Freekeh Salad with Radishes, Sprouted Cabbage and Halloumi

Here’s the thing of it: I love pasta. I love pasta always. I love it to the point where I, not infrequently, make it for breakfast. Not just eat leftovers for breakfast, but actually make a fresh pot of pasta. Before 9am.

It’s a problem.

Normally I’ve balanced this obsession with working a very active job.  In kitchens or serving in restaurants, you’re required to run around like a crazy person for at least 6, and up to 14 hours a day. But since working for myself, two days a week are spent almost entirely in a car. One day a week I’m on my feet but mostly sedentary, at a farmers market booth.

So I’m trying to make some healthy changes. Do I want to eat pasta 4 nights a week. Without question. But I’m trying guys. I’m trying.

This salad is a solid replacement. It’s warm, high in fat (good fat mostly!), filled with protein, and most importantly, it’s full of flavour. It’s super fresh tasting from the lemon, but the cumin and coriander round it out. The nuttiness from the freekeh is balanced wonderfully with the salty fried cheese, and I love the crunch of the radishes and the cashews. On top of it all it fills me to the point where I don’t dream about pasta 30 minutes after consumption. Which is pretty great in my books.


Serves 4

2 cups dried Freekeh

2 tbsp neutral oil (canola, avacado etc.)

Juice of 1 large Lemon

¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 clove Garlic

1 bunch Radishes, cut in halves or quarters, depending on size

1 bunch Cabbage Sprouts- or Broccoli Rabe, or Broccollini, whatever you have!

½ cup Cashews, roasted and coarsely chopped

1 package Halloumi, cut into ½ inch thick slices.

1 large avacado, cored, peeled and sliced.


Bring a medium pot with 4 cups of water to a boil. Add freekeh in with a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, put the lid on it, and turn the heat to low.

Cook until all the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

Mince the clove of garlic finely, (I smash them up with a pinch of salt, you can do that or not- up to you!)

In the bottom of a large bowl mix together the garlic, lemon, cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt.

Slowly whisk in the olive oil. It will look like an enormous amount of dressing, but the freekeh will absorb tons of it. Adjust for seasoning- adding a bit more acid or olive oil or salt depending.

Add the cooked freekeh and radishes to the dressing.

Cut the cabbage or broccoli into 2 inch pieces. Heat a large pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.

Add 1 tbsp of the neutral oil and then add in the cabbage or broccoli with a healthy pinch of salt. Toss a few times and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the the stems are cooked and some of the leaves are nicely browned. Add them to the dressing.

In the same pan, add the remaining oil. Lay the halloumi out and fry until it’s nicely browned, then flip it over.

Remove from heat and cut into strips.

Serve freekeh in 4 bowls, topped with the halloumi, sliced avocado, and cashews.




Sunday Salads- Nectarine, Raspberry and Basil Salad with Manchego

I have never thought much of nectarines. I’ve always sort of thought that you could buy them, but why would you when peaches are sitting in the bins next to them? If I could get nectarines in February I’d be all over them, but in peach season? No thanks.

Except, last week Jordan brought some home and I, thinking I should eat them quickly so I could fill up our fruit basket with peaches, brought them on a hike we went on.

I know there was a certain amount of hunger and fatigue in the mix, but hot damn that was a good nectarine.

And you know what nectarines have on peaches? You don’t have to peel them! (I passionately hate peach fuzz)

So this summer, I’ve been buying them like they’re going on of style. I’ve been making ice tea with them, I’ve been sauteeing them with maple syrup and pouring it over French toast, and I’ve been making this salad.

A simple simple fruit salad, but one that, while definitely sweet, has a savoury edge in the way I find sort of satisfying after spending a day making (and admittedly sampling) cakes.

Nectarine, Raspberry, Basil and Manchego Salad

4 very ripe Nectarines

1 cup Raspberries

1 tbsp Honey

1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tbsp Olive Oil

6 big leaves of Basil

6 big leaves of Mint

25g Manchego, or other mild sheep’s milk cheese

The tiniest pinch of salt

In a medium sized bowl mix together the vinegar, honey and oil.

Cut the nectarines into slices (about 8-10 per fruit) and mix immediately into the vinaigrette so they don’t oxidize.

Add in the raspberries.

Place the herbs on top of each other, roll them lengthwise, and slice them into the thinnest strips. (This is called a chiffonade.)

Mix them gently into the fruit, and then use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese on top.

This will last a couple hours at room temperature- if you can wait that long!

