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Kale and Orange Salad

kale & orange saladKale may not be a favorite for everyone, but this recipe might just change the way you view kale. The orange segments soften any bitter taste you may experience and look how gorgeous the red onion looks once its bathed in lime juice!  Continue Reading →

Halibut Ceviche with Watermelon

Halibut Ceviche with Watermelon by The Culinary ChaseCeviche (seh-BEE-chay), popular in Central and South America, is a seafood dish and consists of raw fish marinated in citrus juice and seasoned with chilies and chopped coriander.  The citric acid in the juice cooks the fish making the flesh opaque and firm just as if it had been cooked over heat.  The first time I ever encountered ceviche was back in the early ’80s when my friend Michelle served it one night for dinner.  I was intrigued as to what ceviche was but more importantly would I like it?  I can’t recall if she used scallops or shrimp but what I do recall is that I liked it!  Typically, ceviche is made with sea bass or flounder but just about any fish or shellfish will work.  Halibut ceviche with watermelon work surprisingly well together.  It’s a light and fresh dish so get ready for your taste buds to be dazzled!

250g skinless halibut fillet
juice of 4 limes (or enough juice to cover fish)
small handful coriander, chopped
1 cup watermelon, diced (more if desired)
half a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup English cucumber, peeled and chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, chopped
green chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
sea salt

1. Cut fish into 1/4-inch slices or cubes and toss into a non-reactive bowl. Add lime juice, onion and a pinch of sea salt and toss to combine.  Let set 10 minutes or until you see the fish go from translucent to opaque.
2. Add remaining ingredients and gently toss.  Serve on plates or on endive leaves.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Make sure the fish you use is very fresh as the acid from the juice does not kill bacteria and parasites as well as heat does.  For a Thai-style taste, add a tablespoon of fish sauce. Enjoy!

Red Onion Jam with Dhal

Red Onion Jam with Dal by The Culinary ChaseBaby it’s cold outside! We’ve been having a pleasant Maritime November but today the mercury dipped, no wait, it took a nose dive. It’s days and evenings like this that I just want a blanket wrapped around me, plunk myself in front of the television while consuming a bowl of hot soup.  While dhal isn’t a soup (more like a stew), it’s thick, hearty and healthy! Top this with red onion jam and your taste buds are in for a treat!  Dhal is the Indian word for lentil and is usually made with spices and onions.  If you like lentils, then you’ll enjoy smokey tomato and lentil soup.  This dhal, however, could not shine quite as brightly without the help of the onion jam.  It’s the perfect delicious crowning which made me want to bite my spoon.

Serves 4 to 6
adapted from Ripe

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium red onions, diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 star anise pods

red onion by The Culinary Chase1. Place butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the brown sugar, curry powder, and vinegar. Let cook for a few seconds, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until thick and jammy, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add lentils, ginger, star anise, and 6 1/2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until thick, loose, and porridge like, stirring occasionally.  Discard the star anise. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the dhal among serving bowls and spoon red onion jam (warm if necessary) on top. Refrigerate any leftover jam.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Dhal can be quite bland on its own but jazzed up with a generous dollop of onion jam and you’ll be licking the bowl clean!

Gazpacho

gazpachoIt’s funny how conversations get replayed in your head.  I was just thinking now about one I had a couple of months ago with my daughter, Laura.  She asked me if I liked her at this age (20) or when she was younger.  I paused, thought about what she asked, and said that I enjoy this moment in time just as much as before…they’re just different stages in our lives.  She smiled and hugged me.   I spoke to Jason, my son, yesterday and talked about how he was liking his new home, work etc. and of course how the cooking aspect of it was going.   He told me he loves to cook so that’s not an issue.  Jason was always eager to help out in the kitchen while Laura was keen to eat!  They’re two different people (thank goodness) and since Laura has been in an apartment for the past two years (university life), things have changed and she now calls me to ask how to cook this or prepare that.  It makes my heart sigh when I hear they tried a recipe from my food blog and had success.  They know how much I encourage them to eat a sensible diet and hope that this recipe is one they’ll try, too. This Spanish liquid salad is perfect when it’s too hot to cook. Gazpacho originated in the south of Spain and was food for peasants and shepherds.  Packed with vitamins and minerals, it’s a perfect way to incorporate veggies into your diet.

Serves 2

1 cup English cucumber, chopped
1 yellow pepper or red, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
14 oz. can Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1 large heirloom tomato, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, chopped (bite-size pieces)
1 can (10 oz.) tomato juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
handful cilantro, chopped
1 garlic, minced
Tabasco sauce (to your liking)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

gazpacho ingredientsIn a large bowl, add ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and add more liquid (water or tomato juice) if too thick.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
If you like, once the soup is combined you can remove half of it and purée, then pour this back into the chunky soup.  Make sure the gazpacho is well-chilled.  Enjoy!

Thai Larb

Thai-Style Pork LarbThe other night John and I were watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri was visiting a diner in Hawaii called Opal’s. It’s owned by a Thai family and as we watched the larb come together, our mouths started to water. It has been far too long since we had this! Larb is the national dish of Laos and can be made with ground meat or fish and flavored with fresh herbs and spices.  Thai larb is easy to make, perfect finger food and a fun way for your kids to eat more veggies.

Serves 2
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon agave or honey
1 to 2  teaspoons hot sauce
handful slivered red onion
handful cilantro
handful fresh mint
handful fresh basil
Boston lettuce, remove 4 layers (use as cups)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned (alternatively you can use the potato peeler)
handful finely sliced purple cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

larb ingredientsPan-fry ground pork in a bit of olive oil until no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any liquid. Add lime juice, fish sauce, hot sauce and agave to fried pork – stir. In a bowl toss onion, cilantro, mint, basil, cabbage and bell pepper. Add pork to vegetable mixture and lightly toss. Fill lettuce cups and fold up like you would a tortilla.

larb fillingThe Culinary Chase’s Note: You can use ground chicken, beef, or fish if you don’t like pork.  and a wonderful way to incorporate veggies into a meal.  Enjoy!