Monthly Archives: December 2012

Mini Pizza With Leek and Prosciutto

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I was having dinner with a good friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and he wanted me to cook, which for me was a total thrill. The day came and I was still unsure as to what I was going to make. I wanted to make something new that I hadn’t done before. I came across this recipe that morning in a magazine and made a few changes to the recipe to make it more me, and it turned out to be incredible.

Obviously if you have read other recipes I have posted and made you will notice how much I use Leek, its one of my favorite flavors, it has such a savory and light garlicky taste to it. They are high in fiber and they also contain polyphenols which acts as an antioxidant.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Its super simple to make and even simpler to eat!! Here is Mini Pizza With Leek and Prosciutto.

Ingredients:

4 Whole Wheat English Muffins – Halved

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1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Leeks

6 Sweet Basil Leaves

6 Slices of Prosciutto – Trim off the fat, we need to be healthy

1/2 Cup Chopped Baby Arugula

1/4 Cup Marble Cheese – Stripped

Pepper to Taste – No Salt this time, we are using Prosciutto

Directions:

Heat your oil in a pan, add the Leeks and cook over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes stirring often. When the Leeks are tender and the juices have evaporated season with Pepper and remove from heat. Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Place the halved English Muffins down on your broiling rack and toast until brown then turn them over and do the same thing on the other side (this can also be done in a toaster oven if a broiler is not available). Once toasted remove oven, divide the Leek evenly on the muffins, top then with Sweet Basil, and put a piece of Prosciutto on top. Now sprinkle the cheese on top of the Prosciutto.

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Cook the muffins under the Broiler until the cheese is  melted and bubbling. The Prosciutto should be slightly browned in spots though out and the Leeks should start to look a little crispy. Remove the oven and garnish with Baby Arugula.

We paired our meal with a simple and delicious Spinach Salad with carrots, red onion, green onion, cucumbers, and slivered almonds and feta cheese topped with a wonderful Poppy Seed Dressing. And of course we also had a nice glass of White Wine.

It is so easy and delicious to get your 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. You just need to find ways to get creative. Health food magazines can be a great way to get inspired to cook and create exciting and flavorful recipes to share with friends and family. This dish alone had calcium, protein, 1 serving of vegetables and a serving of grains, and thats without your side salad!!! Its just so exciting! GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND INTO THE KITCEH!

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xo

-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

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One of the most trendy ingredients for the last five years has been bacon. We have seen it everywhere, from breakfast to salads to deserts, a friend of my families came up with a candied bacon donut and obviously it was amazing. Bacon is just one of those meets that vegetarians everywhere wishes they could eat. Its just that good! I found a recipe that is simple and basic, and has many versions of it. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon!! This is a tasty way to make sure your kids will eat their Brussels Sprouts. I’m not sure why Brussels Sprouts have such a bad rap! I have always been a fan of them. They taste like leafy cauliflower to me, which is the best!

Ingredients:

10 Brussels Sprouts

3 Slices of Bacon

1/2 Cup of Red Onion

2 Cloves of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

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Directions:

When cleaning your Brussels Sprouts, peel back a few layers of the leaves to get rid of any dirt that may be on the surface, wash under cool water to get any inside dirt. Then chop bacon into thin slices, as well as you onion. Mince your garlic so it can essentially be lightly roasted in little pieces. Cut the Brussels Spouts into halves or quarters which ever you prefer.

In a skillet, cook the bacon on a medium heat until brown. Using a slotted spoon remove bacon from skillet. Add sliced onion and garlic and cook in the bacon fat. Cook until the onions and garlic are soft and tender and the onions are more translucent. Then remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and put in the brussels sprouts. Cook them until they are lightly browned on the sides (about 10 minutes). Then add back to the skillet your onions and garlic and bacon and cook together for about 5 minutes and stir around. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes an excellent side dish or a very tasty lunch. It serves 2 – 3 people. It isn’t hard to get a healthy tasting dish with a little bit of guilt to it. Bacon is the perfect ingredient to make you feel just guilty enough and when you add some healthy hearty vegetables you can’t go wrong! Try making this simple delicious side dish for you next meal.

– Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Grandma Rocheleau’s Tourtière

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When I was a young boy my Grandma would come out from Ottawa every second Christmas. She would spend lots of time cooking for us, she would make different holiday treats and one dish that we would always eat on Christmas Eve, Tourtière. A French Canadian meat pie that is made from ground pork, onions, and garlic. It can be made with various types of meats but we always made ours with pork. For my version I wanted to add my favorite vegetable to it: Leeks.

