Monthly Archives: January 2015

Salads I Have Known & Loved: Vitamin C Salad

Serve and feel those nutrients pepping you up! It's gonna be a sunshiney day!

Serve and feel those nutrients pepping you up! It’s gonna be a sunshiney day!

It’s flu season! And what better way to combat it that boosting your immunity with this Vitamin C salad? It’s so easy, it’s cray-cray!

This salad is a two-ingredient side salad, that pulls together in a snap, and is raw vegan to boot. It might sound like it’s too easy, but seriously, just try it. It’s delish!

It’s a great recipe to feed a child, as the sweetness will appeal to their taste buds. I grew up eating it as a child, and now the DH loves it too (not to imply that he’s a child or anything *grin*). I’m sure some earlier version must have had raisins in it, but why ruin a good thing? (Yeah, I’m not a raisin fan, unless I’m eating them as a snack.) This salad, however, I could eat as a snack, and have upon occasion.

Want an immunity boost? Whip together this salad and enjoy!

Squeeze and grate. Need I say more?

Squeeze and grate. Need I say more?

Vitamin C Salad

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups of grated carrots

Juice the oranges, and grate the carrots. Mix together. Let sit for half an hour in the fridge. Eat, enjoy, and feel those vitamins coursing through your body!

Next Post: I’m feeling all granola all of a sudden! Possibly because of this recipe.

Salads I Have Known and Loved: Quinoa Crazy Salad

The ingredients sound crazy. But it tastes awesome!

The ingredients sound crazy. But it tastes awesome!

Why do I call this salad crazy? For two reasons: firstly, it’s a combo of whatever happens to be in your fridge at the time (sort of a salad version of my kitchen sink soup), and secondly, it’s a combination of sweet and savoury that somehow just…works, despite the crazy mix of ingredients.  There’s dried fruit and fresh fruit for the sweetness, and then onion, walnuts, cucumber, and carrot for a savoury crunch. There’s honey in the dressing, but balanced out with red wine vinegar. And the magical ingredient that pulls it all together? Sesame oil! Not sure why, but somehow it melds the sweet and savoury into one mouth-puckeringly good salad.

By the way, I promised in my last post to talk about January Food Blogging. I watch food trends on twitter and pinterest (follow me, yes? @approachingfood), as well as other sites, and it’s interesting to see what pops up. January brings a LOT of recipes for salad, including a lot of quinoa salad. But I’m not jumping on the bandwagon with this recipe, I’m not, really! I actually happened to have some quinoa leftover, and as I’ve mentioned before, I eat a lot of salad…plus, I need to balance out my Christmas indulgences. (Oh, that rum-soaked fruitcake! So good!) So salad it is!

Want to experience the protein-rich, fruit- and veggie-packed magic that is Quinoa Crazy Salad? Let’s get mixing!

Chopping! A good knife is essential.

Chopping! A good knife is essential.

Quinoa Crazy Salad

  • 1 c. cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
  • 1/4 c. carrot, grated
  • 1/4 c. cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 c. celery, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Delicious apple, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. sliced or chopped tomato (I used baby ones)

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • scant 1/4 c. olive oil
  • scant 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • sprinkle of garlic powder

Mix all ingredients (except for the dressing) together in a bowl. Mix up the remaining ingredients together and drizzle over salad. Will keep in fridge for several days. Eat and enjoy being healthy!

I served this salad on top of lettuce for myself, because of my IBS issues, but just packed a serving for the DH to eat as is. He texted me to tell me how good the salad was; I was gratified! It’s definitely going to be a repeat salad in our house!

Next Post: Inspired by several recipes posted by well-known cooks, I make my own potato dish. Did it turn out? Tune in next time!

Inspired but…Insipid: Crispy Baked Potatoes

Sliced and diced and ready to be sprinkled with rosemary and baked at high heat!

Sliced and diced and ready to be sprinkled with rosemary and baked at high heat!

Inspired by this recipe, and this recipe, I decided to use up some of the potatoes and onions that I have lying around the house. Betwixt you and I? My potatoes were getting a leeetle bit shriveled, and my onions had sprouted green tops. Still useable, because hey, waste not, want not, but better to be used up in a dish. Hence…

Sliced and diced and now with rosemary. And salt n' pepa.

