All posts by brcal3

July 05, 2015

Hi, I’m back! After a full month of painting and unpacking and decorating and arranging and reorganizing and furniture shopping and assembling, I feel like my Sundays are back to being my day for cooking and blogging. ♥

Monday – Veggie burgers

I love veggie burgers — actually, I sometimes enjoy them more than actual beef burgers. Usually, I make them with bulgur, but I’m out. I found this recipe which looks amazing – I mixed together the  ingredients this afternoon and have refrigerated the mix, and I must say it smells divine. Plus, we bought a BBQ !! What a treat to have delicious veggie burgers fresh off the grill. This recipe makes 6 burgers.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to the hot oil and season with salt, black pepper, and oregano. Cook and stir mushroom mixture until mushrooms have given up their juice and the juice has almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a cutting board and chop into small chunks with a knife.
    2. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl. Mix in rolled oats and bread crumbs; taste for salt and black pepper and add more to taste. Stir Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into the mixture, followed by eggs. Let mixture stand for the crumbs to soak up excess liquid, about 15 minutes. (At this point you can refrigerate the mixture to cook later if desired.) Moisten hands with a little vegetable oil or water, pick up about 1/4 cup of mixture, and form into burgers.
    3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and pan-fry burgers until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Tuesday – Lemony lentil salad with salmon


One of my favourite summer flavours is lemon, so I totally fell for this recipe. This original recipe suggests using canned fish, but we BBQ’d a big piece of salmon that we picked up fresh from the fish monger’s today, and we will flake it and incorporate it with the lentils when they are finished soaking.


  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 15-ounce cans lentils, rinsed, or 3 cups cooked brown or green lentils (see Tip)
  • 2 7-ounce cans salmon , drained and flaked, or 1 1/2 cups flaked cooked salmon


  1. Whisk lemon juice, dill, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Add bell pepper, cucumber, onion, lentils and salmon; toss to coat.

Wednesday – Greek salad with chicken

I used this recipe as a template but really you could improvise — use the lettuce you like, the veggies you like, the dressing you like, and even the protein you like (e.g., replace chicken with grilled pork or canned fish).


  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, or oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken, (about 12 ounces; see Tip)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe black olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Whisk vinegar, oil, dill (or oregano), garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta; toss to coat.

Thursday – Grilled steak and pepper salsa


We almost never have red meat at home, but this recipe just looked too good. I have already marinated and grilled the veggies (the smell is unbelievable) and I can’t wait to taste it with a piece of freshly grilled sirloin.


  • 3 small red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 pound sirloin steak or strip steak (1-1 1/4 inches thick), trimmed and cut into 4 portions
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Combine bell peppers, onion, vinegar, oil, capers, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon dried) and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Stack two 30-inch-long pieces of foil. Arrange the pepper mixture on one half and fold the foil. Tightly seal the packet by crimping and folding the edges together.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of steak with garlic powder, the remaining thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  5. Oil the grill rack. Place the steak and foil packet on the grill. Grill the steak about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, 5 minutes per side for medium. Grill the packet until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes. Serve the steak with the peppers.

Friday – Stuffed pasta with pesto & rapini

JW and I came upon a really tasty package of stuffed fresh pasta from Rowe Farms last year, and he has been talking about it ever since. It was mushroom and goat cheese, I think — I am going to swing by the shop where we found it later this week and improvise as follows.


  • 1 package preferred stuffed pasta (e.g., ravioli)
  • 1/8 cup pesto
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • 1 bunch rapini, coarsely chopped


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large wok and sauté garlic 30 seconds. Add rapini and toss until coated in oil & garlic and just wilted, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta and mix in pesto. Fold in rapini and serve warm.

Week of April 20, 2015

Things on my to-do list last weekend:

  1. Go to a super awesome bridal show with my friend Rebecca, who recently got engaged! (And buy a bunch of things at the show, even though I am not the one getting married) — Check!  And check!
  2. Enjoy cold beers on a sunny patio — Check!
  3. Run the Toronto Yonge Street 10 km — Check!
  4. Visit Kate’s amazingly adorable and unbelievably pretty new baby girl — Check!
  5. Change my phone number to a Toronto area code (only 3 years later…) — Check!
  6. Cook all my meals for the week and update my blog — not check. Oops! I guess I can’t do 6 productive things in one weekend. Oh well! Here’s catching up…

Monday – Zucchini quiche


I had a leftover pie crust in my freezer, 3 or 4 zucchinis that were starting to go soft, and some leftover cheese from a pizza this weekend. Enter this recipe I found over at A Taste of Home.


