13 Oct

Fattoush Salad

It’s time for another Eating the Alphabet recipe link-up where each month we make a recipe featuring a fruit, vegetable, legume, or whole grain from a different set of letters of the alphabet.

So far I’ve done:

(A or B): Buttercup Squash and Artichoke Pasta
(C or D): Grenadian Oil Down with Cassava (Favourite)
(E or F): Homemade Fig Newtons (Favourite)
(G or H): White Chicken Chili with Hominy
(I or J): Juniper Berry Bechamel
(K or L): Kamut Brioche
(M, N, or O): Caramelized Onions
(P, Q, or R): Pomegranate Glazed Eggplant (Favourite)

This month’s letters are S or T so I decided to take a look at Sumac.

SumacSumac Plant (Image source)

Sumac is a quintessential ingredient in Lebanese and Middle Eastern cooking. The sumac plant grows wildly in the Middle East and is harvested in the fall. A variety of sumac also grows wildly in North America, I’m sure you’ve seen it before, except the North American variety is poisonous. . . so don’t try foraging it in your back yard!

The sumac plant makes a cluster of tiny fruits that are ground into a powder that is used as a spice. It is deep purple in colour and has a lemony taste but is more tart than lemon. There’s really no good substitute for sumac.

Sumac (1)Sumac Spice (Image Source)

One of my favourite use of sumac is in fattoush, a Lebanese chopped salad loaded with vegetables, dressing with a tangy sumac dressing, and topped with crispy fried pieces of pita. In this version I toasted the pita instead of fried it, which obviously isn’t as delicious as fried pita, but it is a quicker and easier variation.

This is a pretty standard fattoush recipe but you are free to play around with the ingredients a bit by adding chopped parsley or diced peppers or your favourite salad vegetable.

Keep in mind that the keys to the flavour of this salad are the fresh mint, the sumac, and the pita, so don’t sub these ingredients, whatever you do.

Fattoush Salad

Makes one huge salad (enough for probably 8 people as a side dish)



1 head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 medium English cucumber, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch radishes, halved and sliced
2 green onions, diced
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 large pita


2 cloves garlic
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pita
2 T sumac, plus extra for pita


Preheat the oven to 325F. Brush the pita with the extra olive oil and sprinkle with the extra sumac. Toast in the oven until crispy and golden. Break the toasted pita into small shards and set aside.

Put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and stir together.

Sprinkle the garlic with a dash of salt and mash with the side of a knife (or a pestle). Place the garlic in a small bowl and whisk in the lemon juice, sumac, and olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until all the ingredients are coated. Add the pita pieces and toss to combine.

(Click for more info on Eating the Alphabet)

22 Jul

Food Blog Friday: Cool as a Cucumber Salad


It’s Food Blog Friday!

I know, I know, it’s been a while since the last one but I’ve been cooking and baking old favourites or reverting back to the cookbooks on my shelf for recipes lately.

This week’s recipe comes from Allie at Live Laugh Eat. I like reading Allie’s blog for her cute, quirky personality, and her great attitude (maybe that’s ‘cause coolest job ever: working at Great Harvest. Dream!) but I have yet to make one of her recipes. For this Food Blog Friday, I was inspired by this inferno of a heat wave + too many cucumbers in my fridge and I whipped up Allie’s Cool as a Cucumber Salad.

I didn’t have rice wine vinegar so I subbed in apple cider vinegar instead. Everything else was straight from the recipe. This recipe is great post workout nosh if you’re like me and you crave something refreshing and salty after a sweat session.

I found the dressing to be a bit on the salty side but I liked it that way. I’m accustomed to eating cucumbers straight up with (a bit too much) salt, so this salad definitely met the needs of my taste buds.


Cool as a Cucumber Salad

from Live Laugh Eat


  • 2 large cucumbers, chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 T Sesame seeds


In a large bowl, mix together vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar for the dressing. Add in the chopped cucumbers and toss until fully dressed. Allow to sit for 10-15 min. to marinade. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve cold.

The only change I would make to this salad would be to add slightly less sugar (maybe 1/4 t instead of 1/2 t) because I thought it was a bit on the sweet side but otherwise I would definitely make this salad again. So I give it. . .

2 Spoons!

Food Blog Friday recipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons

0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon  –  I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect.

See Other Food Blog Friday Recipe Reviews here.

24 May

food journal 24/05/11


-mountain bread with equal parts tahini and date molasses topped with banana slices
-some granola (unpictured)

Banana with Tahini and Date Molasses


-spinach salad with cucumber, avocado, and savoury. I forgot to put any sort of protein in the salad so it wasn’t very filling
-celery sticks

Spinach Salad


– Matt was on dinner duty tonight. He made a chunky vegan corn and black bean chili with fresh cilantro. It was, as all Matt’s chilis are, spicy.
– one and a half spinach fatayer that I made last night.
– glass of Alabama sweet tea, this stuff is gooood.

Vegan Black Bean and Corn ChiliVegan Black Bean and Corn Chili

Spinach Fatayer

17 Apr

Pecan Crusted Tofu with Oat Salad

Matt and I watch a lot of Top Chef. A lot. We just finished watching Top Chef All Stars and right now we’re watching Top Chef Canada and Top Chef:Just Desserts (which we didn’t watch when it aired). Besides Planet Earth, Top Chef is pretty much the only thing we like watching together.

I recently discovered that Bravo has a bunch of recipes from the show on their website so now I have a whole new list of recipes to try out.

Last night we cooked a recipe from one of my favourite chefs: Carla Hall

The recipe was Pecan and Oat Crusted Tofu on an Oat and Lentil Salad. Seeing ‘oats’ come up twice in the recipe name pretty much sold me on the recipe, plus it’s vegan and sounds healthy.

Pecan&Oat Crusted TofuMatt putting the topping on the tofu cubes.

That recipe was a recipe for chefs, not home cooks. It was the kind of recipe that made you appreciate the concept of mise en place. No one (besides Martha Stewart and my brother-in-law) uses mise en place at home. There were so many components and each dish and I found myself doing the same things two or three times which could’ve been avoided if the recipe were better written or if I had all my components prepped. I’m going to stick with blaming the recipe.

Pecan&Oat Crusted Tofu

In the end, despite about 2 hours of work and overcooking the oats and lentils to oblivion, the recipe turned out really good. I would definitely make it again. I was thinking of leaving off the oat and pecan crust from the tofu, but that was the BEST part. Yum.

Luckily there’s lots of leftovers so I’ll be eating this all week long.

Pecan&Oat Crusted Tofu

Bikini Living Check In:

Bikini Eating:

I didn’t journal my food on Saturday but I’m back at it today. I’ve been spending too much time baking cookies and sweet bread which I indulged in yesterday.

Bikini Fitness:

Yesterday I did a short 55 minute yoga podcast from Eoin Finn. I fell asleep in savasana. Pure Bliss.

(Training Schedule)

Bikini Confidence:

This weekend I love my new hair cut. It’s been about 7 months since my last cut so my hair really needed it. It’s bouncy, I love it.


Before Haircut


After Haircut

And my flair is the awesome colour and detailing of this Esprit top. Sometimes I feel that the cut of it makes me look like an expectant mother, but today it made me feel pretty.