Archive for April, 2015

This recipe is quick, tastes good and is fun to eat! Whip up a peanut sauce, sauté shrimp, garlic, ginger, bok choy and scallions (the recipe also calls for carrot and bean sprouts, which I omitted) and serve in a lettuce wrap topped with chopped nuts. Cook’s note: Boston lettuce may work better than iceberg.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural peanut butter and fresh lime juice. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, which contains sodium benzoate. Look for frozen shrimp with no added preservatives

Peanut-lime sauce

Saute the shrimp and set aside

Stir the shrimp back in to heat through

Spoon into lettuce, wrap and enjoy!


Peanut-Lime Sauce

3 tbsp (45 ml) smooth natural peanut butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch pepper

Lettuce Wraps

1 large head iceberg lettuce

2 tsp (10 ml) vegetable oil

225 g extra-jumbo shrimp, (about 16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) minced fresh ginger

2 large heads Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut in matchsticks

pinch each salt and pepper

1 cup (250 ml) bean sprouts

1 green onion, sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped roasted unsalted peanuts


Peanut-Lime Sauce: In bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, pepper and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water. Set aside.

Lettuce Wraps: Halve and core lettuce; gently separate 8 large leaves, trimming if necessary to make 5-inch (12 cm) lettuce cups. Set aside.

In large nonstick skillet or wok, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook shrimp, turning occasionally, until pink and opaque throughout. Remove to cutting board; halve lengthwise. Set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook garlic and ginger, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add bok choy, carrot, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts, green onion and shrimp.

Spoon shrimp mixture into lettuce cups. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with peanuts. Serves 4.

From the May 2015 issue of Canadian Living

This arugula-almond pesto from Martha Stewart is quick and easy to make, colourful and bursting with flavour. Just whirl arugula, almonds, garlic lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in your food processor and then toss with the pasta of your choice. Penne rigate has ridges, which help the sauce cling to the pasta.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the almonds to be sure they do not contain preservatives and use fresh lemon juice, not a concentrate. Check the label of the cheese to make sure it does not contain preservatives or colour – I use Splendido brand.

Arugula and almonds replace basil and pine nuts in this pesto

Penne rigate with arugula-almond pesto


5 ounces (141 g) baby arugula, some leaves reserved for garnish

3 tablespoons (45 ml) blanched almonds, toasted and chopped (2 ounces/56 g)

1 small clove garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan (1 ounce/28 g)

Coarse salt

½ cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 pound (454 g) penne rigate


Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt. Pulse until coarsely pureed. With motor running, slowly add oil, processing to a paste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; transfer pasta to a bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat evenly. Drizzle with oil, garnish with arugula leaves, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Martha Stewart Living

Duck breasts are available in most grocery stores, and they are easy to make. Score the skin so the fat renders, quickly sear and then finish roasting in the oven. This recipe from Chatelaine also features a Szechuan sauce, braised napa cabbage and shiitake mushrooms.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use an all-natural stock such as Imagine Organic brand. Heinz ketchup is additive free and I used honey instead of molasses. Use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and tamari instead of soy sauce.

Cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern

Sear and roast the duck

Meanwhile, saute the shiitakes

Crispy Szechuan Duck with Braised Napa Cabbage and Shiitakes


1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, divided

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) ketchup

2 tbsp (30 ml) fancy molasses

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger

2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tsp (10 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dark sesame oil

½ tsp (2.5 ml) hot-red-chili flakes

2 duck breasts, 14 oz each (400 g each)

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

2 8 oz. (227 g) pkgs fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 small napa cabbage, cut into eighths lengthwise with core intact


Preheat oven to 400F (204C) Line a baking sheet with foil.

Whisk ¼ cup (60 ml) broth with half of garlic, ketchup, molasses, ginger, vinegar, soy, sesame oil and chili flakes in a small saucepan and set over medium-high. Boil until sauce thickens and reduces to ½ cup (125 ml), 3 to 5 min. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Place duck breasts, skin-side up, on cutting board. Using a sharp knife tip, cross-hatch skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt. Season with fresh pepper.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium. Place duck, skin-side down, in pan. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, 8 to 10 min. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Transfer duck, skin-side up, to prepared sheet. Roast until medium-rare, 8 to 10 min. Let stand 10 min before slicing.

Reserve fat from pan in a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp (15 mml) fat to pan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, 3 to 4 min. Stir into warm sauce in saucepan. Add 1 tbsp (5 ml) of remaining fat to pan, then cabbage. Sauté for 2 min. Add remaining ¾ cup (180 ml) broth and garlic, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, turning cabbage often, until tender, 5 to 7 min. Divide cabbage among 4 plates. Top with mushroom sauce and sliced duck. Serves 4.

From Chatelaine

This recipe from the April 2015 issue of Food and Wine is definitely dinner party-worthy. You can use chicken drumsticks or drums and thighs. Brown the chicken, sauté bacon, vegetables and mushrooms, add wine and thyme and simmer for about 90 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Canola oil can contain artificial ingredients, so check the label. Use bacon preserved with celery salt, not nitrites. I used a red wine from Frogpond Farm that has a sulfite level lower than 10 parts per million. Imagine organic brand chicken stock is additive free.

Brown the chicken legs

Saute the bacon and vegetables

Remove the chicken while you thicken the sauce

Add the chicken back in to reheat

Chicken Legs Coq au Vin


8 chicken drumsticks (2 pounds/1 kg)

Kosher salt


3 tablespoons (45 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil

1 slice of bacon, chopped (optional)

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped carrot

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped celery

1½ cups (375 ml) chopped mushrooms (3 ounces)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) brandy

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste

1 bottle dry red wine

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock

2 thyme sprigs, plus chopped thyme for garnish


Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust all over with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the flour. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the bacon to the casserole and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brandy and cook until reduced by half, 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of flour until incorporated. Add the wine, stock and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning the chicken occasionally, until very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Simmer the sauce until thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and discard the thyme sprigs. Return the chicken to the sauce and heat through. Garnish with chopped thyme and serve. Serves 4. Make ahead: The coq au vin can be refrigerated for 3 days.

From the April 2015 issue of Food and Wine