Chimichurri

I believe this sauce has it’s roots in Argentina, but it doesn’t really matter where it comes from because I would eat this anywhere, anytime.  The combination of simple flavours is outstanding: the zipiness of the cilantro, fresh garlic, smokey cumin and red wine vinegar create such a delicious blend, this sauce could be used in many ways.  It keeps in the fridge up to a week or so, but I’m sure you could also freeze if it lasts that long!

Chimichurri Ingredients

Chimichurri Ingredients

Once you have all your ingredients, just throw everything into a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.  That’s it!

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It’s perfect with a nice grilled steak and homemade fries! I just love how vibrantly green it is.

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I also stirred some leftovers into a bit of  sautéed corn in my skillet and it was DYNAMITE.

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Chimichurri Recipe

1 cup packed Italian parsley
1/2 cup packed cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Pulse everything together in a food processor.  Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.

From: It’s All Good

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Blueberry Popsicles

These popsicles could not be easier to make and are the perfect treat to pull out of the freezer on a summer afternoon, or for a healthy dessert one night. .  There are only 3 ingredients:  fresh or frozen blueberries, coconut milk and maple syrup.  Just blend everything together (I used my immersion blender – the food processor would have worked as well, but the the clean up is waaay easier), pour into popsicle molds, freeze for a few hours, and voila!  Very little work for a very high flavour return.

Blueberry Popsicle Ingredients

Blueberry Popsicle Ingredients

I also used a pitcher to hold all the ingredients instead of a bowl, since the spout factor was very convenient for pouring the mixture into the molds.

Blueberry Popsicle Molds

The only popsicle molds available at my local kitchen store are designed to make rocket pops – remember those?  I figured they would work just fine, but didn’t really consider it would be nearly impossible to get a non-phallic shot of the finished product…This is the next best thing!

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Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry Popsicle Recipe

2 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 – 3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup

Blend all the ingredients with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4-5 hours before eating.

From: It’s All Good

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Drunken Soba Noodles

Waaaaay back in December I tried the Drunken Soba Noodles from Sidedoor restaurant and they definitely left a lasting impression.  I loved everything about this dish; the perfectly cooked steak, the balance between the cool noodles and the heat from the sauce, the crunchy fried shallots and the flavourful herbs.  So when I picked up an issue of McLean’s magazine one day that featured “Canada’s Top 50 Restaurants”, imagine my delight when not only was Sidedoor one of them, but they published their recipe for Drunken Soba Noodles!  Rejoice!  I wasted no time in trying to recreate this for myself – take a look 🙂

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

At the restaurant they use steak, but since I didn’t have any on hand I sautéed up a nice chicken breast instead.  No complaints about how this turned out!

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Sautéed chicken

Boil the soba noodles for about 4 or 5 minutes and allow them to cool.  Then pile them in a bowl and top with veggies.

Noodles and Veggies

Noodles and Veggies

Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil) and toss with the noodle/veggie mixture.  Then just top with chicken or steak!  And some black sesame seeds for visual interest.

Drunken Soba Noodles

Drunken Soba Noodles

Then all you have to do is work your way through this flavour heaven of a dish.  Enjoy the journey!

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Drunken Soba Noodles – Halfway through

Drunken Soba Noodles Recipe

 1 3/4 lb (340 g) package buckwheat noodles
Canola oil
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 lb. strip loin or rib-eye steak
Salt and pepper1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned bell pepper
1 cup julienned napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Fried shallots, to taste
Thai basil, to taste

  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook soba noodles according to package directions, about four to five minutes.  Drain and transfer to iced water.  Drain once chilled.
  3. Toss noodles very lightly with canola oil in a large bowl to prevent sticking.  Reserve.
  4. Whisk soy sauce with rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Preheat grill to medium high.
  6. Season steak lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks to medium rare.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  7. Divide the noodles between four bowls.  Arrange the cucumbers, peppers and cabbage on top of the noodles in separate piles.  Top with a small mound each of green onion and fried shallots.
  8. Slice steak thinly and add to bowls.  Top with a sprig of Thai basil.
  9. Divide the sauce into four small ramekins and serve with the bowl.  Let guests pour the sauce on top of the noodles and mix with chopsticks.

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July 24, 2013 · 11:55 PM

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Often when my brother Robb and I get together, kitchen shenanigans ensue.  On this particular occasion we made a giant batch of almond milk (more on that later) and were looking for ways to use it.  We decided to try Gwyneth Paltrow’s frozen banana “ice cream” and were not disappointed.  It’s only a handful of ingredients, and doesn’t require any fancy machinery, like an ice cream maker.  A food processor works just fine! Needless to say,  this turned out to be a very refreshing (and healthy) summer treat.

We started by slicing bananas and putting them in the freezer.

Frozen Banana Slices

Frozen Banana Slices

Throw the frozen bananas in a food processor with some almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla.