I did some research on Tourtière and found that after it had been originated in Quebec, it migrated to the New England States and in coastal areas it can be made with fish such as salmon or tuna, I kind of want to try it with salmon! I think that might be an interesting dish, so stay tuned for a different post. Now back to todays dish.

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Ingredients:

1 White Onion

1 Leek

3 Cloves of Garlic

2 Pounds of Medium Ground Pork

1 1/4 Cup Water

2 Pie Crusts (I used pre made crusts)

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

photo 2Directions:

In a dutch oven, combine pork, onion, leek, garlic and water; I cut my garlic into thin slices I did not use my garlic press, I find that if you chop it gets distributed more evenly. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the meet is no longer pink and the veggies are cooked. Then add Salt and Pepper (about a teaspoon of each… or as always to taste.)

Then add the filling into one of your pie crusts. Make sure that you spread the filling evenly throughout the surface of the pie while ensuring enough liquid is added. Then use the second pie crust to cover the top of the filling and press the sides of pie crusts together and close the pie up, put a few fork marks into the top of the pie. Now put it into the freezer for one day.

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Now that its tomorrow, preheat your over to 275 degrees (F) and bake for about 3 hours. The reason why you need to freeze it first and then bake it, is that this locks in the flavors and allows for the pie to be juicy and much more flavorful. You can tell that its done when the crust is golden brown and when you can see some of the juices bubbling out of the top. Remove form oven and let sit for bit to cool before serving, can be eaten with Ketchup. Serves 6-8 people. 

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This dish has so many fond memories. I remember when I was a kid, we would always eat Tourtière as our dinner on Christmas Eve. My mom and grandma would pre make them and put one in the oven, then we would go to church for Christmas Eve mass and come home and it would smell AMAZING in the house. We would sit and eat together and talk about Christmas and we would be filled with such joy from the season and the excitement of what was coming the next morning. Then we would open one Christmas Gift…. always Pajamas. We would change into our new PJ’s and watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. The BEST  traditions ever! I remember now as an adult how important those memories are to me and to our family. I think its incredible that our grandma passed down this and other recipes to our family. This recipe and post is a true homage to my amazing and wonderful Grandma, Corinne Rocheleau. I know that every member of my family has had this dish, some hate it some love it, but one thing is for sure, we all share this tradition that our Grandma passed down to us. Grandma, I love you!

-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Healthy Broccoli Salad

 

photo 1Sometimes I find that if you put Salad at the end of a name people automatically think that its healthy, which is totallynot the case. I must admit that as gross as it is one of my favorite guilty pleasures is Marconi Salad, the most unhealthy thing to eat, but that is for another post. Another one is Broccoli Salad, it really isn’t super healthy when you go pick up a box of it from the deli at the local supermarket, its packed with cheese and ham and mayonnaise not the most nutritious salad. This is salad is a great alternative to this traditional salad and is packed with nutrients and is super colorful for the holidays. Its has a lot of the same ingredients you find in most broccoli salads but this version has more kick and grains to it.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Cups Broccoli

3 Green Onions

1 Granny Smith Apple

1/4 Cup of Dried Cranberries

1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds

1/4 Cup Walnuts

1/4 Sunflower Seeds

1/2 Cup Pea Shoots

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt

Salt and Pepper to Taste

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Directions:

Start off by cleaning your Broccoli by soaking it in a bowl with warm salt water. Then using a cheese grader, grade your apple (with the skin on) and set into a large bowl (you will find that it will begin to brown fairly quickly… thats fine) then thinly slice your green onions. Now in the same bowl measure out your almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cranberries. Your Broccoli should be clean by this point, give it one last good rinse then in a second bowl begin to cut into small pieces. We are now going to blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes then rinse under cold water. Once drained add to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients and mix well.

In a second bowl add the lemon juice, honey, yogurt, and salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and mix very well and make sure that all the ingredients are covered then add the pea shoots and mix again. (I decided to cut off about 1/2 an inch of the pea shoots stem just to a bit more consistent with the size of my broccoli pieced). Then serve! This dish serves 4-6 people as a side dish.

