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.

Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad w/Pork Belly croutons

While visiting Vancouver last summer, my girlfriend and I had the chance to eat at a great restaurant called The Flying Pig in Gastown. Hot summer day, patio seats, wine, beer & lots of great food. Gratin brussels sprouts & Caesar salad with pork belly croutons were the two dishes that stood out the most to us and has lead me into this recipe here.

The key to this recipe is to braise the pork belly the day before and allowing it to cool in the braising liquid overnight. Also, be careful when pan frying. This is a fatty piece and will crackle, spraying oil everywhere, so if possible, use a cover if you have one. The result is worth it.

Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad w/Pork Belly Croutons
For the pork belly croutons: set oven to 350f
1.2 lbs Pork belly, halved
1/2 White onion, large dice
3 Celery stalks, large dice
4 Garlic cloves
1 bunch Fresh thyme sprigs
1 tbsp Dried oregano
1.5 cup Chicken stock
1 cup Pineapple juice
1. Cover braising pan with tin foil. Place in the oven and braise until pork belly is tender.
Approx. 2.5 – 3 hrs.
2. Allow to cool down before placing in the oven overnight.
3. The next day, remove the pork belly from the braising liquid. Remove any fat that accumulates
on top of the braising liquid. Strain out remaining ingredients and reserve the braising liquid
for use in cooking the brussel sprouts.
4. Cut the pork belly into large crouton sized pieces.
5. Using a little bit of vegetable oil, pan fry the pork belly pieces until completely browned on all
6. Remove croutons from the pan and place in a bowl, toss with salt & pepper and place on a
plate lined with paper towel to soak up extra grease.
For the brussels sprouts: set broiler to 385f
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and halved
1 cup Apple juice
1 cup Pork belly braising liquid
pinch Kosher salt
light drizzle Extra virgin olive oil
1. Place brussels sprouts in a pan & cover with apple juice and braising liquid.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook until brussel sprouts are beginning to get soft.
3. Remove sprouts from liquid, place in a bowl & toss with kosher salt & olive oil.
4. Place sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place in the oven & cook for
approx. 8 – 10 minutes, until sprouts are beginning to brown.
For the avocado caesar dressing:
A 1 Egg yolk
1 tbsp Grainy dijon
1 tbsp Anchovy, minced
1 small Avocado
50 ml White balsamic vinegar
B 150 ml Grapeseed oil
C splash Worcestershire shire
splash Tabasco sauce
to taste Kosher salt
to taste Cracked black pepper
1. Place all A ingredients and food processor and blitz to form a smooth, paste like consistency.
2. While blitzing, pour in grapeseed oil in a slow steady stream until dressing emulsifies and
flavors become balance.
4. Adjust seasoning with all C ingredients.

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