Persimmon, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

A beautiful colourful salad to help transition from summer to fall! Refreshing grapefruit, perfumy fennel, citrus dressing and what’s that? Persimmons! Have you heard of persimmons before? Persimmons are normally found in our grocery stores between late fall and winter when they are most ripe. Making this a great salad to make on a possibly warm fall day? They remind me of a mix between a orange tomato and a nectarine or plum. There are no substantial seeds to hassle with, the skin can be eaten, so no peeling necessary and they taste mild yet sweet. Plus they are really pretty! Especially on this bright salad – a divine entree to impress your guests ;).

The trickiest part of making this salad is probably knowing how to cut your fennel and grapefruit. The persimmon you can cut like you would tomato slices. For the fennel you’ll want to start by cutting off the stocks but don’t discard them – they will be perfect to use as anise flavoured garnish. From there cut the fennel in half, each half has a core that you can cut out like a triangle. Then you just slice thinly lengthwise as you would an onion.

The grapefruit can be a little more involved but it’s worth it. Cut the two ends off the grapefruit so it can stand on the cutting board and so you can see where the grapefruit flesh begins and ends. Now cut off the peel downwards in about 5 sections like an orange, it’s ok if you cut a bit deeper into the flesh of the grapefruit, we can use that juice for the dressing. Once the grapefruit is bare, follow the lines and gently cut out the wedges. This really takes away all the struggle with eating a grapefruit and makes it really enjoyable for whoever is eating this salad.

Other than that this salad is easy peasy! the dressing is made from the grapefruit juices, some olive oil, a touch of maple syrup for added sweetness and a pinch of salt. This salad could be made ahead onto plates and refrigerated for easy prep!

Makes 5

Ingredients

2 large grapefruits

2-3 persimmons

1 fennel bulb and stalk

bunch of lettuce – arugula, spring mix or spinach would be nice

Optional balsamic glaze to drizzle on

Dressing

2 tsp grapefruit zest

Juice from cut of grapefruit peels

1 tsp maple syrup (or any sweetener)

2 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt

If you don’t have enough grapefruit juice add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or orange juice

 

Method

As per the instructions above, prepare your produce. Slice the persimmons, remove core of fennel and shave slices, cut grapefruit into skinless wedges. Keep the stalk of the fennel and the grapefruit grinds for zest and excess juices from flesh. Place cold bunches of lettuce on plates, I had arugula but you can use whichever greens you like.

To make the dressing squeeze the grapefruit juices into a mason jar, add olive oil, pinch of salt, tsp of maple syrup and more citrus juice if needed. Shake in mason jar.

Now here is the fun part! evenly distribute the grapefruit wedges, fennel and persimmons on each bunch of lettuce. Time to drizzle of the dressing and garnish with the feathery fennel stalk. As an added bonus you could drizzle some balsamic glaze on top of the salad, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any.

Serve on cold plates and enjoy!

Stuffed Mushrooms

stuffed mushroomsA deliciously tasty appetizer, great for pot lucks, party’s, or more specifically a vegan holiday party I went to last weekend. Simply made with with either white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or button mushrooms! Heck, if you want to dinner size them you could make them on portobello mushrooms!

These mushrooms could really be stuffed with any kind of variety, I could have snuck a little goat cheese in there, and would have liked too. But I was being respectful of the vegans! So instead I made it with just panko bread crumbs, fresh herbs, garlic, spinach and more mushrooms! Well actually I just used the stems from the mushrooms as filling.

I made these mushrooms literally right before I left to go the party. Serving them hot or warm is preferable, but they tasted great room temperature as well! They took no time to make, just whipped these up in less than 30 minutes.

Here’s the quick recipe, I hope you enjoy and bring them as an appetizer for your next party 🙂

Serves about 24 mushrooms

Ingredients

About 24 white mushrooms

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

fresh tyme

fresh basil

2 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of spinach

1/2 white onion

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 350°

mushroom

Start by twisting off the stems of the mushrooms and setting them aside. Chop up the spinach, onions, garlic and herbs very small! I actually used a blender for everything, including the stems. You can use a blender, and gently pulse it so it’s not TOO small, or you can manually chop it. Just keep in mind everything needs to fit on a little mushroom cap.

