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Chicken, Peach and Quinoa Salad

chicken, peach & quinoa saladAs much as I like cooking a whole chicken, I can’t seem pass by a grocery store rotisserie chicken without stopping to inhale its amazing aromas.  And, how is it they’re cheaper than buying a raw one?  I bought a 4 lb. rotisserie chicken for $7.99 whereas an uncooked 4 lb. one was nearly $11.00.  From what I can gather by nosing around the internet, a supermarket sells fresh ingredients before the best-before-date and anything after that gets chopped up and sold in a salad bar and the meat is cooked and sold hot (helps minimize food waste).   Continue Reading →

Fennel, Grapefruit and Feta Salad

fennel saladLast weekend we entertained our friends from New Brunswick.  It was a weekend getaway for Ralph and Michelle.  They arrived Thursday afternoon and for the next 48 hours it was full-on chatting, catching up, laughing, eating and drinking.  Because Michelle and I are both foodies and write our own food blogs, my goal was to make the first evening together memorable, fun, casual, and taking as much time as was needed to fully enjoy each dish I brought out.   Michelle took photos (you may see them on her blog) as I prepped the food…I felt like celebrity chef! 🙂 Continue Reading →

Roasted Butternut Squash and Couscous

roasted butternut squash and couscousIt’s been wet and foggy the past two days and as such has put me in the mood for vegetables I would usually cook in the cooler months.  That said, there’s absolutely no reason why squash shouldn’t be included in a summer dish.  When I think of the winter squash family, butternut always comes out on top.  It’s sweet to begin with but when roasted nothing beats the caramelized flavor of browned edges.   Butternut squash doesn’t really need doctoring but experimenting with different seasonings such as cumin, allspice, anchovies, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, truffle oil, rosemary, sage, lemon juice, and so on will only heighten your senses making butternut squash a superstar veggie! Continue Reading →

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 →

Endive Salad

endive salad by The Culinary ChaseI know, another salad but I promise this one is a keeper! Endive (pronounced on-deev) is a favorite of ours and because I don’t buy it that often it remains a treat whenever I serve it.  This endive salad is bursting full of flavor and will have your taste buds doing a happy dance.  Ok, I am exaggerating a bit, but you will enjoy the way the creamy/saltiness from the goat cheese mixes well with the sweetness of the candied pistachios.

Serves 2
2 to 3 heads of Belgian endive
goat cheese
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
white wine or sherry vinegar

Candied Pistachios –
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup demerara sugar

candied pistachio by The Culinary ChaseTo make the candied pistachios, preheat oven to 350°f. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, water, salt, and granulated sugar until smooth. Toss the pistachios and demerara sugar in the honey mixture, stirring well to coat. Spread the nut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer and bake until the nuts are golden brown (8-10 minutes).   Cool and break into small pieces.

Belgian endive by The Culinary ChaseTrim ends of endive and separate endive heads into single leaves. Arrange leaves on plates followed by pear slices. Add crumbled goat cheese. Add a splash of olive oil and white wine vinegar. Top salad with candied pistachios and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Keep an eye on the pistachios as they can quickly turn from a golden brown to a burnt brown!  If you can’t find pistachios, substitute with whatever is your favorite nut.  A crisp and crunchy salad with a hint of sweetness.  Enjoy!

Asparagus Fennel Salad

Asparagus and Fennel Salad by The Culinary ChaseEven though asparagus is available year-round, Springtime is the best time to enjoy them.  Asparagus and fennel salad may seem like an unassuming dish but don’t be fooled by its looks.  The pine nut dressing deliciously coats the veggies and it’s love at first bite!  And, because this dish does not require a stove top or oven to make it, it’s perfect for a hot day.

Serves 4 as a starter

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
asparagus bunch, ends trimmed
1 fennel bulb, cut in half
125g fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks

To make the dressing, in a mortar add a pinch of sea salt and garlic and use the pestle to muddle until a paste develops. Add pine nuts and bash to a thick paste. Add lemon juice, oil and parmesan.  Muddle  until well combined.  Adjust according to taste by adding more oil, lemon juice or Parmesan.

For the salad, thinly slice asparagus using a vegetable peeler and for the fennel use a mandoline. Place in a bowl and add the dressing.  Toss to combine making sure the vegetables are well coated.  Arrange on serving plates or platter and add mozzarella chunks. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, garnish with fennel fronds and season with freshly ground black pepper.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Try avoid ‘snapping off’ the ends of the asparagus as I find this sometimes wastes too much of the vegetable.  Instead, cut the bottoms off about an inch – white ends definitely need a chop.  Choose firm asparagus that are bright green (dark could mean older stalks), and the tips are tightly closed. Asparagus, also known as the stinky vegetable, has strong cleansing effects on the kidneys and bladder. It flushes out acid wastes so quickly you can smell the ammonia in your urine shortly after eating it.

Quinoa Barley Salad

Quinoa Barley Salad by The Culinary ChaseSpring is such a pretty time of the year with new growth, greenery, flowers and birds singing. Many will embark on a Spring cleaning campaign of their homes, open up cottages, and plant gardens all of which require a well-fueled body. This quinoa barley salad will keep you satiated for hours and give you the energy to fulfill those Spring cleanup chores. Barley has a chewy, pasta-like consistency. It’s a super grain in my books – rich in fiber (helps lower cholesterol and good for intestinal health) and helps curb your appetite for high calorie food. Quinoa, the super seed hailing from South America, is high in protein, good source of riboflavin, and is low glycemic index (won’t spike your blood sugar). This salad is perfect for a pot luck gathering, barbeque or picnic.

