Friday, 23 May 2014

Link: Big Hummus wants the government to regulate your hummus

My dad shared this article on facebook and I thought it was pretty amusing. Apparently the company Sabra Hummus wants to regulate what is defined as "hummus". They propose that hummus should be legally defined as a food made mostly of chickpeas and tahini (sesame butter), with tahini making up at least 5% of the hummus by weight. They are outraged by hummus impostures who sell "hummus" made of lentils or edamame (soy beans) or who don't include tahini as an ingredient. I'm not sure that I'm such a hummus purist as Sabra. I don't mind creative twists on classic hummus; I think they can often be tasty. What do you think? Are you a hummus conservative or a hummus liberal? Is it false advertisment/cultural appropriation to call, say, lentil "hummus", hummus?

Advertising by the hummus orthodoxy 

Guest recipe: Radish leaf soup

I'm impressed by the number of guest recipes I've been receiving! They all look super delicious and I plan to try all of them myself in the near future. The latest guest recipe comes from my friend, Ronan, who worked in my lab last year as a post-doc. He's an awesome guy who lives in France with his wife and adorable baby. He recommends this recipe as a delicious way of not wasting radish leaves. Frankly, I didn't even know that radish leaves are edible. I look forward to trying them!

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Hi Shaun! Congratulations for your blog. So, I promised a recipe... And here it is! You probably know that kind of stuff, but I discovered it yesterday. I grew radishes in my garden, and I had to remove half of them to allow the other ones to get bigger. So instead of wasting them, I made a soup (a “velouté” in French) with the leaves. Honestly I wasn't expecting much about it, but in the end it was really good. At least for french taste, I hope you'll have time to try it and like it ^^


-200 grams of radish leaves
-2 medium-sized potatoes, cubed
-1 leek, white part only, chopped
-1L water + bouillon cube or vegetable broth
-1/4 cup dairy or cashew cream
-salt and pepper
-3 tbs olive oil or butter

 Wash the leaves and dry them

Cut 2 potatoes and a leek (only white part) in small pieces

Saute the leaves, potatoes and leek in olive oil/butter for around 3 minutes. Add pepper.

Add 1L of water with one bouillon cube (or vegetable broth)

Warm it up until boiling, then cover, lower the heat and let it boil gently for 20min.

Blend the soup until it becomes uniform.

Add a big spoon of cream!

Check the salt/pepper. My wife and I really enjoyed it, and if you never tried, I hope you will like it. Enjoy!!

Ronan didn't get a chance to take a picture of the final product, but he said that it looked like this. (Image from here)

Guest recipe: Falafels

My dear cousin Brad wrote to me to tell me about one of his favourite recipes: falafels. I too am a big fan of falafels, the fresher the better. And what's more fresh than straight from your own kitchen? I'm looking forward to trying his recipe -- it looks delicious!

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Hey Shaun! I was checking out your blog and figured I would make a contribution. 


-4 cups canned chick peas drained and dried
-1 small onion chopped
-1/4 cup fresh parsley
-3 cloves garlic chopped
-1/3 cup flower
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 teaspoons cumin
-1 teaspoon coriander
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-2 tsp baking soda
-1 tbs water

Blend together all the ingredients except for baking soda and water

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda into 1 tablespoon of water and mix in.

Pat mixture into golf ball sized balls.

Fry in oil at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, moving the falafels around every once in a while. 

I like to eat them on a wrap with babaganoush, lettuce, onion, tomatoes and peppers. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cooking with Dr. Mom: Indian lentil curry

I've decided since it seems my mum is a regular contributor, she should have her own title for her posts. I've settled on "Cooking with Dr. Mom". I've called it that because she's a family doctor and she cooks very healthy meals. But she's also a mom (my mom!) and so her cooking is homey and delicious. I hope you enjoy her Indian lentil curry, made with leftover lentils from her Vietnamese-inspired lentil salad. I can almost smell its tantalizing spices through the computer screen!

