Naturally Flavoured Waters

Flavoured Waters

So with Canada Day behind us, and the hot long summer ahead (sorry GOT fans, winter is not yet coming!), it is important that we stay hydrated! So this week is all about the liquids! And what better way to kick it off than with good ol’ H2O? That reminds me of a bad nerd joke, that you’ll have to forgive me for telling, but I just can’t help myself.

Two scientists walk into a bar. The first one says “I’ll have some H2O.” The second one says, “I’ll have some H2O too.” The second scientist then dies.

All my fellow nerds will get it, for those that don’t, H2O2 (too) is the chemical formula for Hydrogen Peroxide which can kill you if ingested. Hey, I warned you it was a bad joke, don’t shoot the blogger.

So having warmed up the crowd, let’s move on to some great, easy waters, and some of the benefits that they will bring you. Please check out our produce cleaning page to see how to clean all of the fresh produce and herbs used in these recipes. You can check out the page by clicking here.


Apples and Cinnamon Water

Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar concentration and improves insulin sensitivity, while apples have been shown in studies to help a wide spectrum of ailments from staving off Alzheimer’s to protecting against colon cancer.

Ingredients:
2 apples, thinly sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
2 quarts water/seltzer, divided
ice
sliced apple and cinnamon sticks, for serving

Directions:
Place the thinly sliced apples and cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. For still infused water, add 2 quarts of water. For sparkling water, add 1 quart of seltzer during prep and a second quart just before serving. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours to allow the ingredients to infuse. Stir well and strain, discarding the solids. For serving, add fresh apples and cinnamon sticks for garnish and plenty of ice. The infused water will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Strawberries and Basil Water

This pretty medley of strawberries and basil from provides iron from the herb and vitamin C from the berries, which has been linked to fighting cancer, keeping wrinkles at bay, and more.

Ingredients:
1 pint strawberries, sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 lemon, sliced
2 quarts water

Directions:
Combine strawberries, basil and lemon in a large pitcher. Add 2 quarts of water. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.


Blueberries, Peach, Lemon, and Mint Water

This supercharged mixture from combines the antioxidant power of the fruit with refreshing mint, a carotene-rich aromatic herb.

Ingredients:
1 large pitcher of water
10-12 chopped mint leaves
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
2 sliced lemons
1 sliced peach or nectarine

Throw everything together in a pitcher and let it steep overnight. You can use fresh or frozen fruit – I always prefer fresh if it’s in season.


Orange & Vanilla Infused Water

This light delicious water provides both vitamin C and a boost of antioxidants.

Ingredients:
2 litres of filtered water
1 orange, sliced
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or a scraped vanilla bean

Directions:
Combine the orange slices, vanilla and water in a large pitcher, and mix well. Allow to infuse in the fridge for at least an hour, and then keep chilled in the fridge for a refreshing beverage anytime you like!


Blackberries and Sage Water

Blackberries are brimming with fibre and heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, while sage contains vitamin A and a variety of minerals like calcium and iron.

Ingredients:
5 sage leaves
1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
ice
water

Directions:
Add sage leaves to a pitcher and bruise with a muddler. Add blackberries; press and twist with muddler to release their juices. Fill the jar with ice cubes, and then add water to the top, stir, cover and refrigerate.


Cucumber Slices and Lemongrass Water

Send yourself to the spa with this Thai inspired water. The lemongrass provides vitamins a and c, and the cucumber is a great diuretic!

Ingredients:
½ cucumber
1 stalk lemongrass
4 cups of water
ice

Directions:
Wash the cucumber. Using a vegetable peeler remove some of the waxy peel from the cucumber. Proceed to peel the cucumber into ribbons using the vegetable peeler. Put the ribbons into the pitcher.

