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!

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 🙂

Garden Salad with Poached Egg

Garden Salad

This year I proudly joined the CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. How it works, is the CSA members pay the farmer a one time fee before crops are grown in order to help the farmers pay for all their initial costs involved in growing crops. Then throughout the season they deliver family shares or single shares of produce to a community pickup area weekly. This reduces the waste involved in blindly growing crops for an undetermined number of people! This is an excellent opportunity to not only receive freshly picked farm-raised food, but to support local farms, the community and the environment.

As you can tell I am quite excited about this, every week is a new surprise and I was thrilled with my first pickup which was a couple weeks ago now. I meant to post about this sooner but was having technical difficulties with my site. Now I am up and running and wanted to share what I made with just my first pickup from the CSA program. Even though this package was a little smaller than what is to come, since it is the beginning of the season, they did make up for that by giving us a dozen free-run eggs and organic honey.

CSA

I always like to challenge myself by working with what I have and using up everything in the fridge. In this case I didn’t have much in the fridge and the farmers share was a great excuse to see what I could make from it. I got a beautiful assortment of green lettuce, colourful carrots, fresh strawberries, eggs, honey and garlic scapes. Not sure what garlic scapes are? I didn’t know at first so I gave my mom a quick call 🙂 They are the flower part of a garlic bulb and they usually are out earlier in the season. They are then cut off the garlic to help it grow – so they need to be used up too! They taste like garlic but not as intense and a little sweeter. Sort of like a mixture of a green onion and garlic and can be used anyway you would use either of those.

I used them to make the dressing in this salad, blended it with olive oil, lemon, and garlic scapes, with honey! Then simply roasted my carrots on the side, poached my eggs, drizzled on the dressing et voila! Simple, healthy, nutritious and delicious!

Here’s the recipe, I hope you enjoy 🙂

Serves one

Ingredients

2 eggs

1 bunch of green lettuce

about 5 carrots

about 10 strawberries

sprig of thyme

1 tbsp of white vinegar (for the poach egg water)

salt and pepper

For the dressing

2 garlic scapes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp of honey

Method

Heat oven to 475°

For the dressing, in a small blender, blend the garlic scapes, then add the olive oil, honey and lemon juice.

Prepare your produce, rinse and rip apart your lettuce. Cut the strawberries in half and drizzle the carrots with half of the dressing.

Spread the carrots out on a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a sprig of thyme and roast them in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. Carrots

Time to poach some eggs! Bring a shallow pot of water to almost a boil, more like an aggressive simmer, then add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to it. This helps keep the egg whites all together.

Gently crack 2 eggs into the water. Be sure to get your timing right by roasting the carrots 30 minutes already before you start your eggs, these won’t take long.

Cook the eggs until they are white all over, about 3-4 minutes, then gently take them out with a slotted spoon. I like to place them on paper towel when I am putting them on a salad to soak up any excess water. Poached Egg Salad

When slicing into the egg they should be perfectly cooked and hard all around, then runny in the middle. This is something that takes practice! One thing I notice about free run eggs verses eggs by the volume in a grocery store is the yellow yolk. Largely produced eggs, with the chickens in their small spaces I don’t even want to think about, have a much paler yolk because they lack the nutrients free run chickens have. This honestly makes an egg so much better and how it should be!

Once everything is ready assemble it all together! I like to toss my dressing on the lettuce well before I put it on the plate, then add the eggs, strawberries, your carrots on the side and the extra garlic scape was purely for decoration :).

 

Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl

Vermicelli Noodle Bowl  A light and refreshing salad bowl, this is one of my favourite dishes! When everyone talks about going to Pho restaurants and ordering a giant bowl a soup, I don’t really understand when there is the Vermicelli Noodle Bowl on the menu. Next time you go out for Pho, you have to give this dish a try, either that or simply make it at home! The Vermicelli Noodle Bowl is healthy, nutritious, light, and extremely flavouful with your classic Vietnamese sauces and julienne veggies.

Made with vermicelli noodles, julienne carrots, cucumbers, beets, bean sprouts, cilantro, lime, bok choy, and a perfectly balanced sauce, if you haven’t had a dish like this, it’s time. There are lots of variations that can be made to this Vietnamese creation, a lot of times it will be served with a marinated pork like you would see in the Pho soups. In this case I decided to go vegetarian because I had all the veggies to put in it and I didn’t have pork. Also, you could use any type of lettuce, I actually haven’t seen a restaurant put bok choy in this dish, or beets for that matter, that was my idea, but to me it made the most sense. Otherwise if you don’t have bok choy, you can do shredded green lettuce, or boston lettuce to cover the bottom of the plate.

Finally for the sauce, a perfect blend of sweet, salty and sour with fish sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar, and a tsp of sugar. Serve this dish cold, top with some Hoisin sauce, Sriracha and your laughing! Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1/2 package vermicelli noodles

1 beet, peeled and grated

1 cucumber julienned

1 carrot julienned

1 green onion chopped

1 lime

2 baby bok choys

1 bunch chopped cilantro

1 handful bean sprouts

1 tbsp of sesame oil (for the bok choy)

salt and pepper

For the sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup fish sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp chili paste (Sriracha does the trick)

1 limes juice

1 clove garlic chopped

Method

Start by prepping your vermicelli noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil then add the noodles. Cook just until soften about 5-10 min, not any longer or they will get mushy. Strain the noodles while running them under cold water to stop them from cooking and set aside.

Next, heat a pan to medium high and add the sesame oil, separated bok choy leaves and salt and pepper. Stir fry just 10 minutes so the bok choy is still crunchy, but the green ends are soft and flavourful. Bok Choy

Prepare all your veggies, Julienne the carrots, cucumbers and grate the beets. I have used cooked and uncooked beets, both are delicious. Cooked will probably turn your noodles pink like my dish, but that’s ok too! Chop the green onions, cilantro and garlic and set aside.

Vermicelli Noodles

Now to mix the sauce. In a medium size bowl whisk together the vinegar, fish sauce (don’t have fish sauce? use soy sauce) sugar, lime juice, chili paste and garlic. Vietnamese Dish

Now I mixed the sauce in my veggie medley and noodle bowl to incorporate all the flavours evenly. Now for the fun part, assembly! Place the bok choy at the bottom, bean sprouts, then the vermicelli veggie medley on top. Squeeze some more lime juice and garnish with cilantro and optional crushed peanuts or cashews to add a crunch.

Vermicelli Noodle Bowl

Mexican Salad

Toss it up with this healthy and hearty Mexican Salad. All your favourite ingredients into one salad, no dressing is required and can easily be made into a vegetarian meal. I’ve made this salad many times before when I am in a crunch and not sure what to make. This Mexican Salad has ingredients that you would usually have in your fridge, and it comes out delicious everytime.

I had 3 special ladies join me for dinner this Saturday, my mom and my two aunts, right before we went to go see Dirty Dancing the musical! Needless to say it was a great night, a little cheesy, but lots of laughs! One of my aunts is mostly vegetarian, so I wanted to give her the option to have a vegetarian meal. This Mexican Salad was perfect for that, it was loaded with veggies, good fats from the avocados, protein from the plain yogurt and black beans and tonnes of nutrients from the rest of the veggies. But for those who do like a little meat, I slow cooked a pork shoulder for 8 hours on low and made a fabulous pulled pork.

Couple tid bits for this salad to make it extra perfect:

  • Cut the romaine lettuce very thin, almost shredded so it mixes well with all the ingredients.
  • Slice the onions and peppers VERY thin – because that’s just how fajitas are!
  • I used corn from corn on the cob, boiled it and cut it off, I feel it’s just so much sweeter and full of flavour using the fresh stuff.
  • Although sour cream would be your typical condiment, I decided to use plain yogurt just to cut back on fat and let me tell you – when mixed into this salad with all the ingredients you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. So why not right?
  • Finally, I don’t put salsa on this salad, but instead chop tomatoes up, put them in a bowl and sprinkle them with lime, salt, pepper, cilantro and call it a day!

This Mexican Salad can be done in many ways and easily adjusted to ingredients you may or may not have, so give it a try, I’d love to know what you think!

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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!

Seared Sesame Soy Ahi Tuna

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Something lighter was needed this weekend, after I have been filling my belly with holiday treats and wine to pair with it. When I am feeling like I need a detox, I like to have a week of fish and veggies, while still keeping things interesting. This seared ahi tuna, on a bed of asparagus, boston lettuce and pomegranate seeds was just the recipe to kick start a healthy week.

A cast iron pan will be seriously encouraged to perfect the seared ahi-tuna. Cooking ahi-tuna is similar to grilling a steak, you’ll want a nice pink middle, and evenly cooked sides. This is achieved by having your pan very hot, and cooking all sides no more than 2 minutes each.

To make this recipe even simpler I cooked everything in the cast iron pan to keep dishes to a minimum! Starting with the asparagus grilled on the pan, then the tuna, and finished with the sesame soy sauce. Have this Tuna on any lettuce you have or prefer, top with this delicious asian sauce and enjoy!

