sauce over fish and broil until fish is flaky and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Top with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh dill, and serve. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

Who doesn’t love chicken wings? We do, but don’t like the mess and calories that go along with deep frying them. So I was happy to try this recipe from Mark Bittman, which cooks the wings either under a broiler or on the grill (I used the broiler). Toss the wings in a little oil, broil for 10-15 minutes on each side, toss with hot sauce and then return to the broiler or grill to make them brown and crispy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Frank’s Red Hot sauce is additive free. Make sure your butter contains only cream. I used white vinegar.

Mark Bittman's Minimalist Buffalo Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

3 pounds (1.36 kg) of chicken wings

Neutral oil (like canola)

Salt & pepper

1/3 cup (75 ml) relatively mild hot sauce, like Frank’s Red Hot

4 tablespoons (60 ml) melted butter

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry vinegar or white vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced garlic

Blue cheese dressing and celery sticks for serving (optional)

Preparation:

Pat the wings dry very well with paper towels (this will help them crisp) and, if the wings are whole, cut them into 3 sections, saving the wing tips for stock. Toss the wings with a little neutral oil to keep them from sticking, salt them lightly, and spread them on a baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of space between each wing.

Heat the broiler with a rack 4 to 6 inches from the flame. (Alternately, heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be moderately hot and the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Leave one side of the grill cooler for indirect cooking.)

Broil in the oven on a sheet pan until the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, flipping them midway through. This should take 20 to 25 minutes overall, but will depend on the strength of your broiler, so peek often! (If using the grill, put the wings on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook, checking and turning once or twice, until most of the fat has been rendered and the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.)

While the wings cook, in a large bowl, combine the hot sauce, melted butter, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (you won’t need much).

When the wings are browned and crisp, add them to the bowl with the sauce, and toss to coat. Return the wings to the pan, leaving excess sauce in the bowl, and broil for a few minutes until sizzling and nicely browned on both sides, flipping once. (Or put the wings on the hot part of the grill and cook, uncovered, turning as necessary.)

Serve hot with the extra sauce on the side or, for extra spicy, saucy wings, toss back in the sauce before serving. Blue cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side are a good idea. Serves 4-6.

From Mark Bittman

Salmon with Winter Slaw

Amid all the holiday feasting, you may start to crave some lighter fare. This salmon with winter slaw, adapted from Canadian Living, fits the bill nicely. Whip up the dressing and mix it with the slaw; let it stand for 30 minutes to slightly wilt the cabbage and kale. Then roast the salmon until just cooked through. I used green cabbage instead of red and peanuts instead of cashews and they worked well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use natural honey and Dijon without sulfites; I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Make sure the nuts, coriander and Parmesan do not contain preservatives or colour.

Dress the salad and let stand for 30 minutes

Salmon with winter slaw

Ingredients:

Dressing

¼ cup (60 ml) + 2 tbsp (30 ml) cider vinegar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid honey

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper

½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

Winter Slaw

8 cups (2 L) packed thinly sliced red cabbage

4 cups (1 L) packed thinly sliced kale

1 cup (250 ml) raisins

1 cup (250 ml) chopped unsalted cashews, toasted

½ cup (125 ml) packed thinly sliced red onion

½ cup (125 ml) crumbled Parmesan cheese

Salmon

Skin-on salmon fillets (about 4.4 to 6.6 lbs/2 to 3 kg total)

1 (15 ml) tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper

fresh parsley (optional)

lemon wedges (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).

Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil until blended.

Winter Slaw: In large bowl, toss together cabbage, kale, raisins, cashews, red onion and Parmesan; add dressing, tossing to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Salmon: Meanwhile, arrange fish, skin side down, on large rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil. Sprinkle fish with salt, coriander and pepper, pressing lightly to adhere. Bake just until opaque, 8 to 10 minutes; turn oven to broil. Broil until fish is browned and flakes easily when tested, 4 to 6 minutes. If you prefer not to broil the fish, heat oil in an oven-proof skillet over high heat and sear the salmon for a minute on each side (start with the skin side up). Then place the skillet in the oven and bake until the salmon is done. Remember that the fish will keep cooking after you take it out of the oven, so don’t be afraid to remove it while it’s still slightly pink in the centre.

Sprinkle with parsley (if using). Serve with Winter Slaw and lemon wedges (if using). Makes 6 to 10 servings.

From Canadian Living

We love bagels, but it’s hard to find ones without additives and preservatives. So I was looking forward to trying this recipe in the Toronto Star, which is adapted from one in Feast: Recipes & Stories From a Canadian Road Trip. It takes a bit of time, but the results are worth it — the bagels are light and chewy with a hint of sweetness. Rolling the dough and forming the loops takes a bit of practice — not all of my dough loops held together — but they still tasted good! If you want your bagels to be less sweet, reduce the sugar by 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml). If you prefer a denser bagel, reduce the rising time to 30 minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your oil and honey are preservative-free.

Mix water and yeast and let stand until beginning to foam

Once dry ingredients are mixed into wet, form into ball, knead for 10 minutes and let rise until doubled in size

Roll dough into 8 inch/20 cm lengths and form into loops

Boil bagels, four at a time, in honey-sweetened water

Then bake, changing rack position and flipping halfway through

Ingredients:

1- ½ cups (375 ml) warm water

1 tbsp (15 ml) active dry yeast

5 tbsp (75 ml) white sugar

3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil, plus extra for coating dough

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

4 cups (1 L) all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling

1- ½ tsp (7 ml) salt

12 cups (3 L) water, for boiling

1/3 cup (80 ml) honey

Sesame and poppy seeds for garnish

Preparation:

In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine water and yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam (meaning yeast is active).

Add in sugar, oil, maple syrup and egg and stir until sugar has dissolved.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir until well mixed.

With dough hook attachment on lowest speed, stir large bowl, adding in flour-salt mixture 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, leaving about 30 seconds between each cup. Using a spatula, scrape down any flour that sticks to the sides. Continue stirring until dough is sticky and consistent in colour without visible streaks of flour.

On a lightly floured countertop, place dough and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) flour on top. Knead dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary but don’t overdo it — dough should be sticky but pull away from hands and countertop easily. Shape dough into a ball and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, add ½ teaspoon oil. Roll dough ball in bowl until covered. Cover bowl with damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

When dough is nearly ready, in a large pot over high heat, add water and honey and bring to boil.

Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C) with one rack at top and another on bottom.

Punch down dough, place on counter and divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into roughly 8-inch-long (25 cm) rope, then bring ends together, rolling ends until they stick together, forming a loop.

Using a large slotted spoon, place bagels gently one at a time into boiling water. Cook 3 or 4 at a time. Do not let bagels overlap. Boil for 90 seconds, flipping bagels halfway. Remove with the spoon and place on cooling rack.

Let bagels cool about 5 minutes. Coat with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place bagels about 1/2 inch (1 cm) apart. Place on the top rack in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip bagels and place sheet onto bottom oven rack. Continue baking until tops are golden-brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove bagels from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Bagels can also be stored for several days in a zip-lock bag; allow to cool fully before bagging.

Enjoy with cream cheese and smoked salmon, tomatoes, avocado and/or capers.

From the Toronto Star

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