Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy. Show all posts

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Red Camargue and Wild Rice Salad with Tuna

This easy, healthy Red Camargue and wild rice salad is made with red Camargue and wild rice, yellow peppers and avocado. Serve it on your favorite mixed greens, topped with well-seasoned seared fresh tuna. It's light and refreshing but makes a satisfyingly filling meal.

All too often when I think of rice and dinner, it’s usually basmati or risotto that springs to mind. But occasionally, when my protein is unusual, like spice-encrusted tuna, something with more verve and bite is needed.

Always on the lookout for new and unusual starches, I brought home a bag of red Camargue and wild rice mix from my local Spinney’s grocery store the other day. Wild rice, I’m familiar with but I had never heard of red Camargue. Turns out that it is a new breed (type? species? variety?) of rice that is being cultivated in the south of France in an area called, not surprisingly, Camargue.

A little quick research reveals that the Camargue region of Provence grows a wide variety of rice, of which the red is only one, and it produces 75 percent of all the rice grown in France. Who knew? What I do know is that its nutty flavor and chewy texture make a beautiful rice salad. Add some greens and spice-encrusted seared tuna to make it into a meal.

This week my Sunday Supper friends are sharing summer dinner salads, salads that make a full meal. Since it's so hot in Dubai during the summer, we eat dinner salads a lot. We call them fancy salads and, in addition to the vegetables and greens, they must contain three more things: cheese, nuts and fruit. Occasionally meat is added, usually something off the grill like chicken or beef. This red Camargue and Wild Rice Salad with Tuna doesn't fulfill those standards of fancy salad, but it sure is pretty and delicious.

NOTE on cooking red Camargue and wild rice: I’ve learned from experience that colored rice, in general, needs a much longer cooking time than white rice, so I cooked this stuff in a big pot of salted boiling water, much as you would pasta, checking a grain or two periodically after 20 minutes, until the rice reached an acceptable cooked, yet still chewy, texture, which took closer to 30 or 35 minutes. Then I turned the fire off, strained off the water and put the rice back in the hot pot with the lid tightly closed for another 10-15 minutes.

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups cooked rice mix (about 4 1/2 oz or 125g before cooking)
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Small handful green onion tops
Small handful cilantro or fresh coriander
1/2 small yellow bell pepper or capsicum
Sea salt
Black pepper
Mixed greens of your choice
1 ripe avocado, plus extra to serve, if desired

For the tuna:
2 tuna steaks – about 9 oz or 255g each
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil – plus more for the frying pan

Cook your rice mix as described above or according to your package instructions. Set aside to cool.

Roughly chop your green onion tops and cilantro. Cut your bell pepper into small, skinny strips.

Put your balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a bowl big enough to hold the whole salad. Add in the bell pepper slices and a good pinch of sea salt and a good couple of grinds of fresh black pepper.  Mix well.

Once the cooked rice is cool, add it to the bowl.

Add in the onion tops and cilantro and give the whole thing a good stir. Set aside and get on with the tuna.

Lay your tuna steaks out between paper towels to dry.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices finely.

The pink is Himalayan sea salt.  Use any sea salt you have. 

Mix the whole grain mustard thoroughly with the olive oil.

Spread half of the mustard mixture on one side of the tuna steaks and then sprinkle with half of the spice mix.

Put the tuna on a piece of cling film, which will make it easier for you to flip it over into the frying pan.  Repeat the seasoning on the other side, first mustard, then spices.

Heat a non-stick frying pan until it is very hot and then drizzle in a little olive oil.  Cook one side of the tuna for just a couple of minutes before turning it to the other side.

Watch the side of the tuna and you can see the cooked part coming up.  You want to leave a good amount of pink still in the middle.

Sear the other side for just a minute or two and then remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Slice into thin pieces with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion so you don't mash the tuna.

Right before serving, peel and chop your avocado and fold it into the salad.

