Risotto is my go-to dinner on a fairly regular basis. It’s the kind of dish that you can make for 2, or 4, or even 8 people (pan size permitting) without a lot of stress. I’m also kind of a strange guy and like to eat cold food as midnight snacks and I think risotto is particularly tasty fresh out of the fridge in the middle of the night. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it…
This dinner definitely falls under the category of ‘Hm, what can I make with these leftover ingredients in my fridge’. Since my love for kale seems to be undying this year, I happily tossed some into this dinner as well. Barley is a great substitute for arborio rice when it comes to risotto. Especially if risotto intimidates you, I find barley to be way more forgiving. This was the first time I had ever tried to put mascarpone cheese into the rice dish as well. It added a rich, creaminess that was pretty fantastic.
Summer has me craving salad like a mad man. Fresh ingredients from the market, or – better yet – your garden are always screaming to be left raw, sliced up and eaten. Or, maybe they’re screaming because they’re being sliced up…Who knows! Anyway, I made this salad a few weeks ago for my audition for MasterChef Canada. It is with a heavy heart – ok, not so heavy – that I inform you with the news that I did not move on into the top 50 finalists for the show. But, at least you can try the dish that I whipped up for the MasterChef Canada tasting round!
This is my version of summer on a plate, since nothing says ‘Oh my god summer is almost over!’ like a mish-mash of bright colours, right? On a more serious note, it’s salty-sweet vinaigrette would even make a great topped for grilled meats if you’re going to have the barbecue going this weekend!
If this looks a little too fancy to you, that’s alright, don’t get intimidated. Feel free to just toss everything together in a big bowl to make a hot mess of deliciousness. It will taste the same, albeit slightly less sexy than pictured above. Rest assured, it will be tasty either way.
Well, another long weekend has come and gone. My website has been a little neglected for the past week and a half. Let most people around the city, the flooding situation in Calgary has captured my attention over the last little while. Although not directly affected, the situation was intense, to say the least.
It’s been amazing to see Calgarians come together through a variety of volunteering efforts to put the city back on its feet. Although, it’s clearly not 100% back to ‘business as usual’, it is definitely getting there.
When the sun hits, it’s time for something refreshing. I fell in love with granitas a while back. They are stupid easy to make and always impress people. From wine and vodka, to prosecco and beer, there is a whole mix of things you can throw into a granita. Since I am in love with cold beer on a hot summer day, I decided to turn on into a dessert.
The fresh rosemary and lemon zest add a nice brightness to this chilly dessert, tasting somewhat like a boozy iced tea…not to be confused with a Long Island Iced Tea…I think only 18 year olds drink those things, right?
2 nectarines (halved, stoned and 1″ sliced)
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
4 cups baby kale
1 cup cucumber (thinly sliced)
1 cup radishes (quartered)
1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/3 cup greek yogurt (I used the brand new iogo greko yogurt)
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Yup, I’m still on the salad train apparently! Not that it’s a bad train to be on, I just wish I would have embraced tasty, nutrient-filled salads prior to the summertime to obtain that beach body I ‘strive’ for every year. There’s always next year, right? Perhaps, I’ll book a sunny vacation for December and aim for then. We shall see!
If you’re looking for a nice, light lunch while enjoying some sun on your deck, then this will do the trick. In lieu of roasting the nectarines, you can leave them halved and toss them on the barbecue to get some nice grill marks on them.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the nectarine slices with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place them into a small baking dish and pop them into the oven until they’ve softened and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
While those are roasting away, place the next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest to the bowl as well. Instead of grating the lemon or using a microplane to get the zest off, for this salad I like to use a vegetable peeler to get nice, big pieces of the peel. Once I’ve peeled all of the zest off, I thinly slice it, then add it to the salad. This way, it packs an awesomely bright punch to each bite of the salad; kind of like sunshine on your plate and then in your mouth? Trust me!
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey and vinegar. Add some fresh ground pepper and a few pinches of salt then pour over the salad mix. Toss gently with tongs until well-dressed. Remove the nectarine slices from the oven and serve warm over top a generous portion of the kale salad.
Total prep time…25 min
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup yellow string beans (trimmed, 1″ chopped and blanched)
2/3 cup cow’s feta (loosely chopped or crumbled)
1/2 cup cucumber (halved, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup zucchini squash (halved, thinly sliced)
1/2 cup blackberries (halved)
1/2 cup fresh basil (loosely chopped or torn)
1/3 cup green onions (finely chopped)
4 artichoke hearts (quartered)
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP honey
2 TSP soy sauce
salt and pepper
Continuing with my newfound (and we’ll assume fleeting) love of healthy salads, I present to you what is, quite possibly, the healthiest dish I have put on this site so far this summer. Healthy or not, this is summer in a bowl. For sure.
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- Avenue Magazine: Restaurant Round Up For The Winter
- Start From Scratch on BT Calgary and a recipe for Barley, Lemon and Tomato Risotto
- Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: February Recipe Round Up
- Appetizers & Co.
- Calgary & Area
- Magazine Highlights
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Something Sweet
- Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home
- United States