Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
It’s strawberry season! This sweet salad is a definite spring/summer favorite. The balsamic vinegar surprisingly evens out the sweetness and creates a very refreshing lunch or side salad. 
Serves: 2-3Ingredients: 4-5 handfuls of fresh spinach, 1 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp honey, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup feta or gorgonzola cheese (optional), salt and pepper
Wash the spinach and strawberries, and let dry. 
Chop the strawberries in half or quarters. 
In a cup, mix the balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil, and add a few shakes of salt and pepper. 
Combine the spinach, walnuts, strawberries, and cheese (optional) in a large bowl. 
Pour the balsamic vinaigrette over the salad, toss and enjoy. 

by Sara Zin
Chicken Gyoza
Almost every week I will buy a whole chicken, either to roast myself or pre-roasted. This means I have lots of material to make soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles or just eat straight-up with a simple side dish. Lately I’ve been using the leftovers to make gyoza and have become seriously addicted to this recipe. It takes a good amount of time to make from scratch, but you can speed up the process by buying pre-made gyoza wrappers. 
These gyozas aren’t like the ones you get from restaurants. They are a hundred times better, and once you cook them, you can put them in ziploc bags and freeze them for up to a month. Here is a video from Cooking with Dog, on how to make pork gyoza, to demonstrate how to fry them properly. 
Makes: 30 gyozaWrapper Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup cake flour, 1 1/2 cup bread flour 1/2 tsp salt, 220ml warm water, 1/2 cup flour (for rolling out dough)Gyoza Ingredients: 2-3 cup cooked chicken (preference), 1/2 white onion, 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, 2 scallions, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp sake, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil (for frying)Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce
To make the gyoza wrappers, sift the cake and bread flour into a medium sized bowl. Mix 1/2 tsp salt in 220ml warm water and slowly add to the flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes and shape into small logs. Place in saran wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. 
Finely chop the cooked chicken, onion and scallions. Grate the ginger root and mince the garlic cloves. Combine in a large bowl, and add the sugar, sake, sesame oil, cornstarch, oyster sauce, soy sauce and a few shakes of pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Put a large piece of parchment paper (for easy clean-up) and a baking sheet on the counter and sprinkle flour over the surfaces. Take one of the dough logs and tear off small pieces to form balls the size of a quarter. Using a rolling pin or solid cup, roll out as thinly as possible and liberally sprinkle with flour to prevent dough from sticking together. Repeat until all the dough is used. 
The gyoza mixture should be ready by now, so remove from the fridge and place a small bowl of water near the wrappers. Spoon a small amount of the mixture in a wrapper, dip your finger in the water and run along the edges of the wrapper, then fold over and pinch to close. Sprinkle with some flour and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough or gyoza mixture is gone.
You want to cook them as soon as possible. In a large non-stick frying pan, add a few drops of sesame oil and place the gyoza in rows so that they are slightly touching. Add boiling or warm water to the pan so that the water reaches half way up the gyoza, cover and cook on med-high heat. This will steam the gyoza, when the water is gone, add a few more drops of sesame oil around the gyoza and fry until the bottom is golden.
In a small bowl combine the dipping sauce ingredients and enjoy.
Easy Ratatouille
Who would have thought that something this healthy could be so damn good. I never liked eating vegetables and for a long time, didn’t even know how to cook them properly (unless they were frozen in a bag). This recipe is so simple, but the key ingredient is fresh thyme.
When I make this, I make a lot, since I tend to use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, like so:
Breakfast: With hash browns or fried potatoes and a poached egg. Lunch: Over a bed of spinach and a slice of toast. Dinner: Over pasta with parmesan cheese and a glass of wine. 
Ingredients: 2 yellow onions, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 2 zucchinis, 3 heirloom tomatoes, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, a few tsp olive oil, 1/4 cup dry white wine, salt and pepper
Finely dice the onions, peppers, zucchinis and tomatoes. 
