Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bloody Mary Stuffed Peppers


Post and recipe contributed by Katrina Kairys

Even though you can buy bell peppers year-round, they’re at their peak at this time of year. (Fun fact: All peppers start out green and change colour when they ripen on the vine.) They’re also most abundant in the fall, evident from the bins and bins full of them at every stand at the McGill Farmers’ Market. Peppers are also packed full of nutrients, having more than twice the amount of vitamin C than an orange, and high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

I had leftover rice and didn’t want to make another stir-fry, so I decided to stuff some peppers. This recipe combines the rich and spicy flavours of a Bloody Mary using fresh ingredients – no pre-fab Blood Mary mix allowed! These little guys are very filling thanks to the whole-grain rice and veggies full of fibre. If you’re a meat eater, feel free to add some ground meat or chopped shrimp to the filling.  A very decadent addition would be bacon bits.

Bloody Mary Stuffed Peppers



Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
2 bell peppers (any colour)
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 large carrot, finely grated
2 cups chopped spinach
1 cup cooked wild rice (I used Lundberg Wild Blend)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more, depending how hot you like it!)
a pinch of celery salt (optional)

1. Heat oven to 400F. Cut peppers in half and remove the seeds. 

2. Put pepper halves round side down on a greased baking sheet. Place peppers in oven, roasting for about 15 minutes, until they get slightly blackened on the bottom. (This gives a great barbeque-y taste.)  Remove from oven and let sit. Turn oven down to 350F.

3. Cook onion and celery in a pan on medium-high for 10 minutes until onion starts turning translucent. 

4. Add grated carrot and chopped spinach, cooking for another 10 minutes.

5. In a small bowl mix tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, and celery salt.  

6. Add rice and sauce to pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. 



7. Scoop mixture into pepper halves until they’re filled to the top. Place peppers round side down into a greased baking dish and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes.


"My interest in cooking began with a goal to eat healthy and use clean (and pronounceable) ingredients. After months of steamed veggies and chicken I got bored quickly. I started visiting Montreal's local markets and learned what a spice rack was. Montreal has turned me into foodie extraordinaire, and I now  experiment with vegan, paleo, and gluten free recipes that pack tons of flavour. Mind you, I'll add the occasional slice of butter or full-fat cheese to my recipes, but I'll warn you beforehand!" - Katrina



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sautéed Eggplant & Kohlrabi with Toasted Pine Nuts


Post and recipe  contributed by Katrina Kairys


They key to being an excellent cook is using fresh ingredients. What may seem like trite advice from the world’s top chefs – from Susur Lee to Padma Lakshmi - is essential to the success of their dishes. Believe me, I’ve done the research. Last year, I bought the same vegetables from the McGill Farmer’s Market, Atwater Market, and Provigo. There was no comparison between the locally grown tomato and the one that sat on a truck for five days getting a scenic tour of the country. In fact, it surprised me how much more flavourful and sweeter the fresh one was than the well-travelled, yet anemic grocery-store version. Even the organic locally grown cucumber beats the typically tasteless non-organic one, and cucumbers don’t have much going for them in the first place.

When most people are feeling adventurous they try a new sport or conquer a fear. Not I. I buy kohlrabi. I spotted the funny-looking knobby purple vegetable at one of the stalls and asked the farmer what it was. She explained that it’s the root of a cabbage with the texture of a potato, but with a sweetness similar to an apple. My next question, obviously “What do I do with it?” was answered with “steam it, roast it, sautée it, or eat it raw.” Excited about all the options, but still a bit skeptical, I decided to cook it with a tried and trusted vegetable – the eggplant. That way, if the kohlrabi was a disappointment, my dish would only be half-bad.

I then picked up an eggplant and a white onion, which are both part of the super-convenient and student budget-friendly CSA basket. I also grabbed some pine nuts from the bulk store or the “vrac” as it’s called here. Now pine nuts are on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way, especially when toasted to golden-brown perfection.

Local veggies may not look like the shiny, spotless store-bought ones, but they taste a hundred times better. 

Sautéed Eggplant & Kohlrabi with Toasted Pine Nuts
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 tbsp pine nuts
½ small white onion
1 small eggplant, sliced into 1cm thick pieces
1 kohlrabi, peeled and sliced into 1cm thick pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Toasted pine nuts.
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread pine nuts onto baking sheet and toast in oven until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Place butter and onion in a pan over medium heat. Cover and cook onion until onions become translucent, about 10 minutes. 
3. Add kohlrabi slices and turn up to medium-high. Sautée for 10 minutes.

Sliced eggplant and kohlrabi.
4. Toss eggplant with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add eggplant to pan and cook uncovered on medium-high until eggplant starts to brown and kohlrabi softens.
5. Add toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper. Sautée for a minute and stir to mix all the ingredients.




"My interest in cooking began with a goal to eat healthy and use clean (and pronounceable) ingredients. After months of steamed veggies and chicken I got bored quickly. I started visiting Montreal's local markets and learned what a spice rack was. Montreal has turned me into foodie extraordinaire, and I now  experiment with vegan, paleo, and gluten free recipes that pack tons of flavour. Mind you, I'll add the occasional slice of butter or full-fat cheese to my recipes, but I'll warn you beforehand!" - Katrina