Ketchup and Beans Salad with Spinach for Popeye

Making your own homemade ketchup is so rewarding, and a millions times healthier than the bottled crap.  Find below one of the original recipes from 1906.

It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a host picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Elizabeth at The Lawyer’s Cookbook and she picked a really original movie: Popeye! No, spinach was not the main inspiration for my recipe but there is some in there. I was actually inspired by a book I was reading and by ketchup, the condiment. That turned into a Ketchup and Beans Salad with Spinach!

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Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Pork Sag Curry with the Clipso Pressure Cooker

When I moved out of my parents home I invariably inherited some kitchen items that my mom had in 2s or 3s, or some of my grand mother’s old things. One such treasure handed down to me was a dark avocado green aluminum pressure cooker. You know the kind with the chrome metal heavy weight that you had to check carefully in case it would explode right of the vessel. Gee, thanks mom!

I have to admit I used it only a handful of times. Not so much out of fear – although I kept a very watchful eye – but I knew only one recipe, the classic brisket with the onion soup mix. It’s good but I associate that taste with the 70s. Everything I tried tasted passé. I gave it away eventually. Little did I know then that I had yet to write the final pressure cooker chapter of my life. All good things get better with time and anything retro is in. Cue in the revisited and modern pressure cooker by T-Fal, the Clipso. And I prepared the very fragrant Indian Pork Sag Curry from the included recipe book.

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Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month’s secret: Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes.

Basil Polenta with Roasted Spinach and Tomatoes

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Blackberries Three Ways: a main course

Pick one fruit or vegetable and prepare it three ways. These were the directives we were given for this month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge. Since it is summer there is no shortage of options. The tough part is actually picking that one ingredient.

My original idea was blueberries but I could not find nice ones in my neighborhood (I am embarrased to say) but I saw some lovely blackberries. I have always found them to be so mysterious and I would say they picked me! For an extra challenge my three recipes componse the main course. No desserts here. My menu consists of a pizza, a salad and of course a refreshing cocktail.

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Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Israeli Couscous With Spinach, Feta and Walnuts

Every once in a while you discover an ingredient you just cannot get enough of. My current fetish ingredient is Israeli couscous. I L-O-V-E the stuff. I first discovered it in a farmer’s market in Toronto. On a following trip I went back to buy some more…I have yet to find some in Montreal. I just may have to order some online.

I wanted to make a casserole like dish with Israeli couscous for a dinner with a friend. Now this friend is not vegetarian but she is 100% all about sustainability and organic food…particularly meat. I applaud her effort but I won’t pay 12$ for 2 chicken breasts. Perhaps I just don,t know where to go shop for organic meat. Anyways, when she comes over I always do a vegetarian dish. This one if loaded with CHEESE!

She is also a foodie so my goal was to blow her mind, or should I say her taste buds. This recipe was absolutely astounding and amazing. It is full of intense flavors, especially garlic. We both had seconds.

 

Ξ Israeli Couscous With Spinach, Feta and Walnuts Ξ
adapted from KLHquilts on Food.com

1 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup feta, cubed
1/3 cup walnuts
5 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Harvarti (or Gouda, Monterey Jack, Provologne)

Add couscous and salt to boiling water. Cover and let sit 10-15 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute garlic and onion until tender and translucent.

Drain canned tomatoes, reserving 2/3 cup juice. Add drained tomatoes to garlic and onions. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir tomato mixture into couscous. Mix in half the reserved tomato juice, basil, feta, walnuts, 4 cups of the spinach, salt and pepper.

Spread half of the couscous mixture in a square baking dish. Sprinkle half the Havarti evenly, then top with remaining couscous mixture.

Spread evenly on top the cup of spinach left, pour remaining tomato juice over and sprinkle remaining Havarti.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 375 F.

SRC: Peach Monster Smoothie

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This is my return to SRC you could say. I had to back out the last 2 previous months because I broke my left wrist. Being in a cast is not ideal when cooking lol. I still have quite a bit of physio to go but I am back in the kitchen. This month I was assigned Noelle’s Blog, Opera Singer in the Kitchen. We have commented on each others blogs in the past so it was nice to  finally have a familiar blog in hand. Noelle’s recipes are mostly vegan so there was plenty of challenging options for me, the meat eater. Plenty of recipes were tempting, such as :

Persimmon Margaritas
Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls w/ Cream Cheese Icing
Thai: Green Papaya Salad
French Cuisine: Tofu au Vin
Lavendar-infused Rhubarb and Almond Torte

Peach Monster Smoothie

But in the end I chose something simple yet so good and healthy. I have seen plenty of bloggers jump on the smoothie wagon but I had not experimented yet. The one I chose was Noelle’s Mango Monster Smoothie but I substituted the mangoes with peaches (because I could not find a ripe mango) and rice milk instead of almond milk (personal preference). I know it’s GREEN but no panic, it is sweet and delicious. Also this smoothie contains 3 fruits and 2 vegetables. That is 5 out of the 4 to 10 fruits and veggies your should st every day.

Ξ Peach Monster Smoothie Ξ

serves 1 tall glass or 2 regular glasses

1.5 cups rice milk
2.5 frozen peaches
1 frozen banana
2 cups spinach

Place items in a blender and blend very well, like a bit longer then you think necessary. Adding a touch of sugar is optional but should not be necessary.

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Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of all milk products. Rice milk has the least amount of fat and is also cholesterol free. But if you are diabetic keep in mind rice milk is high in starch so your sugar levels could shoot up.

Spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants and it is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.



Spinach and Feta Strata

Here is a great little dish to serve for a sophisticated brunch at home. This is actually the 3rd dish I said I would blog about from Mother’s Day. Sorry I have been busy. Last year I made a baked french toast dish which my mom loved. I thought I would stick to the idea but turn it into a savory dish.

Spinach came to mind and there are plenty of recipes out there for a Spinach Strata. My deciding factor was this recipe at The Flour Sack which used Feta cheese as well. A Strata is very similar to a quiche but instead of  crust you soak the egg mixture up with bread, mix in cheese and bake it after leaving it overnight in the fridge to make sure the bread has completely absorbed the egg mixture. It is a very versatile dish as you can tried different kinds of cheeses or add sausage, mushrooms, whatever you like. This time around when I saw the spinach and feta version the first thing that came to mind was ‘Bingo!”

If you want to see the other two recipes I made for the brunch you can check them out here: a Maple Apple Brussels Sprout Salad as a side dish and for dessert Lemon Rice Pudding Verrine with Chocolate Ganache.

Ξ Spinach and Feta Strata Ξ

grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (coating the pan)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
10 oz crusty day old bread
2 cups spinach leaves (coarsely chopped baby, 3 12 ounces)
1 cup feta, crumbled

1 Coat an 9-inch square baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle lemon zest. Add the bread, spinach, and half of the feta. Gently toss the mixture with your hands until combined, then spread it into an even layer; set aside.

2 Whisk the measured olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add the eggs and milk and whisk until combined. Very slowly drizzle the mixture over the bread and evenly sprinkle the remaining half of the feta over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3 Heat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the custard is set and the edges are browned, about 55 to 65 minutes. Drizzle olive oil and add chopped fresh oregano.