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Simple Sunday: It’s All Greek to Us!

Apparently our tzatziki-hummus from Thursday’s post got us craving Greek food, because we’re back again today with another little taste of the Mediterranean. This time it’s in the form of a salad that’s delicious, healthy, and as always- simple 🙂

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And yes, that is the same blue bowl and blue napkins from our other Greek-themed photo shoot.  What can we say? When you find something that works you stick with it, right?

Well, that and you can only have so many blue bowls in your cupboard…

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But enough about bowls, let’s talk about salad!  Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, some pungent black olives and salty feta cheese. Talk about yum!

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Those of you who have had some experience with Greek food (or at least Greek Salad) will notice that we left out one very key ingredient: red onion.  The truth is, no one in our family is a real fan of red onions.  In small quantities they’re ok, but for the most part we all find they just leave an overwhelming onion taste in our mouths that lasts forever.  But of course, if red onion is your thing, we definitely encourage you to add it in to the mix!

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The dressing for this salad has only a handful of ingredients, making it a snap to prepare so you can spend the rest of the time working on the chicken souvlaki feast you’re going to serve it alongside.  At least that’s what our family did, and is highly recommended!

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Oh, and remember that Greek-inspired hummus we mentioned?  That would go pretty well with this, too.  Just sayin’ 😉

Easy Greek Salad

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

3 ripe tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 cup pitted black olives
1/2 large red onion (optional)
1/2 c. reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

Dice the tomatoes, cucumber and onion (if using) into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl.  If desired, cut the olives in half or leave them whole and add them in as well.  (We cut some of them up and left some whole).  Crumble the feta cheese and add it to the bowl as well.  Stir everything together until it is all evenly mixed.

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and oregano.  Shake vigorously until everything is mixed together well.  Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to make sure all the ingredients have been evenly coated with the dressing.  Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.  The salad will keep in the fridge for a couple days. (And even gets better as it sits).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried Greek food?  What is your favourite Greek dish?

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Word Play

When it comes to food, the term “blackened” is not a descriptor you would typically want to use to describe your dish.  To us, anyways, the word blackened is kind of synonymous with other words like “burnt” or “charred”- doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering, does it?  No, it sort of just leads us to think of another word… “inedible”.

Think about it- blackened cookies, blackened toast, blackened pizza… suddenly you don’t feel well and you’re (cough, cough) “not hungry”, right?

In fact, the term blackened is right up there with words like “wilted”, “fermented” and “sapid” (who knew that word means something tastes good?!?)

Yes, for the most part if your dish is blackened, you probably burnt it and it probably isn’t going to be very, well… sapid.  (There.  We tried using it and we were right- it just sounds weird.)  But there is a time when the term blackened is a good thing.

A very good thing.

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If you hear the word blackened in front of the word salmon, you can forget all of your preconceived notions of what you thought the word meant, erase the images swirling in your mind of charred, dried-out fish, and dive in fork-first!

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Because this salmon is slammin’! (Sorry- we couldn’t resist!)

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But in all seriousness, we may never eat salmon any other way ever again- it was that good.

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There are 2 simple steps to creating this mouth-watering dish, and only about 25 minutes until it is on your plate! The secret to perfectly-done blackened salmon (aka-not burnt) is to sear it in the pan and then finish it off in the oven!  That way you get a crispy outer-layer, but a flaky, succulent inside.

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Succulent. Now there’s a word we want to hear more of!  Or how about delectable, exquisite, or tantalizing? 

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Actually, if there was a word that combines all of those we’d have a dead-ringer!

Delecquitalizing? Tantaquitable? Hmm… maybe we’ll just let the pictures do the talking 😉

Blackened Salmon

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon (you can also use fillets)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a dash of salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a small dish, combine all the spices.  Generously coat both sides of the salmon with the spices and gently rub into the flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the salmon in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are blackened, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blacken the other side.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and move fish from the pan onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the centre of the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is no longer dark pink in the middle and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with avocado-corn salsa (recipe below).

Avocado-Corn Salsa

Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 a large avocado
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small dish and serve.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had anything that’s been “blackened”? What are your favourite food-descriptor words? (We’re always looking to expand our repertoire ;))

A Restaurant Review and an Excellent Summer Recipe!

Today, we were celebrating our 20th birthday (a month and a half early!) with our Mother. Having just retired from 33 years of teaching, our mom is moving out to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and we couldn’t be happier for her! She’s really excited to start this new chapter of her life, and we can’t wait to hear all about the adventures she is about to embark on.

To celebrate our birthday, we decided to try out a restaurant that we had never been to before: The Naked Sprout! It is a 100% vegan and partly raw restaurant located in Burlington, Ontario. We first heard about it when reading Angela’s blog, who spoke highly of it. She was definitely correct! This restaurant is seriously delicious! And the best part about the three of us going together? We get to try three items off the menu 😉 Sharing is caring!

Our mom ordered Pete’s Protein Bowl. Oh. My. Goodness. All three of us LOVED it! It was brown rice, tempeh, sweet potato, broccoli, sprouts, and a giant blob of hummus. It was so tasty, in fact, that we are going to re-create it at home! Expect a recipe 🙂 .

Brit got the Perky Pizza. This was a raw dish, with a carrot-flax crust and the chef’s daily creation on top.  Today’s was a huge heaping of spinach, onions, grated beats, and sprouts all on a base of a tomato marinara sauce. Here we must mention the only thing that erked me (Julie) the entire time: Our waitress pronounced tomatoes to – MAT-oes. Mat, as in the thing you wipe your feet on, or the boys’ name. Drove. Me. NUTS! But the pizza was incredible so I’ll let it slide, not to mention the cute young chef cooking behind the counter 😉 .

Julie got the Twisted Tacos, also a raw meal. The shell was the same as the pizza “dough”, and the “meat” was made of sunflower seeds. The likeness to ground beef was uncanny! In the taco was also fresh tomatoes, avocado, and sprouts, served with cashew “sour cream” on the side. Yum yum yum!

Of course, we could not leave without having dessert! We shared a slice of the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. Oh my word was this good! One of the best cheesecakes I have ever had, and there was no cheese! This cheesecake was raw with no sugar and a nut crust (grain free!). To go along with that, we also shared the Mocha Mud Slide smoothie. It was also to die for! Made with half brazil nut milk and half chocolate chai tea, we were in heaven.

Long story short: If you live close within a 100 mile radius of this restaurant, you MUST go! If you don’t, what better excuse to come visit southern Ontario? 😉

On with the rest of today’s post, after having such a delicious lunch, dinner was under a lot of pressure. Problem? It’s one thousand million degrees out today. Solution? Gazpacho!

No ovens or stove-tops required! Served along with barbecued grilled cheese, and you’ve got the perfect winter-turned summer combination.

We’ve had a love-hate relationship with gazpacho. We see it in pictures, and it looks like it should be delicious, but every time we eat it, it tastes like cold soup that would be so much better if it were heated up! Until now. There are certain rules that must be followed in order to have a good gazpacho.

1. All ingredients must be fresh. (No canned tomatoes here).

2. You have to have a proper balance between acidic (ex. tomatoes) and sweet flavours (ex. apples) or it simply won’t work.

3. It has to be hot out, because if you make it went it’s cold, you’ll just sit there wondering why you’re eating cold soup on a cold day. Confused? So are we.

We wanted to take a classic winter comfort meal, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and give it a summertime makeover. So today’s gazpacho was tomato, with grilled cheese on the bbq. Throw in an apple for sweetness, cucumber for freshness, basil for spice and salsa for kick, and BAM you’ve got a winner!

BBQ= Summer. Doing the grilled cheese on the barbecue just made sense. To maintain the fresh factor, we forwent the traditional butter and brushed our bread with olive oil. We went to Whole Foods this afternoon and had this beautiful loaf of sourdough bread, so these grilled cheese are Extra-Old Cheddar, deli ham and spring mix (gotta get those greens!) on sourdough. Oh baby this was unreal! We are lovers of grilled cheese, this was on a whole new playing field.

  

So if it’s hot where you live, make this gazpacho. If it’s not…. crank the heat and make this gazpacho 🙂 .

Tomato Gazpacho and Barbecued Grilled Cheese

Serves: 6

Total Time: 10 min*

Ingredients:

8 medium fresh tomatoes

2/3 large english cucumber

1 apple, peeled (any variety, we used Royal Gala)

1/4 large white onion

2 cloves garlic

3 sprigs fresh basil

2/3 c. salsa

2/3 c. vegetable stock

1/4 c. water

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp salt

Pepper, to taste.

1 extra tomato

extra 1/3 of cucumber

For the Grilled Cheese:

12 slices bread (we used sourdough)

Extra Old Cheddar Cheese (or any cheese you’d like!)

Deli Ham (optional)

Spring mix (optional)

Olive oil

Directions:

Roughly chop all vegetables and place in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and blend with a hand blender until somewhat smooth, with a grainy texture and some chunks. Finely dice extra tomato and cucumber and stir into soup. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving. Top with sweet relish, if desired.

For the Grilled Cheese: Pre-heat barbecue to medium heat.  Spread outsides of bread with olive oil.  Place cheese and desired fillings on one slice (olive oil side out!) and top with second slice (again, olive oil side out!).  Place on grill, flip once toasted, golden with grill marks.

*Does not include chilling time for the soup.

– twosaucysisters

Do you like gazpacho?

What’s your favourite meal to beat the summer heat?

A Burger by Any Other Name

I am not a crazy red meat person.  I enjoy a good steak on occasion, and am learning to appreciate more and more the uniqueness of bison and elk, but it’s not something I would typically order at a restaurant or really ever make at home. Once or twice in the summer, tops. But there is one way in which I crave beef, and I’m talking mouth watering, day dreaming, nothing else will satisfy it.

Burgers.

I adore them! There are so many things you can do with burgers, so many topping options, bun options, flavours, cheese or no cheese- the list is endless! With summer now upon us, and Food Buzz’s Flavour of the Month being burgers, Brit and I decided we had better get to burger making!

We didn’t, however, want to make an ordinary, ‘normal’ flavoured burger (though those are delicious!), we wanted to be a bit more creative. After turning over a few ideas, we settled on and East-indian/ Trinidad and Tobago influence – Curry!

And you know what? It was a damn good idea! They were so juicy and loaded with flavour! In the past, we have struggled with creating a recipe in which the patties would actually hold together when put on the BBQ, but we came up with a sure-fire method that will guarantee non-crumbly burger! The trick? Whipping half your beef mixture around in the food processor – it turns into a “glue” as my dad so aptly named it, but by adding the other half in manually afterwards keeps that same delicious burger texture!

Of course, one can’t simply throw any old toppings on a curry-infused beef patty and call it a burger! We knew to make this a winner, we had to put together something that would compliment the burger while not taking away from the flavour of the burger itself. We decided on two: A savoury/fruity chutney (fruit in a savoury dish=best!) and a coconut-lime yogurt spread. Finish off with a crisp leaf or two of lettuce and darlin’, you’ve got yourself a home-run!

*The chutney you will definitely want to make ahead, as it takes a couple hours and has to chill afterwards, as well. There are a few different methods that can be used to make it, but each still takes time to allow the flavours to fully develop.

Paired with a light sweet n’ sour cabbage salad (recipe tomorrow!), this is the perfect meal at the end of a hot summer day. Or any day. 😉

And with that I leave you with not one, not two, but THREE recipes! Go crazy!

Juicy Curry Burgers

Prep time: 20min

Cook time: 20min (ish)

Servings: 10 4oz. patties

Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef, divided (it’s best to use beef that hasn’t been frozen, or allowed to thaw fully in the fridge)

1/2 c. greek yogurt

1/2 c. bread crumbs, divided

1 clove garlic

1/8th of an onion

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground mustard

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

black pepper

Directions:

Put one pound of the beef in the food processor along with 1/4 c. of the bread crumbs, yogurt, onion, garlic and spices. Blend until a smooth, mashed-potato like texture. Transfer to large bowl and mix remaining beef and bread crumbs. Shape into patties, 4oz each. Grill on low to medium heat, flipping occasionally, until burgers are cooked through (71 C/160 F). Take you whole grain bun, start with lettuce on the bottom, followed by chutney (recipe below) and the burger placed on top. On the top half of the bun, spread yogurt (recipe also below!).

Peachy-Tomato Chutney

Total Time: 2-3 hours

Makes: 3-4c.

Ingredients:

1 28oz. can no-salt added tomatoes (we used whole and cut them into chunks)

2 c. canned or fresh peaches, chopped

1/3 c. honey

2 tsbp Arrow root flour

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. mustard seed

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 c. red onion

Directions:

Bread Maker Method: If you have a bread maker, simply put all the ingredients into the machene, select the “preserves” setting and let er’ go! Once finish, transfer to a container and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Stove-top Method: Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer forone hour. Transfer to another container and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Slow-cooker Method: Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for one hour or so, then transfer to another container and allow to cool in the fridge for at least an hour.

Coconut-Lime Yogurt Spread

Total time: 5 min

Ingredients:

2/3 c. greek yogurt

1-2 tsp. lime juice

1/4 tsp. coconut extract

Directions:

Combine and enjoy!

– Julie

Do you like burgers?

What’s your favourite burger combination?