Soaked Chai Oats: A Warming Breakfast

Good Morning Guys!

I wanted to send out some good weekend vibes to you all, considering that last week was crazy busy for me with a few really exciting work opportunities and projects coming up to keep my creative mind working to develop some really delicious menus and recipes!

In order for me to get everything done in a day, how I start my day is really important. Routine is really crucial to me, so when it comes to diet and exercise I make sure to stay on top of what keeps me thriving so I can tackle each day.

In the past few weeks I’ve been plating around with my diet, adding some food items back in and taking a much more “stress free/no rules” approach. Personally, I’ve been Gluten free for 10 years and then paleo for the last 2 years. However, once in a while depending on how I’m feeling I’ll happily eat sourdough bread or use spelt grains/flour, both of which I’ve never had a problem with. I follow an 80/20 approach however recently I’ve been bringing back some extra “non paleo” foods. Everyone functions differently and everyone’s situation is different and for me I’ve noticed that with my hectic routine adding some extra carbs in has been really beneficial with helping me manage stress, to my recovery from training and helping to balance my hormones. Also it helps me remember to not get caught up in labels, and allow food freedom based off what foods really feel good to me from an intuitive approach.

I find that I’m usually being pulled in two different directions, the chef and the nutritionist – when really I’m working to pull the two together and not have them divided. Yet I find, in the nutrition realm, many of us Nutritionist have to explain why we choose to eat certain foods, or follow certain diets: eat higher fat, eat wheat, eat white carbs, eat plant based or go out for a burger. Here is my stance: eat what you want, when you want as long as it makes you happy and feel good! So if I want to eat oatmeal, I really don’t owe social media an explanation!

Speaking of which, lets chat about oats! I used to love oatmeal for breakfast, however for a while they didn’t always sit well with me and left me ravenous 2 hours after I’d eat them! So I’ve been playing around with soaking and fermenting grains the past couple of months and seeing how they would effect digestion or nutrition.

What I’ve noticed is that soaking rolled oats, not quick oats, with lemon juice for 12 hours there is a drastic reduction in starch and phytic acid. They become much easier to digest, they take half the time to cook and they dont have a crazy effect on my hunger levels or metabolism! So it’s a winning trick in my books and a good one for those days I need a little extra carbs or I just want a warming bowl of oats especially in the winter months!

Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of a nicely plated serving of Chia Farro Porridge, a dish we teach in the Fundamentals of Plant Based Cooking from the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, Online. I pick a few dishes a weeks to plate, to show the student other variations and unconventional versions of plating. I loved the flavour of the chia base we made, so I wanted to simplify it slightly and use the soaked oats to create a really hearty breakfast that would stimulate the digestive system as well.

NOTES:

  • These look like a lot of ingredients and steps BUT I assure you this is really simple and  I’ve just sectioned the ingredients so there was no discrepancies with following the recipe!
  • I’ve chosen to top it with ghee, because if you’ve never had ghee with your oats you are missing out! However ghee paired with the chai flavours a really lovely combination and is also a really comforting fat for digestion!

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CHAI SPICED SOAKED OATS
Yields 1 portion
{Gluten free, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
Soaked Oats
1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Chai Almond Milk Base
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tea bag (black tea)
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional or 1 packet of stevia)

Cooking
Soaked Oats
Chai Milk Base
½ Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp almond milk

Topping
1 Tbsp ghee
orange zest
½ tsp Black sesame seeds
2 tsp Dried currants
1 tsp Cacao nibs

METHOD

  1. The night before making these oats, add the rolled oats, water and lemon juice to a small bowl. Stir together and leave on the counter over night undisturbed.
  2. In the morning when you are ready to cook, if there is residual water in the bowl, strain and rinse the oats. They will be very soft so handle gently. Then set aside until needed.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add all the Chai Milk Base ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer with the lid on to steep the tea bag for 3 minutes. The squeeze out the tea bag and discard,
  4. Add the rinsed soaked oats and bring back to a simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes, then add the ground flax and stir in the 2 Tbsp of almond milk. The flax will make the oats quite thick so the additional almond milk helps to loosen it. Stir together for 1 minute, then pour into a bowl immediately.
  5. Top with ghee, a few strokes of the orange zest, black sesame seeds, dried currants and cacao nibs and enjoy!