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I am very excited about this recipe, I needed to bring a side dish to a holiday potluck and was asked to bring a salad. I didn’t really feel like bringing a simple mixed green salad with other vegetable. Too basic in my mind. I also wanted to bring something that was festive in color and ingredients. By adding the pea shoots it gives a slight peppery bite to it which I find adds a great flavor.

I think that by removing the traditional ham, cheese, and mayo you will find that there is still a great amount of flavor and crunch with the added seeds and nuts. Also, using honey gives it a sweet flavor that pairs very nicely with the broccoli and the cranberries.

TRY IT!!!!

-Matthew {Season to Taste}

 

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Apple, Blueberry, and Grapefruit Pie

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I wanted to bake some kind of desert for my birthday, I had cake the night before and wanted to have something different, so I decided to make a fruit pie. I bought a bag of grapefruits this week along with apples and frozen blueberries. I have had apple pie, and blueberry pie, but never grapefruit pie. I think that these three flavors would go well together. This was very simple pie to make and only takes 30 minutes to bake.

 

Ingredients:

2 Pie Crusts (I used frozen store bought ones)

2 Large Gala Apples Peeled

1 Large Grapefruit

1 1/2 Cups Frozen Blueberries

1 Table Spoon All Purpose Flower

2 Tables Spoons Brown Sugar

2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

photo 1 Directions:

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Peel your apples and grapefruit, make sure to remove the skin of the grapefruit and then cut into even pieces, combine in a large bowl then add the frozen blueberries. Mix in cinnamon, brown sugar, and flower. Make sure that the flower covers all the fruit so that they can thicken a bit. Once the fruit and the powered ingredients have been mixed together put the contents of your bowl into one of your pie crusts, set aside. photo 2

Then carefully remove the second pie crust from the tin holder and flatten the crust like a pancake and cut strips to cover the pie in a woven basket pattern. Then put the pie in the over to cook for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool for an hour before serving.

Pie is such a great desert, you can do so many variations, its a desert that you can be truly creative with. Try mixing different flavors together to make a unique taste, and who knows it might be the best pie any of your guests have ever eaten. It is also a nice substitute for a cake or heavier desert. I once went to a wedding where they served several different types of pies instead of having a large wedding cake, it was so much fun. Give it a try and see what you can come up with!

-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Zinc

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Well, today is my birthday and having it on a Sunday for me meant I could only do one thing, go out for brunch! I had the pleasure of going out with my loved ones for an amazing brunch at Zinc, the restaurant located in the beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta. I have been a member of the AGA for a year now and have never gone to Zinc for a meal, I have had a cocktail but that was it. The Brunch menu is small but wonderful. They had a good variety of options of Yogurt Parfaits to Lobster Eggs Benedict to Baked Mac and Cheese and Steak and Eggs. The staff at Zinc have taken the time to perfect amazing flavors with some of the finest ingredients.

 

We started with two cheese platters which contained different kinds of cheeses from Paddy’s Cheese Shop along with Lemon Blueberry Mimosas. For my main, I ordered the Lobster Eggs Benedict with a Lobster Salad. Two poached eggs on top of a thin english muffin, with poached lobster in a butter sauce topped with roasted garlic hollandaise sauce garnished with pea shoots and caviar; also served with a spoonful of truffled lobster salad. We then finished with house made Pomegranate and Blueberry Gelato.  A truly decadent meal.

 

 

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Zinc is has one of Edmonton’s most beautiful views in the city. With ceiling to floor windows facing City Hall and Sir Winston Churchill Square its the perfect place to sit and people watch and take in the beautiful scenic views of Downtown Edmonton. The restaurant itself is beautiful with beautiful lighting, and a wooden block wall that gives the space a rustic charm. We are so fortunate to have an Art Gallery in this city and we are extremely lucky to have a restaurant like this one to go and have an upscale dining experience with unbelievable food, and incredible wait staff who are extremely attentive to detail and to your needs. I will defiantly be going back for more! I had the best birthday. Make sure you keep this place in mind for your next special event. Its totally worth it!

– Matthew {Season to Taste}

 

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Fennel and Mushroom Salad

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My mother recently was away for a couple of weeks carrying for her ailing mother, and came back with a few recipes that she had learned from her brother, this one is my favorite. This is by far the simplest thing to make you will ever see posted on this blog. All you need is Fennel, Mushrooms, Lemon, Salt and Pepper. I must disclose that before trying this salad I had never tried Fennel, I had only heard it be an ingredient on many cooking shows. I didn’t even know what it looked like. It has a strong aromatic sent to it along with a very distinct taste. It looks very much like an onion, which it tastes nothing like. When you cut into a Fennel you get a very strong Licorice sent along with an earthy undertone, similar to that in taste as well. SO REFRESHING.

