Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mushroom, Barley & Brie Soup

You can bet that smoothy and salad posts will start to dominate this blog in about one week's time. Until then, why not load up a perfectly healthy soup with 6 oz of brie? After reading the original recipe, I could hear my digestive track cursing. It doesn't love dairy as much as my taste buds do. Despite the warning signs, my body didn't revolt. I hope that encourages those of you with dairy aversions to give this one a go.

On the mushroom front, I hit the Italian market again for produce and opted for a blend of Crimini and Shitake mushrooms. Both have a rich woody aroma and flavour. The kitchen permeated with this white wine and earthy scent. This is the kind of soup that really celebrates winter and gathering with friends and family. 

Adapted from:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 T fresh thyme
  • 1 t ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz brie, rinds removed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, shallots, celery and carrots and sauté for about two minutes. Add the barley and white wine and cook for another two minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, thyme, white pepper and mushrooms and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for 50 minutes. Fold in the brie and season further with salt and pepper. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

If you're looking for a guiltless cookie...if such a thing exists, I would nominate this chocolate crinkle variety. When I hunt for EBF recipes, I typically make my selection based on their associated photographs. It's the visual that draws me in and this recipe was no exception. The fact that it didn't have flour or butter in it struck me as a warning, but I made it anyways and am glad I did.

These cookies are little doses of intense chocolate flavour. The ingredient list will tell you that right away. They have a bit of a crunch to them, followed by a gooey, soft centre. This may be too much chocolate for some, but they're perfect for a chocolate lover like me.

The original recipe included a little almond extract, in addition to your choice of other flavours, like espresso, peppermint extract or orange peel. I opted not to include any of these features, but you may want to reconsider.

Adapted from:


  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate (65-70% cocoa)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 1/4 t salt


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Cut half of the chocolate into small chunks and set aside. Place the remaining chocolate in a double boiler or, if you don't have one, in a bowl that rests on top of a pot. Fill the pot with water, so that the water doesn't touch the base of the bowl sitting over it. Bring the water to a boil, allowing the chocolate to melt.

Prepare the dry ingredients by whisking a cup of the powdered sugar with the cornstarch, salt and cocoa into a medium-sized bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they start to form foam peaks. As the egg whites thicken, gradually add in a half cup of the powdered sugar. With your mixer on low, add in the whisked, dry ingredients with the egg whites. Follow with the melted chocolate and chocolate chunks until well combined.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place equal spoonfuls of the cookie dough into the sugar and coat them evenly. Transfer the cookies to your baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bean Week: Crushed Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

And this is part two! I even had a third bean dish on trial this week, but its recipe will have to wait for another day. This lentil dish is divine and an easy weeknight meal for those looking for a dish to prepare on a meatless Monday or any evening where time is tight.

If you are preparing this dish on a weeknight, prepare the lentils in advance and store them for another meal. I do the bulk of my cooking on Sunday and soak beans and/or prepare lentils for use later on in the week. By Wednesday or Thursday, the Sunday leftovers are gone, so the beans and lentils get thrown into salads, casseroles or dishes like this. These little numbers tide Ruedi and I over until the weekend.


Serves 4


  • 1 cup dried french lentils
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 of a small red onion, sliced
  • 4 eggs, boiled
  • smoked paprika to garnish each serving


To prepare the lentils, soak a cup of lentils in three cups of water for an hour, then simmer the lentils in the water for thirty minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a fry pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and cumin, allowing the garlic a chance to scent the oil. Toss in the tomatoes, half the cilantro and the lentils, stirring them to coat them in the oil and spices.

Stir in the tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for two minutes. Serve the lentils with boiled eggs on the side.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bean Week: Pumpkin Cornbread Baked Bean Casserole

I had to apologize in advance to my coworkers for this week's recipes. I knew they would lead to some tooty afternoons.

First up were the baked beans. I like the idea of this casserole and would make it again, but without the cinnamon in the corn bread mixture. I want either a neutral or cheesy-based bread topping over the beans, not a slightly sweet, cinnamon mixture. I get enough of the sweet this time of year without having to incorporate it into my entrees. My entry below doesn't include the syrup and cinnamon as with the original recipe. If you prefer to go with the original ingredients, just check out the link above the ingredients list. I also added bacon to the bean mixture. This isn't the first time I've seen a vegetarian recipe and decided it would be better with bacon. In fact, I hear vegetarians say that too.

Next up on bean week are crushed lentils: one of those vegetarian recipes I will file away in my stash of yummy vegetarian recipes.

Adapted from:


For the beans

  • 3 cups cooked beans (I used a mix of kidney and white ones)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • clove of garlic smashed
  • 1 1/2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T maples syrup
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 T whole grain mustard
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 lb bacon cooked and chopped
For the cornbread
  • 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree


Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat a saucepan on medium heat and follow with the onions and garlic until they are translucent. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and combine well, cooking for about 10 minutes.

