Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recipe: Yukiko’s Warm Chickpea Salad

I love the summer evenings where you can sit outside, well into the night, without a sweater.  Too often it gets chilly once the sun goes down, so when it stays hot all night, I want to take advantage of it.

I recently met up with my friend Lisa, an old roommate from my days at the University of Guelph.  We were both in the Hotel & Food Administration Program and she is most definitely still a “foodie”.  We met up on the patio at the Hometown Eatery (formerly Yukiko’s) and shared lots of laughs and memories over a glass of wine and their delicious warm chickpea salad.

I actually have the recipe for this incredible salad, because my friend Tina had managed to obtain the recipe from Judy (the chef/owner of Yukiko’s) for a birthday cookbook that she wrote a couple of years ago.  I emailed Judy last week, to see if she would allow me to share this recipe with all of you – and she graciously agreed.  In fact, Judy wrote “I am more than happy to share this recipe.  If anyone has the motivation & enthusiasm to cook/bake, I try to support them in their culinary adventure any way I can”.  Thanks Judy.

I’m sure you will love this salad – it’s healthy, delicious and full of flavour.  I will admit that I add a little more feta cheese than the recipe calls for though!

Yukiko’s Warm Chickpea Salad
makes 2 generous servings


§         2 (two) cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
§         2 (two) tablespoons olive oil
§         2 (two) tablespoons white wine vinegar
§         1 (one) tablespoon minced garlic
§         2-3 () mint leaves, chopped
§         1/3 (one-third) cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
§         hot pepper flakes or thinly sliced pickled hot peppers, to taste
§         1 (one) teaspoon olive oil
§         a splash of white wine (a couple of tablespoons)
§         2 (two) cups baby spinach
§         ½ (one-half) cup crumbled feta cheese
§         3 (three) tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
§         1 (one) green onion, finely chopped
§         10 (ten) kalamata olives
§         salt and pepper to taste


1.      Combine the chickpeas, 2 (two) tablespoons of oil, vinegar, garlic, mint, sundried tomatoes and hot pepper flakes or peppers in a glass or ceramic dish.  Let sit for about 10 (ten) minutes while you assemble and chop the remaining ingredients.
2.      Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
3.      Add the chickpea mixture and cook for a minute or two until the liquid evaporates.  Add the white wine and spinach leaves and stir until the spinach just begins to wilt.  Remove from the heat and add remaining ingredients.
Serve warm with foccacia bread, a glass of wine and a cherished friend.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak

Is it just me or is June a ridiculously busy month for everyone?  I wasn’t so overwhelmed that didn’t cook at home at all, just nothing that I would classify as “gourmet”.  Rather, I stuck to simple, straightforward, easy-to-prepare meals.  So, I thought I’d share with you some of my more recent “go-to” meals when time and/or creativity are lacking. 

1.      Grilled sausages, roasted broccoli and fingerling smashed potatoes.  Simply grill the sausages, baste with bbq sauce and serve with Dijon mustard for dipping, if desired.  Cut a crown of  broccoli into small florets, toss with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast in a 425 F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until crisp tender and the tips are slightly browned.  For the potatoes, wash baby red or white potatoes (leave skin on), throw into a pot filled with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork, drain them into a colander and then throw them back into the pot.  Mash them (leave the skins on) and add a tablespoon or two of butter, about a 1/3 cup of milk, a heaping tablespoon of horseradish and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Lately I’ve been adding add a bit of garlic olive oil instead of the milk.

2.      Baked sweet potatoes with chickpeas and roasted vegetables.  Microwave or bake sweet potatoes and top with chickpeas or another bean of your choice, and lots of roasted veggies (recent concoctions included sautéed garlic scapes, broccoli and zucchini).  Top with a large dollop of hummus or guacamole or a little bit of both.  I have to admit, this is not a “David dinner” (because there is no meat, of course).  Actually, I find that David (and I would guess most men in general) are happiest when they’re presented with a mix of meat, starch and veggies.  So while I eat a lot of vegetarian fare, I still cook meat for David on most nights.

3.      Marinated Flank Steak with baked potatoes and roasted vegetables.  When I cook something vegetarian like the preceding recipe, I make extra of the veggies and potatoes and then add some meat to prepare a dinner for David.  Below is an easy and delicious flank steak marinade that my family has been making for years.

marinated flank steak

§         3 (three) pounds flank steak
§         ¾ (three-quarters) cup oil
§         ¼ (one-quarter) cup soya sauce
§         ¼ (one-quarter) cup brown sugar
§         2 (two) tablespoons vinegar
§         1 (one) clove garlic, minced
§         a handful of chopped green onions
§         1½ (one-and-a-half) teaspoons ginger

1.      Mix marinade ingredients together.  Score the steak, then marinate in a ziplock bag for 24-48 hours.
2.      Grill.

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