  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion; cook and stir until tender. Drain and cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and seasonings until blended. Stir in cheese and zucchini mixture. Spread mustard over pastry shell; add filling.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown. Cover edge loosely with foil during the last 15 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday – Thai chicken burgers


I have made this recipe before from my It’s All Good cookbook. It’s fresh and summery and great with sauteed kale, bok choy or broccolette.


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 shallots, very finely minced
  • 1 tsp very finely minced red chili (or more or less, however hot you like it)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (such as canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil)


  1. Thoroughly mix chicken with garlic, cilantro, shallots, red chili, fish sauce, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 4 burgers, each about 3/4-inch thick.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both sides with a bit of oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch.

Wednesday – Chickpea curry


Interesting-looking vegetarian recipe from Budget Bytes. 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 8 oz spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (29 oz.) can chickpeas


  1. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger on a small holed cheese grater. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat until the onions have softened (3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the curry powder and continue to sauté with the onion mixture for one minute more. Add about 1/4 cup of water and to the skillet along with the fresh spinach and continue to sauté until the spinach has wilted. The water will help steam and wilt the spinach (no water needed if using frozen spinach).
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add them to the skillet along with the tomato sauce. Stir well to distribute the spices in the sauce and heat through (5 minutes). Serve over rice or with bread.

Thursday – Asian chicken lettuce wraps

From It’s All Good. I think instead of wrapping these up in lettuce leaves I will use rice wraps.


  • Neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed, or safflower oil)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 head of bibb or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
  • A handful of cilantro leaves
  • A few scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced


  1. Heat a few tablespoonfuls of oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and add chicken, along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring to break the chicken up, until browned, about 10 to15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat few more spoonfuls of oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat and add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, lotus root, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the carrot just begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Combine chicken and vegetables in 1 pan and add ½ c. of Lee’s Hoisin Sauce along with ½ cup of water; cook for a final minute or 2 to just bring everything together. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on the lettuce leaves until you’ve used it all up. (This recipe makes about a dozen wraps, but it depends how big your lettuce leaves are.) Scatter the cilantro and scallions over the lettuce cups and serve with sriracha if anyone wants a little kick.

Friday – Sexy fish stew

I’m not sure why this is called “Sexy fish stew” but JW found it over at All Recipes and it looks pretty tasty & is highly rated!


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, trimmed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 pound boneless fish filets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir leek, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the melted butter until softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir wine into leek mixture, increase heat to medium, and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  3. Mix fennel and potatoes into leek mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add cream and stir to combine.
  4. Stir fish and tarragon into soup, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Stir gently, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Week of April 13, 2015

Guess what? We’re moving! Our landlord announced that she would be putting our apartment up for sale this week. JW and I talked seriously about buying it ourselves, and although we would have loved to it just didn’t seem realistic in our timeline of where we want to be in 2, 3 or 4 years from now. So, *sigh*, we are sad to leave our little nest, but we’re both really excited about getting a fresh start in a (much bigger!) beautiful, bright new apartment a few blocks from where we live now. We’ll have a second bedroom! And hardwood floors! And — a backyard! I could have an herb garden!! ♥

Monday – Spicy beef tortillas


The fillings for the tortillas are loosely based on this recipe.


  • 3/4 pound flank steak or other beef, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp each, cumin and dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla wraps


  1. Mash the avocado with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Set aside.
  2. Julienne the cucumber and carrot, and toss with the remaining lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add a drizzle of oil. When it starts to shimmer, add meat, peppers, fish sauce, salt, cumin and thyme. Toss to combine and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Spread the mashed avocado on a wrap, and fill with meat mixture and vegetables. Wrap up tight and enjoy.

Tuesday – Salmon pie with rice crust
Photo cred:

I have made this recipe a couple of times. It’s a great go-to recipe when you have leftover rice on hand (as I do this week), or leftover fish or crab meat. I love the crispy rice crust – it’s particularly good with brown rice, I find.


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
  • eggs
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2/3 cup fat free evaporated skim milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried dill)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • can salmon, drained
  • 3/4 cup shredded light Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Spray 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate with cooking spray. Stir rice and one whisked egg together in medium bowl. Press rice mixture into bottom and up side of pie plate.
  3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk remaining eggs, evaporated milk, dill, salt and pepper in large bowl. Stir in onion mixture, salmon and half of cheese. Spread over rice crust. Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated 375°F oven until knife inserted in centre comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday – Lemon chicken breasts with cauliflower rice
Photo cred: Food Network

I have been wanting to try cauliflower rice for awhile. I found this great tutorial — it couldn’t seem easier. Perfect to go with lemon chicken breasts.



  • 1 head cauliflower

Lemon chicken

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon



  1. Clean the cauliflower and chop into florets. Put florets into a food processor and pulse until the pieces resemble grains of rice.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Spread cauliflower rice out on one or more baking sheets (depending on how much you have) into a single layer. Don’t make yourself crazy about the single layer thing, you just don’t want to crowd the pan or it will steam and remain moist. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the “rice” at least 1x. Remove, serve and Enjoy!

Lemon chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.
  3. Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Thursday – Garlicky swiss chard & chickpeas

Photo cred: Foodie Crush

This recipe came in my veggie basket this week, and I think they got it here.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 bunches swiss chard, center stems cut out and discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional


  1. In a larges skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of hte chard and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. When the first half has wilted, add the remaining chard. When all of the chard is wilted, add the chicken broth. Cover the skillet and cook the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the chard through a fine sieve (strainer) and set it aside.
  2. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until they are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chard and chickpeas and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle the lemon juice over the mixture and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top just before serving, if desired.

Friday – Ramen
Photo cred: Chatelaine

I liked the potential versatility of this recipe — you could add whatever meat, fish or vegetables you wanted.


  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 85-g pkgs ramen noodles
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed and shelled
  • 4 cups pea sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced


  1. Place chicken breasts on a cutting board. Cover with a large piece of wax paper. Using a rolling pin or mallet, pound thickest part until chicken has an even thickness. Transfer to a pie plate.
  2. Whisk rice vinegar with soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Pour 1⁄4 cup sauce over chicken, coating evenly. Reserve remaining sauce for noodles.
  3. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium. Add chicken and cook until springy when pressed, 6 to 8 min per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 min, then slice into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Cook ramen noodles, following package directions but omitting seasoning packet, until tender, 3 to 4 min. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well and return to pot. Stir in reserved sauce, edamame, pea sprouts, green onions and chicken.

Week of April 06, 2015

I am so thankful to have had a long weekend to breathe. As may have been apparent from my very succinct post last week, my level of busy-ness has been extreme. Having an extra day of weekend has truly been a blessing, and we made the most of it. We slept in Friday, Saturday and today, did minimal work, and yesterday we took a random day-trip: we just hopped on the Go-Train, got off a few kilometers west of here and explored the adorable little town of Oakville.




I spent most of today preparing our meals for the week, my most favorite wind-down activity. Plus, bonus: I was able to have the windows open (yay, spring!) which is always nice because our super-sunny kitchen gets crazy hot in the afternoon.

 Monday – Smoked beets and fish


I smoked the beets for this recipe this afternoon. I have to say, it was intense. Our whole apartment got really smoky, which I was worried about at first – but the recipe indeed suggests the use of an “exhaust fan”. Eek. Also, it’s a very involved recipe (originally, from Plenty More); as you can see, I stopped halfway through and will omit the nuts and yogurt. Not sure if I will be making this again, but it was a fun experiment for today. I will serve with a piece of white fish.


  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • shaved peel of 1 lemon
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 12 medium beets, skin on (I only had 3…)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves


  1. Heat the oven to 520 degrees. Line a large sauté pan or wok with two large sheets of tin foil, leaving the edges generously overhanging the sides. Add the rice, lemon peel and thyme, and stir through two tablespoons of water. Sit the beets on top of the rice and seal the pan with a large lid. Draw up the tin foil and fold it back over the lid, to completely seal the beets and lid in foil; any gaps will hamper the smoking process.
  2. Put the pan over a very high flame on the stove top and, once you see a little bit of smoke coming through – after three or four minutes – leave to smoke for exactly eight minutes, then remove from the heat. (Note – It will get VERY smoky.)
  3. Discard the rice, lemon peel and thyme, transfer the beets to a baking tray and roast in the hot oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a sharp knife goes in easily. Remove, set aside to cool, then peel off the charred skin.
  4. Cut the beets into 2mm-thick slices and put them in a large bowl with the maple syrup, a tablespoon of olive oil, and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and set aside. (Note – I got lazy and stopped here; I think the smoky, sweet beets will be delicious as is.)
  5. Turn down the oven to 325 degrees. Put the nuts on a roasting tray, bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Meanwhile, line another tray with parchment paper. Put the sugar in a small saucepan and cook on a gentle heat; don’t stir as the sugar melts and starts to caramelize and turn golden. Carefully add the nuts, and stir gently to coat. Pour out the sticky nuts on to the lined tray, leave to cool, then chop and set aside. Mix the yogurt with the remaining olive oil and set aside.
  6. Spread out the beetroot slices on a large platter, drizzle with yogurt, sprinkle the chopped nuts on top and finish with the chili flakes, coriander and a final dribble of oil.

  Tuesday – Pollo fajitas

Photo cred: Cantina Mariachi
Photo cred: Cantina Mariachi

I found this recipe eight years ago when I first began cooking for myself. It wowed me then and it continues to wow me now. It’s incredibly easy and quick, and the tasty kick never disappoints.


  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  1. In a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Place chicken in sauce, and turn once to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken strips to the pan, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper, and saute another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with lemon juice.

 Wednesday – Fennel quinoa & Lamb


I’m not a big fan of fennel, as I’ve said before. I am, however, a fan of quinoa and of Ottolenghi, so when I spotted this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks I trusted it would be good. Grocery stores were closed today so I will buy the fresh herbs and beans tomorrow and stir them in before serving; I’ve otherwise made a few minor tweaks. I will serve this with leftover Easter lamb from this weekend.


  • 1-2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Handful each chopped mint, coriander and dill
  • 2-3 limes


  1. Sauté the fennel in a skillet on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft. Add the sugar, vinegar and some salt, and cook, stirring, for two minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. Pour the quinoa into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes. Do not overcook it – taste to make sure it still has some bite. Drain into a fine sieve, run under cold water, shake to remove excess liquid and add to the fennel.
  3. Throw the beans into a pot of boiling water, cook for a minute, drain and refresh. Press the beans gently to remove their leathery skins, then stir into the quinoa, along with the chili, cumin and herbs, and season.
  4. Take the limes and, using a small, sharp knife, trim off their tops and tails. Now cut down their sides, along their round curves, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, supreme the limes by removing the segments from each lime, slicing between the membranes. Squeeze any remaining juice over the segments.
  5. Cut each lime segment into three and add it and the juice to the quinoa salad. Add the remaining olive oil and taste, adjusting the seasoning as necessary and possibly adding a little more olive oil if it seems a bit dry.

 Thursday – Farro salad


I have been craving whole grains this week, particularly the nutty, chewy goodness of farro. This salad is fresh enough to fool me into thinking it’s summer (never a bad thing). I modified it slightly to suit my needs and I think I’ll serve it with a piece of fish or a couple of hard-boiled eggs.


  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  2. Add the tomatoes, onion, chives, and parsley to the farro, and toss to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat. The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Friday – Ribs & Sweet potato fries


No recipe needed for the ribs – just salt/pepper a rack of fresh ribs in the slow cooker with some onion wedges, and after 3-4 hours slather with your favorite BBQ sauce and finish on “broil”. Serve with these yummy sweet potato fries!


  • Sweet potatoes, at least one per person
  • Enough olive oil to lightly and evenly coat the fries
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A generous pinch each of cayenne pepper and paprika


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes. Toss into a mixing bowl or a plastic bag, and pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil, enough to lightly coat the fries. Season with salt, pepper, and spices. Mix/shake to distribute evenly.
  2. Pour the fries directly onto a non-stick baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway.

Week of March 30, 2015

Last weekend I had the best weekend with my best friend Elizabeth who was visiting from out of town. I had the privilege of having her guest lecture in my class on Tuesday. We had a blast!


 Monday – Grilled fish with cucumber clementine salsa



From my It’s All Good cookbook.


  • 4 clementines, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 fresh red chili, finely diced
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 mint leaves, finely sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning

From Gwyneth


  1. In a bowl, stir together clementines, cucumber, chili, onion, cilantro, mint, juice and salt. Serve salsa with a piece of grilled salmon.

