Blog / Recipes

California Fig and Coconut Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats figs - 1

With my on-the-go lifestyle, I’m always looking for wholesome, nutritious meals especially for breakfast. I’m a fan of overnight oats because it’s a no-cook, easy to make, grab-and-go kind of recipe. I first had a taste test of this delicious recipe at a media event hosted by California Figs. Available all year round, California dried figs are either Dried Black Mission figs which have a deep earthy flavour, or Dried Golden Figs which taste a bit sweeter. You can use either type of dried fig in this recipe for a natural sweetness as well as fibre, calcium and magnesium.

California fresh figs are available from May to December. Can’t wait! Nearly 50% of California fresh figs are exported to Canada. Since 2013, 75 new products containing figs were introduced into the market. Expect to see even more product and recipe innovations as fig has been named the flavour of the year for 2018 by Firmenich, a Swiss fragrance and flavour company.

California Fig and Coconut Overnight Oats

Ingredients
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 T chia seeds
2 tsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup (3-5) California Dried Golden or Black Mission figs, stemmed and chopped
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
Optional garnish: ½ dried fig, 1 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions
Put the oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup, figs and coconut into a 12-ounce jar or bowl. Stir well. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. Stir again just before serving and top with optional garnish.

Makes 1 serving. (Recipe source: California Figs)

Strawberry Santas

Strawberry Santas

Just in time for the holidays! These cuties are super simple to make and sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!

Ingredients
20 fresh strawberries
½ cup whipping cream
¼ cup icing sugar (more if you’d like it sweeter; less if you’d like it less sweet)
40 mini chocolate chips

Directions
1. Slice the stem off each strawberry so that you have a flat bottom. Turn the strawberry point side up. The wide side of the strawberry faces down and is the base of the Strawberry Santa.
2. Slice the pointed tip of each strawberry (about the top 1/3 of the strawberry). This piece will be the hat.
3. Use a small piece of paper towel to dab off the flat ends of each strawberry piece. This will help the icing stay on.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream and icing sugar.
5. Using a piping bag* with a round tip, pipe a swirl of the icing onto the base of the Strawberry Santa. Gently place the hat on top. Pipe a tiny pompom on the tip of the hat.
6. Add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

*If you don’t have a piping bag, simply scoop the icing into a plastic re-sealable bag and cut off a small corner of the bag.

Makes 20 Strawberry Santas

Lentil Watermelon Summer Salad

Lentil Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of my go-to fruits for the summer! Team it up with some lentils, feta cheese and mint – and you’ve got a beautiful, refreshing, protein-packed salad!

Here’s the Lentil Watermelon Salad that I featured on my TV interview with CHCH Morning Live.

Ingredients
6 cups 1-inch cubed watermelon
1 1/2 cups cooked black lentils (puy or Beluga)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
salt and pepper

Instructions
1. In a large salad bowl, combine the watermelon, lentils, half of the feta and half of the mint.
2. In a small container, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour olive oil mixture over the watermelon mixture. Toss gently to combine.
4. Top with remaining feta and mint before serving.

Makes 8 servings.
Recipe source: www.pulses.org

Strawberry Pavlova for Canada 150!

Pavlova Sept 17 2016

Celebrate red and white! Happy birthday Canada!

Ingredients
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups whipping cream
raspberries
strawberries, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the centre, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly.
4. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
5. In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
6. Remove the parchment paper and place meringue on a flat serving plate.
7. Fill the centre of the meringue with whipped cream. Top with raspberries and sliced strawberries.

Who wants seconds?!

This recipe is from one of my favourite sources: AllRecipes.com

Love Your Heart with these Power Bowls!

Power Bowl salad cropped png image

I’m a life longer learner and passionate about eating, delicious wholesome food! So when I was invited to a Love Your Heart – #CanolaConnect Culinary Workshop hosted by Canola Eat Well, I immediately jumped at the opportunity! It was an evening of learning, cooking, tasting and networking. Here are the event highlights!

Sue Mah standing
A fun evening of learning with my dietitian buddies! Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Fabulous Food
The evening began with a spread of delicious appetizers ranging from Beef Tartine on Marble Rye with Hummus and Marinated Feta to Pommes Anna with Anchovy Chili and Cured Yolk. My hands down fave was the Marinated Zucchini with Fresh Ricotta served on a Baguette Crostini. What a winner – super presentation, a combo of textures and made with canola oil! Confession – I went back for seconds!

Zucchini snag it
One of many tasty appetizers! Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Creative Chef
I was absolutely thrilled to meet Alexandra Feswick, Executive Chef at the Drake Hotel in Toronto! Inspired by local ingredients, Chef Alexandra created this gorgeous Power Bowl that’s bursting with flavour, colour and heart healthy goodness. “The combination of veggies is endless,” says Chef Alexandra whose salad bowl includes kale, Brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potatoes, avocado, figs and black beans.