This tasty rice salad makes a full meal, heaped on some leafy greens with extra avocado, if desired, and topped with the fresh spice-encrusted tuna steak.

Do you love serving dinner salads when it's hot outside too? You are going to want to pin each of these Sunday Supper Summer Dinner Salad recipes. Summer is nigh!

Many thanks to our event manager, Em, and our event host Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for all of their behind-the-scenes work!

Sunday Supper Summer Dinner Salad Recipes

Brilliant Beef Salads

Choice Chicken Salads

Superb Seafood Salads

Vibrant Veggie Salads

Pin it!  


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black-eyed Pea Salad - Saladu Ñebbe #FoodieExtravaganza

This hearty black-eyed pea salad is full of good stuff but what makes it so tasty is the fresh lime juice and the hit of heat from the habanero pepper. I cautiously only put one pepper in this time. Next time I’m adding more!

Last weekend my husband and I did a massive clear out of all three of our freezers. The normal-size kitchen one, the even smaller one on top the beer fridge and the more capacious deep freezer. We hauled everything out and put it back in some sort of order. Frozen homemade sauces together. Poultry and beef on another shelf. Seafood on one side and the bottom drawer? It’s filled with pork products. The Great Freezer Cleaning also revealed a bag of dried black-eyes peas. It seemed like an omen.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is sharing heart healthy recipes. Beans and vegetables are probably two of the most heart healthy things you can eat, unless you are cooking those beans with smoked sausage. (My favorite way!) Even so, I like to think that the fiber and nutrition in beans outweighs the fat in the sausage. After all, sausage is also seasoning and you wouldn’t necessarily get a piece in each bite.

But beans are also great in salad, like this one of Senegalese origin, called Saladu Ñebbe or Salatu Ñebbe in the original language. There are several recipes in English online but they all seem to come from the same source, an article in Saveur magazine. Switching to French for my search, salade niébé, did turn up a few more. Whatever you call it, I’ll be making it again. I served it with seared tuna steaks, a delicious accompaniment.

Depending on which website or cookbook you consult black-eyed peas either don’t need to be soaked or they do. I treat them as I do all other beans. If I am not cooking them in a pressure cooker, I soak them overnight, if I have the time, or I quick soak them in boiling water for one hour, before cooking. Whichever method you choose, you are going to need about 2 1/2 cups or 400g cooked black-eyed peas for this recipe. One cup of dried peas should yield about that right amount.

2 1/2 cups or 400g cooked black-eyed peas (1 cup or 200g dried black-eyed peas, boiled and drained – you can substitute canned peas. Rinse and drain them well.)
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile
3 large green onions
2 small cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 yellow bell pepper
250g cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
1 small bunch parsley
6 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional for serving: salad greens

Mince your habanero pepper and the garlic. Trim off the roots and slice the white part of your onion tops. In a large bowl, mix the three with the lime juice and set aside to marinate, with about a half teaspoon of salt.

This has a two-fold effect. First of all, it takes mellows the flavors of the raw garlic, onion and the habanero. Secondly, it makes sure that those flavors will be infused in the dressing.

Cut your cherry tomatoes into quarters. Seed, stem and chop the bell pepper.

Chop the green part of the onion tops and the parsley.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise then in half again. Use a sharp knife to remove the seeds, then cut the cucumber into small pieces.

Add the olive oil into the salad bowl and mix well with a fork.

Pile in the black-eyed peas. Stir well to coat.

Add in the chopped vegetables and herbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. This salad can, of course, be eaten immediately but, unlike most salads, it gets better and better as it hangs out in the refrigerator.

If not serving right away cover with cling film and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before you are ready to serve to it’s not super chilled. Stir well.


Many thanks to our Foodie Extravaganza host this month, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Do check out the link list of all of our other heart-healthy recipes!

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook group Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.

