Tuesday, July 24, 2012


This week is all about salads! Yesterday was how to do a simple salad, and today focuses on one vegetable salad. This one is the zuchinni.

This post will show you how to take a simple summer vegetable and turn it into a beautiful salad. My mom made this salad for a family dinner the other weekend and I am now hooked! It takes the ideas that I outlined for "how to make a simple salad" and instead of using lettuce, applies it to a vegetable. You could really do this with so many options, roasted peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, squash of all types or mushrooms.

How to do a simple grilled (or roasted) summer salad:
1. Drizzle your veg of choice with some olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Grill on a bbq or grill pan, or roast in the oven.
2. Once warm, arrange on the platter.
3. Choose a cheese to top the vegetable with. For the zucchini the feta worked really well, but for something like roasted peppers I would suggest goat cheese, for mushrooms I would suggested shaved parmesan.
4. Choose a nut or seed. Pine nuts are always my favourite but the possibilities are endless. Sunflower seeds, or toasted pumpkin seeds - which I am also loving right now!
5. Chop some fresh herbs! Basil, chives, mint, dill - all are great choices.
6. If you feel that your vegetables seem a bit dry, drizzle with a little vinaigrette. Whisk together a little olive oil & acid (lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, champagne vinegar etc.) and pour over the salad. NOTE: if you do the mushroom salad, drizzle with a little truffle oil and you will be in mushroom heaven!
7. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cool crisp summer salad.

My mom grows a great herb garden at our cottage, so this weekend I took advantage of the lovely herbs for the purpose of my lunch! You can really grow anything in the summer, and this year we planted basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, chives, and 2 types of parsley. I love herbs and think that they can really enhance all the beautiful outdoor summer flavours. Play around with them!

My key tips to a great summer salad:

1. Use a mix of lettuces: I like crisp romaine and peppery arugula
2. Use a variety of herbs: for this salad I used chopped up basil, mint and gorgeous chives
3. Add in a cheese: crumble in some goat cheese or feta
4. Pick a nut: pine nuts are my favourite, but pecans would be really nice in this as well
5. MAKE a dressing: No more store bought, making your own are so easy (For this salad I did 2:1 of olive oil and lemon juice. 1 tbsp of dijon and 2 tbsp of maple syrup, salt & pepper. Shake & serve)
6. Toss & enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I adored poached eggs. I think they are the key to a perfect breakfast. They need to be poached soft, as it creates a creamy centre that oozes out as soon as your fork pierces the skin, there could be no better breakfast egg in my mind!

The only problem, they can take so long to cook by the time you boil the water, create a vortex and swirl in the egg perfectly. Such a commitment and sometimes quite tricky. I have the best "cheaters" way to poach an egg in 50 seconds. No more waiting for your poached eggs on Sunday morning when you order eggs benny, you can now enjoy them daily at home!

The How To on the 50 second poached egg:

- 1 egg
- 1 dash (tbsp) of water
- 1 dash (tbsp) of white vinegar
- 1 bowl
- 1 small plate

- Crack egg into a microwaveable bowl.
- Pour in water and vinegar
- Place a microwaveable plate on top and put into the microwave
- Microwave on high for 50-60 seconds depending on how soft you like your egg
- Remove and serve immediately !

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My friend Carl writes a blog called Made This // Ate This, where his posts are titled Made This for something he made or Ate This for something that he ate, whether it be at a restaurant or a friends home. I thought I would use part of his title to label this post highlight a few gorgeous platters that I made for an event last week.

The first platter is the charcuterie board; a collection of cured meats and pates, this board definitely takes the old school cold cuts and steps it up a notch. Be sure to select different meats and salami, that range from mild to hot. For pate, make sure to get something nice and smooth. I tend to lean towards pork liver or chicken liver pate. To garnish a charcuterie board think cutting the fat. You need something acidic to cut the fattiness of cured meats. For this board I used gherkin pickles, cured olive oil olives and spicy green olives. I also added a spoonful of grainy mustard which is a perfect accompaniment when eating charcuterie with a cracker or crisp.