Serves 4 to 6
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 tablespoon minced garlic
handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
yellow cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Cook barley and quinoa according to package instructions. Allow to cool to room temperature.
lemons zested by The Culinary ChaseIn a large bowl add herbs, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Mix to combine and then add quinoa and barley. Toss and add tomatoes. If the mixture looks dry, add enough olive oil to moisten. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Serve room temperature or cold.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
A vegetarian delight! Add crumbled feta cheese, chopped cucumber for added crunch and fresh dill. Enjoy!

Glass Noodle Salad

glass noodle salad by The Culinary ChaseGlass noodle, you ask? Well, it’s a noodle made from mung bean flour and when water is added to reconstitute it, the noodle looks transparent, glass-like. And, because they’re made from mung bean flour, it’s gluten-free (make sure to read the ingredient list as cheaper varieties can be made from wheat). The dressing is the crowning glory to this recipe and it’s one I use as a dipping sauce for spring rolls – just add minced cucumber.

Serves 4
80g (2.5oz) bean thread noodle (cellophane noodle), soaked in hot water until soft (5 minutes), drain
3/4 cup chicken breast, steamed and shredded
10 shrimp, peeled, steamed and sliced in half
4 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup coriander, roughly chopped
3/4 cup bean sprouts (or red pepper thinly sliced)
firm tofu, cubed and fried (optional)

Dressing –

2 green chillies, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup water

glass noodle salad_by The Culinary ChasePlace all salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. For the sauce, combine all ingredients and simmer in a saucepan for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes. Pour over salad and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
You can make this salad early in the day allowing all the flavors to develop. I couldn’t find bean thread noodles and used rice vermicelli noodle. If you plan to leave in the fridge longer than 30 minutes before serving, remember to give it a toss. Enjoy!

Bulgur Salad with Nasturtium Flowers

Bulgur Salad with Nasturtium Flowers by The Culinary ChaseI love shopping at our local farmers’ markets and we are lucky to have 3!  Because the one at Alderney Landing is closer, we tend to frequent this one more often.  When I want fresh herbs or lettuce, I buy from Riverview Herbs.  Their produce is so fresh it looks as though it was harvested that morning.  Last Saturday I spotted nasturtium flowers and grabbed a bag.  They looked gorgeous and immediately I knew what I was going to do with them.  A few weeks ago I was rearranging the contents in the pantry and found that I somehow accumulated 3 bags of bulgur!  Things in the pantry tend to get pushed around ending up on the bottom of the shelf or at the back of the wall.  We enjoy adding bulgur to a salad so why not make one that’s inclusive of pretty Spring-like flowers?  This bulgur salad is easy enough to make and it looks so festive.  Cooking and garnishing with flowers is nothing new.  Many cultures use flowers in their traditional cooking – stuffed or fried squash blossoms in Italian food, rose petals in Indian food, popular in salads in the Victorian era, and let’s not forget capers (unripened flower buds) that have been used as a condiment in Europe for over 2,000 years.  Not sure what flowers are edible?  Visit About.com to view their edible flower chart.

Serve 4 to 6
1 cup bulgur
small can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (more if you like)
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup nasturtium petals
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin

nasturtiums by The Culinary Chase

  1. In a small bowl add bulgur and add enough boiling water to cover.  Place a lid on and let it sit until the water is absorbed and bulgur is soft.
  2. In a large bowl mix parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes, chick peas, green onions, feta and nasturtiums. Stir in the softened bulgar and set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and cumin in a small bowl. Pour over salad and lightly toss to combine.

nasturtium flowers by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: This salad is hearty enough on its own or can be used as side or at a pot luck dinner.  When choosing flowers to eat, buy organic or at least a source you trust to ensure they are free of pesticide residue.  Nasturtium flowers will keep up to one week in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.  Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Radish, Dill & Avocado‏

quinoa salad with radish, dill & avocado by The Culinary ChaseI love a colorful salad…I always have.  I discovered a few years ago that one of the secrets to staying healthy is to always incorporate color onto your plate of food. Doing so means you are getting a good variety of nutrients to help your body be strong and healthy.  Eating more plant-based meals has been proven to lower your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  Pick fruit and vegetables that are the colors of the rainbow and you can’t go wrong plus your dish will look darn pretty! Quinoa (keen-wa) is a staple in my pantry.  If I’m not sure what to make for dinner, I often cook it and toss it in with other vegetables and herbs.  It’s so versatile and because it’s a seed, not a grain, it’s a good choice for those who are gluten intolerant.  Use quinoa where you would rice.  This quinoa salad is loaded with flavor and texture.  For more ideas on how to use quinoa, chick here for 8 recipes from my site.

Serves 4
adapted by The Kitchn

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
8 small red radishes, chopped
1/3 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 avocado, roughly chopped
chopped fresh dill – about 1/2 cup
zest of 1 lemon and 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

radish by The Culinary Chase1. Rinse the quinoa for a couple of minutes in a fine mesh strainer. Drain. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in broth, bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the cooked quinoa over it in an even layer. Let cool.
3. Toss radish, cucumber, shallot and dill with the quinoa in a large bowl. Add lemon zest. In a small bowl whisk the juice together with the olive oil, and balsamic vinegar until emulsified. Toss this with the quinoa.
4. Fold in chopped dates, avocado, and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
I served this while the quinoa was still warm. As always, the flavor gets more pronounced the following day.  This makes a perfect dish for a pot luck dinner or as a side to a main meal.  Enjoy!