Eggplant and Garbanzos

Happy New Year, wherever in the world you might be this day! Start the year off with this wonderful vegan dish of eggplant and garbanzos (sometimes known as chick peas). I am not a fan of ratatouille, so this came as a surprise from Greece! It seems like a lot of ingredients,but many of them are flavourful spices which really enhance the taste of the dish. Hope you will enjoy it!

Eggplant and Garbanzos Greek Style

1.5 lb eggplant, cut into cubes

Kosher salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced

1 carrot, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 dry bay leaves

1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika

1 tsp organic ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 28-oz can chopped tomato

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid

Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.

3. In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.

4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.

5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.

6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.)

7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Some days I just want to be able to throw something together for dinner quickly. Pasta is usually the answer! In this case, I just happened to buy some smoked salmon at Costco to use in salad and I still had some left.

Voila ! Smoked Salmon Carbonara. Bonus – no creams, just fresh eggs and Parmesan for the sauce. Read the recipe carefully, as you don’t want to overcook the eggs and Parmesan. The pasta MUST be a little cool to avoid scrambling the eggs!!! It looked and tasted great. You can skip the capers if it’s not something you like.

NOTE – Capers are immature flower buds from the Capparis spinosa (aka the “caper bush”), which grow all over the Mediterranean, just like olives do. Caper buds are picked before they can bloom into flowers. They are not a fish as some people mistakenly assume, but can be a little salty. Great on pizza, too.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 14.1 oz (400g) linguine pasta, or similar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 5.2 oz (150g) smoked salmon, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of capers (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguine or long pasta shape of your choice. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into thin strips and finely chop some fresh parsley (this is optional).

3. Next, add the eggs to a bowl and whisk together, add the grated parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir to combine.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot you cooked it in. Sprinkle over the strips of salmon then add the whisked eggs and parmesan mixture, immediately stir the pasta to coat it evenly in egg and to distribute the salmon throughout the pasta evenly.

5. Tip: wait exactly 1 minute before pouring over the egg mixture. If the pasta is too hot the eggs will scramble but if it’s too cool the eggs will remain raw.

6. The pasta should be creamy and evenly coated in sauce. Divide the smoked salmon pasta between bowls and top with a scattering of chopped parsley and an extra grinding of pepper, serve.

Add capers.

Notes

I’ve seen and made many pasta carbonara recipes in my time and I find that using 1 egg less as many servings works best. Does that make sense? For four servings I use 400g/14oz of pasta (100g per portion) and 3 eggs.

10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Just in time for summer, maybe…LOL. This is not your traditional salmon salad. I prefer sockeye when I can get it, but you could use whatever you can find. It will last two days in the refrigerator. I am not a canned tuna fan but you could try it…

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10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 oz) carrot matchsticks* (I used two whole carrots julienned)
  • 3 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz jar capers, drained**
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) wild salmon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 large avocados, diced

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, add carrots, bell peppers and capers. Mash salmon a bit with a fork inside the can and add to the salad.

Add parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, Greek yogurt and gently toss to coat. Add avocado and give a few more stirs. Serve cold.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Notes

*A few cups of coarsely shredded carrots would work. **Use any pickled goodies like asparagus, beans, olives etc.

A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

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In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

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I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

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Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Just in time for News Year’s Eve! As a change this year I decided to have Oysters Rockefeller in place of the usual escargots. Alas, they were impossible to find as fresh and on second thought I did not want to have to shuck them. Third choice was either mussels or scallops. NO mussels to be found. I had to settle on frozen scallops. This recipe from Closet Cooking was not only simple, but really awesome with the mustard sauce. Since I neglected to take a photo, this is the photo which accompanied the recipe.

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It was perfect with the broiled asparagus AND very perfect with the leftover mustard sauce, so much so that |I had an idea for using this sauce on Eggs Benedict some time.

Let me know if you try it! It made a great and simple romantic dinner for two.

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time:10 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes Servings: 2

  • 1-pound sea scallops (about 1 inch thick) I used ten scallops
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard (or grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Pat the scallops dry and press on the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Met the butter into the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the scallops and sear until lightly golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the heavy cream, mustards and lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve the scallops in the sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Option: Replace the butter and oil with bacon grease or butter yet, start by cooking 4 strips bacon, use the grease to cook the scallops in and sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the scallops just before serving!

Option: Add 1/4 cup chicken broth or seafood broth or white wine to the pan before adding the cream and deglaze the plan by scrapping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers.

Option: Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the sauce!

I chose not to use any of the options this time around!!

Happy New Year!!

Ham and Bean Soup

For those of you serving ham for Christmas here is an easy recipe for leftovers…LOL

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Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (in Mexico I used a large can of charros)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

Instructions

Add olive oil to 5-quart soup pot and set over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot add in the carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions just start to soften and turn translucent.

Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and stir to combine.

To the pot add all the beans with the juice from their cans, chicken stock, diced ham and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.

Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley and serve hot. I put a dollop of sour cream on top when we had it…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

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Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Green Onion Cheese Ball

The holidays are always full of social events. What would it be without a cheese ball rolled in crunchy walnuts? Usually I make mine with Imperial Cheddar from Canada, some softened blue cheese and a package of Philly. This year, something a little different… did I mention it is Keto friendly, if you dip bacon rinds?

Blue Cheese, Bacon, And Scallion Cheeseball

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces bacon, chopped and fried and drained to make bacon bits
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 scallions (green onions), minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese crumbles (or more, depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped unsalted walnuts, raw or lightly toasted

Instructions

1 In a medium bowl, combine the bacon bits, cream cheese, scallions, 1 tablespoon parsley, blue cheese crumbles, pepper, and salt. Stir together to mix.

2 Using hands or a spatula, form the mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3 Place the walnuts and reserved tablespoon of parsley in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

4 Unwrap the cheeseball and roll it in the walnut mixture to coat all sides. Press the walnut coating gently to help it stay on if necessary.

5 Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For 1/10th Of The Cheeseball

Calories: 197

Fat (g): 12.9

Carbs (g): 2.2

Fiber (g): 1.3

Protein (g): 7

Net Carbs (g) .9

simply so healthy http://simplysohealthy.com/

 

Easy Deviled Ham Salad

Leftover ham from Christmas dinner? No ham? Buy some… this recipe really was good on crackers, etc. Try it Mikey…you’ll like it! (Who remembers that phrase?) Ignore the Keto reference, it really tastes good!

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EASY DEVILED HAM SALAD – LOW CARB & KETO

Author: Mellissa Sevigny      Yield: 5 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

2 cups chopped cooked ham

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

For the dressing:

1/2 cup sugar free mayonnaise (you decide, I used Hellamns Organic…)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Sriracha (or other chili sauce)

1 tsp fresh lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the salad:

Combine the salad ingredients into a food processor or magic bullet and pulse until a coarse, crumbly mixture is formed – don’t over blend into mush.

To make the dressing:

Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Spoon the ham mixture into the dressing mixture and mix until the dressing is fully incorporated into the salad.

Serve chilled on low carb crackers, celery, romaine, or another low carb base of your choice! It was great with bacon rinds!

Nutrition

Serving Size: 1/2 cup Calories: 268 Fat: 24g Carbohydrates: 2g  Protein: 13g

Turmeric and Ginger Chicken Soup

Ok…its a little chilly out there, depending on where you live. Actually it’s chilly in Mexico where the temperature last night dropped to 13 C. Forget Christmas…LOL. It’s chicken soup time! Dig in (to the soup, NOT the snowbanks).

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Turmeric and ginger are excellent additions healthwise BTW.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs , skin removed
  • 12 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems or fresh parsley stems
  • 2 shallots , quartered
  • 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic , smashed
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh turmeric (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley leaves
  • OPTIONAL – 1 liter of Campbell’s Chicken Broth

METHOD

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, water and vinegar; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding froth.

Stir in cilantro stems, shallots, carrots, garlic, turmeric and ginger; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; using tongs, transfer chicken to cutting board.

Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt.

Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve into separate large saucepan; discard solids.

I prefer my soups chunky, so I used my immersion blender to chop up some of the veggies before I added the chicken back to the pot. At this point I also added the liter of chicken broth.

Return chicken to broth; stir in cilantro leaves. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per each of 6 servings:

Sodium 493 mg

Sugars 0 g

Protein 30 g

Calories 171

Total fat 5 g

Potassium 611 mg

Cholesterol 155 mg

Saturated fat 1 g

Total carbohydrate 0.0