Archive for December, 2012

Now that you’ve had your fill of holiday turkey, ham and prime rib (not to mention time spent in the kitchen) here’s a recipe from Fast Flavours for lamb chops that is ready is about 20 minutes. Sear the chops, and while they are resting, quickly sauté peppers, onions, lemon and mint to create a tasty salsa. I served this with a salad of garlic roasted potatoes and warm spinach.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The only ingredient to be careful of in this recipe is the hot sauce, which can contain preservatives and colour. I use Tabasco brand original hot sauce, which is all-natural.

Sear lamb chops for 4 or 5 minutes per side

Quickly saute peppers and onions with lemon juice and mint

Top the chops with the salsa and serve


A splash or two of vegetable oil

4 lamb chops, patted dry

2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced

1 small red onion, sliced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh mint

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2 mL) hot sauce


Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the lamb chops. Sear the first side until browned and crusty, 4 to 5 minutes. Adjust the heat so that the chops sizzle but don’t smoke.

Flip the chops and sear the other side, adding oil as needed. Remove pan from heat, transfer chops to plate and cover loosely with foil.

Return the pan to the heat and add the peppers and onions. Saute, stirring, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, mint, salt and hot sauce. Saute just enough to heat through, 1 or 2 minutes. Top the chops with the warm salsa and serve. Serves 2.

From Fast Flavours by Chef Michael Smith

This Classic Almond Biscotti recipe from Canadian Living is our favourite Christmas cookie (although you will want to bake them all year long). These biscotti are delicious, low in fat and perfect for dunking. Biscotti means twice-cooked. The dough is formed into a log, baked, then removed from the oven and sliced. The slices then go back into the oven where they dry out and develop their characteristic crunch. When you are slicing the log, use a sharp chef’s knife and make firm cuts so the dough doesn’t crumble.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. I would also love to hear from you about any dishes/foods you would like to see more often on Eye For a Recipe.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The butter, vanilla, almond extract and almonds may contain additives. Use a butter made with a single ingredient: cream. No-name brand whole almonds are all-natural. When using vanilla or almond extract, be sure it is a natural extract, not artificial.

Mix dry ingredients together

Then mix the wet ingredients together

Combine the dry and wet ingredients and form into a soft dough

Form the dough into two 12-inch logs

Place the logs on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg white

Remove the partially cooked logs from the oven

Cut the logs into diagonal slices using a sharp chef's knife

Stand the cookies up on the baking sheet and put them back in the oven

Classic Almond Biscotti


1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

¾ cup (175 mL) whole unblanched almonds

2 eggs

¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

½ tsp (2 mL) almond extract

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) grated orange rind

1 egg white, lightly beaten


To measure flour accurately, lightly spoon flour into dry measure, without tapping, until cup is heaping; level off with blunt edge of knife. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and almonds.

In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and grated orange rind; stir into flour mixture until soft sticky dough forms. Transfer to lightly floured surface; form into smooth ball.

Divide dough in half, roll each into 12-inch (30 cm) long log. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet.

Brush tops with egg white; bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer each log to cutting board; cut diagonally into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick slices.

Stand cookies upright on baking sheet; bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden. Transfer to rack and let cool. Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 24 pieces.

From Canadian Living

I was a little skeptical about the cooking method in this recipe from the December 2012 issue of Bon Appetit. It recommends starting skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, skin side down, in a room temperature skillet coated with a teaspoon of oil. As the pan heats, the thighs were supposed to slowly render their fat, making the skin crispy. Well, the skin on my chicken thighs stuck to the pan. I don’t eat the skin anyway, so it was not a big problem for me. The thighs also took longer to cook than the recipe calls for—about 10 more minutes in the oven. So why I am posting this recipe? Because the chicken was moist and tender, and the flavour created by the caramelized lemon slices and oregano in the pan sauce was great. If you have better luck with the room temperature skillet method, let me know!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The two things to look out for here are the white wine and the chicken stock. If you are sensitive to sulfites, look for a white wine with fewer than 10 parts per million. I use Imagine brand chicken stock.

Thinly slice lemons

Fresh oregano, shallots and garlic are in the sauce

Start chicken, skin side down, in room temperature pan

Rest the roasted chicken while you make the sauce

The caramelized lemon slices flavour the sauce

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano


1 lemon

4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 sprigs oregano

1 tablespoon minced shallot

½ garlic clove, minced

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 425°. Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down.

Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.

Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.

Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired.

Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices. Serves 4.

From the December 2012 issue of Bon Appetit

This is an easy recipe that yields great results in very little time. Thin fish fillets are quickly pan-fried and topped with a savoury salsa of olives, tomatoes and parsley. The fish is served with a side dish of orzo mixed with garlic, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, dill and lemon juice. The recipe calls for tilapia, but snapper, trout, sole, orange roughy or perch would all work well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that could contain additives and preservatives include the butter and olives. Look for a butter that contains only cream, with no colour, and for olives with no preservatives added. I am currently using PC black label Niçoise olives. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as concentrates are bitter and contain preservatives such as sodium benzoate.

Fish fillets are quickly pan fried

Mix cooked orzo with spinach and cherry tomatoes

Fish with olive salsa and spinach orzo


1 tbsp (15 mL) butter

2 tilapia fillets, (about 1 lb/450 g total), halved lengthwise

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

Olive Salsa

1/4 cup (60 mL) cherry tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped Kalamata olives

1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil

Spinach Orzo

1 cup (250 mL) orzo

2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups (2 L) baby spinach

1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh dill

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper


Olive Salsa: In small bowl, combine tomatoes with olives, parsley and oil.

Spinach Orzo: In saucepan of boiling salted water, cook orzo according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach; cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir into orzo. Stir in tomatoes, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper; cook until fish flakes easily with fork, about 3 minutes per side.

Top fish with salsa; serve with orzo. Serves 4.

From the December 2012 Canadian Living

At this time of year, fast and easy recipes for hors d-oeuvres come in handy. This recipe for marinated olives from the November 1994 issue of Bon Appetit is both those things, and it’s also better made a few days before serving. I put out a bowl of these before a girls’ night dinner last week to celebrate the November birthdays of my friends Lesley and Diane. Lesley asked me to post the recipe, so here it is!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

It can be difficult to find olives with no preservatives, but it is possible. If you are buying them from an olive bar, ask to see the ingredient label. I have been able to find all-natural black and green olives, made by Pilaros, at Costco. I also use President’s Choice green olives stuffed with garlic and PC black label Niçoise olives. Be sure to use fresh lemon juice, as concentrates contain preservatives such as sodium benzoate. Wash the orange with warm water before zesting, and make sure the fennel seeds and red pepper don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Olives with fennel seeds and orange peel


6 cups assorted black and green olives

2 tbsp minced orange peel

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed

½ tsp dried crushed red pepper


Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Cover and chill overnight, stirring occasionally. Can be prepared 5 days ahead. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes six cups.

From the November 1994 issue of Bon Appetit