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Vegetable and Tofu Maki

Vegetable and Tofu Maki

The word sushi doesn’t actually refer to raw fish but to a boiled rice dish flavoured with vinegar. Hence sushi doesn’t have to contain fish. 3 Tbsp (45 mL) mirin 3 Tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) sugar 8 pieces of nori seaweed (preferably toasted) 6 cups (1.5 L) prepared sushi rice (see recipe here) About 4 ounces (113 g) firm plain or flavoured tofu, sliced into 32 thin matchsticks 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 32 thin matchsticks 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 32 thin matchsticks 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a skillet Add mirin, soy sauce, and sugar to small skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Place a nori sheet on a bamboo mat and add 3/4 cup (180 mL) sushi rice and flatten. Drizzle 1 tsp (5 mL) of mirin sauce in the middle of the rice; place 4 strips each tofu, bell pepper, and cucumber over the sauce; then sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp (2 mL) sesame seeds. Roll and repeat with remaining nori. Slice each roll into 6 pieces and serve with soy sauce or any remaining mirin sauce. Makes about 48 pieces of sushi. Each 6-piece serving contains: 246 calories; 8 g protein; 3 g fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 547 mg sodium source: " Easy Make-at-Home Sushi ", alive #323, September 2009

Apple and Brie Omelette

Apple and Brie Omelette

Looking to change things up? Try adding a little apple to your morning omelette. 2 tsp (10 mL) butter, divided Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced Ground nutmeg, to taste 1 tsp (5 mL) sugar 2 eggs 1 Tbsp (15 mL) water 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped pecans 3/4 oz (25 g) Brie cheese Heat a nonstick 8 in (20 cm) ovenproof skillet* over medium heat. Melt 1 tsp (5 mL) butter in skillet. Saut apple slices in butter until slightly transparent but not too soft, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg and sugar. Remove from pan and keep warm. Beat together eggs and water. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Melt remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) butter in skillet. Pour in egg mixture. As mixture sets at edges, with spatula, gently push cooked portions toward the centre. Tilt and rotate the pan to allow uncooked egg to flow into the empty spaces. When egg is almost set on surface but still looks moist, cover one half of the omelette with warm apple mixture and pecans. Slip spatula under the unfilled side and fold the omelette in half. Garnish with Brie cheese. Broil 1 to 2 minutes to melt cheese. Slide onto warm plate and serve immediately. Serves 1. *If skillet is not ovenproof, wrap handle with double thickness of aluminum foil. Tip Skillet is hot enough when a drop of water will roll around instead of bursting into steam immediately. Suggestion for a complete meal Serve with a glass of apple juice and a multi-grain toasted bagel followed by mixed berries. Each serving contains: 440 calories; 18 g protein; 30 g total fat (13 g sat. fat); 28 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 360 mg sodium source: " Egg-stra! Egg-stra! ", alive #315, Janury 2009

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

I discovered this recipe in a food and wine magazine back in the 1980s and have been using it ever since. Rose Levy Beranbaum for the Cordon Rose Cooking School in New York developed it, and it’s a winner. Use high-end chocolate for the best results. I like to roll the truffles in ground almonds and then pop them into tiny paper candy cups available at most bulk stores. Then I pack the candy cups into glass jars between layers of parchment paper and tie a bow around the neck of the jar with the ingredients listed. 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whipping (35 percent) cream 7 oz (200 g) dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely Ground almonds, grated chocolate, or unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling Heat whipping cream in heavy pot over medium heat till boiling. Boil, stirring constantly until reduced by half (3/4 cup or 175 mL), about 10 minutes. If cream starts to boil over reduce heat, but keep cream boiling. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Scrape into shallow container and refrigerate till firm, about 4 to 5 hours. Do not cover. For each truffle scoop out about 2 tsp (10 mL) of the cold truffle mixture, form into a ball, and then roll in topping of your choice. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 2 dozen. One truffle contains approximately: 96 calories; 0 g protein ; 8 g total fat (5.75 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 5.6 g carbohydrates; 0 g fibre; 5 mg sodium. source: " Edible Christmas Gifts ", alive #314, December 2008

