Grilled Vegetable Salad

This summer salad is ready to go with any number of vegetables – take your pick, and use whatever greens are available to you …. today we are serving it with Sesame Soy Vinaigrette.

Grill an assortment of sweet peppers, zucchini, red onions, asparagus, fennel bulb

Wash and break greens

Toss with vinaigrette and you have a meal ready to go.

Add some toasted nuts – almonds, or pine nuts are great …




1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 generous tbsp tahini paste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

red chili flakes (optional)

1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Using small processor, or immersion blender combine all ingredients except the oil and blend until smooth – then gradually add the oil until you have a delicious creamy dressing.

Best Ever Cheese Ball

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

8 ounces cheddar (I like applewood smoked!)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp hot pepper sauce

1/2 cup minced herbs

1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

In food processor, combine cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and pulse until well blended – stir in 2 tbsp of the herbs.

Form into a ball, then roll in the fresh herbs and chives to coat.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least one hour to firm up and allow flavours to meld.  Serve with bread sticks or crackers.

Fruit Dip with Fruit Tray

1 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)

1 cup icing/powdered sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup white sugar

1 lemon, zest and juice

1/2 orange, zest and juice

Whip softened cream cheese and then add powdered sugar, continuing to whip.  Whip cream and white sugar together until soft peaks form.

Combine cream cheese with the whipped cream, as well as the citrus – zest and juice.  Beat until light and fluffy, adding more orange juice if necessary.

Wash and prepare your fruit, hollow out a pineapple or watermelon to use as a bowl and set out a tray with all your favorite fruits.

Amazing – Simply Amazing – Baby Back Ribs

These ribs are fall off the bone tender but so full of taste that you need to account for one whole rack per person – even more for big eaters!  Make sure to serve with plenty of napkins – this will quickly become your family rib recipe.

Pile of heap of grilled ribs on a platter and watch them come running!


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2  cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 can or bottle beer
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • zest & juice of 1  lemon or lime
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp soya sauce

4 racks pork baby back ribs, membrane removed

In small bowl, combine rub ingredients.  Place rib racks (whole) on 2 large rimmed baking sheets, and rub all over with seasonings, patting into meat.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Pour off any liquid and bake at 250 for at least 3 hours, until meat is tender, but not falling off bone.  (keep covered with foil)

Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt butter, add onion, garlic and thyme.  Cook until onion is very soft.  Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer quite a while, until very thick.  Continue tasting until you get a nice hit of flavor.


Grill or broil ribs, basting with sauce.  To serve, cut in between each rib and mound on platter.  Sprinkle with green onions, cut on diagonal.  Serve with extra sauce for dipping and lemon wedges – a generous squeeze right before sinking your teeth into these will just make them burst with flavour.



Mexican Version: 

add 1 tsp each:

Ancho chile powder and Mexican chile powder to both rub and bbq sauce and 1 minced chipotle chile to the BBQ sauce

Roasted Pork Shoulder and Cherry Tomatoes


This spice rub may taste strong initially but once it has roasted on the pork, you will have a hard time getting it carved with all the fingers trying to grab pieces of the crusted edges!  A great way to serve pork to a crowd – so tender and juicy.

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/2 star anise pod

4 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

One 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder roast

2 cups dry red wine (make sure it is good wine – good enough to drink!)

2 pints cherry tomatoes or small late-season tomatoes, halved

1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp bread crumbs, lightly toasted

In a spice grinder, grind the coriander, fennel, peppercorns and star anise to a fine powder. Transfer the spices to a bowl and stir in the crushed garlic, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder roast, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Unwrap the pork and let it return to room temperature before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Set the pork shoulder on a rack in a medium roasting pan. Pour the wine into the pan and roast the meat for about 4 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 180°.

Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes. Turn oven up to 375

While the pork rests, toss the cherry tomatoes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, just until soft.

In a small bowl, stir the chopped garlic with the lemon zest, bread crumbs and parsley. Thinly slice the pork and sprinkle with the parsley mixture. Serve with the roasted cherry tomatoes.

Sugar Cookies

This is the best sugar cookie recipe – our family has been making it for generations – many years of cookies being decorated for any occasion.  As the girls got older, the competitions heated up for making the most creative cookie.

Preheat oven to 375

3/4 cup butter

These little helpers are 32 and 30 years old now!

1 cup white sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp soda

pinch of salt

Cream butter well, adding sugar.  Beat until well incorporated then beat in eggs.  Whip until light and fluffy.

Sift dry ingedients together and add to butter mixture.  Knead well, adding flour until dough is soft and easy to work with.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for one hour before rolling.

Emma and Allison always love it when they come to visit and get to help Auntie Kathy bake – decorating is the best part!

Roll out on lightly floured surface and using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.

Our family isn’t really crazy about icing, so we always decorate the cookies at this point with egg paint.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes

Be careful not to get too much egg paint, or candies on the cookies – a light touch makes for better cookies, and more even baking. You can see the cookies here that just may have had a little too much decorating from the younger ones around the table!


Separate yolks and whites into separate bowls.  It doesn’t take much so you can make 2 colors out of each egg white, and 2 from each egg yolk.  Beat each bowl lightly with a fork, adding 1 tbsp of water to each.  Separate into small containers so you can make 4 different colors.  Using food coloring add until you get the color you like.  With the egg yolk make sure to choose a color that will work with yellow!    Using paint brushes, decorate the cookies while raw, then bake.

