Summer potato salad

Hello everyone, this was a requested recipe by a good friend of mine, Jason.

Here's my version of potato salad.

Serves: more then 4 ;-)


Fresh Dill chopped

Fresh Basil chopped

Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

12 slices of pancetta bacon

Half a brown bag of small 'new' potatoes

10 Sun dried tomatoes chopped (optional)

1/4 lb of butter

Head of garlic

1 TBS of good balsamic

1 TBS of red wine vinegar

1/3 cup of good olive oil

1 TBS of grainy dijon

Salt and pepper


Okay, here's the long part of the potato salad.

Peel the whole head of garlic.  

You'll need a pot with a lid (preferably Le Crueset).  

Do this next step with the lid off: Add a splash of olive oil and pan sear sliced pancetta until brown then remove pancetta till later.

In the same pot, add the butter and garlic to the pot and melt butter.  Add potatoes to the pot and put the lid on, reduce temp to low and let them steam in butter and garlic, stirring occasionally, until barely able to poke with a fork (al dente) Roughly 25-30 min. Once done, remove the potatoes and caramelized garlic (set garlic aside).

Right away, cut the potatoes in half or quarters to stop the cooking process and cool them on a tray outside or in the fridge.


Add olive oil, dijon, chopped herbs, balsamic, caramelized garlic, red wine vinegar salt and pepper, dried tomatoes and stir.

Once potatoes are cooled, add dressing, stir and let soak, then serve.  Top with crispy pancetta.

Sorry, no picture of last summers salad.  Picture below is after potatoes have poached.






Arrabiata chicken


2-3 skin on boneless free range or organic chicken breast

Can or jar of plain tomato sauce

1/2 of a sliced red onion

1 cup of Diced pancetta

1/4 brown bag of sliced mushrooms (prefer crimini or portobello)

Pinch of chili flakes

Chopped fresh basil

Grated Parmesan cheese. 

TBS of olive oil

Salt and pepper



Heat oven to 375F

Pan fry diced pancetta until crispy then remove to a seperate bowl.

Season Boneless, skin on chicken breast with salt and pepper.

Add a glug of olive oil to the pancetta pan and heat till hot.

Sear chicken, skin side down till skin is well crispy then flip and cook for 30 seconds and remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, now sautee the sliced red onions until brown, add the pancetta back to the pan and continue to cook for 30 seconds.  Add sliced mushrooms and sautee until soft.  Now add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, jar or can of tomato sauce and a pinch of chili flakes.  Cook for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Now add the seared chicken breast to the arrabiata and burry them in the sauce.  Put in the oven for 20 ish minutes or until the chicken is cooked.  Slice the chicken in half and place on top of each other and pour arrabiata sauce on top and finish with grated parmesan and fresh basil. 

Serve with a nice green salad.





Fresh Salmon Cakes


1x Fennel bulb (thinly sliced) best using a mandolin
Hand full cherry tomatoes
2 x shredded carrots
1x peeled and shredded russet potato
1x red pepper, diced
1x shallot, diced
Bunch of kale (chopped finely
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 lemon for zest and juice
1/2 TBS White wine vinegar
1/2 cup of plain organic yogurt
Salt and pepper

Step 1: Season a chunk of salmon with salt and pepper and steam till cooked (you can always bake it instead). Once cooked, set a side and remove the skin. Alternatively, you can use 2 cans of canned salmon.  

Step 2: Sautee the thinly sliced fennel and cherry tomatoes in olive oil, vinegar and a tad of butter with salt and pepper.  Cook for roughly 20 min on low or until soft and wilted. Try not to brown!

While the fennel is cooking.

Step 3: Sautee, peppers, shallots and 1/2 of the chopped kale in olive oil salt and pepper until soft.

Step 4: Mix together the shredded potato, other half of the chopped kale and carrots, 1 egg and 1/4 cup of flour salt and pepper and mix well.  Heat a pan add some grape seed oil and place 3 pancake size potato galette's in the pan and sear on either side.  Place them in the oven, in the pan you seared them in, and cook for 15-20 min.

Meanwhile, mix together, cooked salmon, lemon zest, sautéed kale, peppers and shallots, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup of flour, chopped dill and one egg.  Mix well.  Once mixed, form (metal forms are available at most kitchen stores) into round large pancake size and sear in a hot pan with grape seed oil.  Sear on each side (60 seconds) and place in the over for 10 minutes. (remember, all ingredients are cooked so this is to heat the entire salmon cake)

While they are cooking.  Mix together, yogurt, dill, salt and lemon juice and set aside.

