Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hazlenut and Bulgar Stuffed Onions

I was intrigued by how impressive these stuffed onions looked in the magazine. However; I was not partial to the flavor combination. I found the allspice and cinnamon to be a very odd. I think if I were to make these again I would use a different flavor combination.

Recipe from Homemakers: November 2009 issue
  • 6 large sweet onions
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup bulgar
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 clover garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Peel onions, leaving root end intact, cut off top 1 cm of each onion. With a slender knife and teaspoon, cut and scoop out all but last two layers of onion. Place onions, root ends down, into oiled baking dish.
  2. Chop scooped-out onion. Heat up a 1/4 cup of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Fry onion with a 1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt, stirring often until golden brown about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour 1/3 cup boiling water over bulgur; cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
  4. Spread hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in 325° oven until lightly toasted, about 10-15 minutes. Place in kitchen towel and rub off as much of the skins as possible. In food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Add hazelnuts, parsley, raisins, bulgar and a pinch of salt.
  5. When onion is golden brown, stir in allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper and garlic; fry stiring, for 1 minute. Scrape into bulgar mixture. Add half of the lemon juice and mix well.
  6. Stuff onion shells with bulgar mixture. Pour remaining lemon juice and olive oil around onions; cover loosely with foil. Bake in 375° oven until tender, about 90 minutes. Uncover and baste with pan juice. Continue baking for another 15 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eggplant Balls with Coconut Curry Sauce

I just spent the last 10 minutes running around the backyard picking up the contents from our recycling bins... no thanks to the current "windy" weather outside. How nice it is to come inside and curl up with a nice cup of tea and jot down my latest kitchen adventure!

Eggplant, oh how I love to cook with eggplant! I must recommend that you try these eggplant balls with the coconut curry sauce from my vegan dosas recipe. I did, and they were great!

My suspicion is that these would also make really great appetizers as suggested by Trudy (Veggie Num Nums). Until next time!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Borscht was the first thing that came to mind when I opened my fridge and realized I had nothing but cabbage, beets and a few potatoes. I should also mention the intimidating wind storm that was taking place outside the comfort of my home. To say the least, I was was not in an way motivated to go grocery shopping.

I used to find the idea of beets and cabbage in a soup absolutely horrific. Of course this was before I actually appreciated food and before I even tried it out. I think what makes this soup such a treat is the perfect combination of sweetness from the beets and tartness from the lemons and balsamic vinegar, resulting in a very unique but smooth flavor. This soup is also great for those of you on a budget!
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded (I used green cabbage)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 398ml can Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large beets, diced
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried dill (use 2 tbsp fresh dill if you have it)
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  1. Heat butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add cabbage, celery, carrots, garlic, onion and potatoes. Stir in 1 tsp fresh ground sea salt and bay leaves. Cook until onion is soft and translucent. 
  2. Add tomatoes, beets, 6 cups vegetable stock (or more if you prefer) and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  3. Before serving, stir in lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, dill, freshly cracked pepper and sea salt. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Note:  You can make this recipe vegan by using olive oil instead of butter and serving without the sour cream.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sloppy Moes

Who needs ground beef when red lentils yield the same consistency and meaty flavor? It's an added bonus that lentils are packed with so many good nutrients. Another added benefit to cooking with lentils opposed to ground beef is the low cost.

I give this recipe two thumbs way up. I believe I may have even hooked a few people in my lunch room when heating up my lunch the following day. I let them guess for awhile before I finally revealed that I was heating up vegetarian sloppy joes or as I am calling them sloppy moes! Eating healthy does not mean forfeiting your favorite childhood dinners. Before you leave this page, please put this recipe on next weeks dinner menu. You can thank me later!

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1(8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup assorted cooked beans
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 6 slices crusty bread or kaiser rolls sliced in half
  1. Bring 3 cups water to boil. Add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While lentils are cooking heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onions and celery until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and saute for another minute.
  3. Stir in cooked lentils, chili powder, oregano and some fresh ground sea salt. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and beans. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in maple syrup and mustard and season with fresh ground pepper.
  5. Serve over toasted bread.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Greek Salad Cucumber Bites

    Looking for an easy and impressive appetizer? This is it! You can even make them ahead of time as there is no cooking involved with this recipe. Simply prepare and serve.

    I like cucumbers because you can easily find local varieties at most grocery stores. This time around I found long English cucumbers grown in my hometown - Port Alberni, BC.

    This recipe is from the January 2009 issue of Canadian Living.

