Category Archives: Dinner

Banh Mi

Otherwise known as the Vietnamese sub. This is one of those times that food network helped me find a new food to try. The show that clinched me having to try these subs featured a food truck named nomnom (you can already see why my curiosity was piqued.). Everyone flocked around this truck to get their unique sandwiches. I had to try it. So on our next visit out to Vancouver we hit vietsub, which many claim makes the best banh mi in Vancouver. I’m not a connoisseur yet but that was definitely one tasty sandwich.  It was spicy, the pickled veggies had a delightful crunchy pungency that coupled blissfully with the creaminess of the dressing. Oh yes, I am a banh mi fan. I can’t go toddling off to Vancouver everytime I crave one though. So, this is my attempt at my bon ami the banh mi.

  • 2 sub buns
  • 1 tbl light mayo
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional, I like my bahn mi to bite back)
  • 2 tbl liverwurst
  • 2 tbl fish sauce
  • 2 tbl soy sauce
  • 2 tbl canola oil
  • 2 tbl brown sugar, unpacked, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 lb thin flash fry top sirloin steak
  • 1 carrot, thinly julienned
  • 2 oz daikon radish, thinly julienned
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbl rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine the mayo and sriracha, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, canola oil, 1 tbl sugar, garlic and pepper in a bowl. Add the flank steak. Cover, refrigerate and allow to marinate for atleast 4 hours.
  3. Combine the carrot, daikon, remaining sugar, salt, and rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Cover, refrigerate and allow to pickle for 4 hours. Turn once during this process. Drain.
  4. Heat a skillet to medium. Sear the steak for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain.
  5. Cut open the rolls, spread the cut top side with half the spicy mayo mix and the bottom half with 1 tbl of liverwurst.
  6. Top with the beef and the pickle mixture. Repeat with the other bun. Serve.

Serves two bon ami. Each serving (without bun) contains 216 calories, 10.8 grams fat, 1.4 grams fibre, 8.7 grams carbs, and 20.3 grams protein. Check out that protein! This is a great post workout treat.

Lentil Sliders

A few weeks ago my husband and I went out to a vegetarian style restaurant with some gaming buddies of ours called Rebar. You may have heard of them, they have a cookbook that many people swear by. I ended up ordering their almond burger. It was quite tasty and did not disappoint….especially with it’s topping of aioli and alfalfa sprouts. I love alfalfa sprouts…my dad used to call them frog hairs…which made me love them more…I was a very strange little girl. I remain a very strange girl ofcourse. I had been toying with the idea of a lentil slider for some time and this burger inspired me to add almonds. I loved the texture that the almonds in their burger gave. It definitely was that last missing touch to the slider I’ve been aiming for. So, thank you Rebar for the inspiration! Remember, it is good for yourself and the environment if you have atleast one meat free meal a day.

  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 3 tbl dry couscous
  • 5 crimini mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 4 tbl sliced almonds
  1. Cook the lentils according to the directions on the package. This is usually 1 1/2 cup of water and lentils simmering for 12 minutes or so.
  2. Using a blender, combine the garlic, mushrooms and half of the still hot lentils.
  3. Pour into a bowl. Add the sliced green onions, dry cous cous, carrots, almonds, and remaining lentils. Stir until well combined. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Form the mixture into 10 slider patties. Freeze for atleast 4 hours.
  5. Grill or pan fry, usually about 2 minutes per side.

Makes 10 lentil sliders. Each contain (without bun or toppings) 48 calories, 1.3 grams fat, 7.2 grams carbs, 1.8 grams fibre, and 2.2 grams protein. Great served as an open face slider topped with a bit of light mayo mixed with sriracha sauce. Num! In fact these are so nice and light why not serve them as a lovely trio outside?

Hardcore Hobbit: Flounder with Bacon

Well, sure we don’t exactly need warming against the cold of Forochel this time of year but doesn’t a piece of bacon wrapped flounder just sound tasty? How about grilling that piece of bacon wrapped flounder? How about we just say BACON wrapped flounder one more time. *cough* Bacon *cough*. In LOTRO this dish is made using water, BACON (o.k. I was on a bacon kick yesterday), seasonings, and flounder. My husband and I once again collaborated on this one…after all he is the grill master around here. The water part of this recipe eluded me so we made this using frozen flounder. There, water in the ice. Actually using this fish still frozen helped us wrap it in bacon and season it without having it fall apart. If you are using fish from Forochel I’m sure it comes pre-frozen anyways.

  • 2 flounder fillets, still frozen
  • 4-6 strips bacon (I recommend 2 strips of bacon per filet)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  •  1/2 tsp white pepper, freshly ground
  1. Add the bacon to a medium hot pan and cook for a minute. Just enough to partially cook the bacon.
  2. Brush the fillets with the avocado oil.
  3. Sprinkle the rosemary and white pepper on both sides.
  4. Wrap the bacon around the filet and secure each slice with a toothpick.
  5. Cook the fillets on a grill for about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately. These are great served with some mini gem potatoes cooked in a foil packet on the grill.

Serves 2. Each serving contains (3 oz flounder piece and 2 strips bacon) 172 calories, 7.5 grams fat, 24.4 grams protein, no carbs and no fibre. Get that fibre in using a high fibre side dish and a nice veggie dish. Enjoy!

Hardcore Hobbit: Marinated Chicken Cutlet

With all the craziness that has been going on here it is so nice to be making a hardcore hobbit recipe again. This time I made a nice simple ingredient level recipe. The marinated chicken cutlet in the game is made from green onion, fine seasonings, and chicken. So easy! I find if I see something that contains green onion I tend to go asian. This time I challenged myself to resist that temptation. The end result was delicious and oh so juicy. Once again I marvel at the pretty grill marks that my husband achieved on the grill.

  • 1 green onion
  • 1 long peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbl white wine
  • 1 tsp extra virgin avocado oil
  • 2 garlic scapes or 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbl slivered or sliced almonds
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  1. Combine the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour over the raw chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Cook using desired method. We went with grilling, definitely a recommended choice.

Isn’t that green bright? It reminds me of spring. Love it. Serves 2. Each serving contains 137 calories, 1.8 grams fat, .3 gram fibre, .7 carb, and 27.5 grams protein. This assumes you leave only a bit of the marinade on during the cooking process.

Hardcore Hobbit: Onion and Mushroom Omelet

Cooked to perfection! In the game this particular omelet is made with mushrooms, chicken egg, green onion and mixed herbs. This just sounds like a great way to start the day or even enjoy a light dinner! To me there is just something so elegant about enjoying a nice light omelet for dinner with a nice glass of white wine….candlelight is required ofcourse. Better yet, a fireplace nearby. Can you envision it too? A beautiful way to shut out the modern world for a bit. Omelets are so beautifully fluffy on their own but this time I wanted to pair it with a bit of a light fluffy mushroom foam. What hobbit would turn down extra mushroom on their mushroom omelet? Indeed.

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp skim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 crimini mushrooms, slice 2 leave rest whole
  • 1 tbl white wine
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • a splash chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1 garlic scape, sliced thinly
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  1. Combine the egg, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until light and foamy.
  2. Heat a small or medium pan to medium. Add the garlic scapes, green onions, and sliced mushrooms. Stir constantly cooking for just one minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Spray the pan and add the egg mixture. Allow to cook one minute, cut into it to allow more of the egg to leak through the bottom and cook. Careful you don’t scramble! Allow to cook another minute.
  4. While the egg mixture cooks combine the whole mushrooms, soy sauce, white wine, stock, thyme and rosemary in a blender. Blend until a foam forms.
  5. Place the previously cooked onion mixture on half of the omelet.
  6. Fold the uncovered slide over carefully. Slide the completed omelet off the pan and top with the mushroom foam.

Serves 1. The serving contains 131 calories, 5.4 grams fat, 3.2 grams carbs, .8 gram fibre, and 18.4 grams protein. Filling, elegant, and tasty!

Hardcore Hobbit: Pork Chop

Juicy, tender pork chops oh my yes. I usually have a tough time with pork chops, I really am not their biggest fan so I put this one off for awhile. Then I found these beautiful butterflied pork loin chops on sale. The time to make a pork chop I actually enjoyed was now. In the game pork chops are made with salt, pork chops, and cauliflower. The first thing that came to mind was to do a brine. I hear so many good things about doing a brine before grilling. I have now learned that these things are completely true. Wow! I loved this pork chop. I will be doing brined pork chops from now on. It was juicy, flavourful, and well…tastylicious! I never thought I would say that about a pork chop. These pork chops also displayed what I think are the prettiest grill mark lines I have ever seen my husband do. Was it the magic of the brine or was it the awesomeness of husband….only the grill knows what happened out there. It is not talking.

  • 2 centre loin butterflied pork chops about 4 ounces each
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbl kosher salt
  • 2 tbl brown sugar
  • 1 tbl molasses
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 long peppercorn or half tsp peppercorns
  • 2 cup ice cubes
  • 2 cup cauliflower
  • 2 tbl margarine
  • 4 tbl chicken stock (added slowly to achieve desired texture)
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the water, salt, sugar, molasses, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorn in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the burner and add ice cubes.
  2. Once the brine is cool, place the pork chops in a bowl and pour the brine over them. Refrigerate for atleast 2 hours but no more than 12 hours.
  3. Preheat the grill to high then reduce to medium. Oil the grill and remove the chops from the brine placing them on the grill. Discard brine. Allow to sear for two minutes on each side. Then cook on each side for 3 minutes.
  4. While the chops are cooking bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes or less. Drain. Add the margarine and rosemary and smash. If you want a smoother texture slowly add chicken stock 1 tbl at a time while you mash. Season to taste.

Serves 2. Each serving contains 281 calories, 10.2 grams fat, 8.4 grams carbs, 2.5 grams fibre, and 37.2 grams protein. Oh what tasty happiness these pork chops with a side of rosemary cauliflower be. On a side note, rosemary mashed potatoes are tasty with this too, for those not fond of cauliflower.

Psst, want to know what long peppercorns look like…

They have a bit more of a woodsy and spicier taste than your usual peppercorn. They are a lot of fun to work with. If you see some, acquire!! You can usually find them in Indian grocery stores. You often see them in pickles, Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. Err….I mean….from just beyond the shire ofcourse.

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette

A good wander over to the farmers market yielded these tasty little gems called garlic scapes or garlic greens. These are basically the flower stem of a garlic bulb. They give you that garlic flavour without too much garlic bite. They have a really short season though so grab them when you can! They do freeze nicely though. I love garlic dressings, my mom makes a Croatian salad that I just adore that has a lovely simple garlic dressing. In my opinion the bitier the better. For those who want milder garlic joy though a garlic scape dressing would definitely be the way to go.

  • 3 garlic scapes or more, chopped
  • 1 cup vinegar of choice (in this version I used malt)
  • 1 tbl extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Add the ingredients to a blend and blend until smooth.

I love how simple salad dressing can be! Makes 8 servings (2 tbl each). Each serving contains 19 calories, 1.1 gram fat, no fibre, no protein, 3 grams carbs. Aren’t those the best salad dressing nutritionals ever? It doesn’t take much to go far with this dressing. Now that salad season is upon us this is definitely the time to hit the farmer’s market and get those ingredients to start making your own dressings and salads!