Hey there!

How are you? I hope you’re having a fantastic morning so far. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday… I love long weekends! In fact, I woke up yesterday thinking that it was Monday, but when I looked in the fridge, I realized that I had some great things to try for this week’s Try Something New Tuesday. You’d think that since this is the 96th one, I wouldn’t forget about this! Here’s what went down:

1. Recipe of the Week: Last time I went on a little mother-daughter date with my mum, I asked her if there are any recipes that she’d like to see on the blog. She told me I should make some stuffed tomatoes, and I’m pretty sure she had ground beef or chicken in mind when it came to the stuffing.  At the risk of disappointing her, I had other ideas this past weekend, which involved these things:

Remember back when I was in Italy and I told you about an amazing appetizer I ate on Christmas Day? It was a caponata made of swordfish, pine nuts, and cooked veggies (eggplant and celery), seasoned with vinegar and some sort of red sweet and sour sauce. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming of recreating it. One day at work, it dawned on me that a tomato would be a perfect vehicle to get said foodgasmic caponata to my mouth. (Focus more on the fact that it is a brilliant idea, not the fact that I was dreaming about recipe creations at work.)

And hence, my Tuna Caponata Stuffed Tomatoes were born.

Although I got all the core ingredients in there (with the exception of swordfish, which I replaced with tuna), my version still doesn’t quite match the one I ate in the restaurant. It’s the red sweet and sour sauce that I’m missing, but have no fear – what I did manage to create is still pretty awesome.

2. Harissa. Walk down the ethnic aisles of your usual grocery store and you’ll probably find this in the Middle Eastern/African section. It’s a spicy sauce that is often used in soups, curries, and tagines, which is the name that North Africans give their slow-cooked stew-like dishes. It can also be used as a condiment, I suppose a bit like we’d use salsa or ketchup, but in smaller quantities since the jar I found was pretty small.

Harissa isn’t very difficult to make – it’s mostly a blend of ground chili peppers, caraway seeds, cumin, garlic, coriander, and olive oil. Depending on the freshness of your ingredients and the types of chilies you decide to use, I imagine you could make a pretty powerful concoction!

To test out my harissa, I decided to use it as a coating for some chickpeas. It’s been forever since I’ve made my Curry Spiced Roasted Chickpeas, and I figured that making a harissa version would make a good take-to-work snack. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked canned chickpeas, well-rinsed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp harissa

After stirring the harissa and olive oil into a smooth mixture, I poured it into a bowl with the chickpeas and mixed everything around to coat them. Then I scattered them out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and shoved them in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes, stirring half way through. They came out looking like this:

After tasting a bit of harissa straight off of the spoon, I thought these would be really spicy. However, this wasn’t really the case – they shrunk a bit in the oven, and the harissa taste was definitely there but not too overpowering. I had some for a snack yesterday, but I plan to use them as a salad topper too.

3. Salad Booster. You guys know I like a very sturdy salad – dark leafy greens, plenty of veggies, seeds, nuts, occasionally some dried fruit, and usually some sort of protein source. Lately I’ve been adding sea vegetables to the mix too, like the kelp flakes that were in my Detox Salad recipe (a Whole Foods re-creation). I came across this ‘Salad Booster‘ at one of my local health food stores and figured it might be an interesting addition to my next salad beast.

The mix is sold by Living Intentions, a company that I discovered a little while ago. They sell a ton of different superfoods, seeds, nuts, trail mix, and cereal, and 2 flavours of salad booster. I got the original one, but there’s also a vegan cheesy flavour that I haven’t tried yet. The contents of my magical little packet:

On Monday night I re-made the big-batch quinoa salad that I prepared last weekend, but instead of giving it a fruity dressing, I made it a little more savoury. I also added a couple of tablespoons of Salad Booster to the massive mix. It looked like this:

I’m loving this salad so much that I’ve posted the savoury version to my recipes page. It’s vegan-friendly and you can find it listed as the Trailblazer Quinoa Salad.

To be honest, the taste of the sea veggies really wasn’t that noticeable, and if anything, the Salad Booster added a little bit of a herb-y taste to the mix – and a whole lot of nutritional goodness of course! I can see myself going back for more bags of this stuff, and at about $3.50 for a bag of 6 (big) servings, it’s a pretty reasonable price to pay.

So there you have it – my trials for this week! I’ll finish off with my questions for today:

  • What new things did you try this Tuesday?
  • Are you living in the KW area and looking for something to do on Friday? I have just the thing for you! My friend Dana Shortt and her lovely staff are hosting a soup and cracker fundraiser at her shop to support a little girl suffering from Cystinosis. Gabbie is 4 and has this rare disease which destroys her internal organs. She has to take up to 22 medications each day, which is more than anyone should have to take, let alone a cute little 4 year old. From 10am to 7pm this Friday, all profits from Dana’s featured soups will go to the Cystinosis Awareness & Research Effort. Dana’s soups (as well as everything else in her shop) are delicious, so if you have time, come out and buy some in honour of this little girl. While you’re there, check out the olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar – I promise you will not be disappointed! If you’d like to learn more about Gabbie and Cystinosis, please visit www.cystinosis.ca.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