Sliced and diced and now with rosemary. And salt n’ pepa. <- nod to my youth.

Crispy Baked Potatoes

  • 6-8 potatoes (enough to fill a pan)
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes, and slice them using a mandolin. Or, if as in my kitchen, the mandolin has gone missing, use the side slicer of a an old-fashioned boxy grater. Peel, half, and slice the onion. Place the potatoes on their sides in a baking dish, and pop the onion slices in between. Melt the butter and mix with the oil. Brush oil/butter mixture on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle crumbled rosemary on top and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for an hour, or until potatoes are cooked through, and the top of the dish is golden.

inspired but insipid

Not a good photo. The DH was too hungry to wait for me to take a decent photo.

I liked the potato dish, but to be honest, for the amount of labour involved, I’d rather use this recipe. Sometimes easier IS better! Still, I’m glad I tried out my potato dish. I had really wanted to try out the Smitten Kitchen recipe, and then when I saw that Martha Stewart had a similar one, well, given that my nickname once was Marga-Martha, obviously I had to try it out!

Next Post: More salad, my liege? And January resolutions from the resolution-averse.

Memories of Meals Past: Easy Wine Jelly Cookies

Plated and glistening with a wine jelly filling.

Plated and glistening with a wine jelly filling.

Throwback Thursday on this blog means Memories of Meals Past! In this case, Easy Wine Jelly Cookies! Why wine jelly? Well, because…I happened to have  homemade wine jelly in my fridge, and I wanted to use it up! Waste not, want not, and all that jazz.

The original name of the cookie recipe is Split Second Cookies, from chowhound.com. They didn’t quite take a split second to make, but they were definitely easier than making traditional jammy thumbprint cookies, which is the recipe that I had been searching Google for. Would I make them again? Yes…but it wasn’t my favourite recipe. Partially because the dough spread more than expected, and more than the photos in the original recipe showed (and no, I did not make any substitutions to the dough), but also partially because there wasn’t that wow factor. They were nice cookies, but not really worth wasting calories on, you know? I’d rather be eating rummy fruitcake!

Important Fruitcake-related Update: Speaking of which, I had baked the fruitcake sometime last month, and then let it age, occasionally basting it with more rum (because um, yeah!). I served it yesterday, with prosecco, to celebrate the DH’s safe return from South America. My family loved it! As did the DH. I woke up this morning and 1/4 of the fruitcake had mysteriously disappeared. Breakfast of champions, apparently!

Next Post: Quinoa Salad! And reflections on January posts in the food blogging world.

Posh Veggies: Pan-Fried Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes in Clarified Butter

Ready to be nommed!

Ready to be nommed!

As I mentioned in my Gingerbread Buche de Noel post, I had a small dinner party recently. I made Carrot Ginger Stew over Quinoa, and served Pan-Fried Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes in Clarified Butter as a side. Low-fat, it was not; definitely tasty, though!

Why clarify butter? It makes the smoke point higher, i.e. you can cook with the butter at higher temperatures and not set off the smoke alarm. And since I wanted to get a little sear on the vegetables, a higher smoke point was a good thing.

Clarified butter is easy to make and sounds way posh! Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

Clarified Butter

  •  1/3 c. butter

Melted butter in saucepan over low to medium heat. When melted, remove from heat and let sit until it separates. You should be able to lift off any foamy or white-ish looking solids from on top, and any other solids should sink to the bottom. You can carefully pour the remaining butter into a container. And you’ve made clarified butter!

Frying up gloriously in a buttery haze!

Frying up gloriously in a buttery haze!

Pan-Fried Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes in Clarified Butter

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatos
  • 1/4 c. clarified butter

Boil asparagus until bright green (don’t fully cook them). In a frying pan over high heat, heat clarified butter until hot. Drop in tomatoes and asparagus. Be careful — it’ll spatter! Sear the veggies on the outside. By the time the outside is seared, the inside will be fully cooked. Plate, and drizzle any remaining clarified butter on top. Enjoy your veggies!

What do you think? Does the benefit of eating veggies get cancelled out by the addition of the butter? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Salads I have known and loved, now with quinoa!