Food | Carrots with Ginger and Garlic

Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them
~Author: H. Jackson Brow

Carrots Ginger and Garlic

Recently I decided that I wanted to start making fresh juices again. My Jack LaLanne juicer had been sitting unused, begging for some attention. Everyday I would say to myself "today is the day I will make juice"- and nothing. I have an uncanny ability to convince myself that "today is the day" when deep down I know that this is not the case.

One Sunday after a Saturday, I was beyond hungover; and since I desire to remain employed I thought that hair of the dog would only wreak havoc on my Monday- so I decide to make juice; a blueberry, carrot and orange juice- as I was convinced that this would kill my hangover. I dragged myself to the grocers to retrieve supplies; came home and set up my juicer- while trying to keep it all together. As an aside, whoever said that eating bread soaks up the booze, is a liar. But that is an aside.

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So I went to power on my juicer- so proud that I had done it, I was finally making juice; and nothing. Now some of the outlets in my house are faulty, a by product of the former owners shoddy workmanship- so I deduced that the outlet was bad, and switched to a new one, hopeful that my juicer would power on. And nothing. I could have cried, I was hungover, and by this point I was really looking forward to this juice. After taking apart the whole damn thing, I threw my hands in the air and had a glass of wine- that helped. But here I was with 2 lbs of carrots, a bag of oranges (which I do not ingest unless juiced or smoothied) and blueberries. The blueberries were gone in a matter of days, playing nicely with my morning yogurt; the oranges were eaten by someone, just not me; but the carrots were just looking at me like "Bianca, what about us"?

So I did what anyone in a carrot bind would do, I roasted them- with garlic, cilantro and ginger. The twist- and, oh, what a twist- is that I blanched the carrots in ginger ale; now this may sound like I've gone mad, but hear me out. The ginger ale kisses the carrots with a subtle ginger-y sweetness; and once roasted with the garlic and ginger, this dish goes to the next level. My roommate said they were they best carrots she had ever eaten; and after my juicing fail, I needed a victory.

Carrots Ginger Garlic

Carrot with Ginger and Garlic
1 lb carrots
4 large cloves garlic
2 tbsp ginger
1/4 cup cilantro
3 cans ginger ale
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In pot bring to boil the ginger ale and 2 cups of water; then plunge the carrots into the boiling mixture. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Dice the ginger and garlic into even little cubes and roughly chop the cilantro. Toss carrots first with the olive; then season with salt and pepper; toss again; then add the ginger, garlic and cilantro; toss again. Place the mix in shallow oven safe dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

****To make this more summer friendly, you could marinate the blanched carrots in cilantro, garlic and ginger for 45 minutes; and then grill them. As my mother would say " there's no need to heat the house".


Pictures | Food Love

Oh man, what a week- after partying away the long weekend, I found myself sick. Self inflicted sickness hurts the worst because I know it could have been avoided. In any case, I found solace in my bed, obviously; but the fact that asparagus is in season and so glorious and plump was slightly comforting to me while I was ailing. Small victories.

Breakfast for dinner. Eggs with proscuitto. Enough said.

And of course Nutella; but this time spread on a cracked black pepper cracker with a decent smattering of brie; and washed down with a nice bold red. I repeat- heavenly.

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This weekend will be far more tame than the last. The fact that the forecast calls mostly for rain should help me stay in.

Have a nice weekend friends:)


Pictures | Food Love

I love food; although I am sure you would have guessed that by now- with the whole food blog thing and all.

This week I fell in love with Nutella all over again. Against my better judgement I purchased a small container; and as I expected, it will not last very long. I have been putting it on cookies and toast- hell, I even made a cheddar and Nutella sandwich; to which my boss asked me if I was pregnant. I assure you that I am not pregnant- I'm just a glutton for Nutella.

Also it is full on summer in Edmonton and with the sunshine and balmy temperatures comes gorgeous produce. Raspberries are one of my favorites and I am beyond excited that they are finally juicy and inviting. I cannot stop, they are just so damn good- alone or with yogurt. Which brings me to Greek yogurt, it is one of my greatest loves- who needs a man when there is yogurt? Greek yogurt is like the rolls royce of yogurts; so devastatingly creamy, I could eat a whole container and want more- there I go again with the gluttony!

I digress friends, it is a long weekend here and the forecast calls for beautiful weather; so if you're looking for me, I'll be on a patio somewhere with a blended drink in hand.

Happy weekend:)


Food | Spicy Carrot Soup

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
Henry James

Spicy Carrot Soup 3

I have been known to call summer far too soon; only to have Mother Nature remind me that her moods know no bounds. But it’s summer. Finally.

Winter was weird- warm, cold, wet but kinda dry at the same time. Winter is always emotional for me- what with missing the sun and all- this year was by far the worst; but its summer now and time to forget about all of winters non sense. High time to throw our hands in the air, thank god and start enjoying this short but wondrous season.

Spicy Carrot soup 1

So you might be wondering why soup? Why on earth would I make soup?? No, I’m not crazy- although I’m sure some gentlemen from my past would disagree; I made this soup for work when the weather was slightly less agreeable; and, holy swear word was it was good. Rich and creamy, yet light- simply perfect for an almost summer day.

Prior to making this soup I had never thought to thicken a soup with lentils- it never dawned on me; but the lentils took this soup to the next level. The amount of lentils in this soup is relatively minute, considering the volume of soup yielded, as they serve mainly to strengthen the richness of the soup- yet the light note of lentil flavor really bolsters the carrot flavor- it’s really quite nice. But make no mistake, carrots are the star of this show; but the lentils are the most amazing wing man.

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Spicy Carrot Soup
Adapted from Marie Claire Australia

1 red onion
1 tsp cumin
3 tbsp red lentils
1 ½ lb carrots
1 ½ L vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil

In a soup pot heated to medium high heat, sauté the onion, salt and cumin in the oil. Once the onions have started to become soft and fragrant, add the lentils and carrots and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add the stock and bring to sturdy simmer. Cook until the carrots are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth; taste


Food | Feeling Super Natural~ White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Toasted Almonds

White Bean Dip 1

If you live under a rock then you probably haven’t heard of Super Natural Every Day. Otherwise you would know that it is the latest book from Heidi Swanson- blog famous for her online tome 101 Cookbooks.

I remember when the book was in preorder and reading about the unpalpable excitement coursing through the blogosphere and then it was released- the internet blew up with recipes ripped straight from the pages. I was jealous. I wanted the book; but a new computer purchase tying up every spare dollar to my name meant that I had to wait. Sigh.

Sigh no more.

Quickly my Google reader began filling up with posts from Super Natural Everyday- Pita chips on Lara Ferroni’s blog, macaroon tarts made by Sweet Tartlette, white beans and cabbage on the Steamy Kitchen, white bean spread with rosemary and toasted almonds on the Travelers Lunchbox; and seriously so many more. I could take it no longer.

White Bean Dip 2

My desire for this book hit a fever pitch when we started brainstorming recipes for the summer menu at the restaurant where I work; immediately my mind wandered- “what out of Heidi’s cook book should I try?” Every single recipe I’d peeped looked amazing, but I ended up deciding on the white bean spread with rosemary and toasted almonds- a dip trio would be nowhere without a cannellini bean spread.

Honestly I knew I was going to love it before I even began- Heidi is just so damn good. With that said I did alter the recipe slightly; in Heidi’s rendition solely the rosemary/garlic oil, with the actually garlic and rosemary removed, goes into the mix; I decided to add the garlic, rosemary and oil sans draining- - what can I say, I’m a rebel- that likes garlic. In any event, it was phenomenal- creamy, garlic-y and rich- no doubt because of the almonds. I repeat- Heidi is damn good.

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White Bean Spread with Rosemary and Toasted Almonds
Makes about 2 cups/500ml
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day

1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (12oz/340g) cooked white beans, or 1 (15oz/425g) can, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup (70g) sliced almonds, toasted (I used whole natural almonds; they were great too)
sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/4 to 3/4 cup (60-180ml) hot water
grated zest of 1/2 lemon

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, rosemary and garlic. Over medium-low heat, slowly warm the mixture until the oil just barely starts to sizzle, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the beans, two-thirds of the almonds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the lemon juice and two-thirds of the rosemary mixture. Pulse a couple of times to bring the ingredients together. Add the water 1/4 cup (60ml) at a time, pulsing all the while, until the mixture is the consistency of thick frosting. You might not need all the water; it really depends on how starchy your beans are and how thick you want your spread to be. Taste the mixture and add more salt and/or lemon juice to taste.

Scoop the beans into a small serving dish and make a few indentations in the top. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining almonds and drizzle with the remaining rosemary oil. Serve at room temperature.


Mother's Day

"God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers." ~Jewish Proverb


Mothers. Everyone thinks theirs is the best. And I am no different. As I get older I understand the importance and depth of motherhood.

Being a mother is hard- said from a non mothers point of view. Mine, single and a child herself when I was born, was so committed to the job; doing whatever it took to see me in soccer, music, swimming and all my other childhood fancies; never letting on to the fact that she was a man down. I am very lucky; and I know that some aren't which is why I am so grateful.

Today is the day I- and many others- salute the woman who sacrificed her body, the life she knew and oftentimes her sanity, for a sassy 6lb 12oz chocolate baby, born at 4:15pm in the afternoon on a beautiful day in July. And today I say, thank you mom, for everything.

Happy Mother's Day!