I’m diving into salads, y’all. Everyone into the pool! I’m all carbed out. Well, not totally. But I’m finding toasted bagels with peanut butter and chunks of bread with butter and just one more muffin far too convenient and I need to remind myself that I do love a Big Salad. Unfortunately my brain somehow doesn’t go in that direction when I ponder what to eat, or what to make, or what to experiment with… it’s far more inclined to dip a caramel apple into bacon or stuff a burger with Babybel. (Wait for it…) I’m also programmed to think that salads don’t require a recipe – and most of the time they don’t, although being pointed in the right direction is a huge help. And some flavour and texture combinations just work, and there are so many I would never dream of tossing into a bowl together. This is one of those salads. Last weekend at my mom’s house, she made a salad withContinue reading

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I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about a big bowl of greens. The hardy, wintery kind – a tub of spring mix just won’t cut it here. Nor would straight-up kale – I actually went to the store just to buy a couple handfuls of Brussels sprouts to add to the bowl – the biggest ones I could find, to make them easier to slice. They were more like mini cabbages. I needed something I could really chew on. It has been a food-heavy week; there have been restaurant openings, I got to emcee a fancy brunch at River Cafe and dinners at CharCut (where for the first course of our progressive dinner they served us one-pound wild boar and Chorizo meatballs smothered with bone marrow béchamel), Catch and Sky 360, and Geoff Rogers‘ new restaurant, Market. We went for ‘shroom pizza and ice cream, checked out Candela Lounge, and after all that I practically ran to Mango Shiva on Saturday morning whenContinue reading

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As I may have mentioned before, salads aren’t my forte. Although I know that virtually anything has the potential to become a salad, or at least an element of one, spread out or layered or tossed, I can’t shake the old lettuce-tomato-cucumber combo of my childhood. Juicy pink grapefruits -the best of the year- were 28 cents apiece last week, and so I bought four. To populate my fruit bowl, as it turned out. While I love eating them, I’m not a fan of fileting the things. In this case, extracting the segments released enough sweet-tart juice to make a vinaigrette, with a glug of olive oil, splash of rice or white wine vinegar, dab of grainy mustard and a pinch of sugar. I came across the salad of butter lettuce, pink grapefruit and avocado, three ingredients I just happened to have at the same time – at Not Without Salt. It pushed me out of my spring mix rut. The deep ruffles of smooth,Continue reading

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It’s too hot for words today, and besides, any words I do have must be reserved for actual paycheck-type work, assignments that come from editors and have deadlines and some days feel a little like homework. OK, a lot. Not that I’m complaining. If I didn’t have homework looming, I’d never get things like laundry and dusting done. Wait – I don’t. I came across this recipe in the Calgary Stampede Centennial Cookbook, which seemed fitting this week. It’s the sort of thing I’d most often flip by, but this time I decided to give it a go, and was glad I did. The seared scallops (I skipped the wasabi) were divine, and I’d never have thought to make a creamy dressing out of fresh peppery arugula and Key lime juice. I love an interesting salad, one that counts as dinner without feeling like “just a salad”, and this is one. Don’t you think Stampede should have an intermission? Maybe a day or two? IContinue reading

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Happy Pop’s Day! I do love my dad. I wish I could pass on stories of and recipes for the elaborate homemade meal I whipped up for Mike tonight, but I did no such thing. It was easy to okay W’s request to take him to Five Guys for burgers – having spent the week in Kelowna (after a week in Ontario) and having woken up at 5 am yesterday for the 6:30 flight home after a late night at Tantalus Vineyards with Cam and Dana of Joy Road in the kitchen, I then spent the day yesterday at Beef – the Festival at Heritage Park talking up all that is good on a cow. Early this morning we went for brunch at my mom & dad’s, where I helped cook the bacon and pass around my sister’s pull-apart cinnamon buns, but didn’t actually assemble anything from scratch myself. Despite being out of the kitchen for so long I was perfectly happy not to cook,Continue reading

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Salads are not my forté. I realize their potential, and creative additions often occur to me (cubes of cold frittata! soft goat cheese rolled in ground spiced nuts!), but I’m not great at building one, unless it’s the grainy, beany kind. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But my greens – they’re growing! I need to keep up. I’ve recently discovered the appeal of the plated salad – perfect for just three, and just as perfect for more – you start with a long plate or small platter, make a nest of greens and layer interesting things on top. I always wind up with too much when I fill a salad bowl, and this way the greens are there, but don’t take over the party. I have the BBC to thank for this one, although I did make some changes – I like roasting potatoes rather than boiling them (you don’t lose nutrients to the water that way), and I swapped the pine nutsContinue reading

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Look, I have something for you! That’s not baking, nor dessert. Something that can be called into service for barbecues and potlucks all summer long, or hang out in your fridge and wait for you to need a scoop of something real instead of a handful of chips or another piece of raisin toast. I feel like I’ve been shortchanging y’all lately, and when I was reminded of this salad – and how delicious it is – I got all tingly (as W said this morning when he woke up with his hand asleep for the first time: “it feels all sparkly, like a fuzzy peach”) – and wanted to rush home and tell you about it immediately. Of course it took me a day or two. Mostly because everybody ate it. This is something my mom and I came up with years ago – like decades – to bring to a baby shower. I have little memory of whose (I have it narrowed down,Continue reading

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I’m a little smitten with quinoa salads right now, y’all. Maybe that’s not new. I’ve always loved a good tumble of quinoa with black beans or chickpeas or sautéed leeks or kale. Usually with feta. OK, so totally not new. This one though? Totally is. The same but different. I know apples are out of season. Most everything is. But I’m starting to grow little green things in my kitchen – like sprouts and basil – and either would be fab torn and tossed into a quinoa salad. As green things begin to poke out of the ground, you can pluck them and toss them in. That’s the beauty of these beany, grainy salads – anything goes. This is one I did awhile ago for Swerve, and I can’t get enough of it.

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