Use 2 tbsp spoons of oil to cover the baking sheet, as well to sprinkle on top of the mushroom caps. Place just the caps in the oven, for 5 minutes or until slightly browned.

Meanwhile, heat a pan on the stove to medium high. Add the olive oil, and once hot add the mushroom stems, onions, garlic, until the union and mushrooms are soft and juicy! Then add the herbs and panko crust, then finally the spinach.

Take out the mushroom caps, and fill each one with the filling. It’s ok if it gets messy, this is unavoidable! stuffed mushroom

Now place in the oven for 15 minutes, until you see the panko looks crispy. Serve hot and enjoy!

Falafel

Falafel Salad

A Kitchenkealy take on a Middle Eastern Falafel. These little balls of heaven are so easy to make, full of protein, and if you don’t dump them in oil but instead fry them with a shallow puddle they are healthy too!

I make my falafels with chickpeas, garlic, cilantro and tahini sauce – doesn’t that just sound simply delicious? The best part of falafels is the variety of things you can do with them, and the little extras on the side that make them extra special. I made a yogurt tahini sauce, along with picked red onions to go with them in either a salad, a wrap, or as a side dish!

Chickpea Blender

You will require a blender, food processor, or even a decent size chopper is what I ended up using. I could actually really use a food processor for Christmas… to make things like pizza dough, patties, pesto, pureeing soups or sauces! The list goes on! But until then, I have been using my chopper, or my stand up and immersion blender as a replacement :). Back to the falafels! I only used about 2 cups of chickpeas and this made over 10 falafels – keeping in mind 3 decent sized ones will fill you up.

Falafel

For storing the extras, I personally would cook them all then they can be kept in the fridge for about a week, they taste great cold! Otherwise you could freeze the mixture into balls, then fry them another day. Chances are they will all get eaten anyway 🙂 Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did


Makes about 10 medium sized falafels

Ingredients

2 cups of cooked chickpeas

1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tbsp of tahini

1/3 cup of flour (or more if it’s too damp)

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp of cooking oil to cover the bottom of your pan

Method

First add the garlic to the blender and mince, then add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the oil, as it is for cooking and blend until it looks like a crummy mixture. You want it slightly chunky, not completely pureed. Set the mixture aside in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, this will make it easier to form the falafel balls.

Falafel

Grab about a tbsp and 1/2 of chickpea mixture and form into a ball, then flatten it a bit (this is just how I like, you can do them any size round or flat).Turn your pan on medium high heat, and let the oil get nice in hot, so if you were to drop a few crumbs of falafel in, it will sizzle.

Depending on your pan size, give them lots of space, I put about 7 balls at a time. Cook until nicely golden, about 3-5 minutes each side. Place them to cool on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil. Repeat until finished.Falafel Salad

Place them on a salad, in a wrap, or on their own! Enjoy 🙂

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke DipThis dip was perfect with pumpernickel bread served at a pot luck event in the office. Throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker, cook for 2 hours, and have a bite of this flavourful, cheesy, warm dip!

I liked the idea of using a slow cooker for this dip because I was able to bring it to work, like a portable oven, prep all the ingredients and turn it on 2 hours before the party. This dip could also be done in the oven, cook on low for 2 hours, or if you are in a time crunch you could up the heat and put it in long enough so the cheese melts and you are done!

There is a lot of dairy in this dip, 4 different kinds, on that note… but they are needed to make this so tasty and also to get the right consistency. I used fresh spinach in my dip, but frozen could be used too, as well two cans of artichoke hearts. This dip was a hit in the office, it all got devoured which is a good sign! I will definitely be making this again for my next pot luck party, or shower or some sort!

