Sunday, August 30, 2015

Relish by Lucy Knisley [book review]

I just finished reading Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. It's the first graphic book I have read and it was so fun! It was a Kitchen Reader book--it's a memoir by a girl who was raised by a mother who was a catering chef and a father who was a gourmand. I found that it started off a bit self-aggrandizing (there's some name dropping of her mother's friends/clients), but after a couple of chapters I was charmed by Knisley's childhood.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Grain-Free Microwave Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

Cake for breakfast! Glee came over my face when this thought went through my mind. This is a recipe with its roots as a mug cake, but I cooked it in a little oval-shaped ramekin. It's grain free since it's made with coconut flour. The "icing" on the cake is whipped cottage cheese--a clever idea that was inspired by Fit Girls Guide.

If you're not a banana and cinnamon fan, try my apple mini cake instead.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tuna and Kidney Bean Patties

What to eat when the fridge is almost empty? I have discovered that these tuna and kidney bean patties can be made with pantry ingredients and one egg. You just need a can of tuna (or salmon) and a can of kidney beans (or chickpeas, or cannellini beans, or pinto beans). Mix them up!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl [book review]

In July each year our Kitchen Reader book club reads a food-related novel. This time it was Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. We have read two of Reichl's non-fiction books before: Tender at the Bone and Garlic and Sapphires (these links are to my reviews of them). They were both excellent so I felt that a novel by Reichl probably wouldn't disappoint us.

Billie is a young woman who is hired on as the assistant to the editor of a food magazine called Delicious!. The novel tells some hilarious stories about the people and food she encounters. As with Reichl's other books, the food descriptions are top notch and made me salivate quite regularly. In the novel, James Beard was a flashback character, and Billie discovers about his time at the magazine though a series of letters written to him by a young reader.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Salmon Burgers

When I saw this recipe in Weeknight Wonders by Ellie Krieger, I was quite excited. You see, my husband loves burgers and I love salmon. Ha! This would be the best of both--and it was.

I adapted Ellie's recipe a little, of course, to make it grain-free. In her version, she uses breadcrumbs and an egg white to help stick everything together. In my rendition, I use almond meal (also called almond flour) and a whole egg to provide binding. I served the burgers in lettuce cups with tahini-yogurt sauce, cucumber slices, basil leaves, and carrot curls. I think next time I would make them half the size for ease of eating in the lettuce cups. Salmon sliders!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pad Thai Salad

I like Thai food because of its fresh flavours. I love the zesty lime, crisp carrots and bean sprouts, and the crunchy peanuts.

As I was making this pad Thai salad I realised that it's actually quite similar to the coleslaw with which I grew up in Canada - the base is just shredded vegetables. Then there's a sauce and some add-ins. (And almost all of my cooking has a formula not unlike this.)

As I was slicing the mint and basil for the pad Thai, my mind was constructing this table. Suddenly the superiority of pad Thai salad over coleslaw became obvious!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cannellini, Green Bean, and Tomato Salad

At the local vegetable market, I buy these long beans. They are sold coiled up in a bunch and are usually about 40 cm long when laid out. Fortunately for me, they are easy to use: in all the same ways as Western green beans. So I usually cut them into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry them or blanch them for salad.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Carrot and Cashew Soup

I was intrigued by this soup recipe in which the cashews are blended into a carrot soup. It reminds me of things my vegan friends do. Cashews seem to do everything creamy in the vegan world. For example, my friend Michael blends it up to make cheese as the basis for cheesecake. Also, he blends up cashews with water and vanilla extract to make a cream for breakfast parfaits. Cashews can be made to make ranch dressing. So why not use cashews in soup? You don't have to be a vegan to enjoy new uses for an ingredient!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan [book review]

Our May book for the Kitchen Reader was Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. It's hilarious. Here's a sampling of the delights.

Cheese and Gratitude

"There's an old Weight Watchers saying, 'Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.' I for one can think of a thousand things that taste better than thin feels. Many of them are two-word phrases that end with cheese (Cheddar cheese, blue cheese, grilled cheese)."

"In America we have gone way beyond sustenance. Eating is an activity. 'Why don't we get lunch, and then we'll grab some pizza.' Most Americans eat constantly. And when we're not eating, we're chewing gum. We are literally practicing eating. We chew gum with a swagger and purpose that says, 'Yeah, I got a big meal coming up. I'm training for Thanksgiving.'"

"My wife likes to pause before the meals with our [five] kids and say grace. While I think this is a great opportunity for our children to learn to appreciate the gifts God has given them, I view grace as kind of 'On your mark, get set...' and the 'Amen' and the 'Go!'. I am pretty sure that's the way God intended it."

Beef with Parley Pesto and Sauteed Vegetables

People are always asking me how I eat complete meals with no carbohydrates. First, I answer by pointing out that vegetables are carbohydrates, and actually I only avoid starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, and grains. Secondly, I make meals like this: full of veg and filling, too, thanks to the protein and fats.


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