Frozen banana mix

Frozen banana mix

Pulse a few times until the mixture is just blended. mmmmmmmmm.

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

Mix some toasted, chopped pecans (or almonds, or whatever nut you have on hand) with maple syrup, a pinch of kosher salt and drizzle over top of the ice cream.  Downright delightful.

My only complaint is that it melts quickly and therefore makes it tough to get a decent photo, but that’s not really a huuuuuuge problem.

Frozen Banana Ice CreamFrozen Banana Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Ice Cream Recipe

4 Ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted almonds or pecans
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1.  Freeze the banana slices in a single layer on a tray or plate lined with wax or parchment paper.  Once the slices are frozen, use them immediately or keep frozen in a zip-top plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the nuts with 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup and a pinch of salt and set the mixture aside.
  3. Combine the frozen banana slices, the almond milk, the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and the vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the texture of soft serve ice cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Don’t worry if the mixture is not totally smooth at first – once the bananas start to break down and defrost in the food processor, they’ll give in and the “ice cream” will take shape quickly.
  4. Spoon the banana ice cream into bowls immediately and sprinkle each serving with a bit of the almond mixture.

From:  It’s All Good

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El Camino

Great news!  A taco restaurant and take-out window opened just around the corner!  I’m talking I don’t even have to cross the street to get my hands on these little beauties.  Have a look at what El Caminowhich opened just a few days ago on Elgin street, passes through the window:

El Camino's Beef and Pork Tacos

El Camino’s Beef and Pork Tacos

My first trip (of which there will be many) I ordered 2 pork tacos and 1 beef, and both were UNREAL.  Chris also gave a thumbs up to the crispy fish taco, and lamb is an option as well.  The tacos all come standard issue with set toppings like avocado, pickled onions, radish, cilantro and fresh lime. The meat is cooked to absolute juicy, shred-y flavour perfection; the beef has a hint of five spice and a nice spicy kick while the pork is tender and sweet.  Did I mention they make their own tortillas? Life is good 🙂  For $4 each, this place is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood!

UPDATE: My second trip to El Camino wasn’t that long after the first.  This time I ate in the restaurant and it only made me love this place more.  What you see below is evidence of this feast:  the creamy guac, perfect margaritas, and tacos of course.  Lamb, pork, beef and 3 crispy fish.  Just scrumptious.

El Camino Feast

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June 5, 2013 · 10:24 PM

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickepeas with Mustard and Parsley

Because I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious sounding recipes to entice me into healthy eating, I picked up Gwyneth Paltrow’s book in Chapter’s one day. After a few discreet iPhone shots of some especially mouth-wateringly good sounding recipes, I figured I should just go ahead and buy the whole thing.  I’ve tried a handful of recipes so far, and have really liked all of them.   This one for roasted cauliflower and chickpeas was the first one I tried, and will definitely be making it again.   We had it as a side for dinner one night, and it was so good that two people easily polished off an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting!  And the whole recipe involved about six ingredients, most of which you likely already have in your pantry.  Not complicated at all!

Cauliflower and chickpeas

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas set-up

Mix up two kinds of mustard, add rice vinegar, parsley and kosher salt.  Dressing complete!

Two mustard dressing

Two-mustard dressing

Toss the cauliflower and chickpeas with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.  The dark brown pieces is where the flavour’s at 😉

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower and chickpeas

Toss the cauliflower mix with some parsley and the mustard dressing, then revel in that gorgeous, golden colour!

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with mustard and parsley

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley Recipe

1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan or cookie sheet with 3 tbsp olive oil and a big pinch of salt.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar and 1/4 olive oil with a big pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

From:  It’s All Good

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Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken souvlaki is one of the easiest things to make and is always so, so delicious.  It’s the staple of any good Greek feast, there are few things I love more than a giant Greek feast. I recommend serving the souvlaki alongside some tzatziki, lemon rice pilaf, perfect roasted potatoes and a big, fresh salad with lots of feta and a zippy dressing.  Try and get your hands on some Loukoumades to really round things out.  For the souvlaki, I like to just chop up some boneless skinless chicken breast, mix it with a marinade of olive, lemon juice, chopped garlic, some kosher salt and black pepper and about a teaspoon each of dried oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and dill.  If you have fresh herbs on hand, even better.

Souvlaki marinade

Souvlaki marinade

You can throw the mix in a frying pan or skillet…

Chicken Souvlaki

…or thread it on some skewers for the BBQ!

Souvlaki skewers

Souvlaki skewers

Get some other Greek goodies prepped too.

Greek Feast in progress

Grilled veggies would also be amazing with this.

Grilled Veggies

Grilled Veggies

Get ready for your feast!

Greek Feast

Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Mix chicken breast with olive oil and spice mixture.  Use right away or let marinade for up to 24 hours.  Fry in a pan or skillet, bake in the oven at 350 degrees, or BBQ skewers until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 – 15 minutes.

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