Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bonnie Stern’s The Best of HeartSmart Cooking

If your heart is going a whumpa-thump after a heavy date with your snow shovel, perhaps it’s time to be a little kinder to your ticker in 2010 with a few heartsmart recipes. Now, make no mistake, I am no Julia Powell, nor do I have the exotic romantic life she now pursues but I would have enjoyed meeting Julia Child and cooking my way through her mastery of French cooking, nonetheless. Instead—being a loyal Canuck—I have chosen to cook my way through Bonnie Stern’s The Best of HeartSmart Cooking in the mindset of: “Peace, Order and Good Government.” Since proroguation has overcome Parliament in Canada, once again this January, I suggest the only parts of the motto we can truly uphold as Canadians are Peace and Order. Once the pork-bellied parliamentarians sit again, they can do their part to uphold Good Goverment. So, in the meantime, to get you started on your ticker-friendly quest, I suggest this non-meaty recipe for Rainbow Trout handsomely curled into a red pepper. While this proroguation recipe isn’t from Ms. Stern’s cookbook it is easy to prepare, low in sodium and very tasty. Served with couscous and cooked spinach, sprinkled with a few Saskatoon berries and toasted have a meal suitable for a Queen or even better the Governor General herself, should she happen to be visiting your neighbourhood! How much more peaceful and orderly could you get with that multi-Canadian culinary combo? My favourite recipe from Bonnie Stern’s, The Best of HeartSmart Cooking (ISBN 0-679-31412-1) is on pg 150 (see pic above) and it involves a hot date with Penne, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini cheese and whatever other fixins’ (scallops, cooked bacon, proscuitto, pine nuts, etc) you might have lurking in the leftover drawer of your fridge.

Happy Cooking in these times of prorogation!

Peppers Stuffed with Rainbow Trout

Makes 2 servings

2 Red Peppers

2 Rainbow Trout approx. ½ lb (250g) each *Note: President’s Choice Frozen Trout fillets are perfect!

Mix together: 1 tsp paprika and ¼ tsp garlic powder


1 cup Cilantro leaves-finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves

3 tbsp white-wine vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

Note: I found this sauce made enough to service this dinner twice! It also freezes well in case you want to make the recipe at a later date.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut Peppers in half lengthwise (from stem to bottom). Remove seeds and membrane. Place cut-side UP on a foil lined baking sheet with a rim around the edge. Wash trout and pat dry. If using the PC fillets, cut in half lengthwise. Roll each piece in paprika mixture. Fold each piece of fish and stuff into pepper half. Roast in centre of oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Finely chop cilantro and place in a bowl. Mince garlic and add to cilantro. Whisk in vinegar, then oil. Or place all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée. When fish is ready, plate and serve with sauce drizzled over top. Excellent served with couscous and cooked spinach, garnished with hazelnuts and currants.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Talking turkey on leftovers

Humourist Calvin Trillin once quipped: “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” Touché because the trick with leftovers is: first to have them and second to use them all up before they bore you! Turkey soup makes a great Boxing Day lunch entree but if you’re still consuming gallons of the same batch by Valentine’s Day, it’s time to call “man over board”, climb out of the soup and say “yes” to a turkey mindset rescue.

This January, start the new decade off with a flap... shed your turkey leftover inhibitions and dare to be wild! Change your jingle and move beyond the usual soup ritual. Flabbergast your family and friends by adding leftover turkey to pasta sauces, pizza, tacos, wraps, fajitas, appetizers, quesadillas and even chili. Prepare for your new leftover turkey adventures by arming yourself with plastic wrap and small, freezer-quality plastic bags and a little imagination. Basically, any recipe that calls for chicken will cluck just as well with turkey.

To ensure good quality turkey leftovers, wrap them well in small packages in plastic wrap and place in Ziploc bags. Use refrigerated, well-wrapped cooked turkey within three days. You may also freeze turkey slices in air-tight packages for up to four months. Be sure to freeze the leftovers soon after cooking and to date and label the packages.