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When I cook up beans or lentils or grains I always double (or triple!) what I need so that I can have left overs for another recipe.  Pre-cooked ingredients make meal prep on a work night much faster.  I had extra black beluga lentils after making the vietnamese inspired lentil salad and so I made this Indian curry, inspired by a similar recipe by Madhur Jaffrey.

Recipe: Indian lentil curry

Spice mixture
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp water

2 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced
6 oz (about 1 1/2 Cups)  fresh green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups cooked black lentils (can substitute green lentils)
5 oz fresh baby spinach (1 small box)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 2 main course servings

Combine spice mixture in a small bowl to make a thin paste.

Heat oil in a large covered sauce pan (I used a 12 inch covered skillet).  When oil is hot add the spice mixture (watch out for spattering!).  Fry until the water is mainly evaporated and the spices are fragrant - about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, green beans, sliced carrot and tomato paste.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the beans and carrot are tender cooked, about 10 min.  Keep an eye on the pot and add more water if the mixture is getting too dry.  The goal is to have the beans cooked with the water almost all evaporated.

Add the cooked lentils to tomato mixture to heat through.  Just before serving add the spinach and cilantro to the lentil mixture and cook over med-high heat until the spinach has cooked down and is well stirred into the lentil mixture - about 3-4 minutes.

Serve over rice or with naan bread. (I served with Greek style pita because vegan, lower fat and lower sodium than naan bread)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Guest recipe: Orange Mjadra with Mush-Lime© salad

My roommate Sam is a fantastic cook. He's Lebanese so his cooking is very Mediterranean, which I love. Many times I've eaten dinner only to have Sam come home and offer me a second dinner. Of course I don't refuse, and I end up feeling very full but very happy. I'm going to miss living with him when I move out in July, but I'm sure we'll have each other over for dinner on a regular basis. 

Below, Sam teaches us how to make two of his signature recipes: Orange Mjadra (lentil and rice stew) and Mush-Lime© salad (a Sam-original, although somehow I doubt he's taken out a copyright for it). Both are extremely delicious.  

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Greetings, salutations. Tonight, I had the most imponderable joy of sharing my dinner once again with my awesome roomie Shaun. The dish that I made is a Lebanese one, and is called ‘Orange Mjadra’. It is a very tasty meal that is often served with cabbage salad, but tonight I resorted to my famous Mush-Lime© salad because it’s simply the best. Sorry for mutilating your recipe, mum.

The recipe is quite simple and on the contrary to Mrs. Trunchball’s school ‘cookie’ in the movie Matilda, no blood or sweat were involved in the making of this meal.

Cut the onions lengthwise or dice them.

Make sure you check your lentils for stones. One way to do this is pour a bit at a time onto a dinner plate and spread them into one layer. Once any stones have been removed, pour the lentils off the plate and into a container. Pour new lentils onto the plate and continue the process until all the lentils have been checked.

Add the lentils and the rice into the caramelized onions. 

Mmmm! They might not be much to look at, but these lentils are delicious.

Nothing like a cool, refreshing salad to go with the hot lentils.

Lime juice makes the perfect salad dressing for this salad.


Orange Mjadra for 4 people:
-1 big red onion
-1 cup of orange lentils
-½ a cup of rice
-4-5 cups of water
-6 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
-Mediterranean sea salt

The Mush-Lime© salad:
-One head of Romaine lettuce
-One fat tomato
-One box of mushrooms
-Pomegranate seeds
-Half a lime
-4 tbs olive oil

Orange Mjadra:

The main ingredients of today’s quick meal are gentle orange lentils, rice, and onions. 

We shall start by finely chopping dem onions to thin slices and sautéing them in the sultriest oil there is, the Virgin Olive oil. We will toss and flip and turn dem sexy onions until they are caramelized (oh boy do they smell heavenly – slightly sensual whispers with yer roomie are greatly encouraged during the onion-frying process). This is very important… It can greatly affect the final flavour of the meal... Um, I mean the caramelization state of the onions. 

Once cooked, we are going to add the gentle orange lentils to the onions and toss them a bit until well mixed. 

Next, we will add the rice and water as well as a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer slowly until it becomes thick. 

Once the mixture has acquired enough thickness, add 2 tbsps of butter (or margarine for my vegans out there). Allow the butter to melt and infuse the dish with unequivocal richness.


The Mush-Lime© salad is made by chopping romaine lettuce, tomatoes and mushrooms into a bowl.

Fresh mint leaves and pomegranate seeds are added (num num num num). 

Squeeze half a lime for the dressing… Limes, limes, limes… more limes, please. Finally, add some of that sultry olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Bon appetit!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Guest recipe: Vietnamese-inspired lentil salad

Here's another delicious-sounding recipe from my wonderful mother!

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Yesterday was cold and had us craving roasted veggies.  Today was hot, sunny and had us craving salad.  It is Victoria Day today and so all grocery stores are closed.  Time to invent from ingredients on hand.

 A lovely ripe mango was the starting point for creating this recipe.  For protein I chose the beluga lentils because I love the way these small black pearl-like lentils contrast with the bright orange mango.  Beluga lentils are a wonderful ingredient.  They are packed with protein and fibre, they do not require soaking before cooking, and they hold their shape and color  when cooked. The veggies were what I had in the fridge.  Any combination of crunchy veggies would work here - the goal is combining colors and flavors. The dressing is a variation of a vietnamese noodle salad dressing.



1 1/2 cups dry beluga lentils
3 cups water

1/2 sweet red pepper
1/2 English cucumber ( to provide approx 2 cups diced cucumber)
1 ripe mango
2 stalks celery
1 tomato
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, (to provide approx 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro), or to taste

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (approx juice of 1/2 large lime)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce (I prefer sodium reduced)
1 tsp sirachi sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Sesame seeds for garnish

Place lentils in a sieve and pick out any extra bits that aren't lentils (some brands are cleaner than others). Rinse thoroughly under cold water until water runs clear.  Place lentils in a pot with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt.   Bring lentils to a boil then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir the lentils occasionally and add more liquid if the pot is getting dry.  Ideally there is very little water left in the pot when the lentils are finished cooking.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding to the salad.  If you are in a hurry, place the cooked lentils in a fine sieve and run cold water over them until lentils are cooled. Drain well before adding to salad ingredients.

Dice the mango and veggies so that all the ingredients are approximately the same size.  I prefer to dice to about 1-2 cm size so that each forkful of salad contains a variety of flavors.
Combine the cooked, cooled lentils with the mango veggie mix.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a cup.  Taste for balance of sweet, salty and sour and add more sugar/soy sauce/lime juice as required to get the desired balance.

Toss the lentil salad with the finished dressing.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for decoration.

Enjoy :-)

Recipe: Green and white bean casserole

Today was another beautiful sunny day in Montreal. A wonderful day for a long weekend Monday. One things that I love about summer is that the fruits and vegetables are so much more affordable and local. There's a small outdoor market near my place so this afternoon I walked over and picked up some extra ingredients to make a green bean casserole.

 At the market.

This is one of my go-to recipes for whenever I can't think of what else to cook. It's flavourful, healthy, and filling. I like to eat it on rice, pasta, or quinoa, or with some good bread.

Arsty shot of vegetables

Before roasting. Aren't the colours lovely?

After roasting

The casserole on a bed of quinoa. Good combo!

Recipe: Green and white bean casserole
Makes 4 servings

-3 cups green beans, cut in half
-1 can white kidney beans
-1 large red onion
-10 peeled garlic cloves
-1-1/2 cherry tomatoes
-1 cup chopped dill
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 tbs nutritional yeast
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup fresh orange or lemon juice
-2 tbs red wine vinegar
-1 tbs dijon mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large casserole dish, place all ingredients except for orange juice, vinegar, and mustard. Mix together thoroughly. Put the casserole in the oven and allow to roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the onion are beginning to brown. Stir occasionally.

3. While the vegetables are roasting, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, and mustard.

4. When the casserole is done in the oven, add the orange juice dressing and mix everything together.

5. Enjoy!