Sunday Salads- Roasted Carrots and Beets with Cumin Spiked Yoghurt

I always find this time of year a bit tricky. I always try to eat locally, but I get so sick of cabbage and root veggies. And spring- actually, it’s technically summer now isn’t it!- and I really want to eat green things, but man it’s a slow Spring there is nothing in my local markets. It’s killing me a little bit.

So here is a simple salad of roasted veggies, with some cumin laced yoghurt. My apartment is weirdly cold, so it was actually wonderful to have the oven on to make this, but this would also be terrific with grilled veg- and faster to put together!

1 bunch Heirloom Carrots

1 bunch Baby Beets

1/2 cup Yoghurt

1 tsp Cumin

2 tbsp Lemon Juice.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 375F

Cut off the bases of all the beets, wrap them in tinfoil and put them in the oven.

Peel the carrots, if they are large, if they are thin, just scrub them

After 30 minutes, toss the carrots with a good glug of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Put the carrots onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile mix together the cumin, yoghurt, lemon, and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the beets from the oven, remove them from the tin foil and carefully peel them- the skin should just slide off.

Toss them with the carrots.

Smear the yoghurt on the plate, and arrange the veggies on top.

Sunday Salads- Pea and Fava Bean Salad with Fresh Mint and Coriander

Today is a day for peas and fava beans. It is a day for bike rides, walks on the Seawall, and beers on patios. It is a day to celebrate, because it is 25 degrees out, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and this must be the nicest Spring I remember since I moved to Vancouver over 6 years ago.

So today is a day for peas and fava beans.

Normally I just cook them in a bit of butter and call it a day, but today I felt like I had to do something a little more special. So I tossed in some mint, coriander seeds, garlic, and lemon zest and served it cold.

This is such a simple salad, and it completely relies on using really good quality ingredients- the freshest favas and peas you can find. I would love to say I picked them from my garden this morning, but sadly nothing lasts in this little apartment besides succulents, but I am spoiled rotten with my local market.

Fava Bean and Pea Salad with Fresh Mint and Coriander

1 1/2 cups English Peas, shelled

1 1/2 cups Fava Beans, shelled *

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds, gently crushed with the side of the knife.

1 Lemon, juiced and zested

1/4 cup Fresh Mint Leaves

1 clove Garlic, thinly sliced

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Put in a good pinch of salt.

Fill a medium sized bowl 3/4 full with ivery cold water.

Blanch the fava beans in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and immediately put them in the water. Stir them around for a couple minutes.

Remove the favas from the ice water and remove the hulls- pinch off the white outer layer from the beans and discard it.

Blanch the peas in the exact same way- 2 minutes in teh boiling water and then straight into the water.

In a small frying pan warm the olive oil over medium heat.

Put in the garlic and stir until it is aromatic. Toss in the coriander and cook for another 30 seconds, being sure not to let the garlic burn.

Pour over the favas and peas.

Mix in the zest, half the lemon juice and the salt and pepper.

Taste it and check the seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt as needed,

Tear the mint apart and toss it in as well!

Sunday Salads-Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Black Beans and Feta, with a Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

The internet has a funny way of throwing things at you. You know, you see something once and think “hmm, that doesn’t look bad” and then you see it another 40 times and at that point you just have to make it because you’ve seen it so many times and you need to get up on the trend? Even if at this point it’s far from trendy?

Well, the quinoa burrito bowl has been doing the rounds on social media lately. First I saw it on tastespotting, and then I noticed it on twitter, and by the 54th time I saw it on Pinterest I had to make it. It’s a simple thing really, quinoa, refried beans, salsa, and a little cheese on top. It took less than half an hour to make and was a very tasty simple dinner, except that Jordan all but refused to eat it.

See, Jordan likes healthy food, he does. He even likes quinoa, but he doesn’t like pretending unhealthy foods are good for you. It’s actually something we both have in common- you know, the “sugar-free-gluten-free-soya-free-vegan-cupcakes-that-totally-taste-like-they-have-nothing-delicious-in-them-and-are-trying-so-hard-to-be-something-they-aren’t” kind of things.

I tried to explain that I was simply substituting one ancient grain common in Central America for another ancient grain common in South America but he was having none of it. But men are fickle creatures.

So the next day I added all the ingredients together, made a salad with it and he ate seconds.

Like I said.


Turns out this is even better, because you can keep eating it out of the big bowl in the fridge standing up and not feel guilty about it.

