Archive for May, 2011

If you love roast chicken and vegetables, this one-pot dinner from the May issue of Everyday Food is perfect for you. Rub a whole chicken with spices, arrange wedges of carrot, sweet potato and orange around it and roast until the chicken is done. The recipe says a 3½- to 4-lb. chicken will be ready in an hour, but mine took about an hour and 15 minutes. The roasted orange wedges add great flavour.

Rub a whole chicken with spices and arrange vegetables and orange wedges around it

Roast until the chicken skin is golden and the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees

I used one large sweet potato instead of two and added a parsnip to the mix. I served the chicken and vegetables with couscous.

Coucous is a nice accompaniment

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, make sure your spices are all-natural and do not contain anti-caking agents or colour.


1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

1 whole chicken, 3½ to 4 lbs., rinsed and patted dry, legs tied

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved crosswise and cut into ½-inch wedges

2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 orange, unpeeled, cut into 8 wedges


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine spices. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then rub all over with spice mixture. Place in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Arrange vegetables and orange wedges around chicken and add ½ cup water. Cover and roast 30 minutes. Remove lid and roast until skin is golden brown and juices run clear when chicken is pierced between breast and leg (an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone, should read 165 degrees), 30-45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, covered loosely with foil, before carving. Serve with vegetables and orange wedges. Serves 4.

From the May 2011 issue of Everyday Food

Last week we took a trip to Toronto’s Chinatown. While it is fun to just meander up and down the streets, we were also on the lookout for a large bamboo steamer. We finally found one, and, at $16 including tax, it was worth the hunt, given that specialty kitchen stores sell them for more than $50. The next day, we visited the fish counter at Whole Foods and bought a whole Branzino fish, also known as European Sea Bass. It was the perfect size for two. To prepare it, I adapted a recipe for steaming whole fish from the May 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The fish is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil, topped with ginger and scallions and steamed for 15 minutes. It was amazing, and so easy.

Marinate the fish in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil

Top the fish with scallions and ginger, place on top of red onion and steam

We served the fish with rice and a mélange of rapini, onion and peppers.

The steamed fish is moist and delicious

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use tamari sauce, which uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate.


½ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons toasted-sesame oil

1 whole branzino or other whole fish, scaled and gutted, gills removed

1 piece (2 inches) peeled fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks

5 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 cups water

1 large red onion, sliced ½ inch thick


Whisk together soy sauce and sesame oil in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cut a few slits into the fish on both sides using a sharp paring knife. Transfer to dish; turn to coat.

Toss ginger with scallions; stuff some into each fish cavity. Spread remaining mixture on top of fish. Let stand, covered, spooning marinade over fish often, for 30 minutes.

Bring water to a boil in a large skillet or wok. Arrange red onion on bottom layer of a 12-inch bamboo steamer. Remove fish from marinade with ginger-scallion mixture still on top, and arrange side by side on onion; reserve marinade.

Set steamer in skillet. Steam, covered, until fish is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until reduced by half. Strain through a fine sieve. Serve fish with reduced sauce. Serves 2.

Adapted from the May 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living is a great foodie site. It includes recipes from Bon Appetit and the late, great Gourmet that are searchable by keyword. It also includes a handy shopping list feature, photos and reader reviews. Last week I felt like trying a new recipe for pork stir-fry and yielded this great recipe from Gourmet’s February 2001 issue. The sauce uses ingredients you are likely to have on hand and you can use a variety of vegetables. In addition to the red pepper and snow peas called for in the recipe, I used some leftover asparagus.

Assemble all your stir-fry ingredients before cooking

Stir fry the vegetables and cashews first

Then sear the pork; don't crowd the pan or the pork will steam instead of sear

Recombine the ingredients, add the sauce and heat through

Serve with rice

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use tamari instead of soy sauce. Tamari is preserved with alcohol, instead of a preservative such as sodium benzoate.


1 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
3/4 lb boneless pork loin, thinly sliced, then cut into 2- by 1/4-inch strips
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/2 lb snow peas, trimmed
1 cup salted roasted cashews


Stir together Sherry, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, then stir in sesame oil. Add pork, stirring to coat well, and let stand 10 minutes.

Stir together sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until a bead of water dropped on cooking surface evaporates immediately. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil, swirling wok to coat evenly, then stir-fry 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add bell pepper and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add snow peas and cashews and stir-fry until snow peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil in wok until just smoking, then stir-fry remaining ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add pork and stir-fry, separating strips, until browned and barely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vegetables and sweetened soy sauce, then stir-fry until vegetables are just heated through, about 1 minute more. Serve with rice. Serves four.

From the February 2001 issue of Gourmet, found on

Rice is one of the easiest and most nutritious things to cook, yet I know a number of people who say they can’t make it work. I think there are two keys to perfect rice. The first is to buy quality rice – no Uncle Ben’s please. The second is to use less liquid than most recipes call for. When I make rice, I heat a tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan for a minute before adding a cup of Thai jasmine or basmati rice. Stir the rice to coat it with oil and keep it over medium heat for a couple of minutes to “toast” the grains, which brings out their nutty flavour. Then add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups water or stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, give the contents a quick stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Keep the lid on for 17 minutes – no peeking! After 17 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, but keep the lid on for another 10 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork and serving.