Using your hands, peel away the rough outer edge of the lemongrass. Cut the lemongrass in half, lengthwise. Place the lemongrass onto a cutting board. Using a rolling pin, gently smash the lemongrass. Add to the pitcher of ice and cucumber ribbons. Fill with water. Give a stir. Let chill in the fridge at least an hour. Fill about ¼ of the pitcher with ice, stir, and enjoy.

Colcannon

Colcannon

When looking back in history, you don’t often hear about great famines or blights being brought about by a single type of vegetation, but the potato did just that. In Ireland between 1845 and 1852, the potato crop was devastated by a fungus known as “potato blight” or Phytophthora infestans. At the time, the peasantry of Ireland was very dependent upon the potato. The “Great Potato Famine,” caused a million deaths and another million emigrations (many to the U.S.). This caused the population of Ireland to drop by 20 to 25% during this period.

The potato remained Ireland’s staple crop after the famine and by the end of the 19th century, the Irish per capita consumption of four pounds a day was the highest in the world.  Because of their history and their first-hand experience Ireland has been at the forefront of international famine relief. In 1985 Bob Geldof, Irish rock star and founder of Live Aid, revealed that the people of Ireland had given more to his fundraising efforts per head of population than any other nation in the world. In 2000, Bono, lead singer with Irish band U2, played a central role in campaigning for debt relief for African nations in the Jubilee 2000 campaign. The Irish famine experience continues to influence many Irish people in their attitudes towards the developing world and famine victims everywhere. It is good to see that tragedy can turn into triumph, and bring about positive change in the world.

Ingredients:

6 medium/large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2-3 tablespoons butter/margarine, divided
2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)*
4 green onions/scallions, sliced*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head savoy cabbage, shredded*
2 ½ cups water, divided
3-4 cups green kale, washed, stalks removed and shredded*
salt & pepper

* Click here to learn how to clean cabbage, kale and green onions/scallions, and leeks.

Directions:

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain the potatoes, saving about a cup of the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes, adding salt, pepper, a little butter/margarine to taste, and as much of the cooking liquid as needed to make the potatoes fluffy.

While the potatoes are cooking put 1 tablespoon of butter/margarine in a deep skillet and sauté the leeks, green onions/scallions and garlic until everything is translucent, about 7-10 minutes, over medium heat. Add the savoy cabbage and ½ cup of water, then cover the pan and cook until the cabbage is tender.

In another skillet add the remaining water and cook the kale until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain the kale well, and then mix everything together, and taste to adjust your seasonings. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Okay, after touting both the virtues and dangers of rhubarb, not to mention some delicious recipes, I don’t really have much more to say on the subject. But I will leave you with this one last bit of trivia: Did you know though not often used today, the word ‘rhubarb’ can also mean ‘a heated argument or dispute,’ according to Merriam Webster.But don’t get into a rhubarb about dinner, maybe try this dish out instead?

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 ¼ cups orange juice
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel*
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger*
3 cups 2-inch-long ¼ inch-thick matchstick-size strips rhubarb (from about 2-3 stalks trimmed rhubarb)
8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage** (from about ½ medium head)
½ cup Sherry wine vinegar
½ cup dry red wine
6 (6-7 ounce) salmon fillets with skin
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups arugula**
¾ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

* Click here to get tips on zesting oranges and peeling fresh ginger.
** Click here to learn how to clean arugula and cabbage.

Directions:

Stir the mustard seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to small bowl and put aside for now.

Bring the orange juice, sugar, water, and orange peel to boil in large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pre-cooked mustard seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and ginger.

Simmer away until it becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until rhubarb is tender but intact, about 2-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to microwave-safe bowl and put it aside for now.

Bring syrup in skillet back up to a simmer and add the cabbage, vinegar, and wine, bringing everything up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat back down to medium, partially cover, and simmer until cabbage is soft and most of liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes. Season the cabbage to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the cabbage from the heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until it is just opaque in centre, about 11 minutes. Rewarm reserved rhubarb in microwave just until warm, about 1 minute or so.