To plate:

Place galette down first, place salmon cake on next, top with sautéed fennel and tomatoes and finish with dill yogurt.

Brining Turkey

Why brine?  Brining helps retain 90+% of the original weight of the bird and muscle structure is relaxed by salt resulting in a more tender meat.  


My brine:

1/2 cup of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

4 large oranges quartered

2 cloves of whole peeled garlic

Chunk of peeled ginger

1/4 cup of brown sugar dissolved


Dissolve salt and sugar in a small amount of boiling water.  Once dissolved, add it and all the ingredients above to a rubber maid or something big enough to hold a turkey and water but will also fit in your fridge.  Add 5 cups of ice and enough COLD water to fully cover the Turkey. Soak for 24 hours in a fridge.

After 24 hours, take out the turkey and rinse it thoroughly to remove the salt and pat it dry.  Now your ready for your cooking process.

Add Stuffing to the bird (I'll leave your favorite stuffing up to you) 

Here are some cooking directions for a 12-15lb bird:

Preheat oven to 400F

Melt 1/4 lb of  butter in a pan then let cool slightly.  Add Thyme, salt and pepper and rub the breast under the skin of the bird with the butter.

Place desired vegetables over the base of your pan (carrots, celery, thyme, Onion etc). Pour 1 cup of white wine over the vegetables. Set a V rack in the pan and place the turkey upside down in the rack.  Roast the Turkey for 1 hour at 400 F then Decrease the temp to 250F and roast for an additional 2 hours.  Add more white wine if the liquid dries up in the pan.  Remove bird from the oven and use some towels to flip the bird, breast side up now and place it back in the V rack.  Increase the oven temp to 400F and cook until the internal breast temp reads 165 or thigh 170. If the breast doesn't get brown in the oven, add a little melted butter to it as it cooks.  Once done, let rest for at least 30 min if not 45-60 min.

Have a great thanks giving and sorry I couldn't add more recipes to your weekend.  Been a busy one on the home front.






BC fresh Halibut or Wild Salmon with organic buckwheat

Pan seared and oven roasted halibut or salmon with organic buckwheat and oven roasted vegetables.

Prepare the buckwheat as you would risotto.  A little stock at a time!

Oven roast your favorite veg (beets, brussle sprouts, carrots etc)

Lastly, Pan sear the halibut or salmon and (dont over cook please, the fish doesn't like that) and serve with a caper lemon butter and top with sauteed kale and cherry tomatoes


BC spot prawn pasta

Well, it's that time of year again when BC's waters offer up some amazing tasty spot prawns.   The season is open for commercial fisheries and the stores and restaurants are receiving their orders.  I purchased my spot prawns from the docks near granville island, from water to boat to mouth!

Here is a great pasta I love to make.

Serves 4


Fresh tarragon

1.5 lb BC spot prawns (before you're ready to cook them, take off the heads if you buy them head on, remove the shells and put the shells into a stainless pot.  Put the meat into a stainless bowl and set aside)

Chilli flakes (pinch)

Spaghetti (one package)

Half of a onion

2 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

2 cups of cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


Boil your water for the spaghetti

(This next step is optional but highly recommended) Pour 3 cups of water over the prawn shells that are in a pot and add the half of a peeled onion.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes (stock should be reduced by a third) then strain and keep the warm prawn stock. 

Dice up the shallots and garlic

Heat up a pan and add 2 TBS of olive oil.

Add the shallots, garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Make sure not to brown them.  

Add all of the tomatoes and add 1/2 of a cup of prawn stock.  Once the stock is evaporated, add 1/2 cup more and keep doing this until tomatoes are soft and reduced, about 20 minutes.   (this will give you a little more liquid that you can add to the pasta which will give it a richer flavor).  IN SAYING THIS, YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY SEAFOOD STOCK INSTEAD OF MAKING IT.

10 minutes into cooking your tomatoes, add your spaghetti to the boiling water and cook it until al dente

Chop a handful of the tarragon and or basil

Rough chop the prawn meat

When it comes time to add the remaining stock to the tomatoes, add the prawn meat, 1 pinch of chilli flakes, tarragon/basil, salt and pepper and cook until the prawns are a light pink, about 2-3 minutes. (There should still be stock in the pan, make the pasta saucy).

