Archive for June, 2013

The salad in this recipe from Real Simple is made with farro, a type of grain in the wheat family. It is also known as emmer and often confused with spelt. But, by any name, it is a great summer salad ingredient because of its nutty taste and chewy texture. In this recipe, chicken thighs are seasoned with lemon zest, salt and pepper, then are quickly seared and placed in the oven to finish cooking. You could also grill them. Meanwhile, you can cook the farro and prepare the other salad ingredients, which include asparagus, radishes, Feta cheese and mint. This salad would be great for a picnic or potluck, because the farro doesn’t get soggy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use fresh lemon juice and look for a brand of Feta cheese with no artificial ingredients.

Sprinkle chicken thighs with lemon zest, salt and pepper

The farro takes about 30 minutes to cook

Saute the asparagus in the same skillet you used to sear the chicken

Radishes add colour and crunch to the farro salad

Lemon-pepper chicken thighs with farro salad


1 cup (250 ml) whole-grain farro

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

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

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound or 454 g), trimmed and cut into 1½ -inch pieces (3.8 cm)

4 radishes, cut into wedges

3 ounces (85 g) Feta, crumbled

¼ cup (60 ml) torn mint leaves


Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the farro in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; reserve the skillet. Roast the chicken until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 165° F, (75° C) 18 to 22 minutes.

Add the asparagus to the drippings in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to the bowl with the farro, along with the radishes, Feta, lemon juice, mint leaves, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve the chicken with the farro salad. Serves 4.

From the May 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine

This salad from Anne Lindsay’s New Light Cooking is a summer staple at our house. It couldn’t be easier to make: just mix together black beans or kidney beans, chopped red pepper, cooked corn, celery, scallions and cilantro. Toss with a simple vinaigrette and you’ve got a perfect salad for lunch, dinner, picnic or potluck. Be sure to rinse the beans to reduce the sodium. If you don’t like cilantro, try basil or parsley. You can also add feta cheese to make it a heartier dish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for canned beans with no preservatives, such as PC Blue Menu brand. I use Marukan rice vinegar and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon Mustard.

This salad is simply, healthy and delicious

It goes well with grilled fish or meat.


1 19 oz. can (540 ml) black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

2 cups (500 ml) cooked corn kernels

½ cup (125 ml) chopped celery

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped green onions

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp (45 ml) rice or cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp (7 ml) Dijon mustard

¼ tsp (1 ml) each granulated sugar, salt and pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) each water and vegetable oil


In bowl, combine beans, red pepper, corn, celery, onions and cilantro.

In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk in water and oil. Pour over salad and stir to mix.

Can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

From Anne Lindsay’s New Light Cooking

I’ve been missing the herbs from my garden, so I did the next best thing and bought a bunch at the grocery store to make this fabulous steak salad from the June 2013 issue of Bon Appetit. Dill, mint, basil, cilantro and chives all work well in this dish. Grilled eggplant and corn are added to the greens, making this a substantial side dish for grilled meat. I grilled the eggplant and the steak in a ridged cast iron pan to get nice marks. I cut the kernels from the corn cobs and sautéed them in a little butter.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a red wine vinegar with no sulfites added; I used Eden Organic brand.

I grilled the eggplant in a ridged cast iron pan

Grill the corn or saute the kernels in a little butter

Toss the eggplant and corn with the herbs and mixed greens

Steak salad with herbs


1 shallot, thinly sliced crosswise, separated into rings

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 medium eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges, wedges halved crosswise

2 ears of corn, husked

1 pound hanger or skirt steak

2 cups baby arugula

2 cups (packed) assorted fresh tender herb leaves (such as basil, cilantro, and mint)


Toss shallot and vinegar in a small bowl; let sit 5 minutes. Whisk in ½ cup oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper; set aside.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Brush eggplant and corn with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 10–15 minutes; let cool. Cut kernels from cobs.

Meanwhile, season steak with salt and pepper and grill until medium-rare, 5–7 minutes per side for hanger steak, about 2 minutes per side for skirt steak. Let rest, then thinly slice against the grain.

Toss arugula, herbs, eggplant, corn, steak, and reserved vinaigrette in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

From the June 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

This salad from the April 2013 issue of Bon Appetit is a delicious and beautiful spring dish that would pair well with grilled meat, poultry or fish. You could omit the bacon to make it a vegetarian main or side dish. I used frozen edamame (shelled soybeans) instead of fava beans, which can be hard to find and difficult to peel. The dressing for this salad is good, but a little bland. Next time I will try it with a balsamic vinegar-based dressing.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for cheese with no added colour, bacon without nitrites and use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

I used edamame instead of fava beans

Boil the shallot rings in oil until crisp

Blanch the asparagus, peas and edamame

Crisp shallots and bacon are used to garnish this salad

Pea, asparagus and edamame salad


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan

1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh fava beans (from about 2 pounds pods) or frozen fava beans, thawed, or frozen edamame

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, stalks peeled if thick

1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed

½ cup vegetable oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


Whisk olive oil, Pecorino, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a medium bowl to blend. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Set dressing aside.

If using fresh fava beans or frozen edamame, cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water (do not cook frozen fava beans). Drain and peel; place in a large bowl.

Return water in saucepan to a boil; add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to colander in ice water.

If using fresh peas, return water in saucepan to a boil; add peas and cook until tender, about 3 minutes (do not cook frozen peas). Drain; transfer to colander in ice water. Drain vegetables. Add to bowl with fava beans.

Combine vegetable oil and shallot in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is golden brown and crisp, 10-12 minutes. Transfer shallot to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add dressing to bowl with vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Transfer salad to a serving platter and top with shallot and bacon. Serves 6. Dressing and vegetables can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

From the April 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

Every once in a while we get a hankering for hot and sour soup. This version from the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine is a classic. Simmer rehydrated dried mushrooms, lean pork, ginger and bamboo shoots in chicken stock, add tofu and seasonings, drizzle in a beaten egg, top with minced green onion and it’s ready. Once your ingredients are prepared, this soup cooks in less than 15 minutes. If you want more heat, boost the amount of hot sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Many of the ingredients in this recipe may contain artificial ingredients, so read the labels carefully. I used Imagine brand organic chicken stock, Ponderosa brand mixed dried mushrooms, M’Lord brand sliced bamboo shoots, PC Blue Menu tofu, tamari, Marukan rice vinegar, Tabasco hot sauce and President’s Choice sesame oil.

Rehydrate mushrooms and reserve soaking water

Thinly slice lean pork

Dice tofu

Place ginger, pork, mushrooms and bamboo shoots in pot before adding stock

Simmer soup for five minutes

Add tofu and seasonings, and, when soup is done, drizzle a beaten egg into it

Top with chopped green onion and serve


6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock

6 dried mushrooms, soaked for 15 minutes and thinly sliced (soaking water reserved)

6 to 7 oz (175 to 210 g) lean pork, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) bamboo shoots, julienned

1 tsp (5 ml) finely chopped ginger

1 cup (250 ml) diced soft tofu

2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) chili sauce (such as Tabasco sauce)

1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil

½ tsp (2 ml) sugar

½ cup (125 ml) reserved mushroom soaking water mixed with 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

1 egg, beaten

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 green onion, finely chopped


Combine chicken stock, mushrooms, pork, bamboo shoots and ginger in a pot over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Add tofu, soy, rice vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and boil for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Pour beaten egg into soup in a slow stream, stirring to make egg stringy. Season with salt, pepper, more soy or chili sauce depending on your tastes. Sprinkle with green onions. Serves 4.

From Food & Drink magazine