Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rainbow Tomato Salad with Quail Eggs


When it's hot out, we love eating salads and sandwiches. Last week we had a heat wave in Vancouver. Just before the clouds rolled in and the temperatures tumbled, I made one of my favorite French salads. A tomato and green bean salad! I have actually made this dish a gazillion times because it's so easy and so delicious. Every variation I have tried has been amazing. It's colorful, appealing, filling and healthy. My grandparents-in-law were the people who introduced me to this tomato salad. It made the perfect dinner for us one summer in the South of France. It's so hot there in the summer that you pretty much have to eat salads and cold food at every meal. Now that I think about it, it has been over a decade ago since I had this salad for the first time. Wow.

I love variations and I encourage you to change things up wherever you see fit as well. My salad changes depending on what I have at home. I like seafood in mine but I'm sure it would taste great if you leave it out too. Seriously, feel free to omit or substitute whatever you like :) The variation I would like to share today involves using quail eggs. A lot of quail eggs! And three different colors of tomato. For the fun of it :)


First of all, do you know how awesome quail eggs are? Have you tried them before? I have pretty much only eaten them in hot pot or a sweet dessert soup but since learning more about them in the past few months, I have been eating them in all sorts of different ways. I mean you can basically substitute any recipe that use regular chicken eggs for quail eggs. You just need around 3-4 quail eggs per chicken egg. I did this when I made my lemon cream. Fabulous! I have also eaten them boiled just for snacking or scrambled for breakfast. Quail eggs have so many health benefits. It's like a super food really. Also, you can keep them for a couple of months in the fridge. How cool is that?!

With the addition of quail eggs, this salad has gone from healthy to super healthy. And just when I thought this salad couldn't get any better, I just made it better right there! Okay, enough bragging :) Let's go make some rainbow salad!


Colorful tomato salad with quail eggs, green beans, corn and shrimp.

Rainbow Tomato Salad with Quail Eggs
Serves 8-10

10 small yellow tomatos, whole
10 small orange tomatos, whole
4 red tomatos, sliced and deseeded (or use 10 small red tomatos)
500 g green beans, cut
340 g bag of shrimp (or other seafood)
48 quail eggs (you can half this if you like), boiled and peeled
1 can of corn

Dressing

1 tbsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
5-6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt (or salt to taste)
1 1/2 tbsp fresh herbs such as basil and thyme, finely chopped (or use 1 tsp dried herbs)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional for garnish)

Boil, cool, and peel the quail eggs. Prepare the salad dressing by adding everything together (save some parsley for garnish) and setting it aside.

Combine the tomatos, green beans, shrimp, eggs and corn. I usually line a big salad bowl with paper towels and then add all of this so that it can absorb any extra liquid. The salad ingredients need to be dry so that it doesn't dilute the dressing. Refrigerate this until you are ready to serve it. Just before serving, remove the paper towels and add the dressing. Mix well and serve.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Highlights


Here are the highlights from this past weekend's Mother's Day:
  • My husband and son were nowhere to be seen when I woke up. They later surprised me with a big bouquet of beautiful flowers! :) And a homemade card from my son!
  • We got our free Mother's Day cake from Thrifty Foods. My 4 year old decorated it all by himself. Pretty, right?!
  • For breakfast, we had toasted dutch oven bread (orange cranberry almond flavor), banana blueberry muffins, and lemon ricotta hotcakes. My husband offered to make breakfast but I wanted to make everything from scratch myself. It was sweet of him to offer though :)
  • I opened the gift my son and daycare prepared for me. It was a nice card and a painted frame with a mother's day poem inside.
  • For dinner that evening, I baked us a squash and cheddar tart with roasted garlic custard. That's just a fancy way of calling a squash quiche :) It was vegetarian but there was something definitely lardon-y about the tart thanks to the roasted garlic and smoked cheddar. It was delicious!
  • Best of all, I got to spend Mother's day with my two favorite people in the world: my husband and my son! Honestly, it felt like my birthday :) So much appreciation and love.
 I had a lovely Mother's day and I hope you did too!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Almond Bark Almond Butter Cups


Did you know that almond butter cups or peanut butter cups, for that matter, are extremely easy to make yourself? Well I'm sorry but it's very true. I made them for the first time about a month ago but I have already made them three times now. Yikes!

Reese peanut butter cups are one of the few yucky processed sugary foods that I eat from time to time still. I like peanut butter and we pretty much always have some at home. However, I love almond butter and we have a good supply of that as well. We also have hazelnut, cashew, and sunflower seed butter. Since exploring more vegan foods, we have been hoarding all sorts of nuts, seeds, and nut butters. They come in very handy when we make energy bars too.

I'm having a lot of fun making my own chocolates. These nut butter cups uses roasted almonds as well as store bought almond butter. This time around I thought I would have some fun and give them a two color tone. Since white chocolate is so sweet, I added almonds to lessen the overall sweetness. I used dark chocolate for the top layer so overall my chocolates aren't too sweet. If you like things sweeter, you can adjust the recipe. Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below! :)




Almond butter + roasted almonds + raw sugar




Make sure there is a visible ring around the almond filling!

Melt me!




Do you think the almonds help style the picture?

Almond Bark Almond Butter Cups
Makes 12 butter cups

3/4 cup white chocolate, melted
48 almonds, roasted (roast natural almonds in oven for 12-15 minutes at 350F)
1 cup dark chocolate, melted

Filling

1/2 cup almond butter
20 almonds, roasted
1 tbsp raw sugar

Slowly melt (or temper) the white chocolate and add the 48 almonds to it. Drop a spoonful of this into the center of each cup. Try not to get any white chocolate up the sides. Check to see that each cup has 4 nuts. Gently bang the cups so that the chocolate levels off and air bubbles are released. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Pulverized 20 almonds with 1 tbsp of sugar. Add this to the almond butter and mix well. Roughly roll 12 balls out of the almond filling and place inside each cup for the next layer. Flatten the balls slightly but make sure the filling does not touch the sides. There needs to be room all around the filling for the chocolate later. Slowly melt (or temper) the dark chocolate. Pour around 1 tbsp over the top of and around the sides of the almond filling. Once all the chocolate is used up, bang gently to level the chocolate and release air bubbles. Wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chocolate is all set.


A chocolate gift for my mom. #mothersday

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chewy Brown Rice Brown Butter Rice Krispie Squares

The past few months, I have been craving for rice krispie squares. The last two batches that I made were somewhat disastrous but they still tasted good and we ate all of them within a couple of days. Every time I see rice krispies or marshmallows on special in the store, I think about making them again to see if I can improve on them. And of course to satisfy my rice krispie squares craving! :) This weekend, both rice krispies and marshmallows were on sale. Score!

My favorite recipe that I base my rice krispie squares from is on the Smitten Kitchen website. Each time I make it though, I don't measure things out and just tend to throw everything in and cheat where I can. Yup. And they turn out different every time. Who knew?! Haha. This time I decided to actually measure things out. Only for the blog, right?? Yes, only for the blog. I was careful this time and finally got the treats exactly how I liked them. The next step was of course to blog about them so that I wouldn't lose the recipe ever again :)

Warning: These treats are super chewy, totally fattening and highly addictive. Proceed at your own risk.




CHEWY!


Chewy Brown Rice Brown Butter Rice Krispie Squares
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 cup butter
1 bag (400g) marshmallows
pinch of salt
6 1/2 to 7 cups brown rice krispies

Melt butter over high heat. Cook further while stirring constantly until butter is brown. It's important to stir constantly otherwise the butter will burn and leave burnt spots all over. Turn off heat and add all the marshmallows and salt. Continue stirring until all the marshmallows have melted. Add the rice krispies and stir until well combined. Pour into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and press tightly and evenly using the back of a clean spoon. Let cool before cutting.

Optional: After cutting into squares, dip one end into melted candy or chocolate and add sprinkles.


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