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Poached Lobster and Avocado Salad with Coconut and Lemon Grass Reduction, Citrus Salsa, and Grilled Croutons

Poached Lobster and Avocado Salad with Coconut and Lemon Grass Reduction, Citrus Salsa, and Grilled Croutons

Nothing rejuvenates the senses like a serving of citrus redolent with the colours and scents of summer. Layered with the flavours of lemon grass and coconut and the soft textures of lobster and avocado, this starter, though cold, will banish the chill.

Lobster and Avocado Salad

12 oz (340 g) white onion, thinly sliced
12 oz (340 g) button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
6 oz (170 g) poached lobster, diced medium
3 avocados, diced small
6 Tbsp (90 mL) mayonnaise
Lime juice, to taste
Sea salt and fresh pepper

Over medium heat, braise onions and mushrooms in butter until soft but without colouring; drain and reserve. Place diced lobster and avocado in bowl and mix lightly with mayonnaise, lime juice, and braised onions and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Citrus Salsa

6 Tbsp (90 mL) orange and grapefruit segments
2 Tbsp (30 mL) pineapple, diced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red bell pepper, finely diced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red onion, diced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey
Pinch cilantro, finely chopped, to taste
Chili flakes, to taste
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and reserve.

Coconut and Lemongrass Reduction

1 Tbsp (15 mL) garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) shallots, chopped
4 lemon grass sticks, whites only, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream (35 percent)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Sweat garlic and shallots over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Add lemon grass to release oils, and stir for 1 minute before adding cream and lemon zest. Bring to boil and reduce mixture by half before adding coconut milk and seasoning.

Grilled Croutons

1/2 French baguette, cut into strips 1/2 x 4 in (1 x 10 cm) long
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh pepper

Drizzle baguette strips with olive oil and season to taste before either grilling or baking to desired doneness.

To serve: Spoon a serving of the lobster and avocado salad onto each plate, topping with citrus salsa, and drizzling with coconut and lemon grass reduction. Arrange croutons in strips alongside.

Serves 6.

source: "A taste of Eden", from alive #317, March 2009

Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad

Just like a good sorbet, this salad prepares the palate for nearly any entrée to follow.

1 orange
1 grapefruit
6 cups (1.5 L) mixed greens
10 thin slices Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (60 mL) crushed walnuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives

Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) marmalade

To prepare salad, cut ends off orange and grapefruit and then remove skin in strips, working all the way around fruit from top to bottom. Cut along side of membrane to remove sections of citrus fruit. Arrange mixed greens on plate and top with grapefruit and orange sections and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.

To prepare dressing, combine lemon and lime juices with olive oil in small jar. Add garlic, salt, and marmalade and cover with lid. Shake vigorously to combine. Pour dressing over salad and season to taste. Garnish with chives. Serves 4.

Broiled Citrus Salmon
Fish and citrus go hand in hand. Rather than squeezing lemon onto your salmon at the table, try this fresh new way of incorporating citrus zest. 1

/3 cup (80 mL) honey
1/3 cup (80 mL) orange juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
Pinch freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
4 - 4 oz (120 g) salmon steaks

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Combine honey, orange and lemon juices, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil in resealable plastic bag. Add salmon, seal bag, and let marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove salmon from marinade, reserving marinade. Place salmon on ungreased foil-lined pan (salmon skin will stick to pan, easing separation once cooked). Cover salmon tightly with another sheet of foil. Bake 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Bring reserved marinade to boil in small saucepan for 3 or 4 minutes until reduced. Drizzle sauce over salmon and serve. Serves 4.

Source: "Squeeze some sunshine," from alive #316, February 2009

Mini Lava Cakes

Mini Lava Cakes

Use dark chocolate that has been processed correctly for the best flavanol hit.

1/4 cup (60 mL) 10 percent cream
6 oz (175 g) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 mL) cake and pastry flour

Pour cream into small saucepan. Add 2 oz (50 g) chocolate. Heat on low; slowly melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. When chocolate is almost melted, remove from heat and stir till melted. Pour into glass measuring cup and place in fridge.

