Friday, January 30, 2009

Seafood Waldorf Salad

*Served over Smoked Salmon Carpaccio

Poaching liquid for seafood:


Shallots, fine chopped

Garlic, fine chopped

Tarragon, dried

White wine

Fish stock (substitute with chicken stock or water)

* Bring to a simmer

Shrimp, peeled & deveined


Crab legs (optional – substitute with frozen crab legs)

* Add shrimp to the poaching liquid first, wait about a minute to add the scallops. Cook for approximately 2 – 3 minutes, or until cooked, and remove from heat.


Granny Smith apples, cored and julienned

Celery, julienned

Shrimp, halved

Scallops, halved

Crab meat

Red grapes, halved

Roasted walnuts



Plain yogurt

Lemon zest

Lemon juice

Salt & white pepper to taste

* Toss together the salad and dressing.

* To arrange the plate: Lay down the smoked salmon carpaccio, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt. Compose the salad on top and garnish with crisp watercress.

Grilled Vegetable & Orange Salad with Cajun Vinaigrette

Though the name of this salad suggests the ideal method of preparation, there are other ways you can cook the veggies when a grill is not available or the weather is not friendly to outdoor cooking. Some ingredients, like the snap peas, are better cooked in boiling water and cooled immediately in ice water. You can serve this salad warm but personally, I like to let the veggies cool a little bit.

Salad ingredients:

Romaine, sliced


Corn, on husk

Fennel bulb, julienned

Red bell pepper, cut into triangles

Yellow bell pepper, cut into triangles

Plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded

Mushrooms, quartered
Snap peas

Olive oil

S & P to taste

Orange, segments

Cilantro, freshly chopped

Cajun vinaigrette ingredients:

Grainy Dijon

Garlic, minced

Ginger, minced (optional)

Sambal oelek (substitute with fresh, finely chopped chilies)


Cajun spice

Lemon zest

S & P to taste

Red wine vinegar

Olive oil

* Before doing anything else, cut the lettuce and place in a container big enough to hold with water, ice and a drop of vinegar. This helps to keep the lettuce nice and crispy. Strain and dry when needed.

* When making the vinaigrette, use either an immersion or standup blender and pour the oil in a slow, steady stream. This helps the vinaigrette to hold together better.

* Allow for veggies to cool before tossing with vinaigrette, orange segments and cilantro. Serve over the lettuce mix.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Scampi Chicken Wings

Okay, so before I get into this I have to clarify, Scampi is the Italian name of a crustacean that's somewhere between a shrimp and a lobster and is traditionally cooked in butter and garlic. In North America the term has come to define the method of preparation rather than the ingredient. So using this loose translation, here is a recipe I found for some very good chicken wings. I'm not adding any measurements to this one because the recipe is very straight forward.


Chicken Wings

Vegetable oil
Garlic, minced
Shallots, finely chopped
Dry white wine
Lemon zest
Salt & pepper, to taste
Italian parsley, coarsely chopped


1. If you are lucky enough to have a deep fryer available, simply drop the basket and cook these little guys but, assuming you don't have one of these (like most normal people) set your oven at 350F, arrange wings on a baking sheet and pop them in for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until cooked.
(when arranging the wings make sure to line them up evenly without stacking them on top of each other as they will not cook evenly.)

2. Using a frying pan, heat your oil over a medium low temperature and caramelize the garlic and shallots. Make sure not to burn as they will taste bitter.

3. When the garlic and shallots start to get soft and translucent, add a splash (or a more generous) amount of wine for moisture and flavor.

4. Add your butter and allow to melt before adding your lemon zest and seasonings. Check your flavor and turn temperature down to a very low temperature.

5. When the wings are done, toss them with the sauce and add the parsley. Serve and enjoy!
(If you don't have Italian parsley available you can substitute with cilantro)

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I always like to have a few sauces in my fridge, ready to use whenever I need something to compliment a meal or to use as a marinade. There’s some great commercial products out there that make things more convenient and keep in your fridge longer than anything you make yourself, the only benefit of taking the time to make your own sauces is that you control what goes into yours. It’s healthier and way cooler anyway.

Teriyaki Sauce

This is one of those versatile sauces. I personally love to use this one for stir-frys and to marinade salmon.

For a stir-fry simply mix with hoisin sauce.

For salmon, marinade for about 20 minutes, shake off excess sauce and bake at 350F for about

15 to 20 minutes.


5ml Vegetable oil (Substitute with sesame oil if you have it)

½ Pineapple, fresh, cubed

25g Ginger, chopped

25g Garlic, chopped

½ cup Brown sugar

2 cups Soy Sauce

50ml Sake (optional)

50g Cornstarch

50ml Water


1. Heat up your oil with medium low heat and sauté pineapple.

2. Add the ginger, garlic and sweat until the pineapple starts to release juices.

3. Add brown sugar and let dissolve before adding the soy sauce.

4. Bring to a simmer and with a fork, check the softness of the pineapple.

5. Blend together when pineapple is tender.

6. In a cup or glass stir together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry.

7. Bring sauce to a boil and add the slurry to thicken. Make sure that the sauce is boiling and add slowly while stirring until the consistency coats the back of a spoon.

