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.

Chilean Sea Bass & Mussels in a Tomato Broth

I was lucky enough this week to get my hands on some fantastic Ocean Wise Chilean Sea Bass. If you live in Canada, I’m sure you have seen this symbol next the seafood offerings on a lot of menus. Created by the Vancouver Aquarium, Ocean Wise is a program designed to educate about the problems surrounding sustainable seafood. For more information, please visit http://www.oceanwise.ca/about/sustainable-seafood. Over fishing & environmental destruction are such a massive problem that for me, it’s easy to get behind any type of program that promotes environmentally responsible practices. Even in a landlocked city such as Calgary, Ocean Wise products are becoming more readily available for consumers. You can visit Orca Fish Company at the Kingsland Farmer’s Market in Calgary to find a lot of Ocean Wise seafood.

The recipe I’m showing here today is in my opinion, a simple yet delicious option to complement the subtle taste of this fantastic fish. It’s a great vehicle for preparing any seafood in a quick and easy way that highlights the value of simplicity. You can make this with any combination you like, keeping in mind that it is prepared as a seafood stew and you should choose fish that is firm and will withstand the cooking method. Halibut, catfish & cod are great options. Also, if choosing to add more types of seafood, add them in stages according to what will need a longer cooking time to the shortest time needed, ie. Mussels only need to open fully and should be added last. For more detailed information please feel free to drop me a line.

Chilean Sea Bass & Mussels in a Tomato Broth
For the tomato broth:
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/2 Onions, small diced
3 Celery stalk, small diced
1/2 Small fennel bulb, small diced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup White wine (drinking quality)
1/2 cup Fish stock (substitute with vegetable stock)
2 cups Diced tomatoes, canned
to taste Kosher salt
to taste Black pepper
1.5 lbs Chilean sea bass, cut into large pieces
1lb Mussels, washed & de-bearded
to taste Cilantro, chopped
1. Heat up the vegetable oil on medium heat.
2. Add the onion, celery & fennel. Sweat veg. until soft.
3. add garlic & thyme. Cook until aromatic.
4. Deglaze with wine & reduce wine by half.
5. Add the fish stock & bring to the boil. Reduce by half.
6. Add the diced tomatoes. When broth comes to the boil, reduce heat to gentle simmer.
7. Adjust seasoning as needed.
8. Add the sea bass pieces into the broth. Simmer gently until the fish starts to become firm.
9. Add the mussels, cover with a lid, and cook until the mussels open up fully.
10. Finish with freshly chopped cilantro to serve.
*Optional: add small diced jalapeños when sweating the veggies for a touch of heat.

Mushroom Risotto

Part of the reason I wanted to start collecting recipes on a blog was to have a place to direct my family & friends when they ask for recipes for dishes I’ve prepared for them. Example, my older sister is constantly asking for my mushroom risotto recipe. I’ve prepared the dish for my family many times, never actually documenting the recipe. Gone through many variations but this combo here has been one of my favorite results. The dried porcini mushrooms provide a great intense flavor, and the combination of the Portobello, Crimini & the Oyster mushrooms give this dish a nice variation of texture and flavor.

Making risotto isn’t as complicated as a lot might think. Basic principles to keep in mind are to keep the stock warm, and to add the stock in small increments until the rice gets an al dente consistency. Keep your heat low and only stir occasionally to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Mushroom Risotto
1/4 cup Butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup Shallots, brunoise
1/2 cup White wine
1/4 cup Dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp Freshly chopped thyme
2.5 cups Chicken stock, warm
1/2 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Oyster mushrooms, sliced
to taste Kosher salt
to taste Black pepper
to taste Italian parsley, chiffonade
to taste Manchego cheese, shaved
1. In a small pot, heat up the chicken stock to gentle
2. In a deep skillet, heat up the butter in medium low heat.
3. Add the arborio rice and cook on low heat.
4. Stir, and being careful not to brown the rice, cook
until grains begin to get a little translucent.
5. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to get soft.
6. Deglaze the skillet with the white wine.
7. Add the dried porcini mushrooms and the chopped thyme.
8. In small increments, begin to add the chicken stock.
Enough to cover the rice, stir occassionally.
9. Add the remaining mushrooms.
10. Continue addding the stock in small increments until the
rice is al dente.
11. Adjust seasoning.
12. Finish with the manchego cheese, shaved by using a
peeler, and the chiffonade of Italian parsley.

Please feel free to comment on the recipes and to share your own variations. One recipe that I am working on and will be posting soon as part of my tapas series will be a chorizo & prawn risotto. Enjoy!!!