Just as musical mashups can be absolutely addictive, so too are creative culinary combinations. While bread salad is typically considered a Tuscan dish, this Vietnamese version is even more delicious plus it's super quick to prepare. It’s based on the traditional Bahn Mi sandwich, which consists of baguette-style bread filled with meat, mayonnaise, cilantro, cucumber and pickled carrots. With its bright, fresh flavours, this satisfying salad will have your tastebuds singing a happy tune for hours.
In a small pot or microwave safe dish, heat rice vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar then pour over shredded carrots which have been placed in a shallow bowl. Let sit 15 minutes to slightly pickle carrots, stirring occasionally.
While carrots are pickling, preheat broiler.
Combine mayonnaise, sriracha and soy sauce and spread on bread slices.
Place bread, spread side up, on a baking tray. Broil about 5 inches from the heat until golden brown.
While bread is broiling, drain carrots, reserving pickling liquid.
Let bread cool to lukewarm then cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
In a serving bowl, toss bread cubes with drained carrots, ham, cucumber and cilantro.
Combine 2 tablespoons of pickling liquid with the canola and sesame oils. Whisk to blend well then drizzle over the bread salad.
Serve with lime wedges on the side.
Creamy, perfect risotto in fifteen minutes is just one of the reasons I don’t use a slow cooker. I know lots of people who love their slow cookers, but I am not a fan. My problem with them is that you have to be really organized to have everything ready to start a slow cooker meal at 7 am before heading out the door. I am the kind of person who likes to figure out on a day to day basis what I feel like eating; I’ve been this way ever since I had some major food aversions during my pregnancies.
For me, the best solution is a pressure cooker. You may have grown up hearing stories of exploding pressure cookers, but times have changed. The new generation of pressure cookers weigh less, have better seals, and have redundant safety measures and easy to use pressure release valves. They’re pretty much foolproof.
3 1/2 – 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup each chopped mushrooms and asparagus (optional)
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup grated parmesan, divided
Fresh thyme or parsley, divided
Get all your ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go.
Add the olive oil, onion and salt to the pressure cooker. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir another minute, or until the rice is just slightly toasted.
Add the wine to the pot and stir for 1 minute.
Add 3 1/2 cups of the stock, secure the lid on your pressure cooker, and bring up to high pressure over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium (make sure the pot maintains its pressure) and set a timer to let it cook for 6 minutes.
If adding vegetables, while the rice cooks, sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter until softened. Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
After 6 minutes, release the pressure using the quick-release valve. Carefully remove the lid to avoid the steam and return the cooker to the stove.
Test risotto and if needs another minute or two, cook on the stovetop, adding more stock, a few tablespoons at a time, if needed to keep it from drying out. While the risotto is still a bit wet, add the butter and half the parmesan. Stir, then taste and add salt if needed. Remove from heat and stir in sautéed vegetables, if using, and most of the thyme or parsley.
Serve the risotto in shallow soup bowls, topping each with remaining herbs and a little more grated parmesan.
Serves 3 – 4.
I think these cookies might have been one of the very first things I was allowed to make all by myself as a kid. Because they require just a few moments of stovetop cooking but no oven time, they are super simple and fast. Sometimes called haystacks, macaroons or, unfortunately, turd cookies, they are a sweet treat that just so happens to be packed with fibre AND is gluten-free! You can whip up a batch in just five minutes; put ‘em on a pretty plate and you’ve got a lovely centre piece for your Easter table. An edible craft - how great is that? It’s easy to adapt this recipe to make it vegan – simply use margarine instead of butter and soy, almond or rice milk.
2 tablespoons (60 mL) butter
1/3 cup (90 mL) white sugar
2 tablespoons (60 mL) milk
5 teaspoons (25 mL) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup (180 mL) quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
36 Mini-Eggs, Eggies or jellybeans
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Combine sugar and cocoa powder; add to butter along with milk.
Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a rolling boil then continue to stir as it cooks for one full minute.
Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring to incorporate.
Add coconut and oats; stir well.
Using two spoons, drop the batter in twelve equal portions (just over a tablespoon each) onto the baking sheet, trying to keep them as round as possible.
Place three eggs or jellybeans into the centre of each nest.
Though they’re ready to eat immediately, I like to refrigerate these briefly to firm up a little (approximately 30 minutes).
Makes 12 cookie nests; recipe can easily be doubled but be sure to use a larger pot.