Skillet Sautéed Brussels Sprouts


These are almost crazy how easy these are. You almost don’t need a recipe. Just a nice hot pan!

People are often pretty shocked to hear that I ever hated any kind of food. I mean, I flew to Noma just for the chance to eat dinner, yet I still have a childhood story of hating something so much, I had to sit and stare at my plate until the lights were turned off.
The battle of the mighty brussels sprout of 1986. I won.

Fast forward to being an adult and again trying to eat everything. While telling my own kids they have to try things at least three times, I had a revelation…

My friends, when you don’t boil a sprout to death, it doesn’t taste like fart!

In fact, brussels sprouts are bitter-sweet and begging for a little heat and acid. They actually make one of the best and quick side dishes around. brusslesprouts

SKILLET SAUTÉED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

25-30 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
1/2 Lemon, juiced and zested
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Trim the bottoms and thinly slice the brussels sprouts – either a knife is fine, but a mandoline makes it quick.
Heat your cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the of olive oil.
Add your sprouts and don’t stir them right away.  You want a few well browned bits.
Take this time to grab a lemon and zest it over, along with the chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Now stir. There will be some nice charred brown bits and steamed goodness in there. Add juice of 1/2 of the lemon and stir again. They should be about done now. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Feeds 4-6 people as a side.

Charred Roasted Cabbage


Can I say this is a game changer?

IMG_0125

Sweet, crispy, slightly charred cabbage steaks can be served as a main or a side. This humble, healthy vegetable is about to have it’s 15 minutes of fame.

Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. With the rise in brussels sprout popularity, cabbage is the queen mother of the little sprouts, only sweeter! Virtually hands off, this recipe, which is so much quicker and easier to prepare, treats the cabbage steaks in a similar flavour my shredded brussels sprouts recipe, but smoky and crisped! Just a little olive oil and salt to roast, with lemon and chilli flakes to finish.

CHARRED ROASTED CABBAGE

1 head Green Cabbage, sliced into steaks
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon Flaky Finishing Salt, like Maldons
1/4 teaspoon Chilli Flakes, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 450ºF
Remove any loose outer leaves and slice the cabbage in half through the core. Slice each half in half again, creating about 1″ steaks.
Drizzle both sides of the cabbage steaks liberally with olive oil and lay them on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Roast for 8-10 minutes, checking for colour. Reduce heat to 375ºF.
Continue to roast for an additional 40 minutes, or until cabbage is deeply browned, tender and the out most leaves are crispy and blackened.
Remove from the oven and zest the lemon over top and squeeze over the juice.
Sprinkle finishing salt and chilli flakes to serve.

 

Barley Risotto


Returning with something super simple but so delicious.
When first sampling plant-based, I found it easier sticking to familiar things that were already in the pantry. While on the search for various grains to keep things interesting,
I remembered barley.

My mom used to use it in many of her soups when I was a kid. This, of course, makes it an easy favourite for me. It’s hearty and slightly chewy. It’s soft, warm and filling, making it a perfect, but overlooked addition to so many dishes in the winter.

Treating it like a risotto, is a great way to flavour the barley. And in this case keeping it open to so many different flavour variations. It’s no secret that I love spinach, so pair that with some sautéed mushrooms and even a pan fried tofu and this becomes a perfectly satisfying, affordable and easy winter weekday dinner.

BARLEY RISOTTO

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced
1 Cup Pearl Barley
3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Sprig Thyme, stem removed
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, adding the minced shallots to sweat.
Add the barley stirring well to coat with oil and lightly toast.
Cover with all of this liquid at once. Once the mixture begins to lightly simmer, stir and reduce the heat to maintain.
Add thyme leaves.
Stir occasionally until broth is mostly absorbed and barley is tender. (If more liquid is needed add 1/2 cup water.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Spinach & Mushroom Topping

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves, packed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add the garlic and mushrooms.
Sauté over a medium high heat until mushrooms begin to brown.
Add the spinach, turning regularly to wilt.
Serve hot over top of prepared barley.

Serves 2

Wilted Greens & Wheat Berry Salad


wiltedgrainsalad

Another quick-ish meal that’ll get you going, keep you full and make you forget about needing meat to complete a meal.  I’m a junky of all things green and grainy, so I’ve been into wheat berries lately. A super grain, and not too carby of a carb, they’re chewy, firm pods of whole food goodness. Plus, if you can boil water, they’re pretty much a cinch to cook.

The wheat berries are easily cooked in advance and stored for up to a week in a sealed container. They can also be subbed for quinoa for a gluten-free option.

