Heirloom Tomato Salad

One of the things that I love about my girlfriend is the way she inspires me. From a culinary standpoint, she provides me with endless ideas for dishes, ingredients to use and sometimes interesting flavor pairings, and always from a healthy standpoint. For the salad recipe here, the idea was to enjoy the simple, great flavor from the heirloom tomato. She picked up some black truffle Boshetto which was what originally sparked the idea. I’ve always enjoyed the flavor pairing of tomato and truffle, so I wanted to do something as simple as it could get, but in a way that highlights that flavor pairing.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes, cut into petals

Balsamic reduction

Lemon juice, small splash

Balsamic reduction

Boshetto cheese, thin slices

White truffle oil, drizzle

Kosher salt, to taste


I should also mention that photo credits have to go my girlfriend, she definitely has a better eye than me for this.


Mixed Bean Salad

I love simplicity in cooking & this salad fits that ideology. This was one of the dishes from a cooking class I did the other night and wanted to highlight the use of aromatic elements to bring out a ton of flavor. Using lots of herbs here, this dish is great as a summer salad.

If you are interested in cooking your own legumes, I am including instructions on how to do so. This can be something that can be thrown together using an assortment of canned beans, lots of great blends are available so you can definitely substitute your favorite blends. Only instruction I would include if using canned legumes: rinse them well to wash out the brine.

 As always, any feedback is welcomed as are your own variations to this idea!


Marinated Garbanzo & Black Bean Salad

On cooking legumes:

  1. Soak legumes with water over night. Add water as needed.
  2. Rinse legumes.
  3. Place in a pot and add new water (enough to cover fully) along with mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots) cut into large pieces so they can be removed after cooking, also add a head of garlic cut in half, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. You can substitute the water with chicken or vegetable stock, and you can also add smoked bacon with the mirepoix for extra flavor.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce temperature to a simmer. Cooking times will vary depending on the legume used, and you’ll need to keep an eye on the liquid level in case you need to add more.
  5. When legumes are done cooking, strain remaining liquid and remove mirepoix, garlic and herbs.
  6. Spread over a wide baking sheet or container to cool down.
  7. Once cooled, you can place in zip log bags to freeze or use immediately.

For the salad:

Garbanzo beans                     1 cup

Red Kidney Beans                   1 cup

Yellow lentils                          1 cup

Red onion, small dice             ¼ cup

Avocado, diced                      ½ cup

Roma tomato, small dice        ¼ cup

Parsley, chopped                    to taste

Cilantro, chopped                   to taste

Fresh thyme, chopped             to taste

Lemon juice                           1

Raspberry vinegar                  to taste

Extra virgin olive oil               ¼ cup

Kosher salt                            to taste

Black pepper                          to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss together.
  2. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

* can be held in the cooler for up to 5 days.

Date Night!

What a fun night! Every so often I get to teach cooking classes at the Compleat Cook. Friday night’s class was a hand’s on Date Night focusing on Spanish Cuisine with a 7 course tasting menu. The three recipes I’m showcasing here were three of the dishes that I have been wanting to try for a while and happy to see people enjoy. I also have to give a shout out to my assistant for the night, John Leung, who was one of four people representing Calgary in Master Chef Canada.

The first, Scallop Ceviche with a Mango Gastrique, lots of textures and a nice balance between tart & sweetness. I was able to find some delicious, wild caught Scallops from New England. A fantastic Scallop found at Orca Bay Fish Co. in the Kingsland Farmer’s Market in Calgary. The recipe here calls for julienned Roma tomatoes. While doing the shopping for the class at the farmer’s market, I was able to find this little tiger striped organic tomato that tasted great and had a cool look to it.

The Honey Dew Soup with Grapefruit & Prosciutto was a 2 source inspiration from Spain. While ideally, I would have preferred to make this dish with Jamon Iberico, a fantastic product made from black Iberian pigs, but was unable to find some for this class. Prosciutto is definitely a great product in its own right and a fantastic pairing with honeydew. While I was in Madrid, I visited a restaurant called Museo Del Jamon, the ham museum where the starter course I had there was a slice of honeydew draped with thinly sliced Jamon Iberico. It was very simple & rustic but a great, classic flavor pairing. The next source of inspiration came from a Ferran Adria cookbook called La Comida de la Familia, the family cookbook in which they detail the family meals had at El Bulli with the entire team before their dinner service. Many great recipes collected in this book, one of which was a honeydew soup with grapefruit segments. I didn’t go too far away from the recipe because the recipe is simple and great because of it. The only changes I added to this were the Prosciutto and the Balsamic reduction because these are flavors that are very natural together. The one piece of instruction I will add here that is not in the recipe directions is to squeeze the juice from the grapefruit as you segment them, and incorporate them with the honeydew juice.

At the Museo Del Jamon!

The third recipe here, Variations of Red, was our final dish from the night & was another idea I got from a dish made at El Bulli. The idea of the ingredients came from their dish, in which they used a freeze drying process for their fruits & a light strawberry foam. To simplify the recipe, I marinade the fruit in a balsamic syrup and sub the strawberry foam with a strawberry & vanilla bean whipped cream. This was a nice, simple & light dessert that to me is a great finish to a date night dinner.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the cooking classes hosted by the Compleat Cook please visit their website. I have a few more classes coming up soon, Cooking 101, Small Bites, Chocolate & Saucery! There is also a great lineup of Calgary Chef’s being featured until the end of June, including my friend Andrew Trinier who was one of the best Chef’s I have worked with so far in my career. Please contact Margaret for more info!

