Chorizo Wild Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Looking for a super easy weeknight recipe? I’ve got your back. Although, I am going to make you run to the grocery store first. Unless you’ve already got some fresh chorizo on your hands? And you happened to pick up a zucchini last time? In that case, you’re probably covered because everything else in these is pretty standard. And actually the zucchini probably isn’t 100% necessary, but unless you’re vegetarian or something, you’re gonna want to add that chorizo.

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Stuffed peppers are one of those things that seem a little fancy, but are actually like the easiest thing ever. Throw some rice and fillings together, stuff said peppers, top with cheese (another optional, but obviously amazing addition) and bake for a bit. Done. I really appreciate dishes that are a complete meal in one item (protein, vegetables, grains), so even though a side salad might be nice with these, it’s totally not necessary.

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Honestly, I made these a while ago, and I think I just convinced myself to make them again. Like tomorrow, perhaps.

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Chorizo Wild Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers 

Adapted from Thug Kitchen 

Makes 8 stuffed peppers

1 1/2 cups Wild Rice

1 large Tomato

1 large Carrot

1 Zucchini

1/2 a Yellow Onion

4 cloves Garlic

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1 tsp Paprika

2 cups Water

1 tbsp Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar

Juice of 1 Lemon

4 fresh Chorizo Sausages

Salt & Pepper, to taste

4 large Bell Peppers (red, yellow, or orange)

1/2 – 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

1. Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer. Put tomato in a food processor or blender and puree until completely liquid. Chop carrot, zucchini, and onion into small pieces.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add carrot, zucchini, garlic, oregano, thyme, and paprika and cook for another minute. Add the rice, pureed tomato, and water. Add in a pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, remove chorizo from the casings and fry in a medium pan over medium heat (like ground beef) until cooked. Set aside.

4. When the rice is done, add the sherry/red wine vinegar and the lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir and taste, adding more seasoning as needed.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

6. Chop bell peppers in half and remove stems/seeds. Spoon mixture into pepper halves, filling a little over the top. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Place stuffed peppers in a greased baking dish, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until cheese is golden brown and peppers are starting to soften. Serve warm.

Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

I’m usually one of those people who struggles to actually like eating salad. Or maybe it’s not that I don’t like salad, it’s just that I would rather be eating something else. In order to overcome this slight issue, I am constantly looking for salads that are easy, but also different and exciting. This salad is the  perfect example.

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I love kale, but it can be a little hard to base a whole salad on it, because it’s kind of on the bitter side. This sweeter dressing, along with the added fruit, balance out the bitterness and it’s perfect. This salad would be amazing for a festive meal, but it’s also a good one if you just want to switch up your daily lunch routine. Also, the pecan parmesan is kind of brilliant if you’re vegan, but it’s a yummy, salty, extra even if you’re not.

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Kale and Pomegranate Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette 

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

For the Pecan Parmesan:

1/2 cup Pecans, toasted

1 1/2 tsp Nutritional Yeast

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

For the Dressing:

3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tbsp + 1 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, peeled & minced

To Assemble:

1 bunch Kale, destemmed & leaves torn to bite size pieces

1 Apple, Cored & finely chopped

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Pomegranate Arils (about 1/2 a pomegranate)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted pecans, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt and work into a crumble. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl or dressing container, whisk (or shake the container) the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, applesauce, and ginger until well combined.

4. Place the kale, chopped apples, dried cranberries, and pomegranate arils in a large salad bowl and top with dressing. Alternatively, you can portion out the ingredients to make smaller salads. Sprinkle pecan parmesan over salad before serving.

Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

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I keep craving Mexican lately! Seriously, I’ve been eating an avocado a day for like two weeks,  I’m always in the mood for tacos, and I found myself daydreaming about a margarita today. Maybe I’m subconsciously needing a vacation? I don’t have any plans to head to Mexico any time soon, but I am going to Hawaii (to visit family) in a few weeks, and I honestly can barely wait. I know I was on vacation for like two months in the summer, but I really feel in need of a beach to sit on, ya know?

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Have you ever heard of a flauta? I hadn’t, before these, but they’re basically the same thing as a taquito. My mom used to buy boxes of taquitos in high school, which were delicious, but also probably terrible for me. These guys are much more healthy, but equally yummy. They would be a perfect appetizer if you’re having some friends over, or you could have them as an entree, perhaps with a little salad.

