For a winning party or potluck dip you cannot BEET this recipe.

Taken from

It’s a nice departure from the usual Mediterranean style hummus we’ve come to love. Super creamy and flavorful. Full of vitamins and minerals. Perfect with pita or veggies.  I made it twice in one month to rave reviews (unless they lied but I doubt it).

It’s also very simple to make. Once you have a roasted beet it’s a matter of throwing everything into a food processor or blender and whisking away.  You might want to roast more than one beet (to use the others in salads, etc.) because that takes the longest time.

  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), remove the stem and most of the root from beet, and scrub and wash it under running water until clean. Drizzle on a bit of canola or olive oil, wrap tightly in foil, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance and is tender (similar to a baked potato). Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

But it won’t last one week because you’ll eat it up before then.

Healthy Food – Vietnamese Salad Rolls

A friend prepared these delicious salad rolls shown in photo.  She did not have a specific recipe however I found one that you can follow and add chicken or prawns to if you like.  They’ve got the three essentials – that is they’re delicious, healthy and low fat.  What was really nice is how she served them with lettuce leaves lining the plate – presentation, presentation ladies and gents!

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

Don’t you hate it when you ask someone for a recipe and they say “I don’t have a recipe, just use whatever you have on hand – they’re so easy to make.”  Said friend made the best sukiyaki (again, no recipe and who makes sukiyaki anyway – you’re lucky to even find it on the menu at any Japanese restaurant) but believe me I took mental notes and I’m making it and will follow up for you on that dish at a little later date. When it starts to get a bit cooler out maybe even tomorrow. I need to buy another appliance before doing so.  For now make this & cut them up smaller for appetizers:

MAKES 4 ROLLS (regular size)

You can try different dipping sauces – why not have options? In photo the wraps are made with chicken and the dipping sauce is thai sweet chili which can be store bought if you don’t have the time to make it from scratch.

for the peanut sauce 

1 tablespoon soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

juice of 1 lime

1 shallot, roughly chopped (1/4 cup)

1 small garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

¼ cup sesame oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

for the rolls:

8 rice paper spring roll wrappers

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed

12 fresh mint leaves

12 fresh basil leaves

8 sprigs fresh cilantro

½ English cucumber, cut into sticks

1 small avocado, thinly sliced

  • About 2 cups cooked rice vermicelli cooled down (optional)
  • fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  1. To make the peanut sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, cut or tear the hard rib from each butter lettuce leaf and prep all other filling ingredients.
  3. Fill a bowl large enough to hold the spring roll wrappers with warm water. Soak one wrapper for about 1 minute, or until just pliable, then lay flat on a cutting board. Layer in lettuce leaves, folding large ones in half, then fresh herbs, cucumber, and sliced avocado. Then rice vermicelli, meat (if using) and bean sprouts.
  4. Carefully roll up the wrapper, leaving both ends open. Soak another wrapper and wrap existing roll inside to secure ingredients.
  5. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling ingredient. Then, pack in an air-proof container, layering in a damp paper towel to keep the rice paper moist.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Originally featured in An End of Summer Picnic on goop

Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal

Source for chili sauce: Food Network

I’ve made traditional Vietnamese salad rolls in the past using lettuce, rice vermicelli, prawns, green onion and bean sprouts with peanut dipping sauce.  They’re actually pretty easy to make.  At first you might break a few of the wraps because they’re so thin but when you get the hang of it they’re fun to make.  It just took my friend making these to remind me that they’re a BIG HIT at parties! Everyone loved them.  Everyone asked for the recipe.  You’re welcome!

Upcoming Vancouver Event:

Join me at one of my favourite Fall fundraisers –  the annual Arts Club event CHEF MEETS BC GRAPE featuring up to 90 BC wineries pouring over 350 award-winning wines, delectably paired with locally inspired dishes from top British Columbia restaurants.  See why BC food is designed for BC wine!

Signature Tasting
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Vancouver Convention Centre East
999 Canada Place, Ballrooms A, B and C
7–9:30 PM

Food: appy hour – salmon paté

This is an easy appy idea that your guests will love! It’s a take on an old-fashioned recipe. salmon pate My mom used to serve something like this in an actual salmon-shaped mold.  I’ll be on the lookout for one of those, but in the meantime if you know where to find one please let me know.

