Archive for April, 2013

This great recipe from Lucy Waverman uses one of my favourite spring herbs, tarragon, which is a terrific complement to chicken. Shallots, fresh mushrooms, and a delicious sauce boost the flavour even further. I used cremini, oyster, shiitake and Portobello mushrooms, but you can use any mixture. Try to use at least four different kinds, which will add complexity to the sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for butter with a single ingredient—cream. I used Imagine brand organic chicken stock and balsamic vinegar with no added sulfites. Instead of soy sauce, use tamari.

Sprinkle chicken with tarragon, salt and pepper

Sear chicken on top of the stove

Remove chicken and then saute mushrooms

The mushrooms will reduce in volume as they release their liquid

Add sauce ingredients and return chicken to pan

When chicken is done, remove it and let it rest while you add butter to finish the sauce

Pan-roasted chicken with mushrooms


4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on, about 8 ounces (250 grams)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup chopped shallots

1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

¾ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cold butter cut in pieces

2 tablespoon chopped chives


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of tarragon. Heat the oil and butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Sear the chicken over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Add shallots to skillet and return to heat. Sauté for 1 minute, then add mushrooms, garlic and remaining tarragon. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms exude their juice and the juice begins to evaporate. Immediately add stock, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Boil together for 1 minute to combine flavours.

Return the chicken to the skillet and place in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness) or until juices are clear. Remove chicken and keep warm. Stir in butter, piece by piece, until incorporated, with the pan off the heat.

Place the mushrooms and sauce on a serving plate and set the chicken on top. Garnish with chives.

From Lucy Waverman

This delicious stir-fry from the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit is ready in about 30 minutes. The trick is to prepare everything—the sauce, meat and vegetables—before you start to cook. I microwaved the sprouts and carrots for a few minutes to partially cook them, and I also threw in some baby bok choy that was in the fridge.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have never been able to find oyster sauce without additives and preservatives, so I make my own by combining 3 tablespoons of tamari with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cornstarch. Use tamari instead of regular soy sauce, and an all-natural rice vinegar such as Marukan brand.

Assemble your ingredients before starting to cook

Cut the steak into thin strips

Brown the sprouts before steaming

Sear the steak

Add sauce and all ingredients back to pan

Brussels sprouts and steak stir-fry


3 tablespoons oyster sauce

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved

8 ounces flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced against the grain

Kosher salt

4 scallions, whites chopped, greens sliced

3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger

2 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal

1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced into rings

Steamed rice (for serving)


Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and ¼ cup water in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; wipe out skillet.

Season steak with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add steak in a single layer; cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Turn and cook until nearly cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add to Brussels sprouts.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, adjusting heat as needed. Add carrots and chile and cook, tossing occasionally, until carrots are slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

Return Brussels sprouts and steak to skillet and add reserved sauce. Cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with scallion greens.

From the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

Chicken thighs are among my favourite things to make for a quick and easy weeknight supper. In this recipe from the April 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living you roast chicken thighs, tomatoes, olives, shallots and thyme together on a baking sheet. While the chicken is resting, return the other ingredients to the oven and roast until they are golden brown. The final touch is a garnish of feta and fresh mint.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The olives and feta may contain additives and preservatives. I used President’s Choice green olives stuffed with garlic and a feta cheese with all-natural ingredients.

Toss ingredients together in a bowl

Arrange on a baking sheet

Roasted chicken thighs with tomatoes, olives and feta


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 ½ pounds)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

½ cup pitted Spanish olives

6 medium shallots, halved lengthwise and peeled (about 6 ounces)

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chicken, oil, tomatoes, olives, shallots, and thyme in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread chicken mixture, skin side up, in a single layer. Roast until a thermometer inserted into thickest parts of the thighs (do not touch bones) reaches 165 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter and loosely cover with foil. Return vegetables to oven and roast until golden brown in places, about 10 minutes more. Transfer vegetables and accumulated juices to platter with chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint and feta. Serves 4.

From the April 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living

This is an extremely flavourful dish that is light and easy to make. Cilantro, ginger, garlic, chiles, lime and coconut milk are combined into a delicious Thai-style paste that is then tossed with cooked rice. The rice forms the base for the fish and snow peas, which are steamed in the oven. This recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie calls for sea bass, but you could use any kind of fish of seafood. I used halibut, and it was delicious.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce and look for a brand of sesame oil and coconut milk that are additive-free.

Coconut milk is the base for the Thai paste

Combine the paste with cooked basmatic rice

Place the fish and snow peas on top of the rice, cover and steam in oven

Steamed Thai-style fish with rice


For the Thai paste

2 large bunches fresh coriander, leaves picked and stalks reserved

2 thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 fresh red chiles, halved and deseeded

2 teaspoons sesame oil

6 tablespoons soy sauce

Juice and zest of 2 limes

400 ml light coconut milk

For the fish and rice

400 g basmati rice

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 x 170 g sea bass fillets, or other fish, pinboned and skin scored

1 handful sugar snap peas

1 bunch spring onions, outer leaves discarded, trimmed and finely sliced

1-2 fresh red chiles, deseeded and finely sliced

1 lime, quartered

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. In a food processor or liquidizer, whiz up the coriander stalks, half of the coriander leaves, the ginger, garlic, halved chiles, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and zest and the coconut milk. This will give you a lovely fragrant Thai-style paste.

Cook your rice in salted, boiling water until it’s just undercooked, then drain it in a colander. Scoop it into a high-sided roasting tray. Pour your Thai paste over the rice and mix it in well, then shake it out flat. Lay the sea bass fillets on top, scatter over the sugar snap peas, then cover the dish tightly with tinfoil and put it in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle over the spring onions, the sliced chile and the other half of the coriander leaves. Divide between your plates with a wedge of lime. Serves 4.

From Cook with Jamie