Prepare the cornbread by mixing the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls.  Fold the two together and adjust the ingredients in order to get a batter that's not too runny or too mealy.

Ladle the bean mixture into a loaf pan and then follow with the batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Year of The Hash

I do love eggs. I had already eaten them for two meals today and was contemplating including them in a third when I decided to post this recipe. That yolky goodness adds dimension to any dish, which is why I've posted my fair share of egg dishes. It's also not the first time in recent history that I've tried a hash casserole. You can thank Jamie Oliver for this somewhat repetitive post. I'm now following him on Instagram and have been making nothing but Jamie's recipes ever since. Pictures really do sell a product and his are phenomenal. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Giant Veg Rosti


Serves 6

  • 600g potatoes
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g feta cheese


Preheat oven to 350F. Peel the potatoes and carrots and grate them either using a box grater or a grating attachment of a food processor. Add a pinch of salt and toss the mix well.  Set the potato, carrot mix aside to allow the salt to draw water from the vegetables. After a few minutes and using your hands, squeeze out as much water from the potatoes and carrots as you can.

In a bowl, combine the lemon, dijon, one-and-a-half tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.  In another bowl, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and toss in the potato and carrot mixture. Season the mix with salt and pepper and spread the mixture into a baking dish about 9" X 13". Roast the veggies for about 35 minutes or until they're golden on the surface.

To prepare the peas, either blanche them in boiling water for two minutes or microwave them for three. Add the peas and spinach to the bowl with the prepared dressing and toss well. Poach the eggs to your liking. I needed a little coaching from Jamie Oliver:
To finish the dish, place the salad on top of the hash, follow with the eggs and crumble the feta over the baking dish.

A few more eggs to go!

Hard Cider Braised Chicken

Apples and thick cut bacon trim chicken thighs along with a creamy cider-dijon sauce. It is rich to be sure, but you just can't be good all the time. For this recipe I ended up having to buy much more chicken than required and didn't have enough other ingredients to double the recipe. With the remaining chicken, I used some leftover wine to create a version of coq au vin and I was impressed with the results. That recipe will need a little refining, but I will attempt to get that out soon. This hard cider braised chicken is a delicious Sunday meal and makes for great leftover too!


Serves 4


  • 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 apples peeled, cored and cut into slices
  • 2 large shallots cut
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups hard apple cider
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 1 t stone ground mustard
  • 1 large sprig fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven and then add the chicken, skin side down and brown for five minutes each side until golden. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off all but two tablespoons of fat from the pan and return pan or dutch oven to the heat. Add apple wedges and sauté over medium heat until just the apples begin to brown. Remove the apples from the saucepan and set them aside. Add shallots and bacon to the saucepan until the bacon is cooked through and the shallots are soft. Slowly pour in the cider, whisking as it's being added in order to release the bacon bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the dijon, ground mustard, salt and pepper and blend it in with the existing ingredients. Add the chicken, sage and thyme to the liquid. Cover the pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Add apples to the pan and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove chicken and apples and tent with foil. Discard the thyme and sage from the mix. Return the dutch oven to the stove and bring the liquid to a simmer. Whisk in the cream and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then place the apples and chicken on a bed of egg noodles to serve.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Soups Galore

There is something decadent about serving two soups in one sitting. It must be the prospect of choice that gets me a bit excited. It's also pretty easy to make two at once, because the bases are usually similar. These two work well together and can be modified quickly with additional ingredients to suit your diet. I'm already planning to make the kale soup again with barley or noodles and some chicken so I can eat it as its own meal.

Lemony Kale & White Bean Soup


Serves 6


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 t dried rosemary
  • 1/4 t dried thyme
  • 1/8 t dried oregano
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • kosher salt or black pepper
  • 2, 15 oz  cans of cannelini beans
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped kale


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook until translucent and then follow with the garlic.Add the butter and as it melts, add the herbs. Let the mixture cook for another minute or two until the onions have browned a bit.

Add the lemon juice and stock, bringing to a boil and then lowering the heat to simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the kale and white beans and simmer for another 5 minutes to warm all the ingredients. Serve the soup with crust bread.

Spicy Tomato, Lentil & Chorizo Soup


Serves 4


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 chorizo, sliced
  • 3/4 cup of uncooked red lentils
  • rinsed 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1/2 t grated ginger
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for serving


In a sauce pot, heat the olive oil then add the onion, garlic and celery, cooking them until they're soft. Add all the spices, tomato paste, chorizo and lentils, mixing well until all the ingredients are well combined. Finally, add the stock and tomatoes, bringing the mix to a boil and then reducing to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Before removing from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with cilantro and more of that crusty bread.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Honey Garlic Chicken

After a trip to MEAT, a new barbecue restaurant in Edmonton, I went looking for a fried chicken recipes I could


Serves 4



  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • sea salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 cup panko crumbs

Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T soya sauce
  • 1 t sriracha
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped


Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray it with cooking spray. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Season well with salt and pepper. Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix them with a fork to combine the egg whites with their yolks. Pour the panko crumbs into a second bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, then the panko crumbs and place on the baking sheet. Once all of the chicken has been breaded, place the chicken in the fridge to allow the pieces to set. Heat the oven to 400F. When the oven is ready, remove the chicken from the fridge and bake it for 30 minutes.

To make the honey garlic sauce, whisk the honey, garlic, soya and sriracha together in a saucepan on medium heat. Combine the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Add the cornstarch mixture in with the sauce, mixing well.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from oven and toss the chicken in with the sauce.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spicy Potato Hash

I drove from Calgary to Edmonton yesterday afternoon and from jacketless to parka weather in just over 300 km. I'll never get over the unpredictable weather this province offers. So, while I mourn the loss of warmer temperatures, I will try focussing on the perks of winter: mainly, comfort food.  Here come the cozy stews, casseroles and hearty meals. Oh, and the wine! I look forward to the full-bodied reds that will accompany my weekend dinners.

This one-dish meal offers one a chance to use up those vegetables lurking in your fridge. If you've got leftover carrots, herbs and/or celery, adding them to the hash can only lead to good things. I added chilis too but if heat's not your bag, just omit them. I also threw in some eggs to use up the few I had remaining. I've got a soft spot for yolks that ooze over food and this casserole was a good platform for yolky eggs.

Adapted from:

Serves 6


  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 t canola oil
  • 2 medium yukon gold or white potatoes, diced
  • 2 medium red potatoes
  • 3 cups of chopped vegetables of your choosing (I used yellow and red peppers)
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green chilis, diced

Garnishes (pick a few)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 jalapeno 
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • lime wedges


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil on medium heat in a large cast iron skillet or pot if, like mine, your skillet isn't large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the onions, stirring well until they become translucent; about 5 minutes. Once cooked, mix in the spices until they are well combined with the onions. Toss in the potatoes and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they are edible, but not so soft that they can be mashed. Add a little oil or water if the potatoes start to stick to the base of the skillet. Once the potatoes are golden, add the beans, chilis, vegetables and a tablespoon of water and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. If you've used a skillet, transfer it to the oven to bake for about 10 minutes. I poured the hash from my pot to a large casserole dish before transferring it to the oven. After 10 minutes, remove the hash from the oven and crack a few eggs over the surface of the hash. Return the casserole to the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the eggs have had a chance to cook to your desired consistency.  Serve with some of the garnishes noted above.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower with Mushrooms

Side dish or entree: you pick. Add some sun dried tomatoes in olive oil for a touch of sweetness or swap out the watercress for cilantro to give the curry a bit more punch. There are any number of ways to modify this dish, but frankly, it was delicious without any additional ingredients. I served this as a side dish with a filet of cod and give the pairing two thumbs up.  


Serves 4 (as a side dish)


  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • handful of watercress leaves
  • 1 t curry paste 
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a bowl, add the tablespoon of olive oil, salt and cauliflower, tossing until the all cauliflower is coated with the oil.  Place the cauliflower on a cookie sheet and roast until golden; about 20 minutes. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the mushrooms in and toss until coated in the oil.  Saute the mushrooms for about 4 minutes and then set them aside. When the cauliflower is roasted, remove from the oven and combine it in a large bowl with the curry paste. Add the mushrooms, cashews and watercress and season the dish with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pasta Alternatives: Bacon Bolognese-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes & Zucchini Spaghetti

I recently came across two ideas for traditional pasta-based dishes that have omitted the pasta for other ingredients. If pasta doesn't sit well with you, these alternatives may help you enjoy some old Italian favourites. If you're just looking for something a little different, these recipes are also a little different.

Bacon Bolognese-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from:
Serves 8


  • 4 medium or 2 large yams/sweet potatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 500 g bacon 
  • 1 kg ground beef
  • 398 ml of tomato sauce
  • 1 T vegetable stock powder
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped


Cook the bacon in a frying pan or oven at 375F until crispy. Remove from the heat and chop finely when cooled. Set the oven to 450F.

In order to bake the sweet potatoes with the prettiest results, bake them whole after cleaning them with warm water and poking a few holes in them. I sliced my very large potatoes in half in order to reduce the amount of baking time. With this method, the exposed flesh develops a skin that needs to be removed and discarded before serving.

While the potatoes are baking, sauté the onions, garlic and other vegetables in oil on medium heat until translucent. Add the ground beef and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the beef has cooked through. Add the tomato sauce, stock powder and bacon, mixing well.  Once the potatoes are baked, cut each of them in half, vertically and scoop out the potato until only half an inch lines the skin. Combine the potato in with the bolognese mixture.

Scoop the bolognese into the potato skins until filled and top with parmesan cheese. Broil on high for 5 minutes. Remove and top with chopped basil.

As tasty as they look.

Zucchini Pasta Primavera

A friend of mine recently purchased the Paderno spiral slicer ( and has been raving about her re-inspired pasta dish that replaces spaghetti with zucchini noodles. Yep, the spiral slicer will give you long, spaghetti-like noodles from a zucchini. I had to give it a try. I wasn't interested in buying another appliance, but I had alternatives.

In the adjacent picture, I used the julienne slicing disc attachment on my KitchenAid food processor. I also experimented with a simple vegetable peeler and while neither tool gets the same results as the spiral slicer, it provides a viable substitute. This version is vegetarian, but my friend usually adds a few Italian sausages to her recipe. You need a good shot of protein in this dish to fill you up. I would add toasted pine nuts, or roasted chick peas if sausage doesn't work for you.

Adapted: From my head!

Serves 1


  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • handful basil, chopped
  • handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan to taste


Slice/grate the zucchinis using the tool of your choice. For the vegetable peeler, I left the skins on and kept the end on the zucchinis to give me something to grip while I peeled. For the julienne slicer, I also left the skin on, but cut the ends off each of the zucchinis.

Warm the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Sauté the garlic for a minute and then add the zucchini, tossing it thoroughly to coat it with the oil.  Let the zucchini heat up for about 2 minutes. I opted not to cook it further in order to keep the texture of the zucchini somewhat al dente. Too much heat time in the pan will also extract the water from the zucchini, causing the dish to get soggy. Add the tomato and basil, tossing well and remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beet & Potato Latkes

If you are one of the many who have become carb-conscious in recent years, you have reason to be. Studies comparing low fat, high carb, low calorie diets to low carb, high protein, high fat diets have shown that the low carb diet weight loss results were better, as were improvements in certain risk factors for coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Further detail can be provided here:

And here:

Also here:

Starchy vegetables are often targeted by the carb police as their glycemic index (GI), the rate at which carbs are absorbed into the blood stream, ranks high compared to other vegetables. A low GI ranges between 0-50, a medium GI ranges between 51-69 and a high GI from 70-100. Beets have a medium GI at 64, while potatoes rank higher, but the numbers provided via several studies vary considerably. I've found GI's ranging from between 58 to 111 just for russet potatoes as an example. For a sample GI index, check out this link:

Worth noting is that fiber is a form of carbohydrate which, in soluble form helps block the absorption of cholesterol. As fiber is indigestable, it can be deducted from the carb calculation of the food in question. 

Here's something else to consider: you need carbs. Carbohydrates are the body's way of providing fuel to its' cells and tissue.  About 130 grams per day is a good target to work towards.

With this in mind, I made myself a batch of beet and potato latkes yesterday. In addition to carbohydrates, potatoes cover a lot of other territory. A russet potato contains more potassium at 620 mg each than a banana, a serving of broccoli or spinach. It also provides a healthy dose of vitamins C and B6. Beets on the other hand are a good source of manganese and folate and help balance out the GI index of these latkes.

Now that we've overanalyzed these latkes, let's make and eat them.

Beet and Potato Latkes

Serves 4


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 large beets
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • coarse salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • chopped dill to serve
  • sour cream to serve


Prepare the vegetables by peeling and grating the potatoes and beets and finely chopping the green onions. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, beets and onions with the flour, salt and pepper. Add the eggs, mixing well until the egg covers all the ingredients. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. Add a scoop of the mixture about a 1/4 - 1/3 cup in size to the pan and flatten it to form a patty. Cook the patty for approximately 6 minutes on each side. I opted to cook my latkes for longer than the original recipe specified, because I was experimenting with using less heat on my cast iron pan. The result was less smoke and spitting while the latkes were on the stovetop. Add a handful of chopped dill and dollops of sour cream to the latkes when serving.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Soup & Salad: Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup with a Chorizo, White Bean & Arugula Salad

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day in the blah, blah, blah... Day one of Fall is here and I'm in a hearty soup mood to help kick off the season. I found both the soup and salad recipes online and as usual they can be adapted to suit any diet. The soup is vegan, as it uses a base of coconut milk and vegetable stock. I'm sure I've made blended soups with coconut milk before, but really enjoyed the richness it added to this particular recipe once combined with the toasted and smoky vegetables. I displayed the salad in a jar, since that's how I packed it for my lunches. Now that I've tried my first jarred salad as part of a packed lunch, I won't be going back. This storage method keeps all ingredients in good form and ready to mix when you're ready to eat.

The common thread in these recipes is the use of fennel. Tis the season for it and while not everyone loves the slight licorice taste of this root vegetable, I hope these subtle combinations will change your mind.

