Pico de Gallo

Another versatie favorite that can be used as a salsa or a topping or part of a sauce.  15 minute preparation.

Grab some fresh cilantro, red onion, tomatos and limes at the store.  I am also guilty of adding a small amount of fresh garlic or jalapeno at times.  Dice the tomatoes into 1 centimetre cubes, dice your red onion just slightly smaller than the tomatoes.  Get some fresh cilantro or coriander separated from the stems and cut into small pieces.  Use one red onion for every two tomatoes, add the cilantro to your personal taste.  Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the whole mix once it has been combined.  Should you choose to add garlic or jalapeno, add only a small amount that has been diced very, very, very finely.  This is a great topping for grilled chicken served with goat cheese.  You can also have this all on its own with some chips and guacamole.


Peppered Baseball Steak with Lemon Prawns

A low fat high protein entree that delivers amazing flavour and few calories.  30 minute meal.

Season your steak with a little salt, and a hefty dose of pepper, you can also season with your favorite steak spice.  I selected a top sirloin cut, but you could also use tenderloin, strip steak or substitute with a larger rib steak.  After seasoning wrap your steak and refrigerate, let in sit overnight (or a few hours if using same day).  After warming the grill add a little oil to the grill top so that the steak and crust don't stick.  Grill to your preferred doneness.

Steam your prawns until they turn bright red, spritz with lemon when they are finished and serve along side a small amount of warmed butter if you must.

Steamed asparagus is a favorite choice around our house.  For a fun twist try tossing this with a splash of orange juice and balsamic after steaming - adds a nice brightness and sweet flavour.


Blueberry Pancakes

The perfect weekend breakfast treat for the summer when blueberries just come into season.  15 minute meal.

Combine the dry ingredients together: 1 cup of all purpose flour with one tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a dash of salt. Whisk the wet ingredients together: 1 cup of milk, 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, beating a nice smooth batter.  I like to add fresh blueberries to my pancakes after the are cooked, but you can also mash up a few blueberries and add them to the batter first.  Spoon the batter out onto a hot griddle and flip them when the first bubbles start to make their way to the top of the pancake.



Prosciutto Wrapped Melon

A great tasting menu item for a wine dinner or posh cocktail party.  15 minute treat.

Try this with ripe cantaloupe or honeydew melon.  Slice your melon and gently wrap with pieces of the prosciutto.  season with a little bit of salt and pepper (just a sprinkle).  This is pictured garnished with a little fresh basil to bring in a nice aromatic element.



 Tomato & Swiss Lunch Time Canapes

A fresh light snack that is great for entertaining friends on a weekend afternoon.  15 minute appetizer.

This is a very approachable and adaptable recipe that can be tweaked in a multitude of ways - it is also simple enough to please even the pickiest guest.  Cut thin slices of fresh bread; sometimes I lightly toast my bread in the oven after a drizzling of olive oil.
Grape tomatoes make for a nice touch and pretty presentation.  Thinly slice the tomatos, swiss cheese and any other ingredients you might be stacking on your canape.  Iceberg lettuce gives a nice crunchy mouthfeel and adds much needed texture to the other soft ingredients.  I will often create a hodge podge of fresh items in the fridge; ham, red onions, crab and even bacon can become part of the stack.
Shown here is a rye bread canape with tomato, lettuce, swiss and smoked turkey.

                                         PERFECT PAIRING - PINOT GRIS, VIDAL OR RIESLING

Sundried Tomatoe Cream Sauce

A sauce that can be used on your favorite pasta noodle and mixed with all your favorite veggies and toppings.  20 minute meal.

Heat 1 cup of heavy cream and about three spoonfulls of butter in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling (but don't let it boil).  Add a half cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and a couple dashes of parmesan cheese and stir until melted.  Add 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Mix this up with your favorite pasta noodle, some chicken or shrimp, and maybe some pine nuts - make it interesting.



 Fresh Tzatziki Dip

A perfect sauce that can stand alone or compliment any greek inspired meal.  10 minute dip.

Tzatziki sauce is super versatile, and this quick recipe is wonderful to add a bit of flavour and texture to lots of meals.  It is a small selection of ingredients, grab fresh garlic, lemon, cucumber and a thick, heavy greek yogurt.  Grate the cucumber over a strainer, or onto some paper towel (helping to remove the excess moisture, so the sauce can remain thick).Add 1/4 cup of grated cucumber to every 3/4 yogurt.  Mince very finely two cloves of garlic for every 3/4 cup of yogurt used.  Squeeze some fresh lemon over the mixture of ingredients, and continue to add lemon until you have the perfect amount of citrus taste that you love.

                                        PERFECT PAIRING - FUME BLANC OR SAUVIGNON BLANC

Homemade BBQ Burgers

A great alternative to packaged burgers - easy and fun to make and very versatile for all kinds of tastes.  25 minute meal.

