Sunday, April 22, 2012

lentil cakes

deliciously vegetarian
I always thought falafels were intimidating to make but they actually are really easy as long as you have a food processor!  I didn't have chick peas at home but I used red lentils instead and they turned out well.  These hold up really well so they could be made into small bite size appetizers with tzatziki, alongside a salad, in a wrap or sandwich.  They are an awesome snack the next day.

what you need:
  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils (rinsed and soaked 4 hrs in water)
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread 
  • 3 tbsp milk or soy milk
  • about 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • canola oil 
what to do:
  1. Get your food processor ready.
  2. Drain lentils.  Soak bread in milk.  Roughly chop carrot, onion, cilantro, and garlic.  Add chopped ingredients to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped, almost a puree but still with a little texture.  Add egg, bread, and spices, then pulse to mix well.
  3. Transfer into a bowl and assess how wet the mixture is.  If it appears too wet, add bread crumbs a little at a time and stir well, until the consistency of the lentil mixture keeps together (you don't want it runny).
  4. Heat a non-stick pan on medium with a thin amount of canola oil to coat the pan (about 2 tbsp).  Drop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture and press gently for an even cake, fry until golden brown then flip, about 2-3 minutes each side.  You can keep them warm in a 200 F oven while you cook the rest.
  5. Serve with tzatziki or any other sauce you like.  Enjoy!
lentil cakes with greens and tzatziki
lentil cakes in a whole wheat wrap with spring mix, tomatoes,
cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, and homemade tzatziki
ryan approves:)

simple fish "burrito"

eat as a soft taco as above, or bake wrapped up as below
a quick healthy fresh meal
Still on that mexican kick, here's a simple version of a "burrito"... I've got quotation marks because it's kind of a mix between a wrap/soft taco/burrito.  Whole wheat tortilla filled with spicy seasoned cod and mexican inspired rice, with a side of fresh salsa and sliced avocados. Super satisfying.

what you need:
*serves 2

  • whole wheat tortillas

burrito filling:
  • 2 portions of white fish (I used cod)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed well
  • canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • mexican inspired rice
simple fresh salsa:
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 lemon juice and zest
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno 
  • 1 small handful cilantro
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
what to do:

  1. Marinate cod with 2 tsp canola oil, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper, and cayenne.  Be sure to use your hands to gently rub spices evenly all over the fish.
  2. Dice salsa veggies (as finely as you want your salsa).  Toss together in a bowl, then finely grate lemon zest and garlic into bowl.  Add lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix well and set aside.  Slice up avocado and squeeze lime juice all over, set aside.
  3. In a non-stick pan on medium, heat up 2 tsp canola oil.  Add cod and cook through, about 3 minutes on each side (depending on how thick your fish is).  Use a wooden spoon to gently break fish apart into large chunks.  Remove from heat.
  4. Soft taco version: place tortilla on a large plate and fill it with the mexican rice, fish, salsa and sliced avocados.  Enjoy!
  5. Burrito version: place tortilla on a piece of aluminum foil and fill with mexican rice, fish, and shredded cheese (if desired).  Wrap it up tightly and secure with foil, then bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes.  Serve alongside fresh salsa and avocados.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

mexican inspired rice

After a girls' trip to Chicago with some great friends (ina, mel & abby!) and having some delicious mexican fare, I was craving more.  This rice dish is inspired by mexican flavours and makes a great filling for my version of a fish burrito/soft taco (next post!).   

what you need:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • canola oil
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepper
what to do:
  1. Finely dice onion, red bell pepper and garlic.
  2. In a pot, heat up 1 tbsp canola oil on medium.  Add onions and saute until slightly translucent.  Add rice to coat with oil and allow it to toast lightly.  Add bell pepper, garlic, and black beans (drained).  Stir lightly, then add cumin, oregano and chili flakes.  Stir in the water and cover pot with lid.  Turn heat to medium - high until water boils, then turn it down to medium low and allow to simmer for ~ 30 min.
  3. In the mean time, slice green onions thinly on a bias and roughly chop up cilantro.
  4. Fluff rice with a fork and season to your taste with salt and pepper.  Fold in green onions and cilantro, and save some to garnish on top.  Serve as a side dish and enjoy! Or use it as a filling for a burrito:)
looking at ourselves in the bean, chicago