What to do with kale, swiss chard, and spinach

During Tuesday’s lunch break I surfed through food blogs and thought I’d point out this post from 101 Cookbooks. Similar to the sautéed spinach recipe I talked about previously, this one gives instructions on also sautéing kale and swiss chard. Tuesday was grocery discount day and I was almost out of vegetables. I’ve never tried swiss chard before, so I was hoping to find some fresh stuff to try. Instead I found some beautiful kale, so this will become my second attempt at cooking kale.

I only have half a bulb of garlic left too, and forgot to buy more. I really must remember to add that to my grocery list next time.

Update: Sautéed the kale tonight and it was very, very good. Similar to the spinach, but a bit crunchier. The kale turned a brilliant green while frying in the pan. Beautiful.

Red Ox Inn, Edmonton

It’s Fork Fest time again, and this time I managed to eke out a little time to take advantage of one of the offers and have a meal at the Red Ox Inn last night. Fork Fest is run by Original Fare, a collective of independent restaurants in Edmonton. For 2 weeks, Monday to Thursday, each restaurant on the list offers a special set meal for either $20 or $35 per person. It’s an excellent way to try a new restaurant without shelling out a tonne of cash.

This was my first time dining at the Red Ox Inn, although I have heard many good things said about the place. The restaurant is very, very small. I took a quick count, and it seemed like there were only 30 seats in the dining room (although you may be able to squeeze a couple more people into one of the booths). I’d say reservations are vital. The place is decorated modernly but is warmed with wood floors and the small size gives the dining room a cozy feeling. It’s a good place to go with friends for a nice dinner.

What struck me most about the food I had at the Red Ox Inn was that for the majority of our meal there was one outstanding element on the plate, but that the remainder of the dish was good and perfectly cooked without being extra special.

For appetizers, there were two choices – a soup (purée of wild mushroom with Madeira and Gruyère-mushroom rye crostini) or a goat cheese salad (medallion of warm chèvre with spinach, almonds, bacon, and cranberry port dressing). We both wanted to try the soup, but opted for the salad instead as we both needed more vegetables in our diet.

The star of the salad was the warmed goat cheese. Coated and lightly fried, texturally the cheese felt like biting into a crispy-on-the-outside crab cake, but with gooey cheese in the middle. The cheese was relatively mild too, which is nice because sometimes I find some goat cheeses are too sharp. The rest of the salad was good but didn’t seem like anything I couldn’t have made at home.

Medallion of warm chevre with spinach, almonds, bacon and cranberry port dressing

Medallion of warm chèvre with spinach, almonds, bacon, and cranberry port dressing

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Vegetables and fruits and whole grains, oh my!

I suspect that eating healthily is starting to make me grumpy. If I’m eating the same things over and over again, bordom sets in. With eating 4 fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every day, there are only so many times I can tolerate a steady diet of apples and celery. And so I’ve been trying to become more creative with varying my food.

This morning, for instance, I combined my fibre goal and my fruit goal by eating a (light) peanut butter and banana sandwhich on whole grain flax seed bread.

A couple of nights ago, I was trying to figure out what to do with a container of baby spinach that I hade bought over the weekend. A salad would be easiest, but frankly, I’m tired of salad. That’s when I stumbled on this sautéed spinach and garlic recipe on Simply Recipes. I’ve eaten variations of this before, and the recipe was a good reminder. The sautéed spinach was so good that I didn’t even bother added salt to the dish. Didn’t bother taking photos either, as my spinach looked just like the ones on the website. I think I’ll have to buy more spinach soon….

See link for recipe

Ayikarley’s Kitchen

Ayikarley’s Kitchen full spreadThe sister of a friend opened up a brand new catering company here in Edmonton, and I was lucky enough to snag an invite to the launch party. Ayikarley’s Kitchen serves up authentic Ghanaian cooking. The proprietor, Ellen, is building up her list of dishes and has a wonderfully bubbly personality.

Plantains look like bananas but are more firm and aren’t as sweet as bananas. They require cooking, and Ayikarley’s Kitchen fried some up to start off the meal. It was hard to resist snacking on these things.
Freshly cooked plantains cooking plantains

Peanut butter soupPeanut butter soup with crab and smoked fish
This was probably my favourite dish of the evening. The soup was light, but filling, and I somehow managed to have a whole catfish head in my serving. Mmmm fish heads are yummy!
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