Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

THAILAND
Pineapple is widely available in Thailand. In Canada, pineapples peak in the winter. But, they can be purchased year round. Tourists traveling to Thailand also enjoy their exotic unique foods. These light dishes have become a great addition to our western meal planning. We value the healthy benefits and spicy flavours. This dish will please everyone especially the kids!
With influences from Vietnam and China, Thai food has evolved over time to become its own traditional culinary style. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Pad Sapparot) is a spectacular dish! Once you taste it, I think you will agree with me that it will become a regular dish on your dining room table.
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THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE ~30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice (leftover rice works great too)
  • 4 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 5 oz. shrimp or pork
  • one pineapple
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 stems green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
  • strips of red pepper
  • cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.  If you find it hard to cut, put in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden slightly and then cut. Reserve along with the shrimp.
  2. Cut a pineapple in half lengthwise. Cut out the triangle of the hard core and freeze for your next smoothie.  Remove and dice the pineapple flesh into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. Mix the mushroom soy sauce and fish sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Turn your wok or sauté pan on high and add the oil and garlic, fry for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and shrimp and stir fry until the chicken is about halfway cooked through (about 1 1/2 minutes), then move to one side and turn the heat to medium. Break the eggs directly into the pan. Fry the eggs without breaking them up for about 2 minutes, until they are partially set.
  5. Push the eggs and meat to one side and add the rice to the other side.  Add the soy sauce and fish sauce directly on the rice and then with a shoveling motion, combine the two sides of the pan, tossing, stirring for 2 minutes, mixing the rice with the eggs shrimp and chicken, working from the bottom so that the rice has a chance to fry in the oil and everything  is integrated.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper on the rice and add cashews, green onion and the reserved pineapple chunks. Transfer to the hollowed out pineapple halves, garnish with the red pepper slices, chopped cilantro and serve. ENJOY!!!

“Chunky” Good For Extra Crunch! YUM!

VARIATIONS
Add chicken, pork or  shrimp or ALL THREE! Allergic to nuts..don’t add them!

Vegan Version With EXTRA Pizzazz `Crimp Cut Edges’.

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
ALL THE GOODNESS OF PINEAPPLE
That prickly sensation in pineapple is the Bromelain in pineapple. It is purported to be an anti-aging element which prevents blood clotting since it acts as a blood thinner much like spinach. Today, there is less bromelain in pineapple than 50 years ago, due to the change in the soil’s composition.

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WHAT TO DO WITH THE PINEAPPLE SKINS?
Marinade chicken with your favorite recipe. Tie the pineapple skins to the chicken and grill on your stove top or outdoors for that added flavour.

Confucius Say…..!

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Chili Recipe ~a winner

Winning Chili Recipe to Remove the Fall Chill!
Another great fall dish is chili.  We had a taste testing dinner and this was absolutely the winner!  (I have one book just devoted to chili.) This is such a versatile dish that takes well to freezing as well as serving to a crowd. chili_football  The guests can serve themselves. A great dish for those fall sports parties.  Those TRUE CHILI aficionados claim there should only be meat and no beans in chili.  What the beans do is to maintain you blood sugar at a steady even level with no spikes and you have energy for hours. A fantastic meal for diabetics.
FAST FOOD: When you have to stop at a fast food place in lieu of starving, chili is a fabulous choice.  Better than salads since these will come with dressings filled with sugar and preservatives.  I will also freeze dishes like chili in individual oven proof dishes.  When  I come home from a busy day, I immediately take one out the the freezer, defrost and bake.  Serve with a salad with your homemade dressing and it’s a tasty, satisfying and healthy meal.  This recipe seems like there are a lot of ingredients but you will find almost all of them already in your pantry and the flavour is worth it!  Perfect for game day!

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INGREDIENTS
img_chili1/2 cup dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup  dried red kidney beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4  cloves garlic, minced
6  jalapeno chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb. cubed beef chuck or blade steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2  tablespoons chili powder
1  tablespoon cumin seed (ground)
1  stick cinnamon 3 inches long
2  28 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1  12 oz  can stout beer
2  tablespoons tomato paste
1  tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion for garnish (optional)
1 cup strong cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
1 diced avocado pear for garnish (optional)
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Put the beans into separate pots and cover with 3″ of salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.  Cook covered, stirring occasionally until beans are tender about 60 minutes.
2.  Heat a heavy bottomed 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add  a few tablespoons of the olive oil and the diced onions 4-5 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic, green pepper, celery, and chilies.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes, adding more olive oil if required.
3.  Add meats and cook until brown.
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4.  Add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa and tomato paste.  Cook for a few minutes and then add tomatoes and beer.
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Add beans (drained).
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5. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 or 2 hours.
6. Ladle into bowls and let people help themselves to the garnishes.IMG_1436

Serves 8 to 10 adults

The “New” Ratatouille

I am so in love with the beautiful flavour of the fresh tomatoes that linger on in the season that I had to make some to enjoy them.  So I decided to make ratatouille.   In the beginning of the process the eggplant got charred to carbon in  literally minutes in my Vulcan convection air oven.  So not to give up I moved to a frying pan and made the ratatouille anyway substituting poblano peppers for the eggplant.  My Italian friend said it was the best ratatouille she had ever had!  Gone was the bitterness that was imparted by the eggplant and the heat of the poblano was not really noticeable.  It added just a background of mild heat and umami if you will.  We used this as an accompaniment for our meal and as a filling for our omelets the next morning.  Yummy!  Here is the recipe. Yet another healthy sugar free, gluten free one.
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
2 zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
1 yellow bell pepper
1 poblano pepper                                                          2 tomatoes (skin removed)
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INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Dice and saute onion in oil a few minutes until translucent
2)  Dice and add garlic and saute for a few minutes longer
3)  Dice zucchini and add to pan  along with the lemon thyme
4) Next add diced yellow and poblano peppers and saute a few minutes longer
5)  Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes longer.
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The resulting ratatouille will taste more like vegetables and is not dripping in tomato sauce.  It lacks the bitterness that eggplant imparts.  It is so fresh, tasty and versatile.  Serve it with your meal, in your lasagna,  and in your omelets.  Adding this with cheese to your morning omelet will also enhance the flavours and it is great for single servings and it has multipurpose uses.  This is for the  who’s- got-timeIMG_1298-to-IMG_1299cook crowd  but we want to eat tasty and healthy food!IMG_1307IMG_1304

Mussel Soup Supreme

This soup is so easy to make and so-o-o-o-o delicious.  Mussels are an inexpensive yet nutrient rich seafood.
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
8 oz. slices mushrooms
3 mild Italian sausages
1/2  of a 750 ml bottle of white wine
1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
1 8oz. bottle clam juice
1  5 oz. can baby clams
2 lbs. mussels
5 leaves fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped flat leafed parsley

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oil in heavy soup pot or cast iron pot.
2. Slice onions and add to pan.  Heat until translucent.
3. Slice and add garlic.  Saute for a few minutes.
4. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.
mussels_soup_basil5. Remove sausages from casings and fry them breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Fry about 5 minutes
6. Add wine and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Add the can of plum tomatoes roughly breaking up the tomatoes with your hands or a spoon.
Add the bottled clam juice and canned clams.  Bring to a boil.  Add the basil leaves along with the chopped parsley.
8.  Add the mussels which have been rinsed, debearded and the opened ones discarded.   Cover and cook for 3 minutes  until all the mussels have opened.
9. If any of the mussels will not open discard them.

Cook for 3 minutes - until the mussels open

Cook for 3 minutes – until  all the  mussels open

Serve

Serve “Mussel Soup Supreme” with garlic bread.

HAT2FOOD TIP:  When your raw mussels are open, tap them on a hard counter.  If they do not close then discard them as they are dead and can make you sick.  If they close then they are fine to cook and enjoy. I have tried using other sausages like hot Italian sausage but the soup is not as good in my opinion. The mild Italian sausage give the pleasant mild fennel flavour to the soup.  Adding sausage to this soup is very important to the overall flavour.  DO NOT SKIP!  You will see, and  you will want a second helping! The sausages and the clam + clam juice  is the supreme in this Mussel Soup Supreme.

WHEELSVARIATIONS  You can add lobster, shrimps, scallops or any other seafood you have on hand to make this into a seafood soup.  If you are adding raw lobster to the soup then add that first as it takes longer to cook.  It will turn pink and then add any shrimp or scallops last since they require only a few minutes of cooking or they will become tough and rubbery.  If you add canned lobster include the liquid from the can for more flavour.  You can add almost any fish except salmon. It has too much of a strong flavour for this dish. Sherry can also be added while you are cooking these last bits of seafood. Sherry complements the flavour of the seafood.. . .
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MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE MEAT!
For decades the Portuguese classically make dishes which combine mussels and pork in their beautiful copper cataplanas. The pork adds that special something extra to seafood. It is the secret ingredient! It is absolutely delicious!

Mussels and Pork

Mussels and Pork

didyouknowNUTRIENT-RICH
Mussels are a rich source of many essential vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc. They outshine most other foods when it comes to their vitamin B-12, selenium and manganese content. A 3 ounce portion of moist-heat cooked blue mussels provides 20.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, meeting 340 percent of the recommended daily value for this nutrient, according to NutrientFacts.com. Vitamin B-12 is essential for a healthy nervous system, the formation of red blood cells and proper growth and development. The same amount meets 108 percent of the DV for selenium and 288 percent for manganese. Selenium is important for immune system function and supports the thyroid gland, while manganese is involved in bone health and energy metabolism.  Mussels are rich in sodium as well which is why this soup did not need any salt added.

Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust ~ Healthy Back to School Snack!

kids32 Your hungry kids need a snack when they come home from school.  Surprise them with gluten free CAULIFLOWER CRUSTED PIZZA!  I tested a few variations for a cauliflower pizza in my foody lab (kitchen).  In one version, I used ground almonds in the crust. It had a  grainy consistency. Perfect for a base as an appetizer or an hors d’oeuvres. Thumbs down for a kid’s pizza.  In another version, I combined eggs and cauliflower plus my magic flavorings. My friend’s kids eyebrows  went up on the first bite. Mikey likes it! A home run!

Here is the healthy,  yummy RECIPE
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pizza456INGREDIENTS
1 cauliflower medium head about 2 lbs.
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shredded part-skim milk mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets and place in your food processor along with the garlic cloves. Pulse until fine, like rice.
3. Place cauliflower in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all liquid until very dry.
4. Place the cauliflower in a clean bowl and combine with mozzarella,  Parmesan cheese,  eggs, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt.
5. Place the cauliflower mix on a pizza pan (or baking sheet) lined with parchment and spread evenly with fingers or a rolling pin.
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6. Bake in the oven until the crust is crisp and the edges are golden, about 25-30 minutes.
7. Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly while you assemble the toppings.
8. Add your favourite sauce and toppings. I used my baked tomato sauce  as a topping.

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9. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly; about 15-20 minutes longer.

pizza_hamI left the kitchen and came back to take a picture of a slice and the pizza was all gone!  The kids said the pizza monster was here .  I enlarged part of the whole pizza to show you the added ham -for all you Carnevours. This veggie+(ham) powered pizza needs to make its way into your kitchen. Kids learn about gluten and grains from school. They may look forward to a gluten-free pizza. Today’s food buzz is “cauliflower” crusted pizza. Even though it has been around for a few years, there are still some people that have never heard of it.   What’s neat is that it doesn’t taste like cauliflower.
HAT2FOOD TIP: Place a piece of parchment on top of the cauliflower mix and move a rolling pin over it. This will give you and even crust guided by the edges of the pizza pan. Make this crust in advance and refrigerate (up to 4 days). You can add the sauce and toppings later on.  Use Asiago cheese in place of the mozzarella. Toppings:  Add prosciutto,  crushed red pepper flakes and basil (my favourite). YUM!

How do you fit parchment into a circular pan?                                                                                          First measure the diameter of the pan. Fold the parchment several times like you did when making a snowflake cut out in school and then cut to half the diameter of the pan.  The parchment will now fit your  pizza or cake pan.

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