Israeli Couscous Salad with Tomatoes, Zuchini and Arugula

Tuesday, 28 May 2013



This is a great side to bring to a barbecue.  Super fresh and light and can be prepared ahead of time.  You can serve it hot, right after cooking or put it in the fridge and serve it cold later.  I would imagine letting it sit in the fridge would bring out the flavours even more.  It is worth it to try to track down some Israeli couscous (a lot bigger than typical couscous); it's tasty and healthy. 
Israeli Coucous Salad with Tomatoes and Arugula

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
1 pint small tomatoes, cut in half
1 medium zuchini, diced
Few large handfuls of arugula
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
lemon juice and zest
grainy dijon mustard
garlic
feta

Steps:

1. Cook couscous according to package directions.  I like to cook mine in chicken broth instead of plain water for extra flavour.
2. Dice zuchini and sautee in a little olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
3. Whisk together about 1/4 cup balsamic and 1/3 cup olive oil and 1-2 tsp dijon.  Add pinch of salt, pepper, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, juice and zest of one lemon.
4. Add tomatoes and dressing to couscous and mix over low heat and cook for a minute or two.
5. Add arugula and cook for another minute or two until arugula is slightly wilted.
6. Top with feta and serve.


Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwiches

Monday, 20 May 2013





I don't know about you, but the holiday weekend and the beautiful weather has me all nostalgic for picnics, picnic food, picnic baskets, wine, slow relaxing afternoons, nice conversations, etc.  And, of course you can't forget the sand blowing into your food (don't you all love a little crunch in your sandwich?), did-I-just-step-in-dog-shit? and DAMNIT THERE ARE BEES EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!! and other such tantrums that can be brought on by the almighty picnic ritual.

Really, why do we do this again?

Anyway, moving on.  My all-time favourite picnic food is egg salad sandwiches, preferably my grandmother's.  Here's the recipe, but I added some bacon for an extra comfort food kick.  In my opinion, anyone who doesn't think bacon makes anything better clearly can't be trusted.

Here's the recipe.  Cheers.


Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs (1.5 eggs per person)
4 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 - 2 tsp dijon mustard
seasoning salt to taste
chives or green onions, finely chopped

Steps:

1. Hard boil eggs - cover eggs in a pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, turn burner off, cover and let simmer for 10 - 12 minutes.
2. Cook bacon until crispy and them crumble.
3. Once eggs are cool, peel and dice.  You want the dice to be fine so that the whites and yolks are nicely combined - a potato masher or cheese grater can work well for this.
4. Add bacon, eggs, and all other ingredients to a bowl and mix.
5. As if there wasn't enough fat in this meal, butter both sides of bread and assemble sandwiches.  Cut sandwiches into triangles.

Tip: You don't want your egg salad to be too mayonnaise-ey, so start with one tablespoon of mayo and go from there.  Remember you can always add but you can't take away, so go little by little.


Panzanella Courtesy of Liz

Monday, 13 August 2012


Have you guys ever had bread salad (a.k.a. panzanella)?  It is seriously so good.  The first time I had this was at Dave's brother and sister-in-law's house and I could not believe how good it was.  It's safe to say that it has now become a staple in our house.

Panzanella Courtesy of Liz
Serves 4 as a salad or 2 as a main course

Ingredients:
1/2 french baguette, torn up into bite-sized pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
olive oil
red wine vinegar
3 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
basil for garnish

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Toss baguette pieces in with a little olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic and some salt and pepper.  You could also throw a little dried oregano in there too.
3. Bake croutons until crispy, about 10 minutes.
4. Make dressing by combining 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 2 cloves minced garlic.
5. Toss tomatoes, cucumber, croutons and feta in the dressing and serve.

Tip: I think it is helpful to wait about ten minutes after tossing to serve so that the dressing is able to really stick to the salad and croutons.

p.s. my Mom is a life coach and she recently started a blog!  If you're ever looking for a little inspiration, you should check it out here


The Utimate Lobster Roll

Monday, 6 August 2012


To me, nothing says summer like a good old lobster roll.  To me, the lobster roll is a case where classic is better - no fancy buns for me.  Just a plain old hot dog bun will do.

I did make mine a little special by brushing garlic butter on the outside of the bun before frying it, and adding a little truffle oil in with the lobster mixture.  Yum!  Serve yours with a side of potato chips and a lemonade on ice.

The Ultimate Lobster Roll
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Either 2 lobster claws or 1 tail and 1 claw, diced
1.5 tbsp mayo
1 tsp white truffle oil
1/2 clove minced garlic
squeeze of lemon
chives, minced
hot dog buns (buy the kind that is sliced - looks like white bread on the outside)
garlic butter (2 tbsp butter and 1 clove minced garlic)
boston lettuce leaves

Steps:
1. Remove lobster meat from shell and dice.  You want the meat to be cold.
2. Add mayo, truffle oil, garlic, chives, lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the lobster and combine.
3. Spread garlic butter on outside of hot dog buns and fry in skillet until brown and crispy.  Make sure the skillet is hot before you put the bread in it - this is to ensure you get a crispy texture.
4. Place Boston lettuce leaf in each hot dog bun, and then fill with lobster mixture.
5. Garnish sandwiches with a little more minced chives.

It's a holiday in Canada today, so I will be spending my day chilling before starting work tomorrow (eek!).  Have a great Monday!



Japanese "Fried" Shrimp with Spicy Sauce

Thursday, 2 August 2012


There's this all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant around the corner from my apartment that has this DELICIOUS deep fried shrimp appetizer on the menu that I can't get enough of.  Unfortunately, it is obviously really unhealthy so I only order it occasionally.  I have been majorly craving it lately, so when a friend organized a little get together at her place last night, I jumped at the opportunity to create a healthier version of this shrimp dish to bring.

