Caprese Salad…so fresh and oh so good!

Summer is here and there is nothing I love more than a melt in your mouth Caprese Salad. Even better when the ingredients are coming from my own back yard!

Caprese Salad

One can say the Caprese salad is reminiscent of Italy’s tricolored flag with the sumptuous red of garden fresh tomatoes, vibrant greens of basil leaves hand picked from the herb garden, all off set by the pillowy white of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. The salad is named after the island of Capri, but is now enjoyed the world over.

Basil from the garden

So simple to make, the flavours of the Caprese Salad are enhanced by only using the freshest of ingredients.  It is sure to steal the show at any summer bbq!

Ingredients

  • fresh ripe tomatoes
  • large basil leaves
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • olive oil
  • optional – I love the zing of a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions are really not required – slice and layer as desired.  Personally, I place a slice of tomato, followed by a basil leaf and a slice of the buffalo mozzarella which has been warmed ever so slightly in the toaster over.  Top with another slice of tomato.  Drizzle olive oil and a splash of balsamic.  Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt et voila – summer perfection on a plate!  For best results, let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mingle and enjoy!

fresh tomatoes

For a dinner party, fan the layers out on a plate rather than in a stack and wow your guests.  It’s a success every time.

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Indonesian Sate adapted from Vegetarian for Dummies

One of my favourite Asian food flavours – sate!  I have made the original version of this recipe a zillion times, but for something quick and easy, I prefer my adapted version.

Indonesian Sate stir fry

Sate Sauce:

  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • * I like to spice it up with 2 – 3 thai chillis

vegetarian Indonesian Sate

  • Assorted chopped veggies
  • drained and rinsed can of chick peas
  • garnish: peanut pieces, fresh coriander
  • prepared rice

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, oil, honey, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and ground ginger.  Mix well and add boiling water.  Mix until smooth.

Indonesian sate sauce

Super easy.  Chop up assorted veggies and saute for a few minutes.  I usually start with onions and garlic, progressively adding veggies starting with the ones that will take the longest to cook (carrots, cauliflower), add in peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and green beans.  Add canned chick peas and sate sauce.  Saute until desired tenderness (or crunchiness).  Garnish with peanut pieces and/or fresh coriander.  Serve over rice.

vegetarian recipe

I paired my sate with a bottle of medium dry riesling from Huff Estates in Prince Edward County.  The crisp acidity of the riesling made for a perfect compliment with the spice of the sate!  I picked this bottle up when writing about Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County.

Chef in the kitchen?   www.nutritionallyyours.wordpress.comPerfect on a cold winter’s night!

 

Colourful Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata

Inspired by all the tortilla I had in Spain, when I came across this colourful sweet potato and kale frittata, I knew I had to give it a go.  Loaded with good nutrition (both kale and sweet potatoes are considered super foods…more on that later), the magazine photo had my mouth watering!

ready to cook

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (approx 1 cup)
  • 4 large curly kale leaves, ribs removed, torn into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goats cheese

food prep

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Steam sweet potato cubes until soft.
  2. Whisk eggs, mustard and vinegar together.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat large oven proof skillet with cooking spray (makes removing the frittata considerable easier).  Add oil and place over medium-high heat.  Saute onions (3 minutes).
  4. Add kale and saute for another 2 minutes, until wilted.
  5. Add sweet potato and toss to blend, arranging vegetables over bottom of skillet.
  6. Carefully pour eggs over vegetables without displacing.  Cook on stovetop for 3 minutes, until bottom is set.
  7. Transfer skillet to oven.  Bake for 10 minutes or until set in centre.
  8. (I added goat cheese here and put back in oven for another minute)
  9. Using a heat proof spatula, loosen frittata from skillet and slide onto platter.

Nutritional breakdown based on 4 servings:  298 calories, 18g protein, 16g total fat (6g sat fat), 21g carbohydrate, 379 mg cholesterol, 318 mg sodium, 3g fibre, 6g sugars

vegetarian frittata

So colourful and tasty – how could you go wrong?

Yummy Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast Skillet

Tis the season of delish leftover veggies!  I love taking breakfast up a notch on the weekend and the breakfast skillet ranks higher than homemade pancakes in my books!

recipe for breakfast skillet

Not only is it ouey goey goodness with the right ingredients, it is a super healthy way to up your veggies during the winter when salad consumption and fresh garden ingredients may be low!

It is so awesome and easy to make.  Take last nights left over baked or stir fried veggies….

uses for left overs

add some creamy goats cheese…

breakfast skillet

While all those flavours are heating up in an oven proof toaster oven, fry up an egg.  Personally, I love it best with a little dash of Montreal Steak Spice (thank you Club house for the MSG free flavour goodness!) and a soft fried egg.

making a vegetable skillet for breakfast

Place the egg on top of the hot vegetable and goat cheese mix and enjoy!  So delish when the runny, warm yolk mixes in with the left over veg!  Welcome to breakfast heaven!