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Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

Makes 12 Flautas, using Standard Flour Tortillas

Adapted from Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F*ck

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 cup Yellow Onion, diced (about 1/2 an onion)

2 tsp Chili Powder

3/4 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Salt

4 – 5 cloves Garlic, minced

3 cups Pinto Beans, canned or cooked

1 4 oz can Mild Green Chiles

Juice of 1/2 a Lime

1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels

1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

12 Flour Tortillas (I used whole wheat)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large cooking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add in the chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about another minute. Remove from heat.

3. Throw the beans, green chiles, and lime juice into a large mixing bowl. Mash together using a potato masher of the back of a fork. It’s okay if there are some whole beans left – texture is good! Fold in the sautéed onion mixture, the corn, and the grated cheese, combining well.

4. Warm the tortillas in your microwave. Spoon about 2 heaping tbsp of the bean filling and spread in a nice line on the left side of the tortilla from top to bottom. Roll the tortilla up from left to right, then place seam-side-down on the baking sheet, keeping about an inch between each flauta. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beans.

5. Lightly coat flautas with some cooking spray (or brush with a little olive oil) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the flautas over, then return to oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes under both sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve warm, preferably with some delicious homemade guac.

Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Okay… if the name of this post didn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. Butternut Squash, Ricotta Cheese, and the most perfect Caramelized Onions piled into some nice, thick toast. Oh, and there’s maple syrup. And a bit of spice, too. This is seriously the most brilliant combination of some of my favourite ingredients – completely unexpected, but so amazing. Easy enough for a weekday lunch, but fancy enough to serve guests.

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Out of curiosity… Are any of you guys preparing for this blizzard that is hitting the Northeastern US? I mentioned last week that it’s been an uncharacteristically warm January in Calgary, but on Saturday I was walking to go for lunch, and even I was shocked to see multiple patios full. We’re pretty used to freezing temperatures and crazy amounts of snow, but we certainly know how to take advantage of warmer weather. Anyway, stay safe, if you’re in the blizzard zone – if I were you, I would probably spend my day making soup, but these winter-y squash toasts could be a perfect choice too.

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Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen, via NYTimes Cooking

Serves 4 as a Main, 8 as an Appetizer

1 2 1/2 – 3 lb Butternut Squash (or other yellow squash), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Dried Chile Flakes

3 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Yellow Onion, peeled & thinly sliced

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Maple Syrup

4 Slices Whole Wheat Country Bread, sliced 1-inch thick

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

Coarse Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat oven to 450. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare butternut squash, then toss in a bowl with 3 tbsp olive oil, chile flakes, and 2 tsp salt. Transfer squash to prepared baking sheet, then roast in oven until soft – about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar and syrup and reduce heat slightly. Cook, stirring, until mixture is very soft and jammy.

3. Remove the squash from the oven, and pile the onion mixture on top of the squash, still on the baking sheet. Smash squash and onions together with the back of a fork and roughly combine.

4. Toast your bread – if it’s too thick for the toaster, put it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes.

5. Spread ricotta on toasts in a thick layer, then pile on the squash/onion mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.

Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

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Random fact about me: I eat oatmeal, in some variation, almost every day. It’s just so filling, healthy, and delicious. Seriously, sitting on the couch eating a bowl of oatmeal and drinking some coffee with almond milk is the most ideal start to my day. Can you believe I didn’t have a single oatmeal post up until now? (Neither can I.)

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Most mornings, I’ll just microwave some oats with almond milk and whatever fruit/nuts I feel like, but sometimes I like to switch it up with something like overnight oats, or a different grain (like quinoa or buckwheat porridge), or steel cut oats. Or a baked oatmeal like this one, which is especially ideal because I can make it at the beginning of the week, and reheat some every morning – super easy and quick which is essential if you’re in a rush or just super slow to wake up, like I am.

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PS – If you haven’t been following me/you don’t know about The Oh She Glows Cookbook, you seriously need to go buy it. So much healthy recipe inspiration! You can thank me later. Also! Did you know that it’s apparently National Breakfast Week? It’s almost like I planned that… (I didn’t.)

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Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Serves 6

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

2 1/4 cup Rolled Oats

2 tbsp Coconut Sugar

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ginger

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Ground Sea Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 or 3 Apples, peeled, cored, & diced

1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sea salt, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the oats and stir to combine, then fold in the chopped apples.

5. Pour the oatmeal into your prepared casserole dish, using a spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, gently pressing them into the oatmeal.

6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, under the mixture is getting bubbly around the edges and the apples are tender. Serve warm, scooped into dishes and topped with almond milk and maple syrup. Oatmeal will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 or 6 days or in the freezer for 2 – 3 weeks.

