Archive for May, 2012

We don’t eat much veal, but I thought I’d try this recipe from (it first appeared in the March 2005 issue of Bon Appetit). The chops are sprinkled with salt, pepper and allspice—a surprising ingredient that added depth of flavour. The chops are then seared and then topped with a mixture of Creole mustard, mayo and green onions. Breadcrumbs toasted with garlic go on top of that and the chops are then baked. The topping makes a nice presentation, but, if I were to make it again, I would use less of it. I served this with smashed red potatoes and broccolini, sprinkled with more toasted breadcrumbs.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Many mustards contain wine (sulfites), MSG, colour or sodium benzoate. If you cannot find an additive-free Creole mustard, add some Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and/or regular Tabasco sauce to your usual mustard. Some breads contain preservatives – look for an all-natural loaf of bread and whirl a few slices in your food processor to make the fresh breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle veal chops with salt, pepper and allspice

Sear the chops for a few minutes on each side

Toast fresh breadcrumbs with garlic

Spread the mustard-mayo sauce on the chops, top with breadcrumbs and bake

I served the chops with smashed red potatoes and broccolini


¼ cup Creole mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 green onions, chopped, divided

2 8-ounce veal rib chops (each about 1 inch thick)
Ground allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread


Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Mix together mustard, mayonnaise, and 1/2 of green onions in small bowl.

Sprinkle chops on both sides with salt, pepper, and allspice. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add veal; sauté until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer veal to small rimmed baking sheet. Add garlic to drippings in skillet; stir 15 seconds. Add breadcrumbs; sauté until golden and crisp, about 1 minute.

Spread half of mustard mixture thickly atop each chop. Spoon crumbs atop mustard mixture. Bake until thermometer inserted horizontally into chops registers 135°F for medium-rare, about 7 minutes. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serves 2.


When I saw this slow-roasted salmon on the cover of the June 2012 Bon Appetit, I couldn’t wait to make it. The salmon is placed on a bed of fresh herbs and roasted, along with cherry tomatoes on the vine. The salmon is served with a delicious yogurt sauce made with herbs and lemon zest. The recipe calls for Israeli couscous, also known as Ptitim, which is a toasted pasta in the shape of tiny balls and is quite different from regular couscous. I made it for this recipe and it was quite good, if a bit bland, so I would substitute regular couscous next time. The couscous may have been bland because I couldn’t find za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice that contains sumac, sesame seeds and other spices. If you make this, I suggest you flavour the couscous with your favourite spice combination.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Some yogurts contains additives and preservatives, so check the label. Be sure to use butter than does not contain colour, such as Gay Lea unsalted brand.

Prepare a bed of fresh herbs

Add the salmon and cherry tomatoes

The roasted salmon

Slow-roasted salmon with cherry tomatoes and couscous


Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

½ cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Kosher salt


6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

½ bunch dill fronds

½ bunch thyme sprigs

1 3-pound piece center-cut skin-on salmon fillet, preferably wild king, pin bones removed

Kosher salt

8 ounces small cherry tomatoes on the vine (optional)

Tomatoes and Couscous

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons za’atar (optional)

Kosher salt

2 cups Israeli couscous

1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Yogurt Sauce

Mix first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Season with salt. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.


Preheat oven to 325°. Pour 4 tbsp oil in a roasting pan just large enough to fit the salmon. Make a bed of herbs in bottom of pan; top with salmon, skin side down. Drizzle salmon with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and season with salt. Top with tomatoes, if using. Bake until salmon is just cooked through in the center (a small knife will slide easily through flesh), 25–30 minutes.

Tomatoes and Couscous

Toss tomatoes with 3 tbsp oil, parsley, and za’atar, if using, in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain couscous; transfer to a large bowl. Stir in butter and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Season to taste with salt. Gently fold tomatoes into couscous.

Use a large spoon or fork to serve salmon, leaving skin in pan. Serve with yogurt sauce and couscous. Serves 4.

From the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit

This tasty stir-fry uses skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which are less expensive than chicken breasts and, I believe, taste better. You can make this dish quickly; make the marinade, cut up and marinate the chicken, toast the cashews, stir-fry the veggies and chicken, add the classic Thai flavourings of fish sauce, sugar and lime juice and, finally, add the cashews and basil. If you don’t have raw cashews, used roasted ones and skip the toasting step. Regular basil works just fine if you can’t find Thai basil. You can make this dish as mild or spicy as you like by using more (or fewer) hot peppers and/or hot pepper flakes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Fish sauce often contains MSG, so look for a brand without flavouring or preservatives. Be sure to use fresh lime juice, as the concentrate (in addition to being bitter) contains sodium benzoate.

Marinate cubes of skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Toast raw cashews

Stir-fry vegetables

Add chicken

Add basil and toasted cashews

Stir-fried Thai chicken with cashews and basil


1 lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut_in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes

2 tsp (10 mL) grated gingerroot

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper

2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch

2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil

1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews

¼ cup (60 mL) thinly sliced shallots or onions

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh hot pepper, (preferably red bird eye)

1 tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce

2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice

1 cup (250 mL) loosely packed Thai basil leaves or regular basil


In bowl, toss together chicken, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix in cornstarch and 1 tbsp (15 mL) water; set aside.

In skillet or wok, heat oil over high heat; stir-fry cashews for 1 minute or until golden. With slotted spoon, remove and set aside.

