Archive for January, 2013

Mussels are inexpensive, they cook in five minutes and they taste great – so they are perfect for a weeknight meal. In this recipe from the February 2013 issue of Bon Appetit, tomato sauce, white kidney beans and mussels are combined with cooked pasta to create satisfying meal that is ready in about 30 minutes. When using mussels, be sure to discard any raw mussels with broken or cracked shells and any that don’t fully close when you tap them with your finger. Don’t eat any cooked mussels from shells that don’t fully open.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Butter, canned tomatoes and white kidney beans may contain colour, additives or preservatives. Use a butter that has only cream as an ingredient, canned tomatoes with only salt added and canned kidney beans with no preservatives; I used PC Blue Menu brand.

Remove any stringy "beards" from the raw mussels and discard any that are broken or don't close when tapped

Brown garlic and hot pepper flakes

White kidney beans are also known as cannellini beans

Spaghetti with mussels and white beans


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

4 garlic cloves, chopped

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1 pound spaghetti

Kosher salt

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed

1 cup dry white wine

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Heat butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, crushing tomatoes lightly with your hands. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add beans and wine to sauce. Cook, stirring often, until wine has almost evapor-ated, about 4 minutes. Add mussels and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cover; cook, stir-ring occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes (discard any that do not open).

Add pasta and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid to mussels and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls. Drizzle with oil; garnish with parsley. Serves 6.

From the February 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

Roast chicken is our favourite Sunday dinner comfort food. I’m always looking for the “perfect” roast chicken, so I recently tried Julia Child’s classic recipe. It’s a little more labour intensive than most recipes, because you must turn the chicken from one side to another to cook and brown it evenly. But the results are well worth it. The chicken is juicy and the skin is brown and crisp. Served with roasted root vegetables, it’s comfort food at its best.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains a single ingredient: cream. If you are making the gravy, use an all natural chicken stock, such as Imagine brand low-sodium broth.

Rub chicken with butter and place in shallow roasting pan

After five minutes, flip the chicken onto its left side

Flip the chicken from side to side to roast and brown it evenly

For the last 15 minutes or so, roast the chicken breast side up

Julia Child's Roast Chicken, served with roasted vegetables


3-pound whole roasting or frying chicken

¾ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons softened butter

1 small sliced carrot

1 small sliced onion

1 tablespoon good cooking oil

½ tablespoon minced shallots or ½ tablespoon green onion

1 cup brown chicken stock, canned chicken broth or 1 cup beef bouillon

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and smear in half the butter.

Truss the chicken and dry it thoroughly. Rub the skin with the rest of the butter.

In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter, and add 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Set aside for basting.

Place the chicken, breast up, in a shallow roasting pan. Strew the vegetables around it and set it on the rack in the middle of the preheated oven.

Allow the chicken to brown lightly for 15 minutes, turning it on the left side after 5 minutes, on the right side for the last 5 minutes, and basting it with the butter and oil after each turn. Baste rapidly so the oven does not cool off.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Leave the chicken on its side and baste every 8 to 10 minutes using the fat in the roasting pan when the butter and oil are exhausted.

Halfway through estimated roasting time (about 40 minutes), salt the chicken with ¼ teaspoon of salt and turn it on its other side. Continue basting.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the estimated roasting time, salt again and turn the chicken breast up. Continue basting.

When chicken is done, discard trussing strings and set chicken on hot platter. It should sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before being carved so the juices are absorbed by the meat.

Chicken is done when it registers between 175 and 190 degrees, depending on preferred doneness.

Remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan. Stir in the minced shallot and cook slowly for 1 minute. Add the stock and boil rapidly over high heat, scraping up juices with a wooden spoon and letting it reduce to about ½ cup. Season with salt and pepper. Off heat and just before serving, swirl in the last 1-2 tablespoons butter.  Pour a spoonful over chicken and serve the remainder at the table from a sauceboat. Serves 4.

