Friday, July 25, 2014

Tuna Salad Plate with Avocado, Eggs & Sprouts

Low calorie, low carb and a great source of Omega-3, this simple, light and delicious Tuna Salad recipe makes an easy weekday dinner paired with sliced avocado, hard boiled eggs and some fresh tomatoes. Topped with a mound of flavourful onion sprouts and dressed with a tangy vinaigrette, outdoor summer dining doesn't get any easier, healthier or more satisfying.

Tuna Salad with Avocado, Hard Boiled Eggs & Sprouts
Serves 2

10 oz canned tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz mixed greens
2 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and halved
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
6 grape tomatoes, halved
1 package onion sprouts, for garnish
Maldon salt and fresh cracked black pepper

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
Fresh cracked black pepper and salt, to taste

Add the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon and minced garlic together in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste. Combine tuna, diced cucumber, green onions, lemon juice, zest, dill, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir well. Toss the mixed greens with some vinaigrette to taste, then arrange on 2 plates and top with a generous scoop of the tuna mixture. Top with a handful of onion sprouts and garnish with sliced avocado, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. Season with Maldon salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and drizzle with more vinaigrette if need. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grilled Vegetables with Olive Oil, Oregano & Feta

A medley of the summer's freshest and most colourful seasonal vegetables are the centrepiece in this easy and delicious Grilled Vegetable Salad. Chopped and tossed with olive oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper, any selection of mixed vegetables can be cooked simply on the barbecue by using a teflon grill basket, preventing any of the little gems being lost though the grates. Finished with a crown of crumbled feta and selection of fresh herbs from the garden, this recipe is one of the easiest and most flavourful salads for the ultimate in care-free summer dining.

Grilled Vegetables with Olive Oil, Oregano & Feta
Serves 4

1 yellow zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces 
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 small red onion, cut into bite-size pieces
8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried Greek oregano, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Sprigs of fresh thyme, for garnish

Toss the chopped vegetables in a large bowl with olive oil, dried oregano and season with salt and pepper. Preheat an outdoor barbecue to medium and grill the sliced zucchini until tender and slightly charred on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. 

Meanwhile, place the remaining vegetables in a teflon grilling basket and using a pair of long stainless steel tongs, gently toss the vegetables every few minutes until they are cooked through. 

To serve, place the grilled vegetables on a decorative platter and garnish with the feta, some additional oregano and finish with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Indonesian Grilled Swordfish with Cucumber Raita

There's no other fish quite like swordfish, with its rich meaty texture, and full flavour, it's firm flesh makes it perfect for summertime grilling on the barbecue. An elegant and easy grilled entrée bursting with Asian-inspired flavours, this simple and delicious recipe was adapted from Ina Garten's Grilled Indonesian Swordfish from her celebrated 'Back to Basics' cookbook. Served with steamed rice and braised bok choy or crunchy asian slaw, this marinade works equally well with salmon, halibut or any other succulent firm fleshed fish. Topped with a spoonful of cool and crunchy homemade Cucumber Dill & Yogurt Raita, and garnished with grilled lemon, fresh mint and flowering dill, this low-carb high protein dish is as simple to prepare as it is delicate and delicious.

Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa 'Back to Basics' cookbook

 The swordfish marinating in soy sauce, oil, ginger, lemon, garlic and Dijon mustard 

Indonesian Grilled Swordfish
Serves 4

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 8-oz swordfish steaks, about 1-inch thick
1 lemon, cut into 4 thick slices, for grilling
Kosher salt

Cucumber Dill Raita:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 pinch of cayenne
2 tsp minced fresh chives

Combine the soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and mustard in a bowl. Pour half the sauce in a low flat dish that's just large enough to hold the swordfish in one layer. Place the swordfish on top of the sauce and spread the remaining sauce on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high and brush the cooking grate with oil to prevent the fish from sticking. Remove the fish from the marinade, allowing some of the ginger to cling to the fish, and discard the marinade. Sprinkle the fish generously on both sides with salt and place it on the grill along with the slices of lemon. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, just until they're no longer pink in the middle. Place on a platter, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine the sour cream, cucumber, dill, chives, cayenne, salt and pepper. Serve the swordfish on a platter topped with dill sauce and a garnish of grilled lemon, mint and flowering dill.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zucchini & Ricotta Fritters with Feta, Dill and Lemon

These delicious savoury Zucchini & Ricotta Fritters with Feta and Dill are absolutely addictive. Low fat and low cal, it seems impossible that anything so healthy could taste so great. Topped with a dollop of tzatziki, these fabulous fritters make an easy summertime hors d'oeuvre or side dish served with some grilled fish or chicken. Tweak the recipe with some smoked mozzarella or pecorino cheese instead of the feta or some chopped spinach, sweet corn or fresh cilantro for more savoury twists on this true Italian classic.

