“Borscht” Pasta (AKA Deconstructed Borscht with Beet Noodles)

'Borscht' Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 large beet, peeled and spiralized into noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsps butter or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 1 tsp dried dill)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Heat the butter or oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and is starting to brown. Add the tomatoes, and stir, cooking until the tomato skins blister and split. Next, add the beet noodles, stirring to coat the noodles with the butter/oil. Add the broth and cover the pan to allow the noodles to steam for about 5-8 minutes or until they become tender. Uncover and cook, stirring regularly, until the liquid is almost completely gone. Add the dill and stir. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

And now for the details…

Beet noodles. No, not beet-infused pasta, but actual noodles made out of beets. You’re probably already familiar with zucchini or carrot noodles by spiralizing the vegetables, but how about spiralizing beets? The inspiration for this dish came while I was grocery shopping. The grocery store had beet noodles already prepped for sale and my first thought was “what the heck would you do with beet noodles?”

Well… my brain wouldn’t let it go and I felt the need to figure out what I would do with beet noodles. The earthy flavour of beets is quite pungent, so just throwing them in with any old dish as a pasta replacement would heavily change the flavour of meal. Besides, that beety flavour is so tasty, was there a way to highlight it and make the beet noodles the star of the dish? And then it came to me: a borscht-inspired “pasta” dish.

In order to minimize the mess at home, since I’d never tried spiralizing beets, I chose to use a golden beet instead of a purple/red beet. I can only imagine what the kitchen would have looked like after trying to do this with the deeply coloured purple/red beet. Dark red stains everywhere, it would heavily resemble the scene of a murder. So let’s avoid that and go with the golden beet, shall we? Same great flavour. Less mess. *cheesy smile and thumbs up*

When choosing a beet, try to pick one that’s a little on the larger side, between the size of a tennis ball and softball. In order to spiralize, we need to peel the beet first. Don’t worry about peeling off the bottom of the beet, that’s going to be anchored into the end of our spiralizer. The mistake I made here was to spiralize the whole beet without cutting the noodles as I went. This resulted in looooooooooong Rapunzel-like strands of beet noodles that were a little challenging to work with. I would suggest giving them a little snip with food scissors every 8″-12″/20-30cm as you spiralize to form reasonable-length noodles.

Next, we start cooking! Heat the butter or oil in a large pan/skillet over medium heat. Add your minced garlic and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant (is there a smell much better than garlic cooking in butter?) and add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes, stirring regularly, until the skin on the tomatoes blisters and splits open.

Add the beet noodles into the pan. Stir them well so they become coated with the garlicky butter/oil. I found the easiest way to do this was to use some tongs to pick up the noodles and shift them around the pan. Add the broth to the pan, and cover the pan, allowing the beet noodles to cook and soften. This will take about 5-8 minutes.

Finally, uncover the pan, and sprinkle with the dill, stirring well. If there is still quite a bit of liquid in the pan, keep stirring and cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed/cooked off. Finally, transfer to a serving dish and serve with sour cream!

Happy eating.

Radicchio-usly Easy Salad (with Bleu Cheese and Dijon Dressing)

Radicchio-usly Easy Salad w/Bleu Cheese and Dijon Dressing

  • Servings: 1 meal, 2 sides
  • Difficulty: EASY
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 head radicchio, core removed and cut into small ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 oz. creamy bleu cheese, like Saint Agur
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Directions

Place the dijon and vinegar in the bottom of the salad’s serving bowl. Whisk with a fork until fully blended. Continue whisking as you pour the olive oil into the mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add radicchio to the bowl and toss with the dressing until coated. Pull the bleu cheese apart with finger into bite-sized pieced and sprinkle over salad. Sprinkle with walnuts. Serve.

And now for the details…

Oh MAN I love this salad. It comes together so quick and easy, I’m almost ashamed to share it. Almost. But it is also one of my favourite salads, so combine the ease of preparation with the satisfying tastiness of this salad, and it would be an absolute shame not to share it.

This salad was inspired by a similar salad we had in Paris at the Bouillon Chartier. Theirs uses endives, but… endives are expensive! The bitter flavour from the endives is mimicked here with the radicchio instead. Mix that bitterness with the salty, creaminess of the bleu cheese, the tang of the dijon dressing, and the crunch of the walnuts, and it is a match made in heaven.

Radicchio can be very bitter. It’s often roasted or grilled to soften the bitterness, or only added sparingly along with other greens for salads. In this case, though, we are embracing and celebrating that bitter flavour in it’s full glory, and pairing it with the other ingredients to provide nice contrasts of flavours and textures.

Without further ado, let’s make this salad! We are going to make everything in the same bowl out of which we will be serving/eating. This is the glorious part about this salad, it comes together so quickly and doesn’t dirty many dishes. It is one of my favourite lunches right now, since I can throw it together quickly, which is something important right now while I am working from home and need something in a hurry.