Roasted Cauliflower & Fennel Soup

Adapted from:

Serves 4-6


  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 2 medium heads of fennel
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic with skin on
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for drizzling


Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash then loosely chop the fennel and cauliflower florets. Chop the onion and then slice the tips off of the top of each the garlic clove, ensuring that the skin is left on on the rest of the garlic. Place all vegetables on baking sheets and roast them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the edges of the vegetables brown a little.

In a large pot, heat the coconut oil. Place the vegetables in the pot and toss them to coat them evenly with the oil. Add the stock and coconut milk and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender or food processor. Season with coarse salt and pepper and blend for another minute to mix in the seasoning. Drizzle each serving with a little olive oil and serve with crusty, buttered bread.

Chorizo, White Bean & Arugula Salad

Adapted From:

Serves 4


Four canning jars, approximately 750 ml each


  • 8 T olive oil
  • 3 t sugar
  • 4 t dijon mustard
  • 2 t honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  • One fennel bulb, sliced
  • Half a red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of white, kidney beans (I used canned and rinsed them)
  • 1/2 cup diced chorizo, salami or hearty cured meat of your choice
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 4 cups of arugula
  • Handful of dill, loosely chopped


For the salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour a quarter of the salad dressing into the bottom of each of four jars. For the salad, divide all the ingredients into four and assemble the salad in a jar, one layer at a time in the order provided.  Ensure the jars are transported right-side-up to ensure the ingredients stay crisp and fresh. When ready to serve, invert the jar and shake to mix the ingredients with the dressing.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pesto Isn't Just For Nuts Anymore

This may be obvious to some, but for the others, let me let you in on a little secret: Nuts can be substituted for other seeds in many of your favourite recipes...Ta-da!! I suspect this revelation was left out of the Bible because it stirred up too much controversy.

Pesto is one of those typical nut-laden favourites, but its' contents can be replaced with seeds and still return a remarkable flavour. It's also somewhat satisfying to know that there is a way to preserve your favourite herbs through the winter. I have been buying and roasting all kinds of interesting vegetables this summer in an attempt to get to them while in season. Since nothing pairs with a roasted vegetable quite like pesto, I thought I'd give the traditional recipe a little shake up.

Here's a sample of my favourite swapola:

Dill Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh chopped dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 t fleur de sel 


Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. If the pesto needs a little more moisture, try adding lemon juice or a bit more olive oil.

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 olive oil
  • 1 t fleur de sel


Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined. If the pesto needs a little more moisture, try adding lemon juice or a bit more olive oil.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Japanese Eggplant

Behold the Japanese eggplant! It tastes remarkably like a regular eggplant, so I really can't tell you why I would use it over the standard one. I also have no idea what inspired its' name as none of the versions I've seen really look like an egg in the first place. So why would you eat eggplant? Well, I've asked myself that very question. I don't find them all that flavourful, but they seem to come alive when roasted or grilled. This may also be because I top them with all kinds of things such as chile paste or pesto and a soft cheese once off the grill. They make a good base...kind of like an odd textured cracker.

What I didn't know about eggplants is that they are a fruit and are loaded with all sorts of goodies. For instance, eggplants have fiber, iron, potassium, folate, manganese and calcium in them. Good news! So if you are interested in getting loaded up with vitamins and minerals, consider this odd little number and try the following recipes.

Grilled Eggplant topped with Yoghurt and Dill

It is as easy as it sounds.

I tried slicing two Japanese eggplants both horizontally and vertically and had more success with the horizontal slices. I brushed each slice with a little olive oil and roasted them on a grill plate in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400F. Half way through, I flipped each slice to get an even grill on both sides.

The sauce is just a cup of 2% yoghurt with some chopped dill, salt and pepper in it. I seasoned the eggplant slices with salt and pepper once out of the oven and then topped some of them with the yoghurt sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower with Walnuts, Gruyere and Eggplant on a Bed of Spinach

I reserved most of the horizontal slices of eggplant for this salad. I used half a head of cauliflower,
brushing each bite-size piece with some olive oil and roasting them in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at 450F. Once roasted, I built each serving individually arranging a handful of spinach on each plate, followed by a few walnut pieces, some cubed Gruyere, a handful of the cauliflower and the eggplant. I used about a half cup each of cubed Gruyere, walnuts and eggplant to make four servings. Each of the salads was topped off with a drizzle of olive oil and some quality salt and cracked pepper.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Pan Fried Halibut with Grilled Halloumi & Vegetable Salad

Hats off to Chatelaine magazine for their ongoing efforts to bring simple and delicious recipes to their readers consistently. I get a little giddy at the thought of each month's issue and try as many recipes as I can with solid results. I recently tried a grilled vegetable and halloumi salad from the magazine's June issue.  I've seen halloumi, a Mediterranean, semi-hard, unripened and brined cheese at a few grocers and figured it was time to try cooking with it. This recipe allowed the opportunity to do just that and offered another take on salad that is refreshing and loaded with ingredients that give you a full meal out of your salad. I paired the original serving with halibut fillets and used the leftover salad for lunches.