Ingredients:

1 Fennel

10 White Mushrooms

1/2 of One Lemon

Salt and Pepper to Taste

THATS ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Directions:

Start by washing your Fennel with cool water, getting off any dirt. Then cut off the green stems and greenery. Then slice the Fennel into little strips, try and keep them equal in size. Move them into a medium sized bowl. Then cut your mushrooms into slices, try to get them nice and thin and put them in the bowl along with the Fennel. Then using a juicer, juice half of one Lemon and pour the juice over top the Fennel and Mushroom and season with Salt and Pepper to Taste, I later used Dill on mine and it was delicious, but I put dill on EVERYTHING.

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I brought some left over salad with me to work the next day for my lunch, and added a bunch of spinach to it which gave it great taste and filled me up. I did add more mushrooms the next day just to give it more substanceand to balance out theFennel flavors, which is also when I added the Dill. The taste of Fennel can be a bit overwhelming for the taste buds but it is a great flavor.  This salad is such an easy side dish or appetizer or snack. It can stay in the fridge for a few days covered. This would also make a great dish to bring to any BBQ or Picnic!!

I later did a bit of research on Fennel and it has a lot of medicinal purposes as well, it works well as a herb to treat flatulence by eliminating internal intestinal gas. Its Licorice taste acts as an Anethole to help treat the gassy symptoms. It can also be used to treat babies who suffer from colic. Can be used to improve eye site, as well as treat hypertension. You can also make Fennel Syrup from the juices to aid in chronic cough. It is quite an amazing vegetable.

– Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Steamed Artichoke and Red Pepper with Poached Eggs

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I have always enjoyed eating Pickled Artichoke Hearts, but never really knew where they came from or what they looked like before they were pickled. So I went on the hunt for Artichokes… I only had to go to the local super market. They are the most beautiful looking vegetables they look kind of like an African Flower. After I bought them I had no idea what part to cook or eat. I also didn’t know how to prepare it. I ended up having to watch tutorials on YouTube to learn more on how to used it. I learned that the most effective way was to steam it in about 4 inches of water in a medium sized sauce pan for about 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients:

1 Artichoke

1 Red Pepper

2 Eggs

2 Slices of Bred

2 Table Spoons of Hummus

2 Table Spoons of Crumbled Feta

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

First you need to clean it thoroughly, start by filling the top of the vegetable with water as if you are filling a goblet of wine. Use the stem of the Artichoke to hold while you fill the leaves with water. Do this for about 2-3 minutes. Then pull the leaves  a apart a bit just so they will be able to be steamed properly. Then fill your sauce plan with salted water and bring water to a boil and place the Artichoke in the water and allow for it to steam. You will be able to tell if it is done once you can stick a fork into the stem and pull it out with ease.

Once the Artichoke is ready remove from water and pour over cold water until you are able to hold it by the stem. Then holding it by the stem fill water again and drain, repeat till it feel cool. Start to rip peel the leaves off the stem and cut off the white pieces, this is the only eatable part of the leaves. Then cut of the stem and once all the leaves are removed you will find a purple and white section in the center of the vegetable, remove these leaves as well. You will also find a layer of hair, cut on the hair line and you will find another section (white and grey in color) this is also eatable. Chop that into pieces and set aside with the rest of the eatable pieces of the Artichoke.

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Now chop up your Red Pepper into equal pieces and place in the same bowl as the Artichoke. I got some great long pointed Sweet Red Peppers at the Farmers Market this weekend.

Then in another sauce pan poach two eggs to the firmness of your pleasure and prepare two slices of toast. Once toast is ready put a thin layer of Hummus, I really don’t like the taste of most condiments so I usually use Hummus as my spread for sandwiches etc. Then place a poached egg on each piece of toast and cover with the vegetables and crumble feta cheese on top. Salt and Pepper to taste.

I did a lot of research on the benefits of Artichokes and they are filled with antioxidants, the most in any vegetable. They also contain a chemical that increases bile flow which helps with digestion and strengthening of  liver function. It also helps lower cholesterol which helps fight against heart disease. They also have an agent which helps alleviate symptoms of IBS and other stomach issues. Why wouldn’t you want to eat this vegetable?