Try these “beyond the soup” turkey leftover recipes post-haste after Christmas this year:

Turkey Club Pizza
1 large pre-made frozen pizza crust (or make your own if you wish)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tbsp mustard
1/4 lb shredded or thinly sliced cooked turkey
1-1/2 cups shredded Muenster cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 tomato, chopped and seeded
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pre-bake crust according to package directions or for 5-6 minutes. Let cool. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, basil, thyme, pepper, and mustard and mix well. Spread crust with mayonnaise mixture, and top with remaining ingredients in order. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. 6 servings

Turkey and Asparagus Pasta Toss

1 lb or 500 g asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lb or 500 g cooked turkey breast meat, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup Classico di Genova Basil Pesto
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
1 tsp cornstarch
Trim woody ends from asparagus. Cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat. Stir fry turkey slices to warm. Transfer to plate. Add remaining oil to skillet and stir fry peppers, onion and asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together pesto, chicken stock and cornstarch. Add to skillet and stir until thickened. Toss in turkey and serve over noodles, rice or polenta.

Turkey-Cranberry Appetizers
Place crackers on serving plate and top each one with:
1 thin small slice of Emmenthal cheese
1 thin small turkey slice
1 small dollop of cranberry sauce

Turkey Quesadillas
1 cup cooked turkey strips or small cubes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 large flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup canned mild jalapeno chili slices, chopped (optional)
1 cup salsa
Sprinkle 4 tortillas with turkey, cheese, green onions and chilies. Drizzle salsa over top. Cover each tortilla with remaining tortillas. Place on microwavable plates and microwave on high for 1 - 2 minutes until cheese is melted or cook in fry pan, flipping halfway through. Cut each tortilla into wedges.

Wild Rice Turkey Bake
To cook wild rice, combine 1-1/2 cups washed rice with 4 cups water in heavy saucepan. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Drain off any excess water.
3 cups cooked wild rice
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 16 oz. pkg. frozen French cut green beans, thawed
1 435 ml jar alfredo sauce or four cheese alfredo sauce
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix rice, turkey, green beans and alfredo sauce in large bowl. Place in 12x8" glass baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until casserole bubbles at the edges and bread crumbs are browned. Serves 6

Turkey Chili

2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (19 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
Chili seasoning mix or combination of:
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp EACH paprika and cumin

Heat oil over medium heat and cook green pepper, onion, and garlic (and jalapeno pepper if using) until soft. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and corn. Season with chili seasoning mix. Add turkey and bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Turkey a la King

2 tbsp butter
3 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 chopped green onion
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped cooked turkey
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 small jar of pimentos, drained

In a large skillet over medium low heat, cook butter until golden brown. Sauté mushrooms and onion until tender. Stir in flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in cream, turkey, pimento and peas. Reduce heat to low, and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over puff pastry shells (in the frozen food area of the grocery store) or cooked egg noodle pasta, your choice!

After-Christmas Turkey Potpie
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
3 tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small can condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup frozen cut green beans, cooked and drained
1 Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
1 tbsp milk
In a skillet, sauté carrots, onion, celery, thyme and pepper in butter until vegetables are crisp-tender. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine turkey and flour; shake to coat. Add turkey, soup and green beans to the vegetable mixture; mix well. Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust. Add turkey mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry. Brush with milk. Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 350 F for 55-65 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Turkey Tortilla Soup
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 pkg (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 can (19 fl. oz) tomatoes
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups chopped, cooked turkey
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
½ cup broken tortilla chips
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
In a large saucepan, over medium heat sauté onion in oil 3 – 4 minutes or until translucent. Stir in chilies and taco seasoning mix; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Stir in broth and bring to boil. Add corn and turkey, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cilantro. To serve: Spoon 1 1/3 cups of soup in each bowl. Top each serving with 1 tbsp tortilla chip pieces and 1 tbsp cheese.