This is that salad, I put a poached egg on top, because I am nearly always wanted to put a poached on top of salads but that is optional.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Tomatoes, and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette and Feta

2 cups Cooked Quinoa

1/2 cup Chopped Cherry Tomatoes

1 small can Black Beans, rinsed carefully.

1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

1 bunch Green Onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Crumbled Feta

1 Lime, zested and juiced

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika

Salt and Pepper

In medium sized bowl mix the zest, juice, paprika and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In the same bowl add in all the other ingredients and mix.

Poach an egg if that’s your style. It might be. It’s my style.  

Sunday Salads- Fennel, Avocado, and Citrus Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette


This is the sort of salad you can only make in the winter months, and I relish fresh simple salads that can be made from things available this time of the year because frankly, in Vancouver, it’s slim pickings. But what we lack in veg right now we make up for in proxy to California, and thus California citrus. You can use any citrus in this salad, but the blood oranges and the grapefruits just make it so pretty, and if you can find a meyer lemon for the dressing, well, you’re pretty well in business.

This is one of those recipes that almost seems silly to put up here. I’ve made it so many times, and there are so few ingredients, it just seems too simple.

But when I made it for a friend of mine a while back she immediately begged me for the recipe, and wouldn’t take a “Oh, you know just chop up some fennel and add in some citrus” for a recipe.

I do that a lot. She gets mad at me.

It is though, the easiest salad to make. I grew up on this salad, sometimes it was just fennel dressed with lemon and olive oil, sometimes my mom threw in some citrus segments if she was feeling fancy. But it was a standard salad in our house for years, and it is always one of my favourites. The only thing I’ve changed is the addition of an avocado, which was totally a fluke, I just had one that was on it’s last legs so I chopped it up and tossed it in, but it turns this salad from a bright side dish, into a perfect light lunch. And when you eat as much sugar as I do, a perfect light lunch salad is just about the best thing.


Fennel, Citrus, and Avocado Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing

Serves as 4 side salads.

1 Head Fennel

2 blood oranges

1 grapefruit

1 Avocado

1 Meyer Lemon if possible, otherwise a regular lemon is fine

4 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

In a medium bowl, zest and juice the meyer lemon. Add in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Test it to see if it tastes right adding more lemon, or salt if nescessary.

Into the same bowl thinly slice the head of fennel as thin as you can, a mandolin makes quick work of this.

Cut the avocado in half, peel it and cut it into thin strips, Add that to the fennel and toss with the dressing.

Take the blood oranges and grapefuit and with a sharp knife cut the tops and bottoms off, and then cut away the skin leaving not traces of white pith behind.

Now carefully cut between each membrane, so that you cut out the segments of fruit without any bits of membrane. Put them into the bowl as well.

Toss the salad well and serve.image

Sunday Salads- Thai Style Coleslaw with Lime and Peanuts

Here’s the thing of it: I work almost all the time, and always at weird hours. It’s just the way my life is these days. Somedays I start at 5am and some days I finish work at midnight, which has lead me to some very strange eating patterns. Most of them involve a whole lot more sugar than I will ever admit to on this very public forum because, if we’re being real here, I’m totally unwilling to admit it to myself.

But I struggle, as I know a lot of people do, with working long hours and trying to eat vegetables at the same time. Some people, like my sister, buy their veggies pre-cut because it saves time. But you get totally subpar vegetables if they were cut 5 days ago, so I’ve resisted this, and instead, I’m getting into salads and things that aren’t full of delicate greens, but instead are full of hearty veg that stay crisp even when you dress them. The sort of salads that you can make in a big bowl and continue eating for a couple days. The kind of salad that eat with dinner on Sunday night and eat left overs for Tuesday lunch in between your baking shift and your serving shift when your too exhausted to much of anything but eat and sleep.

And if you’re that tired, as I seem to be an awful lot lately, I figure it’s better to eat coleslaw than it is to eat left over meringues. Especially if said coleslaw isn’t the Southern mayo kind, but the Asian sort, dressed in nothing but lime, soy, and peanut oil.

Thai-Style Coleslaw

1/2 head Purple Cabbage

1 bunch Green Onions

1/4 cup Cilantro

1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts, peeled

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp Peanut Oil, or other neutral oil, like Canola

1 tbsp Soy

Fish Sauce, optional, to taste.

Mix together the lime, soy, and fish sauce if using in a large bowl. Add in the oil and taste to check the seasoning. Adjust if you need it (I used a bit more soy, but I am a salt fiend…)

Thinly slice the cabbage by hand, using a mandolin, or the slicing attachment of a food processor.