Divide the warm cabbage among 6 plates. Scatter the arugula atop and around the cabbage. Place 1 salmon fillet atop the cabbage. Spoon a dollop of the yogurt atop the salmon, and then the rhubarb.

Rhubarb Custard Tart

Rhubarb Torte

So I came across this picture more than a year ago, and fell head over heels in love with it. but alas, no recipe to go along with it. So I became a woman on a mission, trying to find something that would more or less match up, and I think I did. I played around with a few different recipes and settled on the one below, taking a bit from this one and a bit from that one. I have given an recipe for making your own pastry dough, but you can easily just use a store bough one instead. Just blind bake until golden brown and follow the rest of the steps for the tart.

Ingredients:

Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (1 stick, minus 1 tablespoon)
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons cold water

Custard:
414ml (14 oz.) condensed milk (this is equal to 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons)
100ml evaporated milk (this is equal to ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs + 2 yolks

Rhubarb:
2-3 large stalks fresh rhubarb, sliced to the width of your tart pan
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water

You will also need a 14 x 5 x 1 inch rectangular tart case (or any other tart shell you would like)

Directions:

For the Pastry Dough:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips (or I’ve even known people to use two knives in a criss-cross motion), blend together the flour mixture and butter until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolk, vanilla, lemon juice, and water with a fork and then stir it into the flour/butter mixture with the fork until combined well.

Gently knead the dough in the bowl with floured hands until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times. Form the dough into a ball, and then flatten it into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.  If making the tart right away, preheat oven to 350°F, and line a rectangular pastry case with sweet pastry and blind bake* until golden, about 12-15 minutes.

For the Custard:
To make the custard you are going to need to pans on the stove top at once. One with the evaporated milk/cornstarch mixture and one acting as a double boiler* for the egg base.  For the egg base, take a small to medium pan (make sure your pan is smaller than your mixing bowl that will sit on top) and put a cup or two of water in it and set it to boil on the stove. Once it begins to boil, lower it to a simmer. It is now ready to act as your double boiler.

While you are waiting for your water to come to temperature, mix the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and condensed milk together in a glass bowl. Once the water is simmering, place the glass bowl over the pan, and heat the contents, whisking until they thicken. To make the custard place the evaporated milk and cornstarch in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Remove both mixtures from the stove top and fold together to fully combine. Pour the combined custard into the cooked pastry case.

For the Rhubarb:

Cut the rhubarb into equal lengths, to fit the pastry case. Pour the sugar and water into a sauce pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Place the rhubarb into the heated sugar and allow to cook for 1 minute then turning gently for another minute. You are just par-cooking the rhubarb, the final product will still have some firmness to it.

Place the rhubarb gently on top of the custard along the length of the pastry case. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the tart and rhubarb with the remaining sugar syrup to glaze. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

* Click here to learn about blind baking and double boilers.

Challah

Challah

So if you’re going to do bread recipes, how can you not do a challah recipe? My mom and sister make their doughs and do a first rise in a bread machine, and then take out the dough to shape, do a second rise, and then bake in the oven. Personally, I like to make my dough in my food processor, then take it out to rise, shape, rise again, and bake. Maybe that’s just because I’m not lucky enough to own a bread machine. But hey, whatever works for you, works for me.

I’m going to be setting up a separate page about the laws of taking challah, for those of you who wish to learn more about the it and get the chance to partake in the mitzvah when they are baking bread. You can click here to be taken directly to the page. I am also going to be setting up a how-to page on different braiding techniques for some easy, and some not-so-easy, ways to make a beautiful loaf for your table.

