Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cajun Parsnip Fries

These parsnip fries are easy and fast to make and taste delicious!! It took my kids a few bites to warm up to them, but my husband and I devoured the whole tray we had made. Fabulous.

1 lb parsnips
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) Cajun or Tex Mex seasoning blend
salsa or your favourite dipping sauce

Peel parsnips and cut into French-fry-size pieces. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 tsp (5 mL) of the oil; spread out in single layer.

Bake in 375 F oven, flipping once or twice, until golden and tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Toss with remaining oil, seasoning, and salt to taste. Serve with dipping sauce.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harvest Box for December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays Life Organic readers! I bet it was cold when you received your Harvest Box this week! Brrrrr . . . a chill has definitely arrived in Ottawa.

Here are some recipes to help warm up your week . . . and your kitchen. I have definitely decided that I will be making these Roasted Mashed Potatoes and Yams for Christmas dinner next week. I made it a couple weeks ago and it was a big hit and disappeared as everyone made their way to the kitchen for seconds! I also found this Roasted Yams with Rosemary and bet it tastes divine with a hint of rosemary to add extra flavour. Either way, potatoes are a perfect holiday dish any way you serve them.

A great brunch idea or easy, light dinner over the holidays is this Baked Eggs with Spinach and Gruyere. And although this Holiday Hot Spinach Dip calls for frozen spinach (bleck, the fresh stuff is so much better!), who can resist a festive and piping hot spinach dip at this time of year???

Why not dazzle your holiday guests - or perhaps just whip this up for a quiet evening by yourself one night - with this Blueberry Trifle? Nothing rings in the holidays quite like a decadent trifle. I am thinking about whipping up a batch of Blueberry Struesel Muffins to serve to my little ones on Christmas morning. With three kids getting out of bed to greet their gifts on Christmas morning, I want breakfast made ahead of time so we can all sit back and enjoy our time together.

For those who may eat a wee bit too much for their holiday meal, why not try lightening up some of your lunches? Who can beat a delicious Cucumber Sandwich? I love to throw whatever I have in the fridge between two slice of multi-grain bread and I'm good to go.

Looking for something delicious for your mixed colour tomatoes? Try this Cherry Tomato, Cucumber and Goat Cheese Salad - perfect for lunch or a nice light side dish. I also came across this recipe for Pan-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, which also looks tasty.

Grappling with how to tackle that bag of Chiogga beets? Well, worry no more. Dive into a plate of these Baked Beet Chips and you'll find yourself coming back for more.

Another beet salad that looks tangy and delicious is this Chiogga Beet and Blood Orange Salad.

Wondering what to do with that burdock root that came a few weeks ago and is currently sitting on the shelf in your fridge? Well, you're not the only one! Even we had to be a little creative with it. The fact is
, burdock root is an incredibly healthy root which has been used for hundreds of years to purify and flush toxins from the blood stream. It's health benefits are many, so finding a creative and delicious way to add this healing root to our diet is worth it. Here's a recipe that we came across from the Green Door Restaurant that's quite tasty. We've substituted the fiddleheads with the locally-grown broccoli and changed things around a bit. Remember: be creative and don't be afraid to make substitutions with a recipe if you don't have all the required items. Have fun with it!

Broccoli, Burdock, Carrot Salad

1 cup burdock (1 root) scrubbed and thinly sliced on diagonal

2 litres water

Bring water to boil. Add burdock and simmer for 5 min. Drain, cool and set aside. In same water add: 2 cups broccoli florets. Cook for several minutes. Drain, cool and set aside.

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 cup carrots, scrubbed and sliced on diagonal

3 thinly sliced green onions, including the green part

1 cup chopped parsely


1/4 cup tamari soy-sauce

1/8 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsp dark sesame oil

1 tsp ginger root, grated

1 clove garlic, crushed

Combine all salad ingredients, pour dressing over them, mix well, serve and enjoy!

