Salads · Uncategorized

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts

This is a nicely balanced salad, sweet enough to serve with brunch, but also great with a grilled chicken breast for dinner!

This will serve 4 as a side, or 2 as a main.

arugula salad

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts


3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt (homemade if you have it)

Juice from half a lemon

1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 Tablespoon liquid honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


2 cups baby arugula

3 cups leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted   See Cooks Notes below

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons raw, unseasoned sunflower seeds

Whisk dressing ingredients together in large bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add arugula. lettuce, apples and walnuts to dressing in bowl.  Gently toss to combine well.

Sprinkle toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds over top.

Serve immediately.

COOKS NOTE – to toast walnuts,  heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally until beginning to brown and slightly fragrant.  Remove walnuts from pan immediately (so they don’t burn in the hot pan).  Set aside to cool before adding to salad.


Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean with Anchovy Dressing



Don’t let the anchovies throw you off.  They add the ‘pop’ this dish needs to make it great.

This serves 4 for a light lunch 8 or as a starter salad.

Aside from tasting good, this salad is very pretty.  then scrape skins off using your fingers or a paring knife.   Plate individually for best effect, or  bring it to the table on a large flat plate and serve it family style.

Thanks to Martha Stewart for this one.

4 red bell peppers

2 oil packed anchovy fillets, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup flat leafed parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (from 15 oz can or home cooked) drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan (optional)

1 cup arugula or mixed baby greens

Char bell peppers over the flames of a gas burner or bbq, using tongs to turn as skin blackens and blisters (about 10 minutes per pepper).  Alternatively, you can do this under the broiler, turning as skins blacken.  Transfer blackened peppers to medium bowl and cover the bowl with a plate.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, whisk anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend.  Add beans and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and let stand while you finish preparing the peppers.

Remove charred skins from peppers, using your fingers or a paring knife.  Cut peppers in half, remove and discard stems and seeds.  Arrange on platter and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Spoon beans over top, and scatter arugula over top.  Sprinkle parmesan over top and serve.




Oriental Cucumber Salad

This is a nice change from plain old cucumbers in a salad.   The tender skin on long english cukes means you can peel them or not.

Oriental Cucumber Salad


3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp white pepper (optional)

1 long english cucumber, thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1/4 red Serrano pepper, minced (optional)

Mix rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper together.  Set aside.

Toss the cucumber, scallion, cilantro and Serrano together in large bowl.   Pour rice vinegar mixture over top, toss well and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

It goes pretty well with Gochujang pork, but I am sure you will find tons of stuff to serve this with.



Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad with Zucchini Blossoms

Super simple to make, crunchy and full of flavour.

The corn is raw,  so be sure to use the freshest sweetest corn you can find.   As for the zucchini blossoms,  if you have zucchini growing in your garden right now, this is a nice way to take advantage of those blossoms.  Just be sure you have not sprayed any chemicals on your plants.

We like this as a side with BBQ Chicken.




Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad

Serves 2

1 ear sweet corn

2 small zucchini, diced into 1/4′ pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)

4 zucchini blossoms, torn into large pieces (optional)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Red Pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from corn cob into medium bowl.   Add diced zucchini, basil and mint (if using).

In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar and pepper flakes.  Mix well with fork and pour over corn mixture.  Toss to combine.

Put into serving bowl, top with torn zucchini blossoms, a few red pepper flakes and freshly ground pepper.






Fresh Tomato Salad

When you have a perfectly ripe tomato, less is more.   This is a simple salad that lets  the tomato shine.



ripe tomatoes

1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed and finely diced

fresh chives, mint or basil, finely sliced

olive oil


Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces.  Toss with preserved lemon,  fresh herbs, a generous drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.  Let stand several minutes, taste for salt and add if necessary.


COOKS NOTE:  Even after rinsing, the preserved  lemons are fairly salty and will impart some of that saltiness to the tomatoes.   Taste before adding salt.



!Smashing Cucumbers!

Yes, it is a thing, or was, as recently as March of this year.  Honestly, it is difficult to keep up with all the  food trends recently.  Just yesterday, I read that mould was the new “BIG THING”.  Not like Cheese Mould or something that we normally do our best to avoid, but a Japanese strain that chefs are apparently clamouring for.

Not sure the mould thing will catch on in my world, but the smashing cucumber thing really caught my attention.  Seriously, is there a  better way  to release the days frustrations than by beating up an innocent vegetable?

The theory is that  a smashed cucumber  will have many more nooks and crannies for dressing to hide in and adhere to than boring old slices.   This in turn will give your salad  a much better flavour because that awesome dressing you just spent 10 minutes making actually has something to stick to.

The theory is correct.  Move over clean lines and smooth sides of sliced veggies, hello ragged edges of the smashed!

Yes, that is a baked potato smothered in sour cream beside the salad. It was delish and I dont apologize for eating the whole thing!!

Yes, I can hear your arguments now… “professional chefs have staff to clean up after them while I do not”.  No worries.   You can still have fun smashing veggies provided you remember to place said veggies in a plastic bag and hold the end closed while you hammer away.

Perhaps hammer is too strong a term.  Really, you just want to GENTLY knock the veg  with a meat mallet , or the back of your biggest knife or even the bottom of a heavy frying pan,  until it starts to break apart.  Then, remove from the plastic bag and break it apart with your fingers into unequal jagged chunks.

The original recipe for this was published in Bon Appetit March 2017.    I haven’t changed much, except to add some lemon zest and I made the quantities simpler to follow.

Smashed  Salad

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup greek-style yogurt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Tiny pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

4 small  cucumbers, peeled

10 medium radishes, cleaned and trimmed

In small bowl, mix garlic and lemon zest and lemon juice and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk yogurt, oil and sugar, season with salt & pepper.   Whisk in lemon juice mixture.

Working in batches, place cucumbers and radishes inside of a plastic bag.  Holding the bag securely closed, gently pound veggies with a meat mallet or bottom of heavy pan until broken but not smashed beyond recognition.  Tear into smaller pieces with your hands and add to yogurt-lemon mixture.  Stir well, season with salt and pepper.

The instructions on Epicurious say to let stand 2 hours, but I got a late start on making dinner so it sat about 15 minutes, while I finished cooking the Za’atar Chicken Breasts.  Maybe next time, I will have the luxury of a 2 hour rest for this salad, but honestly, it was pretty good without the wait.  Whether it sits or not, I will be making this one again.   Not only for the flavour, but also because it is tons of fun to smash a cucumber!!







Chicken · Main Courses · Salads

Spinach Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Breast

Not too taxing in the cooking department and still tastes great.   There are lots of ways to dress this, but honestly, a simple drizzle of good olive oil is really all you need.  This is on the lighter side, but still satisfying.

This serves 2 as a main course.

Spinach Salad

For the Salad

2 bunches spinach,  washed well, dried,  & larger leaves torn and tough stems removed

small handful of arugula, torn (optional, but highly recommended!)

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered

2 tomatoes, quartered

2 radishes, quartered or sliced

1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced

3 – 4 white mushrooms, sliced

Chopped preserved lemon for garnish (optional)

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

The Chicken

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

juice of half a lemon



Heat oil in frying pan, over high heat until oil is shiny.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to frying pan and sear on both sides.  About 2 minutes per side.  Partially cover pan with lid and reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until chicken is cooked thru.  I like an internal temp of 155 – 160.  Remove chicken to plate, tent with foil and let rest until internal temp reaches 165,  about 10 minutes. (Yes, the temperature does increase after you take it off the heat)

Meanwhile, toss all the salad ingredients except olive oil to combine and arrange on 2 plates.

Slice chicken crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, and lay on top of prepared salad.

Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over each plate and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over top.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and serve.

COOKS NOTE – if using spinach from a bag, ALWAYS give it a wash.  Even though the package says it is washed and ready to use, the stuff in those bags can be loaded with bacteria!!