Makes about 4-6 cups of dip

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Method

Chop up the spinach into smaller pieces if you had the big ones like I did, if you have baby spinach that might not be necessary. Chop up the hearts, dice the garlic, and cut the cream cheese into little cubes.

Artichoke

Cream Cheese

Throw everything in the slow cooker, leaving the cream cheese and the spinach on top. Slow cook on low for 1 hour, mix it around then switch it to high for the last hour.

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

Bring to a party, serve with pumpernickel bread, and watch as it gets dissolved!

The Peasant Loaf

peasantloaf

If this is your first time making bread from scratch, this loaf is a great place to start! The peasant loaf is the most basic, simple bread that doesn’t require a bread maker or any special ingredients.

With everyone talking about being more healthy, natural, less ingredients, and no chemicals, I think more and more people are interested in making their own bread let alone making their own anything by scratch. I am a huge fan of this, I believe as long as you are making everything by scratch, you control quantities, you can substitute, your aware of all the ingredients, it’s bound to be good for you, or at least better for you than anything processed, or bought.

Yeast

The only ingredient you may not have in your cupboards for this recipe is the yeast. It’s important to have somewhat fresh yeast, if it doesn’t activate, foam up and rise the yeast might be too old and won’t work. You can buy yeast in different forms, packages with one serving, in a jar, and either active dry or instant yeast. Instant yeast can be used directly in the dough, while active dry needs to be mixed with warm water and dissolved. I have the jar of active dry, and it works for me! Couple tips about this yeast:

1. Do a fresh test by taking 2 1/4 teaspoons of the yeast and adding it to 1/4 cup of warm water, then add  1 tsp of sugar, let stand 10 minutes and if the mixture doubles it is active – now you know it’s good to use.

2. If you have a jar that lasts a while like I do, it’s best to keep it in the freezer to preserve it’s active properties.

3. Finally in order to properly activate this yeast you’ll want to make sure the temperature of the water is not too hot but warm enough. I just use the temperature from the tap water, and make sure it’s about luke warm.

Be warned that once you start making your own bread, you or your family may never want to buy it again! Enjoy this simple recipe to a basic peasant loaf.

Makes one large loaf or two smaller

Ingredients

4 cups of flour (white, whole wheat, or half and half!)

2 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast

2 cups of warm water

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil or butter for greasing the pan and adding a little shine on top

Method

Start by preparing your yeast – mix the yeast, water and sugar together in a small bowl and let sit 10 minutes or until it rises or foams.

In a large bowl mix the flour and the salt and add the yeast mixture once ready. Start by using a large spoon just to quickly mix the water and the flour, then use your hands to kneed the dough until smooth and springy. Adjust water and flour as needed. Form dough into a round and place a clean damp towel to cover the dough. Let it sit in a dry place with no drafts for about an hour until it doubles in size, I find inside a turned off oven is a good spot.

dough

Once the dough has risen you can leave as one big round or split into two. Just depends what you are using it for and if you will be freezing!Preheat oven to 425°, grease a baking pan, place your dough on it and brush it with oil or butter. Cut slits on the top of the dough in a tic tac toe formation to allow air to escape. Dough Rising

Bake the dough for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400° and bake for another 20 minutes.

bread

This bread is so versatile and could be used for anything, but really on it’s own with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar is the most delicious snack in the world 😀Peasant Loaf

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is a classic Mexican sauce made with tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro and lime. Warning that this salsa does have kick! But it is filled with some refreshing, authentic Mexican flavours. This sauce could be used on top of enchiladas, a taco salad, scrambled eggs, grilled meats or fish, it could be served right away warm, or cold from the fridge.

Tomatillos, or Husk Tomatoes, look like green unripe tomatoes but wrapped in a “husk” paper like shell. I was able to find them when I took my first trip to the new Whole Foods in our city. But you should be able to find them at any other vegetable market, or grocery store.

