Archive for March, 2016

This delicious dish from Food52 is redolent with Indian spices. While the shrimp marinates in salt and turmeric, mix up a cilantro-ginger-garlic-chile paste. Toast the spices and then sauté with onion and half the paste. Add water, butter and mint, bring to a boil, then add the rice and bake. About 5 minutes before the rice is done, sauté the shrimp in the other half of the paste.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the shrimp is additive-free and use spices that have no colour or anti-caking agents. Use butter that contains only cream.

Marinate shrimp in salt and turmeric

Toast spices and sauté onion

Add half of cilantro-chile paste

Add water, butter, mint and then rice

Sauté other half of the paste

Then sauté the shrimp in the paste

Top baked rice with shrimp


2 cups (500 ml) basmati rice

1 pound (500 g) shrimp, shelled and de-veined

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground turmeric

¼ bunch cilantro

2 Serrano chilies

1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger

4 large cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons (60 ml) oil

1 large yellow onion

1 teaspoon (5 ml) whole black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick, 1-½ inches (3.8 cm)

¼ stick of butter

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) whole cloves

10 – 12 whole green cardamom pods

2 bay leaves

3 cups (750 ml) water

2 sprigs mint

Salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Wash the rice and soak it in cold water until needed.

Wash the shrimp and drain it well. Add the salt and turmeric and mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Peel the ginger and garlic and use a food processor to blend it to a paste with the cilantro and chilies. You can use a little water if it is too dry.

Chop the onion and mint and leave to the side until needed.

Heat the oil on medium in an oven safe dish. Add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and 1 bay leaf. Sauté until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Add the chopped onion and sauté until light brown, stirring constantly.

Add half of the paste and sauté for another minute or two.

Add water and salt to taste and bring to this to a boil.

Drain the rice and add it to the boiling water and add the butter and mint. Bring this to a boil, cover and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

When the rice has been in the oven for about 10 minutes heat some oil in a sauté pan and add the remainder of the paste along with the other bay leaf. Sauté this for a minute or two and add the shrimp. Sauté the shrimp until done (they should be light pink) about 5 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven. Top it with the shrimp and serve. Serves 6.

From Food52

This spicy cassoulet from Food and Wine takes some advance planning, but the results are worth it. Soak the beans overnight, cook them the next morning and refrigerate, and then assemble the cassoulet and bake for dinner. Merguez sausages are spicy sausages made from mutton or beef; I used hot Italian sausages cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for bacon preserved with celery salt and make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use sausages and bread made with all-natural ingredients.

Soak the beans overnight

Cook bacon until fat is rendered

Add the vegetables to the bacon - this mixture will flavour the beans as they cook

Cook the beans until tender

Toast the spices for the harissa

Grind the toasted spices and combine with smoked paprika and cayenne to make the harissa

Brown the sausages

Brown the other vegetables, sprinkled with the harissa

When the cassoulet is assembled and baked, top with cubed bread

Cook under the broiler until the bread is browned and crisp

Harissa-spiced cassoulet


½ pound (250 g) thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely diced

1 celery rib, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced, plus 2 large carrots, cut into 2 ½ -inch (6.35 cm) lengths

14 ounces (397 g) dried cannellini beans (2 cups/500 ml), soaked overnight and drained

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) cumin seeds

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) coriander seeds

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) crushed red pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 (15 ml) tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Twelve 2-ounce (57 g) merguez sausages

2 large sweet potatoes (1 ¼ pounds/625 g), peeled and cut into 2 ½ -inch (6.35 cm) pieces

3 turnips (¾ pound/375 g), peeled and cut into 2 ½ -inch (6.35 cm) pieces

4 ounces (113 g) rustic peasant bread, crusts removed, bread cut into ¼-inch (0.64 cm) dice (2 cups/500 ml)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced parsley

1 teaspoon (10 ml) grated lemon zest

Plain yogurt, for serving


In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered. Add the onion, celery and diced carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the beans, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer the beans until al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the beans, bacon and vegetables and transfer to a bowl; reserve 2 cups (500 ml) of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). In a small skillet, toast the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool. Add the smoked paprika and crushed red pepper and grind the harissa blend into a powder.