So, having said all that, please enjoy the recipe below. It will make two medium loaves or three small.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups water, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar, divided
⅓ cup honey
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 egg (for the egg wash)

Directions:

If you are making this in a bread machine, place all of the wet ingredients first (except for the 3rd egg, that is for an egg wash on top of your braided challahs), then all of your dry ingredients, adding your yeast last. Set your machine on the dough setting. Once the machine is done, remove the dough from the machine and braid or shape the bread to your liking. Make an egg wash from the remaining egg and a little water mixed together, brushed on top of the bread. Bake in a preheated 350°F degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the challahs are golden brown and sound hollow when knocked on. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

If you are making this recipe by hand or in a food processor, use these directions:

In a medium sized bowl add the yeast, ¼ cup of warm water (heated to 105°F-110°F) and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy, like beer.

In a large bowl or in your food processor fitted with your dough blade, mix together the flour, remaining sugar and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients until dough begins to form, including the yeast mixture. If using a processor, let the processor run until a ball begins to form around the blade. In either prep method, once a ball has formed, turn it out onto a floured counter and knead the dough for a few minutes so that it comes together to form a nice cohesive elastic dough. Add more flour or water as needed.

Lightly grease a large bowl and put your dough in it to rise. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place in a warm area for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.

Turn out your dough on to a floured surface, and punch the bread down to release air bubbles. Knead the dough for another few minutes and then shape/braid your loaf into whatever shape you desire.

Place loaf(s) in oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until again doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. You can top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or just egg wash the tops.

Bake at 350°F until bottom of the loaf(s) sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Onion & Garlic Cheese Bread

Cheese BreadSo as we know, bread is a staple. It has been around forever, in one form or another, be it loaf, bun or pita. Because of this, our wise Sages worried that  an unsuspecting person might mistake dairy bread for plain pareve bread and eat it together with meat. In doing this, he  would inadvertently violate the prohibition of eating milk and meat together.

So, to stop this problem before it happened, they decreed (Gemara: Pesachim 30a and 36a) that one may not bake dairy bread unless certain criteria are met:

  1. either changing the shape or look of the dough prior to baking, making it instantly recognizable to all as dairy. So if all your loaves are rectangles, then ONLY your dairy ones are round, or having cheese on top of the loaf so one can see at a glance that it is dairy.
  2. baking dairy bread exclusively in small quantities, so that it is consumed all at once and inventory control is in place. You serve the dairy bread at a dairy meal, and don’t have to worry about a leftover roll being used for a meat sandwich.

(FYI – The same prohibition and exclusions apply to meaty bread as well, due to bread’s propensity to be eaten with a dairy meal)

So, having said all that, let’s bring on the cheese bread! Make sure however to follow the guidelines above and to top the loaf with lots of cheese so that is it visible to all that it is a dairy loaf.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (between 105°F – 110°F)
½ cup warm milk (same temperature as the water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups flour + flour for dusting
2 tablespoons margarine
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried minced onion, divided
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese + more for topping the loaf
Oil to grease a bowl & pans

Directions:

Combine the yeast, water, milk and sugar in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes foamy (like beer).

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, garlic powder, 2 tablespoons of the minced onion, margarine, and cheese. Add the foamy yeast mixture to the flour mixture and combine to make a dough ball. Knead the dough for a few minutes so that you have a cohesive mix, and it is not too sticky or too dry. Add more flour or water as needed.

Lightly grease a large bowl and put your dough in it to rise. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place in a warm area for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.

Turn out your dough on to a floured surface, and punch the bread down to release air bubbles. Knead the dough for another few minutes and then shape your loaf into whatever shape you desire.

Place loaf(s) in oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until again doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining dried minced onion and cheese over the top of the loaf.

Bake at 350°F until bottom of the loaf(s) sound hollow when tapped, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with your dairy meal!

