Saturday, August 27, 2011


 I used to go to this salvage store back when because they had discounted dented canned foods and such.  I made hard cider once in awhile and would go in for the discount priced apple juice, buying twenty quarts at a time.  Man alive, the store manager loved me.  When they had a big sale on canned pineapple I stocked up on it.  I liked it in pork stir fries with bell peppers, or would serve the sliced pineapple with powdered ginger for dessert.  As a big rice eater I always had a lot of rice in the icebox and made fried rice often. After awhile I changed up the fried rice recipe by adding some diced up canned pineapple to it. 

After years of making fried rice, I started using fresh pineapple and appreciated it, but you know, I fondly remember enjoying the canned pineapple when it was the only game in town.

If you ever have leftover rice (you can insure this by making extra above what you need) a really fantastic fruity fried rice can be made.  Fried rice is great for daytime snacks, side dishes, or can be pumped up with tofu or edamame for a complete meal.  This is, to me and my BW, one fabulous fried rice.

Fruit Fried Rice                                      serves 4 or 2 as a main dish

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil in all
2 eggs beaten with a dash of soy sauce and water

3 scallions sliced, white and green both
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper, diced small
1 tablespoon grated or minced gingerroot

2 cups day old, cooked, leftover rice
1 cup diced pineapple, diced small
½ cup orange segments, cut in half or diced peach slices, diced small

1 Tablespoon Asian dark sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
Dash of crushed red pepper (optional)


  1. In a wide skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and pour the beaten egg mixture in.  Swirl the skillet to let the egg cover the skillet bottom so that you have a very thin omelet.  Cook slowly till set and then carefully turn the egg over and cook it briefly. If your skillet is not wide enough, use one beaten egg at a time because you want the cooked omelet very thin. Remove to a cutting board, fold in half, cut into thin narrow strips, starting parallel with the fold and then cut them crosswise, ending up with small squares.  Set aside.

  1. Wipe the skillet clean and put 2 tablespoons of oil in it and heat.  Put in the onions, bell pepper and the gingerroot.  Stir thoroughly.

  1. If you want to add tofu or edamame or even velveted chicken,  add it now.  The edamame can be par boiled or microwaved briefly before adding.  If using tofu, use very firm tofu and fry it first to brown it slightly.  Then add it to the skillet.

  1. Add the rice and stir it in.  Then stir in the fruit, the sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and the hot sauce and crushed red pepper if using.  Stir thoroughly.

There you have it, a fried rice dish brought to fruition.  Enjoy

Monday, August 22, 2011


While assembling a creamy Italian pasta salad the other day, I get to thinking of antipastos, those colourful platters of assorted foods you often see at Italian family dinner get-togethers; big oval serving dishes of marinated vegetables and cheeses and olives and beans.  I’m actually pro antipasto, so I think about how to adapt this to a casual setting.   After mentally debating the pros and cons of an antipasto salad, I think; why not toss some well-liked items in a salad bowl and stir in the dressing to sort of pre-marinate the groceries.  Let it chill, dish it out and enjoy the flavours of the sunny Mediterranean in a bowl, even if it’s hot and muggy in my part of the world.

So I came up with this.  I like to use cannelloni beans but only had great northern beans in the pantry, so chose them.  If you don’t care to bother with dried beans, feel free to use canned but please drain and rinse them thoroughly first.  You could use your favourite beans here, like limas or ceci.  Antipasto salad makes a nice supper, especially if you are sitting in the shade outdoors.  So up the ante and give it a try.

Antipasto Salad                               serves 8


1cup (250ml) cooked cannelloni or other beans

½ pound (250g) Italian-style cured meats.   Prosciutto, sopressata, capicola, genoa and pepperoni would be good.  A little of each would be perfecto.

½ pound (250g) assorted diced cheeses:  swiss, asiago, provolone, fontinella and havarti, your personal choice.

½ cup (125ml) assorted pitted olives:  nicoise, calamata etc.  Include some dry- cured olives for a nice mix.

1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup EACH, coarsely diced red and yellow bell peppers
4 green onions (scallions) trimmed, sliced thinly including the green part

3 tablespoons quality olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon  anise seeds

Red- leaf and Romaine lettuce leaves are good and so is Arugula.


  • Slice the sausages thinly, removing any casing. Cut the slices into strips.
  • Combine the sausages and all ingredients up to and including the green onions in a handsome, suitable bowl.  Stir thoroughly.
  • Combine the next 5 ingredients well, making an emulsion, then pour into the salad bowl and stir thoroughly.
  • Chill the salad for at least 2 hours, at which time it will be ready to serve.
  • Serve on the greens.

Almost everybody can be proactive and enjoy antipasto salad.  Won’t you join them?  


