Archive for May, 2017

This Lucy Waverman recipe from Food and Drink features zhug – a Middle Eastern hot sauce that originates from the Yemeni region. It has great heat and flavour; I used it on both the vegetable kebabs and on grilled fish. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Always use freshly squeezed lime juice. I use Marukan rice vinegar.

Zhug is a hot sauce that originates in the Yemeni region

Toss the vegetables with some of the zhug and then thread onto skewers

Grill until tender and charred in some spots

Middle Eastern vegetable kebabs

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) zhug (recipe follows)

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) rice vinegar

8 cups (2 L) mixed vegetables, cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) pieces, if necessary

Zhug

⅓ cup (80 ml) seeded, stemmed and quartered green jalapeño peppers, about 2 peppers

½ cup (125 ml) chopped parsley

½ cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped garlic

2 tsp (10 ml) lime juice

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cumin

½ tsp (2 ml) ground coriander

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp (1 ml) ground cardamom

⅓ cup (80 ml) olive oil

Preparation:

Zhug

Place peppers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cardamom in food processor. Pulse until slightly chunky. Stir in olive oil.

Kebabs

Mix together zhug, oil and rice vinegar. Toss with vegetables.

Thread the vegetables onto skewers, either making skewers of single vegetables or making mixed skewers. Grill about 5 minutes a side (about 10 minutes total) or until vegetables are browned but still a little crunchy. Grilling time will depend on which vegetables you are using.

Serve with extra zhug as a dip. Serves 4.

From Food and Drink

Stir-fries are a great way to get dinner on the table in a hurry. This chicken stir-fry from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking is not only quick and tasty, it contains only 278 calories per serving. This is a very adaptable recipe – you could use pork or seafood instead of chicken and any vegetables you have on hand. I omitted the carrot and used sliced red onions instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use tamari instead of soy sauce because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of MSG, sulfites or sodium benzoate. I use Imagine organic chicken stock, Spectrum sesame oil and original flavour Tabasco sauce (instead of the hot chili paste). A recipe for homemade hoisin sauce is below.

Use the vegetables you have on hand

Stir-fry the chicken until lightly browned

Stir-fry the chicken and vegetables until cooked through and tender

Serve over steamed rice

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 lb (500 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

Sauce

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or water

2 tbsp (30 ml) hoisin sauce (see recipe below)

2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) rice wine or sake

1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice powder

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Vegetables and seasoning

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped ginger root

3 green onions, chopped

1 tsp hot chili paste or Tabasco sauce

1 sweet red pepper, cut in strips

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 bunch broccoli, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro

Steamed rice for serving

Preparation:

Hoisin

Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

For stir-fry

Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. In large bowl, combine 1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce with1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat well.

For sauce, combine stock, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice wine and 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch. Set aside.

To cook, heat vegetable oil in wok or large non-stick skillet. Add garlic, ginger, green onions and hot chile paste or hot sauce. Cook for 30 seconds

Add chicken to skillet and cook until lightly browned. Add red pepper, carrot, broccoli and ¼ cup (50 ml) water. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through and broccoli is bright green.

Stir sauce well and add to the chicken and vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve over steamed rice and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4.

From Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking

I recently attended a class at the PC Cooking school given by one of my favourite cookbook authors, Chef Daphna Rabinovitch. The theme was chicken and this five-spice chicken recipe was among the best of the night. Coat chicken pieces with an aromatic rub, roast and top with a sweet glaze. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking ingredients. Use tamari instead of soy sauce. Recipes for homemade five-spice powder and hoisin sauce are below.

Coat chicken pieces with spice rub and marinate for 2-8 hours

Five-spice chicken with sweet hoisin glaze

Ingredients:

2 tbsp (30 ml) packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) sweet paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 ml) five-spice powder (see recipe below)

1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seed, crushed

1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard

¼ tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper

3 lb (1.36 k) bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces

Glaze

¼ cup (60 ml) hoisin sauce (see recipe below)

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

2 tbsp (30 ml) honey

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced fresh ginger

1 tbsp (15 ml) tamari or soy sauce

Five-spice Mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Timut or Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole star anise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cinnamon powder

Hoisin

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice powder

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Preparation:

Five-spice powder

Toast the fennel seeds and Timut or Sichuan peppercorns together in a frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with cloves and star anise.

Grind the mix into a powder using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Stir in the cinnamon.

There will be more mix than needed to make this recipe. Save the extra for later use in an air-tight jar on the spice shelf.

Hoisin

Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

Glaze

Stir together hoisin sauce, maple syrup, honey, fresh ginger and soy sauce; set aside.

Chicken

In small bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, garlic, five-spice power, fennel seeds, mustard, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in baking dish or resealable plastic bag. Coat with spice rub, coating well and evenly. Cover dish with plastic wrap or seal bag and marinate in refrigerated for 2-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Bring chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with half of glaze. Roast in centre of preheated oven, brushing once halfway through with remaining glaze, for 35-45 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Serves 4-6.

From Daphna Rabinovitch