Pin it!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shaved Broccoli Stalk Feta Salad #BloggerCLUE

Finally, a fabulous use for the oft-wasted broccoli stalks, this salad with lime juice and feta is simple, fresh and delicious!

This month for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society, my assigned blog is Taking on Magazines, internet home of Christiane, one of the founders of our little group, where we get together once a month using the same clue - ingredient or theme - and search through our partner blog to find tastiness to recreate. With many people trying to start the new year off right, our clue for January is “healthy eating.” Christiane says herself that her recipes don’t have a focus on health but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t tempted by several of them, including her Bibb Lettuce with Citrus Herb Dressing, Vietnamese Caramel Pork and Garlicky Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Spinach, which she swears is healthy, honest! I can tell you they all look delicious!

In fact, I ended up making two dishes, her Superfast Crispy Chicken Thighs, which are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven, crisp fried in only 1 scant tablespoon of oil, and the fresh salad I’m sharing today. Man, those thighs were good! So good, in fact, that they were eaten before I could take a decent “finished” photo. And I cannot tell you how long it’s been since that happened!

Exhibit A

Thank goodness I had planned to make the broccoli stalk salad too. I was excited to use a part of the broccoli that I know many people discard and put it on center stage.

Even though Christiane says, “serve immediately,” I wasn’t taking any chances with not getting a photo of the salad. I made it in the afternoon and took the photos well ahead of dinner. I am pleased to say that the shaved broccoli was still crunchy, fresh and delicious a couple of hours later!

Leaves and stalks from 1 bunch broccoli (2-3 fat stalks)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Flakey sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup or 28g crumbled cotija or feta cheese
Optional: few slices of radish - my addition.

Cut the very hard outsides off of the broccoli stems. Nip off the leaves and save them. My broccoli didn’t have very many leaves, so just for a little more green, I also kept one tiny floret cut into small bits.

Use a sharp potato peeler to trim off any more stringy hard bits and discard them.

Continue shaving off thin slices of the stalks with the potato peeler until they are all gone.

And you are left with this:

Pile the strips in a bowl and add in the oil and lime juice. Sprinkle on the sea salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Give it all a good toss to coat.

Crumble on the feta and stir gently. Add a few slices of radish if desired.

Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.


Our participating society members this month, with their Healthy Eating picks:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fish Steamed with Spicy Couscous

For this fish steamed with spice couscous, the fish fillets are steamed on top of the couscous so all the lovely cooking juices are soaked up, making the already spicy, herby couscous even tastier.

This is one of my favorite dishes to make when entertaining guests. See easy instructions to adapt for a dinner party at the end of the recipe.*

Parlez-vous français? Yeah, I really didn't either.
To say that three years of high school French prepared me poorly for living in Paris would be an understatement. As much as Madame Reat taught me about La Belle France, including our occasional field trips to a nearby French café where we were supposed to order in French to justify the educational status of said excursion, I learned more useful things by reading signs and labels in grocery stores and recipes on my own. 

I now know weird but handy phrases like laissez gonfler - leave to swell -  and saupoudrer de chapelure – sprinkle with breadcrumbs - and napper en sauce – coat with sauce - that hardly ever come up in normal conversation. 

Not a culinary word, but one I am very proud of learning is autocollant. It means self-adhesive. Not useful you say? Try ordering stamps and imagine miming, "the ones I don't need to lick," at the post office. 

Probably more importantly, I learned that Ah, bon, despite containing the word for good, can be used to acknowledge good or bad things, a confirmation akin to “I hear you”  - or a question, depending on inflection: “Really?”

Répétez après moi: Le couscous est simple à préparer.
I am always on the lookout for new and different starches to add variety to our plates, outside the usual triumvirate rice/potatoes/pasta so I was delighted to come across couscous for the first time in France. It’s a staple there, I am guessing thanks to the North African influence from the former French colonies. 