Arugula Salad with Pickled Beets and Preserved-Lemon Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad

The holidays are great, and simply over abundant with food! I like to cut the heaviness of a meal by adding a fresh vegetable to the mix, often in the way of a salad. This one has the added bonus of having beets, which are one of the symbolic foods that we eat. In Hebrew, the word for Beet is סלקא, is closely related to סלק —meaning to depart. So we partake of beets, so that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us shall depart. This recipe will serve up to 8 guests, and they will depart with nothing but good feelings for the chef! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the pickled beets:
2 large red beets (about 6 ounces each), scrubbed
2 large yellow beets (about 6 ounces each), scrubbed
2 cups rice-wine vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water

For the spiced pistachios:
2 egg whites
1 cup shelled raw pistachios
1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning

For the preserved-lemon vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped*
2 pinches salt

For the salad:
10 ounces (16 cups) arugula*
¼ cup good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

*Click here to learn how to clean thyme and arugula

Directions:

To make the pickled beets:
Place each type of beet in its own small pot, cover with water, and simmer until a paring knife can easily pierce the beets, about 30 minutes. Cool the beets, peel, and slice into thin half-moons. Reserve each beet in a separate bowl to ensure that the red beet slices don’t stain the yellow ones. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar, and 2 cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and divide the hot brine among the beets. Then let the beets sit at room temperature until pickled, 3 to 4 hours.

To make the pistachios:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy, then add the pistachios and spices, tossing to coat. Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Nuts will crisp as they cool.

To make the preserved-lemon vinaigrette:
In a medium bowl, mix together the preserved lemon, lemon juice, red pepper flakes (if using), thyme and salt. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until fully combined.

To assemble the salad:
Arrange the pickled beets on a serving platter. Toss the arugula in the preserved-lemon vinaigrette and place on top of the beets. Sprinkle with the spiced pistachios, drizzle with balsamic, and top with fresh black pepper. Serve immediately.

Linguine with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Brie

Pasta with Roasted Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes and Brie

So for the past 10 days, my home was filled to the brim with guests. While it was a good thing, and for a good occasion, all of that cooking, cleaning and preparing to host a plethora of people takes a lot out of a person. My mother gets the credit for the mitzvah (good deed) as it was her house and she is definitely the hostess with the mostess. Now that it’s all over though, the thought of cooking is enough for me to go on a starvation diet. My stomach however does not agree. So what to do? How about a delicious one-pot pasta meal that takes almost no time to make, and is good to the last slurp? So, with that in mind, this week is going to be one-pot pasta week. Recipes that are all made in one pot, in one go. Easy to cook, easy to clean. Today’s recipe will hit all the right notes with rich and creamy brie, the smokey tartness of roasted red peppers, and the earthy richness of sundried tomatoes. This recipe will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

500g box of linguine, broken in half
1 ½ cups packed basil leaves*
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped roasted red peppers**
¾ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 to 5 large garlic cloves, pressed
6 ¾ cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth***
3 tablespoons oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
340g brie cheese, rind removed and cut into pieces
grated parmesan, for serving
good-quality olive oil, for serving

* Click here to learn how to clean basil.
** Click here to get a great easy recipe for roasted red peppers.
*** If you are using broth instead of water, make sure to get the low-sodium version, as there is already a lot of salt in this recipe and with the tomatoes. If you cannot find low-sodium, then reduce the amount of salt added in the recipe, and use olive oil, rather than the oil from the jar of tomatoes.

Directions:

Combine linguine, basil, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a large pot. Add the water/broth, sundried tomato oil/olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.

Using tongs, stir and turn the pasta frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. (If there is still a little bit of cooking water, pour some — but not all — into a separate bowl.)

Add the brie and toss with tongs until creamy and melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce will naturally thicken up after a couple of minutes. Serve with grated parmesan and a swirl of good olive oil. (If the pasta does seem to need liquid, add back a few splashes of reserved cooking liquid.)