Strain the pasta and put half of the pasta into a stainless bowl.  Add in the prawn goodness and toss with a set of tongs.  Add more pasta if need be.  There is nothing worse then too much pasta and not enough sauce.  If it's at all dry, add a couple gulps of good extra virgin olive oil.  Taste and season with more salt if need be.

Top with chopped flat leaf parsley, basil or tarragon.


And here's my catch at the cabin ;-)

Alamos cabernet

My sous chef and friend brought a tasty little 'affordable' wine over the other night.  With these days of barely being able to live in this expensive city, sometimes you have to be conscious of where you spend your money.

2011 Alamos cabernet from Argentina was just rated 90 points by Wine Advocate.

Flavors of dark berries and spice and pairs well with steak, lamb or grilled vegetables.

Price: wait for it............... is $14.99 and on sale this month for $13.99

vegetarian Mushroom barley with sautéd kale

Made a nice healthy last night.....BARLEY!

From the store

30-50 grams of dried mushrooms (either assorted or mixed). Never a bad idea to have a bunch of dried mushrooms around the house.  You can always make extra stock and freeze it.


2-cloves of garlic

Bag of barley

Half a brown bag of mushrooms (whatever is in season or available) last night we used shitakes as I like the flavor

Bunch of kale

Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 Serve 2-4

To make the mushroom stock:

Add 5-6 cups of water to a non reactive pot (stainless) and add to the burner.  Add the dried mushrooms and a quarter wedge of the yellow onion and some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to simmer for 25-30 min.




Dice the remaining yellow onion.  Chop 2 cloves of garlic and add both the onion and the garlic to a pot or deep dish pan.  Add a TBS of butter and 2 splashes of olive oil and bring to a simmer.  Sauté the onions and garlic until soft making sure not to brown the ingredients.  If they start to brown, either add a splash of white wine to the onions and deglaze or remove the onions from the heat until the stock is done.

after 30 minutes, strain the mushrooms out of the stock leaving just a clean mushroom stock.

Now we can get started:

Add 1-1.5 cups of barley to the sautéd onions and garlic and stir in.

One ladle at a time, add warm mushroom stock to the barley.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the stock has almost evaporated.  Keep doing this for 15-20 minutes then add your diced mushrooms.

Continue to add stock one ladle at a time until the barley is al dente or to your liking.  Should take close to 30-40 minutes or so to cook.  If you're unsure of when it's done, keep tasting it.  When it is to your liking, add one more ladle of stock and 1 big handful of grated parmesan, salt and pepper, stire and serve.

Chopped the kale and sauté in a hot pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  3 minutes or so.  Add some salt and pepper and top the barley with Kale and a shaving of parmesan cheese.




Simple pizza

Made some thin crust pizza for a good friend of ours birthday.


I get my pizza dough recipe from one of my favorite books: Donna Hays 'Seasons'.  All the recipes are simple and fast.

During the evening we made 5 different pizzas but this was my fav!

Simple and to the point:

Potatoes sliced thin with the mandolin


Olive oil

Parmesan cheese


Roll out your pizza dough

Drizzle in olive oil

Place thin potatoes on the dough

sprinkle with parmesan cheese and in the oven it goes.

When done, sprinkle with fresh rosemary.


We love chardonnay

Okay, I know half of the wine drinkers can't stand chardonnay but my belief is that they were raised on something super cheap and full of oak chips.  If you haven't had a good chardonnay lately then spend some money and try another bottle.

*Remember, chardonnay goes with meals that are rich and creamy, not spicy!!!!

Here's one of our home staples:

Shop once, cook twice

Okay, so I'm kind of the opposite of my heading above.  I tend to shop daily and cook fresh every night but I know that is not an option for 99% of the population.  Here is a couple of quick and easy dinners with one quick shop.


Dinner 1

Pan seared and oven roasted halibut or white fish and served on a bed of pureed chickpea and cauliflower with saute`d greens.  Served with a side of fresh coleslaw.

Dinner 2

Halibut or white fish tacos


Shopping list:

1 head of purple cabbage

1 head of cauliflower

3-4 large carrots 

2 avocados 

1 lemon 

5 limes

Cilantro (1 bunch)

1 head of garlic

Green beans or a bunch of asparagus

1 red onion

2 pieces of halibut per person (filets are best and skin on is preferred) 

1 can of garbanzo beans

1 package of small flour tortillas

Butter (if you do not already have it)

Mayo (if you do not already have it)

Vegetable Oil (if you do not already have it)

Raisins and sunflower seeds for the coleslaw (optional)


From the Pantry

White wine vinegar

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Chilli flakes

Chicken stock (or from the freezer)

Dijon Mustard

Sugar (which hopefully everyone has in their pantry)


Here are the directions for the first meal which will include halibut that is served on a bed of cauliflower pure,  green veggies and a side of coleslaw:


To start preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, coat the halibut in a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper and then set aside.