In a large pot, heat a few tsp olive oil and cook the onions over medium heat, until translucent. 
Add the peppers, stir and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the zucchini, minced garlic, bay leaf, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and white wine. Lower heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve traditionally with a sunny-side up egg on top. 
Blueberry Pie
If you’re looking for “the pie recipe” this is it! It’s one of those recipes that never lets you down. I literally make this for any and every special occasion.
Please note that using fresh blueberries makes a big difference. If you use frozen ones, be sure to thaw in a sieve so that the liquids drain beforehand, otherwise the pie will be soggy. 
Serves: 8Ingredients: Pie dough, 1 1/2 small carton of fresh blueberries (or 3-4 cups of frozen blueberries), 3/4 cup sugar, 5 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp butter, 1 egg (whites only), aluminum foil, pie pan, 1/2 tsp sugar
Rinse the blueberries and let them dry in a sieve. 
For the pie dough, I just buy it frozen or in a mix. (I’m sure it’s easy to make, but I haven’t gone there yet). You need 2 pie dough sheets for the top and bottom. Fit one sheet into the pie pan. For the latticework cut the other sheet into 3/4 inch wide strips and set aside. 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, sea salt and cinnamon. Add the blueberries and lemon juice and mix well. 
Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie pan. Cut the butter into small cubes and evenly spaced out on top of the filling. (Strange but works great!)
Weave the strips together to make the latticework, then cut the edges. Using a fork, crimp the edges closed. 
In a small bowl, separate the whites from the egg and whisk. Lightly brush over latticework and sprinkle a few pinches of sugar on top. Cut aluminum foil into 2 inch strips and cover edges of pie to prevent burning. 
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
Ramen Noodles
There comes a point in life when we outgrow our pre-packaged top ramen food crutch and move onto something much better – real ramen with fresh ingredients in home-made broth. This shift typically comes when A: We have more money, and B: We have more time. However, with the explosion of Ramen restaurants popping up right and left, you can still fulfill your quick-fix ramen cravings. My favorite place is Kinton Ramen in Toronto.
Original photo by Emma McIntyre. 
Serves: 2Ingredients: Sea salt, 15oz. pork ribs, fresh ginger, a handful of dried sardines, 1 2x4 inch dried kombu, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sake, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 2 scallions, bean sprouts, fresh ramen noodles (found in refrigerated section of grocery stores), 2 tsp or 1/4th of a chicken bullion cube, korean chili powder (optional)
Rub sea salt on the pork ribs and let sit overnight. 
Cut ribs in half, so they fit in a medium saucepan. 
Fry the pork ribs on all sides until golden brown. Squeeze the fat and then carefully soak up the fat with a paper towel, and add enough water to cover the pork.
Crush a small piece of fresh ginger with the side of your knife and chop off the green stalk of a scallion, and add to the saucepan. Skim the scum off the surface, and cook at very low heat for three hours. 
Place the pork in a bowl and cover with saran wrap, and let the stock cool so that fat floats on the surface. 
Make dashi stock by adding 5 cups of water to a pot and add the konbu and dried anchovies. Soak for 2 hours. 
Heat the dashi stock on medium heat, and remove konbu just before boiling. Skim the scum and after boiling for 5 minutes, remove anchovies. 
Skim the fat off the pork broth and add 4 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp sake. Heat up and add 1 tbsp brown sugar, mix well and boil down until it is about 1 and 1/4 cup. 
Add the pork ribs back in the pork broth until it is warm and then turn off. Slice the pork ribs thinly and then fry or grill to make more crispy. 
Bring a medium pot of water to boil and then add the fresh ramen noodles, and cook based on directions of package.
Wash the bean sprouts and finely slice 1 scallion. 
In a serving bowl, add chicken stock or bullion to a bowl and add 1/2 cup of pork broth to dissolve. Add 1 cup or more of dashi stock and mix. Add the ramen noodles, pork, bean sprouts and chopped scallions. Add a little korean chili powder to spice it up. 