Chef Alexandra
Chef Alexandra Feswick. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Power Bowl salad cropped png image
Chef Alexandra’s Power Bowl! Photography by Sue Mah

We made our own salad dressing using the star ingredient – canola oil – and mixed in a blend of fresh herbs. With a neutral flavour, canola oil absorbs the flavours of herbs and spices, making it so versatile for salad dressings, baking, barbecuing and cooking. Chef Alexandra’s advice on food? “If you source ingredients properly, food should taste the way it’s meant to taste. And I really encourage people to experiment, after all, it’s just food!”

Sue cooking salad
Mixing our own salad dressings. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Power Bowl with Green Goddess Dressing
Recipe by Chef Alexandra Feswick, Executive Chef at Drake Hotel

Green Goddess Dressing
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp crème fraiche
½ tsp garlic minced
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley, mint, cilantro)

1. Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard + canola oil together until well combined.
2. Add in crème fraiche + garlic and mix.
3. Gently add in mixed herbs and fold into the rest of the mixture.

Power Bowl
1 cup chopped kale
1 Tbsp black beans
1 Tbsp Brussels sprouts, roasted w canola oil
1 Tbsp chopped beets, cooked
1 Tbsp diced sweet potato, roasted w canola oil
1 Tbsp amaranth seeds, cooked
1 tsp almonds, roasted with canola oil
1 tsp cashews, roasted with canola oil
½ avocado
½ fig

1. Marinate kale with Green Goddess dressing.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and toss together.
3. Enjoy!


The Passionate Farmer

Meet Jeanette Andrashewski, a canola farmer on a third generation farm in Two Hills, Alberta (about 140 km outside of Edmonton). As one of the 43,000 canola farmers in Canada, Jeanette takes pride in producing a Canadian product. When asked why she farms, her answer is honest and honourable, “We get to be our own boss and we get to feed the world.” Rotating through other crops such as wheat, barley and peas helps to keep Jeanette’s farmland healthy, “We want our food to be safe, affordable and nutritious. Our canola oil is going to your family.”

Farmer
Farmer Jeanette cares about producing safe, affordable and nutritious food. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

The Research Dietitian
Shaunda Durance-Tod reminded us of the many nutrition and health benefits of canola oil. For starters, canola oil is low in saturated fat and packed with heart healthy omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats. Plus it’s a good source of vitamin E and vitamin K.

Dietitian Shaunda
Dietitian Shaunda. Photography by Sue Mah

The Fun & Love
Put 26 dietitians in a beautiful, spacious venue at Luxe Appliance Studio, and you’re bound to get great laughs and inspiration! In honour of Heart Month, we were asked to share how we love our hearts. Chef Alexandra goes for a run. Farmer Jeanette practises meditation. Dietitian Shaunda stays calm. And me? I wake up with a heart full of gratitude and practise yoga daily! What about you? How do you love your heart?

Group photo
Fun and friendship at the Luxe Appliance Studio. Photography by Josh-Tenn Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

Disclosure: #CanolaConnect was a sponsored event for dietitians and this is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lucky Foods for the Lunar New Year!

Sue Mel - 2
Kung Hei Fat Choy! January 28, 2017 is the Lunar New Year and it’s the Year of the Rooster!

Watch my TV interview about the do’s and don’ts as well as lucky foods to ring in the new year!

DO…
• Wear red! It’s a lucky colour and is thought to scare away the bad spirits!
• Repay your debts so that you have no money owning going into the New Year.
• Give or accept lucky money envelopes. If you’re married, you give lucky money to your kids, nephews and nieces. If you’re single or unmarried, you can still receive these lucky money envelopes from your parents.

DON’T…
• Clean, sweep or dust your house because it will sweep out the good luck.
• Wash your hair. This is also thought to wash away the good luck and good fortune.
• Speak any negative words. For example, don’t talk about death and don’t say the number “four” because this sounds like the word for “death” in Chinese.

LUCKY FOODS

Fish
Fish
This is always on the menu for the Lunar New Year because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for “abundance” or “having a lot”. Fish symbolizes an abundance of money and wealth. The steamed white fish is served whole, with the head and tail intact, as this symbolizes a good start and end to the new year. The head of the fish is turned towards the elders as a sign of respect.

Chicken Wraps
Chicken
The Chinese word for chicken sounds like the word for “prosperity”. In this Lucky Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe, you can use chicken breast or ground chicken. The fresh green lettuce (“choy”) represents wealth. Also, iceberg lettuce, bibb lettuce and romaine lettuce all symbolize longevity.

Dumplings
Dumplings
The boat shaped dumplings symbolize wealth and resemble the shape of the gold and silver ingots which were used as money 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that the more dumplings you can eat on New Year’s, the more money you will have in the year!

Noodles
Long noodles symbolize a long life. The noodle dish is often prepared as a vegetarian entrée and is made with a variety of vegetables – carrots for the lucky colour orange, and cabbage for the wealthy “choy”.

