Thursday, January 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

This is a great make-ahead meal. I cooked up a big pot before going back to work to use as lunches for the week ahead.

1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium red pepper, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 large button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 19 oz can red kidney beans
1 - 14 oz can chickpeas
1 - 5.5oz can tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon sliced pickled green chilies or banana peppers (optional)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

1. Add everything to your crock pot and stir together to mix well.

2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

3. Serve over cooked rice or quinoa and top with shredded cheese or sour cream!

This post is part of Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Apple & Beet Salad with Honey Dressing

Eating locally grown produce in the winter can get really tiresome, really fast. Around Vancouver, winter's bounty is basically limited to squashes and root vegetables - things that don't bode well for a fresh, crisp salad. Thankfully apples are in abundance, as are beets. And although not local, pomegranates are in season until the end of January. Add all that to layer of fresh mixed greens* and you have an artful, appetizing winter salad!

Serves 2 entrée sized salads.

Honey Dressing

A simple oil & vinegar dressing with a hint of sweetness.

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons local honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl or salad dressing cruet and mix well.

Tip: Coat your teaspoon in olive oil to make the honey slide off easily into your bowl!


1 medium size beet, greens cut off
4 cups mixed baby salad greens (I used baby spinach and pea shoots)
1/2 small red apple and 1/2 small green apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons feta cheese (optional)
prepared dressing

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (F). Rinse beets and place on a sheet of foil and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Seal foil around beets to make a small packet. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-35 minutes until fork tender. Remove from oven to cool. When beets have cooled enough to handle, put on some rubber gloves and remove the skins using your fingers. Skins should be tender enough to slip off, by pushing up with your thumbs. Once peeled, cut off root ends, then cut beets into small, bite sized chunks.

2. Arrange salad greens over two plates. Top each plate with half the beet chunks, half the red apple slices and half the green apple slices. Sprinkle half the pomegranate seeds and feta cheese over each plate. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over top.

This would also be great topped with toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds!

(*No, salad greens aren't locally available in winter either, but we have to pick our battles!)

This post is part of Monday Mania @ The Healthy Home Economist.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sautéed Wild Mushroom Crostini

Baby Shitake mushrooms and garlic cheese bread from the farmers market.

Over the holidays I co-hosted and self catered a cocktail party. I spent weeks planning the menu, and then three days preparing the appetizers. The food was definitely the centrepiece of the party. One of my favourite creations was sautéed wild mushrooms on a piece of toasted and mozzarella topped baguette. The recipe itself was inspired by a similar one seen on Oprah a few years ago. As with most of my cocktail party appetizers, I wasn't able to get a photograph of the finished dish. Instead, enjoy a snap of some of my haul from the farmer's market today.

Sautéed Wild Mushroom Crostini

This dish can be served as an appetizer, snack or even as a main dish. If serving as a snack or main dish, consider using a loaf of French of Italian bread, instead of baguette.


1 baguette, cut into thin slices
olive oil
1/4 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mixed mushrooms (button, crimini, shitaki, oyster, porcini, etc.), cleaned, stems removed and chopped fine
1/4 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio work well, but use whatever you have!)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons, reserved
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
mozzarella cheese (fresh or firm; cut into 24 thin slices, approx. 1"x2" or to fit baguette slice)
1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (Shredded NOT grated!)


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (F). Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake bread for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven turned on.

2. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add chopped mushrooms. Increase heat to medium and sauté mushrooms in butter for 5-8 minutes, until starting to reduce and brown.

3. Add white wine and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring often, until wine has reduced and most of liquid has evaporated, approximately 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add fresh chopped parsley and mix together. Remove from heat.

4. Arrange mozzarella slices on top of each baguette slice. Top each with approximately 1 tablespoon of mushroom mixture. Don't be afraid to use your fingers to ensure mushroom mixture is evenly spread over bread slice. Top with a light sprinkle of shredded Parmesan.

5. Once all bread slices are topped with cheese and mushroom, bake in oven for 8-10 minutes until cheese has melted and edges of bread starting to brown. Remove pan from oven, place crostinis on a serving plate, lightly sprinkle additional chopped fresh parsley over everything and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year - No new posts!


Just a quick post to say Happy New Year! And also to apologize for being M.I.A. for so long. I was out with a friend yesterday and he mentioned I've been slacking off in the blog department. The last few weeks of 2010 were the busiest weeks of the entire year. The first week of 2011 has been no different. I did quite a bit of cooking over the holidays, and even have a couple of great cocktail appetizers to post, but I don't have any pictures just yet. That's always the case when prepping appetizers for get-togethers... no time for pictures. I might have to work that issue into my goals for 2011.

In other cooking news, I got some great cooking related gifts for Christmas. I finally got a stand mixer, which will make baking much, much easier. I also received a huge, 20 quart canning pot for all my canning creations! Previously I was using a large stock pot, which did the trick, but I'm sure my mom will be happy to have her stock pot back!
My stocking was full of lots of gadgets and tools, the best of all is a digital food scale. I've used it quite a bit already and am unsure how I managed without it. Weighing is far more accurate (and sometimes easier) than measuring ingredients, especially when it comes to baking.

The best new kitchen tool wasn't a gift at all, unless you count "gifts to self". I splurged on Boxing Day and ordered a KitcenAid Food Processor. Splurge is kind of an exaggeration. It was over 60% off so the deal was way too good to pass up. Over the holidays I made Marianne's Beet Hummus and found that my mini food chopper was useless for such a job. It was time to graduate to a full size food processor and I couldn't be happier with my purchase!

I'm already thinking of all the fun things I can make and prepare using my new tools and gadgets. A birthday cake is first on the list. I have an ambitious plan to make and decorate a strawberries and cream layer cake for my co-worker's birthday. From scratch. I've never made a cake from scratch. I've never even made a layer cake!

I will be back soon with new posts! Hope you all had great and tasty holidays!
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