Archive for December, 2014

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


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.


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


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


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


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

This one-dish meal from Real Simple couldn’t be easier to make. Toss quartered plum tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil and thyme in a roasting dish. Then add chicken legs and roast for about 40 minutes. The chicken is tender with crispy skin, and the tomatoes, olives and garlic are caramelized. I used thighs and drums instead of whole legs, and 1 tsp (5ml) dried thyme instead of fresh.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use the garlic-stuffed green olives from President’s Choice, which are free of additives and preservatives.

Nestle the chicken legs into the mixture of tomatoes and olives

Roast about 45 minutes

Saucy baked chicken legs with olives and tomatoes


1 pound (500 g) plum or small tomatoes, halved if large

½ cup (125 g) pitted green olives

8 cloves garlic, quartered

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs

Kosher salt and black pepper

Bread, for serving


Heat oven to 425° F (218° C) with a rack in the highest position.

Toss the tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil, and thyme in a 3-quart (3 L) baking dish.

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper. Nestle the chicken, skin-side up, in the vegetables.

Bake until the chicken is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest leg (avoiding the bone) registers 165° F (74° C), 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with the bread. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Real Simple