(You may not need to add all the slurry or you might need to add more, it really depends on the chemical reaction between the cornstarch and the acidity in the pineapple, more acidic content = more cornstarch)

8. When you feel that the sauce is thick enough, simmer for a few minutes to cook out the starch.

9. Sift sauce for a smoother consistency.

(If the consistency is too thick you can correct by adding water.)

*Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks and frozen for a few months.

Alfredo Sauce

This sauce doesn’t keep in the fridge for long so make it when you’re going to use it right away or within a few days. The benefit of learning to make this sauce is that while the ingredients may change, the process can be used for most cream based sauces. For example, substitute the parmesan with cheddar to make mac & cheese.


5ml Vegetable oil

100g Garlic, minced

250ml Dry white wine

500ml Heavy cream, 35%

100g Butter

100g Flour, all purpose

Pinch Nutmeg

150g Parmesan

To taste Salt & pepper


1. In a sauce pot, heat up the oil and garlic over medium low heat, just so that the garlic starts to get fragrant.

2. Add the wine and turn the heat up and reduce the wine by half.

3. Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes while you make your roux.

4. In a separate sauce pot, melt the butter over low heat.

5. Add the flour and mix together to a paste consistency.

6. Pour the sauce into the roux slowly, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.

7. Add the rest of your ingredients and simmer for a few minutes.

8. Check and adjust the consistency if needed. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning.

(Sauce will thicken once it cools down to remember to keep some extra cream to adjust the consistency when you heat it up.)

Marinara Sauce

I love this sauce because it’s simple and can be used in many ways. You can use it as a dipping sauce, added to chicken, ground beef or shrimp for pasta, or you can mix it with Alfredo to make a Rosè sauce. You can also add heavy cream to make a cream of tomato soup. And no, the name does not refer to the use of seafood products.


5ml Extra virgin olive oil

150g Onion, sliced

150g Celery, sliced

50g Garlic, chopped

25g Oregano, dried

10g Chili flakes

1 can Crushed tomatoes

50g Basil, fresh, thinly sliced

To taste Salt & pepper


1. In a small sauce pot, heat up oil over medium heat and add onions and celery. Sweat until onions are translucent.

2. Add garlic, oregano and chili flakes.

3. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

4. Blend the sauce well and return to pot.

5. Add Basil and adjust seasoning.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Soups are perhaps one of the best ways to get creative in the kitchen. The variety of ingredients, seasonings and garnishes are virtually endless. You can start from scratch using top quality ingredients or the leftovers from the night before. You can make classic soups that depend on using specialized techniques or, it can be as easy as simply throwing few things together.

Understanding the basics makes all the difference. These four recipes are designed to show you the basics of making chowders, pureed, and broth based soups. The techniques are simple and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Beef & Vegetable Soup


Vegetable oil 125 mL
Beef shank, neck or shoulder, cubed 2.25 kg
Mirepoix (onion, celery, carrots) 500 g
Garlic, minced 20 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Bay leaf (optional) 2
Beef stock (recipe in previous entry) 4 L (substitute with store bought broth or water)
Potato, small dice 150 g
Leeks, medium dice 125 g
Zucchini, small dice 125 g
Tomatoes, diced 125 g
Corn, frozen (optional) 50 g
Salt & pepper To taste
Fresh parsley, chopped Garnish


1. Brown the meat in the oil.
2. Add mirepoix and sweat until vegetables are soft.
3. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and sauté briefly.
4. Add the beef stock and simmer for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours. If you’re using water make sure to extend the cooking time for the broth to develop flavor. You can also cheat a little here by using store bought broth or about 100 g powdered beef stock.
5. Skim the soup as needed.
6. Add vegetables according to longest cooking times. In this case you would start with the potatoes.
7. When potatoes are done add the rest of the vegetables, simmer for a few minutes.
6. Season to taste and add fresh parsley to finish.

Chicken Noodle Soup


Vegetable oil 25 mL
Mirepoix 500 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Oregano, dried 1 g
Bay leaf (optional) 2
Garlic 20 g
*Chicken, bone in 2.5 kg
Chicken stock or water 6 L
Leeks, sliced 450 g
Turnip, sliced 150 g
**Noodles, broken 250 g
Salt & pepper TT
Fresh Parsley or cilantro, chopped Garnish


1. Sweat the mirepoix until vegetables are soft. Then add thyme, oregano, bay leaf and garlic. Sauté briefly.
2. Add the chicken, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and skim the soup as needed.
3. Add leeks, turnips and continue to simmer.
4. Add noodles.
5. Season and add fresh parsley or cilantro to finish.