Zucchini & Ricotta Fritters with Feta and Dill
Makes about 20 fritters

2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp feta, crumbled
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 large scallions, very thinly sliced
1/4 cups fresh dill, chopped
2 large eggs
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive or vegetable oil, for frying
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Lemon wedges and tzatiki, for serving

In a strainer, toss the shredded zucchini with the salt and let sit for ten minutes. Then thoroughly squeeze out as much moisture as you can. 

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, ricotta, yogurt, feta, garlic, scallions, dill, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the flour just until incorporated.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form 3-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges and a little tzatziki.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Orange & Lemon Poppyseed Bread with Citrus Glaze

Bursting with flavour, and infused with the sweet, slightly tart flavour of fragrant orange and lemon peel, melted butter and studded with poppy seeds, this classic Orange & Lemon Poppyseed Bread recipe is a tea time favourite. Fresh coarsely grated lemon and orange zest looks like confetti sprinkled throughout the loaf, and as the bread bakes, permeates the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma of warm butter and fragrant citrus scent, making it pretty hard to resist. The crowning glory is the sweet sugary lemon-orange glaze that's brushed over the cake while it's still warm, infusing the bread with a sweet and tangy citrus flavour that will keep it moist and delicious for days. So if you're needing a little taste of summer, this light and luscious Orange & Lemon Poppyseed Bread will definitely add some sunshine to your day.

Orange & Lemon Poppyseed Bread
Makes 1 loaf

3 large eggs
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp coarsely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp coarsely grated orange zest
3 tbsp poppy seeds
13 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Lemon Orange Syrup:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup granulated white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk, then set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, orange zest and poppy seeds until well combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture and beat well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55-65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When the bread is done, remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

To make the lemon orange syrup, place the sugar, and fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.  

Pierce the warm loaf all over with a toothpick, then brush the top of the loaf with about half of the hot lemon syrup. Brush the remaining syrup onto the bottom and the sides of the loaf. Let the lemon loaf cool before wrapping and storing overnight, to allow the lemon syrup to penetrate the loaf.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Warm Mixed Olives with Rosemary & Lemon Zest

Plump, glossy and gorgeous, these Warm Mixed Olives with Rosemary and Lemon Zest are a wonderful hors d'oeuvre with a glass of wine, a lump of cheese and warm crusty baguette. Heating your favourite combination of mixed olives with a tablespoon or two of olive oil enhances the flavour and the unexpected warmth is a mouth-watering surprise. Sauté the olives with some garlic, hot red pepper, lemon zest and rosemary, and the infused olive oil catapults this simple fare to another level — fast, easy and quite delicious.

Warm Olives with Rosemary and Lemon Zest
Makes 2 cups

3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups mixed olives with pits: nicoise, cerignola, kalamata, picholine
1 clove of garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 hot red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
Garnishes: rosemary sprig, lemon rind strips

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sliced pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the mixed olives and lemon zest and cook, stirring frequently, until warmed though and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes. Garnish with some lemon curls and fresh rosemary sprigs. Serve warm with some crusty bread and your favourite cheeses.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moules Marinière with Leeks, Cream, Wine & Thyme

Wine, cream, and butter — the holy trinity of any devout epicurean. Together they produce a powerful potion rich enough to enhance any dish. One of my favourites is Moules Marinière, a classic dish found in brasseries throughout the world. The essentials are simple: cook chopped leeks in an abundance of butter, add a dollop or two of white wine, lashings of thyme and a final flourish of light cream. Difficult? Hardly. Expensive? Not at all. Mussels are just relatively inexpensive, but you'll need a reasonably good bottle of white wine, both for the broth and for quaffing afterwards. An easy dish that can be prepared in no time at all, moules are low fat, low cal and absolutely delicious, especially with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the silky sauce. If you're feel sufficiently motivated, you can also make your own french fries for a traditional "moules-frites." Mon Dieu.

Moules Marinière
Serves 2

1 lb mussels
1 leek, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
kosher salt and white pepper
1 baguette, for serving

In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the leeks, season with salt and white pepper and sauté until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes. Then add the wine and fresh thyme, and stir to combine. Once the wine is bubbling, add the mussels and give them a stir to coat. Cover and turn the heat up to medium-high, and continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened up. Those that haven't, you should discard. Add the cream and give it all a good stir. Pour the moules in one large serving bowl or portion into two individual warmed dinner bowls. Ladle the sauce overtop and garnish with some additional chopped thyme. Be sure to mop up the sauce with a loaf of warm crusty bread — delicious!