Add it into the bowl with the dressing.

Thinly slice the green onions on a bias and mix them in too.

Chop the cilantro and the peanuts and put them on the top.

C’est finis, so simple, and so delicious, and it will keep getting better for about 3-4 days in the fridge.  

Sunday Salads- Semolina Crusted Cauliflower with Arugula and Capers



The last month has just about taken it out of me. Valentines was very near the death of me. For serious.

The thing about doing the pastries for 4 different restaurants is that, when one is busy usually all of them are busy. And then it gets crazy.

Post Valentines there will be lots of deep breathing, lots of yoga, and lots of writing. I know I’ve been bad to you you all lately. I just haven’t had a chance to breath lately.

But now is the prime time to start again, to write again, and to eat salads again.

This one is one of my all time favourites, one I make pretty regularly and one that gets lots of praise every time I do. It’s full of super crispy cauliflower, peppery arugula and the sharp acid of capers. It’s admittedly, not one of the healthiest salads I make, I know it, and you could bake the cauliflower if you wanted to, I have and it’s still good, but there is just something about it when it’s pan fried in bubbling olive oil that just makes it better. It might make everything better.


Semolina Crusted Cauliflower with Arugula and Capers.

1 head of Cauliflower

1 cup Semolina Flour

1 cup Olive Oil

Half a Lemon

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Capers- I like the really little ones if you can find them

2 cups Arugula

Bring a large pot of water to a boil

Mix a tsp of salt with the semolina flour in a medium bowl.

In another medium bowl mix together the lemon and mustard and slowly mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and add salt to your liking.

Meanwhile cut the cauliflower into small-ish florets.

Generously salt the water and blanch the cauliflower for about 1 minute.

Drain it well and immediately mix it into the semolina flour and toss to coat.

In a large saucepan over medium- high heat warm about a quarter of a cup of olive oil.

Put in half the cauliflower and fry until it’s nicely browned.

Drain off the oil, and put the cauliflower into the bowl with the dressing.

Repeat this process with the rest of the cauliflower, adding more olive oil as needed.

Mix in the capers and arugula and serve immediately.

Sunday Salad- Raw Winter Veg Salad with Horseradish

Oh man, I just love the winters farmers market. I’m completely surprised every time I go by how much is still available, despite the weather. Now, that’s not to say that I live in a place that gets a proper Canadian winter, it rarely, if ever, snows here, but it gets cold enough that I certainly have no burning desire to go outside. But things are still growing, and the cold is preserving the apples and pears, and and I can still buy slews of kinds of root veggies. 

And there is a certain energy at the farmers market too, and it doesn’t fade away with the sun, there are still kids everywhere, and people laughing, and having samples of the greatest Asian pears, or the new kind of smoked cheddar.  There’s a sense of adventure when you go to the farmers market, but maybe that’s just because it’s nearly always pouring rain. It makes you feel a little hard core. 

This is a salad made with only very pretty winter veg, and served very simply. The sort of salad that takes 5 minutes to put together, but gives you that crispness that I crave from raw vegetables. The kind I always think I have to forfeight during the cold months, before I remember that with the help from a mandolin to slice them very thin, the texture can take me right back to the days of warmth and sunshine. 

5 small Beets, of any kind

1/2 head Fennel

3 small Carrots, of any kind

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tbsp Finely chopped Parsley

1 tsp-1 tbsp Horseradish- fresh of from a jar

Salt and Pepper

Peel the carrots, or if they’re very small just wipe them down with a damp cloth. Cut them into thin thin slices, either by hand of with a mandolin. 

Slice the fennel the same way. 

Peel the beets, and then slice very thinly too, this is definitely easier with a mandolin. 

In the bottom of a medium sized bowl mix together the lemon, dijon, olive oil, and the horseradish. Mix in a bit and see how it tastes. If you can find fresh horseradish you won’t need as much, if your  using the jarred kind and it’s a new jar, you won’t need much more. If it’s been sitting in your fridge for a long time you might need quite a bit. 

Add in the vegetables and the parsley and mix it all together. 

Sunday Salad- Radiccio and Blood Orange Salad with Black Olives and Mint Dressing

Summer salads are an easy seduction. The bright colours, the delicate greens, the warmth of fruit warming in the sun, it’s a simple formula, like the blonde with the big laugh on TV, there is something comforting about getting it all upfront. There isn’t much hidden in a summer salad.