You can also add onion and spices to flavour the rice. Here is a very tasty recipe from Canadian Living that is always a big hit.

Always use good quality rice

Saute red onion in butter or oil

Add rice, bay leaf and other spices

Add stock and bring to boil before covering

Cook rice for 17 minutes and let stand for 10, covered, before serving

Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and serve

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use a good quality of rice, butter that does not contain colour and all-natural stock.


2 tbsp (15 mL) butter or oil

1 small red onion, cut in thin wedges

1 cup basmati or parboiled rice

1 bay leaf

1 tsp (2 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)

1/2 tsp (1 mL) salt

Pinch pepper

1 1/2 cups (250 mL) chicken stock

1/4 cup (50 mL) toasted halved cashews

Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


In heavy saucepan, heat butter or oil over medium heat; cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in rice, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in stock; bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 17 minutes. Remove from heat and keep lid on for 10 minutes. Before serving, discard bay leaf and fluff rice with a fork. Sprinkle with cashews; garnish with thyme sprigs (if using). Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

I have written before about one of my favourite cookbooks, Lucy Waverman’s A Matter of Taste. I like it so much because it is organized by season and suggests complete menus, including wine pairings. This is one of my favourite springtime recipes from the book. Bone-in chicken breasts or thighs are marinated in maple syrup, cider vinegar, oil, chili power and lemon zest and then baked. The chicken is served with a peppery watercress and red onion salad and either rice or orzo. It’s fast, it’s easy and it tastes great. You can use regular chili powder, or smoky chipotle chili powder.

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes

Maple and chili-infused chicken with watercress salad

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use pure maple syrup and balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added. You might also want to check the label on the chili powder to make sure no anti-caking agents or colour have been added.



1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 chicken breast halves, or thighs, on bone, with skin on

Watercress Salad

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bunch watercress, trimmed

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, oil, chili powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side up, in a foil-lined baking dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Pour marinade over chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake chicken in marinade for 30-45 minutes, or until juices are clear. While chicken is baking, prepare salad dressing by combining oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Toss watercress and onions with dressing. Serve salad on individual plates and top with chicken. Serves 4.

From A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman

This is a delicious new find from the Spring 2011 issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink. Slices of pork tenderloin are pounded flat, dredged in flour, sautéed and then combined with a luscious maple-mustard-balsamic sauce. This recipe is quick and easy to make for a weeknight supper, but elegant enough to serve to company. Don’t overcook the pork, or it will become tough.

Flatten slices of pork tenderloin and season with salt and pepper

Dredge the pork and saute in batches

Simmer pork in a maple-mustard-balsamic sauce

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use butter without colour, mustard and chicken broth without preservatives and balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added. I served the medallions with yam frites.

Maple-mustard pork medallions


2 small pork tenderloins, each ¾ to 1 lb (375 to 500 g)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
¼ cup (50 mL) grainy mustard
2 tbsp (25 mL) maple syrup
4 tsp (20 mL) balsamic vinegar
¼ cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) finely diced Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium beef or chicken broth
2 to 3 tbsp (25 to 45 mL) thinly sliced green onions, snipped chives or chopped parsley


Remove pork’s exterior tough silver skins and any fat; then crosswise cut into 1½-inch-thick (4-cm) chunks. Up-end on plastic wrap; cover with more plastic. Use a meat pounder or heavy frying pan to easily flatten into medallions to about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Lightly season with salt and more generously with freshly ground black pepper. (Do not use any salt if tenderloins were purchased as “seasoned.”) Refrigerate until needed, up to a day.

Melt butter and mix with olive oil (all of this mixture may not be needed). Stir mustard with syrup and vinegar. Assemble remaining ingredients, as medallions sauté very quickly.

Sauté pork medallions in 3 or 4 batches. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat until quite hot. Meanwhile, dip a few pieces of pork into flour; shake off excess. Add a tablespoon of oil mixture to pan and several pieces of pork—do not crowd the pan! Sauté, adjusting heat as needed, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Keep on a deep plate while repeating as needed with remaining pork, flour and oil mixture. (The sautéed pork is pink inside.) Discard any remaining flour.

When finished sautéing (and without cleaning), return pan to heat. Add another 1 tsp (5 mL) oil mixture only if needed to sauté added onion. Sauté onion for 2 minutes or until softened. Slowly stir in broth; bring to a boil. Boil over medium-high heat 3 minutes to reduce slightly. Stir mustard mixture into sauce. Continue to bubble until sauce-like, about 6 minutes.

Return pork and any juices to sauce; heat 2 minutes, turning medallions once, or until hot. Serves 4 to 6.

From the Spring 2011 issue of Food and Drink