How to: Make a Chicken Soup for Cold Season

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Anyone else feeling like this cold and flu season has been particularly brutal?

Granted, my daughter is spending her first year daycare, too. Also known as the world’s biggest germ factory.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised it’s been cold central around here.

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When my nose is raw and my throat lumpy, all I want is a magical cure for my dulled taste buds.

This soup is some seriously heartwarming shit.

Like it will satisfy your soul, people.

Ginger and lemon give it a bright, zingy flavour and turmeric, a spice that can be found on many a 2017 food trends lists, is your anti-inflammatory and antioxidant friend.  It also gives it a pretty colour.

Of note, I tried to find credible, scientific evidence supporting turmeric’s ‘super food’ status with little success. There are only a small number of human studies that exist, with an even smaller number of double-blind placebo controlled studies (the gold standard in scientific research) to support the many many MANY claims being made about its power to cure everything from acne to cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Big picture, guys: Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods & focus on vibrant colours (ahem…turmeric) and you’ll get plenty of anti-imflammatory goodness.  Dieititian hand to heart.

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Now, back to this fan-bloody-tastic soup that takes 30 minutes start to finish.

30 minutes for soul satisfaction? Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

And it might even cure your cold.

Erin

Chicken Soup for Cold Season

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Website Adapted from Soup Addict

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Small onion (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (sliced)
  • 2 Medium carrots (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is an easy option)
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

I found Israeli couscous at my local bulk store, but feel free to use your favourite pasta shape in this soup.

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until softened.
2. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring for another minute.
3. Add broth, chicken and couscous and simmer for 10-12 minutes until couscous is cooked through. Add lemon juice along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Garlic & Lemon Grilled Shrimp and Orzo Salad

So, we got a new barbecue!

You’ll want to pay attention this summer if you’re looking to up your grilling game. I’ll be grilling damn near everything.

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Like roasting in the winter, summer grilling brings our the best in so many foods.  This post-pardum sweet tooth is still kicking around too, so I’ll take a little caramelization anytime.

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Seafood has a fresh, sweet flavour to begin with.  Adding a few grill marks to a nice sweet juicy shrimp makes it even better.

Now a note on packaged frozen shrimp.  If you’re a regular reader, you know I often advocate for smart seafood choices.  We have essentially fished our oceans into extinction and if we don’t take serious steps to reverse the damage we’ve done by over-fishing, we may reach a point (in MY lifetime) that wild fish and seafood is simply no longer available. In addition to that, you can read this article published last year about the plight of workers aboard thai fishing vessels.  It might break your heart, but it’s important information that may change the way you use your buying power.  Part of the solution is improved fishing practices to be sure, but part of it must also be aquaculture.  Think agriculture, in the water.  Farmed fish and seafood.  It’s not ‘weird’. It’s not ‘unnatural’.  We already farm the vast majority of animal protein we eat.  If the world lived on wild game meat, there wouldn’t be nearly enough to go around and we would cause mass extinctions.  The same thing is happening in the oceans right now.

I am certainly no expert in aquaculture, but I do know I want my farmed fish to be raised in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner, just as I want my wild caught seafood to be.

Big grocers and restaurants are catching on. They are working with non-for-profits like Ocean WiseMarine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to put more responsibly caught/rasied seafood on store shelves.  Look for their symbols when purchasing fish, or ask your fish monger about the source of your purchase.

Ok, mini rant over.

SAVE THE OCEANS!

K, really done now.

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Back to biz. This is my marinade.  I used it more as a sauce then a marinade, since marinading seafood in any any acid too long toughens the final product.

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Don’t forget to soak your skewers for a half hour or so.  No one likes a fire. I don’t make mention of the little oniony looking things on the left because I didn’t use them in the recipe.  They’re ramps, otherwise known as wild leeks.  They have a short spring season and they came in my produce box this week.  They taste like a very mild leek.  I’ve grilled them for use in a recipe later this week!

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Get all your ducks in a row before you hit the grill with the shrimp and tomatoes.  They take a quick 2 minutes per side.  Any longer and your shrimp will take on that rubbery over-cooked texture and your tomatoes will fall off the skewers!

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While there are a few separate components to this recipe, they’re all very simple and quick.  And substitutions?  I can think of about 6 billion off the top of my head.  Shrimp could be chicken or tofu, grain could be barley or quinoa, cheese could be goat or fresh mozzarella, and any leafy green would do.  Use a bottled salad dressing if you must, or just drizzle lemon juice or balsamic vinegar over the whole thing.

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Whatever you do, fire up that damn barbecue.

Erin

Garlic and Lemon Grilled Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb 21-30 count shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (divided)
  • 3 cups cooked orzo pasta
  • 75g feta cheese (about ⅓ cup crumbled)
  • 6 cups washed salad greens

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon liquid honey

Directions

1. Preheat barbecue to high heat (450-500F) for 10 minutes.
2. For the shrimp marinade: In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
3. Skewer shrimp alternating head to tail and push them together so they're snug (this will keep them moist). Pat dry with a paper towel on both sides. Brush shrimp on each side with a generous portion of marinade.
4. Skewer tomatoes, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
5. Over direct high heat on an oiled grill, grill shrimp and tomatoes for 2 minutes per side. Close barbecue lid other than to flip. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
6. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for dressing. In a separate bowl, combine orzo and feta. Add ⅔ of salad dressing to orzo, reserving the remainder to drizzle over completed salad.
7. Arrange greens on a platter, top with orzo mixture, grilled tomatoes and shrimp. Drizzle with remaining dressing and garnish with additional feta and lemon wedges if desired.

How to: Quickie Meal – Spring Pizza

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It’s upon us.

It’s in the smell of the air, the lingering daylight, the tiny crocuses breaking ground with a pop of colour.

SPRING!

It’s giving me the warm and fuzzies and making me feel like anything is possible.

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Such as an egg on pizza.

One of my favourite Instagram hashtags is #putaneggonit. People be putting eggs on ev’rythang.

My turn.

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I love this trend.  There’s something so…beautiful? mouthwatering? sexy?…(yup, all those things) about a gorgeous oozy yolk.

My best friend doesn’t like egg yolks.  Only whites.  This would be grounds for a best friend divorce if it weren’t for me getting her throw-away yolks.

Also, the thought of an egg-white omelette makes me gag a little.

You get my drift.  TEAM, YOLK!

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I just used some leftover frozen homemade naan for these pizzas, so the crust was ready made.  You can certainly use pizza dough, or store-bought naan or even greek pitas as alternatives.

The asparagus isn’t local just yet, but it sure won’t be long. Farmers’ market time is near and I’m already daydreaming about long leisurely afternoons sauntering through stalls with my daughter, teaching her about all the beautiful local goodies.

All this assuming she no longer poops her pants or needs to eat, or nap.

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Anywho, this pizza is super springy and will give you the warm and fuzzies, too!  So eat some! Plus, it’s a 15 minute meal (raise roof emoji x 3)

Erin

Spring Pizza

Ingredients

  • ½lb asparagus (sliced thinly on the diagonal)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 150g ricotta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (plus extra for finishing, to taste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (plus extra for finishing, to taste)
  • 3 6-7 inch flatbreads
  • ⅓ cup fresh or frozen sweet peas
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 3 thin slices proscuitto

Note

This recipe easily doubles.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 500F.
In a small bowl, mix sliced asparagus and peas with olive oil. In another small bottle, mix ricotta with salt and pepper.
2. Spread ⅓ of ricotta mixture over each flatbread. Top with asparagus slices. Bake for 4 minutes and remove from oven.
3. Immediately top hot pizza with egg carefully cracked over the centre (if needed, crack egg into small bowl and pour carefully onto pizza).
Bake an additional 4-5 minutes until egg is just set.
Remove from oven.
Tearing thin strips of proscuitto, lay over pizzas. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Broccoli and Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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If you can resist broccoli and cheese casserol-y things in the winter, you’re one up on me.

Also, the squash is still rolling in weekly with my produce box delivery, so I’ve been needing to get creative all up in here.

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This isn’t totally brand new, though. This recipe was inspired by another recent spaghetti squash doozy; spaghetti squash gratin.  I’ve basically added some broccoli and greek yogurt for oomph.

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Looking for even more broccoli and cheese in your life?

Check out these previous How to Eat hits:

Broccoli and Cheddar Patties

Broccoli, Cheddar and White Bean Soup

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This recipe will work as a side, or even a vegetarian main in a larger portion.  Serve with a hearty winter salad for a complete meal.  Reheated leftovers are also a dream.

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Go on and get your casserole on.

Erin

Broccoli and Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Serves 4-6
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 to 2.5lb spaghetti squash (makes 3.5 - 4 cups cooked squash)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets/ stems
  • 2 Large eggs
  • ¾ cup light sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 120g old cheddar cheese (finely grated and divided)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

1. Halve squash and roast in 400F oven for 40-45 mins until easily pierced with a knife. Alternatively, pierce squash with a knife all over and microwave whole for 10-12 minutes.
Lower oven (or preheat) to 375F
2. Meanwhile, steam broccoli for 3-4 minute until tender/crisp, but still bright green.
3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, ⅔ of the cheese, salt and pepper.
4. Combine squash, broccoli and egg mixture in a large bowl. Transfer into a lightly oiled baking dish.
Top with remaining cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 and broil for 2-3 minutes until cheese is lightly browned.

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Thai Sweet Potato Soup

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Anyone else disturbed by the amount of their grocery bill lately?

Not OK.

With the tumbling loonie, word on the street is grocery costs will continue to rise. It’s all of that fancy imported food we like. Like cauliflower, the caviar of 2016.

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Not to worry though, friends. I’m here to give you an insider tip on how to save some sweet cash.

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Buy local! Yup. Not only does Ontario still have a good variety of locally available fresh produce (check it out here), you can also buy frozen ‘product of Canada’ fruit and veg. In fact, a lot of it is on sale this time of year.  Perfect timing.

Oh, you need some incredibly well tested recipes which feature local foods? I happen to know of a cookbook that’s just the ticket.  Homegrown is selling like mad though, so you bes’ be ordering a copy STAT.

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This super cinch recipe makes use of Ontario roots – sweet potatoes and carrots.  I’ve added a few thai inspired ingredients because thai food kicks ass. Is there a better reason?

Serve it as a side or a starter for any of our other Thai-inspired recipes (um, it seems we’re sort of obsessed with thai food):

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Pizza

Thai Kale Salad with Sesame Tofu

Shrimp and Mango Fresh Rolls

Thai Chicken Cabbage Wraps

Thai Mango Salad

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Enjoy!

Erin

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Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1lb sweet potatoes (approximately 2 medium - peeled and chopped)
  • 1lb carrots (approximately 4 medium - peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced ginger
  • 1l low sodium vegetable stock (divided)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (plus additional lime wedges for garnish)
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup roasted, chopped peanuts (for garnish)
  • parsley or cilantro (for garnish)

Directions

1. Add potatoes, carrots, ginger, 3 cups of stock and coconut milk to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 until potatoes and carrots are very soft.
2. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, puree soup until smooth. Blend in additional stock as needed to reach desired consistency and reheat in pot if necessary. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
3. Divide soup among 4 bowls and top with parsley/cilantro and peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge.