Category Archives: Appetizers

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Grab Locally-Grown Eggplants and whip up this Roasted Eggplant Dip

On the weekend we went strawberry picking and on Sunday night were ready for a BBQ. We love dips and served a trio of them this night. Green garbanzo, hummus and this awesome roasted eggplant dip made with locally-grown eggplant.

roasted eggplant dip

5 mini Windset Farms Baby Eggplant
3 garlic cloves, minced;
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice;
1 Tbsp Maille Dijon Mustard;
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil;
1/4 cup cream cheese
3-4 dashes hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste;
4 Tbsp chives plus a few for topping

maille

Preparation

  1. To roast the eggplants, prick the skin with a fork and roast for about 35 minutes in a 400 F oven.
  2. Put the roasted eggplants in a bowl of cold water, wait a bit and then peel off the skin.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Cool in the refrigerator and serve with extra olive oil on top and fresh chives

Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters #UglytoAwesome

Taking Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters from Ugly to Awesome

If you are an oyster lover, you know oysters come in all sizes and shapes. Some are best slurped fresh, right out of the shell, some dressed up with a bit of mignonette, and some of the bigger ones are better in stews or baked. Recently we were offered a sample of Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island oysters, a gnarly bunch of creatures that aren’t exactly supermarket shelf pretty as they cling to each other and are wildly misshapen. However ugly these may be deemed, they are absolutely delicious, and at $9 a dozen, an amazing deal. Fantastic recipe and looks delicious! If people are interested in CSF, memberships start at just $100 and get you $100 worth of Ocean Wise, fisherman-direct, fair trade seafood anytime throughout the year at a variety of pick-up dates and locations. Join by May 31st at www.skipperotto.ca

Skipper Ottos

They can be picked up down in Granville Island at Fisherman’s Wharf and around Vancouver. Check the schedule here.

Skipper Ottos

Skipper Otto's

We decided to make a version of Oysters Rockefeller with ours, but as they were a bit clingy we started them off on the barbecue so they’d pop open and be easier to deal with. We then transferred them to a shell and topped with the spinach mixture and cheese and baked in the oven indoors.

Sasquatch Stout

The result? Deliciously beautiful oysters! A bit of bread and perhaps a salad and you’ve got a meal. Don’t forget the craft beer!

Spinachy Oysters

2 garlic cloves
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup panko crumbs

1 pound (about) rock salt
24 fresh oysters, shucked, shells reserved
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Barbecue oysters until they start to pop open and then bring into the kitchen to finish in the oven.

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach and green onions to garlic. Process, using on/off turns, until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
Combine butter, breadcrumbs and process until well blended. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process, using on/off turns, just until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle rock salt over large baking sheet to depth of 1/2 inch. Arrange oysters in half shells atop rock salt. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until spinach mixture browns on top, about 8 minutes.

Nigella Lawson Loves Avocados

We love Nigella and Nigella loves avocados!

With the launch of her latest cookbook, Simply Nigella, comes many new and exciting recipes. We had the chance to chat with Nigella when she was in Vancouver on her book tour and you’ll hear snippets of the interview soon!

simply nigella

In the meantime our post on Avocados from Mexico, celebrates this great new cookbook (perfect for holiday gift giving too) with three of our favourite recipes from the book, a rice bowl, salmon salad and lettuce wraps! Be sure to get those avocados with the Avocados from Mexico sticker!

lettuce

Shrimp and avocado lettuce wraps

I’ve taken what are essentially the shrimp and avocado tacos I’ve eaten whenever on the West Coast, and replaced  the tortillas with lettuce leaves and subdued the traditional pico de gallo (the classic  Mexican salsa of tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, and cilantro) by substituting the raw yellow onion with a modest amount of chopped scallion. Still, it’s plenty fiery enough; it’s just that  I don’t like raw onion much. If you do, bung it in.

I love the softness of the lettuce wraps, but nothing’s to stop you reverting to tortilla mode. Alas, the shrimp  I get here come frozen not fresh, but I simply  take  out what I need from the freezer in the morning  and leave to thaw in the refrigerator  during the day, which means  I have the speediest supper when needed urgently, as I find it so often is, come the evening.

I like the scorch  I get from using a cast iron skillet, but if you’re using a heavy-based frying pan, put it over a slightly lower heat with the oil already in the pan.