This salad is delicious, quick and easy to prepare and makes extra to serve with tomorrow’s dinner.


Shred 3-4 carrots 

Finely shred ½ a head of red cabbage

Finely diced ¼ of a red onion

Combine in a bowl and set aside

Save the uncut cabbage for your next dinner


In another bowl, mix the dressing:

½ cup of mayo 

¾ TBS of olive oil

¾ TBS of white wine vinegar

1 tsp of white sugar

1/4 TBS of dijon mustard

Pinch of Salt and pepper

Squeeze the juice of lemon

Mix and add to the grated vegetables.  Stir in raisins or sunflower seeds if you so desire and chill.


Steam one head of Cauliflower that has been cut into pieces

Once it is steamed (a good way to check if it is done is poking it with a fork and if is soft, its done) put it into a blender or food processor and puree with 1 clove of garlic, a squeeze of half a lemon, 1/2 a can of Garbanzo beans, a pinch of chilli flakes for a bit of spice, 1/4 TBS of dijon and salt and pepper.  Add ¼ of a cup of warm chicken stock, vegetable stock or if need be, water as it is mixing until smooth.  Return to a pot and put on simmer until ready to serve.


In the picture below, I frenched the asparagus.  If you don’t have a frencher then you can always cut your green beans or asparagus done the middle for a little presentation and to speed the cooking process.  


Heat a pan and add a tad of butter and some olive oil.  Toss in the greens you are using (either asparagus or green beans) and sauté until ‘just’ cooked.  3 minutes or so.  If you have small amounts of chicken stock then you can sauté the greens in chicken stock to add a bit of flavor.


Now you will prepare the Halibut


Heat an oven proof pan until hot and place your halibut meat side down for 30 to 60 seconds, then flip to skin side down and sear for another 20 seconds.  Place the pan into the oven and bake for 3-6 minutes, depending on the size of the filets. 



Halibut is always better under done then over done as when you pull it from the oven it will continue to cook a few more degrees.  If you are at all concerned about it being under cooked gently open it with a knife or fork and it should be juicy with a bright white color, not grey.  Halibut will go dry and flakey if it’s overdone........ugh!


To plate (presentation always makes a great impression) spoon the pureed cauliflower onto a plate or serving bowl, top with either asparagus or green beans and place the halibut on top.  Serve with a side of  coleslaw in a small bowl.


I just cooked this meal with some friends and it was delicious and ‘super clean.’  


 You'll notice in the picture that I added some crispy leeks.  Simply deep fry in some grape

seed oil until crispy.  Place on a paper towel and add some salt.  

The second dinner will be halibut tacos made simple and easy.



½ head red cabbage

5 limes

1-2 avocados sliced

Remaining red onion from last night

1 bunch of cilantro (one bunch)

1 package of small flour tortillas


Pre heat the oven to 400 F


While the oven is heating you will warm the tortillas in one of two ways:

1 - Place tortillas in a damp cloth on a plate and put them in a microwave for a few seconds until warm. 


2 – If you do not own a microwave you can panfry them with grape seed oil until they are brown, lay on a paper towel and serve when the meal is ready.  They will be a little more crispy this way which is the way I prefer.

Prepare the cabbage and red onion. Begin by thinly slicing (when I say thin, I mean thin and if you have a mandolin then use it) the cabbage and red onion and placing into two separate bowls.  Squeeze the juice of 5 limes (being careful to remove the seeds) to the red onions with a sprinkle of salt (stirring occasionally while dinner is being prepared). This process creates delicious pickled onions. 

 Heat a frying pan with a splash of vegetable oil and once it is hot, sauté the cabbage in olive oil with a splash of white wine vinegar. When the cabbage is soft (this should only take a few minutes) remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

Cook the halibut as you did the night before except this time when they are cooked you will break them into bite sized pieces.  Place the bite sized halibut pieces onto a warmed, soft tortilla and top with sliced avocado or guacamole, pickled onion and cabbage (you can add a small amount of sour cream if you like) and finally top with fresh cilantro.  Serve with the remaining coleslaw from the night before and enjoy.


