Archive for January, 2014

We have been eating soup more often this winter, and this recipe from the cover of the January 2014 issue of Bon Appetit is a keeper. Ground pork is mixed with garlic, ginger and spices and then browned. Add broth, simmer a few minutes, and then add greens, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce. The recipe calls for mustard greens; I used kale. Be sure to taste the soup before adding salt, as the soy sauce and fish sauce are quite salty.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check your spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Imagine brand all-natural stock, tamari and a fish sauce with no MSG such as Cock brand.

Ground pork is mixed with spices

Cook the rice noodles until they are tender, but not too soft

Add kale

Simmer until the kale is tender

Spicy pork and kale soup


½ pound (250 g) ground pork

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 teaspoons (10 ml) finely grated peeled ginger

1 teaspoon (5 ml) Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon (2 ml) cumin seeds, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken broth

1 bunch mustard greens, torn, about 4 cups (1 L)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

8 oz. (250 g) wide rice noodles


Mix pork, garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and cumin in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8–10 minutes. Add mustard greens, scallions, soy sauce, and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over. Serves 4.

From the January 2014 issue of Bon Appetit

Quinoa is gluten-free grain that is very nutritious. However, it can be soggy and bland. This recipe from the January/February 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated solves both problems by toasting the uncooked quinoa to develop a nutty flavour, reducing the amount of liquid used to cook it, and flavouring the cooked grain with onion, fresh herbs and lemon juice. This is a great side dish with fish or chicken. You could also add some feta cheese to make it a vegetarian entree.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour and that you use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

If your quinoa is not prewashed, rinse it and let it dry for 15 minutes

Toasting the quinoa brings out its nutty flavour

Flavour the quinoa with your favourite fresh herbs

Quinoa pilaf with herbs and lemon


1 ½ cups (375 ml) prewashed quinoa (see note below if quinoa is not prewashed)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces

1 small onion, chopped fine

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) salt

1 ¾ cups (425 ml) water

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, chives, mint, and tarragon

1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice


Note: If you buy unwashed quinoa, rinse the grains in a fine-mesh strainer, drain them, and then spread them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a dish towel and let them dry for 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

Toast quinoa in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until quinoa is very fragrant and makes continuous popping sound, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer quinoa to bowl and set aside.

Return now-empty pan to medium-low heat and melt butter. Add onion and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and light golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, stir in water and quinoa, and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until grains are just tender and liquid is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff quinoa with fork, stir in herbs and lemon juice, and serve. Serves 4-6.

From the January/February 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

Norcia, which is in the mountains of southeastern Umbria, is famous for its delicious sausages. Pasta alla Norcina features savoury pork sausage and mushrooms in a light cream sauce. This version from Cook’s Illustrated calls for homemade sausage, which is surprisingly easy to make. I ground the pork myself, in a food processor, but you can buy pre-ground meat. This dish is absolutely delicious and is wonderful comfort food on a cold winter night.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Grind your own nutmeg or make sure the pre-ground version does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used a white wine with a sulfite level below 10 parts per million (from Frogpond Farm), fresh lemon juice and a Pecorino Romano cheese that contains only pasteurized sheep’s milk, bacterial culture, salt and rennet.

Form sausage meat into a patty

Brown the sausage on each side

Chop sausage and soak in cream

Brown the mushrooms

Add the sausage and cream to the mushrooms

Pasta alla Norcina


Kosher salt and pepper

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) baking soda

8 ounces (250 g) ground pork

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml) minced fresh rosemary

⅛ teaspoon (0.5 ml) ground nutmeg

8 ounces (250 g) cremini mushrooms, trimmed

7 teaspoons (35 ml) vegetable oil

¾ cup (175 ml) heavy cream

1 pound (500 g) orecchiette

½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine

1 ½ ounces (43 g) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (¾ cup/175 ml)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice


Grease large dinner plate with vegetable oil spray. Dissolve 1⅛ teaspoons (5.5 ml) salt and baking soda in 4 teaspoons (20 ml) water in medium bowl. Add pork and fold gently to combine; let stand for 10 minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic, ¾ teaspoon (3 ml) rosemary, nutmeg, and ¾ teaspoon (3 ml) pepper to pork and smear with rubber spatula until well combined and tacky, 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer pork mixture to greased plate and form into rough 6-inch (15.2 cm) patty. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 12 pulses.

Heat 2 teaspoons (10 ml) oil in 12-inch (30.5 cm) skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add patty and cook without moving it until bottom is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip patty and continue to cook until second side is well browned, 2 to 3 minutes longer (very center of patty will be raw). Remove pan from heat, transfer sausage to cutting board, and chop into ⅛- to ¼ -inch (0.32 cm to 0.64 cm) pieces. Transfer sausage to bowl and add cream; set aside.

Bring 4 quarts (3.8 L) water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 ½ cups (375 ml) cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

While pasta cooks, return now-empty skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil, mushrooms, and ⅛ teaspoon (0.5 ml) salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons (10 ml) oil, remaining garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon (2 ml) rosemary, and ½ teaspoon (2 ml) pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until completely evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in sausage-cream mixture and ¾ cup (175 ml) reserved cooking water and simmer until meat is no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in Pecorino until smooth.

Add sauce, parsley, and lemon juice to pasta and toss well to coat. Before serving, adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

From Cook’s Illustrated

Well, the holidays are over and it’s time to keep those New Year’s resolutions about eating a healthy diet. This lentil salad with rainbow trout from the January 2014 issue of Canadian Living is colourful, tasty and very nutritious. Cooked green lentils are combined with roasted red pepper and sautéed leek and zucchini. Rainbow trout fillets are dusted with smoky chipotle chili powder and then pan-seared. Toss the lentils and veggies with a cilantro-lime-soy dressing, shred and fold in the fish, and dinner is ready.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the chili powder does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and fresh lime juice.

Roast the pepper under the broiler until skin is charred

Peel and slice pepper and add to the cooked lentils

Saute leek and zucchini

Dust trout with chipotle chili powder

Meanwhile, stir up the cilantro-lime-soy vinaigrette

Pan sear the trout, remove skin and shred with a fork

Warm lentil salad with spicy rainbow trout


1 pkg (450 g) dried green lentils, (about 2-1/4 cups)

1 sweet orange or red pepper, halved and seeded

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, (white and light green parts only), halved and sliced

2 yellow zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced

½ tsp (2 ml) chipotle chili powder

450 g skin-on rainbow trout fillets, cut in half crosswise

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro

2 tsp (10 ml) grated lime zest

¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) sodium-reduced soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced


In large saucepan, combine lentils with enough water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm); bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; transfer to bowl.

Meanwhile, broil orange peppers, cut side down, on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until softened and charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool enough to handle; peel and cut lengthwise into strips. Add to lentils.

In large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat; cook leek, stirring often, until softened and light golden, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Add to lentil mixture.

Add 1 tsp of the remaining oil to pan; sprinkle chili powder over fleshy side of fish. Cook, skin side up, until deep golden and crispy, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until fish flakes easily when tested and skin is starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining oil, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, soy sauce and garlic. Pour over lentil mixture; toss to coat. Remove and discard fish skin; flake flesh with fork. Add to lentil mixture; gently toss to combine. Serves 6.

From the January 2014 issue of Canadian Living