Start by placing the mustard and vinegar into the bowl, and whisking it with a fork (the same fork you plan on eating with? Why of course!) until the two are fully mixed together.

Next slowly pour the olive oil in with the vinegar and mustard, whisking as you pour, until the dressing is fully mixed and a homogeneous mix. Add salt and pepper to your preferred taste, and mix well.

Cut the core out of the radicchio and discard, then cut the radicchio into small bite-sized ribbons. Add the cut radicchio to the bowl, and toss with the dressing until the radicchio is evenly coated.

Tear the bleu cheese into bite-sized chunks and add them to the salad. This is not a place to be skimpy; use nice, big pieces, and make sure the salad is rife with cheese! Finally, loosely crumbled the toasted walnuts over the salad, and then it’s time to eat!

Happy eating.

Salmon and Tuna Poke Bowl

Poke Bowl Recipe

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 2-4 oz/60-110g tuna, sushi grade
  • 2-4 oz/60-110g salmon, sushi grade
  • 2 Tbsps + 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsps + 2 tsp + 1/2 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp chili oil or hot sauce
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (approximately 1/8 lemon)
  • 3 mini English cucumbers, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped Savoy cabbage
  • 2 Tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp pickled ginger
  • 1/2 sheet roasted nori, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. edamame beans
  • salt, to taste

Directions

Cook the sushi rice according to package instructions. Once cooked, sprinkle 1-2 Tbsps rice wine vinegar, mixing in and fanning the rice to cool. Once cool, place in two serving bowls. Keeping them separate, cut tuna and salmon into small pieces, approximately 1cm/1/2″. Mix wasabi and 1 teaspoon soy in a small mixing dish, then toss tuna pieces in this mix, placing immediately onto rice in bowls, allowing excess soy to fall back into small dish. Discard excess soy. In a small mixing dish, mix 1/2 tsp chilli oil or hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and lemon juice, then toss the salmon in this mix, sprinkling with a pinch of salt. Place salmon onto rice. Arrange the rest of the ingredients around the fish on the rice: cabbage, cucumbers, ginger, nori, edamame, cilantro. Whisk together 2 tablespoons soy, 2 teaspoons vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, and 1/2 tsp chilli oil or hot sauce. Drizzle the bowls with the dressing. Serve.

And now for the details…

When I’ve got a protein craving (yes, I get cravings for protein… I am a bit of a protein-aholic), the protein I want most is raw tuna. And so when I was shopping yesterday and walked past the sushi section and saw a dish of tuna and salmon sashimi, I grabbed it, drooling a little, thinking what a delicious treat it would be once I got home. I ended up getting home closer to dinner time, though, and decided to turn the sashimi into the full meal deal, and make a poke bowl.

Poke bowl restaurants exploded in the 2010’s, and you can often find them all over the place. But admittedly, the bowls we get there and what I have created here is not super accurate to its origins. Poke originates from Hawaii, where you can find it everywhere, from poke shops to grocery stores to gas stations. But you won’t usually see the big, colourful bowls, permeated with vegetables and avocados. More frequently, the poke is dished out on its own, or onto rice, in to-go containers and served up with minimal accoutrements. And to be honest, it doesn’t need the accoutrements. Most of the poke we had in Hawaii is so delicious in its own right, it doesn’t need a bunch of stuff to go with it. Knocking my own bowl a little bit? I guess so. The additions I’ve put in do complement the poke, but they are added more to create a balanced meal, rather than be true to origin.

With that, let’s make that bowl!

Start out by cooking the rice. I have used sushi rice, but you could use any rice that suits your fancy. I’ve seen poke restaurants use brown rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice. Whichever you are using, follow the package directions to cook the rice. If you are using sushi rice, once it is cooked, sprinkle the rice with 1-2 tablespoons of the rice wine vinegar, carefully stirring the vinegar in, being careful to not break the rice apart. Place the rice in two serving bowls, spreading it so it covers the bottom of the bowl.

Next, we prepare the fish. We are going to use different marinades for each fish, so keep them separate. Cut the fish into small pieces, about 1cm in size. Putting the fish into the freezer for a couple minutes will help make them easier to cut.

First, the tuna: whisk together the wasabi paste and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Add the tuna pieces, and toss until the tuna pieces are covered. Transfer immediately onto the rice bowl.

Next, the salmon: whisk 1/2 teaspoon chilli oil or hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, and the lemon juice. Add the salmon pieces and toss to coat. Add a dash of salt to taste, then place the salmon next to the tuna on the rice bowl.

Place the cucumber, cabbage and cilantro around the fish.

Next, whisk the 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, and 1/2 tsp chilli oil or hot sauce with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the dressing over the bowls, getting it over the veggies and rice. Finally, place the edamame, ginger and nori, then serve!

(No pickled ginger in the house? No problem, neither did I! This recipe from the New York Times is a super fast, super easy way to put pickled ginger together, with only an hour resting time!)

Happy eating.