From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Black cod, also known as sablefish, is a cold-water fish that is showing up in many recipes these days because of its white flesh, delicate texture and sweet taste. If you can find it, try it in this recipe. You can also use halibut, which is not as high in fat. The preparation of the fish in this recipe is straightforward; the interesting ingredients are reserved for the Swiss chard. You boil a whole lemon for a half hour until it is tender, then chop the pulp, peel and pith. The chopped lemon is combined with chopped black olives and the mixture is added to the sautéed chard. It’s an unusual flavour mix, but it works very well with the oily fish. This is also a very nutritious, low-fat recipe, with only 220 calories per serving.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The only thing to watch out for in this recipe are the olives. Look for olives cured in oil without any additives or preservatives.

Season black cod or halibut with ground spices

Boil a whole lemon for 30 minutes; a plate on top will keep it submerged

Scoop the flesh out of the boiled lemon

Chop the lemon pulp, skin and pith and combine with chopped black olives

It looks like a lot of Swiss chard

But it quickly reduces to this

Meanwhile, quickly pan fry the fish

Add the lemon-olive mixture to the Swiss chard and serve with the fish


1 lemon, stem removed

¼ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 4-ounce pieces skin-on black cod fillet

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, chopped

¼ teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

2 large bunches Swiss chard (about 1 ½ pound total), ribs and stems removed, leaves torn

2 tablespoons oil-cured black olives, pitted, sliced


Place lemon in a small saucepan; add water just to cover. Place a small heatproof plate inside the saucepan, on top of the lemon, to keep it submerged. Bring water to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until lemon is very tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Cut lemon in half (to help cool faster); let cool.

Scoop out pulp from both lemon halves and press pulp through a coarse-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Finely chop peel and pith and add to pulp. Set aside.

Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Coarsely grind coriander and cumin seeds in spice mill or with mortar and pestle. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season fish with spice mixture, salt, and pepper; place skin side down in skillet. Cook until browned and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Turn; cook until just opaque in the center, 2-4 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chard by the handful, tossing and allowing it to wilt slightly between additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until all chard is tender, 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Mix olives and reserved lemon mixture into chard. Season with salt, pepper, and more crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve fish with chard. Serves 4.

From the January 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

You can make this pork noodle stir fry from the January 2013 issue of Canadian Living as mild or spicy as you like. Once you start cooking, the stir-fry is done in less than 15 minutes, so be sure to have all your ingredients ready to go before you begin. I whirred a pork tenderloin around in my food processor instead of buying pre-ground pork, and that worked very well. I also sliced my own cabbage, instead of buying coleslaw mix. You could add any vegetables you have on hand to this dish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives:

Soy sauce, chili garlic paste, rice vinegar and sesame oil can contain artificial ingredients. Instead of soy sauce, try tamari, which is preserved with alcohol instead of sodium benzoate. I used Tabasco brand hot sauce instead of chili garlic paste. Marukan light seasoned rice vinegar and Eden toasted sesame oil are both additive free.

Soak rice stick in hot water and drain

Assemble all your ingredients before starting to cook

Brown the ground pork

Stir fry the mushrooms and vegetables

Add the noodles and sauce

Spicy Pork Noodle Stir-Fry


4 oz (113 g) rice stick vermicelli, (about 1/8 inch/3 mm wide)

2 tbsp (30 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce

2 tsp (10 mL) chili garlic paste, (such as sambal oelek)

1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) seasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

1 pinch salt

8 oz (227 g) lean ground pork

1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil

1 cup (250 mL) sliced shiitake mushrooms

1 cup (250 mL) coleslaw mix

½ cup (125 mL) snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts


In large bowl, soak vermicelli in warm water until softened and separated, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk together soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, salt and 2/3 cup (150 mL) water; set aside.

In wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, cook pork, stirring occasionally and breaking up with back of wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove pork to plate. Drain and set aside.

Wipe wok clean and return to heat. Add vegetable oil and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add coleslaw mix, snow peas, green onions and garlic; stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Stir in soy sauce mixture and noodles, tossing to combine; stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts.

From the January 2013 issue of Canadian Living