It has since become essential in my cupboard as well and the instructions on that first box of couscous, graine moyenne or medium coarse, is the source for my pet phrase laissez gonfler, which I have managed to work into more conversations that you would imagine. 

This spicy dish is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe from a series called Oliver’s Twist. I’ve been making it regularly since 2003 when the episode Flash in the Pan first aired. It’s perfect for this week’s Sunday Supper theme of Lighten Up for the New Year, with lots of flavor from the spices and cilantro and very healthy steamed fish on top. Make sure to scroll down to see all the other lovely lightened up recipes the group has made for you today!

For the spice mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons flakey sea salt (I use Maldon.)
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 (2-inch or 2.5cm) piece cinnamon stick

For the dish:
2 cups or 370g wheat couscous – medium grain
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 red chilies (Remove the seeds for less heat.)
1 large bunch cilantro or fresh coriander, leaves picked, stalks finely sliced
Four portion size filets of a relatively thin white fish like sole or flounder. Cod will do if it is not too thick.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning fish
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Couple of handfuls cherry tomatoes (more or less to your taste)
1 large lemon, cut in half at the equator
Optional: another lemon cut in wedges for serving.

Put the couscous in a bowl with enough hot - but not quite boiling - water to cover it. Seal the top of the bowl with cling film and then drape a towel over the top and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Laissez gonfler!

 The couscous will soften and double in size. When it's done, fluff it with a fork and keep covered till needed.

Make your spice mix by pounding the salt, fennel and cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cinnamon together in your mortar.  (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use already ground spices.)

Mince your onion and one chili pepper. Slice the garlic and the other chili.

Cut the very tough bottom parts of your cilantro stems off and discard. Finely chop the rest of the stems up to the leafy part and then roughly chop the leaves. Some leaves are going to get in your stems and, of course, your leaf pile will have the most tender stems, and that’s okay.

Mostly leaves in front. Most stems in back.

Lay your fish out on a plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large saucepan on a low heat, and sauté the onion, garlic, cilantro stems and chopped chili in a good drizzle of olive oil.

Add the spice mix to the pan with another drizzle of olive oil.

Cook for a few minutes and then add the butter. Let it melt then add the couscous.

Mix thoroughly with the spices and sautéed seasonings. Stir in most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish when serving.

 Turn the stove down to a very low heat, and lay the fish fillets on top of the couscous. Drizzle with olive oil and tuck the lemon halves, cut side up, and the whole cherry tomatoes in the couscous.

Cover with some foil or a tight fitting lid, and cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is white through and flaky. You may need to add just a little bit of water so that the couscous doesn’t burn on the bottom, so do check it about halfway through. A very heavy pan or a diffuser will help with this problem.

Adding a few tablespoons of water about halfway through.

To serve, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and sliced chili, squeeze the cooked lemon halves over everything and drizzle on some more olive oil. Divide the couscous between four plates and top each with a steamed fish fillet. Serve with additional wedges of lemon, if desired.

*Dinner party instructions
If you are having a dinner party for eight or 12, double or treble the ingredients and prepare as instructed up to the point where the couscous is ready. Allow it to cool then transfer to a greased baking pan (Make sure it is one that can go straight from refrigerator to oven) before adding the fish, the halved lemons cut side up, cherry tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. If you want to get fancy, throw in some raw shrimp or prawns as well. Cover with foil and refrigerate if it’s going to be more that a half an hour till it’s cooked or if your kitchen is warm. Once the guests have arrived, bake your fish on couscous- still covered in the foil - in an oven preheated to 350°F or 180°C, allowing extra time for cooking the fish if the dish is chilled. Follow the same serving instructions above.


If your New Year’s resolutions include eating more sensibly, I’ve got a great list of “lightened up” recipes for you this week. Many thanks to our great host T.R. from Gluten Free Crumbley!

Bright Beverages
Blissful Breakfast Items
Appetizing Starters
Savory Soups and Sides
Marvelous Mains
Delightful Desserts