Tuesday – Avocado-beet salad

From my It’s All Good cookbook.


  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp white white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound steamed or roasted beets, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced


  1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beets to the dressing and gently stir to combine. Transfer the beets to a serving platter and scatter the avocado and scallions over the top. Serve with protein of your choice.

Wednesday – Chopped Vietnamese salad


Another recipe adapted from It’s All Good.


  • 4 large bok choy leaves or lettuce, roughly shredded
  • 4 big leaves Napa cabbage, shredded
  • Leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup roasted, salted peanuts or cashews, roughly chopped

Vietnamese Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper sesame oil
  • 1/4 chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely diced red onion or shallot


  1. Toss the bok choy, cabbage, herbs, cucumber, and nuts together. In a small bowl whisk together ingredients for dressing and drizzle over the salad. Serve with a piece of white fish.

Thursday – Cream of celery soup

I threw together this recipe with ingredients I had on hand this week.


  • 5 cups celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk or water


  1. Sauté the celery and onion in a bit of butter or olive oil, until just sweating. Add salt & pepper to taste, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and milk until completely smooth. Gradually pour into simmering broth, whisking throughout. Let simmer for a few more minutes. Pulse in a blender until smooth and creamy.

Friday – Spicy roasted cauliflower with Sriracha and sesame


Adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Bountiful.


  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha, or to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into 3/4″ florets
  • Minced cilantro, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha. Whisk well. Gently add cauliflower and coat with marinade. Arrange cauliflower on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn cauliflower over and roast for another 10 minutes, or until tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Serve with protein of your choice.

Week of March 16, 2015

It was my first week at the new job, and although it was uncomfortably busy, I am so excited!! My weekend was also insanely productive. JW and I trekked out to Ikea on Saturday and got a few really cute pieces of furniture that are really nice additions to our little space.

I also managed to make all the meals for the week, which is a huge relief to me because I have a feeling I will be spending most evenings in my (new!) office. I’m slowly adjusting to my new job, but for now I am not as quick as I’d like to be in completing my daily activities, which means I have to do a bit of “after hours” work. At least I will have tasty meals! 🙂

Monday – Curry-roasted cauliflower, kale & farro salad

I’ve (purposely) planned to have no meat at all this week. I’m so excited to taste this totally veggie recipe from the most recent edition of Food & Drink.


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups torn kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring water and a pinch of salt and pepper to a rolling boil. Add farro and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until farro is tender and liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Combine a drizzle of olive oil and 2 tbsps lime juice. Add to cooled farro and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  3. Combine kale, a drizzle of olive oil, 2 tbsps of lime juice and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
  4. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchement paper, and place cauliflower on the baking sheet. Whisk together a drizzle of olive oil and the curry paste and pour over the cauliflower. Use your hands to coat the florets evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Add kale to the baking sheet with the cauliflower and roast for 10 more minutes.
  6. Combine veggies and farro, and serve warm.

Tuesday– Salmon & lentil croquettes

I love fish burgers, so when I spotted this recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine, I got really excited. The patties started to fall apart a bit while cooking, so it may be helpful to add a handful of breadcrumbs or an egg to hold everything together.


  • 300 g cooked or canned salmon
  • 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Mix together salmon, lentils, mayo, cilantro and onions in food processor until combined. Stir in garlic and pepper. Shape mixture into 4 croquettes and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2. Spray a skillet with oil and pan-fry burgers on both sides until golden (about 10 minutes).

Wednesday–Chickpea salad

This is one of my favorite vegetarian meals that I turn to regularly. It’s from my beloved All-natual everyday cookbook from Heidi Swanson.


  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 x 15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed, and a bit of grated zest
  • 4 pieces lavash flatbread or whole wheat tortillas (12 inch)
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, yogurt and salt. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the yogurt sauce across each piece of lavash.
  2. Pulse 2/3 of the chickpeas in a food processor a few times, just enough to break them up. Transfer them to the mixing bowl with the remaining yogurt sauce, along with the remaining chickpeas, shallots, celery and dill. Gently toss to combine then add the lemon juice and zest and toss again. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, if needed.
  3. Sprinkle each piece of lavash with 1/4 of the mixed greens (the yogurt will help hold the greens in place), top each of the four wraps with 1/4 of the chickpea mixture. Fold or roll into a wrap and serve.