Lamb Kibbeh Stuffed with Pistachios and Goat Cheese

Lamb Kibbeh Stuffed with Pistachios and Goat Cheese

Urfa pepper is a Turkish variety of chili pepper with a fantastic sweet, slightly smoky flavour with a touch of dried fruit on the palate. If sourcing is a challenge, Aleppo pepper offers a similar flavour profile. 1 cup (250 mL) fine burghul (bulgur) 5 oz (140 g) lean ground lamb 1 onion, finely diced 1 tsp (5 mL) allspice 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin 1 tsp (5 mL) Urfa pepper flakes 2 Tbsp (30 mL) plain flour Salt and pepper, to taste Filling 2.5 oz (70 g) soft goat cheese Half a lemon, juiced and zested 2 Tbsp (30 mL) pistachios, chopped and toasted Pinch chopped mint Pinch chopped cilantro Pinch chopped flat-leaf parsley Salt and pepper, to taste Cover burghul with boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain in fine colander. Spread on paper towels to absorb any moisture. Process burghul, lamb, onion, spices, and flour in food processor until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for 1 hour. For filling, whip goat cheese with lemon juice and zest. Transfer to bowl and mix in herbs and pistachios. Season with salt and pepper. Put goat cheese mixture in plastic piping bag. Form lamb mixture into 6 - 4 in (10 cm) sausages. Using a wet index finger, make long hole through centre of each sausage and gently work your finger to create a cavity for filling. Place goat cheese filling into each sausage until about 1/3 full and seal, moulding into a torpedo shape. Smooth over any cracks with fingers. Place on foil tray and refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Place sausages (kibbeh) on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake 10 minutes or until cooked. Serves 6. source: " Sanafir ", alive #314, December 2008

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

In the 1970s every bride-to-be was almost guaranteed a set of French onion soup bowls as a shower gift. This lighter version of that popular soup is my idea of a comfort food. Rich in flavour but lower in fat, calories, and sodium than the original artery-clogging, cheese-laden concoction, it still rings in with 14 g of total fat. Don’t worry about the trans fats in the recipe; they are the naturally occurring type found in milk products. 2 Tbsp (30 mL) organic extra-virgin olive oil 4 large organic cooking onions, thinly sliced to equal 4 cups (1 L) 2 Tbsp (30 mL) organic whole wheat flour 2 cloves organic garlic, minced 1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh parsley,  finely chopped 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cracked pepper 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium organic chicken stock 4 slices organic whole wheat baguette 2 oz (50 g) Asiago cheese, grated, divided into 4 equal portions 2 oz (50 g) Gruyere cheese, grated,  divided into 4 equal portions Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and onions; saut?ntil golden brown, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Stir often. Add flour and stir to coat onions. Add garlic, parsley, thyme, and cracked pepper. Stir well. Pour in chicken stock and stir, making sure to scrape up any bits that may have stuck to bottom of pot. Bring to boil, cover, reduce to low, and simmer for 45 minutes. To serve: Place 1 slice of baguette in bottom of each soup bowl. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of soup. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the Asiago and the Gruy?. Makes 4 - 1 1/2 cup (350 mL) servings. Try adding low-sodium, canned Romano beans to make this a main-meal soup. Drain, rinse, and add with the chicken stock. No baguette kicking around your pantry? Try adding croutons instead. Sprinkle them on top of the soup before serving. Each serving contains: 265 calories; 10.8 g protein; 14.6 g total fat (7 g sat. fat, 3.3 g trans fat); 8.3 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fibre; 864 mg sodium. source: " Soul-Warming Soups ", alive #313, November 2008

