Strawberry Radish Tartare

I am very excited to have a guest post featured on the blog I’ll have what she’s having, created by the lovely Lynn . She has recently moved and was looking for contributors to help keep her blog rolling while she was occupied with boxes and other moving necessities. Her blog is a cornucopia of sweet and savoury recipes, with mouth-watering pictures.

She also just launched a new blog called Les cuillères, where she will recount her experiences  towards eating healthy while living at home with her parents. I am looking forward to reading more about her new experiences and recommend you do the same. Two blogs, one great foodie, all from here in Montreal!

It is such a pleasure to be featured on her site and I hope that this Strawberry Radish Tartare recipe lives up to the expectations of her readers.

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Lobster Season and Sparkling Wine

It’s a nice feeling when you have something to celebrate and there is nothing better than celebrating with the pop of a bottle of sparkling wine and taking advantage of lobster season being upon us.

My little cousin (ok, she’s not that little but as I am an only child, I see her as my little sister) has just graduated university and I am immensely proud of her. She has been living under a rock for the last couple of months just getting everything in gear to graduate with flying colours – there is no surprise there!

It’s a good feeling when you have something to celebrate. For this occasion, I was really looking for a sparkling wine that would pair nicely with the lobster without overpowering its delicate flavour and compliment the side of greens I had come up with.

Sparkling Wine

The knowledgeable staff at the SAQ (aka the local Quebec liquor board) recommended an Antech Brut, Crémant de Limoux, a 2008 vintage from France. This sparkling wine combines vintages from Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin. It is a dry sparkling wine that is both robust and delicate to the palate – a good balance that paired nicely throughout our celebratory dinner, both with the lobster and the greens.


Lobster

To cook lobster it is pretty simple. Bring a large pot ofsalted water to boil. Once the water in boiling, take the lobsters and slowly immerse them head first into the water. Cover the pot and cook for 12 minutes per pound and an additional 2 minutes per 1⁄2 pound. Once the lobster is cooked, remove from water. To serve, you can cut the lobster in half lengthwise or any other way you wish to savour it.

Parsley-Pistachio Pesto 

  • 1⁄4 cup pistachios, soaked in water for at least one hour, rinsed and strained
  • 1 small bunch parsley, about 1 cup packed
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 scallion
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you wish to have a looser type of pesto, simply add more olive oil. Use this pesto as you would any other kind of pesto. Makes about one cup. Do not freeze if you want to keep its raw properties.

For this meal, I tossed some baby arugula leaves with lemon juice, a spoonful of pesto and garnished with roasted red peppers. Learn how to make roasted red peppers here.

Overall I was surprised at how well the various flavours paired with each other. The pesto complimented the lobster and the sparkling wine brought a refreshing crispness to the entire meal. I would even suggest serving a lobster cocktail with this this pesto as an appetizer.

Later that week, I used up the leftover pesto with some zucchini spaghetti to make another fantastic dish. Find out how to make zucchini spaghetti here.

When life gives you lemons…

Because I got dozens of lemons in my CSA basket this week.

Because it was my birthday and I worked all weekend.

Because when life gives you lemons, you should make Whiskey Sours!

One Whiskey Sour – Not for the faint of heart

  • 2 lemons, flesh segmented (as pictured above)
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 tbsp of honey or agave syrup (skip the refined sugar, it’s just not that good for you)
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz until slushy and frothy. Serve in an old-fashioned glass.

Feel free to replace the Whiskey with rum, vodka, bourbon, amaretto. It’s a classic fresh flavour that works well with many liquors. Plus think of all the vitamins you are getting from the fresh lemons

Asian Peanut Salad

A few weeks ago I signed up up for an organic fruits and vegetables delivery with Jardin des Anges. I am loving their service and the variety I get every week, and for the most part I make it through my week’s worth of produce. This past week however, due to a number of social engagements, my tastesbuds have been dining out more often than not. I was stuck with an array of leftover vegetables that needed to be consumed asap, especially considering a new delivery was already on its way!

All that was to say that this recipe really is all about the dressing and spices used to macerate the salad. The rest is all up to you, so feel free to throw in everything but the kitchen sink.

Asian Peanut Butter Dressing

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used the crunchy and unsweetened kind)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • 1-3 tbsp hot water

I am going to save you some frustration here. Before you even get started with making the dressing, make sure that your peanut butter is soft and oozy, by either warming it on the warm zone of your stove top, in a double-boiler or in a microwave. This will make the process of combining the other ingredients easier – trust me on this one, it took me a while to figure it out!

Once your peanut butter is soft, stir in the other ingredients except for the hot water. If you are having trouble obtaining a smooth and soft consistency, this is where the hot water comes in. Add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dressing is smooth and creamy. You want to obtain the consistency of honey, but without the stickyness. In my case I needed to add three tablespoons of hot water.

For the salad:

  • Any vegetables sliced and diced, 4 to 6 cups
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Chinese all spice
  • A pinch of salt
  • Scallions and cilantro to garnish
These are the vegetables that I had on hand:
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Carrots, thinly sliced
  • Celery, cut on a bias
  • Red bell pepper, diced
  • Zucchini, julienned
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Baby spinach
When using a wide variety of vegetables the colour make the dish look great but also play around with different types of cuts. As you can see from my list, some were chopped, sliced and diced , while other were shredded or julienned. Toss the vegetables together with the lemon juice and spice. Let the flavours macerate. When you are ready to eat, stir in the peanut butter dressing and garnish with fresh cilantro and scallions.
 
Aside from any vegetables, you can also add some fruit (I’m thinking mango, pineapple or grapes would work nicely), rice noodles, grilled chicken, shrimp, nuts, seeds…anythign you want.
 
If you want to share your favorite combination of this salad, submit a photo and email me at:
 
kristelskitchen{at}hotmail{dot}com
 
 
 

Potlucks and Partnerships

For those of you who follow my blog, you are surely aware that I spent the last month eating/cooking/living as a raw/living foodist. The detox was quite an experience, so if you haven’t read about it, be sure to check out week one, two, three and four of this raw/living food detox I did with the support of Crudessence.

In addition to that, if you paid attention to detail, you may have noticed that I hinted at a potential new collaboration for Kristel’s Kitchen. Every once in a while with my running buddies we get together for a mid-week run and potluck. Lucky me, because of all my tweeting and networking, I made friends with Potluck.li, who is developing a site that will help to effectively plan and coordinate potlucks. Once a month I will be feature a recipe under the category Cooking for a Crowd with Potluck.li and I am flattered that they have designated me as their Recipe Guru. I am ecstatic about this collaboration and look forward to using this application in the coming weeks! In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to us for all your potlucks questions, dilemmas and logistics – it is our duty to help you! For more information about Potluck.li, click here.

Now back to cooking…

 

As you can imagine, the last 30 days posed a bit of a challenge since I was the only one in the group that was detox-ing. Of course the dish had to feed the runners and abide by the Mexican theme that was chosen for the evening. So this is how I came up with this recipe. It is hearty (read – feeds hungry athletes), festive, fresh, vegan and raw/living food. For all of you planning or attending a Cinco de Mayo party, this recipe will satisfy almost any dietary restriction attending the party.

Jalapeno-Lime Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini or cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeds removed and diced
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 fresh tomato, diced
  • 1 bunch arugula

A note on quinoa:  

Quinoa is often referred to as an ancient grain with its origin in South America. I often use it to replace rice, couscous and for those who are Celiac or intolerant/allergic to gluten, it is a fantastic substitute. When cooked it is fluffy yet crunchy. To cook quinoa, the proportions are more or less the same as rice: one part quinoa and two parts water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until the water is absorbed – about 15 to 20 minutes. For those who want to go the complete raw/living food version, you need to rinse and soak the quinoa overnight to sprout (some will say only 4 hours soaking but I didn’t find it was long enough). Rinse and strain before using. For both the cooking and soaking methods, you will notice that the germ will separate from the quinoa grain – that is supposed to happen!

In a large bowl combine all vegetables with the cooked or sprouted quinoa. Set aside.

For the Jalapeno-Lime dressing:

  • 1 jalapeno, cored and seeded
  • 2 garlic clove s
  • 1 lime, flesh and juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil until desired tanginess – the more oil you add the less sour the dressing).

When you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over the quinoa vegetable mixture and toss.

This easily serves a crowd of 8-10 people depending on how many of these end up having this dish as their main.

So next time you need to get organized for a potluck, reach out to Potluck.li and yours truly, the Recipe Guru!