What a successful week trying new recipes!

I have a year’s supply of recipes that follow my nutrition strategy, but once in a while I like to try some new recipes. Sometimes I am driven by areas that I don’t feel are included enough, such as Tofu and healthy snacks. At other times, it’s because there’s something in the fridge I need to use up, like spinach, broccoli and zucchini. This week, it was one successful recipe after another. Here they are:

Balsamic-glazed Salmon with Spinach, Olives, and Golden Raisins

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Balsamic-Glazed-Salmon-with-Spinach-Olives-and-Golden-Raisins-357270

Broccoli, Carrot and Dill Vegetable Strudel
Page 266 Rose Reisman’s light vegetarian cookbook

Indian-Style Tofu and Cauliflower with Chutney
Cooking Light APRIL 2010

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/indian-style-tofu-cauliflower-with-chutney-10000001973615/

Raisin-Cranberry Granola Bars
Page 200 Cooking Light way to bake, Oxmoor House. 2011

Zucchini Walnut Cake
By Marg, perhaps copied while at The Bay. This was the highlight of the week.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp allspice

4 eggs
1 ½ cup sugar
I cup vegetable oil

1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½ cup shredded unpeeled zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a nine inch flute pan

Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and allspice

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light.
Beat in sugar until mixture is fluffy (???). I tried for a long time, but couldn’t get it “fluffy”, at least in my eyes.
Slowly beat in oil.
Blend in the sifted dry ingredients.
Fold in vanilla, orange peel, walnuts, and zucchini.
Spoon into tube pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out dry.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

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Holy Mackerel!

Including mackerel in our eating healthy program is a challenge. We try to have fish every second day. We know mackerel is one of the healthiest, but it’s strong flavour needs to be countered. We finally had some success!

It started with hot smoked mackerel from Highland Farms.

We decided to try Marg’s favourite broccoli side to balance the flavours. It worked! The red onions, feta cheese, dried cranberries, toasted almonds and mayo delightfully offset the mackerel. We also prepared potato wedges to further enhance the range of textures and tastes.

You have to try this recipe:

Chef Jameson’s Broccoli Salad
Star-tested by Jennifer Bain, Toronto Star

Makes 6 side servings

6 cups small broccoli florets
1 small red onion
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup almonds, toasted then chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar

In large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, onion, feta, cranberries and almonds. Mix well.

In separate bowl, whisk mayo, sugar and vinegar until smooth.
Add salad and stir.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

We still could use more recipes for mackerel. Let me know if you have any.

Fine Dining at Home … and Healthy!

Tuesday’s dinner was as perfect as it gets. It met so many of our requirements for healthy eating. From a taste standpoint it rivalled high-end restaurant food. The  plate-share was perfect at ½ vegetables and fruit, ¼ grains, and ¼ fish. Throw in some of the best spices and you couldn’t ask for more.

Two of the dishes were from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. The entrée was the Moroccan Spiced Fish (Salmon) on page 157. The spices made our taste buds jump. This unique blend is called Moroccan Spice Mix on page 239 and includes:

2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground ginger or cinnamon

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp turmeric

½ tsp cayenne or black pepper

1 tsp salt

The grains in the Cranberry Bulgur Pilaf on page 183 added a starchy balance to the heat and spiciness of the salmon.

The veggies and fruit dish was Coleslaw with Apples & Dried Cranberries from:

http://www.food.com/recipe/coleslaw-with-apples-dried-cranberries-138950

It was cool, sweet and refreshing, enticing you to work your way around the plate again.

Pumpkin-mania continues!

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.
Image via Wikipedia

This year on Halloween a straw-filled scarecrow guarding a large pumpkin greeted our little visitors. Once the trick-or-treating was over I put the pumpkin to a far better use than usual. So far this pumpkin has allowed me to try out three excellent new recipes:

Pumpkin Bread on page 774 of Joy of Cooking
The flavour was fantastic thanks to cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, walnuts and raisins.

Curried Pumpkin Soup on page 55 of Anne Lindsay’s Lighthearted Everyday Cooking
Cremini mushrooms, curry powder, honey and nutmeg lead to a smooth delicious dish. The mushrooms added an unexpected flair.

Pumpkin Spice Cake on page 213 of Anne Lindsay’s Light Kitchen
Buttermilk, grated orange rind, cinnamon, raisins combine to create a tasty Bundt cake.

I’ve used about half of the pumpkin. I guess that’s three more recipes to find. Any ideas?

Oh my, I now like pumpkin pie!

A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...
Image via Wikipedia

Since I was a little kid I never liked pumpkin. I guess my mom didn’t like it either. I don’t recall her ever cooking it, and she was a great cook. My aversion to pumpkin changed this Thanksgiving when Marg baked “Pumpkin Bran Muffins“ from page 203 of Anne Lindsay’s Light Kitchen. It’s actually listed as “Rhubarb Bran Muffins” with pumpkin as a variation in the side column. These muffins were delicious. They were nothing like the custard-like texture of pumpkin I’d experienced before and disliked so much.

But how did the pumpkin even get into our kitchen? Marg loves pumpkin. I noticed “Pumpkin, Apple & Pear Tarte Tatin” in my folder of Thanksgiving menus. I thought the apple and pear would help me put up with the pumpkin so I decided to experiment.

I couldn’t find a small pumpkin squash, so bought a much larger than needed “Golden Sunset” pumpkin. Marg decided to use some of it to make the muffins.

The Tarte Tatin was next and it turned out reasonably well even though I over-caramelised the crust. Next time, I’ll get it into the oven more quickly. The recipe is available at:

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/pumpkin_apple_and_pear_tarte_tatin.php

I still had three quarters of the pumpkin left and decided  to bake “Mom’s Spicy Pumpkin Pie” on page 277 of “From Mom, With Love”. It was fantastic! No custard-like texture, instead more cake-like and very tasty. I was now hooked on the flavour of pumpkin.

There was still about half of the pumpkin left. I searched for recipes and chose “Pumpkin Cornbread” from:

http://www.pumpkinnook.com/cookbook/pumpkincornbread.htm

It too was outstanding, especially when toasted.

This is when I enjoy cooking the most. You try something new. It works. You learn to add new ingredients, techniques, and tasty recipes to your repertoire.

There’s still a bit of pumpkin left. What new shall I bake with it?

A U.K. menu

Dot and Dave are British. What to cook when they come over for dinner? Here’s what worked for us.

Starters

Hot Mushroom Dip, anonymous, from Good Life Fitness

Asparagus Tart, modified based on combining Gordon Ramsay World Kitchen  and

James Martin at 

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/511727

Potato Scones from

http://allbritishfood.com/potato%20scones.php

Cheese (Gruyère & Zamojsky Smoked) & Crackers


Main

Prime Rib of Beef au Jus with Yorkshire Pudding from page 123, from Mom, With Love, Kay Spicer, Doubleday Canada Limited, Toronto, 1990

Sides

Cauliflower & Potato Bake from

http://allbritishfood.com/cauliflower%20and%20potato%20bake.php

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots, courtesy of Ina Garten:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-parsnips-and-carrots-recipe/index.html

Corn on the Cob

Dessert

Apple Charlotte, Gordon Ramsay World Kitchen

It was a great party and I learned a few things.

Dave taught us to make Shandy, a simple summer drink to get the party going:

Fill a glass half full of beer (lighter beer works better).

Fill the rest with Lemonade.

You can also use Ginger Ale or 7-Up.

Potato Scones are actually from Scotland.

Bread puddings are so prevalent since, during tough times, it was served at the beginning of the meal to fill up on something less expensive.

Crème Fraiche should be prepared two days before to thicken properly.

Dinners for Days 133 to 138

133 Broiled or BBQ Salmon or Halibut Steaks from Lighthearted, page 103

134 Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry by Kelly Rossiter at treehugger.com:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/03/post_26.php

135 Halibut or Trout with Potato Succotash on General Mills Variety Goodness label

136 Corn and Tomato Scalloped, a simple recipe Marg picked up somewhere about 30 or more years ago when she toiled with feeding four always hungry children:

1 can whole kernel corn

1 large can tomatoes

1 small green pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup cracker crumbs

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp soft butter

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan or baking dish.

Simmer or bake for 30 minutes.

137 Thai Tuna Wraps from Clover Leaf; this is a great website with lots of useful information including many healthy recipes:

http://www.cloverleaf.ca/en/recipes/view/ThaiTunaWraps/

138 Oven Fried Chicken from Ontario Chicken Lover #13, page 10