One 213g tin of wild red salmon (preferably Sockeye) drained

One 227g package – lite cream cheese (or a bit less) softened

Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) about ½ cup or a combo of panko and chopped Walnuts

Grated cheese (like Parmesan or Asiago) about ½ cup

Chopped green onions (2-3)

1 tsp. prepared Horseradish

Worcestershire Sauce to taste

Dash of Hot Pepper Sauce

Lemon Pepper Seasoning

1 Tbsp, fresh lemon juice

Chopped parsley (optional)

Leave it in the fridge overnight before forming it into a ball, it will be much easier.

Decorate with chopped parsley or green onion.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or plain melba toast.

Festive Food/Drink/Dresses – to ring in a New Year

 New Year’s Nibblies

Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party or attending one — you don’t want to spend what’s left of 2014 cooking in the kitchen.  Here are three perfect party solution appetizers with only 5 ingredients or less to make it easy for you.roasted-gnocchi-sundried-tomato-olive-stacks

They are taken from Justin Chapple, Food & Wines Test Kitchen senior editor.  Enjoy!

Roasted gnocchi, sundried tomato & olive stacks (photo above)

Ready made gnocchi make a perfect base for a bite-sized canapé that’s easy to make and perfect for a party platter or casual nibble with drinks.


500g pack of fresh gnocchi

4 tbsp olive oil

40 pitted green olives

40 sundried tomatoes

40 basil leaves

Heat oven to 350F. Tip the fresh gnocchi in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Thread the roasted gnocchi onto cocktail sticks with pitted green olives, sundried tomatoes and basil leaves. Serve while the gnocchi is still warm.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2014

Smoked Salmon with Artichoke Hearts

Photo: Linda Pugliese/Food and Wine
Photo: Linda Pugliese/Food and Wine

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: Makes 32 Hors D’Oeuvres


16 small marinated artichoke hearts, drained, plus 1 teaspoon of the oil from the jar

1/2 cup packed celery leaves

1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into thirty-two 4-inch-by-1-inch strips

1/2 small red onion, cut into thin 1-inch-long strips

Preheat the oven to 450°. Pat the artichoke hearts dry with paper towels and halve them lengthwise. Arrange the artichoke hearts cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes, until sizzling. Carefully transfer the artichokes to a plate. Arrange the celery leaves on the baking sheet and coat with the reserved artichoke oil. Roast for 3 minutes, until the leaves are crisp.

Wrap each piece of the smoked salmon around an artichoke half and a few of the onion strips and transfer to a platter. Garnish with the crisp celery leaves and serve.

Bacon-Wrapped Cherry Peppers

Photo: Lucas Allen/Food and Wine Magazine
Photo: Lucas Allen/Food and Wine Magazine

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings 4 to 6

These genius hors d’oeuvres call for just three ingredients. The recipe can be made ahead of time, so it’s great for parties.


6 jarred hot cherry peppers- halved through the stem, seeded, drained and patted dry

1/3 cup cream cheese, softened

12 thin bacon slices (6 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Stuff each cherry pepper half with a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese and wrap with a slice of bacon; secure with a toothpick.

Arrange the stuffed peppers in a large ovenproof skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning, until the bacon is browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the cream cheese is hot. Serve the stuffed cherry peppers warm.

 Other simple standard staples:

fig & stilton squares (on thawed out puff pastry that is baked in the oven) or even stilton spooned into hollowed out figs garnished with a halved walnut on top.

