Archive for December, 2013

This is the potato side dish I serve most often when entertaining. Thinly sliced potatoes are tossed with butter, olive oil, herbs and cheese and then pressed into an ovenproof skillet. Brown the potatoes for a few minutes on top of the stove to make sure they develop a crispy bottom. Then transfer to the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender. Invert the skillet to transfer the galette, crispy side up, onto a serving platter or cutting board and cut into wedges to serve. A food processor makes short work of the slicing, and you can make the galette up to two days in advance of serving it. Make sure the oil/butter mixture covers the bottom and the sides of the skillet so it is easy to remove.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only a single ingredient: cream. If you use dried herbs, check to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use a Parmesan cheese that does not contain colour.

Toss thinly sliced potatoes with oil, butter, herbs and cheese

Layer the potatoes in an ovenproof skillet

Place a round of foil on top and press down on it with your hand

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until potatoes are tender

Invert onto serving dish so the crispy side is up


6 Yukon Gold potatoes – 2.5 lbs (1.25 kg) scrubbed or peeled

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, melted

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped mixed fresh herbs or 4 tsp (20 ml) herbes de Provence

¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan cheese

¾ tsp (3 ml) each salt and pepper


Using mandoline or food processor with very thin blade, or by hand, slice potatoes paper-thin. Rinse in cold water; drain, pat dry and set aside.

Combine oil and butter; pour 2 tsp (10 ml) into 8- or 9-inch (20.3 to 22.9 cm) ovenproof skillet and set aside.

In bowl, toss potatoes with remaining oil mixture, herbs Parmesan, salt and pepper. Heat oil mixture in skillet over medium-high heat, tilting pan to coat; evenly layer potatoes in pan. Place round of foil on potatoes; press very hard with hand. Cook, pressing a few more times, for 5 minutes.

Transfer pan to 400-degree F (204-degree C) oven; bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until tender when pierced with knife. Loosen edge with knife; invert on to serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve. To make ahead, let cool. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days; reheat in 350-degree F (177-degree C) oven for 25 minutes or until hot. Serves 8.

From the December 2001 issue of Canadian Living

I like this recipe from the December 2013 issue of Food and Wine because of the method it uses to cook the pork chops. You sear the chops on each side and then transfer them to a hot baking sheet and roast them until they are just cooked through, leaving them juicy but with a nice crust on the outside. Serve the chop with a Caesar-salad inspired side dish of sautéed radishes and escarole.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the labels on the anchovies and cheese to make sure they don’t contain preservatives or colour.

The chops should be about 3/4 inch thick

Anchovies and garlic flavour the side dish

Sear the chops and then roast them until just done

Meanwhile, saute the escarole and radishes

Skillet pork chops with warm escarole Caesar


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Two 3/4-inch-thick rib pork chops (1 pound)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 head of escarole (12 ounces), rinsed and halved lengthwise

12 radishes, halved if large

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450°. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chops to the hot baking sheet and roast for about 6 minutes, until just cooked through.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, melt the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the escarole, radishes and 2 tablespoons of water; season with pepper. Cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the escarole is charred in spots and just wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pork, escarole and radishes to plates and serve with grated cheese and lemon wedges. Serves 2.

From the December 2013 issue of Food and Wine

If you are looking for a light, tasty, fast weeknight dinner, try this seared tuna with warm tomato, bean and olive salad from the Holiday 2013 issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink. Inspired by one of our summer favourites, salade Nicoise, seared tuna is paired with a salad of cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and blanched green beans tossed in a tangy vinaigrette.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olives and capers can contain artificial ingredients. I use Eden Organic brand vinegar, which has no sulfites added, and PC Old-Fashioned Dijon, which is all-natural. Check the label on the olives; I used Pilaros brand from Costco. Unico capers are preservative-free.