We are fortunate enough to have access to some decent not-so-domestic fish in Alberta, thanks to the miracles of modern-day logistics and market demands. Miracles are expensive however, so when buying fillets of fresh fish from your neighbourhood market, make it count!

Grilled Halloumi and Vegetable Salad

Adapted From:


  • 4 small zucchinis cut diagonally into 1/2" pieces
  • 250g package of halloumi cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 540 ml can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 T chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste


If using a barbecue, preheat the barbecue to medium. If your barbecue is out of commission for the season like mine, get yourself a grill plate and make good use out of it. Just make sure to place one of your oven racks on the top level of your oven and preheat it to 500-550F. Brush the surface of the plate/barbecue with olive oil. Whisk 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. Place the zucchini pieces on the grill for 3 minutes each side. Remove the zucchini and add the halloumi pieces, grilling for one minute on each side. I recommend testing your halloumi grilling time by grilling one piece first for a minute each side and then sampling it. If overdone, it will be very rubbery and will require less time.  Place a few of the zucchini and halloumi pieces on to a plate and add the chick peas, herbs and toss with the oil and lemon, salt and pepper.

Halibut with White Wine and Shallot Sauce



  • 350 g (two fillets) of skinless halibut
  • 1 t butter
  • 1 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 t kosher flaked salt


Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Fry the halibut in the pan, turning once until the fish flakes easily when tested; about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm by tenting the halibut with aluminum foil. Add the wine and minced shallot to the pan on medium-high heat and allow to until the sauce is reduced to about 2 tablespoons; about 2 minutes. Place each of the halibut fillets on plates and drizzle the reduction over top.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Potato Salad Anyone?

I have not one, but TWO potato salad recipes for those of you looking for variations on the beloved classic. Say what you will about potatoes, but I dig 'em and hope you'll curb your low carb, low glycemic index diet in order to give these recipes a try.

Adapted From: Canadian House & Home (May 2014 p.132)

#1: Potato and Artichoke Salad

  • 2 lbs potatoes sliced in half 
  • 2 cups of canned artichokes drained of their oil/water
  • 2 T dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cups parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool with cold water for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper until combined. Toss in the potatoes, artichokes, dill and parsley, ensuring all ingredients are coated well.

#2: Cucumber and Potato Salad



  • 750g fingerling potatoes sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 3 mini cucumbers sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 T chopped dill


Boil the potato rounds in a large pot of water until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool with cold water for about 5 minutes.

Rub the cucumber slices with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let stand until water begins to seep out of the cucumbers, about 10 minutes. Place cucumbers into a strainer to allow the liquid to drain.

Whisk oil, vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Add the dill, potatoes and cucumbers into the bowl and toss well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Making Tofu More than Tolerable: The Lemongrass Tofu Bowl

It is Monday and this recipe is meatless: how timely! If you're not on the tofu train for its' reputation as a heavily genetically modified product, that's fair. Beans, nuts, fish and/or meat can be inputed in lieu of tofu. I have some concerns about tofu, but not enough to nix soya products from my diet altogether. So, if this dish gives me a third nipple, it will almost be worth it due to its sheer deliciousness.

Honestly, I use tofu as a substitute for beans because nobody wants or needs to be exposed to that many farting fits at my office. I am also an impressionable eater and in an attempt to consume less meat for health factors as expressed by friends, family and the media, I experiment with vegetarian recipes. This is an example and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 


Serves 4


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 12-14 oz of firm tofu
  • lemongrass paste (fresh was unavailable, but always best)
  • 2 t sriracha or chile paste
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 t rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 2 T broccoli florets
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cup chopped, green onions
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 T soya sauce
  • 2 T sesame sauce
  • 2 large avocados, sliced


Cook brown rice according to package instructions. 

Cube the tofu into bite size pieces. Combine the lemongrass, chile paste, garlic, lime juice, vinegar and tofu into a bowl. Toss the tofu well and set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes. I marinated the tofu overnight. 

Warm the coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a pan over high heat. Pour in the tofu and marinade and cook until the edges have browned; about five minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots, remaining sesame oil, soya sauce and coconut milk, tossing well to coat with the oil mixture and allowing to cook for about 3 minutes. Spoon in the green onions and mix with the existing ingredients. Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds, avocado and cilantro. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feta & Lentil Salad

Lentils: as cheap and easy as it gets, but always the supporting actor...until now. Never have I seen lentils take centre stage as I have in the last few years. Perhaps the focus on reducing meat consumption and the rise in vegetarian and vegan diets play parts in this trend.  I haven't been as successful as others in making lentils interesting, but this lentil salad seems to bring all the right flavours together. Once the lentils are cooked, the salad takes only minutes to prepare and assemble. I typically double or triple the volume of lentils I cook so I can add them to other dishes throughout the week.