Caramelized Pear Phyllo with Five-Spice Ice Cream

Caramelized Pear Phyllo with Five-Spice Ice Cream

This ice cream uses five-spice powder, a Chinese spice mixture containing star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is available at most grocery stores. This ice cream uses five-spice powder, a Chinese spice mixture containing star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is available at most grocery stores. Five-Spice Ice Cream 1 cup (250 mL) half-and-half cream 1 cup (250 mL) whole milk 3/4 tsp (4 mL) five-spice powder Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar 6 egg yolks Bring cream, milk, five-spice powder, and vanilla seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, add sugar to egg yolks and whisk until frothy. Whisk hot liquid into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and heat constantly over medium heat while stirring constantly until mixture reaches 175 F (85 C). Do not boil. Remove from heat, strain, and refrigerate. Churn in ice-cream machine or freeze in a small container in your freezer, stirring every 20 minutes for 1 1/2 hours, or until ice cream has a smooth texture... Pear Filling 3 pears 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar Pinch salt Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter Splash brandy Peel pears and dice into small pieces. Toss pears in sugar, salt, vanilla seeds, and lemon juice. Melt butter in medium pan over medium heat and saut pear mixture until golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir carefully to caramelize evenly, deglaze with brandy, remove from heat, and refrigerate. Phyllo Squares 3 sheets phyllo pastry 3 Tbsp (45 mL) melted butter 2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) icing sugar Brush 1 sheet of phyllo with butter and sprinkle with icing sugar. Cover with another sheet of phyllo and repeat, omitting sugar on top layer. Cut into 18 - 2 1/2 in (6 cm) squares. Sprinkle icing sugar over 6 of the squares. Creme Anglaise 2/3 cup (160 mL) half-and-half cream 2/3 cup (160 mL) whole milk Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sugar 4 egg yolks Bring cream, milk, and vanilla to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. In separate bowl, add sugar to yolks and whisk until frothy. Whisk hot liquid into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until crme coats a spoon. Cool over an ice bath, then strain. Refrigerate. To Serve Place a dollop of crme anglaise on each of the 6 serving plates. Place a plain phyllo square on top of the crme anglaise. Create layers by alternating remaining crme anglaise, pear filling, and phyllo squares, topping each with an icing sugar-dusted square. Garnish with a scoop of five-spice ice cream. Serves 6. This ice cream uses five-spice powder, a Chinese spice mixture containing star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is available at most grocery stores. This ice cream uses five-spice powder, a Chinese spice mixture containing star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is available at most grocery stores. Five-Spice Ice Cream 1 cup (250 mL) half-and-half cream 1 cup (250 mL) whole milk 3/4 tsp (4 mL) five-spice powder Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar 6 egg yolks Bring cream, milk, five-spice powder, and vanilla seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, add sugar to egg yolks and whisk until frothy. Whisk hot liquid into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and heat constantly over medium heat while stirring constantly until mixture reaches 175 F (85 C). Do not boil. Remove from heat, strain, and refrigerate. Churn in ice-cream machine or freeze in a small container in your freezer, stirring every 20 minutes for 1 1/2 hours, or until ice cream has a smooth texture... Pear Filling 3 pears 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar Pinch salt Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean 1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter Splash brandy Peel pears and dice into small pieces. Toss pears in sugar, salt, vanilla seeds, and lemon juice. Melt butter in medium pan over medium heat and saute pear mixture until golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir carefully to caramelize evenly, deglaze with brandy, remove from heat, and refrigerate. Phyllo Squares 3 sheets phyllo pastry 3 Tbsp (45 mL) melted butter 2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) icing sugar Brush 1 sheet of phyllo with butter and sprinkle with icing sugar. Cover with another sheet of phyllo and repeat, omitting sugar on top layer. Cut into 18 - 2 1/2 in (6 cm) squares. Sprinkle icing sugar over 6 of the squares. Creme Anglaise 2/3 cup (160 mL) half-and-half cream 2/3 cup (160 mL) whole milk Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sugar 4 egg yolks Bring cream, milk, and vanilla to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. In separate bowl, add sugar to yolks and whisk until frothy. Whisk hot liquid into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until creme coats a spoon. Cool over an ice bath, then strain. Refrigerate. To Serve Place a dollop of creme anglaise on each of the 6 serving plates. Place a plain phyllo square on top of the creme anglaise. Create layers by alternating remaining creme anglaise, pear filling, and phyllo squares, topping each with an icing sugar-dusted square. Garnish with a scoop of five-spice ice cream. Serves 6. source: " Rustic Regionalism ", alive #313, November 2008

Cinderella Pumpkin Soup

Cinderella Pumpkin Soup

Cinderella pumpkins are a bright orange heirloom variety increasingly available at farmers’ markets. If not at hand, substitute pie pumpkins or switch it up with a squash such as butternut. 1 small Cinderella pumpkin (about 2 lb/1 kg) 1/4 cup (60 mL) brown sugar 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter 1 onion, diced 1 Granny Smith apple, diced 1 small celery root, diced 1 - 1 in (2 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock 1/2 tsp (2 mL) whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1 tsp (5 mL) whole star anise Fleur de sel Brown sugar Butter 2 tsp (10 mL) sherry vinegar Pumpkin Seeds 1/4 cup (60 mL) reserved pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil 1 tsp (5 mL) fleur de sel Mushroom Garnish 1 cup (250 mL) hedgehog mushrooms, cut into quarters 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Slice pumpkin into quarters, removing stem and seeds. Reserve seeds. Arrange pumpkin quarters on a baking tray, sprinkle on brown sugar, dot with 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and peel. Roughly dice and set aside with any juices from the baking pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F (180 C). Toss reserved pumpkin seeds, oil, and salt in a bowl, spread out on a baking tray, and bake 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter in a pot over medium-high heat; add onion, apple, celery root, and ginger and sweat about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. In a blender grind whole cloves, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Add 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) of this spice mixture to vegetables, along with reserved baked pumpkin and juices. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pur?in a blender. Season with salt and brown sugar to taste, adding more butter if needed to make a very smooth pur? Add sherry vinegar, strain soup through a fine strainer and keep warm. In a separate pan sweat mushrooms in butter for 3 or 4 minutes over medium-high heat, being careful not to brown them. To serve, whisk soup to give it a bubbly texture and pour it into 6 heated soup plates. Garnish each plate with pumpkin seeds and mushrooms and serve. Serves 6 source: " Rustic Regionalism ", alive #313, November 2008

