Friday, October 23, 2009

Nutty Chicken with Whiskey Carrots & Mashed Truffle Fingerlings

After stocking up on a huge bag of produce from Granville Islands last farmers market of the season I just had to grab a couple chicken breasts and get creative in the kitchen. 
How I made the Nutty Chicken; what I did was use my little nut grinder (top left picture) to make a combination of walnut and almond flakes then I put them in a bowl and added paprika, tumeric and fresh oregeno in another bowl I squeezed fresh juice out of a mandarin orange and added a splash of my homemade rosewater. Then I put the chicken breast in the liquid and then the dry nut mixture. Next I placed a fresh green onion in the middle of the chicken breast along with a strip of cave aged gruyere cheese and rolled up the breast and stuck into the oven for 25 mins at 350. 
For the carrots I simmered them in our cast iron pan in organic chicken stock for about 12mins then added a splash of maple syrup, splash of whiskey and handful of fresh dill for the last few minutes. Now the reason I always use a cast iron pan while cooking is because teflon is harmful to the environment and also can cause health problems such as birth defects and infertility. I used chicken stock instead of olive oil because once olive is heated up it looses its nutritional value. 
I boiled a couple handfuls of my little red fingerling potatoes then threw them in my favorite hand processor (my grandmother gave me for my birthday) with about half a cup of milk, a couple table spoons of mushroom truffle oil, a couple teaspoons of white pepper and a few sprinkles of salt. Viola! I topped it all off with a fresh cut fig.
It was all pretty good, the carrots were perfect and my bf especially loved the hint of whiskey I added. Upon deliberation we both came to the conclusion that the chicken needed something else to add a little spice, perhaps some red chillies.... The mashed potatoes were good too but needed something to offset the natural bitterness of the fingerlings. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Steamed Clams & Chorizo Sausage on Roast Squash

Last night I made a divine dish I found in the local Eat Magazine and just had to share! I got the spicy chorizo from Oyama Sausage on Granville Island and all the produce from the farmers market that comes to the island every thursday, the squash was specifically from Klippers. I also picked up a small walnut loaf from Terra Breads to soak up the yummy sauce. I also substituted anise seeds for fresh fennel since I forgot to pick it up and they taste similar anyways. Anise has some great medicinal heath benefits by aiding as a mild anti-parasitic, reliving toothaches and reliving menstrual cramps. The recipe was pretty easy and so delicious, give it a try!

Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: About 60 minutes, Makes: 4 servings
• 1 medium acorn squash, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
• 3 Tbsp olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 fresh chorizo sausages
• 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
• 1 small fresh fennel bulb, core removed, remaining bulb, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 2 ripe medium tomatoes, finely chopped
• 2 Tbsp store-bought or homemade pesto
• 2 lbs. fresh clams, rinsed in cold water (see Note)
• 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Set in the squash, skin-side down. Pour in enough water to just coat the bottom the pan. Brush the
flesh of the squash with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Cover and
roast the squash 20 minutes. Uncover the squash and roast 20 to 25 minutes more, or
until tender.
When the squash are about 20 minutes from being done, heat the remaining oil in widebottomed
pot set over medium to medium-high heat. Remove the casing from each
sausage and pull themeat into small nuggets (about 1/2-inch round) and set in the pot. Fry
the sausage until cooked through. Add the onion and fennel and cook until tender, about
3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes and pesto and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 to 4
minutes, and then season with salt and pepper.
When the squash is tender, turn off the oven. Add the clams to the sausage/tomatomixture,
bring back to a simmer, cover, and cook just until the clams open. Set a quarter squash
in each of 4 wide, shallow bowls. Divide and spoon the clams and their cooking liquid over
the squash on each plate. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Note: Discard any clams that do not close when squeezed or tapped before cooking, or
those that do not open after cooking. Both are signs the clam is dead and should not be

Friday, October 16, 2009

Morning Mate

My roomates always cursed my smoothie routine in the morning! Luckily my loving partner whom I live with has the same desire for a nutritional kick start in the am. We both leave for work around the same time so we take turns making shakes.We both sorta modify a base recipe that we find delicious and energizing. The essentials are blueberries, blackberries a banana, walnuts, honey, oil (olive or flaxseed), protein powder and either coconut water or rosewater. Other ingredients we sometime add are gogi berries, almonds, cinnamon and hemphearts.

So why blueberries? Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) have ranked blueberries #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain powerful phytochemicals, such as anthocyanin, which is the pigment that gives blueberries their color. Blueberries are associated with numerous health benefits including protection against urinary-tract infections, cancer, age-related health conditions and brain damage from strokes. They may also reduce the build-up of so-called "bad" cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease and stroke. Additionally, blueberries contain vitamins A and C, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium, and are high in fiber and low in calories. Blackberries are not only free (my bf spends hours picking them from a secret location then we freeze them) but they are high in fiber and vitamin C they also strengthen blood vessels, protect eyesight and reduce heart disease.

Bananas are natures best source of potassium they also lower blood pressure and act as an antacid. We have swapped from tossing in a handful of almonds to walnuts since they have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts. Having a healthy dose of omega 3’s everyday are essential for optimal nutrition since they fight cancer causing agents, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis, the protective effect of omega 3’s exhibited in brain health could even show promise for future research in the prevention of Parkinson's disease! My man likes to use olive oil, I like to use flaxseed oil since it increases body’s production of energy, accelerates healing, improves absorption of calcium, strengthens nails, improves function of the liver and its good for the skin!

Right now we are using Transform plus as the powder in our shakes cause it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals including greens and spirulina. Sometimes we use the Nutiva hemp series in Amazon Acai or Berry pomegranate which also has a tone of beneficial ingredients. Gogi berries are another powerful antioxidant that minimize damage to cells from free radicals. These berries are rich in vitamin A which have anti-aging effects and they also boost immune function, protect vision and prevent heart disease. These should be avoided for anyone taking blood thinning prescriptions.

Last but not least is a sprinkle of hemp hearts, these expensive little morsels can be found in health food stores and they are a power food that are full of beneficial vitamins and enzymes. To top it off we wash down a couple Krill Oil capsules and vitamin D with our nutritious shakes.