Oatmeal Cookies
These are seriously the BEST oatmeal cookies!!! It’s the brown sugar (and probably the butter) but if you like cookies, then you will love these. You can replace the walnuts and chocolate chips with almonds or raisins, or just add them too. It’s a very flexible recipe. 
Makes: 25Ingredients: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1 cup oats, 1/2 tsp baking soda, pinch of sea salt, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup baking chocolate chips, 1/2 cup butter, 1 egg, 1/2 tbsp vanilla
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
Add the wet ingredients and mix well so you get an evenly distributed cookie. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper (optional).
Spoon the batter into quarter sized balls about 2 inches apart. 
Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes. 
Julia’s Stuffed Artichokes
There are so many delicious things my grandma cooked, but my favorite recipe was her stuffed artichokes. There are some important things to know if you’ve never cooked/eaten an artichoke, because this plant is actually an edible flower bud. If it were to mature without being picked, it would bloom into a large purple flower. 
When selecting, try to choose ones that don’t have points at the end of the leaves, and are compact (the leaves are tightly closed. If the leaves are open it won’t be as tasty). To consume, you pull the outer leaves off the plant and scrape the meaty parts with your teeth. Don’t make this for a romantic dinner since it is messy! Eventually, you will get to the center called the “choke,” which you do NOT eat! It is yellow, prickly, and then hairy-looking, so spoon that part out. Underneath will be the “heart” which is green-brown, and is the prize for all the hard work. You eat the entire thing and it is the best!
Serves: 2Time: 1 1/2 hoursIngredients: 2-4 artichokes, 2 cups bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese, 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, large pot
Cut the tips of each outer leaf with scissors. Using a knife, chop the top 1/2 inch of the artichoke. Chop the stem so there is an inch left.
Thoroughly wash the artichoke. Very important! Open each leaf and rinse inside, particularly in the center “choke” area. 
In a medium bowl combine the bread crumbs, oregano, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, a few shakes of salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, and stir.
Stuff in between each leaf and in the center. It’s okay if some of the stuffing falls out but try to get it as packed in as possible.
You need a deep pot that can cover the artichokes completely and has a lid. Place the artichokes so they are sitting as straight as possible, so the stuffing won’t fall out. That’s why it’s good to make a few so they can prop each other up.
Add some water to the bottom enough so it reaches the base of the artichoke. 
Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove carefully and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Note: It reheats surprisingly well in a microwave if you have leftovers. 
Strawberry Tart
Tarts are surprisingly easy to make, but do require patience since you need to refrigerate the dough to harden it. You also need tart pans, which can be a challenge to find, I got mine here. For the filling you can definitely use any kind of custard or cream, but I like to use greek yogurt since it adds the right amount of “tartness” and turns this dessert into a slightly healthier snack that I don’t regret eating. 
Serves: 6Tart Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp confectioners sugar, 1/4 cup almond meal, 1 egg, pinch of salt, greek yogurt, strawberries
Combine flour, butter, sugar, confectioners sugar, almond meal, egg and salt into a ball, and wrap in saran wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more, but less than 1 day.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Using your fingers, pull off pieces and squish the dough into the tart pans, following the form and creating an even thickness throughout.
Place the tarts in the freezer for 30 minutes, to prevent shrinking in the oven. 
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. This may take shorter or longer, depending on the size of the tart pans, just watch carefully and remove when they look golden, but not brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes. You can keep them in the fridge for a day or two before filling.
For a fancy presentation, place your favorite greek yogurt in a large ziplock and cut the tip of a corner to create a piping bag. Remove the tart from the tart pan and fill. Top with a fresh strawberry or any kind of fruit you like.
Bannock Restaurant Sandwich
This recipe is a concoction of chef Anthony Walsh based on his favorite ways to cook with maple syrup. This overlooked ingredient gives the traditional grilled cheese a unique boost, balancing savory with sweet. 