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers & Homemade Buns

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Burgers always remind me of summer. Barbecue season, camping, etc. And even though it’s the middle of January, it’s been uncharacteristically warm in Calgary, so burgers (and even barbecuing, if I had one) are actually super reasonable. Even when they’re flavoured with lime and spices, making them even more summer-y. I think I need to buy a barbecue soon here, now that I think about it.

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These burgers are ridiculously easy, super light and healthy, and so, so flavourful. The buns, of course, take a little more work, but sometimes I just find myself in the mood to knead dough, you know? It’s actually kind of therapeutic (I can’t be the only one who feels this way…) If you’re not crazy , though, you could definitely just buy buns at the store, or even wrap these in some lettuce for an even lighter option.

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Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Makes Four Burgers 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup Red Onions, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup Lime Juice

1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes

For serving: homemade buns, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese

1. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.

2. Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked onion mix, in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine well. Divide and shape the meat into four patties.

3. On a barbecue or grill pan, cook for 6 minutes on each side, over medium heat, or until internal temperature registers 175 degrees.

4. Serve, and top with anything you like (but the avocado is super necessary!!)

Homemade Burger Buns

Makes 8 Burger Buns

Adapted from The Kitchn

1 tbsp Active-Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Warm Water

1/2 cup 2% Milk

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 tbsp White Sugar

1 tsp Salt

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. Add all of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until it is roughly combined.  Take out the dough, and knead for 10 minutes, flouring your hands/working surface as necessary. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

3. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Place the dough back on your floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces, shaping each into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet and let rise until puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 – 45 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake the buns until nice and golden, about 15 – 18 minutes. Allow buns to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Buns will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers
Can you guys believe Christmas is only 9 days away?! This year, especially the past few months, have absolutely flown by for me. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, making new friends (and keeping in touch with old), fostering a puppy… I’ve been insanely busy (in the best way) and I honestly think it’s crazy that mid December has rolled around.
Do you guys still get stockings? I actually was kind of under the impression that everyone did, until I started asking some friends. It turns out that I might be a minority. My stocking has always been one of my favourite parts of Christmas – usually I have some idea of what presents my parents are going to get me, but my stocking is always full of so many fun surprises. I usually spend Christmas morning at my dad’s house, and my step mom (I mean Santa) always puts so much thought into my stocking, and it’s so fun to get to go through everything and compare stockings with my brothers and sisters. My roommate, Kelsea, and I also decided to do stockings for each other this year, which I am super excited about. I’ve never got to fill anyone else’s stocking before!
I thought I would put together a little gift guide, just in case you still have a bit of Christmas shopping to do (I know I do!) These are a combination of favourite little treats that I already own and love, and some things that I’ve been pining after. I hope you like it!

African Peanut Stew

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If you know me well, or if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that there are few things I love more than a good, hearty soup. Especially when it’s super easy to make, freezes well, is healthy, and has lovely, unique flavours. I actually have to force myself to make foods besides soup, because I remember that my freezer is still full from the last 3 times I made it. But seriously, hand me a big bowl of soup and a chunk of bread, and I’ll be the happiest person.

So it will come as no surprise that this peanut stew is one of the first things I chose to make from the OSG Cookbook. I’ve loved Angela’s blog for years now, and her cookbook does not disappoint. I might just have a few more things to share from it in the coming weeks…

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This delicious stew is insanely simple, doesn’t take forever to cook, and is so, so yummy. Perfect served with some thick, crusty bread on a cold winter day.

African Peanut Stew 

Serves 6 

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium Sweet Onion, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1 Jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1 (28 oz/793 g) can diced tomatoes, with their juices

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/3 cup Natural Peanut Butter

4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

1 1/2 tsp Chili Powder

1 (15 oz/425 g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked Chickpeas

2 handfuls Baby Spinach or destemmed, torn Kale Leaves

Fresh Cilantro, for serving

Roasted Peanuts, for serving

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, sweet potato, and tomatoes with their juices. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring as needed. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter and 1 cup of the broth until no clumps remain. Pour into the saucepan with the vegetables, along with the remaining 3 cups of broth, and the chill powder. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender.

3. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach/kale and cook until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with cilantro and roasted peanuts.