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The heat is on where I live right now and nobody wants to turn their stove on and eat steaming hot food.  Therefore salads always go over big, even with folks who aren’t usually big salad fans.   But instead of the usual salad fare, here’s a pasta salad that people far and wide approve of.  The pasta makes the salad portable because you don’t have to contend with salad greens, but of course you could certainly serve the salad atop torn romaine lettuce or tender baby spinach leaves if you desire. Add a little radicchio for more colour and so forth.  Whether you’re bringing it out to the backyard or to a picnic or through the woods to grandma’s house; it’s easy, healthy, and most importantly – delicious.

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad           serves 8

2 cups uncooked rotini spiral macaroni. The tri-colour rotini is pretty to the eye

1 cup sliced cauliflowerets or broccoli flowerlets
1 cup diced bell peppers
8 slices Genoa salami (or Calabrese salami) cut into strips
3 small roma tomatoes, cut into wedges

½ cup sliced ripe olives
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup of diced parmesan cheese
Parmesan salad dressing, see below

Parmesan salad dressing:

1 cup unflavoured yoghurt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup light cream or whole milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
Pinch of salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Combine all ingredients

Cook the rotini 8 or 9 minutes, or as package directs, then drain and place in cold water.

Drain again and mix with the salami and vegetables and diced parmesan cheese.  Then add the parmesan dressing and stir thoroughly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Thinking about a tropical, tangy, refreshing summer salad to beat this infernal heat?  Head to the islands… or make this tropical shrimp salad at home. This marvelous summer salad contains chilled poached shrimp, a nice assortment of fruit and a lovely citrus dressing. This is a magnificent way to satisfy a heat ravaged appetite.
  My spouse, the education tipster, after sampling some, took a photograph of it, and declared it to be the best summer use of shrimp she had ever tasted.  She exclaimed that the taste was sensational and I could hardly disagree with her. Shrimp and fruit with a fruity dressing and no added sugar are very refreshing.

Tropical Shrimp Salad                        serves 6


12 ounces (375g) rotini pasta

Tropical fruit dressing (recipe below)

3 oranges, peeled and cut into sections
2 grapefruits, peeled and cut into sections
1 cup of canned pineapple chunks

1 pound (500g) medium sized shrimp in the shell

Tropical fruit dressing
1/3 cup light olive oil or safflower oil
Grated peel of 1 lemon
Grated peel of 1 orange
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ cup (75ml) orange juice
½ teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients well or shake in a covered jar


  • Put water on to boil for the rotini.
  • Put water on to boil for the shrimp
  • Make the tropical fruit dressing
  • Section the oranges and grapefruit by slicing into quarters and then slicing the fruit from the peel. 
  • With the water boiling, cook the rotini for 9-10 minutes, then drain and cool in ice-water.
  • With the water boiling, add the shrimp and when water returns to boil, look at shrimp.  When they turn pink, drain and cool in ice-water.
  • Shell, devein, and remove the tails of the poached shrimp.

  • Mix the cool, drained pasta, the shrimp and all the fruit in a nice bowl, preferably glass or ceramic.
  • Add the tropical fruit dressing and stir thoroughly.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving

Thursday, August 4, 2011


In its homeland, a Greek salad is simply a tasty chunk of creamy feta cheese served over a bed of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers that have been slathered with red wine vinaigrette and been further enhanced with a hefty pinch of dried oregano and perhaps some olives.

 This delightfully refreshing salad is a classic, and the Greeks have a word for it – horiatiki salata (ho ree ah tee kee).  Horiatiki is popular worldwide because of its special tart, salty and slightly crunchy finish.

Here at home, people change it up a little.  A nice addition is garbanzo beans and adding macaroni adds a nice texture.  You could make a meal of it, but I like to adhere to tradition and not add too many things. My personal favourite Greek pasta salad is listed below.

If you are going on a picnic, visiting people for a weekend get-together, or having a backyard barbecue, Greek pasta salad is a convenient and flavoursome dish you can assemble quickly and bring to the gathering.  It is a lovely summertime hot-weather dish.  Just remember to leave it in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to marry the contents well. Then, bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the party.

Greek Pasta Salad    (horiatiki salata)

½ cup walnut pieces
½ pound of cooked rotini.  Keep in cold water until ready to use or rub with oil

1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced in half lengthwise, and sliced into half moons

2 slices of a small sweet or red onion, cut in half and separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup black olives, stones removed
1 teaspoon capers    

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

In a dry skillet, over medium flame, toast the walnuts for one or two minutes, being careful not to burn. When lightly toasted, set aside to cool.

Stir the vegetables, walnuts, feta, herbs and drained rotini in a large bowl.

Mix the oil and vinegar with salt and pepper.

Pour over the vegetable contents, stir to distribute thoroughly, and then chill, covered, for at least two hours.

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