Yum Yum: Gwyneth Paltrow’s "My Father’s Daughter"

We’re always on the lookout for cookbooks that offer healthy fare that don’t skimp on flavour – not always an easy task. When we heard Gwyneth Paltrow was releasing a cookbook we were a bit skeptical. Actors aren’t necessarily known for their chops in the kitchen, after all.

After hearing some great buzz about GOOPy’s book, we decided to give it a whirl and oh boy – are we glad we did. Recipes run the culinary gamut, from salad dressings to fried oyster po’boys to vegetarian paellas, and most have a “make vegetarian/vegan” suggestion. If you’re looking for red meat or pork, you’re in the wrong book. If you’re a seafood or poultry lover then we highly suggest picking My Father’s Daughter up.  

Here are two of the recipes we tried the other night. Gwyneth suggested serving these together, so we did. Enjoy.

Best Stir-Fried Chicken
serves four

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp cornstarch
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup peeled and minced garlic
1/4 cup peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup minced green scallions (white & green parts)
Pinch red chili flakes (optional)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Toss the chicken with cornstarch, a large pinch of salt and quite a bit of pepper.  

Heat oil in large, non-stick wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and chile flakes (if using) and cook, stirring, for one minute.  

Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. 

Add the vinegar, sugar, and five or six grinds of black pepper. 

Boil on high for three minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the whole mixture is dark brown and sticky and lovely. 

Add the soy sauce, and cook for another 30 seconds. Serve immediately over fried rice (recipe below), sprinkled with cilantro. 

Photo via GOOP herself.

Fried Rice with Kale and Scallions
serves four

1/2 pound kale, stems discarded
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 large scallions, cut into 1/8-inch diagonal slices
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce

Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin ribbons (chiffonade). Steam the kale for 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. 

Add the garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, being careful not to brown the garlic. 

Raise the heat to medium and add the steamed kale and scallions. 

Cook for two minutes and then add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring. 

Add the soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds more.

Health in a bowl.
Photo via Milk & Mode

Yum, yum: Quinn’s Irish Lamb Stew

One of the best St. Patrick’s Day parties in the city can be found at Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar. This Thursday, this authentic Irish pub (owner Gavin Quinn came to Canada from Ireland) will have live Irish music, dancing and all the Irish fare you could possibly eat in one day.

Here’s one of their great recipes from chef Paul Pisa that you can whip up on your own if you can’t make it down to the Sheraton Center.

Lamb and Guinness Irish Stew
Photo by R. O’Brien.
6 to 8 servings
Ingredients:
2 lbs lamb shoulder                                            
3 Tbsp. oil                                                               
2 Tbsp. flour                                                           
2 large onions, coarsely chopped                          
1 large clove garlic, crushed (optional)           
2 Tbsp tomato puree (dissolved in 4 tbsp water)    
1 ¼ cups Guinness stout beer                                    
2 cups carrots, cut into chunks                              
1 sprig of thyme 
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (a pinch)
Fresh parsley, chopped
Preparation:
1.   Trim the lamb of any fat or gristle, then cut into cubes of 2 inches (5 cm) and toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil.
2.   Season the flour with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss the meat in the mixture.
3.   Heat the remaining oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add onions, crushed garlic, and tomato puree to the pan. Cover and cook gently for about five minutes.
4.   Transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole dish, and pour some of the beer into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan.
5.   Pour the mixture and remaining Guinness onto the meat; add the carrots and thyme.
6.   Cover the casserole dish and simmer very gently until the meat is tender, two to three hours. The stew may be cooked on stove-top or in a low oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Scatter with chopped parsley.

For more details on Quinn’s and its other fine establishments (Shopsy’s, PJ O’Brien and The Irish Embassy), check out quinnssteakhouse.com or follow them on Twitter. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!