Thursday – Curry noodle and fish bowl

I stumbled across this recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine and was seduced by the Asian flavors. Be forewarned — the original recipe is supposed to turn out to be a soup, but the noodles soaked up most of my broth and it ended up as more of a stew. Add more broth as you see fit.


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg mushrooms
  • 200 g rice noodles
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps cilantro
  • 4 white fish fillets


  1. Whisk together coconut milk, broth and curry paste in saucepan. Add ginger, garlic, mushrooms and carrot and heat until steaming.
  2. Add noodles, soy sauce and cilantro. When noodles become tender, add fish and simmer until cooked through. Ladle into bowls to serve.

Friday – Grilled tilapia with Israeli couscous salad

Pearl couscous (or Israeli couscous) is actually not couscous at all but rather pasta. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the biggest fan of pasta, but this type really appeals to me. Its shape and size makes it pretty and also very tasty – it gets all coated in whatever dressing you pour on, making it perfect for warm or cold salads. I found this tasty recipe in Longo’s Experience magazine, and plan to grill a piece of tilapa to serve with it.


  • 1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Juice and zest from 1 emon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 tsp crushed chili pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine pearl couscous and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat; cover and let stand for about 15 minutes or until couscous is tender.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and toss to combine. Serve warm with grilled tilapia.

Week of March 02, 2015

Happy March! I can’t believe how quickly February flew by… Granted, it’s the shortest month — but still! I suppose this only means we are closer to summer. Yay!

I spent most of the week training at my new job. I am so excited to start! T minus 8 days..

Monday – Crispy Brussels sprouts

Photo cred: Minimalist Baker
Photo cred: Minimalist Baker

I recently discovered the Minimalist Baker, a wonderful food blog with healthful, delicious recipes like this one. I will serve this with a piece of pan-fried fresh fish.


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed and dried
  • 3-4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
Sriracha aioli
  • 3/4 cup hummus
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • pinch each sea salt + garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and cut any large Brussels sprouts in half.
  2. Add to a mixing bowl and toss with a generous amount of oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the pan is hot, add a bit more oil to the pan and only as many sprouts as will fit without crowding the pan. Cover and cook for 1 minute, then use tongs to toss and turn over halved sprouts to cook both sides evenly. Cover once more and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Shake the pan once more to toss the sprouts and then cover for another 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately add back to the (empty) mixing bowl and top with minced garlic and season again with salt and pepper. Continue cooking other batches until all of the sprouts are sautéed. Serve hot with the Sriracha aioli, and Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs if desired.

Tuesday – White beans and charred broccoli

Photo cred: Bon Appetit
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

This recipe came in my veggie basket this week, and I thought it would be a tasty, filling vegetarian meal.


  •  2 cups dried white beans
  • 3 oz. Parmesan with rind
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 lb. broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 2 strips lemon zest, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak beans overnight. The next day, drain and place in a large heavy pot. Remove rind from Parmesan and add rind along with onion and garlic to beans. Pour in water to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, adding water as needed to keep beans submerged, until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Let cool.
  2. Discard vegetables and Parmesan rind, then drain. Preheat oven to 450°. Toss broccoli with ¼ cup oil on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Finely chop half of broccoli and toss in a large bowl with drained and finely chopped anchovies, lemon zest, lemon juice, and beans. Shave half of Parmesan over and add remaining broccoli and ¼ cup oil; toss and season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice. Shave remaining Parmesan over.

Wednesday – Seared fish with tomato and dill sauce

Photo cred: Ricardo
Photo cred: Ricardo

Saturday night was date night, and JW cooked the most amazing dinner for me. It was exactly the kind of meal I love, and we enjoyed it with a bottle of tart white wine. I plan on making it again Wednesday — it was just so good!!! The original recipe is (unsurprisingly) from Ricardo.


  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 5 plum tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 white fish fillets (we used cod)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all­ purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and cook the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, water, herbs, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and hot sauce, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a plate, coat the fish in flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large non­stick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil and brown the fish for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until the desired doneness (depending on the selected fish, cooking time may vary). Serve the fish hot, topped with the tomato sauce.

Thursday – Sicilian sausage stew

Photo cred: All Recipes
Photo cred: All Recipes

It’s not spring just yet! We’ve had a cold front recently and I have been craving some good comfort food exactly like this.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup small pasta (e.g., farfalle, penne)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Stir in sausage, onion and fennel seeds and cook until sausage is brown, 10 minutes. Stir in carrots and celery and continue to cook and stir until vegetables begin to color, 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, basil and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in pasta, salt and pepper, cook until pasta is tender, 10 minutes more. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.