* When I don’t have a stock ready I like to start this soup by using bone in chicken pieces such as drums and thighs. It’s even better if you have a whole chicken. This brings your cooking time up since you have to allow enough time for flavors to develop. When the chicken is fully cooked, simply take it out and let sit until cool enough to pull chicken from the bone.

** Use whatever noodles you like here. Personally I like to use Capellini, Rice Vermicelli or Cellophane Noodles. Also, you can always pre-cook any pasta before adding it to your soup to avoid most of the liquid from being absorbed.

Puree of Split Pea Soup


Split peas, washed and soaked 800 g
Bacon, diced 100 g
Mirepoix, diced 500 g
Garlic, minced 10 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Water 3 L
Smoked ham hocks, or meaty ham bones 700 g
Salt & pepper TT


1. Soak peas in water overnight.
2. Cook the bacon in a pot, slowly and allowing it to release its fat (rendering).
3. Sweat the mirepoix and garlic in the fat without browning.
4. Add water, drained peas and the ham hocks or bones. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until peas are soft.
5. Remove the ham hocks or bones and set aside to cool. Blend the soup in a blender, food processor or a good old fashioned food mill.
6. Remove the meat from the hocks or bones, dice and return to soup.
7. Bring the soup to a simmer. If the consistency is too thick you can adjust it by adding water or stock. Season to taste.

New England Style Clam Chowder


Bacon, diced 250 g
Butter 50 g
Onions, diced 100 g
Celery, diced 200 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Flour 100 g
Fish stock, warm 1.5 L (substitute with clam nectar)
Potatoes, diced 125 g
Baby clams 700 mL
Heavy cream, 35% 250 mL
Salt & pepper TT


1. Render the bacon with butter.
2. Sweat onions and celery until translucent.
3. Add flour to make roux. Cook it under medium to low heat, stirring and making sure
to keep roux light colored, also called white/blond stage.
4. Whisk in heated fish stock until smooth consistency. If using canned clam nectar,
warm it up before incorporating it into the soup.
5. Add potatoes and simmer until tender.
6. Stir in baby clams and juice.
7. Return to simmer, add the cream and adjust seasoning.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


A good stock is the key ingredient to a great soup, sauce or braised dish.

Realistically, I know that most people wouldn’t go out of their way to make a stock at home. It may seem intimidating, time consuming, or simply inconvenient. The truth is that stocks are really quite simple to make and the key is starting with good quality ingredients. This is something that you can make on the weekend and store it to use at your convenience. It keeps in the fridge for up to seven days or in the freezer for several months.

All standard stocks, except for vegetable stock, consist of four basic elements.

1. Bones

2. Flavoring vegetables (mirepoix)

3. Seasonings

4. Liquid

Principles of stock making:

A. Start the stock in cold water

When bones are covered in cold water all the impurities are drawn out. As the water heats up, the impurities coagulate and rise to the top, where they can be skimmed easily.

B. Simmer the stock gently

The stock should be brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer. Boiling any stock for a particular length of time causes the impurities and fats to blend with the liquid, affecting the overall quality of the stock.

C. Skim the stock frequently

The more impurities are removed the better the end product will be in both appearance and flavor.

D. Add mirepoix, herbs & spices

(onions, celery & carrots, diced)

A lot of Chefs and cookbooks tell you to add these favoring agents at the beginning. The problem with this is that you will remove some of the flavorings as you skim your stock. You can add this component 2 to 3 hours before the end of cooking time, or just long enough to release the flavors.

While veal or beef bones are tougher to find, unless you go out of your way to arrange something with your butcher, you can still achieve something rich in flavor by using tougher cuts of meat like the brisket, shank or shoulder. This is called a broth, and the same principles apply when making it.

Recommended Cooking Times:

Poultry (3 to 4 hours)

Veal, beef (6 to 8 hours)

Fish (30 to 40 minutes)

Vegetable (30 to 40 minutes)

It’s always a good idea to cook meat stocks for a longer period to allow the liquid to reduce. While no additional flavor compounds may be extracted from the bones after a certain period, the reduction concentrates the flavor of the stock.

Basic White Stock (yield: 5L)


Bones: chicken or beef 2.5 kg

Cold water 7 L

Mirepoix 500 g

Bay leaf 2

Peppercorns, crushed 0.25 g

Dried thyme 0.25 g

Parsley stems 8

*A generally accepted ratio of ingredients for a given amount of water is 50% bones (by weight) and 10% mirepoix (by weight). For example, to produce 20 L of stock you would need 10 kg of bones and 2 kg of mirepoix.


