Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kale & Orzo Salad

Sadly I don't have any pictures of this salad, but there are so many things to love about it! For one, it includes kale, a difficult vegetable to eat raw due to its tough texture and bitter aftertaste, but one loaded with vitamins, fibre and other nutrients. Soaking the kale in lemon juice and chopping it in small pieces makes this a salad-lover's dream. This recipe includes everything under the kitchen sink, so you get a great mix of flavours as a result. I didn't have hemp seeds or sun-dried tomatoes, so I left them out this time. The salad was still deeeeeelish.

Adapted from:

Serves 8

  • 5 cups kale leaves, stems removed
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin 2-inch matchsticks
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 t turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • ½ cup toasted nuts, such as almonds or macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomato strips
  • 2 T toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked orzo pasta
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Flaky sea or kosher salt, to taste

Slice kale into thin strips, cutting crosswise. The result should be about 2- to 4-inch strips. Place these in a bowl with the lemon juice. Rub the juice into the kale and let sit for 2 to 4 hours in the fridge. Place sliced onions into a bowl with balsamic vinegar and let marinate for at least one hour.
Remove onions from vinegar and discard any liquid left at bottom of bowl. In large serving bowl, toss kale with onions, carrots, celery, oil, cumin, turmeric and pepper.
Add sunflower and hemp seeds, nuts, cherries or cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes, sesame seeds, sesame oil and orzo. Toss again.
Add feta cheese and toss lightly to disperse ingredients throughout the salad rather than leaving them sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Taste and add salt, tossing lightly to combine. 

Grilled Pork & Noodle Salad with Basil, Cilantro & Mint

The sambal oelek was a gift from my soon-to-be mother-in-law and its flavour is distinct. Nonetheless, you could substitute this with chili sauce if need be. If you don't have a mandolin, please put this on your list of must-haves next to good health and working organs. A mandolin is simply a chopping device that makes repetitive, thin-cut work all the more pleasant. It's typically a $30 tool although I went all out and bought the $60 version.  

Serves 6

Adapted from: Martha Stewart Living's April 2011 edition

  • 2 t sambal oelek 
  • 3 T plus 2 t nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1 T plus 1t of safflower oil
  • 1, 14 oz pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 T finely chopped red chili
  • 5 oz rice vermicelli
  • 1 english cucumber sliced in thin strips lengthwise (preferably with a mandolin)
  • 1/2 large carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 1 small shallot sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

Rub sambal oelek, 2t nam pla and 1t oil over pork to coat completely. Let marinate in refrigerator, covered for at least one hour. Heat grill to high. Grill pork, rotating often, until charred on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 140F; about 20 minutes. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Whisk together remaining 3T name pla, 1T safflower oil, lime juice, sugar and chile in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and add to the bowl with sauce.  Thinly slice port on the bias and add to bowl along with cucumbers, carrot, shallot and chopped herbs. Toss well to coat.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cilantro, Celery & Almond Salad

This unassuming salad would bode well as a clean ending to a rich meal. I added more raisins than the original recipe required because the added sweetness just gave it a bit more kick.

Serves 4

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine April 2011 edition

  • 6 celery stalks
  • 2 cups of cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T plus 1 t lemon juice
  • Coarse salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss to coat the veggies with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add additional salt if required.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tourteau de Chevre with Raspberry Sauce

The first slice was nice, but I wasn't completely sold on this dessert. After the second slice, I had more of an appreciation for it. The third slice gave me a thorough understanding and finally the fourth slice really romanced me. 

This isn't a cheesecake nor is it particularly sweet. It is a mild tart-like cake that is best served with something sweet. I prepared a raspberry sauce with it, but have seen other recipes use drizzled honey, ice cream and liqueurs as an accompaniment. Use your imagination.


Serves 8

Tart Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 6 T very cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t ice water
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the processor and pulse a few times to blend. Scatter bits of butter over the flour and whir several times to blend. Scatter the bits of butter over the flour and pulse several times, until the butter is coarsely mixed into the flour. Beat the egg with the ice water and pour it into the bowl in 3 small additions, whirring after each one. You’ll have a moist, malleable dough that will hold together when pinched. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball, and flatten it into a disk.
Chill the dough for at least 3 hours.
  • Filling
5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 T sugar
9 ounces soft goat cheese
3 T cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a circle that’s about 10 1/2 inches in diameter. Fit the dough into the springform pan, pressing it against the bottom and up the sides. It will pleat and fold in on itself as it climbs the side—do the best you can to straighten it out, but don’t worry about it, since perfection is impossible here and not really important. Put the springform in the fridge while you make the filling.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites with the salt until they start to form soft peaks. Still whipping, gradually add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and beat until the whites hold firm, but still glossy peaks. If the whites are in the bowl of your stand mixer, transfer them gingerly to another bowl.
With the mixer—use the paddle attachment now, if you’ve got one—beat the egg yolks, goat cheese, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and vanilla until very smooth and creamy, about a minute or two. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir one quarter of the whites into the mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest of the whites. Scrape the batter into the crust and put the springform on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350° F. Continue to bake for about 35 minutes more, or until the top, which will have cracked, is dark brown and firm; a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the sides of the springform. Cool the cake to room temperature before serving. The cake will deflate as it cools.

Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed & undrained
  • 1 1/2 t cornstarch
  • 1 t sugar
Press the juice out of the raspberries and set the berry pulp aside. Combine the juice, cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Serve with the pulp if desired.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peppercorn Tofu Stirfry

Serves 4

  • 2 T oil
  • 1 pkt (about 400g) tofu cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 1 t peppercorns
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T soya sauce 
Using a mortar and pestle grind the peppercorns and sugar, set aside.
Heat oil in a fry pan. Add the tofu and toss periodically until all sides are golden. Add the garlic and let saute for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the sugar snap peas, sprouts and green onion with the tofu mix. Saute for 3 minutes. Finally add the pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, and soya sauce. 
This can be eaten on its own, as a side, mixed with rice or noodles.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Halibut in a White Wine & Tomato Mix

Here's the other piece of my Billingsgate purchase: delicious halibut. I have made a version of this recipe before, although I'm not sure where the recipe came from. This was an attempt to recreate it from memory. The italian parsley was a nice touch, but spinach would be a great substitute. 

Halibut Tomato Melange

Serves 2


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • white wine...alot of it
  • 2 portions of halibut
  • 1, 540 ml can of diced tomatoes
  • bunch of italian parsley, stems removed and loosely chopped
  • 1, 540 ml can of pitted italian olives (I'd use half of the can next time)


Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add about a half cup of white wine and place the fish into the pan. Let the fish cook for about 4 minutes on each side. I added more wine as needed to act as a poaching base of sorts for the fish. Add the tomatoes and parsley and toss well with the onions and wine. Mix in the olives and remove the pan from the heat. Serve immediately.

Chinese Lobster Salad

Hell ya! This salad is definitely worth the investment! We stopped by Billingsgate Seafood Market on Saturday to pick up some quality seafood and that's exactly what we got. Along with about a half pound of lobster meat, we purchased two servings of halibut. The difference between what I typically buy at a grocery store and this seafood was noticeable. I would recommend the trip.

This lobster salad was found in the June, 2011 edition of Canadian House & Home magazine. The recipe calls for chow mein noodles (the crunchy-cracker style version). I picked up the wrong type, so the noodles might not appear as you would expect in this picture. 

Serves 6
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 small head of napa cabbage, shredded
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • 1/2 lb lobster meat chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup of chow mein noodles
  • 1 T toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds
  • 1, 284ml can of sliced mandarins
Combine the first five ingredients in a jar, shake well and set aside. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and the jarred dressing. Toss well and serve immediately.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Artichoke & Red Pepper Melt

Artichoke and Red Pepper Melt
Serves 2
Adapted from;

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, crust on the outside
  • 6 T hummus
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup artichokes, drained and chopped 
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 T mozzarella cheese (I found smoked mozza at the market and used this)
Divide toppings between the two bread slices in this order: hummus, red pepper, spinach, artichokes, and cheese.  Broil at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with cayenne and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

Revolving Door Hummus

What's in your fridge? That's typically what I ask myself before making hummus. Tahini, peanut butter, chili sauce, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, almond butter....this list could go on forever. I made hummus today to add to this artichoke and red pepper recipe, so I'll give you the ingredients I used for this particular batch.


  • 1, 540ml can of chick peas, rinsed
  • 2 T tahini
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 T of chili sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic


Combine in a food processor and blend until smooth. I added a bit of water to this mix to thin it out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Miso Glazed Salmon & Green Bean & Potato Salad with Miso Dressing

Just wanted to touch on a couple of things before I rave about these dishes. No wait, I'll begin with my raving. This meal was tasty. I'm not a big leftover salmon fan, but ate the cold leftovers at lunch all last week. Great combination of flavours! Now, back to the ingredients. 

Not everyone has miso paste or some of the other ingredients I've been using lying around. Hell, the potato salad recipe called for agave nectar and I had to look it up. Uh, ya that's not lingering in my pantry either folks! I ended up substituting the nectar for honey.

I went looking for a miso-based marinade because I had purchased miso paste for a soup recipe earlier in the year. The paste came in a 450ml container and typically one doesn't use miso more than a tablespoon at a time. Luckily miso appears to keep forever, since it is loaded with salt. If you don't have miso, you might want to reduce your sweet components (say 1/3 cup of sugar in lieu of a 1/2) and increase your soya sauce and mustard components by a tablespoon each. 

Another ingredient I've been seeing a lot of is this Sriracha sauce. If you don't have this at home, or think you've never used it, think again. Almost every Vietnamese restaurant I've visited has a bottle of this stuff on each table. You can find this at any conventional supermarket, but other chili sauces can be used in lieu of this particular brand. 

Miso Glazed Salmon

Adapted from:

  • 3 T sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow miso paste
  • 3 T Sriracha
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6, 6-oz salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set aside.
In a small nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, miso paste, Sriracha and garlic.
Place the salmon on the prepared baking sheet, and baste with the marinade. Broil 6 inches from the flame, basting the fish once more after 2-3 minutes. Broil for a total of 6-10 minutes, depending on the efficiency of your broiler.  Watch the fish carefully while you cook. The basting liquid is prone to smoking (or burning) because of the sugar in it.
Garnish with green onions and serve.

Green Bean & Potato Salad with Miso Dressing

4 servings
Adapted from:

  • 2 T yellow miso paste
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 cups watercress
  • 4 cups baby potatoes, boiled for 15 minutes, then sliced in half
  • 4 cups of green beans, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute
Place the miso paste, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, shallot, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor and pulse to combine.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the vinaigrette is emulsified.  Fold in the chives.

Place the watercress, potatoes, and beans in a large bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.