Category: asian

Cook the Cover (Fennel & Cabbage Salad with Sesame and Orange)

Monday: walking on the mountain while wearing a cute summer dress and sandals.
Tuesday: cleaning the snow off my car while wearing a winter coat, mittens and boots.
Ah, a  common Montreal “spring”.  
With our weather being quite literally bipolar, it’s hard enough knowing which tires we should have on, let alone what kind of meals we should be preparing. Light and healthy, or hearty and comforting? Sweet and tangy or salty and savory? Seeing as I’m as indecisive as Mother Nature, I want a meal that satisfies all of the above.
Canadian Living’s May cover recipe features deliciously savoury chicken (or tofu!) on a bed of peppery cabbage and sweet fennel, tossed together with a comforting dressing (hello honey mustard!) and topped with bright segments of tangy orange. Yes, it is possible to have it all! 
I enjoyed this dressing so much that I ended up making a double batch of it. I used it as a dip for fresh veggies the next day, and I used the last little bit as a sandwich spread. Using a grainy mustard gave it a nice kick. Also to note: I only have Vegenaise in my fridge, and it worked in the place of mayo. If you want to make this fully vegan, sub some agave for the honey, and you’re all set. 
If you’re going the tofu route, use the same quantity as you would chicken, and cut it into strips. I suggest you double, or even triple, the dressing and marinate the tofu in it about an hour before for ultimate flavour. Pan-fry until browned and sprinkle with sesame. For the complete recipe, (salad, dressing, chicken and all!) click here: Canadian Living: Sesame Chicken and Orange Salad
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This post is featured on Canadian Living’s website this month! See it here:

Summer Slaw (Creamy Sesame Coleslaw)

Any time that I feel as if I’ve overeaten, or when I’ve drank too much, I find myself attempting to compensate the following day by consuming ridiculous amounts of vegetables, taking multivitamins, and drinking green smoothies.

Today has been one of those days.
The only problem? I was super hungry, and craving something creamy.
My fridge brimming with a medley of fresh fruits and veggies, I concluded that a salad with a creamy dressing would perfectly satisfy this craving all while ensuring that my veggie intake for the day remained at an all-time high.

Inspired by a bagged Asian-style salad that I tried out recently, I decided to make a creamy asian coleslaw – and to take it up a notch, I made it vegan! Now, I know what you non-vegans are thinking. How can you make something creamy without actual cream? The answer to this perplexing question- Vegenaise and tahini – a match made in vegan heaven!

Creamy (Vegan!) Sesame Coleslaw
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need 

for the salad
2 cups chopped mixed cabbage greens
1/2 cup asian-style fried noodles (such as these: La Choy Chow Noodles)
4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
4 tbsp slivered roasted almonds

for the dressing
4 tbsp Vegenaise
2 tsp tahini
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar
salt & pepper to taste

how to do it
Combine cabbage, noodles, cilantro and almonds. Whisk dressing ingredients together until creamy. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.

Note: if preparing ahead of time, only add noodles in just before serving, otherwise they will be soggy. Nobody likes a soggy noodle.

Honey Garlic Brussels Sprouts with Almonds

Prior to last year, Brussels Sprouts and I had never crossed paths. Perhaps it was because I was brought up thinking that these little green spheres were meant to taste putrid, and that I should avoid them at all costs. (In reality, I think it was just because my mother didn’t like them herself.) Whatever the case, I discovered cabbage’s baby cousins while on holiday abroad, and I have been eating them happily ever since. 
Lately, I’ve been hum-ho while cooking (aka, lazy) and eaten most of my veggies straight-up steamed. Tonight however, I decided that it was time to spruce things up. A gander into my fridge led me to throw in a dash of this, a sprinkle of that, and before I knew it, voila! A delightful honey garlic sauce was born.

Honey Garlic Brussels Sprouts with Almonds
an original recipe by allison sklar
what you’ll need
2 cups brussels sprouts
4 tbsp honey
1 medium head garlic
1/4 cup slivered almonds
sea salt & black peppercorns
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp olive oil
how to do it
chop brussels sprouts into thin pieces. chop garlic into large chunks. whisk together oils and honey. toss mixture with brussels sprouts into a large frying pan. over medium-low heat, cook until desired tenderness is reached (about 10 minutes). If brussels sprouts begin to brown too quickly, toss in 2 to 4 tbsp of water and cook until water evaporates. sprinkle with desired amounts of salt and pepper just before serving. 

Dress Up (Sweet & Tangy Sesame Dressing)

I am aware that you don’t make friends with salad, however… nobody’s ever said that you don’t make friends with salad dressing! This dressing, my friends, is heaven in a mason jar. This dressing, my friends, will make even those salad-haters (you know who you are), want to eat salad. This dressing, my friends, could even be used on things other than salad. (OH! THE POSSIBILITIES!).

This dressing is it.


Having gotten myself into the daily habit of coming home to eat organic carrots dipped straight into the tahini jar, proceeding to declare that this indeed consists of an acceptable dinner (because, you know, it’s summer, and really, who wants to turn on the oven, or move more muscles than needed?) I’ve  decided that I should use my newfound love of sesame paste to experiment.

Inspired by the dwindling contents of my fridge, some vegetables that needed to be consumed, and a craving for something nutty, I concocted this sesame-soy-blow-your-mind-baby.
World, I introduce to you the best salad dressing in existence.
Oh yeah, and the salad I made is pretty decent too.

Sweet & Tangy Sesame Dressing 
on Beet & Citrus Salad

what you’ll need


salad:
1 cup arugula
1 medium beet, sliced thin
1 tangerine, segments cut in half
2 tbsp hulled sunflower seeds
4 radishes (if desired)

dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
3 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce


how to do it


Combine all salad ingredients. Whisk dressing ingredients all together. Pour about 5 tbsp of dressing over salad, or more, to taste. 

Three Minute Masterpiece

Rice wraps.
If you haven’t done so already, I strongly urge you to get on the bandwagon.

Light and easy to work with, rice wraps are a fail safe go-to anytime that I need a quick-fix meal. Thanks to their neutral taste, they can be stuffed with pretty much anything that you desire. I could imagine them filled with any savory meal that you’d normally eat as a salad – for instance, some seared strips of steak and raw spinach. Or, for the vegetarian, tofu, ginger, carrots and sprouts. You can even venture to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and make desert rolls, filling them with a fruit salad and dipping them in chocolate. When I make them, my preference has generally been sushi-inspired. The other day, I had a fishepiphany – why don’t I make a bagel-inspired one? I am from Montreal afterall…

Ah! There she is – the above photo was taken pre-wrap, of course. A true beauty: avocado, alfalfa sprouts, Coho smoked salmon, cream cheese and toasted sesame seeds. As a bonus, since the rice papers each contain only 45 calories and 0 grams of fat, I was able to enjoy all of the best parts of my Sunday morning bagel, without any of the usual carby guilt. 
My favorite part about these wraps is that they look ridiculously impressive – and only take a couple of minutes to throw together. For real: this little baby took me three minutes total! A three minute masterpiece…. I’ll now title this blog post accordingly. 

Rice Wraps

An original recipe by Allison Sklar
what you’ll need
  • Rice paper (available in the Asian/Sushi section of the supermarket, or in any Asian food shop)
  • any combination and/or all of the following:
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 package shredded pollock (or real crab meat, if you swing that way)
  • 4 slices smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with a few drops cayenne pepper sauce (spicy mayo)
  • soy sauce, or more spicy mayo for dipping

how to do it 

Thoroughly wet rice paper on a large plate with warm water. Let soak for about 3 minutes or until soft enough to work with. Place on a dry plate for 30 seconds. Place ingredients in the middle of the wrap. Fold in ends, then wrap like you would a tortilla. (Let sit for a few minutes to dry if it is too wet. Wrap should not be slippery, but slightly sticky.) Cut in half and EAT!