Bolognese Sauce and Sweet Potato Noodles

Tomorrow is my twenty-second birthday. At this point, I still feel excited about getting a little older; I think because all of the people who I work with and many of my friends are actually older than me, and I sometimes feel a little immature telling people that I’m only 21. I’m a little scared though, that this might be the last birthday that I feel this way. It’s not necessarily that I’m afraid of getting older.  I’m done school, I have a job that I love, amazing friends, a good apartment, and I’m optimistic about my dating life. It’s just that I think I might miss the feeling of unlimited time. Of thinking that I can travel to a hundred new places, all before I have to settle down and have babies, or that I can date a bunch of different guys before I feel like I have to get married to one of them, or that it’s acceptable to make irrational decisions like drinking a bottle of wine to myself or buying a dress that costs more than I should be spending, before I have to start acting responsible.

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Obviously, none of this has anything to do with bolognese sauce. Or sweet potato noodles. I’m pretty sure that in regards to the things that I cook, I act more like I’m 40 with house full of kids.

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But I am on a bit of a health kick lately, and even though I love pasta and carbs more than a lot of things, these sweet potato noodles are a pretty delicious option if you’re in the mood for something a little different. And seriously, what is more comforting and impressive than a good bolognese sauce?

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Bolognese Sauce

Serves 6 – 8 (or use in a 10 x 12 inch baking dish for lasagna) 

Adapted from Calgary Cooks – Ronaldo Coladon from Cucina in Calgary, Alberta 

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 stalk Celery, sliced

1/2 Carrot, sliced

1 Onion, diced small

2 lbs Ground Beef

2 tbsp Minced Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

1 tsp finely chopped Fresh Oregano (or 1/2 tsp Dried)

2 tsp finely chopped Fresh Basil (or 1/2 tsp Dried)

1 1/2 cups Red Wine

4 cups Canned Tomatoes

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high. Add celery, carrots, and onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beef, garlic, and fresh or dried herbs and sauté for 2 minutes.

2. When the meat is browned, add the red wine and reduce until the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, add freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve.

Sweet Potato Noodles 

Makes 2 Servings (depending on size of potato) 

Adapted from Against All Grain 

1 Sweet Potato, peeled & spiralized

Olive Oil to coat pan

Sea Salt, to taste

1. Once sweet potatoes are spiralized into noodles (using either a vegetable spiralizer or a julienne peeler), heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the noodles, in batches if necessary, and cook over medium heat for about 6 – 7 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft, tossing throughout cooking time. Top with sea salt to taste and serve with desired sauce.

Una’s Kale Caesar Salad

If you live in Calgary, chances are you’ve been to Una. For those of you who don’t, its an amazing restaurant on a trendy street selling mostly thin-crust, California-style pizzas. It’s one of those places where you can’t make reservations, and if you’d like to get a table anywhere around dinner time between Wednesday and Saturday, you’re going to expect a wait. But the wait will be worth it. Because not only are their pizzas seriously to die for, but they’ve also got amazing appetizers/salads/everything else. In particular, they have managed to make a killer Kale Caesar Salad – something that is great in theory, but in my experience, is hard to do well.

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I picked up a cookbook from my favourite doughnut shop, Jelly Modern, a few months ago that features recipes from some of Calgary’s best restaurants – it’s called Calgary Cooks. In it, I found the recipe for Una’s Kale Caesar Salad. I made it. And it was actually just as good as it is in the restaurant. And it was really simple to make! The dressing is the star of the show here, but I think that the thinly sliced kale really helps, and I mean, the toppings certainly don’t hurt it. This is definitely going to be a recipe that I make fairly often.

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Una’s Kale Caesar Salad 

Adapted from: Calgary Cooks

Serves 4

Caesar Dressing

1 clove Garlic

4 Anchovy Fillets

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1. Throw garlic, anchovies, dijon mustard, and lemon juice and zest into a small food processor or blender, puree until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is smooth.

Kale Salad

2 tbsp Olive Oil, plus more, if needed

4 thin slices Prosciutto, julienned

1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Sea Salt & Black Pepper

2 bunches Kale, leaves only, julienned

1 cup Pecorino Romano, grated

2 soft boiled Eggs, peeled & halved

1. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add strips of prosciutto and pan-fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to towel-lined plate and set aside.

2. Reduce heat to low. Add panko crumbs to pan, adding a little more oil if required, and toast, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Scrape the panko into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

3. Place kale in a large bowl, pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. At this point, either transfer the kale to smaller serving bowls, or if you would rather serve from a big bowl, leave it in there. Top kale with pecorino romano, toasted panko, and crispy prosciutto. Serve with the boiled eggs.