Monday, October 29, 2012

Stick it to Fast Food with a Red Cabbage Gratin

I heard about a campaign called Stick it to Fast Food through Dr. Yoni Freedhofe's Blog Weighty Matters. I wanted to post about it because I think it is an amazing example of how we can all make a difference. It was started by a group of Ontario high school students who wanted to bring awareness to the issue of fast food. The end result was petitioning for their fellow students to boycott fast food for the month of November. I have a hard time handling the number of moustaches this time of year, but I can sure handle, or celebrate, a movement such as this one. You can check out their website here. They have a lot of resources as to why fast food is so terrible and recipes to help cook great meals at home.

I hope to also be a resource for putting a healthy meal on the table in a timely manner. The recipe I am posting about today sure fits the bill. Since purchasing the red cabbage at the market for the Spicy Cabbage Slaw, we are still working our way through it. Cabbages are great like that; inexpensive and bountiful. I began searching for specific recipes to use it which isn't something I do often. I came across a gratin recipe from the New York Times and I immediately (as in the next day) make the recipe. And then I made it again. It is easy, very accommodating to different tastes, and can be made well in advance which is perfect for those busy evenings. A great way to use up leftover rice or veggies!

Red Cabbage Gratin slightly adapted from the New York Times
Serves 4-6

1 small bunch of greens (I have used kale and swiss chard)
2 cups finely chopped red cabbage
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
heaping 1/2 cup quinoa (or rice or other whole grain)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (could also use an aged cheddar)

1. Blanch the greens in a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 min, and immediately cool in a bowl of ice water. Chop coarsely.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
5. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes, under the cabbage softens.
6. Add the greens, stir to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste.
7. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the cheese, parsley and grain and mix well. Add the vegetables and stir to combine.
8. Grease a baking dish with butter and pour in the egg mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.
I highly recommend you make this recipe. You can add and take away vegetables at your leisure, although I hope you try out this cabbage and kale combination. It is filling and comforting which is perfect for the stormy weather we have been having. With this recipe in hand, you can have dinner on the table in not time, and Stick it to Fast Food.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Peanuts

So many ideas but so little time. That describes my cooking situation right now. I have lots of ideas that I need to try out, but I must wait until the weekend. I am hoping some of them turn out. In the meantime, I am going to share a recipe which I thought I had shared before. This is probably by 7th time making this recipe which speaks to my love for it. Each time it comes out a bit different, depending on how much cabbage I use, and I have served it in a number of different ways. The original recipe source uses the slaw in rice paper rolls. I did that a couple times, but have also put it in chickpea flour tortillas, served it with rice, and most recently served it alongside some spaghetti squash. While the  is a little bit daunting, due to the excessive amount of chopping and mincing, it is fairly easy and quick to put together. The leftovers taste great which means it is a good way to use up those giant cabbages that are popping up this time of year. I have listed the ingredients based on my most recent rendition of the recipe (which was quite a large batch), but the recipe is easily scaled down and the amount of seasoning and spices can be adjusted to your taste.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Peanuts slightly adapted from A Gluten Free Day
Serves 6-10

3 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
13 cups of diced red cabbage
12 cloves of garlic (or 8-10 large cloves), minced
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
6 tbsp tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg's
4 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup raw peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a single layer of peanuts on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until evenly roasted. Allow to cool.
2. In a large enough pot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil on medium-low heat. Add the cabbage and cook until just softening.
3. Transfer cabbage from pot into a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pot if no oil is left behind. Add garlic, ginger, chili pepper flakes and tamari. Heat for ~3 min until fragrant.
4. Add cooked cabbage and stir to coat well. Add rice vinegar and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and serve as desired. Chop peanuts and sprinkle over the cabbage when serving.

This was definitely the spiciest version of this recipe I have ever made. The homemade chili pepper flakes have varying heat so it is always hard to tell how much to add. You can always use fresh chili pepper to have a bit more control, or leave it out all together if spicy is not your thing. I had the cabbage alongside some spaghetti squash this time, but is also great with rice or wrapped in rice paper as mentioned above. Don't forget the peanuts though, they are fantastic addition.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gingerbread Granola

Happy Thanksgiving to all! This weekend has been really nice, and I have managed to stop and appreciate all of the beauty that fall brings. This afternoon I will be going for a hike in Hamilton with my parents and I can't wait to get an amazing view of the changing colours of fall. Before you know it, it will be over! If you make this granola, you can transport yourself back into fall whenever you want. It is the perfect combination of sweet and spice. I am going away for a few days this week and wanted to make a granola to have for breakfasts at the hotel. I was looking through my bookmarked recipes and there were just too many granola recipes to choose from! Granola is a pretty easy thing to throw together, so after getting some ideas I decided to just wing it and make my own. The addition of molasses was inspired by A Full Measure of Happiness and the addition of the millet was inspired by Oh She Glows. When I first pulled it out of the oven, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, but after it cooled down and turned crunchy, I was in love. This recipe is a winner in my books.

Gingerbread Granola

2 cups oats
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup walnut halves, chopped
1/4 cup millet
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tso vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp molasses

1/4 raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Combine oats, almonds, walnuts, millet and spices in a large bowl.
3. Melt together coconut oil, honey, molasses, and vanilla. Add to the dry mix and stir to coat everything well.
4. Spread out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and make for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
5. After removing from the oven, mix in raisins and allow to cool.
6. Once completely cooled, break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Like I said, this recipe is a winner. It is a perfect granola to make for a friend or to enjoy on the holidays. It can be easily customized with your own preference for nuts or dried fruit, but make sure you keep the volumes the same because there was the perfect amount of flavouring here. It may be hard to try new granola recipes for quite some time...