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Happy Sunday Guys

Chef Steph

{Tasty Tuesday} Paleo Creamed Spinach

 

Question: How many of you are done your Christmas shopping? So every year, I’m that person who gets it done by the first week of December. This year, for a reason I still have yet to come up with, I waited to the week of Christmas. Yesterday I ventured out with a very solid plan and detailed list to get everything done. Well, it took 5 hours of: waiting in copious amounts of lines to either enter a store or to pay, running through and over many people, witnessing people loose their children (LIKE WHAT?!), probably loosing 5 lbs of sweat and parking in essentially a new city. It was hell – but it’s done, and I will never make this mistake again. For those of you who enjoy this rush of last minute shopping, good for you but you are crazy – my type A personality can’t handle it!

Luckily I had prepped this recipe, so I came home to solid meal to help revive my spirit a little. Being Italian, we never really grew up with creamed spinach, unless it was spinach and ricotta stuffed into cannelloni pasta. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s new Christmas Book – which is an obviously thing for me to do, since I have every other book of his. As I was browsing, his creamed spinach totally intrigued me. I decided it to give it a go but put a little paleo and dairy free spin on it. I loved the result and would make this again, especially for a family function or Christmas Day lunch. It feels really rich and comforting, which is perfect for this snow filled winter we are having. However, the remixed ingredients keep it satisfying and waste friendly! This is also a great make ahead recipe, it can be prepped and assembled the day before and baked off for dinner which is excellent for party planning or hosting a dinner.

I’ve included an option with cheese which I have made also – they are both greatscreen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm, but IF I had to choose, I like the version with cheese better.

OH! Before I get to the recipe guys – remember there is only 4 MORE DAYS to grab our Holiday Ebook filled with perfect party recipes: apps, desserts and cocktails all given a healthful spin!

The book is still available to purchase for only $9.95,  you can have a look at the link below!

https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

I’m super proud of this one, and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Now, for the recipe!

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Paleo Creamed Spinach
Yields 6 – 8 side servings
{Paleo/Diary Free}
– Inspired by Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ whole nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut cream
For the Crumble
2 Tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan option)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese)
1 cap pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp salt (if you use cheese reduce this to 1/8 tsp of salt )

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×11” baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Using a deep pot (so all the spinach will fit), heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced shallots and garlic, once fragrant add the spinach, oregano and then grate the nutmeg right in.
  3. Cook the spinach until wilted, the spinach will release much water- you want to cook it until the water is cooked out. Finish with a pinch of salt and then set aside off heat.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the ghee, nutritional yeast, pecans, almond flour, and ½ tsp salt until it forms a loose crumble. Then set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. No need to wash the food processor, add all the spinach and the ½ cup coconut cream and pulse together until combined. Don’t turn this into a puree, just pulse a few times to replicate chopped spinach,
  6. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with your crumble. You can either live an edge of the spinach as shown in the picture, or cover the entire top with the crumble.
  7. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. This is delicious both right from the oven and cold.

Note: This makes an amazing addition crumbled into a breakfast frittata, so leftovers are a definite plus in this case!

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I hope you guys enjoy this one, countdown to Christmas is one everyone!

-Chef Steph

{Tasty Thursday} Holiday Ebook + Perfect Winter Brussels

Ah Thursday already! I actually cant believe this week is already almost over, however it’s been a really cool week with some fun new projects starting that I’m excited to chat about here today. I obviously have a delicious recipe in this post but I wanted to share some fun things first!

Over the past month I’ve been working on the first (of many) ebooks with a fellow lady boss friend of mine, Elle Daftarian. Food That Feels Good: Holiday Edition. In this book we are sharing our favourite entertaining recipes: Apps, Drinks and even Cocktails that will spare you the holiday bloat and the waistline worries! All the recipes are gluten free, paleo and we have some vegan/raw options!screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm

Available for a limited time, click here to purchase our holiday ebook! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you all!

LINK: https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

On another fun note: this has been my first week teaching at Aldershot High School – I’m teaching a 6 part culinary series for their Grade 12 fitness class. This week we’ve been focusing on knife skills, which has been really fun actually, the students were really into it which I loved because I could tell they were really invested in learning some new skills. I think all high schools really need to invest in a program like this, basic cooking knowledge is so crucial for teenagers to know!

 

Now for the recipe!

