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Braised Cabbage and Beets
My Favourite Hot and Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles

My Favourite Hot and Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles

2.2 lb (1 kg) pork belly, rind removed, cut into 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5 cm) cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peanut or vegetable oil
14 oz (400 g) medium egg noodles
4 green onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
2 bunches interesting cresses (such as shiso [also] or basil cress)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 limes

For the marinade
14 oz (400 g) rhubarb
4 Tbsp (60 mL) honey
4 Tbsp (60 mL) soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 fresh red chilies, halved and deseeded
1 heaped tsp (5 mL) 5-spice powder
A thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Place the pork pieces in a roasting pan and put to one side. Chuck all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste, then pour this all over the pork, adding a large wineglass of water. Mix it all up, then tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven for about an hour and 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender, but not coloured.

Pick the pieces of pork out of the pan and put to one side. The sauce left in the pan will be deliciously tasty and pretty much perfect. However, if you feel it needs to be thickened slightly, simmer on a gentle heat for a bit until reduced to the consistency of ketchup. Season nicely to taste, add a little extra soy sauce if need be, then remove from the heat and put to one side.

Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Get yourself a large pan or wok on the heat and pour in a good drizzle of peanut or vegetable oil. Add your pieces of pork to the wok and fry for a few minutes until crisp and golden. (You might need to do this in two batches.) At the same time, drop your noodles into boiling water and cook for a few minutes, then drain most of the water away. Divide the noodles into four warmed bowls immediately, while they’re still moist.

What I love most about this dish is the contrast between the flavours going on in it: from the simple, plain noodles to the zinginess of the spicy rhubarb sauce and the beautifully crispy, yet melt-in-your-mouth pork. To finish, spoon over a good amount of the rhubarb sauce. Divide your crispy pork on top, and add a good sprinkling of spring onions, chili, cresses, and cilantro. Serve with half a lime each—perfect. Serves 4.

Source: "Cooking With Jamie Oliver," from alive #318, April 2009

Normandy Fish Soup

Normandy Fish Soup

Flavourful fish and seafood pair brilliantly with sweet carrots, earthy mushrooms, and tart sparkling cider. Fish is a healthy alternative to high-fat meats—halibut and cod are lower in fat and cholesterol than most meats and poultry, while fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids thought to improve cardiovascular health.

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup (125 mL) sparkling apple cider or white wine
1 1/2 to 2 lbs (750 g to 1 kg) mussels
3 to 4 cups (750 mL to 1 L) low-sodium fish or chicken stock
1 Yukon Gold potato, unpeeled, chopped
8 to 10 oz (about 1 cup/250 mL) halibut or sole filet, cut into small pieces
1 cup (250 mL) parsley, chopped

Melt butter or oil in large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add leeks, carrot, and mushrooms. Partially cover and cook until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour in cider or wine and bring to a boil. Add mussels. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until mussels open, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scoop out mussels and set aside. Discard any that don’t open.

Pour stock into pan and add potato. Simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in fish; cover and let stand to cook through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mussels and parsley.

Spoon into bowls. Thick crusty bread is a must!

Serves 6.

Each serving contains:
287 calories; 32 g protein; 10 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 470 mg sodium

source: "Soul Bowls" from alive #349, November 2011

Three Bean, Spinach, and Kale Stew with Lacy Parmesan Cracker

Three Bean, Spinach, and Kale Stew with Lacy Parmesan Cracker

Legumes are a healthy choice when managing a diabetes diet. As a complex carb, they keep us fuller longer and are packed with cholesterol-lowering fibre. Their soft texture adds body to the dish while the garlic, kale, and spinach pump up the flavour.

Stew

2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, coarsely chopped (about 8 to 10 cups/2 to 2.5 L)
1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
28 oz can (796 mL) low-sodium diced tomatoes
2 cups (500 mL) cooked cannellini or northern beans
2 cups (500 mL) cooked kidney beans
2 cups (500 mL) fresh green beans, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp (10 mL) honey
1 to 2 Tbsp (15 to 30 mL) rice vinegar

Sea salt to taste

Heat oil in large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add kale and spinach. Pan will be full, but volume will decrease as it cooks. Stir often until just wilted. Spoon out greens and set aside.

Pour tomatoes into pan and stir in 2 cups (500 mL) water. Stir in beans, oregano, cayenne, and honey. Simmer until green beans are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in greens and vinegar. Taste and season with salt.

Spoon into bowls and top with Lacy Parmesan Cracker (see following page for recipe) if you wish.