Friday – Roasted beet and fennel salad

Photo cred: Food & Wine
Photo cred: Food & Wine

Beets and fennel are in season and are, again, in my basket this week. I will combine them in this tasty salad which I will serve with grilled chicken or fish.


  • 1 1/2 lb beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds—bulb cut into 1/2-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon chopped fronds
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 4 oz goat cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium baking dish, toss the beets with the thyme, the water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly. Discard the thyme.
  2. In a small baking dish, drizzle the fennel wedges with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until tender and lightly browned.
  3. Pour the beet juices into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets, fennel wedges and fronds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with goat cheese crumbled on top.

Week of February 23, 2015

JW and I stayed up way too late watching the Oscars last night. We’ve never really watched the Oscars before, but Neil Patrick Harris was hosting and we really like him so we figured we’d watch. We now have a new list of movies we want to see — we hadn’t seen any of the nominated films, but they all look excellent. First one on our list: Birdman! We will probably settle in with some popcorn on Thursday. Looking forward to it!

 Monday – Vietnamese salmon

Photo cred: Qlinart
Photo cred: Qlinart
This recipe is from an old blog I loved and followed for years. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since 2012 but I continue to go back to it when I’m craving Asian flavors.


For the salmon

  • 2 lb salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp thinly sliced cayenne pepper


  1. Marinate salmon fillet in fish sauce, oil, lemon, garlic and ginger for about an hour. Once marinated, broil salmon for 5 minutes in the oven. Turn off broil and leave salmon to bake for max 10 minutes in low heat at 200 F to make sure salmon is not overcooked, but nice and moist.
  2. While salmon is cooking, combine ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl. Serve alongside the cooked fish.

 Tuesday – Szechuan pork

Photo cred: Qlinart
Photo cred: Qlinart

Another recipe from the (sadly retired) Asian blog I mentioned above, Qlinart. The original recipe suggests to stuff the pork loin with a cup of fresh sage, but I’m actually not a fan of sage so I think I’ll stick to just simple Szechuan peppercorn, lemongrass and garlic.


  • 2 lbs pork loin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorn flavored salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small brown paper bag for roasting


  1. With a sharp knife, slice into the center of the pork loin and open it up so the pork loin looks like one thick layer of meat. Place on a cutting board (inside up). Drizzle some olive oil on the entire inner surface of the pork.
  2. Rub in vigorously half the amount of the Szechuan peppercorn flavored salt (about 3/4 tbsp). Spread the garlic slices over the surface of the pork. Roll the pork tightly closed.
  3. Season the outer surface of the pork with the flavored salt (about 3/4 tbsp, or to taste, go with your instinct) and the lemongrass, and drizzle a bit more olive oil on the entire surface.
  4. Tightly wrap the pork loin in plastic film. Let it chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
  5. For even roasting, let pork sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 360F. Apply olive oil to brown paper bag with a pastry brush (IMPORTANT: bag must be thoroughly greased throughout so that it doesn’t burn and it will seal in the steam). Roast for about 40 – 50 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, open bag; be careful of steam inside of bag. Return pork into the oven and broil for about 10 minutes for a darker brown color.

 Wednesday – Tallboys

It’s a friend’s birthday on Wednesday and so we will be having dinner at Tallboys, a microbrewery downtown. I think I may have one of their yummy-looking burgers…!

Thursday – Thai roasted carrot and beet soup

Photo cred: Mama Earth
Photo cred: Mama Earth

This recipe came in my vegetable basket this week, along with 2 lbs of beets and carrots. I love the deep, rich color – and of course, the fact that it is packed with nutrients! I will probably serve this with leftover pork or salmon.


  • 1 lb red beets
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the beets and carrots into 1 inch pieces. Toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and ½ tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, stirring halfway. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat sauté the chopped onion in the remaining tbsp. of olive oil until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, another 1-2 minutes. Add the broth, the roasted vegetables and the remaining ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are very soft.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the stovetop over low-medium heat to re-warm. Stir in the coconut milk, reserving 1 to 2 tbsp. for garnish. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with the reserved coconut milk.

