Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Arugula Salad with Strawberries

I just can't get enough of these gorgeous strawberries!  Gotta get my daily fix...they are like crack to a semi-strict clean eater like me!  Not only do they make a great snack and have countless uses in luscious desserts...they have savoury applications too and they make a bangin' salad.  This is another old favorite that fits seamlessly into our Paleo diet lifestyle.  Sliced strawberries take a little soak in some balsamic vinegar which sweetens and intensifies their flavour.  Then the strawberry magic is tossed with peppery arugula, toasty pecans and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.


Arugula Salad with Strawberries

Notes:  We enjoyed this with a simple steak on the BBQ and the 2 of us polished off the salad.  Double the amounts below to feed 4-6 people.  This salad shines extra bright when a part of a breakfast or brunch spread.


1/2 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered (I used about a cup, sliced)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bunches arugula, washed, dried, and trimmed (I used half of a 5oz container of organic baby arugula)
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves, roughly chopped

In a large bowl, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, let sit 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoon balsamic vinegar with the olive oil and salt and pepper.

To the strawberries, add vinaigrette, arugula, and toasted pecans. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Citrus Sugar

Local strawberries are here!  There is nothing like ripe, juicy strawberries grown close to home.  One of the many delights of summer.  This is an exceptional way to enjoy them, simple and so pretty!  Their juicy goodness still shines through, but the creamy white chocolate and bright citrus sugar are great compliments.

White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Citrus Sugar
Origin: Epicurious

Notes:  When melting white chocolate be sure to not let any moisture get into the bowl.  The chocolate will seize up with the addition of the smallest bit of water.  I like these served cold.


2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
6 ounces high quality white chocolate (I used Callebaut), chopped
16 large ripe strawberries

Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and citrus zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened.  Set aside.

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler, (stir the chocolate in small bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water) stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from over water.

Holding 1 strawberry by the stem, dip the berry into chocolate, shake excess back into bowl. Turn the berry dipped-end up and sprinkle with citrus sugar, place on prepared sheet.  Repeat with remaining berries, chocolate, and sugar. Chill until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Fennel & Lemon

Since I started this clean eating thing, this has been the meal I have made most often.  It's so easy to prepare and turns out beautifully every time.  Juicy chicken with crispy flavourful skin and sweet and tangy, caramelized fennel.  I turn to it when I am lacking inspiration or if I have a million things to do around the house.  I just throw the ingredients together on a baking sheet, toss it in the oven and I'm free of dinner woes. 

Roasted Chicken with Fennel & Lemon
Origin: Adapted from The Kitchn

Notes:  My favorite way to buy chicken is the "cut up chicken".  My butcher offers a whole chicken, skin on and bone in, cleaned up and cut into 8 pieces, breasts, thighs, legs and wings.  I love getting the variety of cuts (I love thighs and my husband loves wings) and it's more economical than buying just breasts.


1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin on, bone in (or 4 large chicken breasts)
1 large fennel bulb, or 2 small (with fronds)
1 large onion, or 2 small, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 lemons, 1 sliced and 1 zested and juiced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the stalks and fronds off your fennel, save the fronds and chop them finely.  Cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into quarters and slice the core out of each quarter.  Slice each quarter into 1 inch strips.

Place chicken, fennel and onion on a baking sheet.  Slice one lemon into 1/4 inch rounds and add to the baking sheet, zest and juice the second lemon over the chicken and vegetables.  Add the minced garlic and chopped fennel fronds.  Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Toss everything with your hands and make sure the seasonings are distributed evenly. Place the chicken, skin side up, in the center of the baking sheet and arrange the fennel and onions around it.  Sprinkle the chicken with a little more salt and pepper.

Roast for 1 hour, rotating the baking sheet once during cooking.  If things are browning to quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Remove from oven, tent the baking sheet with foil and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.  Serves 2-4.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chipotle Steak with Brussels Sprout Slaw

This is a meal I have been wanting to recreate for a while now.  It's an attempt (a successful one!) at a fabulous dish I had at a favorite local restaurant, Allium, on one of their tapas nights.  The sadly small (but appropriate for tapas) portion size left me wanting more, I couldn't get this dish out of my head.  Robust, smoky chipotle flat iron steak with creamy chipotle aioli, accompannied by a light, grassy brussels sprout slaw.  It was great!  I did a very decent job with my copycat recipe.  I finally got my fill of this great dish!  Try it out...or visit Allium for the real thing!

Chipotle Flat Iron Steak
Origin: Inspired by Chef Arup Jana, Allium

Notes:  Allium used "flat iron steak" for this dish, my cut of beef was called an "inside blade steak", I believe both are from the shoulder, just cut slightly different.


2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
upto 2 lbs beef steak, flat iron or blade steak

Mix the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a glass baking dish or a resealable plastic bag large enough to hold your beef.  Add steaks and toss to coat, marinate for about an hour (or more if desired).

When you are ready to grill, remove steaks from marinade, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill.  This a tougher cut of meat so medium (even medium-rare) doneness is ideal.  Make sure to get a good sear on the meat but don't cook it too long.  We grilled it on high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Chipotle Aioli
Origin: Inspired by Chef Arup Jana, Allium

Notes:  You can adjust the amount of chipotle pepper to control the heat to your liking.


1/2 cup mayonnaise (I make my own olive oil based mayo)
1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 small clove garlic, minced

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, chipotle, adobo sauce and garlic.  Season with salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Brussels Sprout Slaw
Origin: Inspired by Chef Arup Jana, Allium 

Notes:  This slaw is really good!  Forget everything you think you know about brussels sprouts.  The raw, shredded brussels sprouts are surprisingly mild with a nice crunch.


brussels sprouts, about 5 cups shredded
1 green pepper, sliced as thin as possible
4 shallots, halved and sliced as thin as possible
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

To prepare the brussels sprouts, trim the end slightly and slice them in half lengthwise.  Starting at the top of the brussels sprout, thinly slice them, stopping when you get the the core/hard bits. 

In a large bowl combine the shredded brussels sprouts, sliced green pepper and shallots.  Drizzle with the vinegar and olive oil, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Serve immediately or chill for an hour before serving.  Serves 4.