Brussels are a hard vegetable for some people to like, me on the other hand, I could eat them like popcorn. Sure, I mean if you just steam them – well they obviously suck. So it really comes down to how you prepare them. I fully believe you can get anyone, at any age to enjoy ANY vegetable you just need a good arsenal of recipes to jazz them up.

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These vegetables may be small in size BUT they are not small when it’s come to nutritional value. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body’s natural defense system to protect against disease, including cancer. Sulforaphane, is a compound the body created from the phytonutrient, glucoraphanin, found in all Brassica vegetables, and it’s known to boost the body’s detoxification enzymes which help to clear carcinogenic substances more quickly. As well Brussels have high levels of vitamin C, which supports immune function and proper collagen formation: the basis for our body’s structures – including skin, connective tissues, cartilage and tendons.

I wasn’t kidding when I said these little guys pack a punch!

I try to rotate them into my diet every two weeks or so, usually roasted or sautéed. Today’s recipe, will really jazz them up and make them an amazing side dish especially over the holiday season!

I encourage you to make these and test them on your picky eaters.

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Roasted Brussels with Balsamic and Pomegranates
Yields: 4 servings
{Paleo/Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
2lbs Brussels, cleaned and halved
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
3 sprigs of thyme, picked and minced
1 sprig rosemary, picked and minced
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp Balsamic reduction*
½ pomegranate, seeds removed

NOTE*: you can either use store bought reduction or make your own, I’ve supplied the method below.

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. For the reduction: If you choose to make your own reduction, place ½ cup of balsamic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, let simmer until reduced by half.
3. Then remove from the heat and set aside until needed. Any remaining can be stored in the fridge for future use.
4. In a large bowl add the halved Brussels, olive oil, shallots, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
5. Toss to combine and scoop onto the prepared baking sheet, in an even layer.
6. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle with 3 Tbsp of balsamic reduction and place back into the oven for 5 – 7 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and scatter with pomegranate seeds to serve and Voila!

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{Merry Monday} Curry Carrot Soup with Smokey Almonds

Happy Monday Guys!

I figured I’d do you a favour and start your week off with a warming recipe because the first legit snow fall came yesterday and I think this snowy weather is here to stay!

Truthfully I’m happy about the weather change, primarily because as it gets colder the food I choose to eat changes along with it. Enter: soups, stews, braised dishes, hot chocolate, hot cider, mulled wine, warming breakfast bowls, spicier dishes, curries and broths. Usually, I’m not a winter person – but this year I’ve had a change a heart, however I should probably find winter boots – like proper winter boots and not another pair I cheap out on.

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As with anything I choose to make, I really try to make sure what I eat packs some sort of nutritional value as well of flavour. I despise eating flavorless food, or when I see people post recipes that after one glance the flavour profile is just not there – it makes me crazy. So even with a simple soup, like the one I’m sharing below, jazzing it up can be both simple, cost effective and fast!

Fun fact about me: As Italian as I am, Indian cuisine is literally one of my absolute favorites. I would love to learn this cuisine from the traditional aspect. I love to use elements of Indian cuisine because in my professional opinion there is something about the specific spice combinations that makes the food so enticing and enjoyable!

What I love about soups is that they are the perfect vessel to pack a dose of nutrition and they can be super digestive friendly. They are in my emergency toolbox, for when my digestive system isn’t co-operating and I know getting in some anti-inflammatory nutrition would be beneficial.

Carrots, don’t usually shine alone and sometimes they should, because they come with their own arsenal of nutrients: There is some research showing that cooking them may actually help to boost their nutritional content, opposed to eating them raw. Interestingly enough (which is helpful for the colder seasons), cooking carrots yields  higher levels of beta-carotene and phenolic acids than raw carrots. They are a true gem when taking about brain health, vision health, cancer prevention, liver health and lower systemic inflammation. Paired with the warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, garlic and curry (all of which help to sooth digestion and low inflammatory responses in the body) make this a truly special mix.

My recipe today is particularly very easy, it can be made any night of the week where by one vegetable is the star, it’s anti inflammatory, digestive friendly, seasonal and very warming!