Dreaming of Morocco: Moroccan Spiced Rack of Lamb

High on my bucket list of travel is Morocco – so exotic and inspiring, I hope to travel there one day for sure!  For now, I will have to be happy with bringing Morocco home through the kitchen!

dinner is served!

I was thrilled when I came across JaneSpice’s Moroccan Spiced Rack of Lamb for some Moroccan inspired dinner.  With a rack of lamb defrosting in the fridge, it was time to check out the flavour rack!  The recipe calls for a lot of spices, a couple of which I don’t have, but JaneSpice suggests this is not a deal breaker!

Spice List

  • 1 tbsp mild paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 10 saffron threads, finely broken
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix and rub into 1 rack of lamb (about 1.5 to 2 pounds)

preparing Moroccan lamb

Cook time: 20 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes, before carving.  (I know everyone’s oven cooks somewhat differently, but I found 27 minutes to be the perfect time for a medium rare rack.)

The flavours were awesome!  You could easily vary the heat with more or less of the cayenne pepper.I served with roasted potato, beets and carrots drizzled in honey and left over spice rub with a fabulous Aussie shiraz….

Australian shiraz

صحّتين (باللهجة اللبنانية). (Bon appetit!)

Pizza Weekend

Who says pizza can’t be healthy??  This weekend is all about relaxation.  I have sipped wine by the fire reading a book, enjoyed a walk in the sunshine, and had some fun in the kitchen.  Homemade pizza – it’s the way to go!

I don’t know where the dough recipe first came from – I have been using it for years.  The only modification – I sub in about a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour – I have yet to have much luck with adding more and keeping a perfect crust.

Pizza Dough

  • 3 cups flour (I usually do 1/2 cup whole wheat, 2 1/2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Mix all dry ingredients together, then add
  • 1 cup warm water with 2 tbsp vegetable oil.

Knead together until you have a nice consistency in your dough.  Makes enough for 2 pizzas.  I usually wrap half the dough in saran and throw in the fridge for the next day.

When ready, spread the dough on a large pizza pan, top as desired and bake at 375 F for 20 – 25 minutes.

The beauty of pizza – dress as you like.  Today, I ran out of red peppers (they all went on yesterdays pizza!!!), so I added broccoli to the mix.  Some thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet vidalia onions, sliced honey ham and crumbled goats cheese to round out the toppings and voila – a delish pizza on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Secret ingredients 

#1  Balsamic Vinegar – reduce to make a thicker sauce and drizzle – adds a little extra zing and loads of flavour

#2  Rocket/Arugula – so good for you in so many ways, also adding a fresh flavour and nutritious goodness!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend.  It’s pizza time!

Valentine’s Pavlova

For the foodie romantic….Lucy Waverman’s cookbook “A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen” has a delightful Valentine’s menu.

Do you prefer to stay at home, share a romantic candlelit dinner for two without the crowded restaurant scene?  There are so many options – a personal chef experience, take out by candle light or surprising your someone special with a romantic dinner at home!

Lucy’s Menu for Valentine’s is spectacular.  She starts with Spanish Shrimp, gently sauteed in garlic, wine, tomatoes and cheese (what’s not to love), followed by a melt in your mouth roasted ribeye, spinach gratin, mashed potatoes and finishes it off with the romantic, heart shaped pavlova.  Words do not describe how decadent the combination of tart lemon curd, shaved white chocolate and colour exploding red pomegranate seeds can dance on your lips – the perfect finish to a romantic Valentine’s dinner.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of my own just yet – this photo has been borrowed from the Globe and Mail until I make my own for tomorrow!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd, White Chocolate Shavings and Pomegranate Seeds

3 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup lemon curd (buy from a gourmet shop, or try yourself – recipe link here)

1 cup shaved white chocolate

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries or fresh raspberries will do in a pinch)

1.  Preheat oven to 275 F.  Draw a heart template, approx 7 inches in diameter, on a piece of parchment paper.  Place ink side down on a baking sheet.

2.  Beat egg whites in a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed for 4 – 5 minutes, adding sugar gradually until very thick and glossy.  The meringue should look like thick shaving cream.

3.  Beat in vinegar and cornstarch until just incorporated.

4.  Spread meringue on parchment paper inside the heart outline.  Bake for 1 hour, or until pale gold and crisp on the outside.

5.  Turn off oven and leave meringue for 30 minutes.

6.  Whip cream in bowl, fold in lemon curd.  Spread evenly over meringue.  (Meringue top will most likely shatter – that is ok!)

7.  Top with shaved chocolate and pomegranate seeds.

Happy Valentine’s Day.