Tapas Bar is one of my favourite restaurants in Victoria, and one of the more unique items on the menu is grilled kale. I recently tried to recreate the recipe at home, and the results were surprisingly good! I took a large bunch of kale and sliced it into thin strips, I then drizzled two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and put the mixture in a 8×8 square inch baking. I broiled the kale for approximately five minutes until it was crispy and then sprinkled the mixture with sea salt. It was fresh and crunchy. The perfect summer side dish.
This past weekend I was lucky enough to take a surf trip up to the quaint island town, Tofino. After a full day of surfing, I was starving, so along with some friends I went to The Schooner Restaurant. I had their Red Curry with Seafood and I was immediately inspired to go home and create my own version! Here is the recipe I made up (it’s quick and delicious ): 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, 2 tbsp red curry paste, 3 chopped mushrooms, 1/2 can pineapple tidbits, and 1/2 green pepper chopped, and 1/2 cup fresh shrimp. I brought the coconut milk to a simmer, stirred in the curry paste, and then the veggies. I let the mixture simmer until the veggies were cooked (approx. 7 minutes) and then I stirred in the shrimp and simmered for 3-4 more minutes. It was full of flavour, and the pineapple adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
One of my favourite culinary events is a potluck. They’re affordable, fun, and require far less preparation than one preparing a feast for 15 people. I recently hosted one in my humble abode and I’m glad to say it was a delicious success. Three different people brought curry dishes, so I was in gastronomic heaven! I told everyone to bring their favourite dishes from around the world, and we had butter chicken, an asian sesame salad, a rice noodle stir fry, and Indian kabobs, to name a few! I’ve attached some mouth-watering pictures from the evening. I can guarantee the next potluck is not far off!
My friend Jackie recently sent me this video of author Michal Pollan discussing how to navigate the food isles at your local grocery store. His concept is simple: never purchase anything that you’ve seen advertised. It’s a bold statement but it works. I would take that statement even a step further and say: never purchase anything with a nutrition label. This may seem counterintuitive because of late we’ve all been taught to diligently study nutrition labels. But think about it. Here are some foods that don’t have nutrition labels: fruits, vegetables, fresh whole grains, bulk foods such as nuts and legumes, and even meat. These foods don’t need nutrition labels because they are in their natural state.
I was at a brunch a few weekends ago (yes, the same brunch I brought the Mediterranean Potatoes to) and while I would like to think my potatoes were the hit of the party, they were definitely runner-up to a surprise favourite that was debuted late into the brunch. What was this culinary masterpiece? Cornbread. Simple, delicious, and widely overlooked as the perfect side dish, breakfast, snack, or even dessert (if you add a little extra sugar). I was so inspired immediately after leaving the brunch I went out and bought cornmeal, corn and a few other ingredients I didn’t have on hand. That day I had cornbread for breakfast AND dinner. It was perfect.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Is cornbread really worldly?”. My answer would be of course!
Here’s a bite of cornbread history. First Nations were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the North America. Cornbread was discovered by Europeans during the European exploration of the New World when the Europeans had to survive using only local ingredients and thus came up with cornbread, using cornmeal as a base. Cornbread was also popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms. Today, cornbread is a common in the southern United States.
Here is the recipe I used for my cornbread: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grandmothers-Buttermilk-Cornbread/Detail.aspx. I also added in about half a can of niblet corn to add texture. And cornbread is best eaten with copious amounts of butter.
As promised in my last post, here is the recipe for Naan bread. I figured it would be easiest to include a ‘how-to’ video because it is a bit tricky to explain if you haven’t attempted it before. Thanks to the Indian Vegetarian Gourmet for this video!
As you know, Indian cuisine is one of my favourites and after returning from my trip to India, I couldn’t get enough Aloo Gobi. Aloo Gobi is a dry Indian and Pakistani dish made with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gobi) and a variety of unique Indian spices. It has a bright yellow colour from the Tumeric and it is fantastic!
I used a variation of this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Alicias-Aloo-Gobi/Detail.aspx.
*Note, the Naan Bread shown in the picture will be featured in my next post.