1. Place the bones in a stock pot and cover with cold water.

2. Bring the cold water to a boil and skim off the scum that rises to the surface. Reduce liquid to a simmer.

3. Add the mirepoix and flavoring agents to the simmering stock.

4. Continue cooking the stock for as long as the type of bones require, skimming as needed.

5. Strain, cool, and refrigerate over night.

6. Degrease the stock. When a stock is refrigerated, the fat content rises to the surface and hardens, forming a layer that needs to be lifted and discarded before the stock can be used.

Since most stocks are prepared to use at a later time, great care must be taken when cooling a stock to prevent food borne illnesses or souring. A stock should be cooled quickly before storing in the fridge or freezer.

The best place to cool your stock is in your sink. Simply place the stock pot in the sink, making sure that it won’t tip over then, add crushed ice, water & salt. Why salt? Simple physics.

When salt dissolves in water, the water dispenses energy (in the form of heat) to break the bonds that hold the ice crystals together. As the water loses heat it gets cooler, lowering the freezing point of water, causing the ice to melt faster than the water can freeze.

This process works well whenever you need to cool anything quickly before storing.

*Vegetable Stock (yield: 4L)


Vegetable oil 50 mL

Mirepoix, small dice 600 g

Leek, chopped 125 g

Garlic, chopped 4 cloves

Fennel, small dice 100 g

Tomato, diced 100 g

Water 4.5 L

Bay Leaf 1

Dried Thyme 0.25 g

Peppercorns, crushed 0.25 g

Parsley stems 8


1. Heat the oil and add the vegetables. Sweat for 10 minutes

2. Add the water and the rest of the ingredients.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Strain, cool and refrigerate.

* When making a vegetable stock, stay away from vegetables that contain strong flavors such as cabbage and cauliflower.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's talk pasta!

Easily a favorite and one of the things that I love about it is how versatile it can be. It can also be simple and easy without taking much time to make, as well as a great way to get your daily food groups requirement. These three recipes are some of my favorite to make, simple and full of flavor.

Chicken Carbonera, with sundried tomatoes & fresh basil

Served on penne


Vegetable oil 200 ml

Chicken breasts, sliced 2 (serves 3-4)

Bacon, diced 250 g

Bay leaf, optional 2

Onion, diced 150 g

Garlic, minced 100 g

Sundried Tomatoes, chopped 250 g

White wine (optional) splash (chardonnay, or substitute with water)

Flour, all purpose 300 g

Heavy cream, 35% 1 cup

Mozzarella, shredded 150 g (substitute with parmesan)

Fresh basil 50 g

Salt & Pepper To Taste


  1. Boil some water and cook your pasta.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat and add the chicken.
  3. Add diced bacon and bay leaf.
  4. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
  5. Add sundried tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add flour, stirring constantly until you get a light paste consistency.
  7. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer
  8. Add the cheese and basil, slightly stirring until cheese is melted.
  9. Add the basil, and season to taste.


This is a very easy recipe to put together and you could even freeze it to have it ready for those days when you just don’t feel like taking the time to cook anything.


Pasta sheets, cooked

Bolognese sauce (recipe in previous entry)

Ricotta cheese 500 g

Spinach, stemmed 1 kg

*Mozzarella cheese, shredded enough to form a thin top layer

Fresh parsley just enough to garnish


  1. To layer the lasagna start with a layer of meat at the bottom, pasta, ricotta cheese & spinach, pasta, meat, and coat with cheese.
  2. Cover aluminum foil and seal tightly.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  4. Cook lasagna to an internal temperature of 160F. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use a butter knife, just poke in the middle and with it touch just underneath your bottom lip to feel the heat.
  5. Remove aluminum foil and brown the cheese slightly.
  6. Garnish with parsley

*You can use your favorite cheese, or a combination here. Play around with it and find something you like. I like a combination of mozzarella and asiago.

*Mediterranean Vegetable Penne

One of the benefits of this dish is that it takes very little time to make. You can chop all your vegetables the day before and have ready to just throw together.


Vegetable oil 100 ml

Red onion, sliced 1 half

Garlic, minced 100 g

Roma tomatoes, diced 2 (substitute with sundried tomatoes)

Canned artichokes, drained 1

Canned black olives, drained 1

Dry white wine 50 ml

Fresh basil, thinly sliced 60 g

Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped 60 g

Parmesan cheese 40 g

Salt & pepper To Taste


  1. Heat oil over medium heat and add the onions.
  2. When onions are soft, add garlic and tomatoes and sauté for about a minute.
  3. Add the canned vegetables and wine and bring to a simmer.
  4. Finish with the fresh herbs, cheese and season to taste.

* Mediterranean cuisine can be described as a fusion of the foods from all the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Given the geography, the cuisine of these nations have influenced each other over time and evolved into sharing common principles and ingredients, making this type of cuisine very flexible.