Oranges cookiesMandarin oranges and almond cookies
For a sweet start to the New Year, enjoy mandarins / clementines and almond cookies. Oranges with the stems and leaves intact symbolize life and longevity.

Lucky Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken Wraps

January 28th, 2017 is Chinese New Year! Ring in the New Year with this lucky appetizer – chicken symbolizes prosperity while lettuce symbolizes wealth! Bonus – the wraps are fun to eat and taste great!

Ingredients
4 – 5 T hoisin sauce
2 T light soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1 pound ground chicken (or diced chicken breast)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced
I head Bibb or romaine lettuce
Red pepper, julienned (for garnish)
Green onions, julienned (for garnish)

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Whisk in cornstarch. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tsp of canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and crumble it with a spoon or spatula as you are cooking it. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the internal temperatures reaches 165 F. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean bowl.
3. Heat 1 tsp of canola oil in the frying pan. Add the onions and carrots, and cook until tender. Add water chestnuts, garlic and ginger. Cook for about 30 seconds.
4. Add the chicken back to the pan. Stir in the sauce and continue cooking until the sauce begins to bubble and the chicken is thoroughly coated with sauce.
5. Gently separate the lettuce leaves. Wash and pat the leaves dry. Place a large spoonful of the chicken mixture in the centre of the lettuce leaf. Roll up the lettuce leaf an garnish with red pepper and green onions. Enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin recipe
Flavourful and tender, you’ll love this on its own, in a Bánh Mì or in a Cuban-style sandwich.

Directions
2 pork tenderloins (about ¾ – 1 lb each)
¼ cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Dijon or honey mustard
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Trim off the silver skin on the pork tenderloin.
2. In a small bowl, make the marinade: whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, mustard, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
3. Place the pork tenderloin in a large re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight, turning the bag occasionally so that the pork is all coated.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
5. Transfer the pork tenderloin to a foil-lined baking dish.
6. Cook in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the centre reads 160°F.
7. Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing.
8. Pour any remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Drizzle over pork slices. Serve with green a green salad.
9. Use leftovers to make a Bánh Mì sandwich or a Cuban-style sandwich (see recipes below).

Makes 4-6 servings

Bánh Mì Sandwich
Slice a piece of French baguette lengthwise. Spread mayonnaise on each half of the bread. Add leftover pork slices, julienned cucumbers, julienned pickled carrots*, cilantro and a few slices of jalapeño pepper.

*To make Pickled Carrots: Combine ¼ cup white vinegar (or rice vinegar or cider vinegar) and ¼ cup white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the carrots. Let the carrots stand for at least 30 minutes or overnight so that carrots soften. Drain well before adding to sandwich.


Cuban-style Sandwich

Slice a Panini roll lengthwise. Spread butter on the outside of each half. Spread mustard on the inside of each half. Add leftover pork slices, Swiss or provolone cheese and a few thin slices of pickles. Place sandwich in a heated Panini grill or sandwich press. Grill the sandwich until cheese has melted.

Food Day Canada – Hug a famer, kiss a chef, eat real food!

FoodDayCanada_Logo

This annual summer event actually started in 2003 as the “World’s Longest BBQ” as a grassroots effort to support local farmers, especially the Canadian beef industry which was hard hit by the news of mad cow disease.

Today, on the Saturday of every August long weekend, foodies across the country celebrate Food Day Canada.

Spearheaded by writer, author and culinary explorer Anita Stewart, Food Day Canada is a chance for all Canadians to celebrate and praise our farmers, fishers, chefs, researchers and home cooks.

I just spent hours soaking up the amazing info on the FoodDayCanada.ca website! It’s literally bursting with ideas and recipes to help you celebrate:
– Enjoy a delicious restaurant meal that features Canadian cuisine!
– Cook like a Canadian! Take a look at this long this list of delicious, tested recipes. Drool alert! Which one will you try?
– Shop like a Canadian! Stewart has complied an incredible list of 149 Canadian ingredients (in honour of Canada’s 149th birthday) that can help set the table. All I can say here is WOW!!
– Share the love. Post your stories and pics on social media with #FoodDayCanada and #CanadaIsFood. Be inspired and inspire others to join the celebration!
– Embrace Stewart’s mantra: Hug a farmer, kiss a chef, eat real food!

Pomodori Gratinati (Crunchy Tomatoes)

tomatoes cruncy recipe Florence

On my recent trip to Italy, Chef Stefania Borgioli taught me how to make this delicious dish! A great recipe for your garden tomatoes!

Ingredients
10 ripe tomatoes ( Sammarzano or Roma type)
1 garlic clove
Parsley
Basil
3 handfuls of bread crumbs
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt

Directions
1. Cut tomatoes in half; gently remove the seeds, and salt them a little.
2. In a blender put all of the other ingredients to make a “panure” (breadcrumb mixture).
3. Put the tomatoes in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Stuff the tomatoes with the panure.
4. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
5. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. Perfect also to dress pasta.

Recipe printed with permission from Chef Stefania, Toscana in Bocca, Florence, Italy.

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