First place to start is choosing some ground beef, I like to use extra lean beef; put this into a bowl and add a little salt, fresh cracked pepper, a healthy couple dashes of Worcestershire, some finely minced onion and anything else you want to see in your burger.  Sometimes I throw in mushrooms or minced green pepper into the meat.  Once you have added your ingredients mix things together by hand and form your meat into patties.  Try to keep them a little thin and spread out, because they will shrink up on the grill.
Make sure the bbq is nice and hot, cook your burgers for about 8 to 12 minutes (depends on burger thickness), just make sure they are cooked through.  Baste with your favorite bbq sauce and enjoy.



 Roasted Red Pepper and Olive Oil Dips

A great starter that can be made hours or even a day or two ahead of time.  40 minute meal.

Pick up two red peppers and four fresh ripe tomatoes, some fresh garlic, white onions, herbs, peppercorns, and a nice olive oil at the market, along with some fresh bread, italian or french bread are great, you could also try the unique flavours of a sour dough or rosemary foccacia.  The first dip is very simple - pour a serving bowl of olive oil and soak some peppercorns, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  The second dip should be started early.  Take your red pepper and cut them in half, brush wih olive oil, and broil on high heat to roast the skins until you can peel them off.  Try peeling them under some cool running water.  After broiling the peppers, cut the tomatoes in half and bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until tender.  Remove the tomatoes from the heat, peel the skins and puree the tomatoes with some sauteed garlic and onions.  Add in the roasted red peppers and roughly chop the sauce to leave medium chunks of red pepper.


 Broccoli & Asparagus Cream Soup

A warm comforting meal that is flavour and nutrient rich.  35 minute meal.

Start by preparing a vegetable stock with about 3 cups of water with either vegetable or chicken broth base.  Once the base has dissolved add two full heads of broccoli and a half a bunch of asparagus (about 1 spears).  Allow this to come to a slow steady boil, reduce the heat a bit and cover.  Keep this simmering for about 15 to 20 minutes and then puree this broth and vegetables all together with a hand blender.
Once the soup is pureed, place this back on the stove and ad 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the soup, season with a bit of salt and pepper and simmer and stir for 15 minutes.  You can also add a bit of butter (2 tablespoons or so) and a dash of cumin for a bit of unqtiousness and kick.  Top with a little fresh parsley and serve alongside hearty rolls or fresh bread with butter.

PERFECT PAIRING - OAKED CHARDONNAY (if you want something rich), DRY SAUVIGNON BLANC (if you want something dynamic)

French Toast with Canadian maple syrup

A great breakfast dish, than can also make for a fun dinner meal.  20 minute meal.

Fire up you frying pan on a medium heat.  Add a bit of butter just before frying your toast to help it flip from the pan nice and easy.  Crack some eggs and whisk until well blended, add a few grinds of fresh cracked black pepper, a splash of orange juice and a bit of milk.  Soak thick sliced bread in the egg batter and then fry in the pan until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side).  Served alongside fresh cut fruits like strawberries, peaches or blueberries that you can also use to top your french toast.  The final ingredient is real Canadian maple syrup that you should drizzle over the top just before you serve.  Enjoy!



Honey & Grapefruit Salad Dressing

A simpe homemade vinagrette that is great with a simple mesculin mix and a few snappy ingredients.

White vinegar, olive oil, a squirt of honey and a squeeze of fresh grapefruit.... and a bit of stirring action.  It is really that simple.  This dressing is a simple treat that can dress a nich frisee salad;  I like to add herbed goat cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries, but you can add you favorite salad veggies and toppings to get a great salad that you know you will enjoy.



Avocado Salad

A great side dish or topping for a sandwich or soup.  Prep time is about 15 minutes.

Shell a full avocado and cut it into cubes - try to find an avocado that isn't too small.  Split a large handfull of cherry tomatoes in half.  Chop up a little bit of fresh cilantro and 1 leaf of fresh mint if you have it.  Mix all these fresh ingredients together and with a touch of salt, olive oil and a few good squirts of lime.



Shrimp Pasta with fresh tomatoes and green onion

A simpe homemade vinagrette that is great with a simple mesculin mix and a few snappy ingredients.

Sautee some large shrimp in butter with some chopped fresh garlic.  Get another pot going on the side and cook some fettucine or linguine.  Once the shrimp is cooked you can use the same pan to get a quick sauce going.  Add a little olive, more chopped garlic and some diced tomatoes.  Split some cherry tomatoes down the centre and chop some green onion - leave these off to the side and use them as a final garnish to the dish.  Your simple tomatoe sauce should cook down after about 8 to 10 minutes.  After your pasta is cooked and drained add it into the sauce pan and work it into the sauce.  Plate, garnish and serve.

 PERFECT PAIRING - Pinot Grigio or Unoaked Chardonnay