– Matthew

{Season to Taste}
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Ratatouille

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Yes Ratatouille! Not just an adorable 2007 movie about a mouse who can cook. But a French Provencal stew which contains many different colorful vegetables. Can be made as a side dish or as a main dish. Also one of the easiest and quickest things you can make, and the best part is that people will think you slaved away at it for hours.

You can add anything to it really. There are a few things that make a Ratatouille, such as Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomatoes but once you have those core ingredients you can really start to play with different types of vegetables and flavors, and colors! I first came across Ratatouille a couple of years ago when I was trying to lose weight and would only eat and cook things that had at least five different vegetables in them. I have since lost a ton of weight and have made it ever since. Like I said, its super easy and super delicious! This is my take on this dish.

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Ingredients:

1 Medium sized Eggplant (peeled)

1 Zucchini

1 Leek

1/2 of a Red Onion

1 Carrot

1 Bunch of Asparagus

1 Cup Grape Tomatoes

4 Cloves of Garlic

1 Teaspoon Dill

1 Can Stewed Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Butter

Parmesan Cheese to taste

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Directions:

In a large frying pan or wok heat butter and oil, once bubbling add chopped Onion and Leek. Sauté for until they look a bit translucent then add chopped Zucchini and Eggplant. Once they have been cooked down add Carrot and Tomatoes and Asparagus. While all the vegetables are cooking together add garlic (I just use my garlic press, no need for chopping) then allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on a medium heat. Once it has simmered add the can of Stewed Tomatoes and the dill and mix well, then turn down the heat to a low heat and allow to simmer again for about a half hour to an hour. Once ready to serve have some Parmesan ready to sprinkle on top which adds a nice tangy flavor.

You will find that over time making this dish you will try different variations with different vegetables. I have used bell peppers in the past, mushrooms, green beans, I have even wilted spinach into it. If nothing else this is the best way to clean out your vegetable crisper.

There almost always left overs which is such a plus, what I usually do it make an omelet with the left overs the next day. It can also be used as a pasta sauce, it would taste so good on a bed of Angel Hair Pasta. This dish is super healthy and like I have said several times, SUPER EASY! Add it to any meal, you get at least three serving of hardy heart healthy vegetables per serving.

– Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Heart Healthy Mushroom Soup

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Mushroom Soup is such a great comfort food. I always loved having a nice warm bowl of Cream of Mushroom Soup on a cold day. Today in Edmonton is snowed so much and was so cold out side, there was nothing I wanted to do more than come home from work and put on my PJs and eat something warm and watch a movie. I started playing around with mushroom soup a couple of months ago and have come up with a delicious take on this amazing comfort food. It hides a lot of heart healthy vegetables which is always a plus! For this recipe you will need use a pureer, so make sure you can get your hands on one.

Ingediance:

2 Cups White Mushrooms

2 Celery Sticks

1 Leek

1 Medium Sized Onion

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

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1/2 Teaspoon Oregano

1 Bay Leaf

5 Basil Leaves

2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Table Spoon Butter

1 Table Spoon Olive Oil

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Directions:

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter and oil together until it starts to bubble. Add Onions, Leek, and Celery and sauté till they turn to a pale translucent color. Add Mushrooms and cook down again, once they seem fully sautéed add salt and pepper and stir. Now add Vegetable stock and spices stir and bring to a boil. Once your soup is boiling turn down the temperature and simmer on a low heat for about an hour.   Allow the for all the mushrooms to take on all the flavors and spices but stirring occasionally. Once the soup has been simmering for an hour, remove Bay Leave and puree the contents of the pot, make sure to get all edges of the pot with the pureer, feel free to use a spoon to make sure all the vegetables get pureed. As always, season to taste.

With using a pureer, this makes this soup creamy. I wanted to find an alternative to the ‘Cream’ in cream of mushroom soup. Adding more vegetables to the soup makes it easier to puree it in the end which gives it the rich taste and texture. Onions and Leeks are extremely heart healthy vegetables, they contain sulphur-containing phytochemical which helps reduce cholesterol and that helps prevents heart disease, and onions and leeks just taste so damn good! Now make some soup and bundle up in your PJs and put on your favorite movie!

-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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