Hearty Vegetable Curry with Red Lentils and Chard

Lentils are great. They are super hearty, tasty little morsels of yum. Recently, my market stall Gold Forest Grains, has been selling organic red lentils. Well, I’m up for a challenge, and with the help of Julie Van Rosendaal, I can achieve anyone’s lentil dreams!DSC04042

I let these bad boys soak all day long, so they’d be easy to cook in the evening. DSC04043

I used a whole bunch of spices for the curry, to give it tons of flavour. DSC04044

First things first, I diced some onions and chopped up some potatoes to throw in the pot. DSC04045

I cooked them up a bit and added the spices. DSC04046

Next, I diced up some peppers and added those. DSC04047

and opened a can of diced tomatoes and added those. DSC04048

Next, in went the lentils. DSC04049

And the coconut milk. I closed the lid and let it cook down for a while, to get the potatoes and lentils nice and soft. DSC04050

In went the chard… (Now I don’t normally buy chard, but we recently picked up an edible arrangement as a thank you for the Vegas Trip, and it was covered in chard as a decoration, so I picked off every piece, determined to never waste food!)DSC04051and voila! This recipe was amazing! I had dreams about it! Make this- right now. And swing by our booth at Old Strathcona on Saturday to get your local organic red lentils!

Jacquie’s Awesome Vegetable Curry with Red Lentils and Chard (Courtesy of Julie Van Rosendaal)

You will need:

1.5 cups red lentils, soaked for min 6 hrs

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp ginger

1 tbsp yellow curry powder

1 tbsp tumeric

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp seasoning salt

2 potatoes, cubed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 can coconut milk

1/4 cup chutney (any kind you like! I used pear.)

1 cup roughly chopped chard

Cut up your veggies and begin by adding a little olive oil to your wok or big pot and cook down onions and potatoes. Add spices and cook down some more (5 mins). Add peppers and tomatoes, cook down some more. (5 mins again!). Add lentils and coconut milk and keep lid on pot for approx 10-15 mins. When lentils and potatoes and cooked, add chutney and chard at the last minute, just long enough to have the chard wilt a little. Serve on a bed of rice and enjoy. This recipe makes six good sized servings. Enjoy- a lot!


Eating my way through Las Vegas – A food journal

I just recently got back from Las Vegas. It was quite the culinary adventure, with celebrity chefs opening restaurants left right and centre, there is no better place to eat your way through. Here are some of the food adventures we went on while we were there!DSC03981

This creperie in the Bellagio had a 3 stream chocolate fountain. No Big Deal. DSC03982

We decided that we needed to go to at least one celebrity chef’s restaurant while we were there, and we opted for MESA, Iron Chef Bobby Flay‘s restaurant. It was honestly one of the best meals of my life. DSC03983

Here is a shot of the restaurant. It was beautiful in there!DSC03984

For appies, we for spicy shrimp tamales. Divine!DSC03985

We also got a blue corn crepe with duck in a sweet habenero sauce. This was my favourite dish. DSC03986

Here was Justin’s rabbit. It was quite hot, but delicious!DSC03987

This was my sister’s mahi mahi. The rice won as a favourite for Jeff!DSC03988

I got a Chile Ralleno. Having tasted these for the first time in Oaxaca, I just had to try Bobby Flay’s version. DSC03989

One bite and the cheese was all oozy out of the bottom. Incredible!DSC03990

We got a side dish of the sweet potato au gratin. Omg, I’m honestly salivating at the memory.

DSC03995We ordered desert, but we devoured them before I could take a picture. Churros and a sweet potato bread pudding. If you get the chance to head down to Vegas anytime soon, GO TO MESA! You will not regret it for a second. Your belly will be thanking you!


Next door, Gordon Ramsy opened a pub. It lost to Bobby Flay’s restaurant in our decision making process, but I thought I’d include some pictures. DSC03992 DSC03993 On the first day in Vegas, we went on a food tour of Cesar’s palace with the Walking Gourmet. There are 5 stops over the course of 4 hours. That was quite the feast! P2160158

First stop, Rao’s. It was a recreation of a New York Italian restaurant. It was quite good. We were all impressed. P2160159

They served Penne a la Vodka…P2160161

And Margarita Pizza. Nothing too fancy, but good old Italian Grub!P2160165

Next was PJ Carke’s. As you see from the sign, it is a raw bar and chop house…P2160166

They even had an Oyster display…P2160167

And then they gave us tater tots and a burger… I was a little confused. The items were good, but disjointed, to say the least. Next time, Walking Gourmet, I suggest some sea food, as advertised. P2160168

Next, we went to Planet HollywoodP2160169

They also served us a burger and a chicken finger… While they were good items, I was expecting a little more from a Walking Gourmet tour… I mean common… Planet Hollywood? Another Burger? When there are over fifty restaurants of good gourmet food to choose from in Cesear’s Palace? Anyway, moving on!P2160170

Next stop was Max Brenner. P2160171

Chocolate by the Bald Man. (Tee hee!) This one was the winner for most of us. The food was outstanding and the chocolate divine. P2160178

They started us off with a chocolate martini, which most of us licked clean 🙂P2160180

Here are the spicy sweet (huge!) chicken wings. P2160181

Satay chicken skewers. P2160182

And corn chowder croquettes. WOW these were good!P2160184

Next stop, the Palm Restaurant. Another NY recreation. P2160185

They served us a massive piece of cheesecake. We all had to take ours home, because they were huge and we were all ready to burst!

Overall, I liked the tour and would recommend it to others. I do have some criticisms though – I wish that the restaurants were a little more high caliber, and that they would coordinate the menu a little better. We were served two burgers in a row, and neither were that spectacular. Also, a cheesecake at the end of a day of eating? Oh man, it was just too much. I was also very sad we didn’t even hit up one of the many celebrity chef restaurants in Cesear’s. In all honestly, that was kind of why I signed up, knowing Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and Guy Savoy both have places there. If we were not going to hit those up, they should have advertised as such. Anyway, it was good, just not what I was expecting. They have other tours, for those interested. Check out their website!

Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup

My boss at the farmer’s market recently started to sell red lentils and they are a hit! I decided it was high time I busted out Julie Van Rosendaal‘s Spilling the Beans another time for a new tasty adventure!


The original recipe incorporated steel cut oats into the soup at the end. I thought that may be a little too adventurous for my palate, so I stuck to the tasty tomatoes and lentils.


First things first, I laid out what was left of my garden tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil.


Next, I sprinkled the tomatoes with a little olive oil and brown sugar and threw in some whole garlic cloves.


While the tomatoes were roasting, I cooked down some onions.


Here are the tomatoes, all roasty. DSC03956

I used my handy masher to break them down.


Here they are! Organic Red Lentils from Gold Forest Grains. Delicious!


Here are my onions, all cooked down. I apologize, I forgot to take another picture of the soup after it had been simmering.


Here’s the soup in the blender. You can keep it as is or blend it up a bit. The soup’s texture was nice after I blended half of the soup, then added it back into the pot. DSC03961

Here it is, all ready to be enjoyed!

Jacquie’s Roasted Tomato and Red Lentil Soup (Courtesy of Julie Van Rosendaal)

You will need:

(if not using fresh or frozen tomatoes)

2 cans whole tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

2 onions, diced

8 cups chicken or veggie stock

1/4 cup tomato paste or sauce

1 cup dry red lentils

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with tinfoil. Arrange tomatoes in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sugar and season. Roast for 30 minutes. Add whole garlic cloves and continue to roast until there are some blackened edges, and the garlic is soft. Remove from oven and cool slightly. When cool, mash roasted tomatoes and garlic together. In a large pot, brown onions with oil until cooked down. Add stock, tomato paste or sauce, lentils, herbs and roasted tomatoes. Stir well and let it come to a simmer. Cook until lentils and tender. If you like a smoother texture, blend with immersion blender, or add half to a blender then add back to pot. Serve and enjoy!

Bacon Bison Cheeseburgers


So, winter has reached it’s blah point. Every winter, there is a point in the middle where everyone feels a little down. It’s not for any reason in particular, it’s more because we are all so sick of the cold, slush and snow. When times like these hit, I aim to make the tastiest meal possible, to rid us of the winter blues. What’s screams summer more than a juicy burger? Nothing!DSC03939I decided to go all out, with local bacon from Irving’s Farm Fresh.


I even caramelized some onions for this bad boy. DSC03942

Here’s my bison meat. DSC03943

With all the added ingredients.

DSC03944I formed the meat into patties.


And cooked them on a skillet. DSC03946

Once the bacon was nice and crispy, I drained the grease before assembling the burgers. DSC03947

To make them extra decadent, I melted some cheese on top. DSC03948

Dress with your favourite fixings, like homemade pickles, and serve alongside a summer beer, like Alley Kat‘s Brewberry, to chase those inter blues away. DSC03950


Jacquie’s homemade Bacon Bison Burgers

You will need:

1 pound local ground bison meat

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp rosemary, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 pack of bacon

1 medium onion

1 tbsp butter

5 slices of cheese

5 whole wheat buns

Your favourite burger condiments

Begin by slicing your onion and letting it caramelize with the butter in a pan, on low heat, for about 30-40 mins. While onion is caramelizing, begin cooking bacon. While your ingredients are cooking on the stove, make your patties. Combine bison, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, rosemary and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Form patties with your hands. Cook on medium-high heat in a skillet until patties are cooked through. Let cheese melt on burgers burger assembling. Dress your bun with your favourite condiments and top burger with bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce, and pickles. Enjoy!