Monday, March 18, 2013

linguine alla lentils

a pasta dish that doesn't miss meat
Lately I've been really loving red lentils.  It's so easy to cook and it takes on flavours really well. It is the perfect replacement for ground beef in this pasta sauce; it helps thicken it and clings to the linguine beautifully.  Serve it up with some whole wheat pasta and you'll feel satisfied & full without feeling heavy.

what you need:
  • 1 medium onion (yellow or red, doesn't matter)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • the rind of Parmesan (about 3x1" is enough)
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes (san marzano best)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • about 1 cup of water
  • whole wheat linguine
what to do:
  1. Prep onions, carrots, and celery but washing, peeling, and dicing into small pieces. Roughly chop garlic.
  2. Rinse dried lentils.  Get spices and other ingredients ready to go.
  3. In a large pot on medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until softened and lightly browned.  Add garlic and parmesan rind and continue stirring.
  4. Add rinsed lentils, red chilli flakes and oregano.  Stir to avoid burning.  Add canned tomatoes after about a minute or so, water, and bay leaf.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and once it all boils, bring to a very low simmer.  
  5. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes but check regularly and stir to avoid the bottom burning.  Add 1/4 cup of water at a time when needed (if the sauce is too dry it will burn easily).
  6. In the meantime, roughly chop parsley and grate Parmesan cheese for garnish.
  7. Cook whole wheat linguine as directed by your package.  
  8. Toss linguine in a large bowl with desired amount of sauce, then plate it up with parsley and parmesan sprinkled on top.  Enjoy!
after 45 min of simmering, thickened and hearty
lentils & veggies provide lots of texture and body

Sunday, March 17, 2013

white chocolate & cherry cookies

take a bite! 
I just had to bake today because I hadn't baked in over a week and I was feeling deprived!  I hadn't made cookies in awhile - and usually my go to are chocolate chip or some variation with chocolate chips in them...but in my pantry I noticed a forgotten bag of white chocolate discs which I had purchased from bulk barn awhile ago.  So I decided to go with the white chocolate...which tends to be quite sweet, so the dried cherries are a perfect tart compliment.

what you need:
*makes 18 large cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate discs
what to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Using a paddle attachment of a mixer, or electric beaters, cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl, until smooth and well mixed.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, beat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add rolled oats.  Add these dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture.  Mix until incorporated.  
  5. Chop white chocolate discs into halves.  Add chocolate and cherries to cookie dough, mix.
  6. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drop large spoonfuls of cookie dough, 6 per cookie sheet.  
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.  Cookies may look slightly undercooked in the centre, but lightly golden browned on the outside.  Don't worry, this will keep them chewy/soft in the centre and they will continue to cook a little as they cool on the pan.  When they are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!
perfect for dunking

Friday, March 15, 2013

breakfast bake

This breakfast dish is perfect to make for a big group!  You prepare it the night before, so  in the morning all you have to do is fire up the oven and let it bake away while you get to hang out with your friends.  Every year we have a little PT family reunion and we spend the weekend playing games, doing winter activities, and drinking lots of beers!  The breakfast bake has been loved by all and we make it every time.  

Sorry there is no photo...every time I make it I have good intentions of taking a photo but we are so hungry by the time it's baked I serve it up and then realize I haven't taken a photo!

what you need:
*serves 8

  • one loaf of multigrain bakery bread (day old best - it will have more texture, plus it's usually 50% off!)
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 3 italian sausages
  • asiago cheese
  • your favourite hot sauce or srriracha *optional
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil
what to do:
the night before...
  1. Butter a baking dish (9"x13").  Be sure to grease it well to ensure easy clean up after! Or you can line it with parchment paper.  
  2. Cut or tear bread into large bite size chunks.
  3. Cut onions and peppers into large bite size chunks.  Cut sausage into bite size pieces.
  4. In a non-stick pan, heat up oil on medium.  Add sausage and sautee until golden brown on the outside (doesn't have to be fully cooked yet) - remove and then in the same pan, sautee vegetables for a few minutes, until onions are softened.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until slightly frothy (2-5 minutes).  Add milk and add desired amount of hot sauce (I used 2 tbsp) - season eggs with some salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk again to mix well.
  6. Add sausage, vegetables, and bread pieces to egg mixture.  Toss to mix everything, then pour into buttered baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
the morning....
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  
  2. Grate asiago cheese (about 1 cup) and sprinkle over top of the breakfast bake.  Cover with aluminum foil (tent it so it doesn't stick to the cheese).
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, then increase the temperature to 375 F and bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove the foil carefully, then broil for the last minute to brown the cheese on top.
  4. Let it cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

hearty lentil miso soup

this isn't like the stuff you get at sushi
that's super salty with 3 tiny cubes of tofu 
a light meal that warms & fills you up like comfort food
I talked to my mom today on FaceTime (well, she really just wanted to see Madi!) - she told me about a salmon miso noodle soup she made the night before.  It sounded pretty tasty and I immediately craved the taste of miso (it's got umami, that 5th taste bud) so I decided to try something similar out with the haddock I had in my freezer.  Thanks for the inspiration mom!

You can leave the haddock out and replace it with soft tofu for a vegetarian option.

what you need:
*serves about 4
  • 150 g package of enoki mushrooms
  • 4 portions of haddock (about 16 ounces of fish)
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • the tops of one whole celery stalk
  • 1/4 cup organic miso paste
  • freshly ground black pepper
for the broth
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
what to do:
  1. Peel carrot and onion.  Cut carrot, onion, and celery into large chunks.  Place into a pot.  Add water.  Bring to a boil, then turn it down to medium low to simmer for 40 minutes.  Discard the vegetables and keep the pot on the stove on medium heat.
  2. Add lentils to the broth.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  
  3. Cut off the rough bottoms of the enokis and separate them into smaller bundles, then add to the broth. Stir in the miso paste.
  4. Cut the fish into large chunks.  Roughly chop celery stalk tops.  Safe a few leaves for garnish. Add fish and celery to soup and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with freshly ground black pepper and celery leaves.  Enjoy!