Photo: Tina Rupp/Food & Wine
Photo: Tina Rupp/Food & Wine

baked mushroom caps (stuffed with crab & cream cheese or your choice).

cheese platter (mix of soft & hard)

cut up veggies and dips (always a hit)

Party platters don’t have to be all too time consuming & crazy  making. Have fun putting them together.  They should be pleasing to the eye and the palate.  Your guests will enjoy your company and a good glass of bubbly.©LauraManske.CostaFavolosa.Prosecco1ac

Yes…..a bubbly person is always best!


champagne-sparkling-wine-food-pairings_612Champagne is the classic wine choice for parties and celebrations, it’s true. But if you ask people who’ve been in the wine business what their “desert island” wine would be—the wine they could see themselves drinking for the rest of their life—the answer is almost invariably

Champagne (and not just because it’s served cold). The reason is simple: Champagne and other sparkling wines—Cava, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, included—are not just great party wines, they’re also the most versatile wines for pairing with food.

What makes all these sparkling wines so food-friendly? Consider these factors: Most bottles are blended from different vintage wines, resulting in a cuvée that’s greater than the sum of its parts; they tend to showcase minerality, a characteristic that adds depth to fruity, savory, meaty, and gamy flavors; and these wines possess an unparalleled acidity that cuts through rich, fatty dishes and surmounts even high-acid ingredients such as tomatoes or vinegars. And of course, there’s the celebratory feel that sparkling wines add to any occasion. They’re playful enough for a casual weekend brunch and double as the go-to drink for more formal occasions.  Source:

WEAR:  when in doubt go for the classics like the never fail LBD.

Photo: Bazaar Magazine
Photo: Bazaar Magazine

It will never let you down, you can dress it up in so many ways (especially with something glittery) and you’ll wear it way after the midnight countdown.hbz-the-list-lbd-9-gareth-pugh-sm

 And if you’re planning to give someone the cold shoulder do it in a strapless LBD.




simply satisfying – grilled cherry tomato lollipops 

So they’re not really lollipops, but the term “tomato skewers” sounded too mundane.


Summer screams of BBQ and we’re constantly heating up our grill to cook up whatever flavors epitomize the season.

Because these tomatoes are so cute and plump, it sounds more appropriate (and fun) to call them lollipops especially when you jab them onto sticks. Plus, they taste sweet like candy during this time of the year.

 Have you ever grilled your cherry tomatoes? They’re super amazing and the texture is like roasted tomatoes, but you don’t have to turn on your hot oven in the Summer. And best of all, they have the wonderful bbq flavor to them. Before grilling place them in a bowl & gently mix with sea salt and a little olive oil & balsamic.appy2

A simple way to enjoy these grilled tomato skewer “lollipops” is on grilled bread swiped with a nice layer of ricotta cheese.  Make sure to make a big platter of these little skewer lollipops for your gathering because they’re sure to be a hit. They’re so good, your guests will probably eat them right off the skewers just like candy.

Or, hollow them out fresh ones  & place a baby mozzarella inside dipped in olive oil & cilantro/parsley.
Or; freshly hollow them out & place rounded baby mozzarella inside dipped in olive oil & cilantro or parsley. Skewer on individual sticks for a lovely and tasty presentation.

taken from “white on rice” couple.


Link to my “FOOD” board below on Pinterest:


Simply Satisfying – Panko Baked Chicken Fingers

pankochicken4These are a healthier alternative to the chicken fingers that are served in restaurants and they taste great. These are good the next day, too & make a tasty snack or appie.


1/2 tsp (2 mL) Dijon mustard
2 egg whites
2 cups (500 mL) panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts (650 g total), cut into 16 1-in.-thick strips

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk Dijon mustard with egg whites. In a second bowl, mix together bread crumbs, paprika, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg whites and then bread mixture, and place on baking sheet. Repeat till all strips are coated. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until cooked through.

Makes 16 chicken fin­gers. Each: 100 calories, 12 g protein, 1 g fat (0 g sat­urated fat), 10 g carbo­hydrates, 1 g fibre, 24 mg cholesterol, 142 sodium.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce


2 Tbsp (30 mL) smooth peanut butter

¼ cup (60 mL) hot water

1Tbsp (15 mL) lime juice

1 Tbsp (15 mL) low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp. (5mL) Tabasco

Pinch each ground ginger, cumin, salt and pepper

Having a couple of extra dipping sauces on hand like sweet chili & honey mustard will give guests a variety to choose from and are a nice accompaniment to the fingers.


Recipe taken from Best Health Magazine