Scallop Ceviche
For the marination:
Digby scallops, cut into three equal medallions
Lime juice
Lemon juice
Orange juice
Fennel, julienned
Extra virgin olive oil
pinch Kosher salt
1. In a glass bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Marinade for 30 minutes.
3. Drain scallops, reserve liquid & fennel separately.
4. Pat the scallops dry, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
For the garnishes:
Roma tomatoes, julienned
Avocado slices
Julienned fennel
Radish, thinly sliced medallions (held in ice cold water)
Blood orange segments
Mango gastrique (recipe follows)
Micro-greens, freshly cut
to finish Malden salt
to finish Freshly cracked black pepper
For the mango gastrique:
Marinating liquid
Granulated sugar
Rice vinegar
Ripe mango, diced
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1. Add marinating liquid to a pot & bring to the boil.
2. Add remaining ingredients & bring to the boil.
3. Reduce liquid by half.
4. Blitz to a smooth consistency with a blender.
5. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Honeydew Soup w/Grapefruit Segments & Prosciutto
1 Honeydew, peeled, cored & cut into small squares
small bunch Mint
100ml Water
Pinch granulated sugar
1 Grapefruit, peeled, segments
100g Prosiutto
Drizzle Balsamic reduction
1. Place honeydew & mint in a blender & blitz until smooth.
2. Pass through a strainer to smooth out consistency.
3. Wrap grapefruit segments with prosciutto & arrange in a bowl.
4. Pour strained soup over the segments, only enough to cover approximately half way.
5. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Variations of Red
For the Balsamic Syrup:
1 cup Granulated sugar
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1. In a medium sized pot, bring the granulated sugar & water to a boil.
2. Continue boiling until sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar. Check for a balance between sweet & sour and adjust to taste.
4. Place syrup in the fridge to cool down.
To marinade:
1/2 lb Watermelon, small cubes
1/2 lb Strawberries, quartered
1/2 lb Raspberries, whole
1/2 lb Figs, halved
2.5 cups Balsamic syrup
1. Place all the fruit in a glass bowl and cover with the syrup.
2. Marinade in the fridge for approximately 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
For the Strawberry & vanilla whipped cream:
1/4 cup Strawberries, juiced
3 pods Fresh vanilla
1 tsp Sugar
1 cup Heavy cream

If you have any questions or comments about any of the recipes presented here, please feel free to drop me a line or comment!


More than simple Greens!

Salads to me are something that I can eat every day and often as my entire meal. Relatively quick to put together, salads can take you in any direction and are only bound by your creativity. A few weeks back I taught a class at Compleat Cook on this very topic and I’m sharing 4 of my favorite salads with you here.

Roasted Corn & Spring Mix Salad w/Creamy Citrus Dressing & Manchego Cheese

For the corn:

Corn on the cob, trimmed        6 ears of corn

Olive oil                                  3 tbsp

Kosher salt                               pinch

Black pepper                            pinch

  1. Set oven to 375f
  2. Toss the trimmed corn with the olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roasted until corn begins to turn golden brown. Approximately 5-6 minutes.

For the creamy citrus dressing:

Mayonnaise                3tbsp     (optional: substitute with Vegan mayo)

Grainy Dijon               1tsp

Fresh lime juice          30ml

Lemon juice               30ml

Honey                        1tsp

Kosher salt                 to taste   

Black pepper              to taste

  1. In a bowl, combine roasted corn with all the ingredients for the dressing.
  2. Toss together well and adjust seasoning as needed.


    Spring mix

    Manchego cheese, shredded

Catalan Salad

For the romesco vinaigrette:

    Roasted red pepper

    Pan roasted almond slivers


Garlic clove

    Red wine vinegar

    Extra virgin olive oil

    Kosher salt

    Black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients, minus the oil, in a bowl and whisk well.
  2. While whisking, pour the oil in a slow and steady stream.
  3. Adjust seasoning as needed.

For the salad:

    Cherry tomatoes, halved

    Red Onion, julienned

    Celery, thinly sliced on the bias

    Green olives, sliced

    Avocado, sliced

    Roasted red pepper, julienned

    Kale, washed, trimmed & medium cut

    Romesco vinaigrette

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss together well.
  2. To serve, make a bed of kale and arrange remaining ingredients over it.

Optional garnishes:

    Iberian ham slices

    Serrano ham

    Chorizo sausage

    Hard boiled eggs

Orange & Fennel Salad with Poached Lobster

For the lobster:

    Lobster tails & claws, de-shelled


    Kosher salt

    Whole lemons, halved

  1. Using kitchen shears, carefully cut the shells open to remove the lobster meat.
  2. With the water at a rolling boil, place the lobster meat in and cook until it turns color.

For the salad:

    Fennel, julienned

    Orange, segments

    Fresh orange juice

    Red wine vinegar (optional)

    Olive oil

    Honey    (optional)

    Fennel fronds, chopped

    Kosher salt

    Black pepper

    Cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasoning as needed.

Kombucha & Hibiscus Berry Salad with Vanilla Whipped Cream

For the vanilla whipped cream:

Heavy cream                ½ cup

Vanilla pods                  3

Granulated sugar          2tsp

  1. Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer and whipped at high speed to hard peaks.

Raspberries                                250g

Blackberries                               250g

Blueberries                                 250g

Strawberries, quartered             250g

Kombucha & hibiscus rose tea    ¼ cup

Wild hibiscus flower syrup          ¼ cup

Granulated sugar                         1tbsp

Fresh mint, chiffonade