Four amazing (and healthy!) dips

dips

 

These four dips came together in under an hour, including roasting time. Of course you can go and buy pre-cut platters of veggies and a packaged dip, but these dips bring might brighter and richer flavours.  One item that is key to have is a tool that can blend food: a blender, immersion blender, or food processor, whatever, that creates a smooth and creamy consistency.

 

Black Bean Cilantro Salsa

cilantrodip

Unanimously deemed the best out of the four dips (although they are all wonderful), this dip is also one of the quickest to make.

1 can of black beans, drained and rinced
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of cilantro, stems and leaves
1 heirloom tomato
1/2 onion, sliced
1 oz hot sauce

1. Blend all ingredients well.
 

Spicy Blue Cheese Dip

Slightly reminiscent of chicken wings, this is a much healthier alternative!

250 ml 0% fat Greek yogurt
1 oz blue cheese
1 oz hot sauce
1/2 oz dill

1. Blend all ingredients well.

 

Roast Beet Hummus

beetdip

Beets are one of my favourite things. With plenty of nutrients and flavour, they also pack a visual punch!

3 beets, peeled and diced
1 can of white beans, drained and rinced
1/2 clove of garlic, peeled
olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Spread beets out on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Roast for 20 minutes or until beets are easily pierced with a fork.
4. Mix beets, beans, and garlic. Puree until smooth, adding water to thin the mixture as necessary.

 

Roast Garlic and Onion Dip

Who doesn’t love roast garlic and onion?

5 garlic cloves
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Spread onions and garlic out on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Roast for 20 minutes.
4. Puree until smooth, adding water to thin the mixture as necessary.
 

dips2

Roast root vegetables over sauteed kale, topped with a lentil burger

salad2

As I neared the end of another week I was looking for a way to use up the odds and ends in the fridge before tomorrow’s farmer’s market. This is a very set-it-and-forget-it kind of meal, yet still ends up looking and tasting phenomenal.

For the vegetables

veg

5 golden beets, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of kale, chopped thinly
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Lay the beets, carrot, and parsnip on a baking sheet overtop parchment paper.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and vinegar.
4. Roast for 20 minutes or until they start to crisp.
5. While the root vegetables are roasting, sautee the kale in a pan until just wilted. Set aside.

For the patties

Now that I know how easy patties like this are to make, I can see a lot more of them happening in the future.

1/2 cup each cooked lentils, quinoa, and amaranth seeds
1 duck egg, or 2 chicken eggs
2 tbsp each panko (or bread crumbs), nutritional yeast, and sunflower seeds
1 tbsp each chia seeds and flax seeds

1. Heat oil in a hot pan.
2. Mix all the ingredients well.
3. Form in to patties.
4. Fry the patties until crispy.

For the dressing

1 tbsp each honey mustard, horseradish mustard, maple syrup, mayonnaise, and olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sprig of rosemary, minced

1. Whisk all the ingredients until well blended.

For the final product

Now you have all the components, pile the vegetables nice and high, top it with a patty, and drizzle with the dressing.

salad3

Amaranth, lentil, and quinoa nori wraps

finishednori2

What I love about these is that they taste amazing, and you can make a whole batch to last you through a week of lunches, snacks, and even light dinners. This recipes will yield 12-16 rolls, depending on how much you stuff them.

1 cup amaranth seeds
1 cup green lentils
1 cup quinoa
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cucumber, peele and julienned
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sriracha hot sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets

noriingreidents

1. Combine amaranth, lentils, and quinoa in a rice cooker. Fill water to the “3” marker. No rice cooker? Put everything in a pot with x cups water, bring to boil, wait x minutes.
2. Once cooked, add the sriracha, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Mix well.
3. Lay out a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat.
4. Spread some of the amaranth mixture on the bottom half, but leaving about an inch of bare nori at the very bottom.
5. Layer on carrots, cucumber, and avocado.
6. Brush the perimeter of the nori lightly with water.
7. Carefully roll everything up, and press the ends shut.
8. Using a wet serrated knife, slice the roll diagonally.

noriprocess

Beef broth risotto with poached duck egg

risotto

A few weeks ago I was in a Florentine apartment, learning how to cook Italian meals. On the menu was risotto, one of my all-time favourite meals. It was a dream learning how to cook it from a bona fide Toscana. One step I had never learned about before was the resting period, when the risotto is just al dente, and additional butter and cheese is added. Additional butter and cheese is always a good thing.

I’ve always held the belief that risotto is the perfect date meal to make. It’s a little bit fancy, but really hard to mess up. It smells amazing. It keeps your hand busy. And it’s an excuse to open up a bottle of wine.

2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup wine or vermouth (optional)
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth (feel free to use vegetable or chicken broth)
1 duck egg per serving
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan

risottoingredients
1. In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the arborio rice until it becomes translucent.
2. In a separate pot, heat the broth.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the oil, and cook until the onions begin to soften.
4. At this point add the wine or vermouth, if using. Cook, stirring, until absorbed.
5. Slowly add a spoonful of the warmed broth to the rice mixture. It should sizzle. Stir until the broth is absorbed.
6. Continue slowly adding the broth a spoonful at a time. Wait until the broth has been incorporated by the rice before adding the next spoonful.
7. Continue this process until the risotto still has a bit of bite to it.
8. Once almost cooked, remove the risotto from the heat. Add the butter and parmesan, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
9. About 10 minutes in to this resting time, poach the duck eggs. I used this technique, and served them soft-poached. What’s the point of poaching if you’re not going to have runny yolk?

Herbes de provence mussels with red wine

I’m not suggesting that mussels are an easy meal to repurpose for a work lunch – this is much more of a weekend lunch idea. By a twist of fate I found myself with a pile of fresh mussels on my hands.

finishedmussels

They never stood a chance.

1 lb mussels, washed well, and discarding any opened ones
Whole head of garlic,  minced
2 tbsp herbes de provence
2 tbsp butter
1 cup red wine
Nice crusty bread

mussels

1. In a large pot, fry garlic with the herbs and butter until nicely browned.
2. Deglaze with the red wine.
3. Add the mussels, and cook for 8 minutes minutes. Discard any unopened ones (apparently you don’t have to do this, you be the judge).
4. Remove mussels and continue to cook down the wine sauce until it is reduced by half.
5. Pour the wine sauce over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread.

Golden slaw with beets, parsnip, apple, and sage

I was going to make pork and wanted to make some sort of accompanying slaw. The thought of a golden slaw came to mind. The earthiness of the golden beets and parsnip play nicely off the sweetness of apple and sage.

slawingredients copy

1 parsnip, peeled and julienned
1 apple, julienned
4 golden beets, peeled and julienned
handful of fresh sage, minced
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

slawinbowl

1. Combine vinegar, water, sage, and sugar in a saucepan and boil until sugar dissolves.
2. Mix beets and parsnips in a bowl. Pour hot vinegar mixture over top, and allow to cool. Place in the fridge for at least two hours.
3. In the meantime, let the apple sit in the lemon juice to keep it from browning. Place in the fridge for at least two hours.
4. Drain beet and parsnip mixture, and combine it with the apple.

Oven-barbecued pork loin

pork1

There I had two luscious pork loins, but wasn’t up for the barbecue. Fortunately this method resulted in juicy and flavourful meat, and is a technique I will absolutely be employing come the winter months! As pictured, the meat becomes so tend the bones literally fall off during the baking.

2 pork loins
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp hot sauce (I used sriracha)
1/2 cup soy sauce

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Rub both sides of the loins with the chili powder, salt, and pepper.
3. Heat oil in a griddle to a very high heat. Sear loins on both sides until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
4. In a lidded dish, combined all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Add seared pork loins.
5. Cook loins in the oven, covered, for 50 minutes.
6. Remove lid, cook for another 10 minutes.