Archive for May, 2010

The weather is starting to warm up (finally) so I’m starting to think about salads – side, main dish, pasta – I love them all. But the salad I make the most often is mixed greens with this simple, low-cal vinaigrette. This is a family favourite and takes about 90 seconds to make. It’s also nice over cooked broccoli or asparagus. Feel free to jazz it up with hot pepper flakes, a dash of worcestershire sauce or fresh herbs.

Add a few snipped chives or other fresh herbs to this easy vinaigrette

The mildly sweet and mellow flavour of this vinaigrette comes from the rice vinegar. I’ve tried different brands, but always come back to Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar (yellow lid, orange label) for the balanced flavours. It has no artificial additives or preservatives: its ingredients are rice vinegar, water, sugar and salt. For those of you who would like to avoid artificial colours/flavours and sulfites, the other ingredient in this recipe to modify is the Dijon mustard. Many Dijon mustards contain benzoate of soda and/or white wine, which may contain sulfites. I look for mustards that contain just mustard seed and water. They are becoming easier to find – check the organic aisle of your store.


4 tbsp regular or light olive oil, or canola oil

4 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

4 tbsp water

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper

Place ingredients in small jar and shake to blend. Keeps well in the fridge and makes enough vinaigrette to dress 8-10 servings of salad.

From Anne Lindsay’s Light-Hearted Everyday Cooking – 1991

This recipe from the April 2010 issue of Food and Wine is perfect for a spring lunch or light dinner. Dashi is not available where we live, so I used chicken stock and water with the soy sauce and sugar and it turned out fine. I also used all chicken, instead of both chicken and tofu. Be sure to slice the chicken very thinly and to cook it in batches unless you have a large non-stick frying pan. Otherwise the chicken will steam instead of sear.

Many soy sauces contain benzoate of soda or other artificial ingredients. To avoid them, buy tamari that lists alcohol as the preservative.

Cook the spinach until it is just wilted but still bright green.


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon dashi powder (see Note)

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 small onion, sliced lengthwise

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced


8 ounces light silken tofu, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

5 ounces baby spinach

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

Steamed sushi rice, for serving


In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce with the dashi powder, sugar and 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and keep warm off the heat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and mushrooms, season with salt and cook over high heat until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tofu and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture onto a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the chicken, season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring twice, until just white throughout, about 3 minutes. Return the vegetables and tofu to the skillet and cook, stirring, just until combined. Spoon the mixture into shallow bowls and add sushi rice. Ladle the broth on top and serve.


Dashi is a clear Japanese stock that’s often made with dried bonito (tuna) flakes and water. It is available in powdered form at Asian markets. In place of the dashi and water called for here, you can use 1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water.

The finished dish, with chicken, veggies, rice and broth. Yum!

My all-time favourite pasta dish is Spaghetti Carbonara, so I perked right up when I saw this recipe in the April 27 edition of the Toronto Star. It is from Mario Batali’s new cookbook “Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking” and is a great new find.

I was really pleased to see that the recipe uses proscuitto instead of bacon. Bacon is off-limits in our house, because of the nitrites and other artificial ingredients it contains. (my husband has life-threatening allergies to food additives and preservatives). A couple of hints when using prosciutto in this way: First, be sure to get it thinly sliced, so it crisps in the pan, and second, don’t add salt to the recipe because the proscuitto and parmigiano-reggiano contain all the salt you need.

This dish is fast to make and very tasty. Enjoy!

This tasty dish is from Mario Batali's "Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking"

Penne, Peas, Prosciutto


24 cups (6L) water

3 tbsp (45 mL) kosher salt

1 lb (450 g) penne rigate

6 tbsp (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz (225 g) thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in 1-inch squares

2 cups (500 mL) frozen peas, thawed

4 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Coarsely ground black pepper


Bring water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Add salt, then pasta. Cook as per package instructions until just al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, combine 3 tbsp (45 mL) oil and prosciutto in large, wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until prosciutto has rendered some of its fat and is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in peas.

In medium bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in remaining 3 tbsp (45 mL) oil and 1/4 cup (63 mL) reserved cooking liquid.

Add pasta to prosciutto mixture. Toss over medium heat to mix well. Add egg mixture. Stir and toss vigorously to slightly cook eggs. Add some or all of remaining 1/4 cup (63 mL) reserved cooking liquid if needed to loosen sauce). Stir in cheese. Season with pepper. Makes 6 servings.

This is a great recipe from the April issue of Canadian Living. It’s quick and tasty; I used both red and green peppers and spiced it up with some hot pepper flakes added at the same time as the paprika. Try to use smoked paprika, as it makes a real difference. The recipe suggest serving with noodles but I served it with rice instead, along with roasted brussels sprouts.
For those of you who are sensitive to sulfites, be sure to use a brand of balsamic vinegar that has no added sulfites or a label that reads “may contain naturally occurring sulfites”, such as Bionaturae Organic.


    12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    2 olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 sweet green peppers, thinly sliced
    1 tsp smoked paprika or chili powder
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, with juice
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Sprinkle chicken with half each of the salt and pepper. In large shallow Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken, in batches. Transfer to plate.

Add onion, garlic and green peppers to pan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in paprika, thyme and remaining salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup (50 mL) water and balsamic vinegar; cook, scraping up brown bits, until almost no liquid remains.

Add tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan, spooning sauce over top; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 25 minutes.

Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken and peppers to serving plate; keep warm. Stir parsley into sauce and bring to boil; cook until thickened. Spoon over chicken. Serves 6.

This is a favourite of our family’s from the 1992 New Chatelaine Cookbook. It’s a great side dish with grilled steak.

Warm Barbecued Vegetable Salad


1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 zucchini

1 red pepper

1 yellow or orange pepper

1 red onion

Olive or vegetable oil


3 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried tarragon

2 small garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

Generous grinding of fresh black pepper

¼ cup creamy goat cheese


Preheat barbecue to medium and grease grill. Slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Seed and core sweet peppers and cut them into quarters. Cut onion into ½ inch slices (secure onion rings with toothpicks or wooden skewers to make them easy to handle on grill).  Brush zucchini, peppers and onion with oil and grill them until tender-crisp, turning often.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, tarragon, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in large salad bowl.

When vegetables are done, immediately slice them into bite-sized pieces and toss the warm vegetables with the dressing and goat cheese, stirring until the cheese is partially melted. Add lettuce, toss and serve. If unable to serve right away, leave the vegetables tossed with the dressing and cheese at room temperature and add the lettuce just before serving.

Serves 6.

New Chatelaine Cookbook,  1992

Welcome to Eye for a Recipe.

I love to cook and am always on the lookout for new recipes to make for my family and friends. I started this blog to share my favourite recipes and connect with others who share a love of good food. I try to make at least four or five new recipes a week (so many recipes…so little time), so will post a combination of best new finds with favourites collected over the past 20 years.

The recipes you’ll find here are drawn from a number of sources – cookbooks, food magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs, etc.

In addition to being tasty and easy to make, they will also be free of ingredients containing additives, preservatives and artificial colours and flavours (my husband has life-threatening allergies to these things, so the recipes are either all-natural or modified to be safe for him). While it’s sometimes challenging to avoid these artificial ingredients, it certainly is possible and is a much healthier way to eat.

Once again, welcome to my blog, and I look forward to discovering recipes with you!