Serves 6 to 8.

Each serving contains:
236 calories; 13 g protein; 5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 12 g fibre; 287 mg sodium

Lacy Parmesan Cracker

1/2 cup (125 ml) Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Using 1 Tbsp (15 mL) measuring spoon as a guide, portion grated Parmesan onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using your finger, gently tap to spread out into a circle.

Bake until melted and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Let stand on sheet 1 minute to firm up before moving.

Each serving contains:
27 calories; 2 g protein; 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 0 g carbohydrates; 0 g fibre; 96 mg sodium

source: "Soul Bowls" from alive #349, November 2011

Fiery Chicken and Fig Tagine

Fiery Chicken and Fig Tagine

A tagine is a North African stew that gets its name from the conical clay pot in which it is cooked. However, you don’t need a tagine to make this—a large wide saucepan or Dutch oven will do the trick. Using bone-in chicken thighs is a time-saver, as they cook faster than typical stewing meat—plus the bones add flavour without extra fat.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
8 bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground ginger
1 Tbsp (15 mL) harissa (see Tip)
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) chicken stock
1 cup (250 mL) dried red lentils
10 dried figs, cut in half
1 thick strip preserved lemon or fresh lemon peel, cut into thin strips (about 2 tsp/10 mL)
1/4 cup (60 mL) mint, chopped
1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro, chopped
4 tsp (20 mL) pomegranate seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Heat oil in bottom of tagine or large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat chicken with ginger and harissa.

Pour stock into pan and stir in lentils. Add chicken. Bring to a boil, then cover.

Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes, then stir in figs and preserved lemon or lemon peel. Continue baking until chicken is very tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in mint and cilantro.

Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with pomegranate. Serve with yogourt if you wish.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains:
318 calories; 26 g protein; 10 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 34 g carbohydrates; 7 g fibre; 165 mg sodium

Tip

Harissa is a spicy chili paste available in ethnic grocery stores. If you can’t find it, substitute 1 Tbsp (15 mL) minced chili pepper.

source: "Soul Bowls" from alive #349, November 2011

Very Berry Clafoutis with Nutmeg Cream

Very Berry Clafoutis with Nutmeg Cream

The quintessential French grandmotherly dessert, clafoutis is perfect for cast iron and simple to make. Just whiz together your batter in a blender and pour over the fruit. This spruced up, gluten-free version replaces white flour with nutritious almond flour and is chockablock with antioxidant-rich berries. The tender batter swells around the berries as it bakes in the cast iron skillet.

2/3 cup (160 mL) unsalted cashews
4 large free-range eggs
3 Tbsp (45 mL) melted butter or liquefied coconut oil, cooled
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2 mL) almond extract
1/3 cup (80 mL) honey
1 cup (250 mL) light coconut milk
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
3/4 cup (180 mL) almond flour
1 cup (250 mL) frozen blueberries, thawed
1 cup (250 mL) frozen raspberries, thawed
1 cup (250 mL) frozen strawberries, thawed and sliced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg

Cover cashews with water and soak for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Combine eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, honey, coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to mix ingredients, then add almond flour and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

Place berries in 9 to 10 in (22.5 to 25 cm) cast iron skillet and pour batter over top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into batter comes out nearly clean and a golden brown crust has formed on top, about 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain cashews and place in blender with maple syrup and nutmeg. Add just enough water to cover cashews and blend until smooth. Serve clafoutis warm topped with nutmeg cashew cream.

Serves 8.

Each serving contains:
317 calories; 9 g protein; 21 g total fat (7 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 28 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 194 mg sodium

source: "Heavy Metal", from alive #349, November 2011

Mushroom Leek Frittata

Mushroom Leek Frittata

With even heat conduction, cast iron is ideal for cooking this cousin to the omelette. The key to good frittata is to use a high-quality cheese.

2 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (750 mL) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
7 large free-range eggs
3/4 cup (180 mL) fontina, Swiss, Gruyère, or similar cheese, grated
1/3 cup (80 mL) low-fat milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in 10 to 12 in (25 to 30 cm) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms and leeks until softened, about 6 minutes. In bowl, lightly beat eggs and combine with cheese, milk, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat broiler.

Pour egg mixture into skillet with mushrooms and leeks; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until sides are firm but top is still slightly runny.

