This delicious cake from the Eat With Us cookbook is made in a cast-iron skillet. Pre-heat the skillet and then coat the hot pan with melted butter. Add the cake batter to the pan, top with strawberries and bake for about 35 minutes. Let cool, then remove the cake from the skillet. Dust with icing sugar, top with more berries and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that does not contain colour. Astro Original Balkan-Style Yogurt is additive free. Use pure maple syrup and pure vanilla extract.

Spread batter in pre-heated cast iron skillet and top with berries

Bake about 35 minutes, cool, and top with icing sugar and berries to serve

Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) flour

2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder

½ tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) salt

½ cup (125 ml) plus 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter, room temperature

1 cup (250 ml) Greek yogurt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup (250 ml) maple syrup

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla

1 cup (250 ml) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise, plus additional for serving

Icing sugar, for serving

Preparation:

Place a 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 350°F (177°C).

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk ½ cup (125 ml) of the butter until it is soft and fluffy, then mix in the rest of the butter, yogurt and eggs. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until just combined.

Remove the skillet from the oven and add 1 tbsp (15 ml) of butter. Using oven mitts to hold the skillet, swirl the butter around to coat the entire pan. Pour in the batter and use the back of a spoon to spread it into an even layer. Top with the strawberries.

Using oven mitts, place the skillet back into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned and a knife or toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Once the cake has cooled, place on a cake stand and dust generously with icing sugar. Top with additional strawberries. Serves 6-8.

From Eat With Us

This recipe from Half Baked Harvest combines grilled salmon with a hearty salad of orzo, chickpeas, red pepper, tomato, olives, cucumber, avocado, herbs and lemon-infused feta cheese. Healthy, colourful and delicious.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a balsamic vinegar with no sulphites added, such as La Bonissima brand. Make sure your dried spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free. Roast your own pepper or look for jarred roasted peppers with no additives, such as Pilaros brand. Unico or Blue Menu chickpeas are additive-free. I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives, which contain no preservatives.

Season the salmon before grilling

Serve the grilled salmon with a chickpea and orzo salad

Ingredients:

4 (5-6 ounce/140-170 g) salmon fillets

1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) smoked paprika

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon/15 ml dried oregano)

1 shallot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

Red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper

6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1-2 lemons, sliced and seeds removed – use to your taste

8 ounces (226 g) feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil, dill, and or mint, chopped

Orzo salad

3 cups (750 ml) cooked orzo

1/3 cup (82 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil, dill, and or chives, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

1 (14 ounce/396 g) can chickpeas drained

2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup (125 ml) green olives

½ cup (125 ml) cucumber

1 avocado, diced

Preparation:

Place the salmon in a 9×13 inch (22×33 cm) baking dish. Add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, paprika, oregano, shallot, garlic, and a pinch each of crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Rub the seasonings and oil evenly into flesh. Toss the lemon slices into the oil.

To make the salad. Add the orzo, olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, herbs, and a pinch each of crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a large serving bowl. Add the chickpeas, red peppers, tomatoes, olives, and avocado, toss to combine.

Heat your grill, grill pan, or skillet to medium high heat. Place the salmon on the grill, skin side down. Add the lemon slices. Cover and cook until skin is lightly charred, 4-5 minutes, flip the salmon and lemons, grill another 3-4 minutes until opaque. Remove everything from the grill.

Finely chop the lemon slices and mix them with the herbs, crumbled feta, and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the feta to the orzo salad.

Divide the salad between plates. Add the salmon and sprinkle with lemon feta. Top with lots of fresh herbs, and an extra squeeze of lemon, if desired. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

This recipe, adapted from a variety of fresh tomato-sauce pasta recipes, is a delicious way to use late summer tomatoes, basil, onion and arugula. Marinate chunks of tomato in salt, pepper and olive oil. Sliver red onion and place in an ice-water bath with a little salt to mellow their flavour. Tear handfuls of basil and arugula into bite-sized pieces and use your vegetable peeler to shave off strips of hard cheese, such as Parmesan. When you are ready to eat, cook the pasta and toss with the tomatoes and other ingredients and top with more cheese, pepper and hot pepper flakes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Genuine Parmesan cheese (look for the name stamped on the rind) is additive-free. Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Marinate tomatoes for at least 30 minutes

Arugula, basil and red onion are added to the pasta and tomatoes

Add Parmesan cheese - I had some burrata so I added that too

End-of-summer pasta

Ingredients:

3 or 4 large ripe tomatoes, heirloom if you can get them, cut into chunks

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup (82 ml) olive oil

12 oz (340 g) dried spaghetti

¼ red onion, cut into slivers

1 cup (250 ml) basil

2 cups (500 ml) arugula

½ cup (125 ml) strips of hard cheese, such as Parmesan, shaved off with a vegetable peeler, plus more for serving

Hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Preparation:

Add the tomatoes to a glass or ceramic bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes. Add olive oil and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water. While the spaghetti cooks, put the red onion in a small bowl with ice water and a pinch of salt. Tear basil and arugula into bite-sized pieces.

Drain the pasta and return to pot. Add about 1/3 of the tomatoes, toss gently and then add the rest of the tomatoes, the drained red onion, the basil, arugula and cheese. Toss gently and serve topped with more cheese, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Serves 4.

This chicken dish from Half Baked Harvest tops pan-fried chicken cutlets with a thyme-infused butter sauce, sautéed cherry tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and basil. Tasty, quick and seasonal.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream, with no colour added. Make sure your hot pepper flakes do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Tre Stelle bocconcini, which is additive-free. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Sauté the tomatoes, garlic and thyme

Pan fry the chicken

Return tomato mixture to pan, add cheese and broil for a minute or two

Florentine butter chicken with burst cherry tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour

4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (about ¾-inch/1.9-cm thick)

Kosher salt and pepper

10 tablespoons (150 ml) cold salted butter, cubed

4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 ½ cups (625 ml) cherry tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh chopped thyme

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

4 ounces (113 g) buffalo or regular mozzarella, torn

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil, torn

Preparation:

Place the egg and flour in separate shallow bowls.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of the chicken through the egg, and then through the flour, tossing to coat. Place the chicken on a plate.

In an oven-safe skillet set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes, garlic, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) thyme, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to pop, about 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the tomatoes to a plate.

In the same skillet, melt together 4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and cook until the bottom side is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and add 6 tablespoons (90 ml) butter and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) thyme, swirling the butter around the chicken. Cook, basting the chicken in butter until the chicken is cooked and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.

Remove from the heat, add the mozzarella around the chicken. Spoon the tomatoes and lemon juice over top. Transfer to the oven, broil 1 minute, until the cheese is melted. Serve topped with lots of fresh basil. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

This vegetarian recipe from Canadian Living is quick, healthy and tasty. Marinate cubed halloumi cheese and vegetables in a lemon-pepper and spice mixture, thread onto skewers and grill for 5-10 minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice and make sure the dried spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Thread marinated halloumi and vegetables onto skewers

Grill, turning once, until vegetables are tender and slightly charred

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper

1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried thyme

1 teaspoon (5 ml) caraway seeds

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Salt

1 7-oz (200-g) pkg halloumi cheese, cut in 1-inch (2.54-cm) cubes

12 small white mushrooms

1 zucchini, cut in ½ -inch (1.25-cm) thick slices

1 sweet orange pepper, cut in 1-inch (2.54-cm) squares

1 small red onion, cut in 1-inch (2.54-cm) squares

Preparation:

In large bowl, combine oil, lemon zest and juice, pepper, thyme, caraway and garlic; season with salt. Add halloumi and vegetables; mix well to coat. Marinate for 5 minutes. (Make-ahead: Can be stored in airtight container and refrigerated for up to 24 hours; the longer the cheese and vegetables marinate, the more flavourful they will be).

Preheat barbecue to medium-high heat (about 375°F/190°C); grease grill. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, thread halloumi, alternating with vegetables; reserve remaining marinade. Place skewers on grill and cook until cheese is marked, turning halfway through grilling time, about 4 minutes. Serve with reserved marinade, crusty bread and lemon wedges, if desired. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This pasta recipe from Cook’s Illustrated creates a delicious sauce of onion, pancetta and stock. Add dried pasta and simmer until it is barely tender, then add peas, parsley, Pecorino cheese and mint. A tasty supper and only one pan to wash!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta that is preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. I use Imagine Organic chicken stock, which is additive-free. Make sure the cheese does not contain colour.

Cook pasta in the sauce until al dente, then add peas

Serve topped with extra cheese

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 onion, chopped fine

2 ounces (57 g) pancetta, chopped fine

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) table salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper

2½ cups (625 ml) chicken broth

2½ cups (625 ml) water

7½ ounces (212 g – about 1½ cups/375 ml) ditalini

1½ cups (375 ml) frozen petite peas

⅓ cup (83 ml) minced fresh parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh mint

Preparation:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, pancetta, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, 7 to 10 minutes.

Add broth and water and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid returns to boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cover; and cook until pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in peas and remove saucepan from heat. Stir in parsley, Pecorino, and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling with extra oil and passing extra Pecorino separately. Serves 4.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This recipe from Real Simple is perfect for a quick weeknight supper when you want lots of flavour and minimal clean-up. Toss sausages, peppers, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, oil, salt and pepper together on a foil-lined sheet pan. Broil, turning halfway through, for about 15 minutes or until sausages are cooked through and vegetables are tender and lightly charred. Garnish with fresh oregano and serve with crusty bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages, which are additive-free.

Toss ingredients together and arrange on a baking sheet

Broil until sausages are cooked and vegetables are tender

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) hot or sweet Italian pork sausages

1 pound (454 g) multi-coloured baby bell peppers, halved lengthwise (or full-sized peppers, quartered)

1 pint (500 ml) grape tomatoes

3 shallots, cut into ½ -in. (1.27-cm) wedges (about ¾ cup/187 ml)

3 large cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh oregano leaves, for serving

1 8-oz. (226 g) loaf crusty French bread, warmed

Preparation:

Preheat broiler with rack 6 inches (15 cm) from heat. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pierce sausages a few times with a knife (do not pierce all the way through). Toss sausages, bell peppers, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper on baking sheet until evenly coated; spread in an even layer.

Broil, turning sausages and stirring vegetables halfway through, until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of sausages registers 160°F (71°C) and vegetables are lightly charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with oregano and serve with warm bread. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This recipe from NYT Cooking combines chicken braised in tomato sauce with crispy pancetta and melted mozzarella. Cook the pancetta and set aside. Sear the chicken and set it aside. Cook garlic, anchovy fillets and hot pepper flakes briefly, then add tomatoes and basil. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, then return the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken is done. Top the chicken with cheese and broil until the cheese melts. Garnish with the pancetta and chopped basil and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pancetta preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Unico anchovies and canned tomatoes are additive-free. Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Tre Stelle bocconcini.

After cooking pancetta and searing the chicken, thicken the sauce

Return chicken to pan and simmer until it's done

Top with cheese and broil until it melts; serve garnished with pancetta and basil

Ingredients:

3 ½ pounds (1.58 kg) bone-in chicken pieces (or use a 3 ½  pound/1.58 kg) chicken cut into 8 pieces)

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper

1 tablespoon(15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

5 ounces (140 g) pancetta, diced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 anchovy fillets

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce/793 g) can whole plum tomatoes

1 large basil sprig, plus more chopped basil for serving

8 ounces (226 g) bocconcini, halved (or use mozzarella cut into ¾ inch/1.9 cm pieces)

Preparation:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large oven-proof skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Add chicken to skillet. Sear, turning only occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil.

Add garlic, anchovy and red pepper flakes to skillet; fry 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and basil. Cook, breaking up tomatoes with a spatula, until sauce thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.

Scatter bocconcini or mozzarella pieces over skillet. Adjust oven temperature to broil. Return skillet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes (watch carefully to see that it does not burn). Garnish with pancetta and chopped basil before serving. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

This recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a delicious combination of roasted vegetables, salmon and greens, topped with a brown butter sauce. Roast the root vegetables—I used carrots and rutabaga instead of potatoes—until they are done, remove from the oven and keep them warm. Place the salmon on the same baking sheet, add the asparagus tossed with Parmesan and roast until done. While the salmon is cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients and combine with the greens. In a saucepan, brown the butter until it smells nutty and then add lemon juice. Serve the brown-butter topped salmon with the vegetables and greens. Cook’s note: I used rainbow trout instead of salmon and omitted the basil and dill.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the Cajun seasoning does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Eden Organic brand red wine vinegar, which does not contain sulfites. Use butter that contains only cream and genuine Parmesan, which does not contain colour or other additives. You can tell it’s the real thing because the name is stamped on the rind.

This recipe is a sheet-pan meal, topped with brown butter

Serve brown butter-topped salmon with roasted vegetables and dressed arugula

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) baby potatoes, halved

4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 – 1 ½ pounds (454 – 680 g) salmon filet

2 tablespoons (30 ml) Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice

2 teaspoons (10 ml) red wine vinegar

1 cup (250 ml) arugula

½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh dill, roughly torn

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

½ cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan

4 tablespoons (60 ml) salted butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425° F (218° C). On a large baking sheet, combine the potatoes, 2 tablespoons (30 l) olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add the salmon to the center of the pan (if the salmon is large, cut it into smaller portions). Rub 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil and the Cajun seasoning. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss with the Parmesan. Bake everything together for 10-15 minutes or until the salmon has reached your desired doneness.

In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, basil, dill, and a pinch of chili flakes. Toss to combine.

Add the butter to a medium pot set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown, until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice.

Serve the salmon, potatoes, and asparagus together with the arugula salad on top. Drizzle the brown butter over the salmon. Serves 6.

From Half Baked Harvest

This recipe from NYT Cooking calls for tofu, but it reminded me of a pork dish I once had and loved in a restaurant, so I substituted pork tenderloin. Slice the pork into medallions, sear until just cooked through and set aside. Make the sauce in the same pan, return the pork to the pan to coat with the sauce, add scallions and serve over steamed rice.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Imagine Organic chicken stock, Yoshi mirin and San-J tamari sauce. All are additive-free.

Glazed pork with chile and star anise

Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb. (454 g)

2 tablespoons (30 ml) neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

Kosher salt

¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar

1 whole star anise

1 cup (250 ml) vegetable broth or chicken stock

¼ cup (60 ml) mirin

¼ cup (60 ml) dark soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 (½ -inch/1.25-cm) piece fresh ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced

1 small hot dried chile

6 scallions, whites cut into ½ -inch (1.25-cm) pieces, greens thinly sliced

Steamed rice, for serving

Preparation:

Slice the pork tenderloin into medallions about ½-inch (1.25-cm) thick.

In a large skillet or cast-iron pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season both sides of the pork with salt and place in the pan; sear without moving until the contact side is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the pieces over and sear the other side until browned and cooked through. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Carefully add ½ cup (125 ml) water, the sugar and star anise to the pan. (The mixture will sputter and steam.) Cook, stirring, until the syrup is reduced and turns deep amber, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the stock carefully (again being mindful of sputtering), Shaoxing, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chile and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced, syrupy and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Return the pork to the pan and add the scallion whites. Toss to coat with the sauce and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and discard the star anise and dried chile. Garnish with scallion greens and serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking

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