Archive for February, 2020

This tasty stew from the New York Times is a great weekend dinner. Brown skinless chicken legs or thighs and set aside. Cook onion and garlic, add tomatoes and spices and simmer. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cauliflower and olives and cook for another 20 minutes. Add parsley and serve over rice, garnished with feta cheese. Cook’s note: I used green olives instead of Kalamata olives.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden organic red wine vinegar and Unico tomatoes. Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. If using olives, check the ingredients for additives. I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives.

Brown the chicken and set aside

Simmer the chicken in the tomato sauce

Add the cauliflower and olives

Serve the stew over rice and top with feta cheese


2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced

6 to 8 chicken legs and/or thighs, skinned

2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar

1 28-ounce (793 g) can chopped tomatoes, with juice, pulsed in a food processor

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon (2.5  ml) dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves

1 small or ½ large cauliflower, cored, broken into florets, and sliced about ½ -inch (1.25-cm) thick

12 kalamata olives (about 1.6 oz/45 grams), rinsed, pitted and cut in half (optional)

1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 to 2 ounces (28-56 g) feta cheese, crumbled (optional)


Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep, heavy lidded skillet or casserole and brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pieces to a plate or bowl as they’re browned. Pour off the fat from the pan. Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil to the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover and let the onion cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the garlic and stir together for a minute or two more, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the tomatoes and their juice, the cinnamon, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is reduced slightly and fragrant.

Return the chicken pieces to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. If necessary, add enough water to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and kalamata olives and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is just about falling off the bone. Stir in the parsley, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with grains, with the feta sprinkled on top if desired.

Serve with rice. Serves 4-6.

From the New York Times

This recipe from Air Fryer Perfection makes a lovely salad or side dish with grilled fish or meat. Roast the peppers in an air fryer, on the grill, over the direct flame of a gas burner or under the broiler. Peel and slice, then toss with a balsamic vinaigrette, fresh mozzarella, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added. Make sure the fresh mozzarella is additive-free and that the pine nuts do not contain preservatives.

Place peppers in air fryer or use another method to roast them.

The peppers are ready when they are soft and the skins are brown and wrinkled

Peel peppers, slice and toss with vinaigrette, fresh mozzarella, basil and pine nuts


2 large or 4 small bell peppers (red, orange and/or yellow)

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

2 oz (57 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1-inch (2.54-cm) pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) torn fresh basil

1 tbsp (15 ml) pine nuts, toasted


Trim ½ inch (1.25 cm) from top and bottom of bell peppers. Using paring knife, remove ribs, core and seeds and discard. Arrange bell peppers in air-fryer basket on their sides. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees F (204 C). Cook bell peppers until skins are brown and wrinkled and have collapsed, 25-30 minutes, flipping and rotating the peppers halfway through cooking.

If not using an air fryer, cook the peppers on a grill, over direct flame or under the broiler.

Transfer bell peppers to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes.

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) salt and 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) pepper together in serving dish. Uncover bowl to let bell peppers cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers and discard skin, then cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) wide strips. Add bell peppers and mozzarella to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil and pine nuts and serve. Serves 2-3.

From Air Fryer Perfection

This recipe from Food and Wine is another great baked pasta dish. Cook the pasta and set aside. Simmer cream and salt and add cheese to create a sauce. Combine pasta and sauce and broil until browned. Serve with thinly sliced prosciutto. Cook’s note: I don’t like nutmeg in the sauce; I used hot pepper flakes instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the cheese does not contain colour or other additives. Check the nutmeg to make sure it doesn’t have preservatives or anti-caking agents. Look for prosciutto that is preserved with salt only.

This recipe uses lots of Gruyere cheese

Simmer cream

Add cheese to cream, add cooked pasta and broil until browned

Serve baked pasta with prosciutto


1 (16-ounce/454 g) package gemelli pasta or other short pasta, such as penne or elbow macaroni

16 ounces (454 g) Gruyère cheese, finely shredded (about 4 cups/1 L)

3 ounces (85 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded (about 1 ¼ cups/310 ml)

3 cups (750 ml) heavy cream

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly grated whole nutmeg

Thinly sliced prosciutto, for serving


Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until barely al dente, about 10 minutes (about 3 minutes less than package directions indicate). Drain and immediately transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer. Set pasta aside. Toss together Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a medium bowl, and set aside.

Preheat broiler to high with oven rack in middle of oven. Bring heavy cream and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over high. Reduce heat to medium; stir in nutmeg, and simmer, stirring often, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 4 ¼ cups (1.06 L) of the cheese mixture, in small batches, stirring until cheese is melted after each addition. Stir in cooked pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a 2 ½ -quart (2.5 L) broiler-proof baking dish; top with remaining 1 cup (250 ml) cheese mixture.

Broil in preheated oven until cheese is melted and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with thinly sliced prosciutto. Serves 6.

From Food and Wine

Skate are fish that are members of the ray family. Their fins are large and look like wings, which is why you often see it labelled “skate wing” at the fish counter. Usually sold skinned and filleted, it is a mild-tasting fish that is delicious when dredged in flour and pan-fried in oil or butter. In this recipe from Jacque Pépin, you pan fry the fish in oil, fry some mushrooms in the drippings while the fish rests and then top everything with brown butter, lemon juice and parsley.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream, without colour. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate.

Dredge the skate in flour and pan fry in oil

Pan fry the mushrooms while the fish rests

Top fish with mushrooms, brown butter, lemon juice and parsley


1 large skinned and boned skate wing (about 2 pounds/900 g)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1/3 cup (85 ml) all-purpose flour, for dredging

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons (30 ml) corn oil

2 cups (500 ml) sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces/113 g)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh parsley


Cut the skate wing into 4 slabs. Sprinkle the pieces of skate with ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt and 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pepper and dredge with the flour, shaking off any excess.

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy skillet until hot. Add the skate, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook for 5 minutes longer on the other side, or just until the skate is cooked through; the meat should still be slightly moist and pink in the center. Arrange the skate on a serving platter.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the drippings in the pan and cook for just 1 minute; they should still be firm. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then scatter the mushrooms on top of the skate.

Heat the butter in a small skillet until it is foamy and brown. Sprinkle the lemon juice on the skate, pour the hot butter on top, garnish with the parsley, and serve. Serves 4.

From Jacques Pépin