Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Oh how we love going to Me Va Me (at Bathurst and Steeles in Thornhill). When Meredith and I were first dating, we'd make a meal out of a large salad plate, some felafel and pita. Their shawarama is excellent as well, and the portions are ridiculous (you need to share).

It's the salads that we really love, tho. Three or four different ways to serve eggplant, and one of my favourites – Moroccan Carrots Salad. I really like the spicy versions.

My grandmother used to make a variation of it, and that's where I learned to love it. Her recipe is long-gone, after nearly 10 years I think I finally developed a recipe that resembled hers (Mama's might not have had as many chili pepper flakes). Cilantro was the missing ingredient. Any additional input about the final product from the Toronto Tangier crowd would be greatly appreciated.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

  •  1/2 kilo carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 cm round slices
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili peppers
  1. Boil carrots until tender (not mushy), for 5-6 minutes. Drain, and immediately immerse carrots in cold water for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Heat oil on medium in a skillet.
  3. Saute garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add carrots, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, cumin, paprika, and chili peppers to the oil and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Immediately move mixture to a cool container and let chill.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweet Pickles


A few weeks back, I stumbled upon a blog called The Colors of Indian Cooking, and I was thrilled. Lots of new Indian recipes to try, and an occasional feature called Meatless Mondays. Kathy, the author, blends the recipe in with the narrative around the topic, which isn't my favourite way of presenting recipes, but it's still worth the read.

Shortly after I started reading, Kathy, published a recipe for sweet pickles. What really caught my attention was that the entire recipe took roughly 15 minutes.

I didn't think it was possible. Pickles are these mystical things that you must buy at the deli (dill) or at the farmer's market. You can't make them yourself, can you? And if you could, it couldn't possibly be that easy, could it?

Well, you can, and it does.

I changed her recipe slightly and make the method a little more to my liking, and it turned out great!

Sweet Pickles
  • 6-8 small cucumbers sliced into 1/2 cm rounds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly slice
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp of brown mustard seed
  • 2 tsp of sea salt
  1. Place cucumber and onion in a large microwave-safe dish. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients together and pour on top of cucumber and onion mixture.
  2. Microwave on high for four minutes.
  3. Stir, and microwave on high for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Empty bowl into sterilized mason jars and and let cool before refrigerating.
(inspired by a recipe from The Colours of Indian Cooking)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dominican Rice and Red Beans (Moro de habichuelas rojas)

photo by Robert Reed

Food on a cruise is usually amazing, but I’ve been less impressed with the offerings at resorts. Most disappointing is when you travel to a resort in the south and there’s very little local cuisine and instead a great deal of sometimes poorly-executed European and American offerings like pizza, burgers, nachos and unidentifiable leftovers mixed with mayo (those salads mom used to make).

A wise friend once asked me “Why would I want to eat the resort sushi? Would you go to Japan to eat Aruban food?”

While in the Dominican Republic, I asked some of the kitchen staff what dishes were authentic for the local population. It turns out that beans and rice is the most popular dish. Because of the poor economy, meat is an infrequent luxury. At the resort I stayed at, the beans and rice became my staple lunch as I avoided the raw pizza, sad-looking burgers an mystery salads.

Dominican Rice and Red Beans (Moro de habichuelas rojas)
  • 2-1/2 cups of uncooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  1. Rinse and drain rice in cold water and set aside.
  2. In a deep pan, heat oil on medium and saute the onion, pepper and garlic until onion is translucent
  3. Add tomato paste and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add beans and mix for 1 minute.
  5. Add vegetable stock and vinegar, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the rice, cilantro, oregano water and reserved liquid from the beans and stir.
  7. Cook uncovered until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Reduce to the lowest setting, cover and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
 (Inspired by
Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pad Thai

photo by Ian Cargman

I don't do Thai.

I love eating Andrea's Pad Thai. Given all the moving and other crazy at home, I asked Andrea if she would mind being a guest chef for this week's post, and she agreed.

I chose Andrea for Thai because Thai is one of those cuisines I just suck at, and Andrea just does such a good job every time. I always wreck the noodles somehow, no matter how hard I try. Forget what the pan looks like by the time I'm done!

My brother Beez seems to have a handle on rice noodles as well. Of course, he's had more practice with it at Gluten Free Edmonton.

  • 1 package medium rice noodles
  • warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (reserving 4 tbsp in a separate bowl)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 kilo chicken, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 3/4 cup medium-firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (check label for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 lb bean sprouts
  • ground chili
  • ground roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges
  1. Partially cook noodles by soaking for 20-25 in warm water..
    Note: If the water is too hot, you'll overcook the noodles and end up with mush. The noodles should be flexible yet firm.  
  2. Drain noodles and set aside.
  3. Mix fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and paprika in bowl and stir until sugar dissolves and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in wok on medium-low and stir-fry garlic until translucent.
  5. Increase heat to medium and add chicken and tofu. Stir-fry until meat is no longer pink on the outside. 
  6. Add noodles and toss to coat with mixture.
  7. Add the fish sauce mixture and bring to boil rapidly, gently folding in the noodles.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and boil the mixture, folding frequently until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.
  9. Lift the noodles gently from one side of the wok.
  10. Pour half of reserved oil along the side and break egg into oil (letting the egg slip down the side of the pan).
  11. Break yolk and immediately cover egg with noodles.
  12. Repeat process on other side of wok with second egg and remaining oil.
  13. Allow eggs to set over moderate heat. Add extra oil if wok becomes too dry.
  14. When eggs are set and almost dry, fold gently but rapidly into the noodles, trying not to break noodles.
  15. Distribute eggs evenly throughout noodles.
  16. Add green onions and bean sprouts and gently toss for two minutes.
  17. Spread mixture on large platter. Sprinkle with chilies, peanuts and lime juice.
(recipe from Andrea Altberg)

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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