Place skillet in oven and broil about 5 in (13 cm) from heat until golden and set, 1 to 2 minutes. Run thin knife along edges of skillet to loosen frittata, slide onto plate, slice, and serve with salsa if desired.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains:
279 calories; 21 g protein; 16 g total fat (7 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 13 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 219 mg sodium


Happy for hemp
Packing more protein then pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds, hemp seeds are the perfect addition to any post-workout meal. Turn this brunch-worthy dish into a high performance dinner by swapping out the low-fat milk for unflavoured hemp milk and topping each slice with 1 Tbsp toasted hempseeds.

source: "Heavy Metal", from alive #349, November 2011

Deep Dish Butternut Squash Pizza

Deep Dish Butternut Squash Pizza

This DIY pizza takes some effort, but the payoff is worth it. The sweet butternut spread is a pleasant fall-inspired departure from standard tomato sauce. Store-bought pizza dough would slash prep time, but there is something remarkably satisfying about making your own. You can also use frozen butternut squash.

3/4 cup (180 mL) plus 2 Tbsp (30 mL) lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp (11 mL) active dry yeast
1 tsp (5 mL) raw cane sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup (250 mL) bread or all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped rosemary
1 small butternut squash
2 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh sage
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) kale, chopped
3/4 cup (180 mL) roasted red pepper, sliced
4 oz (115 g) semi-soft goat cheese, diced

Stir water, yeast, sugar, and salt in large bowl; let stand until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in flours, cornmeal, and rosemary until dough begins to come together. Place dough on floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. It’s best to keep hands well floured. If an indentation remains in dough when pressed with finger, dough is ready for rising.

Place dough in oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with clean kitchen towel and set aside at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Cut dough in half and wrap one half in plastic wrap for storage in the freezer for future use.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil, season with salt, and place flesh side down on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes or until flesh is very tender.

Roll dough into a circle and place in 10 to 12 in (25 to 30 cm) cast iron skillet. With your fingers, press dough up sides of skillet about 1 in (2.5 cm) and then roll down sides 1/4 in (0.5 cm) to form crust.

Remove squash from oven; scoop flesh into bowl of food processor and purée with sage and black pepper. Spread butternut purée over entire surface of pizza crust. Top with kale, roasted red pepper, and goat cheese.

Turn oven up to 425 F (220 C).

Heat pizza over high heat on stovetop for 3 minutes. Then move to oven and cook until crust is browned and cheese melted, about 20 minutes; pizza should slide right out of the pan.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains:
300 calories; 12 g protein; 11 g total fat (6 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 40 g carbohydrates; 5 g fibre; 306 mg sodium

source: "Heavy Metal", from alive #349, November 2011

Olive Cornbread

Olive Cornbread

A true Southerner wouldn’t dare cook cornbread in anything but cast iron. This moist olive-spiked cornbread pairs perfectly with the blackened catfish. If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice to 1 cup (250 mL) milk, stir, and let sit for 2 minutes.

1 1/4 cups (310 mL) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup (180 mL) whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) raw cane sugar
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped
2 large free-range eggs
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 mL) plus 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup (180 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) and place 9 to 10 in (23 to 25 cm) cast iron skillet inside to heat for at least 15 minutes.

In large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and rosemary. In separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and whisk in buttermilk and 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil. Add dry to wet ingredients and fold in cheese and olives.

Remove skillet from oven. Add remaining olive oil to skillet; swirl to coat bottom and sides. Spoon batter into hot skillet, place in oven, reduce temperature to 400 F (200 C) and bake until golden and a tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cornbread cool in skillet for 5 minutes, then turn cornbread out onto cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Serves 8.

Each serving contains:
297 calories; 10 g protein; 14 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 34 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 463 mg sodium

source: "Heavy Metal", from alive #349, November 2011

Apple Streusel Cake

Apple Streusel Cake

Streusel

2 Tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) pure cane sugar
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp (30 mL) sliced almonds

Cake

3/4 cup (180 mL) pure cane sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp (30 mL) amaretto or almond liqueur
1 tsp (5 mL) almond extract
1 egg
3/4 cup (180 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
3/4 cup (180 mL) low-fat buttermilk
Non-aerosol vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) apple, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

To prepare streusel: combine flour, sugar, and ground cinnamon; cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in almonds.

To prepare cake: beat sugar, cream cheese, butter, and applesauce in large bowl with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add amaretto, almond extract, and egg, beating well.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, levelling with a knife. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl, stirring well with whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour batter into 9 in (23 cm) round cake pan sprayed with oil; sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Arrange apple slices over batter, and sprinkle with streusel mixture. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 12 wedges. Dust with icing sugar before serving, if desired. Serves 12.

source: "Hills Health Ranch", from alive #319, May 2009