A cheese platter is a classic piece to serve. Easy and ever pleasing, you can't go wrong. For the cheeses; you need different textures and flavours. Stick to the big four: a blue, a canadian cheddar, a brie or triple cream and then something a bit different like a manchego or pecorino. Garnishing a cheese board is key, and helps add to the releasing the flavour of the cheeses. I always serve jams and jelly with my cheeses and for this board I did an apricot jam and a red pepper jelly. (I love red pepper jelly, goes so well with most cheeses!) Whenever I am garnishing a cheese board I make sure I have a selection of fresh fruits, dried fruit and sometimes nuts. Cashews, figs, grapes, cherries and dried apricots are great accompaniments to a cheese board. Not only are they delicious but they also add colour! (DO: Drizzle some honey on the figs!)

The veggie tray. Sick and tired of baby carrots and celery sticks? I certainly am! So do something different with your crudités board, jazz it up, it's so easy! Think different, for carrots, try heirloom coloured carrots. They are equally as delicious but far more visually appealing. For this board I did blanched Ontario asparagus and blanched radishes to spice it up. But you can really use anything! Check out a farmers market or the produce section for inspiration. Other options include snow peas, green beans, broccolini, coloured cauliflower - you name it! Have fun with your veggies.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Ever since returning from my June trip to NYC, my dad and I are obsessed with oysters! We went for dinner the other night to Starfish in Toronto. A popular oyster bar, and the only one in North America serving up a multitude of European oysters.

Oysters, known as a romantic food and a favourite of food lovers have been popular for centuries. I'm sure most of you did not know that a single oyster can incubate up to one million larvae and can do so more than once a year! Oysters, like all shellfish are low in calories and saturated fats, and are a great source of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. They also contribute to ones health by providing essential minerals and vitamins such as iron, zinc, copper and vitamin B12.

I find the best ways to enjoy oysters are with a squirt of lemon, some freshly grated horseradish and a little bit of homemade cocktail sauce! My second favourite way is with a sharp and tangy mignonette. A mignonette is a sauce which consists of shallots, vinegar and cracked pepper.

I really love east coast oysters, but recently tried some oysters from France which were just incredible! Plump, with a smooth taste, just great!

What are your favourite oysters?

My Version of Cocktail Sauce
Makes 1 cup

- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- 1/2 cup of prepared horseradish
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- few dashes of hot sauce
- salt and pepper

- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until use.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I really love summer appetizers. Summer seems to always be the time that people constantly decide to be the host! Whether it is a drink or dinner party, outdoor cocktail party, there is always something going on! Here is one of my favourite easy and quick appetizers to help make your summer night perfect.

Baby/Mini Watermelons

The watermelon, mint & feta skewer is garnished with a reduced balsamic glaze. The watermelon is cool and crisp, the feta is salt and soft and the mint gives you that refreshing blast. All paired with the balsamic & honey glaze and you have a winning nibble. Give them a try this summer!

Watermelon, Mint & Feta Skewer
Serves 12 guests at 2-3 per guest

- 1 mini watermelon
- 30 cubes of feta (I just buy the slabs and cut the cubes myself)
- 30 pieces of mint
- pepper
- 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 30 skewers

- Start the balsamic glaze. In a saucepan add the balsamic and honey and let come to a boil over high heat. Once bubbling, reduce to a low simmer and allow the balsamic to cook down and turn into a glaze. This will take about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it however, because you don't want the balsamic to reduce to a paste! You still want it to be somewhat runny, but thicker.
- Using a melon baller, scoop out as many melon balls as you can from the watermelon.
- Cut the feta into cubes.
- Using a skewer, layer the feta, melon and then mint on the top.
- Garnish your serving platter with the balsamic glaze and then arrange your watermelon skewers nicely.
- Serve cold, sprinkle with cracked black pepper and enjoy!!