Cooking Classes


Soba Noodle Salad with White Miso Dressing

Salads are the crunchy version of a soup or stew. They can be made with whatever is at hand. My month of crunchy salads is on day 6. There is no real recipe today. Just an inspiration.

I have a few leftovers from previous meals so they came together in this salad with the addition of cold soba noodles. Cook noodles according to package instructions.

Finely chopped kale, romaine and green onions were tossed with cold cooked soba noodles and yesterdays salad dressing Miso, Carrot and Sesame Dressing. Garnished with spicy pepitas and sea buckthorn berries. Nutrition overload.


Miso, Carrot and Sesame Dressing

This is day five in my month of salads challenge. My real meal was the shrimp bisque. This is a simple salad elevated by an interesting dressing. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. Enjoy.

Miso, Carrot, and Sesame Dressing

I have white soy paste and it is very thick and rich. I cut the amount of white miso in half. I would suggest you use it 'to taste'. 

Servings: Makes about 11/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup white miso
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (packed) finely grated peeled carrot
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey 
Place all ingredients plus 1/4 cup water in a resealable container. Cover and shake vigorously until well combined. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.


Curried Couscous and Sidestripe Prawn Salad

Serving only sustainably harvested seafood is very important to me. BC sidestripe shrimp is ethically and sustainably harvested. It is a top choice of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program. Always look for their logo on any fish or seafood you purchase.

A long time ago when I was in real estate sales one of my clients was from mainland China. Every time his entourage came into town we had a feast at his partner's restaurant. That is when I first learned to eat shell-on shrimp. Now it is the only way I want it.

Curried Couscous and Sidestripe Prawn Salad

1/2 cup cooked couscous
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
2 teaspoons peach chutney
1/2 small head of romaine lettuce
8 side stripe prawns
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
olive oil
sea salt

Wash and crisp romaine leaves. Leave them whole.

Cook couscous according to package instructions. When finished add curry powder, corn kernels and one teaspoon of chutney. Stir to mix. Season with sea salt to taste. Set aside

Toss prawns with smoked paprika and add to a hot pan that has been oiled with olive oil. Turn once and cook until done.

Prepare salad by laying 2-4 romaine leaves on a plate. Fill with couscous. Top with sauteed prawns. Serve immediately. Serves one.


Black Kale Salad with Navy Beans

It is Crunch Challenge month. Eat a crunchy salad every day for a month. I committed to posting every day whether it was pretty or not. Today I dined a little later and the natural sunlight was fading. That makes it difficult for taking a good picture. But here it is.

I enjoyed this salad but could have thought it through a little more. The pine nuts are the same size, colour and shape as the navy beans. They taste good together but not very eye appealing. I was considering saskatoon berries to sweeten the bitter kale but took the lazy way out and used some pomegranate jelly that was hiding in my refrigerator. It worked very well. Shaved parmesan would be ideal but I had none.

The dried navy beans were cooked in my pressure cooker with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda added to the water. Cooked for 5 minutes from the time full pressure was reached and they were perfect. The outer skins separated and rose to the top of the water. Skimming these off will solve your problem with flatulence and beans.

 My sea salt comes from an artisanal producer operating on Salt Spring Island. Canadian flavoured sea salt! Yay! The brand name is Salt Spring Sea Salt. This is pure with only balsamic and garlic added to pure sea salt.

I rarely use bacon fat. I don't like the flavour and idea of all the sulphites and additives. However, I was fortunate to find a pastured pig that was made into old style bacon. So delicious. I could not waste a drop of that liquid gold.

Black Kale Salad with Navy Beans

3 or 4 leaves of black kale, rib stripped out and leaves chopped
1 tablespoon good quality bacon fat
1/4 cup cooked navy beans
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
balsamic garlic sea salt
pomegranate jelly

Saute kale in bacon fat until just tender. Arrange on serving plate. Top with navy beans and pine nuts. Season with balsamic flavoured sea salt and pomegranate jelly. Serves one.


Candied Steelhead Trout Salad with Romaine and Spicy Pepitas

A couple of weeks ago three of us made a trip to Wild West Steelhead trout farm. It was so interesting to see the facility and chat with Twyla, the person who sells the products. None of us could resist buying a package of candied trout.

Of course candied or gingered nuts would be wonderful but in the spirit of honouring my budget I am using seeds a lot more this year. They are crunchy and nutritious and a whole lot cheaper. A pet peeve is undressed greens. None of this drizzling vinaigrette over greens. That is okay if you are serving 400 people but in a home kitchen or fine restaurant the greens should be dressed and then laid out on the plate.

Candied Steelhead Trout Salad

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of your favourite chiles, ground
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
juice of half an orange
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups romaine, coarsely ripped
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1/4 cup candied steelhead trout, chopped in bite sized pieces

Wash romaine and dry. Rip into large bite size pieces. Wrap in a tea towel and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Toss pumpkin seeds with a little olive oil and toast in a pan over medium heat. As soon as they are beginning to brown turn onto a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Sprinkle with ground chiles. Set aside.

Place ingredients 3 through 7 in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously to mix. Toss romaine with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Arrange on your plate. Top with torn pieces of steelhead trout and chevre. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve.


Chicken Salad with Camelina Tarragon Vinaigrette

About a year ago chef and cookbook author David Leite of Leite's Culinaria formed a new group called the Fatty Daddys. He was going through a difficult time and needed support. Immediately the group filled and I can't believe we have not let it go. There are so many motivated and supportive members helping each other in their weight loss struggle.

This month one of the members issued a Crunch Challenge. Well, you know, we have been doing planks, running, jumping, skipping and everything active. Naturally we assumed it was another activity but no, it is a challenge to crisp things up with salads.

I created the same challenge for myself a few years back when I was housesitting in Tennessee. I made a salad a day for a month. So here I am again. New location, different ingredients and a different time in my life. I pledge to post my salad whether it is noteworthy or not. I am looking forward to this month of interesting and challenging salads.

This is a salad for one person. I was essentially using what was available in my refrigerator. What fun! I didn't see a crunchy salad when I peered in. Boy, was I wrong.

Chicken Salad with Camelina Tarragon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup shredded roast chicken
1 carrot, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon camelina oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 radish coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon crunchy chickpea snack

 Combine camelina oil, tarragon vinegar, Dijon mustard in a jar with a lid and shake to make the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium sized bowl combine onion, carrot and radish. Add vinaigrette and stir to coat. Add the rest of the ingredients except crispy chickpeas. Toss to coat all ingredients.

Plate the salad and garnish with crispy roasted chickpeas.

Roasted Chickpea Snack
Use any seasonings you have on hand.
  • 15 fl.oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • canola oil
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. chili pepper powder  
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Drain chickpeas in a colander and let them dry completely. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet and leave them on the counter an hour to make sure they are very dry. This may take an hour or so. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Drizzle or spray chickpeas with oil and roast for about 35 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan every ten minutes. All ovens are different so make sure they don't burn. They will be golden brown and crunchy on the inside when done, not moist. They will continue to crisp up after taking out of the oven. Mix up all the spices and toss the chickpeas in it while they are still warm.