Rosemary & Balsamic Beef Fillet on Garlic, Arugula Pesto Crostini + Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Cashew, Parmesan Salad

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A variation on some recipes I found in my ‘Plenty’ and ‘Relaxed Cooking by Curtis Stone’ cookbooks. I’ve written out the recipes in the flow that I did them, including the variations I improvised with. You may find a different way works for you, or you may even want to substitute some ingredients… but I heartily recommend you try at least the crostinis with arugula pesto – so yummy!

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • Mixed greens/mescaline
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cashews/pistachios/nut of your choice
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
Crostinis:
  • Baguette
  • 1 lb beef tenderloin/beef you can slice
  • Rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder or chopped garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
Arugula Pesto:
  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Walnuts or pine nuts (I used walnuts)
  • Parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Salt
STEPS
Arugula Pesto:
beef2Wash a big handful of arugula and place it in a food processor with a few tablespoons of olive oil, pepper, and your walnuts/pine nuts. Put the lid on and mix. If it doesn’t mix to a paste put a bit more olive oil in and try again.
Then add 2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and mix again.
Set aside.
 
Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Cashew & Shaved Parmesan Salad:
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  •  Grill the Zucchini: Turn the heat up high on your griddle/sandwich press. As it heats, wash the zucchini then slice and coat it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini when the griddle is hot. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Roast the Nuts: Place the nuts in a skillet and heat it on Medium to toast them. Shake the pan every so often to prevent burning. Remove from heat when they’ve browned a bit and set aside to cool.
  • Prep the Salad Greens: Wash and drain the salad (I highly recommend a salad spinner for this) and place in a bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and balsamic over the leaves, then grate some pepper, and mix.
  • Mix ‘Em Together: Throw on the zucchini, nuts, and grate some Parmesan on top.
It’s now ready to serve.

Crostini – Preparing the Bread:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Thinly slice the baguette and arrange on a pan. Drizzle some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder (or chopped garlic) on top. Heat in oven for about 5 mins (or until bread starts to brown). Turn off the oven but leave the bread in there to keep warm until the beef is ready.

Beef:
beef4Heat a skillet to medium-high.
Slice the beef thinly and coat it in some olive oil, a light drizzle of balsamic, some salt and pepper and rosemary. (If you’re using fresh rosemary pull the leaves off the sprigs.)
Line the pan with the beef, let it cool a minute or two then flip. The goal is to sear and cook it while still leaving a bit of pink in the middle.
Remove from heat.
To assemble the crostinis:
You can either pre-assemble all of them or place the pesto, hot bread and beef at the centre of the table for diners to help themselves to (which is what I did).
Here’s what you do:
– Spread some pesto on a slice
– Put some beef on it
– Put a bit more pesto on top
Savour the deliciousness!
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Falafel Salad

Commonly eaten in a pita, falafels are super tasty and work fantastically as the star of a salad.

To prepare them at home, you don’t have to make the falafel mix from scratch– So far  I’ve found microwaveable pre-formed balls (top photo, from the Loblaws vegetarian section by the fresh produce) and a box mix that you just add water to and fry (second photo, from the Loblaws isles).

I prefer a bit of crunch to my falafel, so the fry mix was more to my taste (compared to the softer microwaved ones). The microwaveable falafels are definitely easier to prepare, but they’re both really simple. Choose which you prefer and just follow package instructions!

Tip: If you choose to fry your own, make sure the oil is *really* hot first, or else your falafels will just fall apart as they fry.

** As for the “salad” part, add whatever veggies you like!

In the top photo, I used lettuce, red pepper, yellow pepper and tzatziki.

In the bottom photo, I used parsley, carrot (just shredded on), tomato and tzatziki.

* You can find a super simple tzatziki recipe under the Tookies “Sauces and Dips” category.


Enjoy!

Cauliflower, Eggplant (Chickpea) & Tofu Curry


This week as I shopped for groceries, I tried to think of something new I could make. Somehow the idea for a cauliflower and eggplant curry floated into my mind, and I thought I’d give it a shot. When I got home, I smelled a bunch of my spices and set aside the ones I felt worked for what I wanted, and I decided on the ratios based on the taste I had in mind. I’d picked up some tofu for miso soup earlier, and the decision to add it in was totally last minute. All-in-all, it worked out quite nicely! My parents were scrambling for seconds from the pot after I gave them some to try.

A suggestion: Try adding half a can of chickpeas in with the vegetables. They’d go great with the flavour of this dish.– I wish I’d thought of doing that earlier!

Cauliflower, Eggplant (Chickpea) & Tofu Curry

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into ~ 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into little “trees”
  • 1/2 can chickpeas (if you like)
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 5 tablespoons sunflower oil + 2 tablespoons
  • ~ 250 g med-firm or firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cream (I  used a 5% that “tastes like 10%”)
  • approx. 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a large pot, heat the 5 tablespoons of oil (on medium heat). Add onions and stir.
Once onions begin to become translucent, add water, cauliflower and eggplant (and chickpeas if you choose).
Cover with lid until cauliflower softens (a few minutes).
Add the curry, coriander and garam masala and stir until everything is coated and yellow.
Cover and let steam for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cream and salt & stir well.
Turn off stove and let stand on warm burner with lid on.

To prepare the tofu:
Drain the water, use a dish cloth to gently soak up excess water from the tofu.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small nonstick pan over medium heat.
Cut tofu into 1 inch pieces.
Place tofo onto hot pan, sprinkle liberally with cornstarch, and cook until each side has a golden colour (4-5 mins each side).
** Be gentle with the tofu because it’s delicate and will break apart if handled roughly.

Next:
Stir pot well, add tofu, stir again lightly to coat and serve!

Goes great with Naan or on a bed of rice.