Archive for June, 2024

I made this recipe from Taste of Home while recreating a dish from one of my favourite restaurants—a salad of greens topped with potato pancakes and smoked salmon. Air frying the latkes is less messy and healthier than deep frying them and the results are excellent. Form the potato pancakes and air fry for about 17 minutes. Cook’s note: I served these with greens and smoked salmon, topped with a sour cream and horseradish sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the garlic powder to make sure it doesn’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used canola oil in a spray bottle instead of a canned cooking spray, which tends to contain artificial ingredients.

Assemble latkes and air fry

Air fryer potato latkes with smoked salmon and salad


2 medium potatoes, peeled

1 large egg

1/3 cup (82 ml) chopped onion

1 tablespoon (15 ml) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) garlic powder

Cooking spray


Finely grate potatoes; firmly squeeze and drain any liquid. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add egg, onion, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder; mix well.

Preheat air fryer to 375° F (190° C). In batches, drop batter by ¼ cupfuls (60 ml) onto greased tray in air-fryer basket; press lightly to flatten. Spritz with cooking spray. Cook until golden brown, 12-17 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 3.

From Taste of Home

Until I tried this recipe from Bonnie Stern’s Don’t Worry, Just Cook I had never made a salad with roasted squash. It’s delicious! Toss sliced squash and broccoli florets with oil, salt and maple syrup and roast until tender. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the lime-honey dressing. Just before serving, sear the halloumi until browned on both sides. Arrange arugula on a serving plate, top with squash, broccoli, halloumi and figs. Drizzle with dressing, garnish with nuts and serve. Cook’s note: No need to peel the squash. I couldn’t find a delicata squash so I used the whole butternut squash. I omitted the figs, used mixed greens and substituted cashews for hazelnuts.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lime juice and pure honey and maple syrup. Saputo halloumi is additive-free. Check the nuts to make sure they don’t contain preservatives.

Roasted squash and grilled halloumi salad


Lime-honey dressing

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

3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh lime juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) honey

½ tsp (2.5 ml) kosher salt + more to taste


2 delicata squash (about 1 lb/454 g)

1 small butternut or honeynut squash (about 1 lb/454 g)

2 tbsp (30 ml) + 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil + more for brushing

1 tsp (5 ml) + ½ tsp (2.5 ml) kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) + 1 tsp (5 ml) maple syrup

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 small head broccoli

12 oz (340 g) halloumi cheese

2 or 3 fresh figs, cut into wedges

2 cups (500 ml) baby arugula

¼ cup (60 ml) roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the delicata squash in half crosswise and use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds. Then slice into rounds about ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick. Cut the neck of the butternut squash into rounds about ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick (use the rest for soup, puree or mash). If the rounds are very large, cut them in half. Place the squash on one of the lined baking sheets and toss with 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, 1 tsp (5 ml) salt, some pepper and 1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup. Place sprigs of thyme over the squash. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and browned around the edges. Cool.

Remove the tough stalks from the broccoli and cut into medium-sized trees with florets and some stalk. Arrange on the second lined baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes and then cool.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey and salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Just before serving, slice the halloumi into pieces about ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick, pat dry with paper towel and brush with olive oil. Sear in a hot, dry nonstick skillet for 1-2 minutes per side, or until browned.

Assemble the salad by arranging the arugula on a platter and topping with roasted squash, broccoli, halloumi and figs. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serves 4-6.

From Don’t Worry, Just Cook

This recipe from Real Simple is a lighter take on spaghetti and meatballs. Make the meatballs and broil for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles and make the dressing. Toss the noodles with carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and thinly sliced chile. Top with meatballs. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with cilantro and peanuts. Cook’s note: I halved the recipe. I used red pepper instead of carrots, omitted the cilantro and used cashews instead of peanuts as a garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have not been able to find hoisin sauce without additives, so I make my own. You can find the recipe here. I used Nature Value sriracha for the chili-garlic sauce. Use freshly squeezed lime juice.

Make the meatballs and then broil them for about 15 minutes

Hoisin-serrano meatballs with rice noodle salad


4 large serrano chiles

2 lb. (900 g) ground pork

½ cup (125 ml) hoisin sauce, divided

3 tsp. (15 ml) chili-garlic sauce, divided

2 ¼ tsp (11.25 ml) kosher salt, divided

1 ¼ tsp (6.24 ml) freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

7 tbsp (105 ml) vegetable oil. divided

1 8.8-oz (250 g) pkg vermicelli rice noodles

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1 ½ cups/375 ml)

3 cups (750 ml) roughly chopped iceberg lettuce

1 cup (250 ml) halved and thinly sliced English cucumber (from 1 cucumber)

Fresh cilantro leaves and chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, for topping


Thinly slice 1 chile; set aside. Stem and finely chop remaining 3 chiles (you should have about 5 tablespoons/75 ml).