Quinoa, Bulgur and Bibb Salad with Feta

Quinoa & Bulgur Salad

So a co-worker of mine was recently asking for some recipes for grains, things like quinoa, bulgar and couscous (yes, I know it’s not an actual grain). I looked up a few for her, but then she suggested a week on alternative grains. So Judy, this one’s for you! Today’s recipe is a 2-for-1, in that it contains both quinoa and bulgur, two great grains that are easy to prepare and adapt well to a variety of flavours. As always, you can change up and adjust this recipe to fit your family’s tastes. If they’re not crazy about olives, leave them out. You can switch the feta for goat cheese, shredded cheese, or leave that out as well, and make the salad pareve. The lettuce can be changed up with salad greens, arugula or even romaine. The choices are endless! No matter what you use though, the recipe below will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

⅔ cup quinoa
8 cups water
3 teaspoons salt, divided
⅔ cup medium bulgur
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons dried mint, crumbled
½ teaspoon black pepper
8 brine-cured black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and cut into slivers**
4 radishes, quartered and thinly sliced*
4 ounces feta, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 heads Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce, cut into ¼ -inch strips (about 8 cups)*
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

* Click here to learn how to clean radishes and Bibb/Boston/Butter lettuce.
** Click here for my tips on pitting and slicing olives.

Directions:

Add the quinoa into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Using your hand, agitate the water so that the quinoa gets rinsed well. Drain using a sieve or colander. Repeat this process 3 times, using fresh water each time.

In a medium to large sized saucepan, add the washed quinoa, 8 cups of water, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Simmer, uncovered until the quinoa is just tender and the germ starts to separate from the grain, about 20 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

While the quinoa is simmering, in a small bowl, add the bulgur and cover it with warm water by 2 inches. Let the bulgur soak until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and then stir into the drained quinoa. Cool grains completely, about 20 minutes.

While the grains are cooling, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mint, pepper, and remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a small bowl and let stand 15 minutes, then stir into the grains along with the olives, radishes, feta, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve immediately.

Homemade Ketchup – And 5 Ways to Take It For a Spin!

Ketchup

So how can you have a week on condiments and not touch on ketchup? It is quintessential! Here in Canada we’re just nuts about the thick, slightly sweet treat, boasting the second highest per capita consumption of ketchup in the world, second only to Finland, (Finland?!). With that said, I really don’t know anyone that makes their own, when buying a bottle is just so convenient. However, that being said, how could I not offer up a recipe? Don’t worry though, for those of you who are not going to actually make their own (I count myself amongst you), I’ve added 5 bonus recipes below on ways to spice up your homemade or purchased ketchup! Enjoy!

Makes 3 cups

2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup water, divided
⅔ cup white sugar
¾ cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
⅛ teaspoon celery salt
⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 whole clove

Directions:

Pour the crushed tomatoes into a slow cooker. Swirl ¼ cup water in each emptied cans and pour it into the slow cooker. Add the sugar, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and whole clove. Whisk everything together to combine. Cook on high, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced by half and becomes very thick, about 10 to 12 hours, stirring every hour or so.

Once the ketchup has reduced, you can smooth the texture of the ketchup by using an immersion blender on it for about 20 seconds (optional). Ladle the ketchup into a fine strainer and press mixture with the back of a ladle to strain out any skins and seeds. Transfer the strained ketchup to a bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper.

Five-Spice Ketchup:
In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup ketchup, the juice of 1 lime and 2 teaspoons of five-spice powder. Season with salt and pepper.

Curry Ketchup:
Cook ¼ cup minced onion in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon margarine until soft, about 3 minutes. To the onions, add 1 teaspoon each of curry powder and paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook for another minute, then add 1 cup of ketchup and ½ a cup of water. Simmer the ketchup until thick, about 25 minutes.

Spicy Peanut Ketchup:
In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup ketchup, ⅓ cup peanut butter, the juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon harissa or other chili paste and ¼ teaspoon each of coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon and cayenne.

Bloody Mary Ketchup:
In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup ketchup, ¼ cup horseradish, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 1 teaspoon celery salt and ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.*

Jerk Ketchup:
In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning, 1 tablespoon pineapple or peach preserves and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

* Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce with meat dishes.