Archive for July, 2009

Japanese-style spinach

Have you ever had ohitashi, the spinach dish served in many Japanese restaurants? It’s steamed spinach with a sweet sauce, sometimes sesame, or miso, or both.

I’ve been making my own version of this dish for years, usually with spinach but sometimes with other steamed greens. I just had it for lunch with my Plan B spinach and thought I’d share it with you. And my apologies, I ate it all before I could take a picture.

Basically, I use equal parts miso, tahini and honey, but you can play with the proportions to adjust the flavour. Mix them together in a bowl then thin out with some water and toss with steamed spinach.

For a standard bunch of spinach, I use a teaspoon (by which I mean a cutlery teaspoon scooped in, not a well-measured 5 mL) of each ingredient and often end up with too much sauce. So maybe a proper teaspoon would do. As for quantities of spinach, I can quite happily eat a whole bunch on my own but it depends on your tastes and what else is on the menu. Enjoy!


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Peanut bars

I’m a big fan of Larabars, the all-natural energy bars made of dates, fruit and nuts, and recently tried the peanut butter cookie flavour, which is nothing but peanuts, dates and salt. It was really good, and not to cut into Larabar sales, but I figured I could make it at home just as well.

I had some Ontario peanuts in the cupboard that I’d bought at the market a few weeks ago, so I threw half a cup (mixed with some cacao nibs for flavour) and a couple of Medjool dates into my new spice and nut grinder (got it on sale at the Bay) – the food processor would have worked just as well (except perhaps for the cacao nibs), but I wanted to play with my new toy.

The verdict? Success! The proportion of dates should have been higher to make them less dry, but overall, I’m impressed with how easy they were to make. I do make my own energy bars from other recipes but this is the first time I’ve tried a simple one. And I love being able to make extra use of my local peanuts – I’m sure I can whip up some homemade peanut butter in my grinder too, with the addition of a bit of extra oil. Yum!

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had an aversion to cooked broccoli – I much prefer it still crunchy, cooked the Chinese way, if it’s cooked at all. So when I saw this recipe for broccoli slaw on smittenkitchen.com, I knew I had to have it. Twice this weekend, in fact.


Ontario broccoli is in stores (in Karma, at least), so I used that, and plain yogurt instead of the buttermilk because I didn’t want to buy buttermilk just for this recipe, although the commenters are so in favour of the dressing that I might have to one of these days. The first time I made it with dried cranberries, and it was excellent, but the second time I used dried cherries, instead, and it was phenomenal. These are cherries my mother dried at home, but you can get them in some stores, too. I recommend unsweetened as the tart flavour sets off the broccoli just so. I could also see dressing it up with some feta or another flavourful cheese. I’ll save that for tomorrow.


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