Vegetable Samfaina

This hearty vegetable dish is so comforting, a great meal for a vegetarian or fantastic side dish for many occasions.  Try it with whatever vegetables you have on hand and create your own favorite.

1 large white onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp each of basil, parsley and oregano

2 smaller zucchini (quartered lengthwise and in about 1″ chunks

1 eggplant, cut in similar pieces to zucchini

2 cups mixed colored peppers – cut in rough chunks

1 28 oz can good quality tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Cover bottom of saucepan with olive oil and saute onions until they just start to soften and get little brown bits of carmelization.  Add garlic and the rest of the vegetables – stir well and add tomatoes. Taste for seasoning and add a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.

Allow to stew at a very gentle boil until all the vegetables have softened and are tender, (about 30 minutes) but still hold their shape.  Taste again, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Don’t you just feel like a taste?

Seafood Paella

The seafood paella is so versatile, and can easily be transported between economy and luxury depending on what type of seafood you use.  This version is top of the line!  Nothing but delicious fresh shell fish, and  some chorizo sausage for that little bit of heat.

Preheat oven to 350

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups rice

2 wine cured, dried chorizo sausages, sliced

4 cups chicken stock (hot)

1 tbsp saffron threads

1 tbsp each chopped basil and oregano

1 tsp turmeric

10 scallops

10 prawns (in shell – deveined)

10 clams

10 mussels

2 small lobster tails, split lengthwise

1/2 cup whole black olives

1/2 cup quartered artichokes

1/4 cup minced sun dried tomatoes

6 thin slices each – red, yellow, orange and green peppers

2 lemons

2 tomatoes

scallions (green spring onions)


In paella pan (or other flat saute pan that can go in the oven) heat oil and saute onion until soft, add garlic and chorizo sausage.  Stir briefly then add dry rice.  Toast rice lightly and continue to stir.

Add saffron threads, turmeric and herbs to chicken stock.

Add chicken stock one cup at a time to rice mixture, allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more.  Once you have 3 cups chicken stock introduced and the rice is starting to soften, add the artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and olives.  Stir well, and gently nestle the seafood in – pushing the shells deep into the rice so that it is almost covered.  Reserve the lobster tails to arrange last.  At this point most of the liquid should have been absorbed so you can add the last bit of chicken stock.  Arrange the strips of colored peppers in a pinwheel on top of the paella – cover with tin foil and allow to finish in the oven – about 20-30 minutes.

While paella is in the oven, diced the tomatoes and warm gently in a saucepan.

Test for doneness with a fork – gently scoop out some rice and if it is cooked through take a peek to make sure your shells have opened – this should be all the cooking time the fish needs.  The shells are incredible when they fill with the rice mixture hiding the little nugget of a clam or mussel.

Remove from the oven, pile your cooked tomatoes in the center of the dish, and scatter parsley and green onions over top.

Make sure to serve with lemon wedges – encourage everybody to squeeze lemon on their serving – it really brings out the flavour.  Have a spare empty bowl at the table for all the shells.

Chipotle Chicken

Once upon a time, I had a Spanish Tapas Bar … strangely enough (to me anyway) one of the most requested dishes was the chicken livers in Chipotle Cream.  When we started to provide this dish with your choice of chicken liver, chicken breast, chorizo sausage, and even prawns or scallops, it really took off!  This version uses chorizo sausage and chicken breasts but it is so versatile you can use whatever you like once you have the chipotle cream made.

2 chicken breasts – sliced into bite size pieces

2 wine cured, dried chorizo sausages

3 tbsp butter

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp chicken stock concentrate

3 garlic cloves

2 chipotle chiles, in adobo sauce – minced

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

scallions (green spring onion)

Melt butter, and saute garlic just until tender.  Stir in 1 minced chipotle chile and the cream.  Cook over moderate heat until sauce has thickened – taste for seasoning, and add more chipotle (if you like it a bit hot) and perhaps a bit of salt and pepper.  Like it?  If not loving it, add more chipotle!  Add sliced chorizo sausage and chicken pieces.  Let cook over moderate heat until sauce has thickened, developed a glossy rich look and the chicken is cooked through.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallions.

Serve with rice – or our favorite – paella!  The sauce is so delicious make sure to serve bread for dipping …

Strawberry Freezer Jam

The first of the summer strawberries are out, and it seemed like a perfect time to teach Sloan how to make jam.  What 2 year old shouldn’t learn to make jam?

You will need:




pectin (Certo or Bernardin)

The most important part of freezer jam is to just be very exact with the measurements on whichever type of pectin you have purchased.  No short cuts, reduced sugar etc.  You can look to other methods for jam without this much sugar – but honestly – I love the way the fruit tastes just so fresh and for the amount of it I would eat I don’t mind the sugar.

Wash and crush the berries – measure out exact amount

Smash the berries up – leaving enough bits that you get a real chunk of strawberry – hard work when your arms are so little ….

Stir in sugar – stirring enough over 10 minutes to let the sugar dissolve

Add lemon juice and pectin – then stir continuously for 3 minutes

Of course – taste for deliciousness!

Pour into washed jars, seal and allow to sit on the counter for 24 hours to set.  Put into freezer to enjoy throughout the winter.