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pasta salad with roasted chickpeas

pasta saladI’ve had this package of multicolor farfalle (Italian for butterfly) pasta for weeks now and every time I open the pantry door, there it is, waiting for me to do something with it.  The colors of the butterfly pasta are all natural using beetroot, spinach, turmeric, paprika and black squid ink.  I wanted something special to salute this gorgeous pasta with and wasn’t quite sure what.  The can of chickpeas in my pantry sparked an idea.  I have, for longest time, wanted to try roasting chickpeas and somehow the two would come together.  Continue Reading →

wild rice salad

wild rice salad by The Culinary ChaseA rice salad is so versatile and using wild rice is a healthier option.  Wild rice is a grass and can be as long as one-inch and range in color from brown to black.  I prefer a wild rice mix which is a combination of brown basmati and wild rice.  A salad of your own creation can take on many forms and if you’re like me, making the same one twice never seems to happen.  I find I’m adding whatever is leftover in the fridge.  Continue Reading →

curried lentils – an easy dish to make

curried lentilsIt was wet and humid yesterday.  I was hoping the rain would have stopped late in the afternoon so we could use the barbeque but windy conditions prevented that idea from happening.  I was feeling a bit nostalgic about our time overseas and a simple curry was the remedy needed to help us reminisce about the places we visited, and the food we ate.  Continue Reading →

roasted peppers

roasted peppersWhat is it about Mediterranean flavours that drive my taste buds crazy?  It’s an explosion of flavours, all vying for my attention and asking me to favor only one!  But alas, how can I? When I think of food from the Med, the words fresh and healthy come to mind.  And why not.  Continue Reading →

puff pastry pizza tart

pizza tart by The Culinary ChasePizza can be an easy midweek meal to make and it’s one where you can get the family involved.  Make individual pizzas to cater for the fussy eaters in your family or have them build their own.  I like making my own pizza dough but sometimes, to save time, it’s just as easy to buy the dough from the grocery store.  Puff pastry is so versatile and is another alternative I like to use as a pizza base.  It’s so airy and light. Continue Reading →

radish leaf pesto

Radish Leaf Pesto CrostiniPesto derives its name from pestâ which means to pound/crush.  A typical pesto consists of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts mixed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Pesto was originally used mostly to flavor vegetable soups. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that it was used as a sauce for pasta.  Earlier versions of pesto used parsley or marjoram instead of basil, and did not include the pine nuts. Continue Reading →

Roasted Cipollini Onion Crostini

slow roasted cipollini onionsWhat do you get when grilled baguette slices (crostini) and roasted cipollini onions come together?  Answer:  a heavenly snack that’s so easy-to-make and ridiculously delicious!  Cipolini (chip-oh-LEE-nee) onions are small and flat.  The word in Italian means little onion and are sweeter than the average yellow or white onion.  I have seen them in food shops and always passed by them – in my mind they were just too small to make anything with until the other day. Continue Reading →

Micro Greens, Avocado and Strawberries

micro green saladMicro greens are sprouting up everywhere (pardon the pun) from local farmers’ markets to specialized food shops.  What are they, you ask?  Think of tiny seedlings bursting into young greens from vegetables and herbs.  Micro greens are typically one-inch to two-inches in height.  Although little in size, they tout an intense flavor but not as strong as mature greens and herbs.  In restaurants you’ll notice them as a garnish on food.  Are micro greens the same as sprouts?  Continue Reading →

How To Cut and Peel an Avocado

How To Cut & Peel an AvocadoI was in the kitchen the other day getting ready to use an avocado as one of the ingredients for my portobello burger, when I fondly recalled the conversation I had with my son.  He wanted to know if there was an easy way to get the pit out of an avocado.  I hadn’t really given much thought about it as I’ve been using avocados for a number years (akin to breathing).   It’s funny the things we take for granted as being everyday knowledge.  It was like an aha! moment when I told him how easy it was.  For Jason and others out there who aren’t sure, here’s my step-by-step tutorial. Continue Reading →

Portobello Mushroom Burger

portobello burgerBurger Week in Halifax, an annual event to help raise funds for Feed Nova Scotia, is winding down.  I was away last week and therefore wasn’t able to partake.  Because of this, I have had burger on the brain.  Initially I wanted a burger overflowing with toppings and condiments (read messy) but in the end meat wasn’t whetting my appetite.  Portobello mushroom to the culinary rescue!  Continue Reading →