Wipe out the casserole and heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil in it. Add the merguez and cook over moderate heat, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the casserole.

Add the sweet potatoes, turnips and large carrots to the casserole. Season with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the harissa spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bean mixture and the reserved 2 cups (500 ml) of cooking liquid and bring just to a simmer. Arrange the merguez on top. Cover and bake the cassoulet for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven and uncover the cassoulet.

Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the bread, parsley, lemon zest and the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the bread over the cassoulet and broil until golden and crisp. Let the cassoulet stand for 10 minutes before serving. Pass yogurt at the table. Serves 10-12.

From Food and Wine

This healthy and tasty stew from Canadian Living only takes about 45 minutes to make, so it’s perfect for a weeknight supper. And the leftovers are great for lunch the next day!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine organic chicken stock, which has no artificial ingredients. Check the label on your spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use all-natural yogurt and fresh lemon juice.

Cube the squash and slice the onions

Add peppers and garlic

After adding the broth and simmering the chicken, add kale and corn

Cook until the kale wilts

Chicken and Kale Stew with Chili Yogurt


Chicken and Kale Stew

1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil

2-½ cups (625 ml) cubed seeded peeled butternut squash

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely grated or pressed

1 small finger chili pepper, (red or yellow), halved lengthwise and seeded

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced peeled fresh ginger

1 pkg (900 ml) sodium-reduced chicken broth

½ tsp (2 ml) each dried sage and dried thyme

½ tsp (2 ml) pepper

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

450 g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

4 cups (1 L) chopped stemmed kale

½ cup (125 ml) frozen corn kernels

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) cornstarch

Chili Yogurt

1/3 cup (75 ml) 2% plain Greek yogurt

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh chives

½ tsp (2 ml) lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) sunflower seeds, toasted


Chicken and Kale Stew: In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook squash and onion, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili pepper and ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in broth, sage, thyme, pepper and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, remove chili pepper to cutting board; mince chili pepper. Reserve for Chili Yogurt.

Add kale and corn to Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted and chicken is no longer pink inside, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp (30 ml) water; stir into Dutch oven. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Ladle stew into serving bowls.

Chili Yogurt: In small bowl, stir together yogurt, chives, lemon juice and reserved chili pepper; dollop over stew. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Serves 6.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from Canadian Living is quick enough for a weeknight but would also be great for a casual Sunday dinner with family and friends. The chicken is flavoured with a spice rub and stuffed with lemon and orange quarters. While the chicken rests, make the delicious chimichurri, made with fresh herbs and citrus. Chimichurri, which originated in Argentina, is a green sauce served with meat.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Coat chicken with spice rub

Let roasted chicken rest for 10 minutes

While chicken rests, make chimichurri

Spiced roast chicken with orange-cilantro chimichurri


Spiced Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken (about 1.5 kg)

2 tsp (10 ml) vegetable oil

½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt

½ tsp (2 ml) each pepper and tumeric

¼ tsp (1 ml) each ground allspice and ground cloves

Quartered orange

Quartered lemon

Orange-Cilantro Chimichurri

½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup (75 ml) each chopped fresh oregano and fresh parsley

½ tsp (2 ml) grated orange zest

3 tbsp (45 ml) orange juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice

¼ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt

¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper


Spiced Roast Chicken: Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Brush all over with oil; sprinkle with salt.

Stir together pepper, turmeric, allspice and cloves; rub all over chicken. Place orange and lemon quarters in cavity. Place chicken, breast side up, on greased rack in roasting pan.

Roast in 400°F (200°C) oven, basting occasionally, until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 185°F (85°C), about 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes; discard orange and lemon. Carve chicken into portions.

Orange-Cilantro Chimichurri: While chicken is resting, in bowl, stir oil with garlic. Stir in cilantro, oregano, parsley, orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, salt and pepper. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.) Serve with chicken. Serves 4-6.

From Canadian Living