Saturday, December 24, 2016

Baked Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash & Kale

You're likely prepping the ingredients for your Christmas dinner today and not thinking beyond those turkey leftovers. That's good. Turkey leftovers go a long way after Christmas. If you do however, need a meal to bridge some of the gaps in your holiday menu, I'd suggest this baked egg recipe. It's a nice light, vegetarian meal that is cozy and filling, but that also offers a refreshing change from one's usually heavy holiday menu.

I wasn't the chef for this meal. It was prepared for me by another, sometimes reluctant chef. He knocked this out of the park so I'm keen to attempt it myself in the new year. If you need a little filler to go with this recipe, I'd suggest roasted potatoes to serve with the eggs along with some additional Pecorino on the potatoes to tie the two items together.

Adapted from:

Serves 4


  • 1 large Acorn squash, sliced and de-seeded/hollowed
  • 1 tsp each Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T olive oil and some to drizzle over the squash
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of kale, cut into thin ribbons with bulky parts of the stems removed
  • 1 t Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 t chile powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup of shaved Pecorino


Preheat the oven to 410F. While the oven is heating, slice your squash horizontally, scooping the seeds out of the centre of each slice. Brush the slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Lay the squash on a tin foil-lined baking sheet, baking for 12 minutes each side.

Heat a skillet on medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil added. Add the onions, sautéing for 10 minutes, or until softened. Toss in the garlic for another 2 minutes, until it is fragrant. Add the kale in 2-3 batches and combine well with the onions. Once the first batch softens, add the next and combine with the existing onion mixture. Add the spices and broth and let simmer for 4 minutes or until the kale softens. Add the pecans and set aside.

With the squash baked and out of the oven, turn the oven to broil (high).  Move the rack about 6 inches from the top of the oven. Add the squash to the skillet and crack an egg into each of the squash slices. Sprinkle half of the Pecorino over the entire skillet and broil for about 5 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are set. Remove from oven and serve, sprinkling the remaining cheese overtop of each serving.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Having a little comfort food doesn't have to mean foregoing nutrition and quality ingredients. In fact, I'm a firm believer that it enhances the recipe. I spent the afternoon catching up on new British murder mysteries. No better time to wolf down some nachos with fresh salsa, guacamole and chopped jalapeño, olives and sharp cheddar. And brownies. And beer. And some leftover Doritos. And more brownies. Even junk food can dig a fresh twist.

To continue today's theme we have Romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes. Crispy skinned chicken thighs in a tangy pepper and tomato sauce with ground almonds (pumpkin seeds if you have nut allergies) and plenty of garlic. Comfort at it's finest, as long as you're willing to put the Doritos down long enough to make it.


Serves 4


  • 1 1/2lb yukon potatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 1lb chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 jar roast red peppers, drained
  • 1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped


Fill a large pot with water, a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 7-10 minutes, until softened. Throw in the kale and boil another minute. Drain the potatoes of water, add the chicken stock, yoghurt and mash with a fork or standing mixer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the chicken, heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat. Place half the chicken in the pan, skin side down and let cook for 5 minutes or until skin is browned. Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and cook the other half of the chicken. Once complete, set the chicken aside and wipe down the pan. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and the garlic and heat for 30 seconds. Add the crumbs and almonds, combining well with the garlic. Pour into a food processor or blender and add the peppers and tomatoes. Blend until well combined.

Return the sauce to the frying pan and place the chicken thighs on top. Add a little chicken stock to thin the sauce to your desired consistency and stir to coat the chicken. Serve on top of the potatoes with a little flat leaf parsley sprinkled over top.

Warm Lentil & Mushroom Salad

This salad is easy, tasty and good looking, particularly if you need a side dish for a party or just generally want to be gassy. It was only a few years ago that I was introduced to French lentils, a type of lentil that retains its shape and chewy texture, making it a good addition to casseroles and salads. Historically, the lentils I knew were added to soups or dahl and had a mushy texture. I appreciate the French version for their heartier dimension.

If you've got feta or another bold cheese on hand, crumbling a little overtop of this recipe would be a great addition.  Otherwise, just serve as is and enjoy!

