Kale “Caesar” Salad



Caesar salad has always been my father’s favourite; I researched and came up with a lighter version and definitely will try to make this for him on my next visit back home.  You can always add a protein (grilled chicken or salmon) to turn this first course into a substantial main course; the recipe is inspired by Canadian Living Magazine and Epicurious.

Ingredients: (serves 2-4)

Caesar Dressing – 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic (pressed), 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, 6 anchovies (drained and mashed), 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon), pinch of salt and cracked black pepper, season to taste.

3 cups Tuscan kale (tough stems removed, cut into ribbons), 3 cups Green kale (tough stems removed, quickly blanched in boiling water, cut into ribbons), half loaf day old sourdough bread (cut into 3/4 inch cubes), 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil.

2 hard-boiled egg, peeled and grated

To prepare croutons:

– Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

– Hand tear (or cut) the bread into 3/4 inch cubes and put them in a bowl. Add olive oil, lightly sprinkle some parmigiano-reggiano, season with salt and pepper.  Toss well and make sure the pieces are coated evenly.  Spread the cubes out evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Let them cool down before tossing into the salad.

To prepare dressing:

In bowl, whisk the yogurt, with the anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined; then add half the cheese, season with salt (if necessary) and pepper.

To assemble the salad:

In large bowl, combine the Tuscan kale and green kale with enough salad dressing to your liking, add the grated egg, croutons and some extra parmigiano-reggiano and toss salad well.  Serve immediately, the remaining dressing can be passed around the table.


I used very little salt for this recipe as we are using anchovies and parmigiano-reggiano cheese, do not over dress the salad.  Remember always adjust the flavors according to your taste and dietary needs (OO).




RECIPE: Butter Lettuce Wedges with Mimosa Vinaigrette


For this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, I served this old-fashioned salad with smoked salmon on a platter; it was simply delicious.  I love this salad so much and I made it again tonight for dinner..

Ingredients: (Serves 6)

3 small heads Butter Lettuce, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1 Tablespoon shallot (finely chopped), 1 large egg (hardboiled and peeled), kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.


– Trim the bases of the lettuce heads and remove any damaged leaves.  Cut each head through the core into four wedges; rinse under cold water, shake gently to get rid of excess water, set the wedges on a clean dishcloth to drain, cut side down.

– In a bowl, whisk lemon juice and mustard.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream.  Stir in parsley and shallot.

– Separate the egg white from the yolk; using the back of a spoon, press the white through a fine sieve, repeat with the yolk.  Stir the egg into the dressing and taste for seasoning.

– For individual serving, arrange two lettuce wedges on salad plate and spoon dressing over them; serve immediately.


Adapted from Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook

For this recipe, I used the beautiful and tasty “living Butter lettuce” (roots still attached) by Windset Farms (https://www.windsetfarms.com/).  The mimosa vinaigrette is so delicious, I think it goes well with smoked salmon, prawns or avocados.

Preparation is simple and you can prep all ingredients ahead. A great tip from Fine Cooking: hard-boil the egg at least one day in advance as it’s easier to peel.

Did you know Butter lettuce is also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce?

For large hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in saucepan and add enough cold water by about 1 inch. Slowly bring water to boil over medium heat; when water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat, let sit for approximately 12 minutes.  Transfer eggs to a colander and place under cool running water to stop the cooking process. Practice makes perfect (OO)

Butter lettuce salad with mimosa vinaigrette and smoked salmon platter for Thanksgiving Dinner.

RECIPE: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pears, Bacon and Stilton


Butternut Squash is in season! By roasting the butternut squash, the flavour is concentrated and turns it into a delicious ingredient to be used in salads or soups.

The recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/roasted-butternut-squash-salad.aspx) with some changes: watercress and romaine lettuce hearts were used instead of escarole (due to availability); fresh thyme was added, the plating and serving style is also different.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as appetizer)

1 Large butternut squash (approximately 3 lbs), 5 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 6 slices of thick sliced double smoked bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces), 2 medium firm ripe pears (Bartlett or Anjou – cleaned, peeled, cored, sliced 1/8 inch thick), 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (use the nicest one you can get), 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, two romaine lettuce hearts and handful of fresh watercress, 6 oz of Stilton cheese (crumbled).


Position a rack in the centre of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 450°F.

Cut off the narrow top portion of the squash close to where it widens (reserve the base for other use); peel and slice it into 12 thin (about 1/4-inch) rounds.

Brush both sides of the squash with olive oil (1 Tablespoon) and spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with rosemary and thyme on both sides.IMG_0032

Roast, turning once only, until softened and browned, approximately 25 minutes (Keep an eye on them!)

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towel to drain the fat. (The bacon bits can be prepared earlier; I prefer the “splatter free” method: bacon slices bake in the oven, transfer to plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra fat, after they cool, chop into small pieces) 

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Slowly whisk in the remaining 4 Tablespoons oil; season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

In a large bowl, toss the watercress and romaine lettuce with enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly, season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the pears and tossed salad greens on 4 large dinner plates, top with butternut squash, add drizzle of vinaigrette, then sprinkle with the bacon and Stilton cheese to serve.  Be creative!


Escarole is a variety of endive family, the leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of endive family.

Stilton is an English cheese, Neal’s Yard Stilton was used in this recipe (Purchased from Whole Foods. Stilton cheese is not readily available at any regular supermarket, it’s usually available at specialty cheese/food stores only). Watercress has a peppery taste, very little were used in this recipe.

Bacon from Gelderman Farm (http://www.geldermanfarms.ca/, purchased at the Trout Lake Vancouver Farmer’s Market)