Archive | January, 2015

Roasted Beet Salad with Spiced Chick Peas & Tahini Dressing

Beet salad, generally speaking, does not excite me. It needs textural and temperature contrast, (extreme) freshness and a brush of finesse to stand out from the crowd. Maybe the deli case versions and possibly the beets/chevre/mixed greens restaurant staples are in part responsible. Beets need attention and excitement to really shine.

Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing

I feel like maybe we have stopped thinking about beets and asking where they see themselves outside of where they have been typecast. Is it because they turn everything the colour of strawberry ice cream? Because it is a tricky colour for something that tastes so earthy to pull off. Maybe it’s because they are so intensely sweet….yet savory.

Roasted Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing

The thing is, they are totally worth a bit of a reinvention if it gets you re-interested in them, they are just so good for you. For starters, they are full of the intense pigment, betalain (also seen in pink chard stems and my favourite vacation flowers of the same colour, bougainvillea). They contain anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory powers, promote blood flow and blood purification, and help prevent anemia and constipation. All very good things if you have/had or are hoping to prevent cancer. For optimum health benefits, leave the skin on (you will hardly notice it).

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Thai Hazelnut Noodle Bowl

Thai Hazelnut Noodle Bowl

There is this amazing noodle shop a little bit too close to where I live. It serves a small menu of Asian-style soups and noodle bowls using local, high quality ingredients. I always go there with the intention of getting a warm, noodle-y soup, but always, without fail get the same exact thing, because I am totally addicted to it: the hazelnut noodle bowl.

Thai Hazelnut Noodle Bowl

It’s so good, I find it hard to keep up casual conversation until I can see the bottom of my bowl, and sharing is (obviously) out of the question. This bi-weekly good time is inspiring my dish today. It isn’t a direct re-creation, but a version of it, given a healthy, cancer-squashing bump.

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Smokey Split Pea Soup

Vegan Smokey Split Pea Soup

Quite a few years ago I took a contract job cooking for a self-proclaimed ‘meat, potatoes and sometimes ice cream guy’ who wanted to try a vegan, raw food diet. He admitted that he didn’t love most vegetables but was interested in improving his overall health (he didn’t have cancer). I love a challenge, but this was really challenging. I only had one frustrated (and colourful) juice pulp-throwing incident (thrown by me) before I started thinking with my meat brain. What would my Dad eat? I figured out ways to tickle that umami part of the brain, using different spices and veggies.

Vegan Smokey Split Pea Soup

Smoked paprika helped a lot. In general, smoked foods aren’t great for our health; they can contain toxins that come from the burning matter creating the smoke. We’re not talking about eating smoked meat here, or smoked fish, you will only be getting a small amount of the paprika, but the flavour will remind you (or your meat and potatoes buddy) of that chorizo-filled trip to Spain.

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Vegan Parmesan Cheese

My Mom had a kids clothing store when we were growing up, and beside it was (maybe still is) a cute little Italian deli. Besides the fact that this meant my sisters and I got first crack at the new West Beach sweatshirts, it also meant a humongous, crusty, ciabatta loaf and a fresh block of parmesan cheese with grater joined us for dinner many nights of the week. Thanks Italian deli, it was fun, I’m glad we broke up but I still miss you sometimes.

in the jar parm

This parmesan cheese doesn’t really resemble the mighty king of cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano –I’m not totally delusional. In fact it might be closer to the scary plastic shaker of parmesan that sat in the door of the fridge or at the by-the-slice pizza joint. It is infinitely better for you though, as it is not only dairy-free but it is actually made out of real food. Nuts actually, and seeds, the stuff you are encouraged to add to your meals anyway.

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