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!

Artichoke Paella

It’s been a while since I have posted, but you know how it is, life got busy. But I’ve had some time off and did a lot of cooking! One of the dishes I made is a vegetarian take on a traditional Spanish dish, Paella. Paella is a rice dish with vegetables often made with seafood and sausages. It originated in the city of Valencia, and the word Paella comes from the Valencian word paila meaning cooking pan. What’s unique about Paella is it’s often found being made in the streets of Spain in large wide clay pans over a big fire.

My Artichoke Paella dish was made with risotto, or arborio rice, which gives that thick and sticky consistency with vegetable broth and white wine. I made it in a large wok, as I don’t have an official Paella pan. As the risotto’s cooking, I add the vegetables, so it ends up being all in one pan – I love to save on dishes when I can ­čśë I picked vegetables that would go well with the artichokes, also just what I had in the fridge. Lentils for protein, green beans or artichokes, zucchini, tomatoes, spiced with saffron and lemon to make it nice and yellow!

This dish was a lot of fun to make because it’s simple and unique. It’s great for a gang, and you can really use whatever vegetables you have. Hope you enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1/2 tsp saffron threads (soaked in 2 tbsp of hot water)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dried lentils

1/4 cup capers

5 cups of vegetable broth

1 cup white wine

1 stock of leek or just 1 onion

1 zucchini

2 tomatoes

1/2 red or green bell pepper

1 jar or can of artichoke hearts

1 bunch of green beans or asparagus (whichever you have or prefer!)

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 lemon cut in wedges to serve

 

Method

Prep all your vegetables, dice the garlic, chop the zucchini, leek (or onion), pepper, tomatoes and asparagus and if the artichoke hearts are too big cut into halves or quarters. 

Heat the olive oil in your wok, or large pan. Add the leeks, garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper till fragrant, make sure not to burn the garlic. Add the vegetables to the plan excluding the asparagus (to keep them crunchy). Cook the vegetables for about 2-3 minutes then set them aside in a bowl.

Add the arborio rice and lentils to the pan, mix around to coat the rice and lentils with oil, the rice will become lately browned after 2-3 minutes.

Start slowly adding the vegetable broth and white wine on high heat – don’t over stir. This takes a bit of time, add the liquids, let it absorb and keep adding more.

When the lentils are soft and the rice is plump add the vegetables including the asparagus, capers salt and pepper and stir around. Cook on a medium high 5 minutes stirring gently, then turn to simmer and cover until ready to serve.

Garnish with lots of chopped parsley and lemon!

Sweet Potato Linguine with Spinach and Mushrooms

Sweet1Sweet potato noodles is another great way to use your spiralizer. This recipe would make a really nice side dish since it’s super basic and includes iron from the spinach, healthy starch from the sweet potato, and a good amount of vitamin D from the mushrooms! This dish is lightly flavoured with simply olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, which is all that’s really needed when you stir fry the veggies and all the juices the┬áflavours come to light.Sweet3

. sweetpoatomushroomspinachpan

This meal can come together in less than 20 minutes, depending on how fast you can peel those sweet potatoes ­čÖé Here it goes!

Serves 4 side dishes

Ingredients

2 large and somewhat straight sweet potatoes

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1 large bunch of spinach

2 handfuls of mushrooms sliced

1 yellow onion sliced

Method

  1. Peel your sweet potatoes, cut off both ends then spiralize with the bigger linguine setting!
  2. Slice the mushroom, and onions and mince the garlic.
  3. Add the olive oil to a stir fry pan heated to medium high.
  4. Toss in garlic, onions, mushrooms and salt and pepper and sweet potatoes.
  5. Cook until sweet potatoes are cooked and onions are soft then add the spinach and let it sit on top until wilted.
  6. Mix it all around and serve!

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┬ádinner 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 ­čÖé

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!┬ástuffed 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 ­čÖé 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 ­čÖé

Spanish Rice with Black Beans

Spanish Rice CookerYou can’t go wrong with a side dish like Spanish Rice with Black Beans, it’s hardy, healthy, tasty and really spruces up plain ol’ rice.

I actually had every intention of making plain rice, but then I kept seeing things in my fridge I wanted to use up and I kept adding to the rice and all of a sudden it turned into Spanish rice. Which was a much better idea anyway.

I made all this in the rice cooker, that’s right, you can add more to a rice cooker than just rice. Don’t be scared of experimenting with a rice cooker! I like to make quinoa in it, veggies, sometimes I use it like a slow cooker, depending on what I am slow cooking. Start with your rice and water, 1 cup water 1/2 cup rice, add your oil or butter then let it cook for a few minutes. Then you can start adding your extra ingredients and your done!

My dad has a tendency to watch a lot of cooking shows, if it’s not golf, it’s cooking shows. This is something he became more interested in in his retired life. My mom always says we have too many chefs in the house now! Everyone giving their opinions, haha. Anyway, my dad got me on always rinsing your rice and quinoa first before cooking. I usually just listen to my dad’s advice without question or reason, I figure in his X amount of years of life he knows a thing or two. I started rinsing my rice and quinoa and I actually notice a difference. First off, as you rinse it you can see the natural coating/bubbles/starch fall into the sink. When you rinse off the starch on rice it takes away the sticky, thicker gluey texture and makes the rice more fluffy and light. You can also taste the difference, or not taste the soapy, grainy, starchy flavour that gets rinsed away. So I just wanted to pass on that tip from my dad, give it a shot and see if you notice a difference!

Makes 3-4 side dishes

Ingredients

1 cup water

1/2 cup whole wheat or white rice

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 green bell pepper chopped

1/2 red onion

1/2 can or about 3/4 cup of tomato puree or sauce

1/2 cup of pre cooked black beans (or about half a can)

1 tsp chill powder

1 tsp cumin powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 lime juice

1 bunch of chopped cilantro

Method

Pour into the rice cooker 1/2 cup of rinsed rice, 1 cup of water and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Let the rice cooker do it’s thing for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile prepare your veggies, chop the pepper, red onion and cilantro.

On a small pan on medium high heat, pour in the rest of the olive oil, pepper and red onion. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook until onions are soft.

Pour into the rice cooker the tomato puree and pan cooked veggies, making sure to scrape in all the spices and give it a stir. Let sit another 5 minutes or until slow cooker goes to warm. Then add the beans, salt pepper, lime juice and half the bunch of cilantro (leave the rest for garnish). Be careful when stirring not to mush the beans!

Let everyone get nice and warm and serve! Spanish Rice

 

Huevos Rancheros and Refried Black Beans

Huevos_RancherosFeliz Cinco De Mayo! When the Mexican army prevailed over the French in 1862 – or in other words, when us non Mexican’s make it a thing ┬áto eat Mexican food! Both great reasons to celebrate, because Mexican food is some of the most delicious, well liked food in the world – wouldn’t you agree? I mean, wrapping anything in a tortilla, with spicy flavourful┬ásauces automatically makes food delicious and they have been doing it since the beginning of time.

There are so many Mexican dishes I was thinking of making in preparation for this post. I was trying to be more authentic with a dish suggested by my friend called Cochinita Pibil, which is similar to a pulled pork, but marinated and cooked with citrus orange flavours, topped with pickled red onions, wrapped in a tortilla. This seriously will be a delicious dish when I make it, but I just didn’t have pork in my freezer, and I was trying to use what I already had in my fridge.

I had recently made Mexican Salad┬áand I already have┬áEnchilada’s┬áand a┬áSalsa Verde┬ápost. So in the end I went with a classic, simple Mexican breakfast – Huevos Rancheros! Since this was my last night dinner, I wanted more than just that, so I added refried black beans to the side to make it more filling and hardy.

Hope you enjoy this breakfast (which could be a dinner!) as much as I did last night ­čÖé

Huevos Rancheros

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Refried Black Beans 

1 can, or about 1 1/2 cup black beans

1/2 yellow onion diced

1 clove of garlic diced

2 tbsp oil (olive, canola, or coconut)

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 cup water, or more as needed

For the Huevos Rancheros 

3-4 eggs as you would like

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 yellow onion diced

2 cloves garlic diced

1 tsp diced jalape├▒o

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

jalape├▒o_onion_garlic

Method

Start with the refried beans because they will take some time to simmer. Prepare your beans, if you have dried ones, either soak for 12 hours, or boil for 2, as the package reads. If you have canned, drain and rinse. Chop your onion and garlic (leaving enough for the Huevos Rancheros).

Refried Black Beans

Heat a medium sized pot on the stove and add the oil, onion, garlic and spices. Cook till the onion is soft, about 5 minutes, add the beans and the water so it just covers the beans. Put the lid on, turn the heat to low and let sit about an hour stirring occasionally.

Refried Blackbeans

While the refried black beans are simmering, prepare for the Huevos Rancheros. I used a cast iron pan, something I could put in the oven, but if you don’t have that option, choose a wide pan with deep edges and a lid.

Preheat the oven to 400┬░ if you are using the cast iron pan.

Your onions and garlic should already be chopped for you, if you were thinking ahead from the refried black beans. Chop your jalape├▒o, if you don’t like it too spicy, just add a bit, if you like it real spicy, add more!

Add oil to the pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the onions, spices and jalape├▒o. When it comes to cast iron pans, I like to wait on the garlic so it doesn’t burn. Cook the onions until they are brown, once they are brown you can add the garlic.

Onions_Jalape├▒o_Garlic

Pour in the can of tomatoes, tsp of sugar, and salt and pepper. Let this sit for about 20 minutes so the sauce thickens. Meanwhile check on your beans. They should be really soft now, and the water should be gone. If it looks very dry don’t be shy to add more water, the beans will soak it up quickly. Now mash the beans with a fork, or potato masher and they are done – keep them warm with the lid on.

Once the tomato sauce is nicely reduced, make little holes for the eggs, crack them in quickly – so they cook at the same time and either throw the pan in the oven for 7 minutes or put a lid on for 3-5 minutes.

That’s it that’s all! The eggs should be runny and delicious, serve on a plate with cilantro, cheese or avocados. Usually these would be put in a corn tortilla, but I skipped that step since I thought they were great on their own.

Chickpea Kung Pao 

Kung Pao ChickpeaAn easy vegetarian meal, that mimics the Western-Chinese dish, Kung Pao Chicken. This dish packs a lot more flavour and excitement than meets the eye with the chickpeas being the main ingredient. Sometimes it’s really hard to capture the deliciousness of a meal in a picture, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one ;).

I came up with this meal by googling ideas of what I can do with all the chickpeas I have. There is really so much you can do with chickpeas; hummus, salads, stew, curries are always a go-to, like my Coconut Pineapple Curry. But I was feeling something Chinese this time, since I have been making a lot of Indian food and curries.

This dish is great for a quick week night meal, it’s healthy, filling and uses most ingredients you probably already have at home. When starting a Chinese dish, key ingredients usually include; garlic, ginger, onions, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and some type of oil, either peanut, sesame, or in this case I used coconut oil. Cornstarch will help make any sauce thicken up like you would get when you order Chinese take-out – this really completes the dish.

To give this dish a little more nutrients I added kale at the end, just slightly wilted, not soggy! Any type of green could be added to this, spinach, kale, collard greens, sometimes when my arugula is looking a little sad I like to use it up in a cooked meal – little tip ­čśë

Anywho – I hope you enjoy this take on Chinese Kung Pao!

Serves 2 hefty portions

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp melted coconut oil for the marinate

1 tbsp of coconut oil for the pan

1 tbsp honey (or something sweet)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2-3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp minced ginger

2-3 shallots or 1 yellow onion

1 celery stalk

1 bunch of kale

2 green onions diced

crushed peanut or cashews for garnish

chopped italian parsley or cilantro for more garnish!

Method

Start by mixing the soy sauce, vinegar, melted coconut oil, and corn starch in a large bowl. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to this bowl to marinate for about 30 minutes. Marinating the chickpeas is key to make every bite flavourful! ChickpeasDice the garlic, shallots/onions, celery, green onions, crush the cashews/peanuts and chop the parsley/cilantro.

Heat a wok or large pan to medium high, add the coconut oil, once melted add the garlic, ginger, shallots, and celery. Stir around until fragrant, and shallots are soft. shallots celery

Once the chickpeas are fully marinated, at least 30 minutes, add them to the hot wok, turn up the heat to boil the sauce. This will activate the cornstarch to make it thicker. Mix everything around, keeping it nice and hot to cook and caramelize the chickpeas. After about 8 minutes, add the kale and green onions, before mixing it in let the steam cook the kale until it is slightly wilted, then mix it all in.Chickpea Kung Pao

Serve hot on rice, and garnish with the crushed cashews and and parsley.

Bhindi Masala

kitchenkealy Live in India Part Three:

CIMG0945The third dish Bekh Lal taught me was called Bhindi Masala, Bhindi meaning lady fingers, or okra! I loved the idea of this simple dish because the only other time I’ve had okra was pickled in my Bloody Cesear. I thought this was a very creative way to use fresh okras, and a great vegetarian side dish that is loaded with flavours.

CIMG0886When travelling in India I couldn’t help but notice how extravagant everything is, from their extremely intricate architecture, the details and beautiful materials used for furniture, marble and granite everywhere in buildings and on the streets, and most notably the way they aren’t afraid to use obscene amounts of spice and flavour in every dish. This recipe consists of just okra and red onions but then spiced with cumin seeds, green chilies, coriander powder, chili powder, and turmeric powder.

As souvenirs from India I just had to get fresh spices from the spice markets, cumin seeds, green and black cloves, cardamom’s, India’s own garam masala – now that I am stocked up with these spices I can’t wait to experiment with what I have learned from this fascinating country, including:

“If you have a spice use it! don’t sprinkle it, spoon it in!”

which would be from the 100 Foot Journey movie I watched on the plane – totally inspired and excited me for the trip ­čÖé Enjoy this Bhindi Masala!
Ingredients

20-30 okras

1 large red onion

3 tbsp oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1-3 green chillies (to your spiciness liking)

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

Method

Now that Bekh Lal and I were on our third dish and starting to get to know each other in the kitchen, he let me help out! He showed me to make sure the okra was washed and dried, then cut off the stem as close to the edge as possible. Bekh Lal was all about the “waste not want not!”, as I started cutting off the stem to help out, he immediately corrected me to cut closer to the end, haha I quickly fixed my technique! He also emphasized that the okra and onion should be cut the same size, about a 1/2 inch diced.

CIMG0915

CIMG0891

Heat a wok or pan to medium high, add the oil and the cumin seeds till the colour changes slightly. Then add the onions and let sit for 5-10 minutes, to start browning them. Throw the okra on top but don’t mix them yet! He let that sit another 5-10 minutes, add the rest of the spices then mix it all together. This allowed the onions to really cook nicely, while the okra stayed fresh on top. That’s it! Simple, delicious and a little bit different if you are like me and haven’t used okras much in the kitchen!

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Brussels Sprouts Cranberries and Walnuts

IMG_0932

Brussels sprouts lovers and haters unite! This simple side dish surely will change any doubt you may have had about brussels sprouts. A more interesting twist on your typical (yet delicious) brussels sprouts. This is a great side dish for the holiday seasons to pair with your Turkey and stuffing.

Shredding the brussels sprouts will add a new texture, and also allow the flavours of the cranberries and walnuts to fuse together. I paired this side dish with just a salmon fillet; rice or anything extra was unnecessary. The walnuts and dried cranberries made this dish filling enough and packed with good fats and proteins.

 

IMG_0943

 

serves 2

Ingredients

About 8 medium sized brussels sprouts

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup crushed walnuts

1 tbsp of butter (or olive oil if you want to be healthy)

salt and pepper

Method

Prepare your brussels sprouts by cutting off the core end, and remove the top leaves. Cut them each in thin slices to shred them.

IMG_0933

Crush or chop the walnuts (don’t have walnuts? use anything you have, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios!). Heat a pan to medium low and add your olive oil or butter.

IMG_0935

 

Once the butter/olive oil is melted, add everything to the pan, including salt and pepper and cook on medium high while continuously mixing for about 10 minutes.

And you’re done! Time your entire meal accordingly, since this side dish doesn’t take long at all.