WILTED GREENS + WHEAT BERRY SALAD WITH MIXED MUSHROOMS

4 Cups Mixed Mushrooms, sliced – I used Shiitake, and crimini
1 Cup Soft Wheat Berries
Zest + Juice of One Lemon
6 Cups Assorted Field Greens, Spinach & Arugula, or any combination you have and like
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (optional – if you’re one of those people:)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil, divided
Salt + Pepper, to your taste

Soak the wheat berries for 20 -30 minutes. Rinse the wheat berries well and drain.
Boil 3 cups of lightly salted water and add the wheat berries. reduce the heat to medium and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes for doneness and if your water has been absorbed. (If it almost has and the berries aren’t quite tender, reduce the heat to medium-low and finish your cooking time.)
Pick over and wash your greens, spin to dry.
Heat a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden. Remove from heat, then add the parsley and cilantro.
Fluff the wheat berries with a fork, add the lemon juice, mushrooms, remaining oil and toss to combine.
Divide the greens between 4 servings and top with the wheat berries, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Whole Garden Gnocchi


Who knew I could feed myself from a front yard garden alone? Other than the flour, I grew everything for this dish in my small, urban yard; potatoes, garlic, chard, tomatoes and squash.

I may have mentioned my front yard transformation last spring. With the help of a great neighbour, a dumping of dirt, a seed catalogue and some eager kids, we transferred lawn into an edible space.

Less the brussels sprouts and the chard, most of the garden now harvested. There were the three varieties of potatoes; Peruvian Reds, Blue and Russian Fingerlings, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash, sweet Yellow Pear Tomatoes just for this dish alone. (It doesn’t even hint at the edamame, peas, beans, beets, asparagus, blueberries, herbs, okra, cabbages, zucchini, pumpkins… corn… wow!)

After digging up a surplus of potatoes, I needed a few ideas on what to do with them. With BBQ season pretty much a thing of the past, potato salad wasn’t topping my list as much as the gnocchi. Besides, I just had to when I saw the light pinkiness of the potatoes and the great texture that was perfect for such a thing.

Feeding yourself all on your own, that’s local.
Now, that’s something to be thankful for!

PERUVIAN PINK POTATO GNOCCHI

1Lb Potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed (you can use other starchy potatoes, like Russetts as well)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling.
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, finely mash the cooked potatoes so they are lump free.
Add the salt and half of the flour then add 1/4 cup at a time stirring to combine and bring everything together in a smooth dough. You may not need it all.
Depending on your work surface, third or quarter the dough. Take one piece and cover remaining pieces.
Roll the dough into long “snakes” and cut into 1″ pieces.
Roll each piece off the back of a floured fork and repeat finishing all of the dough.
Drop into salted boiling water and cook gnocchi until they float; about 3 – 4 minutes.

While the gnocchi were boiling I made the “sauce” of tomatoes, chard, squash and garlic.
I cubed the peeled, cleaned squash and sautéed it, covered in a large, lightly oiled pan. Once the pieces began to soften, I removed the lid to let the stem escape and pieces brown.
I added two cloves of finely chopped garlic and the chard to cook for another two minutes.
Once the chard had wilted, I added 1 cup of sliced yellow pear tomatoes, salt, pepper and a palmful of chopped basil.
Simple and delicious.

Crispy, Roasted Kale


I’ve heard them called kale chips too. They can be roasted or dehydrated raw to get this crisp, practically preserved autumn leaf.

I grew a few plants in my new garden and now that the season is starting to chill, I couldn’t resist picking the biggest one. I know I was supposed to wait for the first frost, at the very least, but these were so worth the sacrifice. They literally only took minutes to prepare just to simply be left in a low oven.

Since NO ONE in my house would eat them but myself, I carefully dropped them into an oversized bag and brought them to my brother-in-laws birthday party last weekend. They were quickly identified and inhaled by the other guests, which certainly made up for my households curled noses.

Perfect as a snack but I could see these garnishing soup or even getting crushed and stirred into a fresh pot of mashed potatoes.


CRISP, ROASTED KALE CHIPS

1 Large Bunch Kale, stems removed
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest of ONE Lemon
Sea Salt

Pinch Sea SaltPreheat the oven to 250ºF.
To remove the stems of the kale, hold it up side down, stem side up with one hand and pinch the stem with your other thumb and forefinger to tear it up and away from the leaf.
Toss the leaves with the oil and lemon zest in a large bowl to coat evenly.
Lay the leaves out in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crisp.
Cool on brown or  paper towel to remove any excess oil.