Add shallots, garlic and hot pepper to pan; stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until golden. Add chicken mixture; stir-fry for 4 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, sugar and lime juice; cook for 1 minute or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.

Return cashews to pan along with basil.

Serve with rice and an oriental green vegetable, such as Chinese broccoli, snow peas or bok choy. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from the April 2012 issue of Real Simple calls for ingredients you may already have in your pantry and freezer: dried pasta, panko breadcrumbs, shrimp and marinated artichoke hearts. The panko, which is toasted in oil, provides flavour and crunch, while the artichoke hearts provide additional tang. This 30-minute meal is a great weeknight supper.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives are the breadcrumbs, shrimp and artichoke hearts. Panko often contains no preservatives, unlike regular dried breadcrumbs. My dear friend Anne Marie also just told me about ShaSha brand breadcrumbs, which are similar to panko in texture but are made from spelt and are all-natural. Look for frozen shrimp with only salt added and Unico jarred artichoke hearts.

Toast panko in oil

Stir in chopped parsley

Saute shrimp

Add artichoke hearts and cooked pasta

Linguine with shrimp, artichokes and crispy breadcrumbs


¾ pound linguine

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp

12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved (1 ½ cups)

¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Mix in the parsley and transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and crushed red pepper and cook, tossing, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and cook over medium heat, tossing, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the pasta sprinkled with the breadcrumb mixture. Serves 4.

From the April 2012 issue of Real Simple

This Vietnamese recipe from Canadian Living is light and full of flavour. It cooks very quickly, but you can also make the broth ahead. You need cheesecloth for this recipe so you can tie up the spices into a little bundle. Using the bundle ensures the broth has maximum flavour without pieces of star anise, seeds and peppercorns floating around in it. I used organic chicken stock instead of beef stock and it worked fine. I omitted the bean sprouts, but don’t omit the coriander and mint; they add wonderful flavour and colour.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients that may include additives and preservatives are the stock, fish sauce and lime juice. Use an all-natural stock such as Imagine brand, a fish sauce with no MSG and fresh lime juice. Lime juice concentrate contains preservatives such as sodium benzoate.

Tie spices up in cheesecloth

Make stock and then add beef

Place cooked noodles in bowl and pour beef and broth over


3 thick slices gingerroot

2 whole cloves

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 whole star anise

1 strip (3 inches/8 cm long) lime rind

½ tsp (2 mL) coriander seeds

½ tsp (2 mL) black peppercorns

4 cups (1 L) beef stock

2 cups (500 mL) water

½ onion

1 tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce

8 oz (227 g) top sirloin grilling steaks

1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh coriander

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh mint

2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice

2 green onions, chopped

6 oz (170 g) rice stick noodles

1 cup (250 mL) bean sprouts

Chopped Fresh mint or coriander or sliced green onions


In centre of 6-inch (15 cm) double-thickness square of cheesecloth, place gingerroot, cloves, garlic, star anise, lime rind, coriander seeds and peppercorns; pull up corners and tie into bundle with string.

In saucepan, bring stock, water, onion, fish sauce and spice bag to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard spice bag. (Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Slice beef as thinly as possible; add to saucepan and bring to boil, skimming off any foam with spoon. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chopped coriander, mint, lime juice and green onions.

Meanwhile, in pot of boiling salted water, cook rice noodles until tender but firm, about 5 minutes; drain. Divide among 4 soup bowls. Top with bean sprouts. Pour beef mixture over noodles. Garnish with mint. Serves 4.

From the March 2003 issue of Canadian Living


This gorgeous dish from Bonnie Stern is a perfect way to usher in the warmer weather and to enjoy spring vegetables. Halibut is briefly marinated in oil, lemon zest and fresh thyme and then seared. Be careful not to overcook the fish. The halibut is served over a ragout of asparagus, peas, baby spinach, basil and green onions. Healthy, lovely to look at and delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The only two things that may contain artificial ingredients are the stock and the butter. Look for an all-natural stock, such as Imagine brand, or use water. Your butter needs only one ingredient—cream. Try Gay Lea unsalted butter.

Lemon zest and fresh thyme for the marinade

Marinate halibut in olive oil, zest and thyme

Saute shallots

Lightly cook asparagus in stock

Add the baby spinach; it will cook down.... this

Meanwhile, sear the halibut

Halibut with spring ragout


1½ lbs boneless, skinless halibut fillets (about 1-inch thick)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grated lemon peel
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter — divided
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
½ lb asparagus, trimmed, peeled 2-inch up stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
1½ cups fresh or frozen peas
5 oz fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp torn basil leaves
2 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp butter


Drizzle halibut with olive oil and season with lemon peel, thyme, salt and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator until ready to cook. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil or butter (fish browns a bit better in butter) in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes per side for 1-inch thick fillets.

Meanwhile, for the ragout, heat remaining oil or butter in a large deep skillet on medium heat and cook shallot gently about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add asparagus and cook another minute. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Asparagus should be bright green. Add peas and cook one minute. Add spinach and turn spinach over with tongs until starting to wilt. Add basil, green onions and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Be careful not to overcook — everything should look bright and taste very fresh.

Spoon ragout into shallow soup bowls with the juices and arrange fish on top. Makes 4-6 servings

From the April 21, 2012 National Post – Recipe by Bonnie Stern