Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lemon and Fennel Halibut en Papillote

This is one of my favourite ways to prepare fish. It's called, en papillote, which translates to mean "in parchment". Vegetables, a protein and seasonings are folded within a parchment paper parcel, and then roasted, thereby allowing the contents to steam inside the parcel. The method ensures that the fish remains moist and that the flavours are sealed in, to meld and perfume the fish. I love the fact that each person gets their own little puffed package to open, like a present, at the table. I most often use this method to cook fish, but you can also cook chicken this way, or even just vegetables, without a protein. The fact that the food is steamed also means that you can get away with using less oil, then frying would allow. Experiment with whatever you have on hand. You can also add a little white wine, for some added flavour and moisture if you want more sauce.

Bon Appetit! 

Lemon and Fennel Halibut en Papillote

1 lemon 
2 halibut steaks
1 fennel bulb, with fronds
1 T capers 
1 t olive oil 
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Prepare two large squares of parchment paper. 
Slice fennel bulb thinly and divide between parchment squares. Ensuring that the pile is slightly to the side of the center. 

Season the fish with salt and pepper.  
Place fish over the piles of fennel. 
Divide capers between fish.

Chop fennel fronds and sprinkle approximately 1 T over each fish steak. 
Slice lemon thinly and place lemon slices over fish steaks.

Use remaining lemon juice to sprinkle over fish. Drizzle olive oil over fish. 

Fold paper in half and crimp the edges of paper to form a half moon shape. 
Place packages on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until parcels are puffed.

~ serves two ~

 Pairs well with whole wheat couscous, and sauteed baby bok choy! 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Whole Wheat English Muffins

On this glorious spring day, I thought, what better way to celebrate the Royal nuptials then to make English muffins!! These are whole wheat with a honey flavour. They are really great fresh, or toasted with some butter or peanut butter. I also love them topped with scrambled eggs, garlicly sauteed spinach, and goat cheese.


Whole Wheat English Muffins

~ makes 12 muffins ~

1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 T active yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus 1/4 cup for kneading
1 cup all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 cup 2% milk
3 T canola oil
2 T honey
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let sit for ten minutes until frothy.

Combine flours and salt in bowl and set aside.

Warm milk over medium high heat until bubbles just start to form. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Combine egg, water, yeast, oil, and half of the flour with the milk mixture. Add remaining flour mixture and stir to combine.

Turn out onto board knead, adding more flour, one tablespoonful at a time, for several minutes, until it is no longer sticky.

Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for at least one hour in a warm part of your kitchen, until it has roughly doubled in size.

When dough has risen, roll onto board which is dusted well with cornmeal, into a ½ inch thickness and cut into 3 inch rounds.

Fry in a skillet, which has been dusted with cornmeal, over medium heat, for 5-7 minutes per side, or until browned.

Bake in oven until sides are set and insides are soft but no longer gooey.

Let cool on a rack.

Split with a fork or with a knife, and enjoy!

This recipe is a combination of a few that I found on the site but is adapted, for the most part, from the website,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meatless Mondays ... Hummus !!

I have been observing "Meatless Mondays" for the past little while. The initiative was born in WWI wherein families in America were asked to reduce the amount of meat they ate as a way to aid the food crisis in war torn Europe. The effort returned in WWII and was a success. Around the turn of the 21st century, the program was re-introduced as an effort to reduce American obesity and to reduce carbon emissions which resulted from large scale farming.

I am attempting to incorporate more than one meat free day per week into my diet, for health reasons and for environmental reasons. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely a carnavore. I could not be a vegetarian, and I have no interest in giving up meat entirely. I do, however, know that if we all ate a little bit less meat, there would be a decrease in the strain that large scale farming has on our environment.

Okay, enough preaching already!!

One of the easiest and (in my opinion) tastiest vegetarian/vegan lunches that I prepare on a near weekly basis is homemade hummus. Hummus is a very popular Middle Eastern dip/spread. I think if people knew how much better homemade hummus is, as compared to store bought, they would not hesitate to break out the food processor!

If you are feeling really inspired, you can get dried chickpeas and soak them overnight. Then in the morning, change the water and then bring them to a boil and simmer them for 45-60 minutes, or until tender. If you are not feeling particularly inspired, or if you are short on time, canned chickpeas work just as well!

Chickpea Hummus
2.5 cups cooked or 19 oz can, chickpeas
1-2 T tahini
juice and zest of half of one lemon
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until well mixed. If mixture seems to thick, thin with a bit of water, up to one quarter cup.

Serve w/ vegetables and whole wheat pita for dipping!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blog Makeover!!!

Where have I been you ask? Where has the time gone? I decided to take some time away to refocus and reflect on what I wanted from this blog and what I wanted this blog to become. A lot of changes have occurred in my life over the past months and I wanted to reflect these changes in the blog as well.

Firstly, we purchased a new home!! We closed in late summer, 2010. It is a beautiful Victorian historic home built in 1873. We fell instantly in love with its high ceilings and original features. It needs work, lots of work, which partially explains my M.I.A. status on the blog. We spent many long nights leading up to the Christmas break stripping floors to their original hardwood, painting, sanding and resurfacing multiple surfaces throughout the home. We have just scratched the surface. It is starting to look like a home and I love it more every time we change something new. This will be a labour of love that will last for years to come. I have decided to incorporate some of the changes into a new page on the blog, entitled "home and garden” you can find that link here!

Secondly, I became engaged!! It happened around Christmas this past December! We are planning a wedding in Italy in 2012. I have been spending lots of time looking at beautiful wedding blogs, my favourite being Snippet and Ink. I love Kathryn’s gorgeous daily inspiration boards and her accounts of the real weddings of endlessly cool couples across North America! I will detail our wedding trip and our honeymoon, along with future adventures on my new travel/adventure page “out and about” you can find that link here!

Finally, as you have likely noticed, I have a new blog design!! It is the beautiful work of the lovely Blog Fairy. What a dream come true. I couldn’t have imaged a smoother and easier process. She truly is a magic-maker! If you want more information about her services, find her link here or on the button at the bottom of the blog!

I am looking forward to the new season. We have just started planning our garden for this summer. Our new home came with a small green house so we are going to have some fun starting seeds in years to come. The winter has been holding on but I have faith that warm weather is just around the corner. I can’t wait to start cooking from my own garden again!

Cheers, and Happy Easter Weekend!!