    • 2 English cucumbers
    • 1/2 cup each finely diced sweet red and green pepper
    • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
    • 1/4 cup finely diced black olives
    • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • pinch each salt and pepper
    1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of cucumber skin lengthwise. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 3/4-inch slices. Use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop out about 1 tsp (5 mL) pulp from centre of each slice, leaving base intact. 
    2. Combine and stir together all remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
    3. Scoop a heaping tablespoon into each cucumber slice.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

    I must confess that I really look forward to celebrating birthday's other than my own. It gives me a really good excuse to work on my dessert skills and to try out new recipes. It's flattering to be asked to make a birthday cake because I know there are many beautiful skilled bakery's in this city and many different ways that a rookie like me can slip up on the special someones birthday cake. There is a moment when excepting the offer that I temporarily reflect on the extreme pressure of presenting a cake to a room full of people, not knowing whether or not it turned out okay. Once I get over that I simply feel excitement, because the thrill of having a cake turn out and exceeding your own expectations is always worth it in the end!

    The trick to a perfect birthday cake is not so much in the skill but in pin pointing the right cake for your recipient. Everyone has a favorite dessert but this can be tricky because it's likely they have tried that particular dessert many times and are partial to it's perfection. I like to step back from that as I don't want to disappoint by trying to perfect something that I have simply never done before. Instead, I go with my gut and stay true to favorite flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, berries, coconut, hazelnut, lemon etc. Sometimes I simply don't know and base my decision on memory and with the help of those closest to them.

    This was the first recipe I recovered when searching for the perfect cake for Rachel's Birthday and it turned out to be a really great recipe too! I had been asked in advance to make this cake but didn't actually get the message until the day of. I have to admit that I was in a bit of a panic and was a bit limited in what I could throw together in such a short time frame.

    There is a trick to making cheesecake and that is the method in which you cool the cake down. If you simply remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool the cake will go into shock and begin to crack. To avoid this you need to bake the cake at a higher temp for a set time then reduce to a much lower temp and cook for a longer period of time. Sometimes you can even turn off the oven and leave the cake in for an hour letting it slowly cool down before removing and setting on a cooling rack for yet another hour or two before refrigerating for a minimum of four hours. Always look for cheesecake recipes that outline this cooking method.

    My favorite part of this cake is the raspberry coulis. If you take on the task of making this cake, keep in mind that straining the juices from the raspberries is very tedious but every bit worth it in the end. Make sure to serve the cheesecake with the coulis drizzled over top!

    Note: You can alter this recipe by using different fruits such as peaches, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Taco Salad

    I haven't bothered trying to make taco salad since I became a vegetarian. I just figured there was no way to substitute the ground beef without altering the satisfactory taste and texture. By luck I recently found this great recipe from Chez Cayenne that cooks up a really great substitute for beef outlined below. You can also use this mixture in burritos and tacos which I have also cooked up with mouth watering success!

    • 1/2 cup quinoa
    • 1/4 cup buckwheat
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 batch of taco seasoning (recipe also found on Chez Cayenne)
    • 1 cup black beans
    • 1/2 cup water
    Salad Ingredients
    • shredded lettuce
    • tomato, diced
    • avocado, diced (optional)
    • green onions, diced
    • tortilla chips, crushed
    • shredded cheddar cheese
    • sour cream
    1. In a medium saucepan combine quinoa, buckwheat and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes.
    2. Once water is absorbed, uncover and stir in black beans, taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
    3. Prepare salads by layering lettuce, diced vegetables, quinoa mixture, crushed tortilla chips and finish with cheese and sour cream.
    Note:  You can alter this salad by using different veggies such as corn, peppers, olives, shredded carrot or jicama or by using different beans or types of lettuce. This salad would also be great with salsa or guacamole.

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Smoked Gouda and Pea Shoot Sandwich

    There is something so comforting about a grilled cheese sandwich, I mean whats not to like about melted cheese on toasted bread! It's hardly necessary to draft up a recipe for a sandwich but always nice to have ideas... so here is another one of mine!

    • 2 slices cranberry multi-grain bread
    • smoked Gouda
    • pea shoots
    • avocado
    • ranch dressing
    1. Preheat frying pan to medium-high heat.
    2. Spread dressing on both slices of bread. Stack cheese on one slice of bread followed by avocado cover with second slice of bread.
    3. Place sandwich in frying pan and cook until golden brown on each side (cheese should also be melted).
    4. Stuff with pea shoots, cut in half and enjoy!