Archive for November, 2012

This recipe from the December 2012 issue of Canadian Living pairs pan-fried chicken cutlets with glazed carrots. While the chicken is fairly plain, the carrots are flavoured with garlic, cinnamon, sugar, butter, parsley, lemon juice and tarragon. The tarragon really elevates the flavour of the dish, as do the toasted sliced almonds sprinked on top. If you are looking for a way to dress up carrots, try this recipe. I added a parsnip, which worked fine.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Cinnamon, broth, butter and almonds may contain artificial ingredients. Look for cinnamon without colour or anti-caking agents, an all-natural broth such as Imagine Organic brand, unsalted butter than contains only cream and almonds with no sulfites or other chemicals added.

Cut the chicken breasts in half horizonatally to create the cutlets

The dish is topped with toasted sliced almonds

I used a mixture of carrots and parsnips

Simmer vegetables until tender and liquid has evaporated

Brown the cutlets in a non-stick pan

Pan-Fried Chicken with Glazed Herbed Carrots


2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pinch cinnamon

3 large carrots, (about 250 g total), cut in 1/8-inch (3 mm) slices

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper

2/3 cup (150 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth

¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh tarragon

1 tbsp (15 mL) packed brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 lb/450 g total)

¼ cup (60 mL) slivered almonds, toasted


In skillet, heat 1 tsp of the oil over medium heat; cook shallot, garlic and cinnamon until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and pinch each of the salt and pepper; cook until carrots start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add broth; cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add parsley, tarragon, sugar and butter; cook, stirring, until carrots are coated, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Transfer to platter and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts in half horizontally to form thin cutlets. Sprinkle both sides with remaining salt and pepper. In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook chicken, turning once, until no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes.

Sprinkle almonds over carrots. Serve with chicken. Serves 4.

From the December 2012 issue of Canadian Living.

We had this Roasted Sausage, Peppers and Double Fennel over penne last night and wow, was it good. The sausage and vegetables caramelize into a tender, savoury mixture, redolent with the licorice flavour of the fennel bulb and seeds. The recipe, from Fast Flavours by Chef Michael Smith, says the dish is done in 30 minutes, but recommends leaving it for 45 to 60 minutes, which results in deeper caramelization. I agree. I used hot Italian sausages, but any kind would do. I also parboiled the whole sausages in simmering water for five minutes to render out some of the fat.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives are the sausages and balsamic vinegar. Look for sausages with all-natural ingredients, including the casings and any filler. I use balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added.

Toss sausage coins with peppers, garlic, fennel and fennel seeds

Spread in large roasting pan and roast for at least 45 minutes

Serve over cooked pasta and drizzle with balsamic vinegar


6 Italian sausages, sliced into ½-inch (1 cm) coins

Cloves from two heads of garlic, peeled

1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped

4 or 5 bell peppers, a mixture of colours, seeded and each cut into 8 pieces

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) fennel seeds

1 tsp salt (5 ml)

Freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Toss all ingredients except the vinegar together in a large mixing bowl until they are evenly mixed and lightly seasoned. Place mixture in a large roasting pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, until tender and browning. Toss with cooked pasta and top each serving with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

From Fast Flavours by Chef Michael Smith

I recently bought a copy of Chef Michael Smith’s new book, Fast Flavours, and have made several recipes from it already, including Bacon Beer Mussels. This interesting take on steamed mussels produces a richly flavoured broth that begs to be sopped up with crusty bread. Chef Smith suggests a method for crisping bacon that I had never tried before—covering it with water, which helps render the fat. As the water evaporates, the bacon crisps. It really does work! The recipe calls for a dark beer, but I used what we had on hand. This is a great weeknight supper or casual dinner party recipe, and would go well with a green salad and bread.

Avoiding additives and preservatives

Bacon, beer, hot sauce and bread can contain additives and preservatives. Use nitrite-free bacon and a microbrewery beer with all-natural ingredients (such as Sleeman, Creemore or Mill Street Organic). I used Tabasco original hot sauce and an Ace Bakery baguette.

Cover the bacon with water and simmer until bacon is crisp.

See how crisp the bacon gets!


4 to 6 slices of bacon, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

5 pounds (2.25 kg) of fresh, fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 teaspoon (5 ml) of hot sauce

1 bottle of dark beer

4 green onions, chopped

1 baguette or fresh bread for dipping


Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, then pour in enough water to just barely cover it. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. As the water simmers, the bacon will begin to cook. Then, as the water evaporates, the bacon will render, releasing its fat. Lastly, it will crisp as the fat left behind heats past the boiling point of water. Be patient and keep stirring until every piece is evenly crisped, about 5 or 6 minutes.

When the bacon is crisp, add the onions. Stir for a few minutes as they cool the pan, softening and dissolving the flavourful crust, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the mussels, then the hot sauce and beer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Lower the heat a bit and steam the works, cooking and flavouring the mussels and their broth with brown bacon and brown beer. Continue cooking until a rich, fragrant broth forms and all the mussel shells pop open, about 10 minutes.

Divide the mussels among bowls (discarding any mussels that didn’t open), then pour in the remaining broth. Sprinkle on the green onions, serve, and share with lots of bread to soak up the delicious broth. Serves 4 to 6.

From Fast Flavours, by Chef Michael Smith

This one-dish meal from the November 2012 issue of Chatelaine is ready in about 30 minutes and is both healthy and tasty. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are browned and then removed from the pan. Add garlic, ginger, uncooked rice, broth, hoisin and chili-garlic sauce and bring to a boil. Then top with shiitake mushrooms and the browned chicken, cover and cook until the rice is done. Remove the lid, lay baby bok choy on top, cover and cook again until the bok choy is tender and the chicken is done.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your canola oil and sesame oil do not contain preservatives and look for a chicken broth that is all natural, such as Imagine brand. I have never been able to find hoisin sauce or chili-garlic sauce without artificial ingredients, so I make my own; the recipes are below.

Fresh chili-garlic sauce

Homemade hoisin sauce

Brown skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Remove chicken and add uncooked rice

Add stock, bring to boil and top with shiitakes and browned chicken

When rice is done, top with baby bok choy, cover and continue cooking

Dinner is ready when the bok choy is tender and the chicken is done

One-Pot Asian Chicken and Rice


Chili-garlic sauce

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1 ½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Put all the ingredients in an electric mini chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate. Let stand at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to blend. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Hoisin sauce

4 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tbsp. honey

2 tsp. white vinegar

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. sesame seed oil

1 tsp. Chinese-style hot sauce

1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients.

One-Pot Asian Chicken and Rice

1 tbsp canola oil

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 ½ cup jasmine rice, rinsed well and drained

3 cups no-salt chicken broth

3 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 to 2 tsp chili-garlic sauce

113 g pkg fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered

4 stalks gai lan or 8 baby bok choy

1 tsp dark sesame oil


Heat a large pot over medium-high. Add canola oil, then chicken. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 min per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add garlic, ginger and rice to pot. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 min. Add broth. Stir in hoisin and chili-garlic sauce. Arrange mushrooms and chicken over rice and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until rice is almost tender, 10 to 12 min.

Remove lid. Lay greens over chicken and rice. Cover and continue simmering until greens are just tender, about 5 more min. Drizzle sesame oil over finished dish before serving.

From the November 2012 issue of Chatelaine