From fish to dark leafy greens, our spin on a light Japanese lunch is loaded with brainy ingredients. Sprinkle with peanuts—another smart food—and you’ll love the added crunch.
Blanching green veggies in heavily salted water retains their colour. Don’t worry about the accumulated sodium in this method, as it is drained and rinsed then squeezed, leaving you with a beautiful deep rich green gomae—without the salt—to offset the colours in the dish.
In small saucepan, heat water, vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour into large glass canning jar. Add carrot and radish and press into liquid until covered. Set aside for 1 hour at room temperature. Then cover and store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.
In medium bowl, make peanut sauce by combining coconut cream, peanut butter, garlic, gingerroot, tamari, vinegar, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Add a splash of water if a thinner consistency is desired. Add more seasonings, to taste. Transfer to glass jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Cut ribs from chard and reserve for another dish. Chop chard leaves into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 12 cups (3 L). Fill large bowl with ice water ready to shock the chard following cooking.
Bring large stockpot filled with generously salted water to a boil. Add chard and boil for 1 minute or just until wilted. Drain and plunge chard into ice water. Stir to cool. Thoroughly drain. Gently squeeze chard with your hands to remove as much water as possible. Place on cutting board and chop into slivers. In medium bowl, add half the peanut sauce, then add chopped chard, folding in until lightly coated. Set aside.
In large nonstick frying pan, add grapeseed oil and butter over high heat. Tilt pan to spread evenly. Just as it begins to smoke, add fish fillets in single layer. Cook until seared on bottom, about 3 minutes, then gently flip fillets and sear other side, about 3 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for a minute longer, depending on thickness of fillets. Cook only until centre of fillets are just opaque and fish flakes easily.
Serve fish on single-serve dishes with a scoop of chard gomae and some pickled carrot salad. Drizzle fish with a little peanut sauce and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, if using. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you wish. Garnish further with chives or cilantro as desired.
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.