Winter salads are the opposite. Either there is nothing at all to love, you know the ones, with the flavourless lettuce, the watery cucumber and the grainy tomato, or you take some time to produce complicated mix of things that use up the limited things that grow in January.

This salad falls firmly into the latter category, it’s a perfect balance of bitter lettuce, salty olives, and tart oranges all tossed in a sweet dressing that is brightened by fresh mint.

I started thinking about radiccio at home, but when I got to my local market and saw the blood oranges I couldn’t resist adding them to the mix. It wasn’t until I saw the mint perched close to the check-out that I realized that this salad was teatering somewhere between Italian and Moroccan. Regardless of it’s origins, this salad and a thick cut of toast is the answer to a cold crisp day.

Blood Orange and Raddicio Salad with Dried Olives and Mint Dressing

1 Head Radiccio

5 Blood Oranges (regular oranges will do if you can’t find their red cousins)

1/3 cup Dried Black Olives

1/2 Lemon

1 tbsp Finely chopped Mint

1tbsp Finely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Segment the oranges: Cut off their tops and bottoms. With the orange “standing up” cut off the peel and pith so that no white from the peel remains. Over a medium bowl pick up the orange and using a paring knife cut in between the membranes to release each slice of orange. When your finished removing the slices squeeze all the remaining juice from the core into the bowl. Repeat with the rest of the oranges.

Strain the orange slices into a small pot, and reduce that liquid until it is syrupy, and only about a tablespoon remains.

Mix this mixture with the lemon juice and whisk in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and adjust the seasoning as you wish. Mix in the parsley and mint.

Wash the radiccio and tear into a big pieces. Mix them with the orange segments.

Tear the olives apart by pressing your thumb into the middle until the olive splits in half. Remove the pit and tear them fully in half. Continue with the rest of them and add that to the bowl with the orange and radiccio.

Toss with the dressing and serve immediately!

Sunday Salads- Squash, Black Bean and Kale Salad with Cilantro and Lime Dressing


I’m not so big on New Years resolutions. I get that they almost never work out, that they make you feel better after a December of spending too much money and eating too much food. But for the most part they are don’t stick. I understand that.

There is something though, about trying to do better. About trying to start off the year fresh, and put your best foot forward. And who am I to say that that’s for naught.

I will say though that the “I’m going to cut out sugar” or “No more gluten” are, for most of us weak willed dieters at least, not so effective. So instead of declaring something I know won’t stick I’m just saying I’m going to eat more veggies. More raw veggies to be exact.

So with that comes a new Sunday column, after all the fun I had with the Stocking Stuffer Sundays in December, that may only last through January, but who knows. Maybe my resolutions will stick this time round and Sunday Salads will stay. I’m just not quite willing to commit yet. Which might just be my problem!

Cumin Roasted Squash, Black Bean, and and Kale Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 Small firm fleshed Squash, like butternut or acorn.

1 Avacado

1 cup Black Beans, soaked and cooked or canned and drained.

1 Onion

1/3 cup Pecans

1/2 Bunch Kale

1/2 head Butter Lettuce

1 tbsp Ground Cumin


1/2 bunch Cilantro

1/2 bunch Green Onions

1 Lime

1/2 cup Neutral Oil, like Canola or Grapeseed

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 425F

Thinly slice the onion and mix it with the vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt. Set aside.

Peel and cut the squash into big chunks.

Toss with the cumin, a good glug of olive oil and some salt. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until they are completely cooked through, about 45 minutes.

In a food processor, a blender, or a boil with a hand blender mix together the cilantro, onions, lime juice, mustard and oil. It will all blend into a thick and creamy sauce. If you don’t have a food processor don’t worry, you can chop the cilantro and onions and mix in the liquid ingredients. The dressing won’t be creamy but it will still be delicious. I promise! Taste and check the seasoning and add more lime or salt if you’d like.

Gently pull the kale leaves off of the stem, you want the frilly edges without the tough fibrous veins. Wash these lovely leaves with the butter lettuce.

When the squash is finished cooking put it on a large plate. Mix the dressing with the kale, butter lettuce, black beans, and onion.

Slice the avocado and place on the top and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.

Roasted Pear and Pepita Salad

I live on the West Coast. I have for almost 6 years now, and I love it. I love the mountains, the ocean, the people, the attitude. I suspect I will stay here for a very long time. My biggest knock on this side of the country, in fact, is the lack of my family. My family has a long tradition of being to the east. While Toronto isn’t really that far east, despite what Vancouverites say, I do have family all the way down the coast, from Nova Scotia to Florida. And I was born over there too in Washington D.C..