Loosely inspired by:


  • 1/2 cup dry french lentils
  • 3 cups various lettuce leaves
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Fill a large pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and the french lentils. Cover pot and soak for one hour. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

I opted to prepare each serving individually and arranged the lettuce on individual plates, followed by the lentils, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes and avocado slices. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad and season with salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato, Spinach Bacon Burgers

Feedback is important to any endeavour and food is no exception. I made these burgers about 6 weeks ago and brought some to work for my colleagues to sample. They were really well received and even made by a colleague who hasn't stopped raving about them.

When I was new to the cooking scene, I evaluated recipes based on the number of instruments required to make the dish and the number of ingredients. If the ingredients list has more than 6 items and called for food processors or double boilers, I wasn't making it. If you take the same approach, the burgers may appear daunting at first, but I'd ask you to ignore your initial judgement and persevere. The recipe makes about 15 burgers and they're not the kind of food one would tire of quickly.  I should know. I suffer from leftover phobia and can't stomach eating the same dish more than two or three times. Oy, that sounded like a first world problem, if there ever was one! My point is the effort is definitely worth it. I plan on making these again over the weekend. I've served them neat, on a toasted english muffin and on top of a salad. They are filled with all kinds of great ingredients such as sweet potato and spinach, which makes them even more endearing.

Adapted from:


  • 1 package of bacon
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 t paprika
  • 2 t hot mustard
  • 4 t dried rosemary
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 T all purpose flour
  • 2 lbs ground chicken or turkey


Cook the bacon until crispy, either in a frying pan or my preferred method, on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350F. Once cooked, remove from heat, pat dry and chop into small pieces.

Use a food processor to finely chop the spinach, sweet potato and onion.

In a bowl, combine the bacon, sweet potato, spinach and onion. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form the mixture into about 15 patties. Place the patties on a line cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 375F. Remove from oven, turn the patties over and return to the oven for another ten minutes. Check the centre of a patty to ensure it is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spicy Salmon Cakes

I was enjoying a glass of wine and a cheese platter the other night while reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book discusses habits in general, what drives them and how they can be overridden. The irony of the situation is that the cheese and wine I was enjoying does not constitute a good habit. I don't process either particularly well and feel less than stellar afterwards. Last night's meal choice is one of the habits I need to override.

If you get a chance, have a read of The Power of Habit. Information is relayed using narratives, so the book is captivating as well as informative. There is a section in the book that discusses habits' impact in the world of marketing, which blew my socks off. Who knows, you might just change a bad habit or two while reading it!

Enter a slightly better choice in the form of healthier food: salmon cakes. These are coated in panko crumbs, but I think they balance a food lover's wants and needs nicely. I also opted to put them under the broiler as opposed to pan frying them because my attempt at frying the first few got poor results. Another deviation involved swapping out lime pickle for mango pickle. It's what I could find and I don't think it caused any harm. Finally, I would recommend blending the ingredients together instead simply combining them, as it offers a smoother consistency with every bite.

Adapted from:

Serves 4


  • 1 russet potato, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 can of salmon in water
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 T finely chopped mango pickle
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 2 T chopped cilantro


Turn the oven on to broil (high).

Boil the potato pieces in a small pot of water for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and either add the eggs, onion and pickle to the food processor to mix or mash the potatoes with a fork in a bowl first and then combine the rest of the ingredients just listed. I took the noticeable bones out of the salmon before combining it with the potatoes, but that's not necessary (I have an aversion to bones). Season with salt and pepper. Form into 6 patties. Pour panko into a deep dish. Coat patties with panko.

Place the patties on a tin foil lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes on one side and 5 on the other.

Combine the yoghurt and cilantro in a bowl and serve with the salmon cakes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cioppini (Seafood Soup)

This is one of those delectable meals that must include soaking your crusty French bread in the seafood and wine-rich broth before eating it. I ended up buying smoked oysters too while looking for the right seafood to add to this soup. I chose instead to eat them as a starter with wedges of Cambezola and crackers. Soooo rich! 

If you are a seafood lover, this simple combination of flavours is a classic and adored by many. I chose the recipe because it filled my need for mussels, soup and a very brief set of instructions for its preparation. 

Adapted from:

Serves 8


  • 3 T salted butter
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28 oz tin chopped stewed tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 T chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 lbs cod fillets, cubed
  • 18 mussels cleaned and debearded
  • 1 1/2 crab meat

*Clams, scallops and other seafood can be added or swapped for what I included above.


Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onions and garlic, coating them well and letting them cook on medium heat until transparent. Add all the remaining ingredients to the saucepan except the seafood. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Increase the heat and add the seafood, bringing the soup to a boil, before reducing it again and simmering for 5-7 minutes.

Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread and a green salad of your choosing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Toasted Kale & Pan Fried Chickpea Salad

If you haven't clued in that salads are more than just vegetables and dressing, then pull your head out of your rear and pay attention. Have I got your attention now? Good. 

We've added meats, cheeses, bread, removed the lettuce, swapped out trendy vegetables for hipster vegetables...what more can we do? A heck of a lot more! One of my favourite salads is a marinated vegetable salad, where the vegetables have been blanched just a teensy bit. The result is an entirely different combination of flavours and textures than one would get with a raw version of the salad. This is why this toasted kale salad sounded so appealing. Sadly the author that I nabbed this recipe from combined her kale with preserved Meyer lemons and I did not have the time nor the lemons to make that magic happen. Instead I used regular unpreserved lemons, which were scrumptious all the same. I really do want to try preserving lemons and using them in this recipe. It just isn't going to happen tonight. If you get a chance, check out the think below for the author's preserved lemon recipe.

Adapted from:

Serves 6


  • 1 large head of kale of your choice
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 T tablespoon paprika
  • 3 T chopped lemons
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 225 degrees

Wash the kale, removing the stems and chop into bite size pieces. Toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and arrange onto a cookie sheet(s). Toast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the kale is both wilted and crunchy (you'll know what I mean after 25 minutes).  In a pan, combine the chickpeas, canola oil, paprika and chopped lemons. Cook over medium-high heat until the chickpeas have browned. Remove from heat and combine the chickpea mixture in a bowl with the kale.  Add a little olive oil and sea salt, tossing it well. Serve with lemon slices on top as a garnish.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lighter Fare Part 2

I thought this idea for a salad was magic: a California roll in salad form. I love sushi, but I get enough carbohydrates in my day as it is without adding the substantial amount of white rice that it provides. The sushi salad is a good alternative and also another quickie meal as any salad should be. If your salad is taking longer to prepare than your entree, you have a high maintenance salad. 

Sushi Salad

Adapted from:

Serves 4-6


  • Head of romaine lettuce, 
  • Package of 6 crab sticks (real or fairy tale)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 T toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 sheets dried seaweed, torn into bit size pieces.
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T low fat yoghurt
  • 2 t wasabi
  • 2 t sriracha sauce
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, combine all ingredients, whisking well to ensure all elements blend together. Set the dressing aside.

Wash, dry and tear the lettuce into bite size pieces. Tear the seaweed into smaller pieces and add to the lettuce. Cut the crab sticks in half horizontally and shred the meat with your fingers. Add the crab, avocado and sesame seeds to the lettuce and seaweed.  Add about two thirds of the dressing to the salad and toss it well. Add more dressing if desired.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ready for Some Lighter Fare?

Ho, ho, ho....hold on a second here. I'm stuck in the wrong season. Let's back up to the six week-long downward spiral of unhealthy eating. The egg nog, the turkey, gravy, wine, wine, wine, sweets and that was just one meal we're talking about here.  My indulgence has come to a grinding halt as of today. Maybe a meal that doesn't prompt an immediate nap afterwards. How about a dish that isn't paired with Alka-Seltzer? I'll miss the good food, but I need a little normal.

Enter the following quick, easy and healthy recipes to kick off resolution season. Our soup and salad combo took me forty-five minutes to prepare and I wasn't even moving at my usual speedy pace. I've found a few other recipes of a similar vain and will share them a little later this month.

Black Bean Soup

You'll notice the picture doesn't display a bowl of blackish soup, but rest assured, there are indeed black beans in there. If heat isn't your bag, remove the chilies from the recipe and add everything from diced tomatoes to potato to thicken or enrich this basic recipe.

Adapted from:

Serves 4 small portions


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/3 yellow onion, chopped
  • red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 chilis in adobo
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 28 oz can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for serving
  • Sour cream for serving


Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the pepper and onion, sautéing until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, salt and pepper, incorporating the spices in with the vegetables. Stir in the chilies and as much adobo sauce as your taste buds can handle.

Pour in the vegetable stock and the black beans, bringing the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and puree if desired. The original recipe leaves the soup as is, but I chose to blend it. Add handfuls of chopped cilantro and sour cream to individual servings.

Farro & Kale Salad

Farro can sometimes be tough to find, so alternatives such as quinoa or barley are also good options. I found farro at Bulk Barn, but it was pricier than expected. I enjoy the chewy texture of farro and the fact that it cooks quickly. Worth a try if you haven't had farro yet.

Adapted from:

Serves 6


  • 2 cups uncooked farro
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • salt & pepper to taste


Bring the farro and four cups of water to a low boil for about twenty minutes. Once the farro is of a chewy consistency, remove it from the heat and rinse it in cold water.

Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle half of the oil overtop. Mix in the oil to help soften the leaves a little. Combine the cucumber, dates, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper to the farro and kale mix. Add the remaining oil, mixing well and serve immediately.