Entries tagged with “Globe and Mail”.

I was very excited to see this terrific recipe from Paris-based (and Canadian) professional cook Lina Caschetto in a recent edition of the Globe and Mail. Why? Because in addition to using two of my favourite spring ingredients — asparagus and arugula — it includes recipes for five-spice mix and hoisin sauce instead of relying on store-bought versions that contain additives and preservatives. The recipe makes more than you need for this salad, but you’ll want to use both the spice mix and hoisin again — on salmon or chicken or in a stir-fry. This recipe takes a little time to make but the results are worth it; the sweet and salty vinaigrette over spring asparagus and spicy arugula is divine! You can also blanch the asparagus and make the vinaigrette ahead of time and assemble just before serving.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the feta, almonds, sesame seeds and dried spices do not contain preservatives or colour. Instead of soy sauce, use tamari, which has alcohol as a preservative instead of sulfites or MSG. I use Marukan rice vinegar. Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of concentrate, which is bitter and contains preservatives.

Toast fennel seeds and peppercorns until fragrant

Add cloves, star anise and cinnamon to the fennel seeds and peppercorns and grind to make five-spice powder

Combine ingredients for hoisin and heat until it thickens

Add hoisin to other vinaigrette ingredients

Asparagus and arugula salad with homemade hoisin vinaigrette


1 bunch green asparagus, medium-sized, trimmed and washed

1 lb (500 g) arugula, washed and spun dry

3 tablespoons (45 ml) feta, crumbled

½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175 ml) shaved almonds, toasted

1/3 cup (75 ml) sesame seeds, toasted

Five-spice Mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Timut or Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole star anise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cinnamon powder


1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) Korean miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Basic vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely diced

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) smooth Dijon mustard

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

1 pinch each fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a medium-sized bowl of ice water and set next to the stove. Blanch the asparagus 2-4 minutes, depending on size and desired degree of doneness.

Strain over the sink and place asparagus immediately into the ice bath to cool completely. This will stop the cooking process and help maintain not only their delightful crunchiness, but also their vivid green colour.

Once cooled, strain well. Cut each spear into three pieces.

Five-spice mix

Toast the fennel seeds and Timut or Sichuan peppercorns together in a frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with cloves and star anise.

Grind the mix into a powder using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Stir in the cinnamon.

There will be more mix than needed to make this recipe. Save the extra for later use in an air-tight jar on the spice shelf.


Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

Basic vinaigrette

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the basic vinaigrette and vigorously whisk together.

Add the entirety of the cooled hoisin mixture, whisking to emulsify.

Store in the fridge until serving the salad. It will keep for up to one week.


To assemble, toss the asparagus with the arugula and some of the dressing. You won’t need all of the vinaigrette, so mix and taste as you go.

Divide the salad into four bowls and sprinkle evenly with the feta, followed by the almonds and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Lina Caschetto

If you want to impress your valentine, cook a lovely dinner at home. And to really pull out the stops, make your true love Yorkshire pudding. Traditionally served with roast beef, Yorkshire pudding can also be a dessert, often served with cream and syrup. I had always been intimidated by the thought of making Yorkshire pudding, and any I had eaten were often heavy and greasy. But I tried this recipe a few years ago and the results were great. I like it for two reasons: First, you don’t need pan drippings to make this version, just butter; and second, you can keep the batter in the fridge for up to two hours in advance. You and your valentine will love these tall, light and crispy Yorkshire puddings.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter than contains only cream, no colour or preservatives.

You can keep the batter in the fridge for up to two hours

Put a teaspoon of butter into each section of a muffin pan and put in the oven

Add the batter, filling each 2/3 full

Yorkshire pudding


1 cup (250 ml) flour

3 eggs

1 cup (250 ml) 2% milk

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt

fresh ground pepper

12 teaspoons (60 ml) butter


Add flour to large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the milk, eggs and seasoning. Add half the liquid to the flour and whisk. Add the other half — you want the mixture to be smooth and the consistency of heavy cream.

If it is a bit thick add a little more milk (1 tablespoon/15 ml at a time). Put it in the fridge to rest the batter for 10 minutes or up to two hours. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).

In a standard size muffin tray put 1 teaspoon (5 ml) butter in each mold. Put the tray in the preheated oven until butter is bubbling and tray is hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the hot tray and fill the cups just under 2/3 full (or they will bubble over). Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time or the puddings will deflate. Bring temperature down to 350 F (177 C) and finish baking for 5 minutes or until tops are crisping and golden.

Remove from oven and pierce with a small knife to release steam. Serve immediately. Makes 12.

From the Globe and Mail