Chef and TV personality Christine Tizzard is taking us back to from-scratch cooking with her new cookbook, Honest to Goodness.

Starting with recipes for homemade yogurt and salt-free Mexican spice mix through to chocolate chip cookies, she offers home cooks 365 days worth of recipes with an emphasis on raw ingredients and whole foods. There's also been an effort by the Toronto-based (Newfoundland-born) chef to keep things simple.

"I want to help make your journey with food a little bit easier," Tizzard states in the book's introduction.

The recipes includes food facts and helpful tips for cooking everything from standards like Pot of Chili to healthful twists as in Beet Greens and Kale Seeded Salad (recipe follows). The collection of recipes is also multiculturally informed, from falafel to bulgogi to Sichuan 5-Spice Kabocha Wedges (recipe follows).

Handy for those on X-, Y- or Z-free diets, a legend indicates what isn't in each recipe. Vegan dishes, for example, are denoted with V (GF if they are gluten-free and NF for nut-free). Tizzard has also been mindful of added sugar with most recipes tagged as LS (low-sugar), even desserts.

Beet Greens and Kale Seeded Caesar Salad (GF, NF, LS)

I'll be honest, this is a more adult version of a Caesar salad.  However, toss this same dressing on romaine lettuce, croutons and bacon and you will have an another instant winner.  Come on, we have all been known to make a kid and adult version of the same recipe at dinnertime. I also have been able to eat this whole salad by myself in one sitting, and you may have more Seeded Caesar Salad Dressing than required for the one salad.  Don't worry, any extra dressing will be quickly used up as a dip for raw veggies or spread on tomorrow's sandwich. The seeds in this recipe make a creamy dressing and take the place of raw egg.  Nutritional yeast can be used instead of Parmesan cheese if you are trying to cut the fat as 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of Parmesan has 64 calories in comparison to nutritional yeast's 5 calories.

Makes 2 mains or 4 sides
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Special equipment needed: good blender or small food processor, salad spinner (optional)

1 bunch kale (leafy greens only), finely chopped
1 bunch beet greens, washed well, leaves finely chopped
3 beets, peeled and cut into wedges, roasted (optional; see Cool Fact below)
2–4 tbsp (30–60 mL) nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
2 tbsp (30 mL) raw sesame or hemp seeds, for garnish

Seeded Caesar Salad Dressing 
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) raw sesame or hemp seeds
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) water
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovies
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Prepare salad greens.  Got a salad spinner?  Use it.  If not, wrap washed leaves in a clean tea towel and gently shake off excess water.  Place in a large salad bowl. The drier the leaves the better the dressing will coat the greens.  Place greens in the salad bowl.
2. In a blender or small food processor, combine all ingredients for the dressing, except salt and pepper, and blend until you have a thick and creamy dressing.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour half the dressing over the greens and massage with your hands until the greens are coated and slightly limp.  Taste and add more dressing if needed.
4. Serve with roasted beet wedges (if desired), seeds and a sprinkle more of nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese.

Beet Green Tips
When buying beets, buy the ones with the greens attached.  These greens, like radish greens (which can be eaten as well), tend to be sandy and will require a good wash.  Store washed greens in a plastic bag or container. Vegetables like carrots and beets go rubbery quickly if you leave their tops attached. Trim tops before storing.  The tops and leaves will suck the moisture out of the roots for themselves.

Cool Fact: Peels slip off roasted beets easily 
To roast beets, place washed, trimmed, unpeeled beets in a double-layer foil package with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil drizzled overtop.  Seal the package and roast at 425 F (220 C) for 45 minutes to an hour, until fork tender.  For more flavour, add a few garlic cloves, sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme to the package.  When the beets are cool their peels will slip off easily.

Next: Sichuan 5-Spice Kabocha Wedges

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