'Island life' crab cakes

We have this special place we go to all the time and we try to live off the land when we go....well, kind of!

My daughter and I set a crab trap and half a day later we were in luck.  Dungeness crabs galore.  2 hours later and fresh crab cakes.

My recipe is as follows:

Red and yellow peppers diced

Shallots diced

Chopped parsley


Bread crumbs




Salt and Pepper

Hot sauce

Chilli flakes


Steam crab for 8-10 minutes and de-shell (never fun but well worth it). 

I Sauté all of the vegetables with a TBS of butter in a nice cast iron skillet over our wood burning oven.  Sauté until soft and remove from the heat.

Mix in a stainless bowl:




Salt and Pepper

Bread crumbs


Hot sauce

Chilli flakes

Chopped parsley

MIX EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH THE CRAB and put into a form if you have one or just use your hands to form your cake.  If you have time, place on parchment paper and leave in the freezer for 30  minutes for everything to mold together

Get a pan piping hot and add a splash of grape seed oil and a TBS of butter and sear each side until brown.  Once brown on each side, toss in the oven for 7-8 min and remove.

Mix mayo, the juices and lemon zest from a lemon and a splash of hot sauce (love valentina's and picture below) and top the crab cake.

Serve with some local greens and sip on your favorite white!!!!


THE chicken dish

I call this the 'chicken dish' as we throw a bunch of ingredients into a large braising pan (if you don't have a braising pan, any large oven proof pan or pot with a lid will do. and toss it in the oven......


1 package cherry tomatoes

1 fennel bulb

¼ brown bag of button mushrooms

4 carrots

1 large yellow onion

8 Chicken thighs (Boneless skin on)

Salt and Pepper

Feta cheese (preferably goat)


Olive oil



Turn oven to 400 degrees F

Dice vegetables (not the tomatoes) into big chunks and set aside in a separate bowl

Season chicken with salt and pepper

Get pan nice and hot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil

Sear all of the chicken breast  (about 2-3 minutes a side) starting with the skin side down

Once they are browned remove to a plate or bowl and set aside

Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes

Add the remaining vegetables, not including the tomatoes, and sauté for another 4 minutes

Turn the pan off and place each chicken thigh on top of the sautéd vegetables in the pan and then top with the cherry tomatoes.  Put the lid on and toss it in the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve over barley* that has been prepared in chicken stock. Top with fresh parsley and crumbled feta cheese.

*For the Barley, prepare as per the back of the package but substitute chicken stock over water to add more body and flavor.  Finish with salt and pepper and a handful of grated parmesan cheese if on hand.




Halibut is back in season....

Sunday night dinner with the family


Pan seared and oven roasted fresh line caught halibut on a bed of hand made yam gnocchi with crispy bacon and oven roasted brussel sprouts topped with crispy leeks.

Tips:  Halibut is always best served under done rather then over done.  If you're worried about over cooking it then keep taking it out of the oven and feeling the sides for doneness or if need be pull it with your fingers and if flakes apart then it's definitely done.  Each filet takes about 4-5 minutes at 400 after a quick sear in the pan.  

This dish was served with a great pinot grigio.


Appies at the party

Here's a quick snap of some recent appetizers at a clients house.

Fresh citrus ceviche served in a carved out Meyer lemon

Wild mushroom tarts 

sauté prawns in simple garlic butter

Butternut squash with lemon and white pepper creme fraiche

Wine of the month

Yes, another italian red by the famous producer, ANTINORI.  2010 Pepoli Chianti.  Opened it up tonight and sipped it with roasted chicken, roasted butternut squash and yams with sauteed bok choy for some green leafy goodness.

"This dry red has an intense aroma of red berries, accompanied by hints of vanilla and chocolate. it shows great structure on the palate, with elegant and gentle tannins. A true expression of its fruity aromas are evident in the lingering after-taste." BCLDB




Fall wine recommendation

2008 Chianti by Fontodi, italy.

I'd put this up against any tuscan wine under $75.  This chianti is drinking amazing for $33.99 and available at most of your government liquor stores.

Infamous garlic bread



Savary Island Pie Company Italian Loaf

Tons of butter

Chilli flakes


Garlic, peeled and crushed.


Cut bread into slices

In a large frying pan, melt butter, add garlic, chilli flakes and parsley.  Once melted.  Dip each piece of bread into the butter and dip each side.  Grill on the BBQ or oven bake.  If you're using the bbq, be cautious as the butter will flare up so keep an eye on it.  About 2 minutes per side.