Here’s another recipe that’s a little different that we came across on the web:

Stir-fried Spicy Burdock Root

1 burdock root

2-3 T vegetable oil

2 T sake

1 T granulated sugar

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, or any multi-spice blend
white sesame seeds, toasted, for garnishing (optional)

Rinse the burdock root under cold running water. Using a stiff brush or the back of your knife, lightly scrape the burdock root, carefully removing any rootlets and trace amounts of dirt. Cut the burdock root using a technique where the root is sharpened like a pencil to produce thin slivers. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the burdock root until slightly softer, about 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Continue simmering over medium heat until the liquid is almost completely reduced to a glaze. Add a spice blend or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

I also thought I'd throw in this Chicken with Peanut Sauce recipe - a great way to use any leftover green beans you still have from last week. It's a family favourite of ours.

Chicken with Peanut Sauce

1 lb fresh green beans
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in strips
1 t curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Trim green beans and break into small pieces. In large saucepan or wok, heat one T of oil over medium-high heat. Toss chicken pieces with curry powder. Stir fry chicken for two minutes, then add beans and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for five minutes. In a bowl, whisk coconut milk, peanut butter and soya sauce. Pour into wok, bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 T of parsley, and sprinkle the remaining parsley over top.

And this pear and curry pasta is easy and healthy - my husband adores it and two of my three kids eat it. That's near perfection in my book!

Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 T oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T medium curry paste
1 tsp tomato paste
2 T honey
2 cups chicken broth
1 unpeeled ripe pear, sliced in thin wedges
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T cream or milk
3 T chopped cilantro
Rotini, bow tie or shells pasta

In a frying pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and curry paste and stir 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and honey and stir another 2 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to medium high and boil gently, reducing liquid to less than 1 cup. (This takes about 15 minutes - now is a good time to start cooking the pasta).

Add pear slices and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and cream and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Pour over pasta and toss gently.

If you like meat - serve with grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin!

Enjoy your holidays and please remember that there will be no Life Organic deliveries on December 24, 25, and 31st, or on January 1st. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Harvest Box for December 4, 2009

Here's a look at this week's Harvest Box from Life Organic!

Near the top left corner of the box is a big bag of French Shallots. Shallots, which look very much like onions, will keep for a long time if stored in a cool place away from humidity and light. To prepare a shallot, you cut off both ends and then remove the peel (just like an onion). You may notice that unlike it's onion cousin, shallots will not bring you to tears when chopping. Shallots are excellent in soups or thrown in a quiche or omelet, and are delicious when paired with bacon bits. They can also stand in for leeks in many recipes.

I found this absolutely fabulous recipe for French Shallot Soup that I simply must try. It looks relatively easy to make and is stunning in the photograph. I can pretty much guarantee my kids won't eat it, but hey, you only live once and I feel it's important to eat soup this good before I die.
Another great looking recipe that uses shallots is this Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic Toast - simple but flavourful.

I plan on using some of my delicious green spinach in my signature Spinach Salad with Spicy Shrimp and Mango. My husband loves it and it's a nice healthy and light alternative to all the heavy meals we eat this time of year. A couple other alternatives for your spinach are this Sauteed Spinach with Crisp Pancetta or Spinach Dill Pie.

Green beans are a healthy and easy side dish that go well with just about any main meal you are serving. I like them because no matter which way you prepare them, they are fast and simple. If you're a fan of gorgonzola or other strong cheeses, give this Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Gorgonzola a whirl. This Green Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad is also a quick and delicious choice.

We are huge avocado fans at my house and I know I've posted lots of great avocado recipes for you in the past. Being a Nova Scotia native and a real lobster lover - and knowing that lobster season is in December - I would love to get my hands on some of this fantastic red seafood so I could try this Avocado and Lobster Salad. If not, I'll have to suck it up and deal with the not-as-exciting Avocado Shrimp Salad. I also found this Mexican Chicken And Tomatillo Stew and think it looks like a fabulous warm meal to serve over the holidays.

And, last but definitely not least, I plan to use some of my delicious carrots and zucchini in this Quick Chicken Stew - a definite crowd pleaser and family favourite.

Enjoy your week and be sure to try some of these tasty recipes!