It’s been hard today not to spend the whole day looking at pictures of the devestation from Hurricane Sandy. It was hard last night to sleep, knowing my sister was alone in Brooklyn with only broccoli in her fridge. It was tough not to think about my relatives in Boston and my friends in Washington. So I did what I always do when I panic. I cooked.

I didn’t make anything fussy, or fancy, or particularly hard. I made a simple salad, with roasted pears and pepitas and I ate it watching the news, convinced the wind was going to knock down my sisters building or that my cousins would be washed away with the tide.

But there was something, something little, but something none the less, about the roasted pears that made me feel better.  

Roasted Pear and Pepita Salad 

Serves 4

4 Bosc Pears

4 cups Baby Arugula or other sharp greens.

1 cup Fresh squash/pumpkin seeds, or dried. 

1/2 head Fennel, thinly sliced. 

1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, minced

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F

Cut pears in half lengthwise. 

Using a melon baller, or a small spoon, cut out the core. 

Put the pears face up on a baking tray, rub with a bit of olive oil and bake until pears are cooked through, about 30 minutes. 

In a small frying pan heat up 1 tbsp of the olive oil. 

Add in the seeds and cook until lightly browned. Salt generously and mix in the rosemary. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl mix together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly add in the remaining oil and mix well. 

Mix together the arugula and fennel and toss with dressing. Top with pepitas and pears. Serve immediately. 

Grilled Corn Panzanella

Corn for me is the quintessential high summer vegetable.

As a kid my oldest and dearest friends had a cottage in Muskoka that my family used to go to many times a summer. The kind of cottage that’s hard to find these days in Muskoka, amidst all the monster homes that people summer in, this is a real cottage (or as we say on the west coast, a cabin). It was built by my friends great-great-aunt and uncle, from scratch all the way. They even built some of the furniture and sewed the quilts. It was the home to our most elaborate games and biggest adventures as kids, and I loved it.

Since moving to BC I haven’t been back, which is alarming and hard as it’s been nearly 6 years now, one of my friends was recently up there and Instagraming pictures and it broke my heart a bit. Food was never a big priority up there; besides hot dogs, one great bakery, and traditional Thanksgiving dinner, my food memories from the cottage are few and far between. But I do remember stopping along the way at farmers stands and getting corn. Corn before “peaches and cream” corn, that was savoury instead of sweet and had a much stronger flavour that the kind you can pick up at the grocery store these days, at least where I live.

But I found some at the farmers market the other day, bright yellow and deeply flavoured. I grilled it and put it in this salad and it tasted like summer, the idyllic kind you can only have when your on school break and have nothing to do the next day but swim.

Grilled Corn Panzanella

2 cobs Corn

1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved

2 cups Bread, cubed

1 handful Basil

1/4 cup Olive Oil.

half Lemon

Salt and Pepper

Grill the corn- for me this means on a grill pan on my stove top. You could do this on a BBQ or under a broiler. You want to get it nice and charred.

Once cooked take a serated knife and cut the kernels off the cob.

In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Toss in the bread cubes and toast until it starts to darken on the edges. Salt.

Add the corn and the tomatoes, toss a couple times. Add in the basil and the lemon, adjust the seasoning and serve!

Grilled Spot Prawns with a Thai Mango Salad

In Italy they celebrate the first asparagus with festivals all over the country (though I’m told especially in Veneto), ringing in the first of the local produce after a long winter of root vegetables and grains. I remember being told that in cooking school and feeling a little left out, a little cast to the side that we didn’t have these traditions, that my deep and very self important 19 year old self had missed something important. That some deep rooted cultural practise that I believed in had just passed me by because I lived in Canada.

And while that was many things, self indulgent definitely among them, it’s also not true. We may not have the long standing history of it, but Vancouver has spot prawns. And with them the Spot Prawn Festival.

I didn’t really realize before I moved to Vancouver that seafood is just as seasonal as produce, but it makes sense once you think about it. If you want the best salmon in BC you wait until mid-late summer, you’ll catch the fattiest trout in the fall, but of all seafood nothing is as seasonal as the spot prawn.

They are the first things out of the water in the Spring, big prawns that are bright coral and marked with two namesake white dots on their tails. They are tender beyond any shrimp or prawn I’ve ever had and they have an unmistakably sweet flavour. You have probably seen them in Asian supermarkets swimming around, or on Japanese menus as “ama-ebi” or sweet shrimp, but the taste of them fresh from the water is a completely different experience.

