Modern Lunch: Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

Liven up your desk lunch with this vibrant, make-ahead salad.

Ladies who lunch has become a bit of a theme for me this winter, as I’ve been connecting with fellow food creatives here in Halifax.

Thanks to this warm and welcoming community I have been able to discover the best eats around the city, talented market vendors and unique local businesses to support. A few of us have even launched a cookbook club, which promises to be inspiring and absolutely delicious.

On a recent lunch date with the exceptionally talented Kelly Neil, we whipped up a salad from the brand new cookbook Modern Lunch with incredibly tasty results. Read on for more about this book, plus the recipe for a Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad with Feta.

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Simple Cioppino

Simmer this fragrant seafood soup for dinner and discover that a simple cioppino is perfect for chilly winter nights.

On a recent food-centric trip to Prince Edward Island, I found myself on a fascinating aquaculture tour with a group of Top Chefs and local food advocates for Canada’s Food Island.

It was a warm September day, and the sea and sky were so blue, it was difficult to tell where the two met. Out on the waters of New London Bay, drifting in a mussel boat,  I watch as a line was hoisted out of the water, with thousands of blue mussels determinedly clutching their ‘socks’.

Talk about a food memory! This lifelong landlubber was impressed.

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Two Winter Power Bowls (Recipe: Quick Peanut Sauce)

During the winter months I find myself craving foods with maximum crunch and big flavours; that’s when these power bowls come into play.

The cold weather entices me to hibernate, so I try to avoid foods that will leave me sluggish and instead build salads heaping with ingredients that energize me.

Last week I was hugely inspired by a trip to a nearby farmer’s market where I found the most exquisite locally grown winter produce. I loaded up a crate with baby Savoy cabbage, watermelon and purple daikon radishes, mini red Napa cabbage and crunchy kohlrabi – and then took everything back to my kitchen.

A quick peek in my pantry turned up rice vermicelli and sesame seeds. I knew I had pickled carrots in the fridge, so I whipped up a tofu stir-fry and a quick peanut sauce and was soon stacking the building blocks for a Thai-inspired power bowl.

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Slow-Cooker Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

There’s a droopy apple tree in our backyard, branches bare to the elements save for a dozen or so brown apples hanging on for dear life.

The other day I watched from the kitchen window as my boys walked down to the frozen lake with their hockey sticks over their shoulders. My eldest paused for a moment under the tree, raised his stick and whacked one of the frosty fruits out onto the ice. Then they skidded after it in their clunky winter boots, lowered their hockey sticks and began passing the apple back and forth between them.

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Kale, Pear and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Well hello November!

I’ve never been one to herald the arrival of this dismal time of year, but this month we’ll transition into our Halifax home and I am filled with anticipation for that new chapter. I’ll be sharing more on our move soon (here’s a sneak peek at our lakeside cottage), but for now we need to talk about this salad I’ve been making on repeat.

Since the cooler weather has arrived, I’ve certainly been cooking more sheet pan dinners and slow cooker suppers, but I’m also embracing fall greens with gusto. It might be my favourite season for building a hearty salad, and as you will see, I like to pile just about everything on the plate.

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