Adapted from:

  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms (I used Portobello and button)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t chili flakes
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


Prepare the lentils by rinsing them thoroughly and putting them in a pot with 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. The lentils should be chewy and still intact. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes if you prefer a more tender lentil. Remove from heat and drain if any water remains.

In a pan, sauce the mushrooms in two batches, with a tablespoon of olive oil each, stirring until they've softened; about 4 minutes for each batch. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic and onions. Add the chili flakes and stir until the onions have softened, about 2 minutes. Return the mushrooms back to the pan and combine well with the onion mix. Add salt, pepper and the lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a bowl, add the greens and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pan-Seared Chicken with Harissa & Chick Peas

I'm just climbing out of the Thanksgiving menu haze and not surprisingly, am inspired to post a recipe somewhat unrelated.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good turkey with all the trimmings. Unfortunately, making 8 dishes doesn't leave me much time to photograph and write about them. Frankly at this point in the season, anyone reading this is likely moving on to other recipes too.

We don't eat much chicken in this house. It's not my meat of preference and when I do have a hankering for it, I crave the bits that are the least healthy. This recipe however looked like the right balance of taste and nutrition. The key here is to sear your chicken thighs well, so the skin crisps up nicely. Pan searing the chicken takes longer than most of the recipes indicate, but it's worth the extra time to enjoy that golden, crispness. In my instructions below, I doubled my time to 10 minutes each side.

In addition to the great combination of flavours, you've got a one-pan dish if you want to keep it simple. I served this with some quinoa, but the chickpeas can make it a meal of its own.

Serves 3-4


  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 T olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup harissa
  • 1 540 ml can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Preheat oven to 425F. Season the thighs on both sides with plenty of salt and pepper. Place a cast iron pan (or other oven safe pan) on your stove top on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down on the base of the pan. The chicken fat will splatter, so if you have a cover for the pan, use it. Sear the chicken for about 5-10 minutes on each side, or until the skin is brown and crispy. I cooked my chicken in two batches. Set aside the thighs on a plate and pour out all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the garlic and onions to the pan on medium heat and stir well, allowing the onions to soften, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and combine it well with the onion mixture. Finally, add the harissa, the chickpeas and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Place the chicken back in the pan, skin side up and move the pan to the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve 1-2 of the chicken thighs in a shallow bowl with some of the parsley sprinkled on top and a lemon wedge on the side. I served mine with a little quinoa as a base.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I pulled this together in 30 minutes and will definitely be making it again. The smoky, chocolate taste behind the adobo really stands out among its' flavours, but I suspect I have an addiction to sour cream and this just winds up being another excuse to pour it on.   I continue to have mixed experiences with vegetarian dishes and when I find one that doesn't make me say "this would be better with meat in it",  I add it to my repertoire.

The recipe has the chef applying a little of the bean paste on the inside of the tortilla and much of it overtop, by the looks of the finished product. My version has more spread on the inside of the tortilla and very little overtop. Either way, you'll get your beans. Also note that as far as the onion and cheese contents go, I have provided approximate measurements. The inside of the tortilla is meant to have a dusting of each, but I was a little more liberal with my portions.

Adapted from:

Serves 2-4


  • 1, 540ml can of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 chipotle peppers mixed in adobo
  • 1 cup water
  • 6-8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, minced
  • handful of cilantro chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • sour cream and or avocado for serving


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9X13" baking dish with cooking oil.

In a blender, add the beans, garlic and chipotle peppers. Blend until emulsified. Add the water and blend again until the paste becomes a thick soup.
Place a large dollop of the black bean mixture onto a tortilla and spread over its top surface. Sprinkle a handful of the onions and cheese over half of the surface. Roll the tortilla tightly and place in the baking dish. Repeat this with the remaining tortillas, placing them side by side in the dish. Top with the remaining paste. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven to top with a little more of the cheese. Return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes. Top the dish with the chopped tomatoes and cilantro and serve.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Periodically I revive the mid-afternoon coffee and cake habit that Ruedi and I picked up while on vacation. We call it cafe en kuchen, because it started in Germany, but carried on into other trips and at home. As much as I like to take credit for these notions, this isn't anything new. Nothing caps off an afternoon of wandering with a latte and sweet treat. I know this because cafes are full of wanderers like us waiting to dive into a tart or other delicacy along with their mid-afternoon coffee. When at home, I occasionally bake something we can dive into at 3pm (International cafe and kuchen time; 3:30 in Newfoundland). It feels decadent and my senses dip back into vacation mode as a result.
This weekend I experimented with a gingerbread and galette recipe and while both were successful, I only managed to get pictures of one of the results.

Thanks to one of my coworkers, I've been given access to an unending amount of rhubarb this summer. I made two galettes; he gets one of them. I'd suggest making two at all times. The galettes wind up being smaller than one anticipates and only serves four. If you want a second piece and have guests, you are out of luck!

Adapted From:

Serves 4

  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped in 1/4" pieces
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 t corn starch
  • 1, 9" frozen pie dough, thawed
  • 1 T milk
  • handful of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the corn starch and lemon juice in a bowl until all the starch is dissolved. Add the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon zest and granulated sugar, stirring well.

Roll the pie dough out and place in a 9" baking dish. Pour all of the fruit mixture into the centre of the dough and fold the edges of the the dough over onto the fruit, leaving the centre exposed. Brush the edges of the dough with milk and sprinkle the brown sugar over top. Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden.  Serve with enormous dollops of whipped cream.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Picnic Lives

Yes, summer's still alive and well and I can't think of a better way to celebrate it than with vegetables. I found this Green Goddess sandwich recipe on the Bonjon Gourmet about a month ago and was enchanted by its layers of green vegetables wrapped in fresh bread.

Aside from an abundance of fresh ingredients, the magic of this sandwich is in the spread. Fresh herbs, lemon, garlic and some kick courtesy of a few anchovies make it a great fit with the vegetables. It also makes the spread appealing as a salad dressing when thinned a little with water. I've made these a couple of times and have swapped out the herbs in the spread for whatever combination I could find that was fresh.  As for the vegetables, I couldn't find any green tomatoes, so my green theme had to take a backseat. It still makes for a pretty little meal!

Adapted from

Serves 4-6


  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1/3 cup chives
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 anchovies

Pickled Onions
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 t salt

Sandwich Fixings
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup pea sprouts
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  • 100g asiago
  • 100g brie

For the spread, combine all of the ingredients in a blender (Vitamix!) and puree. To pickle the onions, combine the onions and other ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Assemble the sandwich with the suggested ingredients on the bread of your choice. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kale Crispy Black Salad with Arugula Pecorino Vinaigrette

Salads don't have to be as involved as this one, but I'd recommend you try this recipe once over the summer, because it's just THAT good. I made this a few weeks ago and plan on making it again. It's filling and chocked full of robust flavours.  The seasoned almonds add a pop of flavour and lentils take on the role of crouton, but with protein, antioxidents and loads of fibre. Serve this on its own or with a light soup and fresh bread.


Serves 4-6


Tomato basil almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup basil, minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup lentils, uncooked
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 cup of basil, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
Arugula-Pecorino Vinaigrette
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 serrano pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecorino, grated
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head kale, washed, dried and sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced in wedges
  • 1 container mini bocconcini,  cut in halves
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the almonds, preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spread evenly over a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Turn oven up to 400F. Prepare the lentils by washing them and removing any pebbles or sediments. Pour the lentils into a pot with two cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse and drain lentils. Pour onto a lined baking sheet and drizzle oil oil over their surface. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 25 minutes.

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a blender and emulsify.

The salad comes together by combining the kale, bocconcini, tomatoes and onion in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the almonds over the surface of the salad and follow with the dressing. Toss well and serve with plenty of wine, crusty bread and other goodies.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Smoked Salmon Pea Quinoa Pilaf

If there's ever been a theme to this blog beyond cooking, it's likely that of the one-pot dish. I grew up on meat and vegetables and enjoyed it. I like going from one side of my plate to another sampling different items. Maybe an interest in minimizing the clean up lead me in this direction. Or the ease of lunch packing, for that matter. Either way, I'm consistently drawn to a single dish as a meal.

Did I mention I'm all over seafood this month? I wish I was writing this post from Vancouver or Halifax, where the fish is as fresh as fresh can be. Ultimately this may be why I go for smoked salmon, as it's well preserved! This recipe has a preliminary step: the paleo mayonnaise. I hummed and hawed at the thought of making it. I had bought an aioli at a recent market trip and figured it would make an easy substitute. Instead, I made it. Having sweet potatoes on hand made me think it was worth the effort. It takes another 5 minutes and gives the salad a nice, garlicky infusion. Pack some gum if you're taking this to work!

Serves 6


  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 t stock seasoning (Knorr/Oxo)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 100g smoked salmon, chopped
  • 2 T dill, minced

Paleo Mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 4 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 T paleo mayonnaise
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • juice of a lemon


Boil two cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, stock seasoning, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Prepared peas either by boiling or microwaving them for about 3 minutes. Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

To prepare the mayonnaise, crack an egg in a blender and add the lemon juice. Blend on low for a few seconds to allow the two to mix. Combine the coconut and olive oil and while the blender is on low, slowly add the oils. This should take a few minutes and will allow the mixture to thicken. Once all the oil has been added, throw in the garlic and salt and blend another 20 seconds. The mayonnaise can be stored in the refrigerator, but will need to be brought back to room temperature before using as the coconut oil hardens with the cold temperature.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients and stir well. Pour in with the pilaf and toss well, allowing the dressing to coat all ingredients. Serve with sprigs of dill.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Prawn Saganaki

Yes, Alberta is indeed landlocked, but other parts of the world are in full seafood swing and I can't help but want a piece of the action. I have been stocking up on fish and prawns, eating what I can fresh and freezing the rest. Chances are there will be a few other seafood posts to follow.

Might have been the bread that sold me on this dish, or perhaps the fact that I already had shrimp and tomato paste and this recipe calls for both. There's something very satisfying about being able to use an entire can of tomato paste vs. the tablespoon you need for one recipe. Either way, this turned out to be a good decision. The acidic tomato and wine base simmered together with sweet prawns made for a lovely light dinner. I opted to buy naan bread and heat it on a grill before serving it to sop up the tomato sauce. French bread or another loaf of your choosing would work just as well. If you're fearful of bread try serving it over potatoes or rice. Remember to drink the leftover white with it!


Serves 4


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1, 400ml can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 t granulated sugar
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • 350g raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 125g feta, crumbled
  • handful of flat leaf parsley or cilantro to garnish


Preheat the oven to 350F. In a cast iron pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion stir, cooking for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and let simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and combine thoroughly with the garlic and onion. Pour in the wine and allow to simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, sugar and red pepper flakes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and sprinkle the feta over the pan. Place in the oven and let bake for 10 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the parsley/cilantro over top.

Serve with plenty of bread to sop up the tomato sauce.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Smoked Salmon, Chick Pea & Haloumi Salad

Once again, we've reached that time of year where meal preparation shifts from cooking to assembling. Fresh ingredients are everywhere and preparing them so one can enjoy their full flavours means leaving them the hell alone.

This salad is all about assembly, but has a lot of ingredients and steps attached. It doesn't take as long as you might think to prepare, but if you're daunted by the number of instructions provided below, you can simplify it pretty quickly. For instance, the chick peas don't need to be toasted. While it certainly enhances their flavour, with so much going on with this salad anyways, one might choose to skip this step.  Another option is to replace the grilled haloumi with fresh feta. You may wind up doing this anyway if haloumi isn't easily obtainable. I made this salad worth my while by doubling up on some of the items for use in other recipes. The chimichurri recipe, for example was used on grilled fish and vegetables later in the week. Had I had extra chick peas, I would have used them in other dishes too.  Regardless of steps, this salad was a delicious affair and perfect with a cold summer soup and crust of French bread.


Serves 4-6


Toasted Chick Peas
  • 1 400g can of chick peas 
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
Tahini Dressing
  • 2 T greek yoghurt
  • 1 T tahini
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T water
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/4 mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1 t chili flakes
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 250g smoked salmon
  • 250g haloumi sliced in 1 cm slices
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped

Chick Peas

Drain, rinse and dry the chick peas. Heat the olive oil in a pan, on medium heat. Add the chick peas and toss in the paprika and salt, ensuring the seasoning covers all the chicks peas. Continue to toss the chick peas occasionally in the pan. Once the peas have browned, remove them from the pan and let sit on a paper towel-lined plate.

Tahini Dressing

Whisk all the ingredients together until blended. Set aside.


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into a carafe and set aside.


Prepare the haloumi by heating a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the slices in the pan for about 1 minute each side or until browned. Set them on a paper towel-lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the kale to the water for 30 seconds. Pour the contents of the pot through a strainer. Set the kale aside.

Soft boil the eggs by bringing a small pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs and boil for 6 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool immediately by running them under cold water. Peel eggs and set aside.

Assemble the salad by placing all the dry ingredients in a large and preferably shallow bowl. If serving the entire salad immediately, dress it with both the chimichurri and tahini dressing. If not, dress each serving individually.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dill Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Beluga Lentils

Ruedi and I have made this dish a handful of times now for ourselves and guests. It's dead easy, but presents as a sophisticated work of art and is so, so tasty. Beluga lentils also wind up being a neat alternative to rice or potatoes and since these lentils don't get mushy like their green or yellow brothers, their texture is a good balance for that of the salmon.

Beluga lentils are called such because they look like beluga caviar when cooked. As with other lentils, they offer folate, fiber and a good dose of protein. A half cup of cooked beluga lentils contains about 12 grams. These particular lentils, however,  also have anthocyanins, the same antioxidants in blueberries and blackberries have that help to prevent cell wall damage which can lead to cancer and heart disease. I typically pick these up at Bulk Barn. If you can't find them, try using French lentils instead which are more readily available.


Serves 4

For the salmon and sauce
  • 4 salmon fillets (I had one large piece)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil (if searing/baking salmon as per Option B)
  • 2 T shallot, minced
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 t dijon mustard
  • 6 T creme fraiche
  • 3 t dill, minced
  • 2 t fresh lemon juice

For the lentils
  • 1 cup beluga lentils
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 shallot quartered
  • 3 peeled, whole garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping handful arugula/spinach

Option A: Barbecue instructions for the salmon
Preheat your barbecue to medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and wrap each of the fillets in tin foil. Place the fillets on the bottom rack for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, unwrap and check the thickest part of the salmon to ensure it is cooked through. If not, wrap up the salmon and return it to the barbecue for a few minutes.

Option B: Oven instructions for the salmon
Preheat oven to 350F. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add about two tablespoons of oil to the pan. Sear the salmon for two minutes on both sides. Place skillet in the oven and cook salmon for about 5-7 minutes until done to your liking.

The sauce
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a few minutes until the shallots soften. Turn down the heat to avoid burning the butter. Whisk in the dijon and then follow with the creme fraiche until smooth. Add the lemon juice and dill and a little more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with the lentils and salmon.

Beluga Lentils
On medium heat add the butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Once melted, add the lentils, tossing well to coat with the butter and oil. Add the chicken stock, garlic, shallot, salt and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn heat to low. Cook covered for about 35 minutes or until lentils are tender. Once fully cooked, drain the excess liquid and add a tablespoon of vinegar to the lentils, mixing well. Remove the garlic, shallot and bay leaf. Add a handful of fresh arugula/spinach and serve.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Red Ox Inn-Inspired Lime Posset with Coconut Chantilly Cream

My first fine dining experience when I moved to Edmonton almost ten years ago was at the Red Ox Inn. My parents were in town for a visit and my mom, the original foodie in the family, had been recommended the little ten table affair. I hadn't had any exposure to contemporary food in the city and was keen to dive in. That first meal was a goodie. Good enough to have me return a number of times in a few short years.  Eventually I got swept away by the burgeoning food scene invading Edmonton and nearly forgot about it. Nearly. One always finds their way back to the scene of the crime and I managed to do just that.

Ruedi and I had an early meal there a few weeks ago and realized we had waited too long. Ruedi indulged in a pork belly appetizer with a parsnip puree, while I ate a modern caesar salad with garlic aioli and brioche croutons. As beef lovers, we both chose sirloin as our main, but were provided a deliciously prepared rib eye instead, cooked medium at the recommendation of the chef, which ensured the marbling didn't render the meat too chewy. But the celebrity of the evening was a delicate lime posset which we shared, served with a coconut chantilly cream and a dusting of pistachios.

Posset is an egg-free custard and likely the easiest dessert you will ever make. It's light, generally perfect and was paired at Red Ox with what I believe was a coconut flavored (extract? ground? milk?) whipping cream. I tried making my own version at home and was mighty pleased with the results. This is a nice, light treat following any meal, particularly a heavy dish.

Serves 4

Adapted from:



  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 50 ml fresh lime juice (keep the skin for zest)
  • 2/3 cup berry sugar

Coconut Chantilly Cream 

  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 2 T icing sugar (approximate-add by the teaspoon to suit your tastes)
  • 2 T coconut milk (the thick white goop at the top of the tin)
  • Pistachios
  • Lime zest


To make the posset, heat the whipping cream on medium heat and add the sugar, whisking until dissolved. Bring to a boil and then simmer for three minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the lime juice, stirring vigorously. Transfer the cream mixture into about 4 individual serving dishes. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

In a bowl combine the 250ml of whipping cream, coconut milk and icing sugar.  With an electric beater or standing mixer, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Spoon heapfuls of the cream on top of the posset dishes and top with a few pistachios and lime zest.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Roasted Curried Eggplant

It took me eons to get into cooking with eggplant for the simple reason that I didn't know why I should.  I have no recollection of eating it as a kid and wasn't sure what a good eggplant should look or taste like.

I now eat eggplant semi-regularly and like the slightly sweet flesh and gooey texture in combination with other ingredients. It's also full of good nutrients like antioxidants and fibre. Think cancer fighting, poop annihilating material!

If you are unfamiliar with eggplants and looking to buy some, choose small ones as they tend to be younger than their larger counterparts and their youth translates to sweeter flesh and less/no bitterness. The leaves should be green and the skin, a uniform color with no damage to it's surface. Go ahead and give your eggplant a good poke. The flesh should spring back when pressure is released. These rules apply to many a vegetable. In conventional supermarkets, I don't often come across a worthy eggplant, but I've had better luck at H&W or markets.


Serves 6-8

  • 4 large eggplants
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 T coconut oil/ghee
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 dried chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T coriander seeds
  • 1 t peppercorns
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 T turmeric
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1, 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • cilantro to serve
  • Greek yoghurt to serve

Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the eggplant in one inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil overtop of the eggplant and sprinkle a little salt overtop. Roast for 10 minutes, remove from oven, flip the pieces and roast for another five minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil until melted. Add the onions and crumble in the chiles. Saute on medium heat for ten minutes. While the onions are cooking, peel the cardamom pods, removing the black seeds and blend the seeds with the coriander and peppercorns in a grinder or food processor. Add the spice blend, the turmeric, ginger and garlic and combine well with the onions, allowing the spices to heat.  Add tomatoes, eggplant, coconut milk and water and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

For the rice, rinse until the water runs clear. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with yoghurt and cilantro.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Korean Inspired Rice Bowl

When I think of recent food trends, ingredients like cauliflower and pork butt come to mind (I'll get to my butt in another post), but far as dishes go, rice bowls are trending big time. The internuts are filled with attractive combinations and what I find truly appealing is their interchangeability. Quinoa or buckwheat is substituted for rice, veggies range from carrots and greens to mushrooms and onions. Some are coated in cheese, others include eggs, meat and legumes. The message is simple: "Just put it in a bowl, already!"

I'm certain my version has been pulled from a few posts I've read over time, but the exact source of my inspiration is my fridge. I had some leftover carrots and peppers I bought on special and picked up some tofu, peanuts and eggs over the weekend.  I had a hankering for kimchi, so bought a jar of that too.  I went overboard with the ingredients and wound up having to get a bigger bowl, but the point of my recipe below is to give you a guideline that you can interpret to your tastes.



  • sesame oil
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs removed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned (I used a mandolin to do the work for me)
  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced 
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
Fried tofu
  • 1 package firm tofu, cubed
  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 t chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
The Other Stuff

  • 1 cup long grain, brown rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1T vinegar
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped

In a blender, purée the soya sauce, 1/4 cup cilantro, chili sauce, ginger and garlic until smooth. Combine the marinade with the tofu and let sit for anywhere between 2 - 24 hours (the longer the better). Remove from the marinade and place in a bowl with the cornstarch. Coat the pieces well with the starch and place in a heated fry pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir the tofu to ensure all sides are golden brown. Transfer from the pan to a paper towel-covered plate and reserve the marinade.

Follow package instructions to prepare the rice. One cup should yield 4 servings.

For the vegetables, heat a frying pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the carrots and sauté for one minute. Add a spoonful of sambal oelek and the kale and sauté for another minute. Transfer the veggies to a dish and wipe down the pan. Pour another tablespoon of sesame oil into the frying pan. Place the eggplant slices on the pan and sprinkle a little salt over them. Let them sit for about 2 minutes. Flip the slices over and cook another 2 minutes, again sprinkling a little salt on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the red pepper to the pan and pour the tofu marinade overtop. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, until the peppers have softened.

To poach the eggs, fill a small pot with water and a tablespoon of vinegar. Bring the water almost to a boil, but reduce the heat to medium when about to boil. Crack one egg and pour into a bowl. Begin vigorously stirring the water in one direction and add the egg, allowing the momentum of the water to keep the egg intact. Let the egg to cook for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

When ready to serve, divide the rice into four bowls. Spoon each of the vegetables and tofu  over the rice and add your avocado, peanut and cilantro garnishes alongside them.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Little Green Inspiration

We have a couple of discount vegetable markets in Edmonton that offer a wide array of good produce. When I make a trip, I buy a lot of veg and only after I've brought a box home do I think about what I'm going to do with these damn vegetables. I think I just channeled my uncle. Let's get back on track. Anyways, I'm convinced this is not the way one's supposed to shop, but I like the challenge of using what I have to make a meal.

Dish number one is Aubergine Al Forno. The Canadian translation has got to be 'torched eggplant', which is why we're going to stick to its original title. Oven roasted vegetables with a little garlic, cinnamon and olive oil form the base of this dish. Toss in some breadcrumbs, pine nuts (sunflower seeds for those with nuts allergies), some raisins and dig in. It's great as a side dish, but I paired it with a little pasta to make it a meal and got a kick out of it.

The second  option is a garlicky kale salad. I consider this the hipster's answer to a caesar salad. This salad made me lose my mind with excitement. It was delicious and I was tickled that it offered more food value than a traditional caesar salad.

Finally I made a simple spinach salad with roasted beets and parsnips and added some goat cheese and walnuts to give it a little protein. None of these recipes are difficult. They are an offering of inspiration for those wanting to incorporate veggies into their hibernation diet. While I'm not ready for spring salads, these recipes provide me light winter options for the cold months ahead.

Aubergine Al Forno


Serves 4


  • 3 Japanese eggplants, sliced in 1/2" pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • salt and pepper 
  • 5 green onions, sliced in one inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, finally chopped
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 pine nuts
  • 2 T raisins


Preheat the oven to 425F. Place place the eggplant slices in a baking dish and brush the slices with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle the cinnamon and a little salt and pepper to season. Bake for 15-20 minutes, adding the onions, garlic and tomatoes halfway through. Once all the vegetables are softened and a little charred, remove from the oven and pour a little red wine vinegar over the vegetables.

In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, pine nuts, raisins, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch each of cinnamon, salt and pepper. Pour the ingredients over the vegetables and toss well. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until crispy and golden.

Garlicky Kale Salad


Serves 4 as a meal


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 570 ml can of chickpeas
  • olive oil
  • 1 T garam masala, paprika and/or garlic salt
  • 1 bunch of kale finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot water to thin if required


Preheat oven to 375F. Drain and rinse your chick peas well and pour them into a bowl.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and whatever combination of seasoning you want or have on hand. I used a tablespoon of garam masala and some salt and pepper. Toss the chick peas well to season them. Separate the garlic cloves, leaving the skin on and place them on the edge of a baking sheet. Place the chick peas on the same sheet and bake both for about 20 minutes. Remove when the chick peas are golden brown and the garlic is soft.

For the dressing, combine the tahini, lemon juice, syrup, salt and pepper in a bowl. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and add the cloves to the bowl. Using a stick blender, blend the ingredients. Thin the dressing with water if desired.

Place the kale in a large bowl. Pour in the salad dressing and toss so that all the leaves are well coated. Pour the chick peas into the centre of the bowl and serve.

Roasted Vegetable Spinach Salad

Serves 6 as a meal


  • bunch of spinach, washed with stems removed
  • two medium beets
  • 3 parsnips
  • 130g goat cheese 
  • walnuts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap the beets as is in foil. Wash and cut the parsnips in 1-2 inch pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil and toss well. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper and toss again. Pour the parsnips on a baking sheet and place the beets adjacent to them in the oven. The parsnips should take about 20 minutes and can be removed from the oven to cook. The beets will take closer to 40 depending on their size. When the beets are done, remove them from the foil and set them aside. Once cooled, peel both beets and slice in wedges.

To prepare the salad, place the spinach in a large bowl. Add the parsnips and beets over the spinach. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad and add walnuts liberally. When serving, drizzle each portion with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cured: Charcuterie

Happy new year to those resolved to eat healthily and purposefully. While those intentions are in the back of my mind...waaaay back there behind a new bottle of wine and Netflix, my number one goal is to hit as many of Edmonton's fabulous new eateries as I can get to, even if it means having to wear elastic-waist pants. This is the kind of goal I know I can achieve.

Located on the South side of Edmonton in the community of Ellerslie, Cured opened its doors mid-2015 to good reviews and just enough hype to give them a reputation. While I appreciate charcuterie, I typically don't go out to eat it, as it requires more assembly over cooking and is something I can prepare at home. My friend Jill and I went to check it out on Friday. Edmonton is in the midst of a cold snap and the prospect of a big glass of red with meats and cheeses felt like the right thing to do.

The menu is simple: guests choose five out of the sixteen cured meats and fish available, which include some interesting game meats like venison, elk and boar. Your choice of any/all of the twelve cheeses can be added at an extra charge. Cured also offers a good selection of shared plates. We opted to try the arancini: balls of arborio rice, lobster and peas breaded and then fried. The arancini was deceptively filling, but Jill and I are troopers and pushed through to the charcuterie without breaking a sweat. This is how seasoned eaters make it happen.

Of course the arancini was delicious. I'm sure there are ways of messing with this dish. Under cooking the arborio rice and using poor quality ingredients would likely do, but breading and deep frying food tends to mask those kinds of issues.  Thankfully, this dish didn't need any masking. The combination of subtle flavours was a delight.

For the charcuterie, of note was the smoked duck prosciutto, wild boar kabosy and pork liver pate. The duck left enough of an impression on me that I'm going to try tracking it down through a retailer. We also enjoyed the soppressata and I believe the elk andouille, but their flavours weren't as distinct as the other three selections.

The saganaki, a flaming Greek cheese appeared to be the popular favorite, as more boards exited the kitchen sprouting flames than didn't. We opted for the saganaki and Cantenaar, which is a hard cheese with Dutch roots that reminded me a little of Appenzeller.

In addition to the food, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and service at Cured and will be back to try some of the other menu items. We sat at the bar comfortably for almost three hours and were well cared for during that time. On the subject of wine and charcuterie bars, The Wine Room, on Jasper Avenue and 105th St. offers a menu similar to Cured. Hopefully this cold spell lasts a little longer. I could use more charcuterie.

Cured Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato