Archive | June, 2010

Teo’s Terrific Tuesday’s- Beets two ways….

29 Jun

Some more great food ideas from Teo!

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If you’re anything like me, beets are far from your mind in the
spring/early summer. Beets belong in the fall with all the other root
vegetables: boiled, roasted, pickled…served up with gherkins and
cocktail onions alongside your grand maman’s tourtière. But I can’t
stop seeing them these days. Tiny, bright beets at the tips of
ginormous veiny leaves, alongside decidedly summer fare like
cucumbers, tomatoes, and new potatoes. And after all, why the hell
not? Tiny, little, succulent, tender-as-they’ll ever be beets. Sign
me up.

Now, many people are not beet fans. It’s alright. I must admit that
I wouldn’t touch them myself until my late teens. And then, I
suffered through them for a while, convinced that–given their colour
and weird-ass taste–they had to be good for me. But now I love them.
And you should too.

These are two of my favourite beet recipes. If you are a tentative
beet-er, you may want to start with the cooked salad. If not, go
ahead and try the raw beet one. Either way, you’ll get lots of iron,
potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A and B. Beets are an
excellent detox-booster, as they tone blood and feed red blood cells.
Enjoy!

Beet slaw

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
5-9 beets, depending on the size
2-3 limes, depending on how many beets
1 carrots (optional, for colour)
1 clove of garlic
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 avocadoes, ripe

Directions
1. Do not peel the beets if you can help it–the skin has most of the
fibre. Scrub them well, and maybe peel them a bit towards the top
(where the root meets the stem) and the skin is thicker. Peel around
any bumps and rought spots, but otherwise leave the skin on.
2. Grate the beets using the bigger setting on a cheese grater (I
have a flat handheld grater and it is a god send). Watch your
fingers. Try to grate directly into the bowl or you will have a
purple kitchen.
3. Grate the garlic into the beets. Raw garlic is an excellent
antimicrobial (ie, a yeast killer, it rids the intestines of bad
bacteria to leave room for the good ones to grow) and this is an easy
way to get some in. But if you are not a raw garlic fan you can skip
it here to no great harm.
4. Grate your carrot in for colour. I mean, the whole thing will be
purple, but some people like shades.
5. Squeeze your limes and toss the juice in with the beets.
6. Drizzle in the sunflower oil and toss well. Season to taste.
Place salad in serving bowls.
7. Cube your avocado and serve on top. Try to get a chunk of avocado
with each bite. Awesome…

Beet and corn salad

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
5-9 beets, depending on the size
1 red onion (or half if very big)
2-3 handfuls of frozen corn (ie, 1/2 to 1 cup), thawed
1 bunch of parsley, I prefer flat leaf (ie, Italian) in this recipe
but there is absolutely no reason why
3-4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Sunflower oil

Directions

1. Cook your beets. It takes a long-ass time. Be patient. When a
fork can make some headway in but they feel like they would still
crunch a bit, they’re ready.
2. Rinse your beets and soak in cold water. Peel them (the skins
should just rub off, but sometimes a little help from a knife is
welcome).
3. Cube them. You are going for bite sized pieces. Don’t chop too small.
4. Slice your red onion THINLY. You are going for quasi-Goodfellas
slivers. Toss them in with your beets.
5. Wash and coarsely chop your parsley, toss it in.
6. Drain your corn and toss it in.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add vinegar. Drizzle with sunflower oil. Toss. Toss again. Eat!

PS. Beet greens are a whole other level of adventurous. Try
sauteeing them or steaming them. The trick is to cut the bitterness,
so add a little bit of orange juice or, oddly enough, balsamic…and
lots of salt and olive oil.

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Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake & My Glorious Disaster of an Experiment.

25 Jun

A couple of months back at the behest of a friend and for the sheer challenge of it, I decided to follow the paleolithic diet. After 30 days, I realized I felt great, I was sleeping better and feeling less cranky. This made me want to continue. In order to do so I decided to follow the primal blueprint. I really love food! This love of food began for me as a child in the kitchen, more notably it began with baking. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ is a lifestyle that makes baking hard if not a challenge. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ promotes many things, but two that I find very important. One, eat what is most nutritious and beneficial for your body, and two, eliminate sugar. Clearly baking does not fit with these two guidelines. Broken hearted, I found substitutes such as almond flour and coconut flour, both nutritious flours but harder to bake with, especially when trying to eliminate/replace both refined sugar and vegetable shortening or oil. All in all, baking is a complicated equation, most of the times everything balances out, as soon as you start to replace and/or eliminate elements in the equation, the end result does not add up.

Yesterday was the fateful day I attempted on of my childhood favorites. Cake. I took the easiest classic recipe from my Grandmother’s cooking bible.Instead of regular flour, vegetable shortening and the 2 cups of sugar the recipe called for, I used coconut flour, agave and good old classic butter. I have to confess my utter failure. The cake was edible but there is a lot of tweaking that needs to be made. I am adamant that I will be able to master this recipe. I will make the cake of my childhood memories for the present healthy adult in me. It’s okay to indulge sometimes, 80% of the time I’m on target with my health goals, though I aim to follow those goals a 100 percent of the time. Here is my indulgent suggestion for you…

Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
I cup of shortening
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoon baking powder
I cup of milk
4 stiff beaten egg whites (beat till they form peaks)

Directions
1. Cream shortening and add sugar
2. add egg yolks and vanilla
3. beat WELL
4. add sifted dry ingredients ( flour, salt, baking powder) alternatively with milk and fold in egg whites
5.pour batter into 3 8-inch pans
6. place in oven at 350 degrees Celsius
7. leave baking for 30 minutes (check cakes at the 25 mark)

*use a toothpick to see if the batter is still raw, if the toothpick comes out clean your cake is done!

Lemon Frosting

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients

1 3/4 icing sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 3/4 icing sugar

Directions
1. combine sugar with butter lemon juice, cream and lemon peel.
2. beat until smooth
3. add 1 3/4 cup of icing sugar
4. beat until frosting has a ‘spreading’ consistency
5. If the icing is too thing then add more sugar
( I also added some toasted coconut flakes and some coconut shreds to the top layer for decorative purposes!)

*for this cake I used double the amount of frosting to cover the whole cake and the in between layers.

So there you have it! An indulgence of the most decadent kind. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, a cake like this is great to make because you can see how much sugar goes into baking. If this is how much you put into your cakes, imagine what is the ones you buy in stores! So invite some friends over and have some nice Earl Grey tea or herbal tea and make of an afternoon of it! Enjoy treating yourself! So next time around I hope to have prefect my coconut flour version of this cake, without gluten without sugar, and definitely without icing… once perfected I’ll be happy to indulge more often with a nice slice of coconut flour cake! In the meantime have a slice of Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington and enjoy eating it too!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

P.s. Best priced coconut flour in Montreal can be found at Les Douchers du Marche in the Atwater Market.

Grandma knows best, atleast her cookbook does.

15 Jun

This is ‘the’ cookbook of my childhood cake dreams. My grandmother received a copy of Better Homes and Gardens when she graduated highschool in 1949. My memories of this cookbook, are my grandmother taking it out for special occasions, usually birthdays and making delightful cakes (which to me seemed to be 6 layers in height). In the next couple of weeks I am going to try to make some of these recipes with gluten, primal and paleo concerns in mind. In the meantime check this out.

Nicaraguan guacamole vs. the mainstream stuff

9 Jun

When I first arrived in Montreal, I was about 6. There was a lot of adjusting to be done, however it didn’t take long. Children are resilient in that way. One of the hardest things to adjust to was the food available. The change in produce required a change in diet. Needless to say when I discovered that avocados were sold here and so was guacamole, things didn’t seem so grim. However the guacamole that is popular in here by no means resembled my guacamole salad I had growing in Nicaragua. The texture seemed to be totally different and it was. The puree consistency of the North American version contrasts with the chunky Nicaraguan version. For these reasons I wanted to share two traditional Nicaraguan guacamole salad recipes, one that I grew up with Doña Petrona’s, and one found in 50 Años en la Cocina.

Doña Petrona’s Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
4 small avocados cubed
2 hard boiled eggs cubed
firm cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup of onions cubed
1 lime juiced

Directions
1. Toss all the ingredients a bit if you like. The salad is supposed to remain chunky
2. Dry crumbly feta can be added as a garnish!

Traditional Nicaraguan Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
3 large ( 6 small) avocados in pieces
2 tomatoes skinned and seeded in pieces
1 small onion cubed
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of chopped cilantro

Directions
1.Delicately toss all the ingredients

Both these salads are a variation on a party classic. Sometimes I like to put these two salads on a bed a baby spinach. My preferred one and childhood favorite is Doña Petrona’s. I grew up with this lady who would help my mother out with some cooking here and there when my mother was at work back in Managua. I am pretty sure my love of cooking is partly due to her! So this is a nod to Doña Petrona! So until then, enjoy the salads as much as I!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Popeye loved Olive Oil

3 Jun

and so should you. During the summer there is nothing that compliments freshly cut veggies or a salad quite like olive oil. The kind of olive oil you use makes a difference and I challenge you to go out hunting and tasting. Now for those of you that don’t believe me the type of olive used can enhance the flavors of the vegetables you are using. I recently had the chance to walk into one of my favorite stores in the Atwater Market, called Les Douceurs Du Marché to find an olive oil sampling going on. This store is great, the staff know their ABC’s regarding the multitude of spices, oils and sauces lining the store walls.

Two of my favorite oils are Nunez de Prado , a great olive oil that really compliments fresh vegetables very well. Its has a fresh light taste yet one can distinctly taste those fresh Spanish olives without it overwhelming the overall flavor. I love to use Nunez on freshly steamed asparagus, green beans or a Kale salad! The other incredibly amazing choice was Château d’Estoublon. It’s hard not to be attracted to this french Provencal olive oil when it is bottled in an old Channel no.5 bottles. This olive oil has a distinct taste and the lightness of extra virgin oil. It’s seems buttery and smooth yet it is not as sweet as Nunez. The flavor of Château d’Estoublon would compliment meats and mushrooms in marinades.

The best thing to do is go visit Les Douceurs Du Marché! The couple that owns it is charming, helpful and knowledgeable. They can maybe let you know when the next oil tasting will be! Tasting these different oils at once can help you distinguish the difference between them. Sometimes the difference is negligible and sometimes it is so different that it helps you hone in on what taste you actually do like. Like biting into a black olive versus a fresh green olive, taste is really everything. So try something different! The oil used makes all the difference. Out you go, an adventure awaits! Enjoy the olive oil quest!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

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