CARROT CURRY SOUP
Yields: 6 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
For the soup:
2 Tbsp ghee
2” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp red curry powder*
1 tsp ground coriander
2lbs carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
1 ½ tsp salt
3 ½ cups chicken stalk
½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk
For the garnish:
½ cup Almonds
½ tsp chili
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp salt
Olive oil
Chopped Cilantro

METHOD

  1. Start with your garnish, so it’s ready to go and you don’t forget about it when serving: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss Almonds with chili, smoked paprika, salt and a dash of olive oil, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for 7 minute and let cool.
  3. Once cool, roughly chop and set aside with your chopped cilantro until ready to use.
  4. For the soup: In a medium pot, add the ghee over medium low heat. Add the minced ginger, cinnamon, sliced garlic, red curry powder and ground coriander. Stir together and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. You really want the spices and ginger/garlic to be quite pungent.
  6. Now add the chopped carrots and stir together. Add salt and chicken stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 – 25 minute until carrots are fork tender. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to really release all the flavour.
  7. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches, but if you have a vitamix then this will all fit in one shot. Scoop your carrots and broth, into your blender, and blend on high speed until completely smooth.
  8. Make sure some steam has room to escape otherwise your lid will pop off, make a huge mess, and most likely burn you!
  9. Pour your smooth soup back into you pot, add the apple cider vinegar and coconut milk, bring back to a gentle simmer and you are ready to serve.
  10. Serve with the toasted smokey almonds and chopped cilantro.

This is epic guys, enjoy it!

*NOTE – I really like red curry powder for its heat, so if you use regular curry powder add ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper to the soup.

Stay warm guys, and make your Monday a littler better by getting cozy with a  cup of this soup.

-Chef Steph xo

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{Holiday Special} Clementine Herb Roasted Chicken

Well guys,

It’s that time of year again for ALL things CHRISTMAS – for the record, yes I’m that person who will bust out the Holiday vibes the minute Halloween is over. Call me annoying, call me over the top, call me what you will – but the Holidays are a very special time of year for me and my family and the memories I have with the entire month of December gives me the right to basically be Santa’s little helper.

I’ve been tinkering around in the kitchen a lot lately with many fun new little projects I’m working on, and in the midst of all the testing, I’ve been playing around with festive recipes to share with you here!

At this time of year, I love colour, especially in regards to holiday parties: how you serve your food, the décor, what recipes you create – it’s really a time to go that extra step. My favourite culinary items to use that brighten up dishes (and can even be used as décor) are; pomegranates, clementine’s, fresh herbs, cranberries, fresh currants, pistachios, pumpkin, squash and persimmons.

clementines

Today’s recipe that I’m sharing with you guys is a showstopper for your next holiday party or your next family dinner. It’s also a great “plan ahead” recipe and you can get it done the day before so all you have to do is roast it off the day of. It’s a seasonal way to jazz up your typical roasted chicken dish and create a beautiful presentation.

Plus adding compound butter to any dish, really takes it’s to a new level!

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CLEMENTINE HERB ROASTED CHICKEN WITH FRESH POMEGRANATE
Yields 4-6 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
For the Compound Butter:
–  2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
– zest of 3 clementine’s
– 6 sage leaves, thinly sliced
– 4 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
– ½ tsp salt
– 6 cracks black pepper
Juice of the 3 clementine
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
1 x 4lb bird
1 clementine quartered
5 sprigs of thyme
1 pomegranate, deseeded

METHOD

  1. For the compound butter: you can place all ingredients in a food processor, and just pulse together to combine ingredients. Or if your butter is soft enough, you can mix it together in a medium sized bowl with a fork. Wrap and leave in the fridge until your ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  3. Toss the sliced onions with the juice of the 3 clementines (use the clementines that were used for the zest) and then place at the bottom of your roasted pan, with any left over juice.
  4. Sprinkle the 1 tsp of salt inside the bird, along with the quartered clementine and thyme sprigs.
  5. Take your compound butter and you want to slip it under the skin, a bit within the cavity and rub all over the outside. Rest the bird on top of the onions, breast side up.
  6. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, to check that it’s cooked, push a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. The juices will run clear when ready.
  7. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes before cutting into, allow all the juices to reabsorb and maintain it’s juicy flavour.
  8. To serve, spread all the cooked down onions on a platter, use either tongs or two wooden spoons to lift your chicken out and place on you platter.
  9. Scatter your pomegranate seeds over top your roasted chicken and serve!

NOTE: You can get all ingredients ready in the pan, including the bird a day a head so it’s one less thing you have to worry about the day of your dinner party! Just wrap the roasting pan and refrigerate until ready to be roasted, just pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.