Friday – The Regal Beagle


We’re planning on eating out on Friday again, as JW’s friends are organizing something at the Regal Beagle pub to kick off the weekend!

Week of February 16, 2015

Apologies – I had to take another week off. I’ve been working a ton lately, trying to get as much done as possible before the new job starts. I’ve had a bit of trouble catching my breath and decided I wasn’t going to do any meal planning; rather, I just made up combinations of ingredients I had available each evening … or let JW cook for me! How lucky am I? 🙂

We just got back from a long weekend in Niagara Falls. Because we both felt like we needed to take a breather, and because it was Valentine’s Day, JW and I decided (very spontaneously!) that we would spend the weekend eating out, drinking good Niagara wines, playing (losing!) at the Fallsview casino, reading a good book, and soaking in our hotel’s jacuzzi. It was wonderful. ♥

 Monday – Zucchini, leek and bacon pasta


Today was Family Day, a public holiday in Ontario. Unfortunately, we realized too late that all the grocery stores had closed early because of the holiday! We were left to throw something together with what we had in the fridge. We found inspiration at All recipes, and only made a few tweaks to work with what we had on hand.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley, or to taste
  • 1 small zucchini


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta at a boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 8-10 minutes; drain.
  2. Fry diced bacon in a large skillet until browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon into a bowl with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels. In a clean skillet, cook and stir leek and zucchini until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Return bacon to skillet with the veggies and stir in pasta. Gently mix in sour cream and season with black pepper and parsley.

Tuesday – Eating out: Kingyo

Photo cred: Kingyo
Photo cred: Kingyo

My supervisor is visiting from out of town on Tuesday, so we are going to go for dinner at Kingyo, one of our favorite restaurants. The food is phenomenal — the most authentic Japanese food I’ve had outside of Japan! My personal favorites are the stone-grilled beef tongue, the fresh grilled mackerel with daikon radish, and the stone bowl slow-stewed pork belly on rice. I can’t wait!

Wednesday – Fish stew with fennel

Photo cred: Epicurious
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

JW and I are not the biggest fans of fennel, but it came in our basket this week and I immediately thought to make a fish stew, which my mom made once with fennel and it was simply divine. I found a tasty-looking recipe here.


  • Good glug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces small waxy potatoes (such as baby Yukon Gold), scrubbed, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche (I actually used non-fat sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add fennel and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add water to pot and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10–12 minutes. Stir in crème fraîche. Add flounder, cover pot, and reduce heat. Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir dill into stew; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Thursday – Grilled cauliflower salad

Photo cred: Stacey Snacks
Photo cred: Stacey Snacks

I’m still a little obsessed with my new Ottolenghi cookbooks. Here is a simple salad that will make good use of yesterday’s leftover dill and the cauliflower in my basket; I will serve with some fresh salmon, on special at my grocery store this week.


  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • Handful baby spinach or arugula leaves
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and black pepper


  1. Make the dressing by hand or in a food processor or blender: mix toggether the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding oil in a slow trickle. You should end up with a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes only. Drain through a colander and run under cold tap water to stop the cooking. Leave to dry. Once dry, mix with another drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  3. Place a ridged griddle pan over the highest heat and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot — alternatively, cook them on the broil setting of your oven until charred (this is probably what I will do). Grill the cauliflower in batches, making sure they’re not cramped. Turn them as they grill until nicely charred. When done, transfer to a bowl. While the cauliflower is still hot, toss with the dressing, followed by the dill, spinach and tomatoes.
  4. Check the seasoning before serving and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Friday – Saudi rice and lamb

kebsa 3

A few weeks ago, JW took me to the House of Spice, a tiny store in Kensington Market that he thought I would like. He was so right. They had everything – spices I had never heard of, and others I’d been searching for for years! I got particularly excited when I found a bag of dried limes, which are essential for making authentic-tasting middle-eastern dishes, such as this one.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250 g ground lamb
  • 2 dried limes, cut into halves
  • 1⁄4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp saffron, leaves
  • 3 lamb or beef stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 1⁄2 cups water
  • 2 1⁄2 cups basmati rice, rinsed


  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Fry onions for 3-4 minutes or until golden in color then add garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Add minced lamb and fry for 5 minutes or until it becomes brown in color. Add dried limes, spices, stock cubes and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute then add the water and bring to boil.
  3. Add the rice, bring to boil with occasional stirring, cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked.