Damn Good Salad

Along with some millet and chickpea croquettes, I made this salad for lunch today. And it is too good not to share with you RIGHT NOW. The only thing I could think as I was putting it together was that this is going to be a damn good salad. And it is. And so it is named. Another title would have been safer- Yummy Green Salad, or perhaps Quick Boiled Broccoli & Celery with Fresh Arugula, Sliced Toasted Almonds, Nori and Magic Dressing. Eh. Anyhoo. It really doesn’t matter what it’s called- only that it is delicious. Ridiculously delicious. It’s a damn good salad.

Damn Good Salad

This was more of a throw together type salad- a bit of this, some of that… voila! Use your instincts as to how much you want of each ingredient. I wish I had used a bit more celery.

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Arugula

Celery, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

Broccoli, cut into small, bite sized florets

Toasted Almonds (I make a big batch at once, and then I have them on hand for salad like this… handy!!)

1 sheet nori- torn into small pieces, or you  can use scissors to cut if you want a more precise cut.

Magic Dressing

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Place a medium sized pot on the stove, fill about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil.

While the water is doing its thing, wash and dry the arugula then place in a salad bowl.

When the water is boiling rapidly, add the celery and remove after about 20 seconds. Run it under cold water, strain and add it to the arugula.

Once the water is boiling again, add the broccoli for about 30 seconds. Remove, run under cold water, strain and add to the salad.

Mix together the greens with the toasted almonds and the magic dressing.

Top with nori and serve.

Kathi W - January 7, 2012 - 2:14 pm

I am totally making this salad tomorrow! LOVE your blog!

EKat - February 5, 2012 - 1:26 pm

I made this salad for my gals dinner party and my friends freaked out! I will make this once a week. YUM.

Chunky Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Browned Leeks

I woke up in the middle of the night last night. 3:37 the clock read. Yuck. It’s not very often that I wake up and then can’t fall back asleep, but last night was one of those rare occurrences. I tried to let sleep come and carry me away until about 5 to no avail. My eyes were wide awake and my brain was working on a list of things to do. So I crept out of bed and started the day.

It was surprisingly lovely. Those early morning hours are so calm, so still. It was easy to get some serious work done on projects I’ve been trying to complete. With a nice pot of tea I worked quietly until I was overcome by the urge for muffins. So I made them. And while I was baking I thought of this soup. So a few hours later I made it too. Am I ever glad I did. The mix of the mellow white miso and barley miso combined with the richness of the sauteed onion make it just hearty enough to be enjoyed for a warming winter lunch or dinner. The leeks add nice flavour too… and also encourage chewing!! Don’t you find it so easy just to let soup slip on down without chewing it at all? Garnish helps. So do the nice chunks of tender cauliflower.

Thank goodness for early morning inspiration. I’ll be making this one again. I hope you like it too.

Chunky Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Browned Leeks

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

pinch of salt

1 small – medium cauliflower, washed and cut into large bite sized pieces

spring water or 1 litre low sodium organic vegetable broth

1 tsp mellow white miso

1 tsp barley miso

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1 tsp olive oil

1 leek- cut into 1/2 inch slices

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Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the onions and the pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and saute until a dark golden brown, approximately 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the chunky bites of cauliflower, the pour over enough broth or spring water to just cover the cauliflower. Approximately 1 litre.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not falling apart.

While the soup is simmering, heat the other tsp of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the leeks and saute for a few minutes, then lower the heat and let the leeks crisp up, stirring them around occasionally.

When the cauliflower is tender, blend about half of the soup mixture in a blender, run it through a food mill, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot until your desired chunky consistency is reached.

Put the miso in a suribachi, add a bit of the soup liquid then mix until smooth. Pour into the soup and let simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.

Serve garnished with the crispy leeks.

Hubs - January 5, 2012 - 4:50 pm

Wow! That looks so hearty and rich! I think it’s time to leave work early and come home for dinner :)

Janine - January 5, 2012 - 5:57 pm

Wow that looks so good! Shauna your blog posts are too cute, and delicious!

Kfly - January 10, 2012 - 12:51 pm

I made this soup last night and it was fantastic! I brought some in for a friend and she literally hugged me when she tasted it! Excellent soup!

Roasted Almond with Cranberry Chewy Bars

These bars are really tasty. Hubs and I have eaten our way through 3 batches already. Oh the perils of recipe creation and testing!! But please don’t worry. I’m happy to take one for the team. So. Back to these gooey bars of richness. I brought them to a happening little Christmas fete the other week. Not being the traditional holiday fare I was curious how they would go over. Well. Let’s just say that I was surprised. I knew they were good- but oh my. The poor host was literally swarmed as she passed them out. I could hear choruses of “MMMM”, “OMG”, “WOW”, “Who made these???” and, my favourite… “WAIT! I want another!!” I guess you could call them a hit. It’s the blend of the toasted almonds combined with the slight tart of the cranberries that really makes these bars. The mix of chewy and crunchy textures, and the fact that they’re not overly sweet, will have you coming back for more. There may or may not be tray number 4 cooling in the fridge at this very minute.

Roasted Almond with Cranberry Chewy Bars

3 cups puffed brown rice
2 cups roasted almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tbsp maple syrup
2/3 cup almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon (start with 1/2tsp and add more to suit your personal taste)
1 tsp sweet white miso

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In a large bowl, mix together the puffed rice, roasted almonds and dried cranberries then set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over a medium flame until almost boiling. The sauce should have a glossy, shiny surface. mmmmm.

Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Run you hands under cool water and while still damp use your hands to press the mixture into a lightly greased baking dish or mini cupcake tray.

Place in the fridge and let cool. Once cooled, cut bars or twist the rounds out of the cupcake tray and serve. Be warned. You may be swarmed by guests coveting the rich yet not too sweet dessert. By may I actually mean the chances for swarming are exceedingly high. If you want any left over either make a double batch, or stash one or two away in the back of your fridge in a solid, not see through, container.

Karin - December 22, 2011 - 2:10 pm

YES!!!! I have been waiting for this recipe!!! These are the most amazing, delicious bars EVER! Thank you so much for bringing them to the party. What a hit! I could barely keep myself from eating the whole tray! YUM!

Marinated Black Quinoa and A Pressed Red Radish Side Dish

I’m playing the good sister/bad sister game. While I was in Calgary this summer visiting family I made a quinoa salad. Good sister. I’ve been promising my sister the recipe ever since. It’s December. Bad sister. Yesterday I started out with the best intentions to finally make the same salad and post in on here for her. Good sister. It started off well… and then some other power took over. The one calling for something rich and creamy. Something more substantial, yet still subtle and satisfying. I ended up far from my original intentions. Bad sister. But now I have two dishes instead of just one. Good sister.

Sister of mine! This is my public apology. You will get your recipe, I promise. Everyone- there’s more quinoa coming up in the very near future. But for now, black quinoa with creamy tahini and lemon zest is demanding all of the attention. Well, that and this fun side dish- Quick pressed red radish with toasted walnuts and raisins. The best thing about both of these sides is that they can be made a day in advance, and in this busy season, that definitely deserves a Good sister!!

Quick Pressed Red Radish with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins 

You can easily adapt this recipe for your own personal taste, so I’m just giving the basics. Want more radish? Use a full bunch, or two even if you’re serving a large group. Same goes for the walnuts. Raisins should always be on the light side. You want their sweetness, but only as a complement to the real star, the radishes.

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Radishes

Umeboshi Vinegar

Walnuts

Raisins

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Wash the radishes, then finely chop them in very thin half moon slices.

Place in a bowl, or a pickle press if you own one.

Add a few drops of umeboshi vinegar to the radishes and massage with your hands. After a minute or so, when you squeeze the radishes in your hand some liquid should run out. If not, add a few more drops of umeboshi vinegar, then massage again until the liquid is easily pressed out.

Place a smaller bowl over top of the radishes, and put a weight in the bowl. I use a big can of tomatoes, or something else heavy from the pantry. I’m still searching for the perfect rock to use!!

Let the radishes press for about an hour.

Meanwhile, wash the walnuts then toast them in a pan.

Wash the raisins, then (optional) put them in a pot of boiling water for a minute, then remove from the water and let cool.

Mix together the radishes, walnuts and raisins and serve. If you don’t want it too salty, you can use just the radishes without the umeboshi/radish liquid.

 Black Quinoa with Creamy Tahini Sauce and Lemon Zest

1 Cup black quinoa

2 tbsp tahini

1 tsp umeboshi paste

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, (approximately 3/4 of a lemon- squeezed)

1/4 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp water

1 tsp brown rice syrup

lemon zest- approx. 1 tsp. or to taste

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Rinse the quinoa well, then cook according to the package instructions, as they all seem to vary. For my quinoa I washed it, then soaked it for 10 minutes. The instructions on my package (slightly altered here) were as follows: In a pot, add 1 1/4 cups + 1 tbsp spring water, the quinoa, 2 pinches of sea salt, and a couple drops of olive oil. Bring to a boil and let boil vigorously for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat, fluff the quinoa, then cover and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes longer.

While the quinoa is cooking, mix together the remaining ingredients, except for the lemon zest, to make the sauce.

Mix the sauce and the cooked quinoa together, and if you can wait, let it marinate in the fridge overnight. When ready to serve, mix in the lemon zest. I added in a few bits of arugula, but not too much, as the flavour is spicy and could overwhelm the nice subtlety of the dish.

Just a quick note!! If you haven’t already checked it out, the January cooking class dates are now posted over here! Head on over, mark the dates in your calendar, and get ready for some super good times! And for all you manly men out there, there’s a class just for you- Macro Man Goes to the Superbowl is going to be deliciously full of all kinds of man treats. Of course, women are welcome too!! See you soon!

Irene - December 5, 2011 - 10:36 pm

Another mouth-watering blog! You never fail to impress, Shauna!

Quick question: would you recommend this quinoa recipe served warm, cold or room-temp?

Karin - December 6, 2011 - 9:48 am

I think I’ll have to make that quinoa tomorrow night! That tahini sauce sounds delicious! :)

Kathi - December 6, 2011 - 2:37 pm

What amazing photographs! Once again another great blog- I am going to make both of these recipes this week!

Distracted by Mochi Croutons- Basic Noodles in Broth

It’s American Thanksgiving today. With all the blogs I’ve been perusing featuring amazingly rich and decadent food, I thought I should also post some sort of fabulous treat. And then time laughed in my face and here we are. With noodles in broth. Nothing crazy, just a simple, tasty broth that’s rich in minerals and will help your body break down some of the animals proteins you may be consuming over the holiday season. The opposite of extravagant, really, this is something you can turn to over the next few weeks when time is spinning faster and faster and there’s hardly time to breathe. Fast and simple- you’ll actually have time to sit and enjoy, allowing the subtle ginger flavoured broth to warm and relax you as it makes its way down. And for a little treat there are mochi croutons!! Chewy, a bit salty, rich, crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, melting in the soup… Total indulgence!! I was so excited by the croutons, and so eager to eat the soup after photographing it, that I completely forgot to add the garnish for the soup’s photo-op. Thinly sliced scallions, nori flakes and toasted sesame seeds are not in the pic, but trust me- they really make the soup. I added them in about half way through eating, when I realized I had been totally distracted by the mochi crouton amazingness, thought briefly about re-shooting the soup, then promptly took another bite and polished off the bowl. Feeling warm and content, I felt happily thankful for the small pleasures in life. Like slurping noodles in broth.

Noodles in Broth with Mochi Croutons

One package of noodles- soba, ramen, udon… whatever you like. I used brown rice ramen noodles- so fun!!

2 – 3 inch square of kombu- soaked in water

1 or 2 shiitake mushrooms- soaked in water

3 tbsp shoyu (if using tamari use half this amount)

2 – 3 tsp fresh ginger juice

6 cups spring water

scallion, toasted sesame seeds, nori strips for garnish

1 pack mochi

olive oil

greens of your choice

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Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse under cold water, strain and set aside.

Finely slice the kombu and the shiitake and place in a pot with the soaking water. Add the additional water, shoyu and ginger juice, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

While the broth is simmering either oil saute or water saute the greens of your choice. I used baby bok choy  here, but have also used kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli… When the greens are bright green (should take no longer than 2 minutes or so), remove from heat and set aside.

To make the mochi croutons, cut the mochi into 1/2 inch  by 1/2 inch cubes. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the mochi cubes. Make sure they have enough space as they spread and get gooey and sticky! Turn down the heat to low, cover and cook for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, flip the mochi over, add a small drop of shoyu to each piece, then re-cover and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Place the noodles and greens in a bowl. When the broth is ready, pour over the noodles and greens and garnish with scallion, toasted sesame seeds, nori strips and mochi croutons.

Kathi - November 25, 2011 - 9:08 pm

Wow! Sounds sooo good!finding mochi is hard tho!Love the photo of the finished dish- so appetizing!

Shauna - November 26, 2011 - 12:11 pm

Hi Kathi, Thanks!! It is such a yummy easy bowl to make. I agree that mochi can be difficult to find… I’m lucky here in Toronto to have lots of great places to shop!! There’s a brand here that I really like- Green Cuisine- that makes delicious fresh mochi. If you need to have it shipped, Eden makes one that can stay on the shelf for a while- which makes it easy to travel. If you are in the US, you could try to order online from The Kushi Store or the Natural Import Company… or just ask your local health food store if they can order some in for you.

Karin - February 26, 2012 - 7:57 pm

Just made this soup tonight! Mochi croutons are CRAZY! So good!!