I battered the shrimp in panko bread crumbs, drizzled them with olive oil and popped them in the oven.  As an accompaniment, I made a spicy sauce that consisted of mayo, sriracha hot sauce, a little garlic, a little soy sauce, lemon juice and green onions.  These were seriously delicious and I can't wait to make them again.  If you have any parties coming up, I would definitely recommend making these as an appetizer.  Make lots because they are sure to go quick!


Japanese "Fried" Shrimp with Spicy Sauce

Ingredients:

For the shrimp:
1 bag frozen, uncooked large shrimp - peeled and deveined
white flour
2 eggs, beaten
panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
squeeze of lemon

For the sauce:
1/4 cup mayo
generous amount of Sriracha (this stuff is really spicy, so season to taste)
squeeze of lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 green onions, minced

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.
3. Toss shrimp in a squeeze of lemon (about half a lemon's worth) and 1 clove minced garlic (if you're not a huge garlic lover like me, you can omit the garlic here).
Dip shrimp first in flour, then in egg, then in panko.  Tip: It is helpful to have one hand that is reserved for the wet ingredients and one for the dry, so that the whole thing doesn't become one big gloopy mess.
4. Drizzle cooking sheet with olive oil and place shrimp on.  Drizzle the tops of the shrimp with more olive oil (This gives the shrimp that fried flavour and crispiness - you don't need much, though.  About 1-2 teaspoons on the bottom and 1-2 teaspoons on the top).
5. Bake in oven for 4-5 minutes per side (may need to vary cooking time depending on oven strength - you will know the shrimps are done when they are pink.  But be careful not to overcook because there's nothing worse than rubbery shrimp).
6. While shrimp is cooking, make sauce by whisking together all the ingredients.
7. Once you remove the shrimp, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
8. Garnish the shrimp platter with chopped green onion and serve immediately with the sauce.




Guacamole with Bacon a.k.a. Pure Gluttony

Monday, 30 July 2012



On Saturday, I went to my good friend Alana's bridal shower.  Because it was a nice summer day, I thought the perfect thing to bring was guacamole.  But to make it extra special, I added bacon.  Obviously, you don't need to add bacon to guacamole, but let me tell you, it really brought the guac to a new level of delicious!

In my humble opinion (an opinion I am sure I am not alone in), pretty much every food or recipe can be improved by bacon.  Let's test this theory, shall we?  Sandwich + bacon = much better.  Pasta + bacon = crazy good.   Ice cream + bacon = well, I'd be willing to bet that'd be good too.  Don't you agree?!

Guacamole with Bacon a.k.a. Pure Gluttony


Ingredients:
2 ripe (but not too ripe) avocados
1 tbsp plain greek yogurt (can substitute sour cream or mayo)
couple dashes worcestershire
couple dashes hot sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
large handful chopped cilantro
salt to taste
2 tbsp salsa (from recipe below)
3 slices bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled

Steps:
1. Mash avocado with a potato masher
2. Cook bacon until crispy and crumble
3. Add all ingredients and combine
4. Note that if you aren't planning to serve immediately, the best thing to do to keep the guac from browning is to put the avocado pits back into the guac and tightly cover with plastic wrap so that the guac is not exposed to any air


In other news, on Saturday night, Dave surprised me by making me the best and most complicated crab cakes ever.  Let's just say there was shrimp mousse involved.  Seriously, this was some complicated stuff!  I could tell by the exasperated sounds coming from the kitchen while he was making them.  I was impressed!



Not the prettiest thing to look at but you've gotta love a man for trying, right?  I promise they tasted a lot better than they look!


Anyway, if you're feeling ambitious, give the recipe a try (available here).  It is from a fancy French restaurant in Philadelphia called Le Bec Fin.  I promise it's worth the effort!




Deviled Eggs Courtesy of Gran

Friday, 27 July 2012


In my opinion, anyone who says they don't like deviled eggs can't be trusted (sorry, Dave)... My Gran's recipe is the absolute best.  She is the authority when it comes to cooking, trust me!

Coincidentally, it also happens to be her birthday today!  So, Happy Birthday to her!  For her sake, I won't tell you how old she is, but I am positive you'd never guess!


This is me and her on a cruise last week!

Anyway, back to the eggs.  These are seriously so good I am positive you won't be able to stop yourself at just one (or two, or three, or even four!).  They make a perfect appetizer for a party or as part of a picnic.  They are especially great because they can be prepared ahead of time.  My grandma says that the secret is to use the mayo, salt, mustard and relish sparingly.  Remember that you can always add, but you can never take away, so it is always best to start with just a little.  Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs Courtesy of Gran

Ingredients:
8 eggs (better if they are not super super fresh as they will peel easier)
1 tbsp mayo
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp pickle relish
pinch of salt
paprika to garnish

Steps:
1.  Hard boil eggs.  Put eggs in uncovered pot and bring to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, put a lid on the pot and reduce to simmer for ten minutes.
2.  If you don't have iron hands, allow the eggs to cool before peeling.
3.  Peel eggs, slice and carefully remove yolks.
4. Mix yolks with 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tsp yellow mustard, 1/2 tsp relish and pinch of salt.  Add more if necessary, but remember a little goes a long way here.  As my grandma says, nothing is worse than a wet deviled egg.
5. Garnish with paprika and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I foresee myself doing a lot of the following this weekend!  Don't forget your sunscreen!