They are also one of the only sustainable shrimp/prawn fisheries in the world, and we are incredibly lucky not only to have these glorious little guys swimming around our local waters but also to have a sustainable fish shop 2 blocks away from our apartment.

Now, spot prawns are not cheap, they cost a pretty penny, so these are not for everyday, at least not on my budget (they average around $15 a pound!) but they are worth buying a few every Spring to celebrate.

I made a light dinner of them the other day, with a simple Thai inspired mango salad and grilled the prawns until just they are just barely cooked. With a cold beer, you’d be hard pressed to find a better summer meal!

Grilled Spot Prawns with Thai Mango Salad

*If you can’t get spot prawns you can make this with any shrimp, but fresh and local will make a difference in the taste if you can get them. 

Thai Mango Salad

1 philipine Mango (you can use Chinese mangos too, but the Phillipine ones are less fibrous, and often cheaper!)

1/2 a Cucumber

1/4 Red Onion

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp Sambal Olek or other Asian chili garlic oil

2 tbsp Peanut or Canola Oil

Handful of cilantro and mint.

Spot Prawns

10 Prawns, head off

Zest of 1 Lime

1 tbsp Sambal Olek or other Asian chili garlic oil

1 tbsp Peanut or Canola Oil

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and marinade for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile make the salad.

Mix the lime juice, fish sauce, sambal and oil in a bowl. On a rasp grate the ginger and garlic and mix it in. Check for seasoning, it should be quite strong- the lime, sambal and fish sauce should jump out at you!

Thinly slice the onion and add to the dressing.

Peel the mango with a peeler. Throw out the peel, then continue to use the peeler to get nice thin strips of the fruit. Add to the bowl.

Cut the cucumber in half and use the peeler to make thin strips of it. You could use a mandoline here if you wanted to, but then you’d have to wash it after, so I just use the peeler.

Mix this all together- this can sit for about an hour like this, but don’t add the herbs until your just about to serve it.

For the prawns- Heat your BBQ, grill pan, or saute pan until it’s blazing hot. Your only going to cook the prawns for about a minute each side, and your going to be taking the shells off, so you want to impart as much flavour into the meat as possible. If the edges get a little black it’s a good thing.

Once your surface is scorching hot put the prawns out in a single layer and let them cook for 1 minute each side and then flip. Once they’re starting to curl up, the edges are getting colored and they have turned bright coral your in business, take them off right away.

Mix your herbs into the salad, place half of it on each plate and put 5 prawns per plate. Poor yourself a beer and dig in!

Thai Chicken Noodle Salad

If theres one thing I find myself making over and over it’s noodle salads. They take wonderfully to nearly anything in your fridge, making them very simple and super cheap, a winning combination for this unemployed girl. I think it’s because I make them so often, and I throw in nearly anything that I worry that they’re not good enough for the blog space and I pass over them again and again when I’m making them. 

That changes with this chicken. It’s a simple enough start, mix a few ingredients and marinate some chicken for an hour or two before frying it up, but it makes this throw together lunch into a legitimate dinner, and a damn good one at that. 

The marinade comes from Martha Stewart, but the rest of the ingredients I think are up to you. I’m putting a guideline for what I use, but it varies greatly depending on the season and if I’m willing to get up and go to the store, or if I have enough in the vegetable drawer of my fridge to make do. Fresh herbs are crucial though, don’t skimp out on those. The cilantro and mint are vital and if you can find thai basil, it really elevates this, although depending on your local shops it can be hard to find. 


2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1/2 cup Soy Sauce

1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar

2 tbsp Brown Sugar

2 tbsp Lime Juice

1/2 tsp anchovie fillets, minced

1/2 tsp Sambal Olek, or another garlic chili sauce

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips

3 1/2 oz Rice Noods

2tbsp Sesame oil

Half a Cucumber. Cut in half and then sliced thinly

2 carrots, Julienned

1/2 cup Bean Sprouts

1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thinly

1/2 cup toasted peanuts

a handful of cilantro

a handful of mint

To make marinade, mix all ingredients together in a bowl

Put half of the marinade into a plastic zip-loc bag and add the chicken. Mix together and let marinade at least an hour or up to overnight.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Cook your noodles to the package instructions. Strain and run under cold water, stirring occasionally until the noodles are totally cold to the touch. Toss with 1 tbsp of sesame oil. 