Stir together pork, ¼ cup (60 ml) hoisin, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) chili-garlic sauce, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper, and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) finely chopped chiles in a large bowl until combined. Roll into 24 balls (slightly larger than a golf ball). Place on a large rimmed baking sheet, loosely cover, and refrigerate.

Whisk lime juice and remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) hoisin, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili-garlic sauce, ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt, ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) pepper, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped chiles in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons (90 ml) oil.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cold water for 5 to 10 seconds. Drain well; transfer to large bowl. Toss with ½ cup (125 ml) dressing and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil.

Preheat broiler with oven rack 8 inches (20 cm) from heat. Broil meatballs until browned and a thermometer inserted in meatballs reads 160°F (71°C), 10 to 15 minutes.

Gently toss noodles with carrots, lettuce, cucumber, and thinly sliced chile. Top with meatballs. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with cilantro and peanuts.

Meatballs can be stored raw or cooked. Raw, store in an even layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store cooked meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serves 6.

From Real Simple

I’ve been making this pasta with aglio (garlic), olio (olive oil) and shrimp from Canadian Living for more than 20 years and it’s a family favourite. The main thing to remember when making this dish is to cook the garlic over a very, very low heat so it does not burn. Don’t use a garlic press to mince the garlic; either chop it finely by hand or whirl it around in a mini food processor. I usually start cooking the pasta when the garlic has been on the stove for about 5 minutes. The only other ingredients are salt, hot pepper flakes and parsley.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use frozen shrimp with only salt added as a preservative.

Add the shrimp after cooking the garlic over low heat for 15 minutes

Aglio e olio with shrimp


½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil

7 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

1 pinch hot pepper flakes

1 lb (454 g) large shrimp peeled and deveined (thawed if purchased frozen)

12 oz (340 g) spaghetti

1/3 cup (85 ml) chopped fresh parsley


Fill large pot (about 24 cups/6 L) with 20 cups (5 L) water and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) salt; cover and bring to boil.

Meanwhile, in skillet, heat oil over low heat; cook garlic, salt and hot pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until garlic is light golden but not browned.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add shrimp to skillet; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly pink and opaque.

Meanwhile, add pasta to water, stirring to separate strands. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes or until tender but firm; drain and return to pot. Add shrimp mixture and parsley; toss to coat. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from Canadian Living is a tasty vegetarian meal. Hollow out halved eggplants and bake the skins. Meanwhile, cook eggplant flesh, onion, garlic, seasoning, vinegar, cherry tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and feta. Stuff the hollowed eggplants with the eggplant-tomato mixture and serve with lemon wedges and yogurt.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Be sure the pine nuts don’t contain preservatives. I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar, Jesse Tree olives and Krinos feta.

Bake hollowed-out eggplants

Make eggplant-tomato-olive mixture

Tomato, olive and feta-stuffed eggplant


2 small eggplants

1 tsp (5 ml) coarse sea salt

Salt and pepper

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, divided

½ small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground cumin

Pinch cinnamon

1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar

10 oz (283 g) cherry tomatoes, halved, crushed and drained

½ cup (125 ml) halved pitted Kalamata olives

3 tbsp (15 ml) pine nuts

½ cup (125 ml) crumbled feta cheese

1 tbsp (15 ml) za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice)

¼ cup (60 ml) roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Olive oil (optional)

Lemon wedges (optional)

Plain yogurt (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C); line baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise; sprinkle with coarse salt. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Using paper towel or clean tea towel, pat eggplants dry. Using spoon, scoop out flesh from eggplant, leaving about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) of flesh on the skin. Coarsely chop the eggplant flesh; set aside.

Place eggplants on prepared baking sheet, hollowed side up; season with salt and pepper. Brush eggplants with 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the olive oil. Bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add reserved eggplant flesh; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cumin and cinnamon; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add vinegar, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, feta and za’atar; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and stir in cilantro. Cover and keep warm.

Stuff hollowed eggplant skins with flesh mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges and yogurt, if using. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living