Place 4 oz (125 g) chocolate in clean, small saucepan. Add butter; heat on low. Melt slowly, stirring occasionally. When chocolate is almost melted, remove from heat, and stir till melted. Set aside.

In medium bowl beat eggs with sugar for 5 minutes or until the mixture is very thick. Beat in vanilla. Fold in melted chocolate. Sift flour over the batter and fold in till well incorporated.

Grease 6 - 4 oz (125 g) ramekins with unsalted butter. Scoop chocolate batter into ramekins till half full. Drop in 1 heaping teaspoon of the cooled chocolate mixture. Scoop remaining chocolate batter into ramekins. Store in fridge for 2 hours or up to 1 day.

To serve, preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Remove ramekins from fridge. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Run knife around edges and flip onto plate. Serve with berries. Serves 6.

Each cake contains: 405 calories; 4 g protein; 22.5 g total fat (13.7 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 43.5 g carbohydrate; 1 g fibre; 38 mg sodium

source: "Chocolate chocolate everywhere", from alive #316, February 2009

Potato and Arugula Salad with Mustard and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Potato and Arugula Salad with Mustard and Roasted Garlic Dressing

2 heads roasted garlic
Olive oil for drizzling over garlic
3 Tbsp (45 mL) sherry or red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped, soaked in ice water for 30 minutes and drained
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 lb (1 kg) small potatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 bunch arugula, trimmed

Roast garlic: preheat oven to 350 F (180 C); slice pointed tops off two heads of garlic to expose cloves inside; place heads on tinfoil and drizzle oil over top; wrap heads tightly in foil; bake for 40 minutes or until garlic is soft; remove from oven, unwrap, and allow to cool.

Make dressing: squeeze garlic out of cloves into food processor. Add vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil and blend together. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Scrub potatoes well. Cut in half, if necessary, so they’re about 1.5 in (4 cm) in diameter. Place in large pot of water with vinegar and salt. Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Combine dressing with hot potatoes. Cool for five minutes.

Arrange arugula in shallow bowl and spoon potatoes and dressing on top. Toss lightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Each serving contains:
198 calories; 4 g protein; 7.2 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 31.8 g carbohydrates; 2.7 g fibre; 420 mg sodium

Reprinted from HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends by Bonnie Stern with permission of Random House Canada. Bonnie Stern’s latest book is Friday Night Dinners (Random House, 2008).

source: "Nutritious crispy chicken meals", from alive #320, June 2009

Hot Chocolate & Cocoa Recipes

Hot Chocolate & Cocoa Recipes

Basic Hot Chocolate for One

Rich and creamy, this hot chocolate is a mini meal.

1 cup (250 mL) milk
2 oz (50 g) of a 70% cocoa chocolate bar, broken into pieces

Pour milk into small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until milk is steamy. Reduce heat to low. Add broken pieces of chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Pour into a mug and serve.

Each serving made with skim milk contains: 416 calories; 13 g protein; 24 g total fat (14 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat); 38 g carbohydrates; 6 g fibre; 127 mg sodium

Basic Cocoa for One

This is an adult version that’s not too sweet. Buy a mini whisk, sometimes called a cocoa whisk, to make sure your cocoa is lump free.

1 cup (250 mL) milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) natural cocoa powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cane sugar or sweetener of choice to taste

Pour 3/4 cup (180 mL) milk into small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until steamy.

Add cocoa powder and sugar to the remaining 1/4 cup (60 mL) of milk and whisk until blended. Whisk cocoa paste into steamy milk. Stir until frothy. Pour into a mug and serve.

Each serving made with skim milk contains: 180 calories; 11 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat); 31 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 120 mg sodium

Adapted from Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health: And don’t forget the chocolate! by Mairlyn Smith and Liz Pearson (Whitecap Books, 2007).

Tip: Not sweet enough? Add extra cane sugar or your favourite natural sweetener such as honey.