I hope you guys enjoy this one, it’s a favourite of mine and I’m happy to share it with you all here!

Let the holiday festivities BEGIN,

– Chef Steph xo

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Self Reflections + Zucchini Flowers

Hey Guys!

So I’m guessing only really cool people blog on Saturday nights, yeah? Well, obviously since I’m here making sure you guys have this recipe before Sunday Brunch, or before you hit the farmers market tomorrow!

Today has been an interesting day, it’s been a day full of self reflection and really taking a closer look at the direction I want my career to go. Having real time for yourself can be scary – especially when you are used to the “grind” or the crazy long hours. When you have real time, you start to really think things through and create this sense of reflection – which I think is important especially when you’re trying to decipher what really makes you happy and what YOU really want.

After leaving my Executive Chef role two things struck me:

  1. I realized my passion had been lost and tangled
  2. I was not in my happiest place, because I lost my personal authenticity along the way.

For someone who lives to be creative and enjoys the pleasures of being in a kitchen, these were two hard things for me to swallow. I learned that no role is truly worth it, if you are not thriving along the way. I’m not sure there is any feeling more awkward then feeling like you’ve lost your mission or your personal self.

Anyways, I’m sharing this because this is a thing called L I F E, and unfortunately, we are thrown these experiences and emotions to help us gain a new found sense of strength. Being a #ladychef is not easy, but in my heart I know it’s worth it especially when I know I have a greater mission to seek out.

As I post and create some recipes for you guys over here, I’ll also being getting into some ways of re-exploring and re-creating that path I initially started out on, hell, maybe I’ll create an entirely new one.

The universe is a funny thing, it places you with feelings of discomfort – to give you the power to create some unique magic and that’s the exact intention I have moving forward.

Ok Ok…. You came for the recipe I’M SURE so let’s get into some cooking fun.

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If you should happen to come across some zucchini flowers, I highly suggest you grab some. Here’s the thing right, sure you can fry them but why not skip the frying and apply them to a protein packed savory breakfast? Most people don’t even know zucchini flowers can be eaten raw and added to a salad! Most associate them with being stuffed with ricotta cheese, battered and fried….no complaining about that either, but these delicate fresh items were meant for more then just one application.

My garden only produced four of these beauties, so we picked up more at the farmers market!

My father was the one who inspired this recipe. His original recipe was more “cake like” using whole wheat flour, where as mine is more “frittata like” using almond flour and egg.

These are actually perfect for breakfast or as a mid day protein snack. They pack, store and travel really well and the bonus is that they are delicious both hot and cold.

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ZUCCHINI FLOWER FRITTATA MUFFINS
Yields 15
{Paleo, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
1 lb zucchini flowers – remove stems and inner stamen
8 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tsp chili flakes
½ cup/ 65g grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ cup/ 150g almond flour
1 lb zucchini flowers – remove stems and inner stamen
Ghee – for greasing the muffin trays

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and liberally grease two muffin trays.
  2. Depending on where you got the zucchini flowers, you will need to gently wash them. I just used a wet cloth.
  3. Remove the stem, and inner stamen (the yellow pollen like stem in the center). Once clean and dry, slice them in thin strips, Chiffonade them, then set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the eggs and whisk.
  5. Then add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, coconut milk, chili flakes, parmesan and almond flour. Mix gently to combine everything.
  6. Scoop a level 1/3 cup into each portion.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, the let cool for 10 minutes before trying to remove them. Then let them rest on a cooling rack.
  8. They will last up to 5 days, stored in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

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Alright guys, happy Saturday – I’m off to go crack open a bottle of cider and kick it by the fire pit!

-Chef Steph

Sautéed Broccoli Leaves w/ Cherry Tomatoes

Broccoli leaves are the new kale people…..

I’m not trying to create some nifty slogan, I’m being dead serious.

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There is a bit of a back story with this recipe, which revolves around the never ending Garden saga. With our garden this year I want to attempt to grow as much as I could, which clearly I’ve learned a lot from.

Enter the broccoli plant, so oddly enough broccoli didn’t even grow but instead I got this massive bush of broccoli leaves. Needless to say I was very confused and there was not a single Youtube video to help a girl out. I ended up having to pull the entire plant because it was engulfing the surrounding veggies.

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My options were either juice all the leaves, but in all honesty, pressed juices haven’t been sitting well with me recently – so that was a NO, or, cook them up for an easy weeknight side.

I’ve never used broccoli leaves, but they have a similar texture and feel to collard greens and I’m really against waiting produce – it’s always important to try and find a use for everything.

I feel like it’s the newest Super Green Leaf we should try and get our hands on because they contain some pretty rad nutrients to give our immune system an epic boost.

In 30 grams of broccoli leaves, which you probably throw away, there is 90% of the required daily doses of vitamin A, which is very important for improving our eye sight, immune system and skin health. There is also a full daily dose of vitamin C and plant compounds called glucosinolate which aid in proper detoxification and cancer prevention. So in my professional opinion, I think this super green is a fantastic veggie to try and have some fun with!

Todays recipe is simple enough to throw together any night of the week for a fast simple side dish. Since broccoli leaves are a little more tough and sturdy, then kale or swiss chard, they do hold up well, so it’s a great veggie to prep ahead of time.

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I threw also in some garden cherry tomatoes because I love how sweet they are at this time of year.

 

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Sautéed Broccoli Leaves With Cherry Tomatoes
Yields 6 – 8 Servings
{Paleo/Vegan} 

INGREDIENTS
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp chili flakes
2 lbs broccoli leaves, sliced into think ribbons
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, to taste

METHOD

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium high , add the sliced garlic and chili flakes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  2. Once fragrant add the sliced broccoli leaves and sliced cherry tomatoes to the pan, use tongs to move everything around.
  3. Since they are sturdier, they will take a few minutes longer to cook then kale or other leafy greans. I found them to be perfect after 6 minutes.
  4. Season with salt, to your taste and serve!

NOTE:

  • Make sure your broccoli leaves are completely dry after washing, otherwise when they hit the hot pan oil will splatter everywhere.
  • I had a lot more leaves to work with then what you may find elsewhere, hence why I used so much, but this recipe can be scaled down with no actual recipe!

Happy Friday Guys!

Stay tuned for the next recipe coming your way, Zucchini Flower High Protein Muffins, the perfect high protein, low carb breakfast to fuel you day.

Tell me something fun: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve attempted to plant and how did it turn out?

– Chef Steph

 

 

 

 

Garden Beet Hummus

Another Monday means another week kicks off, which means I hope you all enjoyed some sun this weekend and hopefully a little down time.

This weekend I desperately needed some down time, some extra sleep and time to just chill the heck out. I felt like last week was mental and at times it seemed like I was in, dare I say it, Kitchen Hell. I felt like for 12 hours each day my head was spinning and running faster then I could keep up. Between orders not showing up in time, some orders not showing up at all, catering events, staff shortage and scheduling conflicts – I was ready for my Sunday glass of wine (since Sundays are my new Saturdays.)

I also just wanted to cook in my home kitchen, without any stress or worry. So I did just that with the help of some veggies that were ready to be pulling from the garden.

The garden adventures are continuing over here, with much amusement! Every time I pull something from the Garden to eat…..it’s literally like hoping for the best too see what turned out and what I screwed up!

Here’s a lesson on Beets, if you don’t plant them deep enough they will have to be pulled earlier then usual because they will start to actually push themselves out of the soil. As you can see in my picture below, most of them are still pretty small, and that’s because they didn’t have enough time to continue growing under the soil. Lesson learned for next year!

 

However, they were still 100% ready to eat and utilize, including the stems.

My dad recently purchased a new cook book, Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison who are the masters of their craft. I really don’t know much about preserving or canning, and I knew this book would come in handy. In the book they have a chapter on Beets, which was perfect timing because I wanted to do something different with both the beets and their stems.

In this book he made beet hummus which looked beautiful. I’ve seen beet hummus before and I’ve also eaten it, I’ll be honest I’ve never enjoyed it. It was always either too earthy, not smooth enough, and truthfully tasted like raw beet puree. However I wanted to adapt my own version and put a spin on flavours.

At the restaurant we make a killer hummus, however chickpeas and me are not really friends. They always disrupt my digestion and leave me feeling rather heavy.

So for todays recipe I wanted a light option that was legume free, yet still really creamy and paleo friendly. If you do enjoy legumes you can make your traditional chickpea hummus while adding in the beets just has they are prepared below – for some extra colour and nutritional boost.

beets4

Garden Beet Hummus
Yields 2 cups
-Adapted from Batch-
{Paleo, Vegan, Low Carb}

INGREDIENTS

1 lb beets, washed/brushed clean and stems removed
2 gloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 cup tahini
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp truffle oil (or sub for olive oil)
Topping:
Black sesame seeds
Additional Drizzle of Olive Oil
Mojito Mint (also from the garden, regular mint would work just fine)

METHOD

  1. Place the beets in large enough pot to completely cover them in water.
  2. Bring the pot over to the stove and bring to boil with the lid off. Once boiling, lower the heat and bring to a low rolling boil. The size of your beets will determine the cooking time.
  3. You want them be fork tender, basically until a knife can easily pierce through. My beets took 15 minutes, because they were much smaller then normal. Then strain, and when cool enough to handle, peel them. If you do this when the beets are still warm, the skins should just rub right off with your hands. Wear gloves, unless you don’t mind red hands.
  4. Roughly chop the peeled beets and set aside while you gather the rest of your ingredients.
  5. When you are read to make your Garden Beet Hummus, place the chopped beets and garlic in a food processor and process on high speed for 3 minutes until smooth.
  6. Then add in your tahini and process again for 3 minutes. Beets breakdown differently then chickpeas so you need to leave the food processor running longer to create an equally smooth texture.
  7. Then add in the black pepper, salt and lemon juice. Turn your food processor back on and while running, stream in both oils. Let it run for a final 5 minutes and the result should be a rich, creamy, florescent hummus!
  8. Top with sesame seeds, drizzle of olive oil and mojito mint

NOTES:

-Beets can be cooked and left in the fridge for 2 days until you’re ready to peel and eat, so that step can easily be done a few days in advance.
– This would work beautifully with any colour of beets as well (golden, striped, white or even black.)
– I used Joel and Dana’s Pickled Beet Stem Recipe and it turned out amazing, it was a delicious topping for the hummus.

Until next time!

 

-Chef Steph!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parm

Hey Guys, Happy Tuesday!

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend whether you celebrated Canada Day or July 4th, I mean really, they both involve good food, good drinks and good times with people you love!

I really wish I had a long weekend to enjoy, but #cheflife doesn’t always accommodate long weekends. I was hustling along with our brunch service as we were epically short staffed; however my crew killed it as always.

Sundays on the other hand, I’m off work and can enjoy some time outside in my garden with a cider in hand (summer tradition), BBQ and make food I don’t get make on a day to day.

I’ve been pretty lucky with the garden this year, I have never planted one but I’ve always been around them through my family. I wanted to grow a good amount of veggies that I could use over the season, into the fall and preserve for winter.

 

So far the only thing I’ve messed up is my cilantro, which is really embarrassing because herbs are the easiest thing to PLANT! I also didn’t plant my beets deep enough so I had to pull them earlier then normal but non the less, they turned out and I have some amazing beet greens to juice.

There is something very nostalgic about being in a garden and utilizing what is pulled right from your back yard. I grew up with 2 sets of grandparents who lived for their gardens, and never let any item go to waste. So much pride and love when into what they planted, which I believe, is what makes home grown food taste and feel that much better.

For my recipe today, I’m using some radicchio I pulled out of the garden. One plant was ready, so I figured why not use it!

My favorite way to eat radicchio is grilled; there is something about grilling leafy vegetables that I love. I really enjoy the combination of smokey + fresh flavours coming together. Other then radicchio, I dig romaine, bok choy and endive grilled as well. They add a smokey twist to a salad, vegetable platter or power bowl!

Another reason radicchio has its place in my diet is for it’s nutritional profile regarding your digestion and liver.

Liver Health: Being a bitter leafy vegetable that’s mild in spice, it helps stimulate the production and excretion of bile, which plays such an important role in digesting fat and pulling excess cholesterol and toxins from the body. I believe in doing one thing every day that helps support your liver and eating bitter greens/vegetables is one of the easiest ways.

Digestive Support: The inulin and polysaccharides in radicchio help encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which keeps both our immune and digestive system running properly. With it’s high fiber content, it ensure proper colon cleansing and removing harmful bacteria (anti-microbial properties).

I understand that bitter vegetables are not something everyone enjoys, but what it comes down to is finding a way to prepare them that allows you to enjoy every bite!

Grilled raddichio 1

The recipe below is simple enough to make any night of the week and it’s jazzed up with a little extra flare!

Grilled Radicchio with Crispy Beef Bacon and Parmesan
Yields: 4 side servings
{Paleo, Gluten Free}

INGREDIENTS

1 head radicchio, cut in quarters
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
3 slices of beef bacon, or traditional bacon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Parmesan, grated
Small bunch of basil, I used micro basil

METHOD

  1. Heat your grill to medium and drizzle your radicchio quarters with olive oil. Just enough to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the radicchio quarters on the heated grill, grill on each side for 2-3 minutes until lightly grilled. You want the radicchio to still hold its shape and not completely wilt away.
  3. In the mean time, place your bacon on the grill also. If you haven’t had bacon on the BBQ you are clearly missing out.
  4. Grill the bacon on each side for 3 minutes, until crispy. Then finely chop when cool enough to handle.
  5. When ready to plate, lay the radicchio out on a platter. Drizzle with the lemon juice, grate a good amount of parm over top, crumble over bacon and top will basil.
  6. Eat right away for best flavour and texture.

grilled raddichio 2

I hope you have a great week guys, and if you love radicchio as much as me be sure to give this recipe a go!

-Chef Steph

Avo Mayo BBQ Chicken with Grilled Apricots

Howdy Gang!

So aren’t we all a little happier with this nice weather, epic sun shine and the fact that it’s finally summer .

Let’s be honest, we’re all a little happier because patio season is here and it’s finally appropriate weather to drink sangria. I know I’m not the only one who counts down for Sangria…

Unfortunately this isn’t a sangria post, I do however wish it was – so I’ll make a note to get working on that recipe.

Another highlight of good weather, is being able to bust out the BBQ. I can’t tell you how much I use the BBQ over the summer; it’s always convenient (unless it rains, because mine is not covered), you can literally cook everything on a grill and you get to be outside! Personally it doesn’t get better. At work, I’m in a hot kitchen and don’t get to be outside or even see much sunlight. So on my days off or before/after work, I’ll try to either eat a meal or actually cook outside, I find it so uplifting and energizing. Plus, here in Toronto we are blessed with only 2 -3 promising months of decent weather…..so I’d like to be outside as much as possible.

Summer grilling is clearly off and running over here and today I’m sharing a delicious chicken recipe that is easy enough to make any night of the week and it will appeal to anyone, even the pickiest of eaters!

I paired this chicken with grilled apricots, like I mentioned above: you can literally grill anything! I love grilling fruit: peaches, nectarines, pineapple, mango, grapefruit – you name it, it heightens any simple dish. Plus grilling fruit caramelizes the sugar, which makes it seem like such a treat.

In this recipe, I’m featuring Sir Kensingtons new Avocado Mayo that is the perfect addition to any chicken marinade. I appreciate how clean the ingredients are therefor it has a place in my kitchen.

Avo Mayo chix 2

Summer Grilled Chicken with Apricots
Yields 2 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken:
½ cup Sir Kensington’s Avocado Mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp Sir Kensington’s Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 chicken thighs, skin on/bone in
For the Apricots:
5 apricots, halved and pitted
olive oil
salt and pepper
Additions:
Radishes, sliced
Arugula
Lemon Juice

METHOD

  1. For the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together.
  2. Place chicken in a container and toss in the marinade. Seal with a lid and let marinade overnight (preferably) in the refrigerator.
  3. For the Apricots: When you’re ready to grill, you can start with the apricots.
  4. Toss them with a little olive oil, pinch of salt and black pepper.
  5. Heat your BBQ to medium heat, if you go by temperature – I let mine get to around 350 degrees.
  6. Place the apricots, cut side down and grill for 3 minutes. Then rotate and grill for another 2, so you are left with cross lines. You don’t want over cook them, you still want the apricots to have some bite.
  7. Time for the chicken, pull the chicken out of the fridge at least 15 minutes prior to grilling.
  8. Place your chicken thighs on the hot grill, skin side down for 6 minutes then flip over for another 6 minutes.
  9. Assembly: The chicken and apricots are a great addition to a weeknight meal, so I just kept the rest rather simple. Toss some arugula and raddish slices in lemon juice and place the chicken ad grilled apricots over top.

 

I hope everyone kicks off summer in some way or another, even if it’s just sitting on a patio with some sangria…..and this chicken:)

-Chef Steph