Redemption Salad 2.0

The first time I introduced you to Redemption Salad, I was coming down from eight days of indulgence: pizza! beer! donuts! pizza! 

Not to be outdone by my past self, the inspiration for Redemption Salad 2.0 comes from near-equal levels of indulgence packed, this time, into a single meal. 

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A few weeks back, my pal Dayna offer to make dinner for me, my sister and her family. What followed was not so much a supper as a feast: four giant pizzas topped with, among other things, homemade mascarpone cheese, pesto and fresh mozzarella. Chocolate cake. Chocolate pie. Orange sherbet. Bubbly drinks. 

lettuce-beans.jpgAnd then, there was this little salad: A three-bean variety dressed with cumin, lime juice and cilantro. 

ingredients-text.jpgWholesome and fresh, it was the perfect foil to the decadence of the pizza. Which isn’t to say that we necessarily ate less pizza because of it. In fact, without bites of salad between slices to refresh us, I reckon we would have had no choice but to stop a slice earlier than we did. But that, I propose, is a virtue in its own right: A salad that saves you from the regret of turning down a slice of incredible homemade pizza, fresh from the oven.

final-salad.jpgHowever, if you take a more traditional view of the virtues of salad, you won’t be disappointed: In addition to increasing your appetite for pizza, this salad also increases your stores of fibre, healthy fats, and so on. Plus, it comes together in just a few minutes, which means you can start filling yourself with good stuff, stat. 



Redemption Salad 2.0
Adapted liberally from Gourmet, and put onto the idea by Dayna 
Makes ~5 cups 

Note: To make the salad more meal-worthy in its own right, I served it with a slice of toasted no-knead bread. You could also use it as a catch-all veggie taco filling, serving it in warmed tortillas and topping it with a bit of plain yogurt.   

Ingredients

1 cup of frozen soy beans out of the shells
1 cup of cooked black beans (drained and rinsed, if canned)*
1 cup of cooked white beans – like navy or cannellini beans (drained and rinsed, if canned)*
1/4 cup mildly-flavoured oil (like olive oil or vegetable oil)
3-4 tbsp lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced or finely grated
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cumin
Pepper to taste 
2 cups loosely packed romaine
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into bite-sized cubes
1/2 cup moderately packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped 

Directions

1. Cook soybeans in a small pot of lightly salted boiling water (3-4 cups) until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse briefly under cold water to stop them from cooking.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the soy beans, black beans, white beans, oil, 3 tbsp lime juice, garlic, salt and cumin. 

3. If you’re making the salad to eat in the next 24 hours: Stir in the chopped romaine, avocado pieces and cilantro. Taste and add more lime juice and salt as necessary. If you’re planning to eat the salad over a few days, your best bet is to add these three veggies just before you serve up each time – their texture and flavour are much better when they’re fresh! 

4. Serve it up! Store extras in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

ingredients-text.jpg*In both cases, I used dried beans rather than canned. To cook dried beans: Cover them in 2 inches of cold water and soak in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the water off and cook the beans in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 15-30 minutes, or until tender (sturdier beans will need more time). Drain, rinse, and that’s it! Extra beans can be stored in an airtight container or bag for a few days in the fridge, or in the freezer for up to a year. 

Coming Up: Redemption Salad, 2.0

Stay tuned for a new take on Redemption Salad (and in the mean time, make sure to try the original!)!

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Kitchen Sink Cookies for the Kitchen Sink-less

For the last two and a half weeks, I have had visions of delicious meals. And, for the last two and half weeks, those delicious meals have largely evaded me because, alas, my kitchen sink has been on the fritz.

A better blogger than I wouldn’t let a faulty faucet get in the way of creating meals worth sharing. But in times of minor hardship I, alas, turn out not only to be a bad blogger, but also a bad cook, a bad grocery shopper, and a bad eater. 

cookies.jpgSee, when I have to wash dishes in a bucket, or cart water from one room to the next, my motivation to cook drops to…maybe 25% of its usual, working-sink level. To make matters worse, my grocery shopping habits – including a self-proscribed ban on prepared foods – do not adequately adjust. 

And so, I find myself at home, unwilling to cook and with nothing to eat but raw ingredients. I have consumed more chocolate chips in the last two weeks than I have in all of 2014, along with such winning meals as avocado in an avocado shell bowl and basmati rice with raw carrots and radishes. (To be fair/make excuses, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.)

cookie-bowl.jpgBreakfast has been the worst – I can’t face the dishes required of oatmeal; I do not have the presence of mind/willpower to break my buying habits and pick up packaged cereal. So, after one too many hungry mornings spent popping chocolate chips, I broke down and did something. Namely, I dirtied two bowls in the name of creating a pseudo-breakfast that would keep me full, somewhat nourished, and require no morning dishes whatsoever. I made cookies.

