Love ’em or leave ’em, Brussels sprouts are a traditional must-have. The trick is to not overcook them. Quarter sprouts so they cook evenly and quickly. They look vibrant and attractive nestled with crunchy green beans and brightly coloured red pepper.
1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) white or red wine vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
10 cups (2.5 L) Brussels sprouts, quartered
8 cups (2 L) green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 large red pepper
For dressing, whisk lemon juice with vinegar, Dijon, and garlic. Slowly and gradually whisk in oil until evenly mixed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If making ahead, refrigerate up to 5 days.
Fill bottom of large, wide saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then add Brussels sprouts and beans. Bring back to a boil and steam until tender-crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes, then add red pepper. Steam for 1 more minute. Drain and toss with dressing. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Optional: sprinkle with grated lemon peel and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Serves 14 to 16.
Each serving contains:
105 calories; 3 g protein; 7 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 10 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 25 mg sodium
Source: "A fine holiday feast", alive #350, December 2011
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.
Treat yourself to a steak dinner, using tofu instead of meat. The tangy chili-spiked marinade does double-duty as a finishing sauce and transforms otherwise bland tofu into a dish that’ll sound your taste buds’ fire alarm. Bird’s eye pepper would be a good substitute for habanero if needed. Dousing the fire If you find yourself with a mouth on fire after taking a bite of a chili-infused dish, don’t try to douse it with water. Instead, reach for a glass of milk. The protein casein in dairy is known to help subdue the flame. Water won’t help nearly as much.