Featured in Toronto Life magazine and photographed by the amazing Emma McIntyre! Check out her wonderful work and if you’re ever in Toronto, be sure to swing by Bannock Restaurant. 
Serves: 2Time: 15 minutesIngredients: 1 onion, 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup, salt, pepper, fresh bread, a few slices of old cheddar, 1 egg
Dice the onion and slice the bread. 
In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion in the butter and maple syrup until it turns thick like jam. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
In a different saucepan, coat both sides of the bread slices with butter and brown the outer sides like you would a grilled cheese. 
Spread the onion and maple syrup in between the bread and add the slice of cheddar cheese. 
Fry an egg and place on top the sandwich. Enjoy!
Rosemary Potato Pizza
I used to live in Seattle and one of the big things I miss about that city is Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie restaurant. It is seriously intense, with their stone-encased applewood burning ovens, exclusive charcuterie, and artisan cheeses. But my fav is their Yukon Gold Potato with Rosemary and Pecorino Romano Pizza.  
While flights from LA to Seattle aren’t super expensive, making this pizza (or as close to it as possible) is a better alternative. Due to my extreme laziness when it comes to kneading, I turn to Jim Lahey’s genius invention, the No Knead Pizza Dough. It’s foolproof, thank G-d, and makes 2-3 pizzas, which will keep in the fridge for a few days. 
You need to be a bit organized to get the timing right, but it’s very worth the time so stick with it. If you want the pizza(s) done around 8-ish pm, here is the breakdown:
Makes: 2 pizzasTime: 30 minutesPizza Dough Ingredients: 3 3/4 cup bread flour, 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp sugar, 1 1/3 cup lukewarm water, a few drops of olive oilPizza Topping Ingredients: 3-4 large yukon potatoes, 3 tsp salt, 1/2 yellow onion, 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, pepper, a few drops of olive oil, 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
5:00pm: In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Gradually add the water and using your hand work the dough into a ball. Cover and let rise at room temp for 2 hours. 
6:00pm:Thinly slice the yukon gold potatoes using a mandoline or very carefully. Place them in a large bowl and cover with lukewarm water so they are fully submerged. Add 3 tsp salt, stir and let soak for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Lightly flour your counter and cut the dough in half. You can use both or place one in the fridge (in saran wrap or a ziplock bag). Oil a baking sheet (13x18) and using your hands stretch the dough out so it reaches to the edges of the pan. If you make holes just stick the edges back together, it’s forgiving. 
Drain the potatoes and squeeze out as much of the excess water as possible, then pat dry with paper towels. Slice the onion and remove the rosemary leaves. In a large bowl toss the potatoes, onions, and rosemary leaves together. Add some salt and pepper and olive oil and continue to stir. 
Spread the potato mixture evenly over the dough and bake for 20 minutes. Take out, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and then place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
Balsamic Chicken Salad
Whenever I find myself feeling a bit off, whether it’s due to eating poorly, being sick, or what have you, I go to this recipe to reset my digestive track. It’s simple, clean and substantial without feeling heavy = the perfect lunch. You can also adjust it to suit your daily needs. Like if you’re going to workout, add more chicken, or if you’ll be sitting in a chair all day, add more spinach.This is one of those recipe gems that I was fortunate to have picked up from my friend, Forsyth Harmon, the talented writer and illustrator. Check out her work at
Serves: 2Time: 30 minutesIngredients: 1 small tomato, 3-5 tsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, 1/2 red onion, 1-2 chicken breasts, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, a small chunk of parmesan or manchego cheese, 1/2 avocado, a handful of spinach, extra virgin olive oil
Chop the tomato and place in a small bowl. Add 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar and a few shakes of salt and pepper, stir, and let sit. 
Slice the red onion and cut the chicken into cubes. 
Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Once the pan is very hot add the chicken and brown both sides (flip only once). Reduce to med-low and add the onions. Add 2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar and stir. Crush 1/2 tsp oregano in your hand and season food. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. 
Thinly slice some parmesan or manchego cheese and cut up 1/2 an avocado. 
On a plate layer: a handful of spinach, the avocado and cheese, the chicken and onions, and pour the tomato mixture on top. Add a little extra virgin olive oil if you need more dressing. 
Crepes with Strawberries & Cream
Crepes are like the adult version of pancakes. They’re thinner thus making them foldable and therefore fillable. This strawberry and cream option is only one combination in a seemingly infinite variety of fillings which can be sweet or savory. The other version I make is with ham, spinach and gruyere cheese. 
Serves: 2-4 (depending on what you use as filling)Time: 30 minutesIngredients: 1 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 cup flour, a pinch of salt, a few drops of olive oil, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tbsp confectioners sugar, and fresh strawberries
Combine the water, milk, eggs, baking powder, salt and flour in a large bowl and stir with an electric mixer until well combined and there are no lumps. 
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add a few drops of olive oil to a paper towel and lightly brush over pan. (If you don’t use a non-stick pan, wipe with olive oil in between every 2-3 crepes). Pour a small amount of the batter in the center of the pan and rotate the pan to spread the batter as thin as possible. The edges will curl and once the bottom turns golden, flip over, then stack the finished crepes on a plate, covering with a dish towel to keep warm.
Using an electric mixer, combine the heavy cream, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and mix until it is whipped cream. 
Wash and slice the strawberries.
Fill each crepe with the whipped cream and strawberries, then fold over or roll. (If you don’t feel like making whipped cream or have strawberries, use any kind of jam).
Vegetable & Sausage Quiche
This is a recipe that you can make on a Monday and have for breakfast for the rest of the week. It reheats well and has all the nutritious variety that balanced meals should. If I want it to last longer, I’ll eat it over a bed of spinach, or with sautéed potatoes. And if you don’t like the ingredients, feel free to replace spinach for kale, or sausage for tofu, it’s flexible. You get the idea. ;)
Serves: 4 (or 1 for a week-ish)Time: 50 minutesIngredients: 1 cup cooked sausage, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 cup mushrooms, 1/2 yellow onion, 1/2 ripe tomato, 6 fresh eggs, 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1/4 cup milk, a few drops of olive oil, salt and pepper, pie pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Chop the sausage, mushrooms and onions into similar sized pieces so they will cook evenly, and slice the tomato thinly.
Heat a pan with a few drops of olive oil and saute the sausage, mushrooms, onions and spinach until the onions are translucent. 
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and season with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Add the feta cheese and milk and stir until well combined. 
Add the sausage mixture to the egg mixture and stir, then pour everything into the pie pan. Place the tomato slices on top, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
Smoked Salmon Sandwich
I’ve found it important to get as much protein in my breakfasts as possible, and smoked salmon has around 5g/oz. (The average daily protein requirement for adults range between 45-55g). Salmon also has omega-3 fatty acids, which most people don’t get enough of so it seems like a good idea. 
While eating the salmon by itself is probably a lot healthier, I need some carbs for energy and it just goes so well with capers and cream cheese, give or take the onion and tomato. Just try it.
Serves: 2Time: 15 minutesIngredients: 2 everything bagels, 8oz. smoked salmon, 1/4 tomato, 1/4 red onion, cream cheese, capers, 1/2 lemon
Slice and toast the bagels. Note: If you don’t have a toaster, set the oven to broil and place the bagel halves in the broiler section of the oven. Bake for 1-2 minutes, watching that they don’t burn.)
Chop the tomato and red onion in slices, and cut the lemon into wedges.
Spread cream cheese on the bottom half of the bagel, then layer: capers, tomato slices, onion slices, and smoked salmon.
Squeeze some lemon juice on top and cover with the top of bagel.
Enjoy with a fresh mug of coffee.