The recipe is a take on these carrot cookies, but without the carrots (in the name of longer shelf life) and with more extras – dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, flax seeds, wheat bran – for bonus nourishment. A kitchen sink cookie for the kitchen sinkless.  

cookie-pair.jpgThese are not the sort of thing you serve to company: they look like little boulders more than anything. But they are, I’m happy to report, the sort of thing you can eat happily for days, without assistance from a bowl or a plate – perfect for when you’re, say, spending a few days in the wild or, alternatively, living in an apartment that lacks a working kitchen sink.

Update: I originally wrote this post last Wednesday, and by Thursday – at last! – my sink was fixed! Expect real food coming your way soon. 


Kitchen Sink Cookies for the Kitchen Sink-less
Adapted from 101cookbooks.com
Makes just shy of 3 dozen

Ingredients
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of rolled oats (the 10-minute kind) - or a raw grainy cereal mix that’s mostly oats (but could also include bran, germ, flaxseeds and other such things)
1 tsp baking powder
scant 1/2 tsp fine salt
3/4 cup mixed goodies (raisins, chopped dates, chopped pecans, chocolate chips)

1/2 cup maple syrup, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil, heated just until melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Stir in the goodies until they’re evenly distributed through the flour mixture. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and coconut oil. Combine the liquid mixture and the dry mixture and stir just until everything’s moistened.

Drop level tablespoons of batter on the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch or so between cookies. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are beginning to brown and bottoms are golden. Cool on a wire rack just until warm enough to handle. 

Coming Up: Emergency Rations, of a Sort

Stay tuned for a story of my (not so serious) emergency, and a tasty little treat that doesn’t promise to solve problems, but can help to take the edge off. 

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Unboring Boiled Potatoes with Cumin, Ginger & Cilantro

Ah, the boiled potato. In the world of hip, happening tubers, this guy ranks pretty low. (When, I ask, is the last time your meal out was served with a side of boiled spuds, outside of a homestyle diner in a small town? Exactly.)

But why? Why do we embrace potatoes that are roasted, mashed, shredded and pan fried, deep fried, but not those that are boiled?  

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Maybe it’s that boiling in and of itself is currently out. We are happy to steam and sous vide our veggies, but boil? Not so much. 

Or maybe it’s that folks my age who grew up eating boiled potatoes on a near-daily basis are staging a quiet culinary rebellion, looking for something other than pure nostalgia when they dine.

Or, quite possibly, it’s simply that we don’t like potatoes quite as much as we used to (the stats show that we’re eating fewer of them each year), and the boiled variety – the most basic of the bunch (another reason in its own right) – are just the first to take a hit.  

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Whatever it is, we’re missing out. Because boiled potatoes do something that most other potatoes don’t: They get kind of sticky. And that, I will admit, does not sound at all appealing. But sticky can be a good thing when you want to, say, roll your potatoes in a super-flavourful mix of cumin, ginger and cilantro. 

Where that mix would struggle to adhere to a roasted or fried potato, the sticky and strangely absorptive boiled potato soaks it all in. What you’re left with is soft, salty and intensely flavoured – a sort of curried comfort food.

Long story short, this potato recipe – a Madhur Jaffrey creation – is delectable (I’ve made it three times in as many weeks). So get a pot on the stove, friends, and boil yourself some potatoes.  


Potatoes with Cumin, Ginger & Cilantro (Zeera Aloo)
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Foolproof Indian Cooking
Serves 4-6 as a side

Note: When you read the recipe below, you may be tempted to cry foul at the mention of the frying pan, but let me explain! The frying here mainly serves to activate the flavours in the spices and take a bit of the edge off of the ginger. You could almost certainly toss your boiled potatoes in a oil-and-spice-and-herb mix without frying them and produce tastiness all the same.  

Ingredients
1lb potatoes, peeled if necessary, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

Directions

1. Drop your potatoes in a medium-sized potato and cover with about 2 inches of cold water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when stabbed with a fork (you want them to have a bit of resistance – they shouldn’t be mushy). Remove the pot from the heat and drain the potatoes thoroughly.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Drop the cumin seeds into the pan and stir for 10-15 seconds, or until the seeds are fragrant. Stir in the ginger, salt, cumin, cayenne and black pepper, heating for another 15-30 seconds or until fragrant. 