The simplicity of this salsa will surely have making a Mexican meal tonight. I tossed all the ingredients in 2 cups of boiling water for 15-20 minutes, puree everything and you’re done! Try this salsa on any dish that could use a kick, or try it with red salsa, and sour cream to make a Mexican flag on your meal!

Enjoy!
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

5 tomatillos

1-2 jalapeños (Or I used bonnet peppers I already had)

1 bunch of cilantro

1 lime juice

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 yellow onion

2 cups of water

1 tbsp cumin

salt and pepper

Method

Prepare your tomatillos by removing the husk and rinsing them under water, they may be a little sticky.  Remove the skin off the garlic cloves by crushing them with a big knife -if you don’t know this trick it definitely makes it easier. Cut the onion in half and remove the outer layer.

IMG_1266Heat 2 cups of water in a medium sized pot and add the garlic cloves, half the onion, all the tomatillos and the jalapeños or bonnet peppers. Bring the water to a boil, and let sit for 15-20 minutes until the tomatillos turn yellow or a light green.

IMG_1268

Once the tomatillos are the right colour, pour about 1/2 cup of the water out and add the chopped cilantro. Puree the salsa with either a hand held blender, food processor, or regular blender.

Salsa Verde

Add the cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper then let simmer for another 10 minutes till the sauce thickens.

Serve hot or cold on any dish! Provecho!

IMG_1275

Scallops and Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit Scallops SaladRefreshing, elegant, colourful are just a few words to describe this fabulous salad. It came together so quickly, and effortlessly, but yet this salad had so much class you could easily serve it for a dinner party as a first course or even a main if you have enough scallops.

I came up with this salad when I saw fresh jumbo scallops on sale at my local grocery store. I was trying to contain my excitement in public, but never have I seen such beautiful scallops for such a great price!  Scallops are probably one of my top favourite seafood’s, but I don’t buy them often because I like the big fresh ones and they are always so expensive. I wouldn’t settle with the smaller frozen ones unless I was making a Bouillabaisse, or maybe even Coquilles St Jacques, just because I saw my mom do it and it still tasted amazing. Either way there is nothing like a perfectly seared fresh scallop! Then to compliment the scallops with a light citrus dressing, grapefruit and buttery boston lettuce, oh my, this salad was to die for!

The best part about it is it’s so easy to make, and super healthy I also found it completely satisfied my hunger with the 5 scallops. That was definitely a generous helping of scallops, but for a main it does the trick, if you were to make this a first course you could probably do 3 delicious scallops for your guests.

Serves one main course

Ingredients

5 jumbo fresh scallops

1 bunch of boston lettuce

1 grapefruit

1/4 red onion thinly sliced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (optional)

1 clove garlic

1 green onion to garnish

salt and pepper

Method

Start by peeling the grapefruit with a knife, then cut pieces out like you would an orange, following the creases. Use up any of the grapefruit that is still on the peels by squeezing it into a small bowl for the dressing.

Grapefruit Scallops Lettuce

Arrange the boston lettuce nicely on a large plate. Prepare your scallops by rinsing them, and drying them well with a paper towel – doing this will ensure they brown nicely! Season them with salt and pepper and set aside. Chop your garlic, and green onions, and thinly slice the red onion.

Heat a cast iron pan (if you have one) or in my case I used a double burner grill for the gas stove. Whatever you use make sure it gets real hot and is good for searing. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, once it’s hot place all at once the scallops, garlic, and red onions. The scallops will only take about 2-3 minutes on each side, don’t over cook them or they will become chewy :(.

Scallops Grill

Meanwhile, add the rest of the olive oil and white balsamic to the bowl with the grapefruit juice. Sprinkle in some salt and mix well, there’s your dressing!

Once the scallops are nicely browned on each side they are done! Place everything on the lettuce in a picturesque formation, et voila! A brilliantly beautiful Scallops and Grapefruit Salad!

Ahi Tuna on Endives!

endives

What are endives you ask? I like to describe them as miniature romaine lettuce.Endives are excellent for appetizers used as a replacement for crackers or bread. You can perhaps serve a little cream cheese and smoked salmon on them. In this recipe, I made an ahi tuna tartar and served them on the endives. Simple, sophisticated, and divine!!

It is important to buy grade tuna that is very fresh, however, in this recipe I just used the frozen ones from Costco, and they did a fabulous job. Marinated in Asian sesame flavours, and a rice wine vinegar makes the raw tuna excellent to eat!

 

 

Ingredients

1 grade ahi tuna

1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp minced fresh or pickled ginger

1/4 cup red or green onions

2 endive heads

1/2 tbsp Montreal steak spice

small bunch of cilantro

Method

Mix the soy IMG_0460sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and seeds, ginger, steak spice, and onions in a large bowl.

As you can see I have more than a tbsp of ginger in my picture, but I would choose next time to omit a little.

Make sure your tuna is very cold, if not partially frozen, this will make cutting it easier. Chop the tuna in VERY small diced cubes.

Mix it in with the marinade and let sit about 15 minutes in the fridge.

IMG_0461 Once nicely marinated, gently place about 1-2 tsp of the mixture on the endives, sprinkle with cilantro and serve!

IMG_0464

 

 

Appetizer Ideas!

Appetizers always seem to boggle our minds. What is it about them? So simple yet so complex! Maybe it’s just that there are so many ideas out there, it’s hard to narrow down which will be the best for the occasion.

Today I have thought of 3 different apps for a house warming party I am going to. I hope to do more appetizer ideas to try to help simplify our perplexed appetizer minds.Instead of full recipes I wrote just a quick explanation to each!

Calamacalamariri – I don’t know about you, but when I see Calamari on the menu I get excited! It’s always different wherever you go, you just have to hope for a hit, not a miss. I buy the squid frozen from the fish market, or grocery store. I like to use almost same method and batter from my Beer Battered Fish to batter and fry the squid . I wait until my oil is pipping hot and that the batter sizzles and rises once dropped in. Cook for only 3-4 minutes, as you really don’t want to over cook the squid or it becomes chewy. Only do a few at a time,so that you do not cool the oil. Once again serve with my 20 Second Tartar Sauce, and enjoy 🙂

 

 

ProsciuttoIMG_0421 wrapped Asparagus – These seemed to be a hit at the last gathering I brought them to. Guests thought it was bacon wrapped in asparagus, which immediately attracts them anyway! I bought the prosciutto at my local Italian deli – I asked for 16 strips, which seemed to be a good amount, although with how quickly they went maybe I should have brought more! Simply wrap one piece of prosciutto around one piece asparagus at a time, place on a large baking pan and sprinkle olive oil and pepper.Broil them in oven for 3 minutes, shake them around, then put them back in for about another 3 minutes. Watch for the prosciutto to get nice and crispy, then they are ready.

 

 

MeatIMG_0423balls – Always a favourite with everyone, you can never make enough! Using ground beef, one egg, bread crumbs, Italian spices, and salt and pepper, was all I did. Make into 1-inch meatballs, then brown on a pan with oil. Finish in the oven, brushed with my BBQ Sauce on 350 for 40 minutes.

Please enjoy these appetizer ideas, and stay tuned for more Appy Days!

Caprese Salad

caprese

A beautiful Italian salad, so easy to make. It probably doesn’t even need a recipe, but here is a reminder for people to not forget about the Caprese salad when you are wondering what to make for dinner parties or potlucks!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 fresh tomatoes (garden picked or farm market is always preferable)

bunch of fresh basil

container of fresh mozzarella either those little balls, or the big one to make into slices

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar/reduction (optional, but delicious)

salt and pepper

Method

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella in about 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer all pretty on a wide fancy dish 🙂 (decorating is really the most fun part about this salad) drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roll up the basil and chop it in slices, throw it all over the salad then add salt and pepper.

Make this salad ahead of time so the flavours marinate, serve to your impressed guests and tomato lovers!