some dishes…

Here’s a quicky for everyone.

Here are pictures of 5 dishes. 2 are dishes I made at home and 3 are from Lawrence restaurant where I work.

chanterelle pasta

A local chanterelle and small zuchini linguini I made with a yolk from a “Les Fermes Valens” egg. Lots of olive oil, parsley and parmesan. The pasta was store bought unfortunately; had it been homemade this dish would have been a homerun.

Roasted beets, radishes, zucchini, Feta, parsley, olive oil and salted lemon rind-served with a warm baguette… yum

Lawrence Restaurant pics:

local chicken breast on cherry tomatoes, radishes, borlotti beans, with radish greens and verjus
Wreck fish from the South Carolina coast, sustainably caught, served with restaurant smoked and made sausages, potatoes, cabbage, radish and nice dollop of dijon mustard- this dish is sooo good
Poached lobster- a great choice to make if you’re looking for sustainable seafood, with potatoes, arugula and a Bearnaise sauce. Decadence defined.

A delicious meal from a few weeks ago and some other stuff

First thing’s first: a satisfying meal I made early this summer with green pea couscous, a thyme roasted tomato, some creamy humus, and an awesome seared fennel dish with radishes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, raisins, fresh parsley and lemon juice. I served this with a nigella seed pita bread, which is so good. I need to learn how to make different breads…

I’m currently listening to Michael Pollan, of The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame on Heritage Radio Network, a great radio station that focuses on “the full breadth of the food industry.” Their shows hosts range from chefs, to critics, to farmers, to influential food and agriculture advocates; it’s amazing.
Check it out: http://www.heritageradionetwork.com/

A bit of culture:

Last night I watched the Polanski film Carnage. The film is based on a play that was written by the writer Yasmina Reza, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski.

I was going to add a link to the trailer but I think it reveals too much. It’s better to watch it without any knowledge of what the movie is about. The acting and script are phenomenal. It might not pack quite the punch it would like to, but it’s nonetheless a well developed satire about 2 deliriously entertaining couples trying to arrive at a mutual understanding over a violent even that took place between their sons. I, personally, was mesmerized by the unfolding action and the actors. Jodie Foster in particular is a knock out. It’s fun, short and unlike anything I’ve watched recently.

What I’m eating

I really need to take my camera out of the cupboard… Having an Iphone has made me lazy about my food photography. Apologies for the following lackluster pictures. I thought I’d post a few pictures of meals I’ve made recently. Nothing too complicated, nothing heavy-it is the summer after all-and mostly locally sourced ingredients.

I’m becoming less moderate about my eating choices. I can’t continue learning about the food industry without make personal changes to what and how I feed myself. I’ll be elaborating on some of these thoughts over the coming weeks and months: suffice to say, it ain’t pretty. Environmental degradation, animal abuse, increased risks of viruses and diseases, waste, corruption, profit over human rights; the list goes on and on.

I’m taking a serious step in reducing my meat intake(including fish). I plan on only buying from sources I know provide acceptable living standards for their animals, and I will do my best to only frequent restaurants that do the same, unfortunately, there aren’t many. I will occasionally make exceptions, but my hope is that within a few months I won’t have to do that anymore. We’ll see how it goes. To a certain extent, to anyone who knows me, I’m reverting to my vegetarianism. Oh boy… I guess I’ll be cooking more than I already do. Hosting parties will have to be more frequent as well.

I bought porc and beef sausages from Valens farms, a cooperative of smaller farms that is doing its best to provide Quebecers with healthier and ethically superior food options. There were 3 small sausages, but that was enough to last me for 3 meals. One advice I always give to people who are considering cutting down on their meat intake is to prepare dishes where less is needed.

Here are a few things you can easily make at home:

1. A peach, arugula and goat cheese salad. We’re getting Ontario peaches in Qu├ębec at the moment and they’re wonderful. Mixing them with peppery arugula, adding a few crunchy and spicy slices of radish, and a tart goat cheese and you’ve got something that’s absolutely delicious. There are some toasted almonds in there too, for extra protein, and the full bodied nutty flavor it adds.

peaches, arugula, goat cheese, radishes

2. I bought these corn tortillas at the supermarket last week. They come in packs of about 30 and I’ve had to eat at bunch of different kinds of tortillas recently. The corn that they’re made of is also problematic, as it’s most likely a GMO crop… I’d rather avoid supporting the companies that produce such products, but I succumbed to my desire for something I hadn’t eaten in a long time. Anyways, these tortillas were filled with brown rice mixed with fresh organic corn I bought from a small farm just outside of Montreal, black beans, the above mentioned sausages, tomatoes and some coriander. The spicy paste I made with dried chipotle peppers I had that I soaked in rhum, and blended with tomatoes, roasted garlic, coriander and cumin seeds and some other things that escape me now. Tasty.

tortillas with spicy paste, and a filling of sausages, corn, black beans, tomatoes and coriander

3. This is a salad I was very pleased with. Simple but the ingredients worked very well together and its acidity provided the refreshing quality I was looking for after a sweltering day biking around town. I sliced apples, let them soak in a bit of lemon juice, added redcurrants, olive oil sauteed pieces of bread, sauteed slices of the sausages, sliced Parmesan and mixed all of it with an arugula and endive lettuce blend I prepared. The dressing was a mix of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, grain mustard, and sunflower oil.

I was quite pleased with this one: arugula, endive, redcurrants, apples, homemade breadcrumbs, Parmesan and sauteed sausages

4. I wish I had had more Feta for the following dish. It was a quick take on a greek salad: dried oregano, tomatoes, olive oil sauteed bread, red onion slices, kalamata olives, capers and the last remaining feta.

Wish I had had more Feta… pretty good anyways

Protein rich salad with Gizzards(optional ;) )

Lunch!

Ingredients:

Mixed salad greens: ideally something peppery and bitter
Sliced cherry tomatoes: seasoned with capers, salt and pepper, thinly sliced onions and olive oil
Boiled and butter and fresh rosemary sauteed cauliflower pieces
Large Parmesan slices: the bigger the better!
Toasted almonds
Boiled quinoa
Hard boiled egg

Option: thinly sliced confit gizzard. I highly recommend this but they’re not always easy to find, so an alternative of confit duck legs, sauteed chicken livers, braised lamb would work. A rich, full flavored and aromatic meat is best; especially if you find some nice bitter greens like dandelion leaves…

Vinaigrette:
Teaspoon dijon mustard
A bit of fresh thyme
About a tbls of sherry vinegar
About a tbls of olive oil
About 2 tbls of sunflower seed oil

This is a fresh but nutrient rich salad. Even without the meat, there’s more than enough protein in here to please your appetite. I’ve been exercising a lot lately and am looking for simple and fresher alternatives to heavier foods. This was a perfect lunch.

Gizzards:
Part of the digestive system in fowl, it’s an organ that’s not very common but seriously tasty. For those who’ve never tried it, the confit gizzards that I added to my salad bore no organ flavor that might dissuade some from enjoying them. There was none of that metallic and farmy flavor that’s sometimes found in kidneys and livers. They’re a richly flavored meat that’s nicely textured. Explore!

Picture taken from Paprikahead site. Thanks.

Pictures of food

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. I can’t seem to get interesting posts written. So, to entertain you and rejuvenate Healthytastebuds until I find the time and motivation to develop it further, I’ve decided to post pictures of some of our recent dinners.

Enjoy!

A braised/boiled beef dish in its making
dinner. This was a good one: healthy, tasty, comforting...
Roast porc with roasted root veggies, sauteed apples and gravy

Lebanese inspired dinner

The days are like the tasty chocolates that Carolina anxiously snacks on while doing her school work. They’re being digested at unbelievable rates! Where are they all going!

In many ways, this is a good sign, I guess. I’ve been busy, and yet, because my professional future is so far up in the air at the moment all of my activities seem to be enjoyed in vain. And so, despite increasing my exercising, eating well, hiking in the Adirondacks, and filling up on cinematic and literary goodies, I find myself a bit tense.

Anyways, the holidays are approaching, which means family and friend time in Toronto. In the meantime, I’ll keep on being active while enjoying the rather good life I lead despite the underlying tension.

Today’s post is about last night’s dinner. I love variety. I like the idea of buffets(although most offer bland and old food), I like the idea of eating with groups and sharing dishes, of picking at hors-d’oeuvres and experimenting with flavors, textures and smells. I very much enjoy eating at the small Lebanese restaurants in the city, where they’ll put together a dish of sliced chicken pieces, of beef or lamb, falafels, humus and garlic mayo, tabouleh, olive oil doused eggplant, and rice or potatoes. They’ll usually have more choices and, most often, the flavors are bright and pungent. They use a lot of beans and lentils and most of their meat is cooked on a large skewer that slowly rotates around a heat small that cooks it to perfection and allows the fat and juices of the meat to accumulate in the meat that rests below. There’s not much fat in the process and when I have a large plate of Lebanese food both my stomach and my body feel satiated in a healthy way.

a mix of lebanese inspired dishes

I wanted to make something quick and simple and avoid meat. There’s a small company in Montreal that makes Lebanese take home snacks that include humus and falafels. I made sure to have some of both. I also bought these very large and thin savory crepes that you can wrap food in. At home I cut some eggplant and large chunks of garlic and sauteed both in a love of olive oil, finishing it off in the oven for the desired sweetness. I toasted pine nuts and added some to the dish. I also bought local freshly made ricotta that I seasoned with some fancy olive oil, ground pepper and spicy Chilean chilli flakes. I bought those rice balls wrapped in vine leaves and added them to the table. I grated some carrots and mixed in toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins and herbs in order to add to the variety. And finally I made a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, parsley, confit lemon and olive oil that was amazing.

Confit lemon is my new and current favorite ingredient. I bought a bunch of lemons to make lemon juice about 2 months ago and put the skin and zest in a glass container with thyme, water, sugar and salt and let it accumulate flavor in the fridge. I recently decided to test the results and was very pleasantly surprised. The flavor is bright and exciting, salty with a nice balance of lemony acidity and bitterness. Fantastic. Marc Cohen, chef at Lawrence, used some in a lamb dish he was making a few weeks ago. It added a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish’s broth.

The rest involved sitting down and pigging out at the various dishes and flavors that lay before Carolina and I.

Yummy veggie lunch fix

I’ve been quite good at eating less meat recently, and especially good at avoiding meat from large producers where antibiotics and hormones are used, and where the animals suffer in what I feel are unethical environments.

However, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been posting any of the tasty vegetarian food I’ve been eating. So, in the spirit of healthy eating and veggie food, here’s what I ate for lunch.

spinach salad and veggie patty humus cracker
orange, almond, sun dried tomato, spinach salad

I’ll start with the salad because it’s more straight forward and doesn’t need much preparation time.

The salad consisted of:

Spinach
one large orange, cut into wedges
3 pieces of sun dried tomato, thinly sliced
toasted almonds
aged cheddar
(a softer cheese like fresh ricotta, cottage cheese, or a less powerful Parmesan would have been better)
Sherry vinegar
Dijon mustard

I used the orange juice that had emerged from the wedges for a vinaigrette base, in which I added sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, a tiny amount of Dijon mustard, some dried marjoram, and finally olive oil. The rest involves mixing in the rest of the ingredients, aha. Not too hard. It’s a really nice salad, that would be better as mentioned above with a cheese that is softer on the palate than an aged cheddar.

The cracker on the side had a humus spread, caramelized onions and vegetarian patties I had made the previous nice for dinner.

The patties consisted of:

Short brown rice, pre-cooked
Black beans, boiled and ready to eat
A small grated carrot
A small grated parsnip
Pumpkin seeds
Wheat bran
A few dried dates
one egg
salt and pepper

The ingredients for dish were inspired by leftovers and pragmatism… There are unlimited ways to make a veggie patty, and this is just one of them. In fact, I’ve never made any that were remotely similar to these ones.

The brown rice was a leftover, and the black beans I had soaked and boiled for dinner didn’t appeal me as is. Both ingredients, together, contain the necessary amino acids(the building blocks of proteins) to create a full protein, which I wanted for dinner. To this, for some extra vitamins and minerals, I added the grated carrots and parsnip. I added the pumpkin seeds for more protein and for their high content of iron. They also would provide a textural element. Finally I added about 3 seedless dates and an egg for binding purposes. When roughly blended in the food processor I noticed that my mix was too moist. To rectify this I could have used a number of different solutions, popped amaranth for example, but instead chose to add wheat bran as an experiment. It is an ingredient rich in dietary fiber, essential fatty acids as well as protein, vitamins and dietary minerals. It’s also dry, which is what I needed. I shaped the patties, slowly fried them in a small quantity of sunflower oil in a non-stick skillet and finished them off in the oven. They have a really nice texture and taste good.
Today, cold, combined with the humus and caramelized humus, they tasted even better.

Together, the 2 dishes provide a healthy meal that is easy to digest and cheap to make.