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 grade ahi-tuna steaks

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup poppy seeds or Montreal steak spice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

6 asparagus

1 bunch of boston lettuce

1 cup pomegranate seeds

salt and pepper

drizzle of olive oil on the lettuce

Method

Give your Tuna some time to marinate in the ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and fish sauce, at least 20 minutes. Be sure to keep the marinade, we will use it for the sauce at the end.

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Heat your cast iron pan nice and hot and throw some olive oil in. Chop the asparagus in half length wise (because, why not?). Once the pan is hot put the asparagus in and grill on all sides about 7 minutes, salt and pepper and set aside..

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Prepare a little plate with the sesame and poppy seeds, and cover all sides of the tuna with it. If there are left over seeds, throw them in with the soy sauce mixture. Bring the coated tuna over to the cast iron pan and sear on all sides; 2 minutes on the large sides and 1 1/2 on the smaller edges.     IMG_0992

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While the pan is still hot, pour in the marinate sauce and cook until reduced, just a couple minutes. While the sauce is bubbling, prepare the serving plates with the lettuce, asparagus, pomegranate seeds and olive oil drizzled on top. Cut the tuna carefully in about 1/2 inch thick slices, and place on the asparagus and lettuce bed. Top with the reduced sesame soy sauce, and indulge in this healthy treat!

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Lime, Ginger and Red Pepper Tilapia

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One of the fastest meals I have ever made! My fridge was once again looking bare, with just a couple of peppers, spinach, lime and ginger. I had some tilapia in the freezer I took out just an hour before. Whipped this quick, healthy weekday meal up in 15 minutes tops!

This meal was refreshing, healthy, and filling. The lime and ginger were perfect flavours to make this simple meal a little more exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

Serves one

Ingredients

1 tilapia fillet

half a red pepper

half a yellow pepper

1/4 red onion

1 bunch of spinach

1 lime

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

Prep your ingredients. Chop the red and yellow peppers, red onion and mince your ginger. Salt and pepper both sides of the fillet.

IMG_0922A little trick to get that lime all juicy, is to roll it on the counter to soften it, cut it length wise so it fits in your hand easier to squeeze.

Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot throw in the peppers, onions and ginger. Add more salt and pepper. When the peppers are soft and fragrant, push everything to the side and add the tilapia. Cook on each side just about 3-5 minutes till white. Squeeze half the lime all over everything in the pan. IMG_0924

Place a bunch of spinach on a plate, and pour on the peppers, onions and fish. Serve with the other half of lime to squeeze over the spinach and fish.

You can enjoy this meal knowing you are absorbing tonnes of protein, potassium, vitamins and iron, while filling up on something delicious and light!

Braised Beef Salad

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I’ve reached the end of a busy cooking week making cornish hens, enchiladas, pulled pork and a roast beef! Fridge was looking a little desolate, and I was left with what you see here. A yellow pepper, red onion, lettuce, avocado, lime and leftover braised beef. It was time to get a little creative with what I had.

I was lucky to have that leftover roast beef, filled with flavour already I had plenty ideas of what I could do with it. But I was really determined to use that lettuce up before it went bad. I decided on a warm beef salad. Stir frying the beef, onions and peppers, making my Holy Moly, Guacamole to dollop on top, and a light olive oil and balsamic glaze dressing.

Of course for this salad you can use any kind of left over meat you have, that’s the point! Left over chicken, steak, pulled pork even (obviously that went fast though). This salad turned out to be light, healthy, delicious but also filling as a full meal.

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Makes one big salad

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 bell pepper

1/4 red onion

About 10 thin slices of roast beef

1 small head of lettuce

1/2 lime juice

salt and pepper

Dressing

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp rich balsamic glaze

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lime juice

Method

Start by slicing your beef, onions and bell pepper into very thin long pieces. Heat a pan on medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and beef.  While the beef and onions are getting hot, mix you salad dressing together, and place the lettuce on a large plate. Once onions are soft, add the bell peppers, I like to keep these a bit crunchy, so just cook them till they are warm, not soft. Squirt half the lime on the meat mixtures and add salt and pepper.

Once everything is done (it won’t take very long since the meat is already cooked) arrange the meat peppers and onions on the lettuce, and drizzle the dressing over top.

I added the guacamole on top for some fun extra flavour, this recipe can be found on my site under Holy Moly, Guacamole.

A nice quick, healthy dinner! Enjoy 🙂

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!