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!!

Salads · Sides · Uncategorized

Potato Salad


No summer gathering in our family is complete without an enormous bowl of potato salad.  My Mom makes an excellent version, and my sister in law takes hers over the top with the addition of dill pickles and cheddar cheese.   There are as many versions of this salad as there are households in North America and every cook holds the title of Best Potato Salad in their respective households, sometimes even the neighbourhood!

It is a dish that smacks of summer, bbqs and gatherings of happy people.  When we lived in Canada, potato salad during winter months was unheard of in our house.   Now that we live  in the land of perpetual summer, I make this at any time of year.  It is my go to side whenever  a large group gathers  for a few laughs, a couple of drinks, and most likely, something from the grill.   If you happen to live in cooler climes, make it this weekend anyway.   It is a handy thing to have in the fridge as you run from one Christmas Craft Fair to the next.  And besides,  summer really is just around the corner.

The key to this dish is adding the dressing to fully cooled potatoes, so be sure to start well in advance of when you want to serve it.


Potato Salad


3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, cut 1″ pieces (bite size)

2 stalks celery, sliced thinly, crosswise

4 radishes, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced

6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled  (chop 5 and slice 1)

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in steamer basket over boiling water until fork tender.  Remove from basket and cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar stirring well to combine.

Once potatoes are cool, combine with celery, radishes, green onions and chopped eggs in a large bowl.   Pour mayonnaise mixture over top and stir gently to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with slices of hard boiled egg and serve.    You can make this one day ahead and refrigerate, just be sure to let stand at room temperature for half an hour before serving.







Carrot Slaw

Because there are always carrots in the house, right?

Carrot Slaw

Serves 4

4 carrots, peeled

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Raisins, optional

Grate the carrots into a bowl, using the large holes on a box grater.

Mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and sugar together in separate bowl.  Add to grated carrots and toss to combine well.  Add raisins if using.  Can be made 1 day in advance.