3. Add the potatoes and stir to coat them in the spice mixture. Fry over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and squashing the potatoes down slightly with your spoon. Taste them as you go, adding salt and cayenne as needed (they should be well salted and a little bit spicy). Once the spice mixture seems to have fully soaked into the potatoes, they’re done! 

4. Place the chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Add the hot potatoes and toss to coat. Serve while hot! 

Potatoes from the Past

I’m combating a case of potato-writer’s block and unable to find a fellow potato-writer to counsel me through, so the new potato post remains unposted. If you were counting on potatoey goodness today, fear not – I have, at least, managed to round up a few delicious potato recipes from the past to tide you over. Here they are, in no particular order:

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Yellow curry with potatoes and collard beans (a starchy, salty favourite of mine)

Deliciously crispy smashed potatoes with herbs

Super-saucy roasted potato salad

Potato pancakes (tons of work, tons of tasty)

Buttermilk mashed potatoes

Potato pizza with piles of cheese

Potato rendang (a bright, lemongrass-and-ginger sort of curry)

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There you have it, friends, a week’s worth of potato recipes from the past. Here’s hoping I have a new one to add to the list soon!

Coming Up: Unboring Boiled Potatoes

Stay tuned for a fast and simple way to transform boiled potatoes into curried deliciousness.

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The Top 10 Tastiest Posts of 2014

Friends! Before we dive into new adventures, let’s take a moment to reflect on the year that’s passed. And what a year it was, full of adventures, tips and, of course, tasty recipes.

I’ve rounded up the recipes that I consider to be the best of the bunch – the ones that I’ve made time and again since sharing them with you. If you’re going to make anything from the past year, make it one of these 10. Ready?

In random order, here they are…

THE TASTIEST RECIPES OF 2014!

1. Edamame Tacos with Sesame Slaw 

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Inspired by an amazing and totally unassuming taco stall in Victoria, BC, these are the best veggie tacos I’ve ever had. The ingredients list is unusual, but persevere and you’ll be wholly rewarded.

Get the taco recipe here! 

2. Avocado Sandwiches, Two Ways 

_MG_5282.jpgThe first: A crisp piece of toast topped with a virtuous combination of avocado, lemon, feta and sunflower seeds. The second: A decadent grilled cheese topped with melty cheese and Doritos. Both: amazing. Make them, stat!

Get the sandwich recipes here! 

3. 5-minute Mac and Cheese

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Homemade mac and cheese, in five minutes (yes, it really can be done, and no, you don’t need any neon cheese). 

Get the mac and cheese recipe here!

4. Vegetarian Puttanesca

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If you’re willing to expend more than 5 minutes on your next round of pasta, opt for puttanesca. With the help of an entirely non-traditional ingredient, this vegetarian version of the classic Italian dish keeps its savoury flavour despite the omission of pungent little fish. This one currently holds the #1 spot on my long list of favourite pastas.

Get the puttanesca recipe here!

5. Yellow Curry with Potatoes, Beans and Collard Greens

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Salty, starchy and satisfying, this is the crack of curries. Triple bonus: it’s infinitely adaptable, makes lots and is way cheaper than actual crack. 

Get the curry recipe here!

6. Cocoa Brownies  

_MG_6355.jpgThough I’m usually a bit of a baking tinkerer, these are the only brownies I make. They’re delicious fresh out of the oven, but if you can exercise the control to let them chill in the fridge, they become so much better: dense, chewy and intensely chocolatey. Bonus: They’re made from elemental sorts of baking ingredients – eggs, cocoa, flour, salt – which means you can probably get a batch started right now.

Get the brownie recipe here!

7. Vegetarian Gado Gado (Veggie Salad + Peanut Sauce)

_MG_0180.jpgPeanut sauce + potatoes + crispy veggies = perhaps the perfect summer dinner. Not that I speak from experience – I made it in the middle of fall – but I can imagine it would be awesome eaten picnic-style, or on a patio with a glass of chilled white wine.

Get the gado gado recipe here!

8. Granola Pecans

_MG_0017.jpgCoating pecans in oats may not sound like the most exciting thing you could do with your time, but the results are amazing. If you’ve got healthfulness on the brain – it is the start of a new year, after all – you’ll be happy to know that these score pretty well, at least as far as candied nuts go.

Get the granola pecan recipe here!

9. Redemption Salad 

_MG_1720.jpgWhile in Seattle, my sister, brother-in-law and I indulged ourselves to the point where we couldn’t stand the sight of another pizza or pastry. And so, redemption salad was born. Intended to be a one-time fix for an unusually unhealthy diet, it turned out to be so delicious that we make it just because.