Chai-Infused Cocoa

This chai-inspired hot cocoa has the antioxidant powers of cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cardamom to help ward off a cold and warm your soul.

2 cups (500 mL) milk
6 whole green cardamom seeds
4 whole black cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of whole black pepper corns, whole allspice, and whole cloves
1/4 cup (60 mL) natural cocoa powder
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cane sugar or sweetener of choice to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon

Pour 1 2/3 cup (400 mL) of milk into small saucepan. Add green and black cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, allspice, and cloves to pot. Heat over medium heat until milk starts to steam. Cover, reduce heat to low, and steep spices and milk together for 10 minutes.

Make a paste with the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1/3 cup (80 mL) of milk. Whisk into steamy milk. Stir until frothy. Strain into two mugs. Serves 2.

Each serving made with skim milk contains: 180 calories; 11 g protein; 1 g total fat (0.6 g sat fat, 0 trans fat); 31 g carbohydrates; 2.6 g fibre; 121 mg sodium

source: "Hot Chocolate & Cocoa", from alive #326, December 2009

Spiced Israeli Couscous with Prunes and Ginger

Spiced Israeli Couscous with Prunes and Ginger

This is a great vegetarian dish, or it can be paired with meats such as lamb, rabbit, or poultry. Israeli couscous is a small, round, toasted semolina pasta that should not be confused with the tiny yellow North African couscous. Sauces stick to it perfectly!

1 cup (250 mL) Israeli couscous
2 cups (500 mL) vegetable stock
2 large organic carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp (10 mL) unsalted butter
1 cup (250 mL) prunes
1 tsp (2 mL) honey
1 cardamom pod
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
1 pinch dried chilies
Salt and pepper
Cilantro to garnish

Toast couscous in a 325 F (160 C) oven until lightly browned.

Heat vegetable stock to a simmer.

In small saucepan add carrots, butter, pinch of salt, and just enough water to cover carrots. Cook at high heat until carrots are soft enough to break easily with the back of a spoon, then purée and reserve.

Poach prunes in 2 cups (500 mL) water with honey and cardamom until soft.

In medium saucepan sweat onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil (over low heat and covered with a tight-fitting lid). Add cumin seeds, chilies, and couscous. Add enough simmering stock to cover the couscous and gently simmer, stirring occasionally. As the liquid reduces, keep adding enough to cover and cook until just tender. Season to taste.

To serve, combine couscous and carrot purée. Top with poached prunes and cilantro.

source: "Prunes", from alive #342, April 2011

Rainbow Coleslaw

Rainbow Coleslaw

1 Tbsp (15 mL) sunflower, sesame, or pumpkin seeds (for toasting)
1/2 cup (125 mL) bean or mixed sprouts (sunflower, broccoli, or pea shoots)
1/2 cup (125 mL) green cabbage, shredded
1 cup (250 mL) red cabbage, shredded
1 bunch watercress
1 cup (250 mL) carrots, grated
3 to 4 red radishes, cut into half moons
1/2 cup (125 mL) yellow peppers or zucchini, julienned
1/2 to 1 cup (125 to 250 mL) fresh herbs, such as dill, fennel, thyme, parsley, cilantro, or mint, loosely packed (optional)
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)

1/4 cup (60 mL) cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cold-pressed sesame oil
3 Tbsp (45 mL) apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup or raw honey
2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) stone ground mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, minced

Lightly toast seeds for topping at 200 F (95 C) or lower to preserve delicate inner oils, for approximately 10 minutes until slightly browned.

In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients, except toasted seeds and pomegranate seeds.
In small bowl, mix oils, vinegar or lemon juice, maple syrup or honey, mustard, garlic, and ginger; adjust to taste.

Before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Sprinkle with toasted seeds and fresh pomegranate seeds (if desired) and serve.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains: 298 calories; 3 g protein; 23 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 21 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 205 mg sodium

source: "A Fighting Chance", from alive #342, April 2011