Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Spicy Tahini Dressing

Cauliflower is such a great vegetable — it’s substantial enough to anchor a vegetarian meal and also makes a hearty side to go alongside a piece of grilled fish or meat. The other handy thing about cauliflower is that the flavour is mellow enough that you can use it as a vehicle for a number of different sauces, be it a classic cheese sauce or something hot and spicy. We love cauliflower with a garlicky tahini dressing, made even more flavourful with a dash of hot cayenne pepper. Read More

Watermelon + Feta Salad with Mint

There are few summer salads I enjoy as much as one made with chunks of cool, crunchy, sweet watermelon and salty, briny feta, punctuated with leaves of fresh mint from the garden. It’s as easy as salads get, and looks amazing on a shallow platter on the table. Because watermelon has such a high water content, the salad is refreshing – and easy to get on your fork, unlike spring greens on a hot day.

I like to drizzle mine with a balsamic reduction, which you can make yourself by simply reducing balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan until it reduces by about a half, or buy by the bottle at most grocery stores. It holds onto the watermelon and feta better, without getting runny like straight up vinegar can.

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Quick Carrot Apple Salad

The extended family came over for an impromptu dinner tonight – my nephew made burgers, and I scoured the house for something to make a salad out of. We had no greens, or kale, or anything green, really – but we had tons of carrots, and I remembered a grated carrot salad we ate at various events when I was a kid, and so I tried to recreate it. It was easy to grate two large carrots, dice an apple, add a handful of raisins and dress the whole thing with rice vinegar, salt and pepper, a pinch of salt and a spoonful of mayo. And it turned out to be delicious on burgers, too.

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Asparagus Soup

Spring has sprung, buds are starting to appear and green things are poking out of the ground. Which means in Alberta, it’s almost asparagus season. While asparagus from California or Mexico is generally available year-round, it doesn’t compare to that which is grown right here – it’s not exactly a common back yard crop, but our soil conditions, lack of pests and cool climate produce tender, sweet stalks. (So long as it doesn’t snow immediately before the May-June harvest.) Some of the best asparagus is grown out in the Innisfail area, so as soon as you see it hit the market, it’s best to eat as much as possible while we can get it.

Here’s a way to preserve asparagus for a time when we won’t be able to get our hands on the local stuff – asparagus soup is simple, delicious hot or cold, and perfect to make if you happen to get a wrinkly bunch.

Asparagus Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp. each butter and canola or olive oil
  2. 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  3. 2 leeks, chopped (white and pale green part only) and then washed in a bowl of cool water
  4. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  5. 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
  6. 4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 1/2 cup half & half or heavy (whipping) cream
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or smallish pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and leeks and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the potatoes, asparagus and stock and cook for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.
  2. Purée the soup in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or do it in batches in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Add a little extra stock or water if it seems too thick. Serve hot, or chill and serve cold.
  3. Serves 6.
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Creamy Broccoli and Butternut Squash Soup

broccoli-soup
After somehow accumulating a fridge full of broccoli, making a big pot of broccoli cheddar soup seemed to be a good course of action. This version is bulked up with some butternut squash. Serve it with a bit of crusty bread and you’ve got a full meal. Read More

Ichiban Salad

Growing up, my mom regularly made Ichiban salad – a crunchy mix of coleslaw, packaged ramen noodles, toasted almonds and a tangy dressing made with rice vinegar, oil and part of the seasoning packet. It’s not the healthiest salad in the world, but the mounds of cabbage tend to offset the crunchy noodles, and we only use half the seasoning packet. It has become my go-to desk lunch, and default dinnertime salad, made easy with bagged coleslaw mix, perfectly suited with anything from meatloaf to roasted chicken. If you can’t have almonds in your house, substitute toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds).

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