SERVES   2

1 teaspoon  cold-pressed coconut  oil or regular olive  oil
8 raw  shell-off  jumbo shrimp, thawed if frozen
zest and  juice of 1 lemon preferably unwaxed
2 ripe  tomatoes  (3-4 ounces total)
1 scallion
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro saIt to taste
Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 ripe avocado

o   Heat  a cast iron skillet !if you’re  using one)  and  add  the oil  (otherwise  just warm  the oil  in a heavy-based frying  pa n). When it’s sizzling, add  the shrimp and  stir-fry until just cooked through. Using -for ease- a fine microplane, if you  have one, grate the zest of the lime over the shrimp and  add  a squeeze  of lime  juice, then stir and transfer to a plate  for the moment.

o   Seed and  finely chop  the toma toes and drop  into a small bowl. Thinly slice the white part  of the scallion, and  add  to the tomatoes.  Seed  (or not, if you wa nt this properly hot, as I do) and  finely chop  the  ja la peno  a nd drop  this into the bowl, too.

Stir in the chopped cilantro and squeeze the teaspoons  of lime  juice over this, then mix gently and add salt to taste.

o   Get  out a couple  of plates. Tear 2 leaves- whole- from the lettuce a nd sit one on top of another  to ma ke a receptacle, then repeat  3 more times, so that each pla te has 2 double-layer lettuce wraps  on it. Slice  each  shrimp in half lengthways- as if you were  trying  to open  out each  shrimp like a book  a nd then cutting  down the spine and divide between  the lettuce wraps . Peel, pit, and slice the avocado, and divide the pieces  between the 4 shrimp-filled  lettuce cups . Spoon  some of the salsa over the shrimp and  avocado slices, but do leave some in the bowl to spoon over as you, messily, eat.

samon salad

Salmon, avocado, watercress, and pumpkin  seed  salad

This is a regular lunch or supper at coso mia, as anyone who  follows me on Twitter or lnstagram will recognize. I sometimes poach  the salmon and keep it in the refrigerator, just so that I can make it even faster when the need hits. It’s quick work anyway,  so this is more of an aside than a piece of advice.  Although you can always swiftly make a so/ode tiede by flaking the salmon onto the leaves while  it’s still warm.

I like to use wild  Alaskan salmon, which  accounts  for the vivid hue here. It doesn’t have an exceedingly strong taste- I always  feel it’s as if the salmon is  frozen while still alive, the waters must be so cold – but nor does it have that spooky flabbiness of farmed salmon. And it isn’t anywhere n ear as expensive as wild  Scottish salmon, desirable and wholly delicious as that is.

If you have half an avocado that needs using up, you can put it to excellent use here, as you don’t  really n eed a whole one if this is to feed only two of you.

SERVES 2 generously

2 wild  Alaskan  salmon fillets (approx. 8 ounces total)
2 scallions, trimmed
1 teaspoon  black  peppercorns
2 teaspoons  lime  juice
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt

FOR THE SALAD

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
4 ounces watercress

o  Put the salmon fillets in a small frying  pan (I  use one with  on 8-inch diameter)  and cover  with cold  water  from the top  Add  the scallions and  peppercorns, squeeze in the lime  juice and sprinkle  in the salt, then bring  to a boil , uncovered. When the pan  is bubbling, turn the fillets over, then remove  the pan  from the heat and leave  to stand for 7 minutes. Then take the fillets  out of the liquid  and leave  to cool completely, which  could  toke up to  l hour. Once cool , the salmon will  be cooked through, with its flesh desirably tender  and  coral  inside.

o  While the salmon’s  cooling, make a start on the salad.  Toast the pumpkin seeds by tossing  them in a dry, heavy-based frying  pa n on the stove. They will  start  jum ping a little, and  will  darken  and get a smokier  taste. It doesn’t  toke long to toast them, so don’t leave  the pan and, indeed, keep giving it a quic k swirl . Then transfer to a cold  plate.

o  When you’re  ready  to unite sal mon with salad,  put the waterc ress into a Iarge sha llow  bowl  (or split between  2 bowls) , sprinkle with  the vinegar, and  toss. Now odd  the salmon, removing the skin and tearing  the fish into  bite-sized pieces or shreddy  bits, as you wish.

o  Halve  the avocado and  remove the pit, then  spoon  the flesh out onto the salmon and watercress, or cut it into slices if you prefer. Drizzle the oil over  the salad, sprinkle with the salt and  half of the toasted  pumpkin  seeds, and toss gently to mix. Scatter the remaining pumpkin  seeds on top, and  eat.

bowls

Rice bowl with ginger, radish, and avocado

A rice bowl is a wondrous thing, but often – despite the simplicity of its title – a rather cluttered and complicated one. Here, I have pared it back, to make a gorgeously seasoned rice bowl, with nothing more than a few seeds, herbs, and radishes stirred through it, and an avocado to top it. It’s a simple take on an inspiringly expansive idea. So please  use this as a starting point only. It’s very much a non-recipe recipe, and every  time I make  it, I add something different, depending on what’s at hand.

The only constant is the rice. I cannot  get enough of short grain brown rice – so much more nubbly and delicious than regular whole grain rice or white rice – but I find it doesn’t cook quite like rice does normally. That’s to say, usually the unswerving  rule when cooking rice is 1 part rice to 2 parts water.  I have found that with short grain brown rice it is 1 part rice to 1½ parts water (despite what it says on the package). And even though I’ve given a measurement for the ginger, in reality,  I just shave  off slices with the vegetable  peeler  until I feel I have enough.

Raw radishes are my usual go-to, but I had some cold leftover roasted radishes, so that’s what you see in the picture.  If you want to have them hot, just roast halved radishes, cut-side down, with a little oil in a hot oven (about 425°F) for 10 minutes.

Rice Bowls

SERVES 2

¾ cup short grain brown rice
1 cup cold water
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
4–6 radishes
1½ tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar
¼ cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
3–4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 small ripe avocado

º Put the rice and water in a heavy-based saucepan  that comes with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, clamp on the lid, turn the heat down very low, and simmer for 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat, leaving the lid on, and let it stand for a further 5 minutes, by which time the rice will be cooked – but still nutty – and the water absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave the ginger into very thin strips. Cut the radishes into quarters or eighths lengthways, depending  on their size.

º When the rice is cooked, spoon into a mixing bowl. Add the tamari or soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine, and then do the same with the ginger shavings, radishes, and seeds. Stir all but a little of the chopped cilantro into the rice, still using a fork.

º Divide between 2 smallish bowls and top with avocado, cut either into gondola- shaped  slices or chunks, as wished. Sprinkle each with the remaining cilantro,  and eat serenely.

Excerpted from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson. Recipes copyright © 2015 Nigella Lawson, Photography copyright © 2015 Keiko Oikawa. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Wild Sockeye Salmon Ceviche with Passion Fruit Ginger Vinaigrette

This week’s Avocados From Mexico post takes us to Chicha Peruvian Restaurant for ceviche! If you haven’t been to Chicha, you are truly missing out on the best Latin food in Vancouver. Chef Shelome Bouvette excels at ceviche and this recipe has some avocado in the dressing and in the final presentation. It’s healthy and while it does take a bit of time to assemble, you’ll have dressing left over that is perfect for salads or topping some grilled veggies!

chichavan005

For ceviche:

1lb cleaned and deboned wild salmon cut into cubes
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
2 jalapeños deseeded and finely diced.

Passion fruit ginger dressing:

1 cup lemon ponzu ( can get in Asian section in supermarket.)
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 roasted red pepper
2 red Thai chilies
1 tablespoon ginger peeled and cut up.
1 cup of honey

Wasabi aioli:

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon wasabi powder or paste
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 avocado
2 teaspoons peeled and chopped.
Squeeze of one lime

Wontons and nori:

Heat small pot or fryer up with veg oil. Slice thinly 1/2 pack of wonton wrappers and fry for 1 min then put onto plate with paper towels to get rid of any extra oil. Thinly cut nori the same for garnish.

Method:

  1. chop up salmon, add red onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Chill well making dressing.

2. In blender add all ingredients. Start slow. Blend until fully blended and red in colour. Pour half 3/4 of dressing over salmon.

3. To make wasabi mayonnaise add all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Put in squeeze bottle.

To assemble:

Put 1/2lb of pea shoots or mixed greens on bottom of a serving bowl. Add 1 Avocado from Mexico fanned over top. Add last bit of dressing over. Then add your ceviche.  Top with crispy wontons and nori. Wasabi aioli around the plate and garnish with black  sesame seeds.

Images courtesy of Diane Chow Fabulously Frugal!