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is an ancient cereal that was eaten by the Incas centuries ago. It was so revered that they called it the “Mother Grain.” Quinoa is so high in protein (13 percent) that the United Nations classified it as a supercrop, giving this tiny nondescript grist the nutritional clout of an Olympic athlete. Quinoa grains are naturally coated with a bitter resin called saponin. This resin can be removed by washing, but is often removed by mechanically polishing. Unfortunately for us, that process removes the germ, making it a less nutritious form. Choose whole grain quinoa and rinse it well before cooking. 1 cup (250 mL) organic whole grain quinoa 2 tsp (10 mL) organic extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium organic onion, diced 2 stalks organic celery, diced 2 large organic carrots, diced 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin 1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander 2 cups (500 mL) organic lower-sodium chicken or turkey stock Place quinoa in fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Set aside. Heat a medium-sized pot with a tightly fitting lid over medium heat. Add oil, onion, celery, and carrots and saute for 3 minutes. Add cumin and coriander and saute for 1 minute. Add quinoa and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover, let stand for 5 minutes. Spoon into a custard cup and pat down. Invert onto a dinner plate and serve with steamed baby carrots and fresh green beans. Sprinkle with thinly sliced garlic that has been lightly fried in oil. Makes 4 - 1 cup (250 mL) servings. Each Serving Contains: 240 calories; 10 g protein; 5 g total fat (0.3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 6 g fibre; 240 mg sodium. source: " Easy on the Tummy ", alive #312, October 2008

Barley Risotto

Barley Risotto

Barley is a much underused heritage grain that’s just waiting to be rediscovered. This super whole grain is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre keeps things moving through your gastrointestinal tract (GI), and soluble fibre mixes with liquid, binds to fatty substances, and escorts them out of your body, helping reduce bad cholesterol in the process. So embrace the grain and start barley risotto-ing. 2 tsp (10 mL) organic extra-virgin olive oil 2 organic onions, diced 2 large portobello mushrooms or 2 cups (500 mL) shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped (If using portobellos, scrape out black membranes and discard before chopping) 3 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 cup (180 mL) organic pot barley 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) organic low-sodium chicken or turkey stock 1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated Heat a medium saucepan with a tightly fitting lid over medium heat; add oil and onions and saute for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and garlic; continue sauteing for 1 minute. Add pot barley and stock, stir, bring to the boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until done. Remove from heat; gently stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Garnish with shavings of fresh Parmesan. Top with sage leaves that have been lightly crisped in hot oil. Makes 4 - 1 cup (250 mL) servings. Each Serving Contains: 200 calories; 8 g protein; 6 g total fat (2 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 480 mg sodium. source: " Easy on the Tummy ", alive #312, October 2008

Lemon Tarte with Raspberry Sorbet

Lemon Tarte with Raspberry Sorbet

Raspberry Sorbet 1 cup (250 mL) raspberries, fresh or frozen 2 cups (500 mL) water 1 cup (250 mL) sugar 1 egg white Put berries and 1 cup (250 mL) water in pan and bring to boil. Remove from heat, mix in blender and strain through a sieve. Add sugar, 1 cup (250 mL) water, and egg white to the warm raspberry mixture and whisk well. Place in a sorbet/ice cream machine and mix until thickly chilled. Store in freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. Lemon Tarte Filling Be careful not to overheat original mixture or eggs will scramble when added! 3 lemons, zested and juiced 3/4 cup (180 mL) sugar 1 cup (250 mL) whipping (35 percent) cream 5 eggs Combine lemon juice and zest, cream, and sugar; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and stir in eggs one at a time. Once all eggs are incorporated, remove from heat and let cool. Lemon Curd 1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar 5/8 cup (156 mL) fresh lemon juice 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter 4 eggs Pinch vanilla powder Bring first three ingredients to a simmer in pot over medium heat before reducing heat to temper in the eggs individually. Add a pinch of vanilla powder (or a dash of vanilla extract) before removing from heat to cool. Prepare the Dessert Line 6 lightly greased 3-in (7.5 cm) pastry shells with shortbread dough and fill 3/4 with lemon tarte filling. Bake at 300 F (150 C) for approximately 10 minutes or until shells are golden. Remove to cool before topping with lemon curd. For additional flourish, sprinkle each tarte with raw sugar and caramelize with a hand torch before mounting each with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and a garnish of mint. Serves 6. source: " Comfort Cuisine ", alive #312, October 2008

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