Carrot and Lentil Salad

Have you ever eaten so much junk you feel like you need to eat vegetables all day to clean out your insides? Maybe that’s just me. I ate an awful lot of sugar cookies this weekend, on top of a delicious but probably not so healthy meal at the Dominian Square Tavern (loved the corn fritters and homemade ketchup), so I felt like I needed a healthy veggie based meal.

Enter this Carrot and Lentil Salad. I based it very loosely on a recipe from Food and Wine. When I say based I mean I remembered seeing a salad with carrots, tomatoes and chickpeas. I didn’t have any chickpeas on hand, so I substituted lentils.

Carrot and Lentil Salad

  • 1 cup french lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 carrots, shredded
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the lentils: In a medium sized pot, sautee the onion until translucent. Add the lentils then cover with two cups of water. Add oregano, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are cooked. Drain any excess liquid.
  2. Toss the lentils with the carrots and tomatoes. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

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Zucchini Fritters and Balcony Garden Harvest

I’ve been sick for the last couple of days. I think it’s from walking through all those puddles. Everyone knows germs get in through your feet, that’s why moms insist that their kids wear socks.

When I’m sick I crave comfort foods. One of my favourite comfort foods is french fries, but I wasn’t about to start peeling potatoes in my current state. So I started thinking about what else could satisfy my craving for deep-fried goodness. It hit me as I was looking through the vegetables in my fridge: zucchini fritters.
But I didn’t just want fritters. I wanted something cheesy to dip them in. The only cheese I had was goat cheese. Goat cheese dip sounded pretty good to me. Since I’m sick I decided to throw something healthy into the mix, the first cherry tomatoes from my balcony tomato plant.

The fritters and dip were delicious, but to be honest my favourite part of the meal were the tomatoes. There was something so satisfying about eating fresh tomatoes, bursting with flavour, that I grew myself.

I used Martha Stewart’s Zucchini Fritter recipe, and I based my dip on this recipe from Chatelaine.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • chives, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for frying
  1. Combine the zucchini, salt, parsley, chives, egg and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add the flour and mix until there are no lumps of flour.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pan. Using a tablespoon take a small amount and make a ball with the batter.
  4. Fry 4 or 5 of the balls for 2-3 minutes a side until golden brown.
  5. Once cooked place on a paper towel lined plate to drain the oil.

Goat Cheese Dip

  • 140 gram package goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp  coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • chives for garnish
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the chives in a small bowl until well combined. If the mixture is too thick and more yogurt.
  2. Top with chopped chives.

Enjoy!

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Magazine Monday: Summer Vegetable Casserole

For me a great meal is all about the side dishes. A nice piece of meat is great, but how good are the potatoes on the side? I’ve constantly got my eye out for good side dish recipes, and this one from the August issue of  Food & Wine struck me as the perfect summer side dish. It’s packed with my favourite summer veggies; zucchini, tomatoes, peppers. And as a base, new potatoes!

I also got the chance to use some of the herbs I’ve got growing on the balcony. Everything has been going great, except for the parsley (weird, eh?). The recipe only called for thyme but I threw some oregano in as well, just for fun.

Summer Vegetable Casserole

  • New potatoes, sliced a 1/4 inch thick
  • Mushrooms
  • Plum tomatoes, sliced
  • Yellow peppers, sliced thinly
  • Zucchini
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme and oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan, grated
  1. Toss all the ingredients together except for the parmesan.
  2. In a baking dish, layer the vegetables in the following order; potatoes, mushrooms, 2/3 of the onion and green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and finally the remaining onion and peppers.
  3. Top with grated parmesan.
  4. Bake covered in foil at 350 for 40 minutes. Increase the temperature to 400, remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

This was pretty tasty. The recipe is simple enough to let the flavours of the fresh summer vegetables shine through. Next time I make this I think I’ll add some goat cheese to the mix, or maybe a layer of ricotta and spinach, just to make it a little more substantial.

I’ll be sending this post to Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Monday. For those of you who don’t know, Magazine Monday is a chance to get through all those magazine recipes we all have earmarked to make and then share your creations. Head over to her site to check out what everyone else is up to!

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Quinoa and Veggie Stuffed Portobellos

My eating habits haven’t exactly been super healthy lately. It’s not that I’ve been eating junk food, but I’ve been eating out a lot, having quite a few drinks, and there was this, and this, and that. So I’m trying to come up with tasty but healthy homemade meals. tonight’s was definitely tasty, and I believe it would qualify as healthy. Portobello mushrooms stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, peppers and spinach.

I usually stuff Portobello’s with italian sausage, so to get that flavour without the fatty sausage, I fried the zucchini in onion and garlic with some fennel seeds and hot pepper flakes. The mushrooms can’t hold enough liquid to cook the quinoa, so I cooked it while frying the zucchini. Then I combined all the ingredients and a bit of pureed tomato, filled the mushrooms, topped them with a bit of mozzarella and baked them at 450 for 10 minutes.

Spicy Red Lentil Patties And A Lovely Long Weekend

I love long weekends. You may think  that is a silly statement, but it’s not, one of my coworkers actually does not like them because he gets bored. Crazy, eh?

My weekend was anything but boring. It started with cousins dinner Friday night. We went for tapas at Sala Rosa and had a delicious meal. I will soon be attempting to replicate the fried goat cheese with honey and onion confit. And if I’m feeling adventurous I may even attempt the mussels with bacon and cream sauce.

Some friends from Ottawa came into town Saturday to watch the hockey game, which the Habs sadly lost (the Habs are also losing as I write this, my theory is if I pay less attention they might tie the game). Sunday we had a lovely picnic on the mountain. I would have written about the food we ate, but we gobbled it up so fast I wasn’t able to get any pictures.

Needless to say, we overindulged a little. To make up for those indulgences, I decided to make myself a nice healthy lunch today, red lentil patties.

Spicy Red Lentil Patties

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cummin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, cover the lentils with water by about two inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain lentils.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, fry the onion and garlic.
  3. In a large bowl, combine lentils, onion mixture and all other ingredient.
  4. Form the mixture into burgers.
  5. Put the patties on a greased baking sheet and broil 4-5 minutes on each side.

The patties were very tasty, and were quick and easy t o make. I had them with plain yogurt, but they would have been great with something like tzaziki.

(My theory on ignoring the Habs turned out not to work, congrats to the Flyers, tomorrow I will be making comfort cookies)