In a frying pan over medium heat, heat up the remaining sesame oil. Add in the chicken and cook, stirring regularly until it’s all cooked and the pan is almost dry.

Put the noodles in a large bowl, Mix the remaining marinade with the veggies and put that on top, top that with the chicken and then sprinkle the peanuts on top. And your in business. 

Sunday Staples- Broccoli, Kale and White Bean Salad

First things first. I’m sorry. I really am, I have never been a worse blogger, and I haven’t even been doing this for a year yet. I’m terrible. I could give you a list of excuses, but I won’t. Just please believe that I will get better. I promise I will.

Secondly, I am promising myself, to take more time to cook at home, eat less Tim Horton bagels and plan meals a little in advance so I don’t get home after a long day at work, and end up with take out. I’ve been doing that a lot, and it’s no good for anyone.

So, to fix both of these problems, every Sunday I’m going to post a recipe that is a simple, easy to make dinner that uses ingredients I keep on hand most of the time. Something not fussy, and by telling you right now, that I will do this every Sunday, it will force me to both blog, and eat better. Done deal.

The first one here is painfully easy, but also something I make all the time, mostly because you can substitute anything into it. I made it here with broccoli and kale, but it would be delicious with brussel sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, anything really. Similarly the white beans are my favourite but chickpeas, romano beans, or fava beans would be equally lovely.What makes it so good as that you take vegetables that normally you steam and you saute them, which locks in the flavour and adds in the crispy exterior and a sweet caramelized taste.

It’s a beautiful thing really, and it takes about ten minutes to get it on the table. This is the sort of salad I make for lunch or for dinner for myself, although if Jordan’s eating with my I usually have to grill a sausage or a chicken breast for him and his manly appetite. But for this girl, the salad is enough.

Broccoli Kale and White Bean Salad

1 large head of Broccoli

1 bunch of Kale

1 tin of White Beans (or 1 cup soaked over night), rinsed well and drained carefully.

1 Onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic, minced.

1 tsp Cider Vinegar, Red Wine vinegar or lemon juice.

A good pinch of dried chili peppers- depending on your space.

A couple good glugs of olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan on medium heat add some of the olive oil and cook the onion until it’s very soft, about 8 minutes.

Add in the beans and cook until they get brown and crispy. You may need to add more olive oil to prevent browning.

Add in the broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes, until it starts to brown on the edges and turns a deep green. Add the kale and do the same.

Add the vinegar and season to taste. A Voila, c’est finis!

Aunt Loretta's Tomato Panzanella Salad


My Aunt Loretta is an amazing cook. Truly terrific. The sort of woman who teaches healthy cooking classes to cancer patients, raised an incredible cook for a son, and makes the marshmallows from scratch that she uses on top of her sweet potato cassorole for Thanksgiving. She does this all with a huge smile on her face, immaculate nails and hair, perfect clothes and just the right amount of southern sass. She is a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.

She emailed me a while back about a tomato bread salad that she did up with cod, and it sounded amazing because, well, I’ve never had anything shes made that wasn’t spot on.

So when my favourite neighbours dropped off some tomatoes from their community garden last week I could think of nothing else beside big chunks of bread fried in olive oil, big juicy pieces of local tomatoes and big leaves of basil all bound with lemon juice and capers. I bought some local mackerel because I love mackerel and it’s local here and cod isn’t but use whatever you can get!

So here it is, Aunt Loretta’s Panzanella.
Serves 2

1/2 a thin Baguette of 1/3 of a big one

2 Roma tomatoes, 1 beefsteak, or a big handful of cherry tomatoes cut into wedges.

1 tbsp Capers, I like the teeny tiny ones but use whatever you like best

Half a bunch of Basil

Juice of Half a Lemon

A handful of Arugula

2 Herring, Mackerel, or good fresh fish

1/4 cup Flour

Zest of half a lemon

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil
Turn your oven onto warm or 180F

Mix together the flour, the zest and a tespoon of salt. Dredge the fish in it.

In a small frying pan over medium high heat and add in a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the fish. Put the skin side down first and cook it almost all the way through then flip them and finish cooking the flesh side. Keep them warm in the oven.

Cut the baguette into 1 inch cubes

Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add in 1/4 cup olive oil and fry up the bread flipping it reguarly until the bread is a glorious golden brown.

Meanwhile Mix the lemon juic, 1 tbsp olive oil, capers in the bottom of a large bowl.

Add in the tomatoes, arugala, and the basil and toss to combine.

Add in the bread and toss again, serve immediately with the fish on the side.