Triple Green Pasta

Twice this week, I realized half way through the day that all I had that day was sugar and caffeine. Not good. Why is it that we glorify being busy again? So when I came up for air, I decided what my body needed was good carbs (as in whole grains) and vegetables, preferably green. I remembered a recipe from a book and tried to recreate it: Whole wheat pasta with three kinds of greens. Delicious and perfect for fueling.  Side note: if you love pasta and eat is as often as I do, go whole wheat. I remember my mum making it and I HATED it but in the meantime, I love it so much that eating white pasta grosses me out. True story!

For 2 people:

photo(1)Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pasta (I make app. 100g/person or 0.5lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 green onions, washed and roughly chopped
  • a good handful of snow peas, washed and cut in half if too big
  • a good handful of fresh organic spinach, washed
  • 1 cup/250ml Broth
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to packages. Once water boils, scoop one cup of water out and dissolve broth powder, if you are using instant broth (which I was because I’m out of my home made broth).

In the meantime, wash and chop your vegetables. Heat oil and add green onions, then snow peas. Turn down heat, add broth and let it simmer until snow peas are soft. Turn heat off. Add pasta and spinach, mix well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Butternut Squash Soup – a Winter favourite

I made the cardinal mistake earlier this week of mentioning how it really hasn’t been such a bad winter here, as in, I could ride my Vespa pretty much every day. Every since that statement, it hasn’t stopped pouring rain, just to prove a point. How foolish of me!

So once again, I’m making soup. And no, I’m not tired of them. Here a recipe for my butternut squash soup, one of my winter favourites, especially if I can convince my husband to peel and cube – that’s really the most work intensive part of this soup. It’s called teamwork!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Image Courtesy: Boaz Yiftach

Image Courtesy: Boaz Yiftach

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp nutmeg
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh cream, whipped cream or milk – optional

Directions:

Heat butter or oil, sauté onions and squash. Add broth, broth should cover the squash; let it simmer for 15 minutes or until soft (depends on size of cubes). Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Puree. The soups should be rather thick, but it’s entirely a matter of preference. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. If you like, add a dollop of whipped cream or a bit of fresh organic milk or cream. I personally think that is super tasty, but does add a few calories. Enjoy this warming and comforting bowl of goodness!

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Vegetable Medley

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Making gnocchi from scratch is quite a bit of work. Consider yourself warned. So worth it though, especially these made with yams or sweet potatoes. If you don’t feel up for the challenge, you can buy regular gnocchi or use pasta for this recipe. I have made it with Spaetzle before too but that’s just as much work. But hey, I’m not suggesting you whip up this dinner from scratch after a 10h work day with a 3h commute as my day was today. What I did instead: I made a big batch of gnocchi in advance, threw them in the freezer in 2 people portions and just cooked them in boiling water for a few minutes when I need them. The rest of this meal takes 5 minutes and the result is a healthy, fast and delicious meal.

For the gnocchi recipe, click here (minus the sauce part – but that recipe is delicious too). If you buy gnocchi or pasta, cook according to package.

For the sauce:

Ingredients for two people

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 organic pepper, cubed
– 1 small organic zucchini
– 4 organic mushrooms
– 1 cup (250ml) broth
– a few tbsp sour cream, plain yogurt or some type of soft cheese

Directions:

Sauté onions. Add peppers. Add broth. Bring to boil, add zucchini and mushrooms. Turn off heat after a few minutes, add gnocchi and whatever dairy you choose. I had some leftover Boursin and threw that in. You can leave it out all together if you don’t eat dairy, I just like it a bit creamy.

Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Voilà!

Mashed Cauliflower

I have been wanting to try and create a recipe for mashed cauliflower ever since I had it at one of my favourite restaurants. Not just because I thought it could be a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes but also because it tasted amazing and poor cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable, I couldn’t wait to give it center stage. So here my version:

Ingredients:

– 1 whole head of organic cauliflower

– 1 tsp olive oil

-1 tbsp milk

– 3 cloves garlic

– a few chives, chopped small

-sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 Fahrenheit). (I made a piece of meat in the oven to go with the mashed cauliflower which was a good idea – heating up the oven just for the garlic could be a bit wasteful). Cut the top few mm of the garlic off, wrap it in tinfoil and bake it for 30-45 minutes (depending on your oven). You won’t need all cloves so either freeze the additional ones for another time or enjoy with a cracker as an appy.

Wash and cut cauliflower into smaller pieces, steam until soft.

Mix steamed cauliflower, oil, milk and 3 cloves of garlic and mash using a fork, blender or whatever you would use to make mashed potatoes.

Season with chives, salt and pepper. I had it as a side to a piece of meat but you can substitute it for mashed potatoes anywhere – at your holiday table, in Shepard’s pie, as filling for perogies or whatever else you can think of.

 

Slowcooker Tomato Parmesan Soup

I’m not gonna complain about the weather, first of all because it doesn’t help (my mood or otherwise), second, lots of rain means lots of lush vegetation, and third, I have to remember I chose to move here. Do I sometimes wish I had met a guy from Hawaii instead of Vancouver? Sure! Do I hate it? Heck no. Vancouver is beautiful and awesome, and sometimes a stroll in the rain with coffee in hand (reusable mug, if you wonder) is very lovely. Anyway, because of the consistent cold and wet weather, all I want to eat is soup and I am running out of recipes so I created this one after getting the idea of a slowcooker soup on Pinterest. Here it is:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500g) organic tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 4 stalks of organic celery, leaves and all
  • 1 cup (250g) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) cream
  • 3 sprigs fresh basil or parsley (from my window garden)
  • 2 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
neil conway / Food Photos / CC BY

Directions:

Snick the tops of the tomatoes, plunge them into water briefly. Peel and dice. Heat butter or oil, sauté onions until soft. Add tomato puree. Wash and chop celery.

Combine onions mix, tomatoes, celery and broth in slowcooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3. Yes, you can do this in a pot too if you don’t have a slowcooker, simmer for about 1h on low heat. Turn off, blend until smooth. Add cream, parmesan and herbs. Do not boil soup again as dairy can separate. Alternatively, try plain Greek yogurt. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

What’s your favorite soup?

Stir fry – My mum’s Chinese dish

This is a variation of one of my favourite childhood meals my mum used to make – her “Chinese”. After going to a Chinese wedding a few years back, I realized our idea of Chinese food has very little to do with the real thing. 10 courses later, I left the wedding hungry and disillusioned – obviously what Chinese restaurants serve in the Western world is not Chinese food, but what Westerners think Chinese food is. Same here – so don’t expect what I didn’t eat at the wedding (Jellyfish, Shark Fin soup (I would NEVER!), tentacles from some unidentified seamonster, insects and 6 other courses that sometimes make their way into my nightmares). I don’t mean to offend anyone who likes the “real” Chinese food, but here a toned down version. Sorry also if I just ruined your appetite.

For 4 people:

Stir fry

  • 1lb (300 g meat (I use either  chicken breast or beef and slice them, you could do Tofu as well)
  • Soy sauce
  • Ginger, piece the size of your thumb, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 cup/250ml Sherry or Broth or a combination of the two
  • Vegetables : carrots, bok choy, peppers, mungo sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach or whatever else your heart desires or your fridge has in it.
  • Rice (perfume, jasmine, or brown) or Asian noodles

Directions:

Marinate the meat or tofu 1 h in soy sauce, sesame seed oil, ginger and garlic. See image for how the meat should be sliced.

If you are going with rice, cook according to package (usually 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water). Turn off heat about half way through, put a lid on pot, and let it sit. With the right ratio of water and rice, it should turn out perfect and be ready when your stir fry is. Plus you save some electricity. Win-win. If you have a rice cooker, just let it do its thing.

Wash and chop vegetables. Carrots into small sticks (image). No matter what vegetables you use, you should have about 2-3 cups (500-750 g) vegetables in total.

If you use noodles instead of rice, bring 1l of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package now.

Heat peanut oil in Wok or large frying pan. Add vegetables according to length it takes to cook them: carrots first, then broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, bok choy… Sprouts and spinach last.

Stir cornstarch into sherry or broth in a glass, set aside.

Fry meat in separate pan – shortly, but all the way through. Set aside.

Add more ginger and garlic to the vegetable mix, add soy sauce and if you like, the meat marinade. Stir well, add sherry or broth and meat as well as the noodles if you chose this option. Heat up, taste. Add water if too salty or more soy sauce if not enough. Serve with rice if you didn’t add noodles. What’s your favourite combination?

Carrot Lime Ginger Soup

It has been a cold few days, we even have snow, which is so rare that people don’t go to work because they don’t know how – I’m talking no buses run, highways jammed with cars that have summer tires on, and closed down bridges – which makes me laugh. In a nice, respectful way of course. Growing up in Switzerland we called this BBQ weather. Kidding, but I rode my bike thousands of times in the snow, it’s not as big of a deal as you might think.

Anyway, because of this weather, all I have been wanting to drink all day is tea and all I want to eat is soup, hot and warming soup. Here’s a new favourite, courtesy of my sister:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500g) carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 tsp oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 organic lime, peel and juice
  • 4 cups (1 l) vegetable broth (for recipe, click here)
  • 1 piece of ginger, size of your thumb, peeled and grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Directions:

Heat butter or oil, sauté onions and carrots. After a few minutes, lime peel and grated ginger. Add broth, broth should cover the carrots; let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add lime juice (I love lime so I added the whole thing but figure out what you like, maybe half is enough), sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Puree soup and enjoy!

Anytime you eat the peel of a fruit or vegetable, as I do here with the lime, be sure to buy organic. I don’t want to scare you but obviously the outside of the fruit or vegetable is most affected by pesticides and other toxins so that’s why I stressed it here.

If you liked this soup or changed it to your liking, let me know by commenting on it and share it!