Get the redemption salad recipe here!

10. Four-ingredient Sesame Sauce

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The ultimate in lazy sauces, this one has you stir four ingredients together in a bowl and call it a day. The recipe suggests you serve it over rice, but just last week I ate it over steamed potatoes, green beans and broccoli, and it was even more delicious (and easy).

Get the sesame sauce recipe here!

BONUS!

11. Rainbow(ish) Fruit Popsicles

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Popsicles in January isn’t particularly on point, I realize, but these rainbow fruit popsicles are so cheerful that it felt unkind to leave them off the list. Save them for the summer, then dig out your blender and enjoy happy, healthy, colourful treats galore!

Get the popsicle recipe here!


Well, guys, that wraps up the year. I hope 2014 treated you to lots of excellent adventures and delicious food, and that 2015 brings even better things your way. 

Update from a Snowy Island

Hey, friends! Some good news and some not-so-good news for you today. Let’s get the downer out of the way first, shall we? 

house-duo.jpgThanks to a bit of Christmas chaos, some all-too-frequent internet outages, and (mostly) a general desire to steer clear of my computer over the holidays, I don’t have a proper post for you today.  

berry-duo.jpgThe good news: My computer and I are back on typing terms again, and food-related ideas are starting to swirl around in my head – new, exciting ideas, the likes of which have never been seen on FoodHappy before! – so it won’t be long before regularly-scheduled programming returns.

And while you wait, in keeping with tradition, I’ve shared a few photos that I collected while I wasn’t *ahem* writing posts about food. 

dusting-duo.jpgI hope you’ve had an equally computer-free holiday, and that your 2015 is off to a delicious start!

Gingerbread Pancakes

For the last few years, Christmas for my family has been a bit of a subdued affair. Some years we’ve been scattered across the country doing our own thing, others we’ve spent just a couple of days celebrating before getting back to our work, our lives. But not this year.



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This year, we’ll spend two whole weeks under the same roof – seven people, two dogs, two cats and a unknowable amount of chaos – bringing back all of the old traditions that we’ve neglected over the last half-decade: the days upon days of carols and cake, the tree decorating, the stockings, the post-present-opening pancakes.



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The pancakes, along with the 6AM pot of parent-rousing coffee, have always been my responsibility. And so, having arrived at Christmas Headquarters – my parents’ place on Prince Edward Island – last week, ahead of the bulk of our Christmas crew, I’ve been using the relative peace and quiet to get my pancake-flipping skills up to snuff. 



Inspired by a delicious batch of pancakes I enjoyed in Durham, created by a fellow pancake-lover, this year’s offerings will be extra-fluffy and flavoured with gingerbread spices. I’ve 

specified a recipe below, but really you can convert any of your favourite plain/whole wheat pancake recipes to gingerbread pancakes by adding 1 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger and a pinch each of nutmeg and cloves for every 1 cup of flour you use.



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The flavour is mild, as far as gingerbready things go, which is how I like it. But if you’re looking for a bolder gingerbread taste,

try upping the spices by 50% and using molasses in place of the sugar (stirring it into the wet ingredients instead of the dry). You know, you’d better just make yourself a test batch or two before the big day. In my experience, no one will complain. 



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And with that, I’m off to the airport, to retrieve my fellow revelers and pancake-eaters. Whatever you celebrate, I hope the weeks to come bring you happiness and gingerbread pancakes. 





Gingerbread Pancakes

Inspired by Jenny, and adapted from allrecipes.com
Serves 4 hungry pancake eaters 

Ingredients

1.5 cups of flour
1 tbsp white or brown sugar 
3.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1 pinch each of nutmeg and cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk (or milk substitute)
1 egg
3 tbsp melted butter or oil

Directions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and butter/oil.

3. Make a small well in the flour mixture, then pour in your liquids. Stir with a wooden spoon just until there are no dry bits of flour left (some lumpiness is OK). 

step-one.jpg4. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Melt a little bit of butter in the base of the pan. Drop in ~1/4 cup of batter, gently spreading it into a pancake shape. Fry for a couple minutes, until the edges look dry, the surface of the pancake is dotted with bubbles, and the side touching the pan is golden. Flip and fry for a couple minutes more, until the other side is golden too. Repeat, repeat, repeat until there’s no batter left. Cooked pancakes can be kept warm on a baking tray in a 200°F oven. Tasty toppings for these guys include: maple syrup, stewed fruit (like apples or pears), pumpkin or apple butter, and/or freshly whipped cream. 

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