Make the tarragon-flavoured vinaigrette

Blanch the green beans

Combine beans, tomatoes, olives and capers

Use tuna steaks that are 1 to 1.5 inches thick

Sear the tuna for 1 to 2 minutes per side

Seared tuna with warm tomato, bean & olive salad



1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tsp (10 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard

1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) chopped fresh tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups (750 ml) fresh green beans, trimmed, about 10 oz (300 g)


3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, about 9 oz (280 g)

½ cup (125 ml) pitted, dry-cured Moroccan-style black olives

1 tbsp (15 ml) capers

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tuna steaks, each 10 oz (300 g), approximately 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) thick


Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine garlic vinegar and Dijon in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil until combined. Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Cook beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add tomatoes and cook, shaking the pan often, until tomatoes are wilted and skins have golden edges, about 4 minutes. Add olives and capers and cook until flavours have combined, 1 to 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl with beans.

Wipe same pan clean and return to high heat. Add remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil. Season tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Sear tuna for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp on the outside and rare in the centre. Remove to a cutting board. Slice tuna into ½ -inch (1 cm) slices, cutting across the grain.

Pour vinaigrette over warm vegetables and toss to combine. Divide vegetable salad onto 4 plates. Top with seared tuna. Serves 4.

From the Holiday 2013 Food & Drink magazine

Tasty, healthy and fast—this stir-fry from the December 2013 issue of Canadian Living is a perfect weeknight supper during the busy holiday season. Cook chicken strips with ginger and garlic, stir in a yellow pepper and the Swiss chard, wait until the chard wilts, and then stir in cooked soba noodles, snow peas and a soy/lime/sesame sauce. You could also serve this with rice or regular spaghetti noodles.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it does not contain preservatives. Always use freshly squeezed lime juice; the concentrates are bitter and contain sodium benzoate.

Cut the chicken into strips

Slice yellow pepper and Swiss chard

Stir fry chicken with garlic and ginger

Add chard and pepper

The chard will wilt in a minute or two

Serve the stir fry over soba noodles


4 tsp (18 ml) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice

2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil

2 tsp (10 ml) vegetable oil

225 g boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 tbsp (15 ml) grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups (2 L) chopped stemmed Swiss chard, (about 1 bunch)

1 sweet yellow pepper, sliced

170 g soba noodles

4 cups (1 L) snow peas

2 tsp (10 ml) sesame seeds, toasted


In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice and sesame oil; set aside. In large nonstick skillet or wok, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook chicken, ginger and garlic, stirring often, until chicken is light golden, about 3 minutes.

Stir in Swiss chard and yellow pepper; stir-fry until chard starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook soba noodles according to package directions; drain. Add noodles to skillet along with snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

From the December 2013 issue of Canadian Living

This recipe is from The Flavour Principle, a new cookbook from Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol (who does the wine matches for the recipes). It comes together quickly and has great flavor. The recipe calls for sweet potato noodles; I used spaghetti and you could also use soba noodles. Add some hot pepper flakes if you like a spicy stir-fry. Crosariol recommends a red zinfandel as an accompaniment.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce and a sesame oil that is all-natural.

Slice the steak and marinate the slices

Assemble all your ingredients in advance, because this stir-fry cooks quickly

Stir fry beef and vegetables

Add the spinach, sauce and, finally, the noodles


8 oz (225 g) New York sirloin steak


2 tbsp (30 ml) dark soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped garlic

1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar

½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground pepper


4 oz (115 g) sweet potato noodles

1 tbsp (15 ml) dark soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil


3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil

1 cup (250 ml) sliced onions

1 cup (250 ml) slivered carrots

3 oz (85 g) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

6 cups (1.5 L) baby spinach

4 green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths

1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) dark soy sauce

1 tsp (5 ml) sesame oil


½ cup (125 ml) slivered Chinese chives (also known as garlic chives)


Cut steak into thin slices.

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar and pepper in medium bowl. Stir steak slices into marinade and let sit for 15 minutes.

Bring a wok or saucepan of water to a boil. Add noodles and boil 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Drain, transfer to a bowl and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Wipe out wok or use a large non-stick skillet.

Drain beef. Heat wok over high heat, then add vegetable oil. Add onions, carrots and beef and stir-fry for 1 minute. Toss mushrooms into wok and stir-fry for another minute. Add spinach and green onions. Toss until spinach wilts. Stir in sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add noodles and toss everything together with tongs. Serve at once, garnished with chives. Serves 4.

From The Flavour Principle