DIARY OF A CHEF AT HOME
a collection of holistic nutrition tips & tricks, plus many of Food on the Table's favourite recipes
It's that time of year when the hot heat of the summer shifts to shorter and cooler days. I have to say, this year that shift seemed a bit abrupt to me. September in beautiful Vancouver, BC is usually quite nice, but let me tell you, it's been rather wet! An early start to our "rainy" season I suppose.
So...this is my new favourite soup. Have I said that before?
Spicy, warming, rich and creamy while meeting my 3 very important criteria for a dish: Simple to make, extremely Nourishing (not only for the body but the mind & soul too) and, yes you guessed it Delicious. I hope you know by now that I wouldn't share a recipe with you that didn't meet these three expectations. Why not get the best BANG for your BUCK?
I recently completed a 3.5 month online course at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition based out of Toronto, ON. Hence the reason I haven't blogged in awhile. I'm a pretty good multi-tasker but when you literally don't have enough hours in the day to get things done, and you collapse onto your bed at the end of the day then you simply do-what-you-can-do and the rest will wait. So hello again, I'm baaaaack!
Here's a quick and easy dinner that includes one of my favourite first foods of Spring, Asparagus! Around this time we start eating them by the handful. My 4 year old especially loves them. Something about a spear of food that you can eat with your hands is AOK with him and I know if I give him a plate full of them, they'll be eaten in no time.
I don't eat a lot of rice but when I do this is one of my go-to dishes. Rice is a staple food for many people around the world, especially countries in Asia. It is believed that Chinese fried rice started as a way to not waste food and use up un-eaten rice with the high heat from the wok killing off any unwanted bacteria.
Ok, I know I’ve said this before but this dish is a serious winner with my 4 year old. It’s true, he does like a lot of different foods but sometimes I’ll get a prominent “mmm….yummy mommy, I like this. You should put it in your cookbook!”
If you’re trying to reduce or eliminate grains from your diet or just simply want new dishes to add to your repertoire, cauliflower rice is one of my absolute favourites! It’s pretty much become a staple dish in our household. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the occasional bowl of rice but cauliflower “rice” is much easier on my digestive system, it packs more of a nutritional punch and is nice and light which leaves me feeling good after a meal.
One of my favourite types of fish to eat is fresh caught wild sockeye salmon. Living on the West Coast we have an abundance of fresh seafood right at our doorstep that can be purchased from farmer’s markets, local sea mongers, Granville island (in Vancouver, BC), many local grocery stores or freshly caught from your own fishing rod! There are so many ways in which salmon can be prepared and the ones that know this best are the indigenous people of this land where fresh caught salmon was a staple in their diet.
Coleslaw is one of my favourite types of salad. There are so many different variations from many different countries that it would be hard for me to pick my favourite. This one is definitely up there!
Do you like vegetables? I like vegetables. Actually, I LOVE them. I cannot imagine a day without them. We incorporate them into most meals that we eat, whether it's the main star of a meal, a side dish or incorporated into a smoothie. I make a serious point of getting them in there.
I know...another cabbage recipe! I can't help myself, I love the stuff! It's amazing how dense these things are, a little seriously goes a long way. And when I say dense I mean in volume / weight along with vitamins and minerals. Just look at all the colours in this dish! Talk about phyto-nutrients to the rescue. Also, a cabbage will last in your fridge for weeks so if you don't use it all, save some for another dish.
Are you celebrating National Curried Chicken Day by cooking up our very own batch? I am...mainly because it's National Curried Chicken Day, I love Curry and I love Chicken. Done.
The holidays can leave many of us feeling a bit off track when it comes to the foods we eat. With the onslaught of parties, dinners, late nights, excessive sweets and increased alcohol consumption, it might leave us feeling heavier, sluggish, lower energy and feeding into a sugar addiction.
Oh the humble and simple cabbage. One of my favourite vegetables on this planet! You will often find one kicking around my kitchen in the form of coleslaw, kimchi, sauerkraut, in soups, stews or in this case a warm salad. This dense and hearty ball of tightly packed leaves comes in a variety of colours (red, green and purple) with smooth or wrinkled leaves.
There's nothing like giving a home-made gift made with your very own hands. Not only are homemade gifts made with TLC, they can also be very economical and an activity that can get one or more sets of hands involved. If we're close, you've likely received something home-made from me. Being a creative and practical person, I often like to give gifts that you can eat.....or slather on your body ;)
I love a good pasta sauce. I love a good tomato based pasta sauce. And bonus to a good pasta sauce that can be made in under 30 minutes. You can cook this sauce longer but it's really not necessary. This simple sauce is full of flavour and is a great base for any dish that requires a red sauce like meatballs, pizza, braising liquid, lasagna, casseroles, or a base sauce for grains or veggies.
Meatballs are a staple dish I often have kicking around in my freezer. They're perfect for those busy nights when I don't have time to prepare a full meal from scratch and as my son gets older those nights seem to be more frequent. I'll often double up on this batch, cook what I need for the evening then freeze the rest for several more meals or snacks. My boys seem to love them and everyone that's tried them has given them 2 thumbs up!
One of the few vegetables that are in season during the winter is squash. There are so many varieties, one of my favourites being butternut squash with its rich, sweet, creamy flavour and vibrant orange flesh.
This is one of the most requested dishes among clients that use my Chef at Home private cooking service. It's also one of our favourites at home. My 4 year old gobbles it up, especially if I add prawns to the dish. It's quite versatile; leave it as a veggie / vegan dish with lots of greens and peas, or add some protein.
Veggies, veggies, veggies! In our house vegetables are a big part of our daily food intake. We try to eat a little or a lot at each meal. Veggies are the TRUE comfort food. They're loaded with a plethora of plant nutrients that provide the body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and water. Veggies (especially green) are alkalizing and help to keep the blood healthy and the lymphatic system moving, maintaining a constant natural detox.
Sometime last winter my good friend (and neighbor) Robin was feeling under the weather so as a caring friend (and neighbor) does, I brought her a batch of chicken & vegetable soup. Why is it that when we're sick, many of us automatically crave that ubiquitous bowl of "chicken soup"...or some other form of it?
The secret to moist and tender pork tenderloins is to sear the meat first then roast it in the oven at a high temperature, this helps to lock in the moisture This dish is simple to prepare and comes together in under 30 minutes.
I love eating sautéed greens, especially when cooked with butter. This dish came about because I had exactly all of these ingredients in my fridge and wanted to use them up.
This dish has become a staple at our thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Roasting the yam and cauliflower brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables imparting a lovely sweet flavour in this light and fluffy mash.
Today felt like a day for chili. Although it's still technically summer (last day) the cool Fall breeze is in the air. It amazes me at how quickly the weather shifts as we approach new seasons in our beautiful city.
One of my great joys in life is cooking! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & food lover I continue to explore the balance between healthy, traditional food preparation and tasty dishes.
Check out my new COOKBOOK! Planting Seeds of Nourishment with over 40 whole-foods based recipes and tons of nutrition info!